October 27, 2008

Audiophile Junkies

Getting back into vinyl has of course led me to various message boards of varying related topics. A common suggestion I've read from audiophiles is to 'wash' records- both new and old, previously played or not. Some suggest even playing a new record without a thorough washing does permanent damage to the grooves (why wouldn't there be a warning on the back if this were the case?). Washing old records removes any dust and particles lodged in the grooves causing clicks and pops we all know the format is famous for. Endless suggestions of cleaning solutions and techniques are plenty. Even expensive record washing machines.

Well I just can't bring myself to do it. I could see trying it on older records that are so riddled with crackling you can barely stand to listen to it- but not NEW or even gently used treasures. The LAST thing I ever want to do is get water on a record. Now people say it must be washed? Ok a few drops of record cleaner on old albums I understand- never tried it but I understand the attempt- but cleaning them with household cleaning agents and distilled water, or crazy expensive formulas and machines? I think some of these audiophile types just have more money and time than they know what to do with.

Sometimes I think their suggestions are just their attempt at sarcasm or they'd love to see some idiot ruin his original Led Zep pressings to make his own a few pennies more valuable. I can't help but roll my eyes when someone posts they've spent thousands on a turntable setup, more thousands on a stylus, and more thousands on a record cleaning machine that requires hundreds of dollars worth of solution a year. I thank God my ears are not that trained that I require dead quiet surface noise from a flawed medium as vinyl is.

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