Technical

The Technical Elements Of Vinyl Record Cleaning

To understand how the new vinyl record cleaning solution, VRC Easy Spread n’ Peel, will eliminate the pops and crackles from your vinyl records (and how that saves you money) we need to understand the record itself and what happens when it is played.
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The Microgroove

The microgroove record (what it was originally called when first produced in 1949) is played by placing a stylus, a highly polished and specially shaped piece of diamond mounted on the end of a fine rod called the cantilever, into the record groove.


The vibrations — caused by the force developed between the stylus tip and the three dimensional engravings on the sidewalls of the record groove — travel up the cantilever into the tonearm cartridge are turned into minute electrical impulses, which are then transformed into sound by the system amplifiers and speakers.

The Wear and Care of Records and Styli by Harold D. Weiler was a study conducted to determine the effective life of phonograph styli and the effect of worn styli and dust on record life and quality of reproduction. The work remains the pre-eminent study on the topic. Check out the original study by clicking the link at the bottom of this section.

The Stylus

The stylus is a very small artefact, its tip typically measuring about 25 µ (microns) or one thousandth of an inch at its tip.

The groove opening itself measures 100 µ tapering down to its basein a V shape.

It is important to note that the stylus sits against the walls of the tapering groove barely touching each and slightly above the groove’s bottom. Material at the base of the groove therefore passes underneath the stylus. When a cleaning fluid lift this very fine material into suspension it is paramount that all of that created slurry be removed else it will be deposited on the groove walls where it will degrade the sound.

Stylus Wear And What It Does To Records

A brand-new stylus will sit in the groove touching each wall at opposing microscopic points. The effective pressure at these two points is something like 8 tons per square inch (80MPa) so it is no wonder that the stylus wears.
This is also the reason why abrasive dust must be eliminated from the groove else flat spots develop at each contact point. Should this wear be allowed to continue the leading edges of the flats will damage the groove walls.
The stylus tip is made of diamond and is polished to an extreme degree of smoothness to eliminate friction. Even though diamond is the hardest material on the planet, it still experiences wear, making its dust highly abrasive.

A brand-new stylus will sit in the groove touching each wall at opposing microscopic points. The effective pressure at these two points is something like 8 tons per square inch (80MPa) so it is no wonder that the stylus wears.
This is also the reason why abrasive dust must be eliminated from the groove else flat spots develop at each contact point. Should this wear be allowed to continue the leading edges of the flats will damage the groove walls.
The stylus tip is made of diamond and is polished to an extreme degree of smoothness to eliminate friction. Even though diamond is the hardest material on the planet, it still experiences wear, making its dust highly abrasive.

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