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After cleaning some records there are still white particles on it! (long answer) G.P.

Hello friends of good LP-Sound,

I enjoy for many years your stylus-program.  It is wonderful you were believing in the LP-future, today more than ever, when the disappointment of CD-sound is great. Let me state two problems I`m not sure to solve:

1. In cleaning a LP with LAST some times it happens, that the LP isn`t really clean. Even when I’m repeating the cleaning, after a playing-time the LP shows tiny white particles. The next time after  listening this LP I`m not really content, concerning the sound. So I used to start LAST-cleaning again and again. And again and again I see tiny white particles on the black LP-surface. Maybe we need more LAST-Cleaning-quantity. Should I buy a better brush that is able to take more LAST-liquidity?

2. Stylus-Cleaning. Is it necessary waiting for the “Stylus 4” beeing dried up, before I use Stylus formula 5, that should help the stylus to sink deeper in the grooves.

I`d be glad you will give me some hints.

Kind regards, G.P.

Thank you for your support, and your thoughtful and detailed questions. 

To answer your query completely, I want to provide some back-ground information.  When a vinyl record is created there are various “additives” or adjunct liquids which are added to the “charge” of vinyl pellets (that will be melted and subsequently flow into the molding cavity as the press is being closed).  The vinyl pellets are introduced via a chute into a heated auger chamber wherein the vinyl is melted and formed into a biscuit sized puck that will be placed into the center of the record press.  At the same time that the pellets are fed into the auger at least two other liquid compounds are added to the pellets.  The first is an internal “lubricant”, added so the the vinyl will flow smoothly and continuously from the center of the press toward the outside edge of the press.  At the same time another compound is added so that the finished work piece (the record) will separate cleanly from the faces of the stamper molds.  Depending upon the vinyl, these compounds may be mixed ahead of time and are part of the “charge”.  Other times the press operator is adding smaller amounts depending on operating dynamics.  So both an “internal lubricant” and a “mold release agent” are added to the vinyl (usually) during the pressing run.  The operator is usually in charge of several presses during a run and will be moving constantly from press to press adding more or less of the additives depending on press operations and vinyl quality.  Years ago, I visited a pressing plant (no longer is business) where the operator sprayed a proprietary  mold release coating on the faces of the press just before the press closed.  If the operator wasn’t not sufficiently fleet of foot, a press would close and clamp shut before he could spray, with (sometimes) disastrous results.

The clamping pressure holding the press closed during the process is very high (40,000 to 70,000 pounds per square inch).  At the completion of the operation, the press is cooled, then opened and the operator removes the record which is then placed on a spindle while further cooling.  Later on, the spindle with many records on will be taken into the packaging room where each record is removed and visually examined for defects.  If no defects are found, the record is slipped into an inner sleeve and then placed into its final outer jacket (or box if a box set).  At NO time in the inspection/packaging operation is the record cleaned or any pressing residues removed from the surface.  Another factor is the following – because the pressure is so high inside the press, the press faces are cooled by forcing cold water through the passages that held very  hot steam under high pressure during the pressing operation.  This is to cool the work piece (record) so that it is not in a still molten state when the press opens.  However, this means some of the mold release agent and internal lubricants are locked into the vinyl under high pressure.  Over a period of time, these residues will diffuse from the inside of the record out to the surface creating noise and a gray, powdery contamination that keeps repeating itself.

From your description, I think that you are experiencing some problems that are a result of the standard operating procedures in place at most of the world’s few remaining record pressing plants.  LAST All Purpose Record Cleaner is designed for general purpose record cleaning with the safe, effective removal of dust, air-borne debris, finger-prints, and contamination that might be picked up from the surface of the turntable or table mat.  However, it is not suited to the removal of pressing residues or tenacious oils, fats, or silicon fluids, such as come from the previously discussed release agents and lubricants.  If you have a friend that uses a Vacuum Record Cleaning Machine such as a Keith Monks (UK), Nitty Gritty or VPI (US), or a new machine made in Germany that uses Ultra Sonic cleaning technology, ask if you could clean a couple of your problem records on their machine.  If that is successfully accomplished, you will have a very good idea of the source of the  white powdery dust – because it will be either release agent or lubricant.

At The LAST Factory, we manufacture a specialized cleaner called Power Cleaner for Records.  It is specifically formulated to allow deep cleaning and removal of those offending contaminants from the surface of your records.  The product is imported into Germany by our Distributor, DOS (Distribution of Sound) in Euskirchen.  They will be able to direct you to a dealer in your immediate area.  I regret that repeat cleanings with our All-Purpose Record Cleaner will probably not be able to solve the fine white dust problem.  While safe and effective for normal cleaning activities, it does not have the solvent action to effectively remove these stubborn contaminants from the record surface.

2.  Waiting time for Stylus Cleaner to dry, before applying STYLAST Stylus Treatment.  There is no waiting time beyond the few seconds needed to replace the stylus cleaning brush into it’s bottle before using STYLAST.  The STYLAST treatment quickly and safely displaces any moisture that may remain on the stylus tip or cantilever (left over from the cleaning step).  STYLAST clings very tenaciously to the diamond and cantilever.  The heat created by the friction between the stylus tip and the vinyl groove is the mechanism for drawing the treatment to the stylus/vinyl contact points.  The treatment is vaporized thereby becoming a gas bearing, reducing the stylus/vinyl friction, and at the same time lowering the temperature at the two contact faces by 60 degrees C.

You may wish to adopt a procedure that I myself use at the end of every record listening session.  After turning the electronics off and putting things away, I carefully clean the stylus tip and cantilever with LAST Stylus Cleaner.  That way I am assured that I will be starting any subsequent session with an absolutely cleaning stylus and the only step needed (prior to play) is to touch the stylus tip with STYLAST and begin listening.

I regret being so “wordy”.  You requested help with a problem while giving a careful and well stated description of the problem.  I wanted to provide the best answer that I could.  I hope all of this is helpful!

With kind regards,Walter Davies