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Kann man Schallplatten "schmieren" ? - aus der US-AUDIO Heft 1/1959

Mit etwas Glück haben wir die amerikanischen AUDIO Magazine von 1959 und bis etwa 1972 in Karlsruhe abholen dürfen.

Und dort fand ich einen bemerkenswerten Artikel über ganz frühe Versuche, die Abnutzung von Vinyl-Platten sowie auch der Abtastsspitzen (Saphire und Diamanten) zu reduzieren. Im Englischen heißt das "lubrication". Der Autor hat mit seinen damaligen Mitteln ausprobiert, was denn eine Schmierung der Rille für Effekte bzw. Verbesserungen bringt. - Zuvor sollte man sich erinnern, die 33er Vinylplatte kam etwa 10 Jahre zuvor in 1949 in den Handel. - Der Artikel ist natürlich in Englisch und dazu noch eine reine Buchstabenwüste. Einige Schlüsselworte und Absätze habe ich schon ergänzt.

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Record Lubrication has Considerable Effect!

JOHN F. FOX (* 501 N. 12th St., New Hyde Parlv, N. Y.)
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  • (considerable = beträchtlich, ansehnlich, bedeutend)
  • Anmerkung : Wir sind in 1959 und der Unterschied zwischen Gramm und Pond und Newton war in USA "irgendwie" noch nicht durchgedrungen, also bitte etwas Nachsicht.

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Unbiased comments on the efficacy of record cleaners, detergents, lubricators, are rarely seen. Herewith the information gleaned by one music-loving record collector who has spent a lot of time and energy in arriving at his own conclusions.

Amorass of unclear thinking often seems to engulf both advertisers of record potions and their quarries. A spray may be offered to "eliminate static," meaning that it will reduce the dust-attracting static electrical charge on the record.

It may be bought with the idea that it will eleminate all the myriad little ticks that are actually caused by microscopic surface irregularities, because the buyer thinks of almost any extraneous noise as "static."

Similarly, any preparation for use on records is apt to be called a "static eliminator," whatever it actually does, or a spray may be offered to "clean" records. Marvelous! By the same logic, spraying dishes with a violent smelling liquid and rubbing them briskly with a piece of dry flannel would clean them.

Deutsch - hier halbautomatisch übersetzt

Unvoreingenommene Kommentare zur Wirksamkeit von Schallplattenreinigern, Reinigungsmitteln und Schmiermitteln werden selten gesehen. Hiermit die Informationen, die von einem musikbegeisterten Rekordkollektor gesammelt wurden, der viel Zeit und Energie darauf verwendet hat, zu seinen eigenen Schlussfolgerungen zu gelangen.

Ein Spray kann angeboten werden, um "statische Aufladung zu beseitigen", was bedeutet, dass es die staubanziehende statische elektrische Ladung auf der Platte reduziert.

Es kann mit der Absicht gekauft werden, dass es all die unzähligen kleinen Partikel entfernt, die tatsächlich durch mikroskopische Oberflächenunregelmäßigkeiten verursacht werden, da der Käufer fast alle Nebengeräusche als "statisch" empfindet.

In ähnlicher Weise wird jede Vorbereitung für die Verwendung auf Schallplatten als "statischer Eliminator" bezeichnet, was auch immer sie tut, oder es kann ein Spray zum "Reinigen" der Schallplatten angeboten werden. Wunderbar! Nach derselben Logik würde das Reinigen des Geschirrs mit einer stark riechenden Flüssigkeit und das Trockenreiben mit einem trockenen Flanellstück funktionieren.
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some distinctions (= unterscheiden wir folgendes:)

Let us make some distinctions. There are several things that can be done to an LP record. It may be cleaned. This requires that foreign matter be dislodged from the grooves and floated away in a fairly profuse amount of suitable liquid.

Right now the most highly specialized and probably the most effective way of performing this particular action is to submerge (untertauchen) the whole record in K-33 solution (huch, K-33 ? was ist das ??) and massage (bürsten) the grooves with a suitable fine brush, thus positively washing away all foreign matter and leaving no residue behind.

Washing is a fundamentally important part of record care, since whatever else is put on the record, particles already there may be ground into the soft plastic groove side-walls by the stylus. But this is not necessarily a "static eliminator."

A "destaticiser", as such, whether a spray, a liquid, a cloth, or ionized air, stops additional dust from being attracted to the record by the static charge ordinarily present on it - period.

As with the washing, this will help to keep the noise level from becoming worse, but the little ticks that are always there (at the present state of the art of record pressing) will remain.

hier halbautomatisch übersetzt

Lassen Sie uns einige Unterscheidungen treffen. Es gibt mehrere Dinge, die mit einer LP machen kann. Die Platte kann gereinigt werden. Dies erfordert, dass Fremdstoffe aus den Rillen herausgelöst werden und in einer ziemlich großen Menge geeigneter Flüssigkeit wegschwimmen.

Im Moment ist der hochspezialisierte und wahrscheinlich effektivste Weg, um diese bestimmte Aktion auszuführen, das Eintauchen der gesamten Platte in K-33-Lösung und das Bürsten der Rillen mit einer geeigneten feinen Bürste, so dass alle Fremdstoffe positiv aus- und abgewaschen werden und keine Rückstände zurückbleiben.

Waschen ist ein grundlegender Bestandteil der Plattenpflege, da, was sonst noch auf der Platte wäre, Partikel, die bereits dort vorhanden sind, mit dem Abtast-Stift in die Seitenwände der Weichkunststoffnut geprest werden können. Dies ist jedoch nicht notwendigerweise ein "statischer Eliminator".

Ein "statischer Eliminator" als solcher, gleichgültig, ob ein Spray, eine Flüssigkeit, ein Tuch oder ionisierte Luft, verhindert, dass zusätzlicher Staub durch die normalerweise auf der Platte vorhandene statische Ladung angezogen wird.

Wie beim Waschen wird dies dazu beitragen, dass der Geräuschpegel nicht schlechter wird, aber die kleinen Ticks, die immer vorhanden sind (beim gegenwärtigen Stand der Technik des Plattenpressens), bleiben erhalten.
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A distinct (dem Sinn nach) "alternative" function is "lubrication"

Still another distinct function is lubrication, which is the primary topic of this article. At this point some readers may be thinking, "Huh? Lubricate a record ?"

Not long ago a record dealer, apparently feeling himself very solidly established upon the summit of Mt. Sinai, laid down the law for me.

"Records cannot be lubricated!" he thundered, and the awesome utterance (erschreckende Ausspruch) resounded over the wind-swept plains. "Because if you did succeed in lubricating them, you obviously wouldn't get any music."

This is what might be called the violin-string conception of the phonograph. People who think about reproduction from discs in these terms have a long way to go!

The idea that records cannot be lubricated, though on a completely different basis, can be found in high places. No less an authority than Oliver Read claims that, desirable as lubrication would be, the extremely high unit pressure that exists between the stylus and groove renders it impossible.(*1)
(*1) The Recording and 'Reproduction of Sound/' p. 170.

hier halbautomatisch übersetzt

Eine weitere Möglichkeit ist die "Schmierung", die das Hauptthema dieses Artikels ist. An diesem Punkt denken einige Leser möglicherweise: "Huh? Schmieren Sie eine Platte?"

Vor nicht allzu langer Zeit fühlte sich ein Plattenhändler auf dem Gipfel des Mt. Sinai, als er mir das (sein) "Gesetz" verkündete :

"Rekords können nicht geschmiert werden!" donnerte er, und die schreckliche Äußerung hallte über die windgepeitschten Ebenen. "Denn wenn man sie geschmiert hat, bekommt man offensichtlich keine Musik herunter."

Dies könnte man als Violin-String-Konzeption des Phonographen bezeichnen. Menschen, die mit diesen Begriffen über die Wiedergabe von Discs nachdenken, haben noch einen langen Weg vor sich!

Die Idee, dass Platten nicht geschmiert werden können, wenn auch auf einer völlig anderen Grundlage, ist an "hohen Stellen" zu finden. Nicht weniger eine Autorität als Oliver Read behauptet, dass der extrem hohe Pressdruck, der zwischen dem Abtast-Stift und der Rille (groove) besteht, der die Schmierung eigentlich wünschenswert macht, dies unmöglich macht.
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water, oils, grease, graphite ??

This view, in contrast to the more primitive violin-string myth, is very plausible and fairly logical, but requires additional empirical knowledge to establish its truth or falsity. Various substances - water, oils, grease, graphite - will lubricate up to various pressures; the question is, will any known substance lubricate at the pressures existing between record stylus and disc ?
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hier halbautomatisch übersetzt :
Diese Ansicht ist im Gegensatz zum primitiveren Geigenstring-Mythos sehr plausibel und ziemlich logisch, erfordert jedoch zusätzliches empirisches Wissen, um ihre Wahrheit oder Falschheit festzustellen. Verschiedene Substanzen - Wasser, Öle, Fette, Graphit - schmieren sich mit verschiedenen Drücken. Die Frage ist, wird oder kann irgendein bekannter Stoff bei den hohen Press-Drücken zwischen dem Abtaststift und Rille überhaupt schmieren?
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Typical Example

Some time ago, High Fidelity Magazine, in its "Tested in the Home" report on a certain record potion, concluded without much ado that the residue left by said potion was such a substance. For convenience let us call this preparation "Splash", unless the editor thinks up a better name for it. (He couldn't.)

Assuredly the most esthetically-packaged of all elixirs I have seen, the fluid is applied with a cellulose sponge and appears in every way frighteningly like soapy water. This is only a verbally economical description, of course. I have no evidence that "Splash" is anything of the sort, nor any idea what it really is.

The report went on to say, however, with a cautiousness that turns out to have been more than justified, "How much stylus and record wear is reduced because of the lubrication may be debatable . . ."

Apparently little attempt was made to debate it, even with the resources readily available in the Home. Some simple empirical observations which I have made in my home, at moderate trouble and expense, will be described, with some of their implications.

hier halbautomatisch übersetzt

Vor einiger Zeit kam das High Fidelity Magazine in seinem Bericht "Tested in the Home" über einen bestimmten Rekord-Trank (oder "Saft" oder "Mix") zu dem Schluss, dass der von diesem Trank hinterlassene Rückstand eine solche Substanz war. Bequemlichkeit nennen wir diese Zubereitung "Splash", es sei denn, der Herausgeber denkt sich einen besseren Namen dafür aus. (Er konnte nicht.)

Es war sicherlich das ästhetisch "verpackteste" Elixier, das ich je gesehen habe. Es wird als Flüssigkeit mit einem Zelluloseschwamm aufgetragen und erscheint in jeder Hinsicht beängstigend wie Seifenwasser. Dies ist natürlich nur eine verbal ökonomische Beschreibung. Ich habe keine Beweise, dass "Splash" etwas Ähnliches ist und auch keine Ahnung hat, was es wirklich ist.

Der Bericht fuhr jedoch fort, jedoch mit einer Vorsicht, die sich als mehr als berechtigt herausgestellt hat: "Wie viel Stift und Rekordverschleiß aufgrund der Schmierung reduziert werden kann, ist umstritten."

Anscheinend wurde wenig versucht, darüber zu debattieren, selbst mit den im Haus verfügbaren Ressourcen. Einige einfache empirische Beobachtungen, die ich zu Hause mit moderaten Schwierigkeiten und Kosten gemacht habe, werden mit einigen Implikationen beschrieben.
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"Research and Development of Splash" (Sprühen)

Inspired by the little booklet on the "Research and Development of Splash", but tantalized by the fact that the experiments (as to record and stylus wear = Abnutzung) therein described proved nothing except that a record with "Splash" on it is at least not so bad as a record with dust and grit on it, I undertook to satisfy my own curiosity as to . . . . .
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  • (a) whether Splash really does lubricate, which is not a foregone conclusion merely because it leaves some sort of deposit;
  • (b) whether a certain other little-known but readily available silicone formulation, specifically developed to lubricate plastics in general and LP records in particular, actually did lubricate; and
  • (c) approximately how much record and stylus wear is reduced by lubrication, other things being less extremely unequal!

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hier halbautomatisch übersetzt

Inspiriert durch das kleine Heft zum Thema "Forschung und Entwicklung von Splash", aber verwirrt von der Tatsache, dass die darin beschriebenen Experimente (Aufnahme und Abnutzung des Abtatststiftes) nichts bewiesen haben, außer dass eine Schallplatte mit "Splash" zumindest nicht so schlimm klingt wie eine Schallplatte mit Staub und Sand darauf, habe ich mich bemüht, meine eigene Neugier zu befriedigen. . . . .
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    * (a) ob Splash wirklich schmiert, was keine Selbstverständlichkeit ist, nur weil es Ablagerungen hinterlässt;
    * (b) ob eine bestimmte andere, wenig bekannte, aber leicht erhältliche Silikonformulierung (Zusammensetzung / Mischung), die speziell für die Schmierung von Kunststoffen im Allgemeinen und insbesondere von LP-Schallplatten entwickelt wurde, tatsächlich schmierte; und
    * (c) ungefähr, wie viel Verschleiß und Nadelverschleiß durch Schmierung verringert wird, andere Dinge sind weniger extrem ungleich!
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my methods

First I will outline my methods, such as they are. It is to be emphasized that this experimentation should be repeated with more rigor, somewhat after the manner of Harold D. Weiler, and the results reported here are highly tentative, but I feel that even these methods are sufficiently low in atrocity, and the results sufficiently dramatic, to warrant reporting them at this time.

It is obviously impractical to make tests like these under typical conditions, that is, under what should be typical conditions for anyone who cares. A diamond stylus in a cartridge of high compliance and low dynamic mass, in a good quality transcription arm, playing clean records, takes too long to get an amount of wear on it that can be accurately appraised even with a good microscope, calibrated slide, and so on.

Fortunately, for the purposes at hand, it is not necessary for conditions to be typical. Although the added refinement of exact, absolute figures pertaining to current best conditions would be very interesting and valuable, the questions posed above can be answered quite well on a relative basis.

It can be assumed with a high, even if not ultimate, degree of validity that what reduces wear in a sapphire at 15 grams will help your diamond at 4 grams, and that if lubrication cuts the wear of an osmium tip by a large factor at 20 grams, it won't do your diamond, at 1 gram, any harm.

There seems little reason for assuming (as one well-known person seemed to in a personal letter to the writer) that friction and heat suddenly cease to exist at any pressure.

hier halbautomatisch übersetzt

Zuerst werde ich meine Methoden beschreiben, so wie sie sind. Es ist zu betonen, dass dieses Experiment etwas strenger wiederholt werden sollte, etwas nach der Art von Harold D. Weiler, und die hier berichteten Ergebnisse sind äußerst vorläufig, aber ich glaube, dass selbst diese Methoden in der Gräueltat und den Ergebnissen ausreichend niedrig sind ausreichend dramatisch, um die Meldung zu diesem Zeitpunkt zu rechtfertigen.

Es ist offensichtlich unpraktisch, solche Tests unter typischen Bedingungen durchzuführen, d.h. unter den typischen Bedingungen für jeden, der sich dafür interessiert. Ein Diamantstift in einer Patrone mit hoher Nachgiebigkeit und niedriger dynamischer Masse, in einem Transkriptionsarm von guter Qualität, der saubere Schallplatten spielt, benötigt zu lange Zeit, um eine Abnutzung zu erreichen, die selbst mit einem guten Mikroskop, einem kalibrierten Objektträger und so weiter.

Glücklicherweise ist es für die vorliegenden Zwecke nicht erforderlich, dass die Bedingungen typisch sind. Zwar wäre die zusätzliche Verfeinerung genauer, absoluter Zahlen, die sich auf die derzeit besten Bedingungen beziehen, sehr interessant und wertvoll, aber die oben gestellten Fragen können relativ gut beantwortet werden.

Man kann mit einer hohen, wenn auch nicht endgültigen Plausibilität davon ausgehen, dass das, das den Verschleiß eines Saphirs bei 15 Gramm verringert, Ihrem Diamanten bei 4 Gramm hilft und dass, wenn die Schmierung den Verschleiß einer 20 Gramm Osmiumspitze um einen großen Faktor verringert, Ihrem Diamanten nicht schaden wird, bei 1 Gramm also keinen Schaden anrichtet.

Es scheint wenig Anlass zu der Annahme zu geben (wie eine bekannte Person in einem persönlichen Brief an den Autor schrieb), dass Reibung und Hitze bei jedem Druck plötzlich aufhören zu existieren.
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tons of unit pressure at the point of contact

If a 6-gram stylus force produces tons of unit pressure at the point of contact, and thousands of degrees temperature, it is hardly likely that any tracking force, present or future, will be so low as to eliminate the high desirability of lubrication.

Nor are smooth groove and stylus surfaces, important as they are, anything like an answer. Many bearings in machinery are amazingly smooth, and carry only a fraction of the unit pressure in question, but are religiously lubricated and would give lots of trouble if they weren't.

And you can strike a match on a pane of glass, I believe. What happens to the styli under the conditions of these tests, atrocious as they necessarily are, can quite confidently be assumed to apply, on a relative basis, even to very good conditions. (There is already some evidence that this is the case.)

hier halbautomatisch übersetzt

Wenn eine Nadel von 6 Gramm an der Berührungsstelle Tonnen von Einheitsdruck und Tausende von Grad Temperatur erzeugt, ist es unwahrscheinlich, dass eine gegenwärtige oder zukünftige Spurführungskraft so gering ist, dass die hohe Schmierfähigkeit wünschenswert wird.

Glatte Groove- und Stylus-Oberflächen sind ebenso wichtig wie eine Antwort. Viele Lager in Maschinen sind erstaunlich glatt und tragen nur einen Bruchteil des fraglichen Einheitsdrucks, sind aber religiös geschmiert und würden anderenfalls Ärger bereiten.

"Und Sie können auf einer Glasscheibe ein Streichholz finden, glaube ich." - Was mit den Abtastern unter den Bedingungen dieser Tests geschieht, so grausam sie auch sein mögen, kann man durchaus davon ausgehen, dass sie auch relativ gut auf sehr gute Bedingungen zutreffen. (Es gibt bereits einige Hinweise, dass dies der Fall ist.)
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Test Procedure

The tests were carried out on a cheap manual player of bygone years, having a three-speed phono motor of the squirrel-cage variety, an extremely inexpensive arm, and a crystal cartridge with not unusably low compliance and a stylus assembly mechanically similar to that of the G.E.

I carefully worked over and adjusted the turntable and arm, eliminating the most stentorian vibrations from the former, and rattles and rakish angles from the latter, and leveling the turntable from all sides, with a spirit level. I procured several simple, microgroove-only osmium styli, both for the sake of cost and to ensure getting done some day, which I revised and edited with a pair of pliers so that the stylus tip itself was perpendicular to the record surface, seen from any direction.

I also straightened and simplified the stylus so as to minimize frontal oscillations and spurious resonances as much as possible. The turntable and the whole inside of the player, which has a lid, were vacuumed out and wiped down with alcohol to remove all dust and lint.

The matter of a lid is very important, because otherwise dust will settle even on a de-staticised record while it is playing, introducing a highly potent and possibly erratic source of variability in the results.

hier halbautomatisch übersetzt

Die Tests wurden mit einem billigen manuellen Abspielgerät vergangener Jahre durchgeführt (Anmerkung : Der Artikelist aus 1959), mit einem Drei-Gang-Phono-Motor der Eichhörnchen-Sorte, einem äußerst kostengünstigen Arm und einer Kristallpatrone mit einer nicht ungewöhnlich niedrigen Nachgiebigkeit und einer mechanisch ähnlichen Stiftanordnung der GE (General Electric).

Ich bearbeitete den Teller und den Arm sorgfältig, um die stentorianischen Schwingungen des ersteren zu eliminieren, sowie Rattern und krasse Winkel von den letzteren und ich nivellierte die Dreheinheit von allen Seiten mit einer Wasserwaage. Ich beschaffte mehrere einfache, nur mit "Mikrogräben ??" versehene Osmiumstifte (also Abtastnadeln), sowohl um der Kosten willen als auch um sicherzustellen, dass sie eines Tages fertiggestellt wurden. Diese wurden von mir mit einer "Zange überarbeitet ????" und bearbeitet, so dass die Stiftspitze selbst senkrecht zur Plattenoberfläche standen.

Ich habe den Stift auch gerade gerichtet und vereinfacht, um frontale Schwingungen und Störresonanzen so gering wie möglich zu halten. Der Plattenteller und das gesamte Innere des Players, der einen Deckel hat, wurden abgesaugt und mit Alkohol abgewischt, um sämtlichen Staub und Fusseln zu entfernen.

Die Angelegenheit eines Deckels ist sehr wichtig, da sich sonst Staub während des Abspielens selbst auf einer entladenen Platte ansiedelt, was zu einer höchst potentiellen und möglicherweise unberechenbaren Quelle der "Variabilität der Ergebnisse" führt.
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The only microscope

The only microscope at hand was a toy microscope, but nevertheless one of the nobler of its type. Although its optical quality and mechanical aspects were pretty dismal, the most powerful of its three objective lenses probably provided magnification of something like 200 or 300 times, making the micro-groove stylus tip appear just about like the photomicrographs in Harold D. Weiler's valuable little book, in size if not in quality.

A goose neck lamp, beamed down at the side of the stylus tip being observed, provided good illumination of the flats as they developed on the tips of the styli.

Since these tests aimed to determine possible effects of lubrication, not confounded with the effects of dust and grit any more than could be helped, all records were frequently and assiduously washed in K-33 solution, "scrubbing" the grooves themselves with a soft paint brush while the record was totally immersed.

hier halbautomatisch übersetzt

Das einzige Mikroskop, das zur Hand war, war ein Spielzeugmikroskop, aber dennoch eines der edleren seiner Art. Obwohl die optische Qualität und die mechanischen Aspekte ziemlich düster waren, stellte das stärkste seiner drei Objektivlinsen wahrscheinlich eine Vergrösserung von etwa 200 oder 300 dar, so dass die Spitze des Mikrorillenstifts so aussah wie die Mikrofotografien in Harold D. Weilers wertvollem Kleinem Buch, in der Größe, wenn nicht in der Qualität.

Eine Schwanenhalslampe, die an der zu beobachtenden Seite der Stiftspitze abgestrahlt wurde, ermöglichte eine gute Ausleuchtung der Abflachungen, wenn sie sich an den Stiftspitzen entwickelten.

Da diese Tests darauf abzielten, mögliche Auswirkungen der Schmierung zu ermitteln, die nicht mehr mit Staub- und Sandeinwirkung verwechselt werden konnten, wurden alle Platten häufig und sorgfältig in K-33-Lösung gewaschen, wobei die Rillen selbst mit einem weichen Pinsel gebürstet wurde, während die Platte völlig untergetaucht war.
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The first series of tests

The first series of tests were done at 7 grams and 33% rpm on records which, although admittedly not new, had seen little of any pickup other than the one-gram Weathers, and were in good shape.

Moreover, the makers of K-33 (das müsste eine Reinigungsflüssigkeit für Vinyl-Platten sein) do have the audacity to state that their product is unconditionally guaranteed even to remove all particles worn from the stylus! I am not certain whether they have thought carefully about instances of particles having been pushed into the plastic by the stylus and held there by mechanical forces (elasticity of the plastic), but it can be assumed that, while perhaps not ideal, the records used were quite satisfactory, since they were both bought at the same time at the same store, and both played about the same amount under the same conditions.

Both records were good standard hi-fi favorites which reigned supreme for a long time, not some odd cut-rate discs with 20 per cent asphalt filler.

First one side was played until a clearly observable flat on the end of the stylus was seen. This took 24 plays. The record was initially cleaned in K-33 solution and was clean, as observed under a very powerful magnifying glass. All during the 24 plays the record was kept as clean as possible with a dampened paint brush.

Next another side, newly washed in K-33 was sprayed with one of the best known and widely used of static-reducing sprays, hereafter to be referred to as "Blast", rubbed briskly with a soft cloth as the instructions instruct, and similarly kept as clean as possible with a paint brush (dry, this time, lest any unknown chemical reactions occur between moisture and the static reducer).

After a few plays the record did become very dust free and was easier to keep clean than the untreated record had been. Moreover, after 24 plays this stylus merely showed a large flat on one side and not quite as large a one on the other, but no flattening of the bottom.

Thus it could be tentatively concluded that this anti-static preparation reduced the amount of foreign matter more than was possible even with the greatest of precautions otherwise, and thus reduced stylus wear, too.

24 Abspielungen pro Plattenseite

This series of tests was concluded with 24 plays on one of the above sides, which had been assiduously washed in K-33, and treated with a little known but unique formulation consisting of a silicone of a certain viscosity dissolved in a highly inert and absolutely non-residual carrier, developed by a plastics-engineer-hi-fi fan specifically for lubricating LP records.

Actually because of my being busy with something else at the time, the figure "24" plays is a minimum one, since I think I forgot to mark down a few plays, and also accidentally let the stylus run on the eccentric groove excessively before remembering to jump up and attend to it.

There was of course no automatic gadgetry on this little player. But notwithstanding, this stylus showed only small, symmetrical, equal sized flats on each side, such as had appeared after about six plays on the clean, de-staticised record.

Accelerated Testing (verstärktes Testen)

After this I began to crack under the tedium of playing 72 sides manually, and resolved that any future tests would be done by some more efficient method. I washed a new side in K-33, destaticised it with "Blast", and played it nine times at 20 grams and 78 rpm. (Sadist!)

This really clobbered the stylus! Under the microscope it could have passed for a droodle of a horse's hoof.

Then, after washing again in K-33 I played the same side 9 times again with a new stylus, this time slathering on Splash before each play as the instructions recommend.

Does lubrication make any appreciable difference in stylus life? I was aghast as I looked at the stylus under the microscope. Whereas the stylus playing the clean, destaticised record had been nicely decapitated, I wasn't sure I could even see any flats on the Splash stylus!
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Neues verbessertes Sprühmaterial (new version of Splash)

Not long after this I received a sample of a modified version of "Splash", having written the manufacturer that Splash, although it did produce dramatic results in reduction of stylus wear, was almost unusable with low-pressure pickups since no matter how the record was cleaned and no matter how many times it was played, the pasty residue left by Splash would never fail to lift the stylus right out of the groove about a third of the way through the record, and also seemed to cause a subtle loss of low-amplitude high-frequency components of background instruments.

This modified Splash was designated "Formula 141" and was a little more watery, sweeter smelling, and whitish in color, instead of amberish as is the case with the regular formula.

I bought a new record (Lure of the Tropics), washed it in K-33, massaged several layers of Splash 141 into the grooves, and played it nine times at 20 grams and 78 rpm, re-applying the Splash 141 before each play, of course. Sad to say, the reduction in the body of Splash 141 as compared to the standard solution reduced its ability to lubricate in like measure, for this stylus, although not worn so much as the stylus used on the record side that had merely been destaticized, had nevertheless begun to flatten on the end slightly.

my ESL C-1 and my Pickering arm

In listening and general use tests with my ESL C-l (Ortofon oder Electro Sonic Laboratories ??) in Pickering arm, buildup on the stylus was much less troublesome, and if care was taken to put on a thin layer, could be largely eliminated.

The question of low-amplitude high-frequency components I was unable to decide. I spent quite a while playing side 1 of Lure, with and without Splash 141. There could be no question about 99 per cent of the orchestral effects.

Any good, straightforward razzle dazzle effect cut througli with its full measure of razzle dazzle, no doubt about that. As for the harmonics of background instruments, the more I tried to decide whether there was any effect on them, the more I became convinced that I could not decide, paradoxical as this may seem! On this matter, your own ears will have to be the judge.
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Waschen, statisch Entladen und dann Einsprühen

Finally, I washed Lure again in K-33, de-statieised it with Blast, and sprayed it with the silicone plastic lubricant, thus using three specialized preparations for three distinct functions. Nine plays at 20 grams and 78 rpm produced only what looked like polished spots on the sides of the stylus, or very small, equal flats.

I have since tried out one of the radioactive clip-on devices as a substitute for spraying with Blast and it has produced very gratifying results as a reducer of the static electrical charge.

I have not had a chance to test actual 1 stylus wear under these conditions, and will not have such a chance for some time.

Etwas mehr über das "silicone spray"

This silicone spray is in many ways a remarkable substance. Since most readers will never have seen it, it might be relevant to describe it; also, I have more information on what it actually is than I do on other products.

It comes in a large (12 oz.) white aerosol spray can with a somewhat special nozzle that produces a very fine, cloudy mist. The mist itself, in striking contrast to some sprays, is just about odorless.

It lands on the record in tiny droplets, of about the viscosity of a light oil, but unlike oil, which refuses to wet the mirror-like surface of the record, these droplets gradually spread out and cover the surface with a transparent and slippery wetness which, far from drying or gumming or even collecting on the stylus, stays wet and unchanged and the stylus just skids in it.

You can (but shouldn't, for other reasons) apply it in a depth which, with anything the least bit gummy or waxlike, would stop the sound cold in one revolution, and the stylus will stay in solid contact with the groove walls right through to the end. And the sound ?

Hörbaren Veränderungen ? Highs? Presence?

To suggest such a thing is, of course, contrary to all the hallowed dogmas that surround (umrunden) record care, but with silicone spray, when you think you detect a slight difference in the sound, it is in the direction of being-cleaner, wider range, more transparent, and less harsh!

In two years of using this on all my records, I have yet to have the remotest suspicion of even the most minute loss of anything - except maybe distortion. Not that it eliminates huge amounts of distortion.

This is a tool for perfectionists. But right from the first time I used it, I was assailed with the feeling that the sound was a little bit sweeter and more "transparent," and on one or two of my records I was even surer.

Logically, this is not hopelessly mystic. With high friction between stylus and groove wall, the jewel will be pulled every half cycle, and spurious energy will be imparted to the stylus assembly which may not be quite taken care of by even a new set of damping blocks.

Similarly, minute noise-producing surface irregularities will be more likely to just push the jewel vertically up or down, without at the same time "twanging" the stylus assembly, as it were. I do remember one instance in particular where the noise level of the dry, de-staticised record was quite high, and was markedly reduced by lubrication.

Cautions (aufpassen)

Every silver lining has a cloud. (Well, almost. = Zu jedem Vorteil gehört allermeist auch ein Nachteil)

In the case of record lubrication, although the effects so far as the diamond and the vinylite are concerned appear to be unequivocally beneficial, the very property of lubrication gives rise to potential pitfalls in other departments.

For one thing, if any significant quantity of the silicone were to get on the idler of a turntable, WOW!

This is fairly obvious, and can be circumvented by spraying the records a good distance away from the turntable. Not so obvious is an instance such as recently came to light in the writer's system.

Inside the ESL cartridge

In the ESL cartridge, both the damping and the compliance depend upon the friction between two tiny latex rubber sleevings and the vertical shaft on which the coil is mounted. Yielding to a temptation which I think might affect other users of the silicone spray, namely, to apply it very liberally, I unwittingly subjected this bearing to about nine months of infiltration by the silicone with perhaps some of the carrier materials.

It eventually came to light that the lower bearing was not functioning, the shaft turning freely in the latex and leaving only the sleeving at the top of the shaft to provide restoring force and damping.

Fortunately, the ESL factory tells me that they can dissamble the cartridge and replace the latex, but my experience serves as a helpful reminder: with the silicone spray, do as the literature on it says, and apply it very sparingly, so that there is only a dew of globules cast over the record surface.

The stylus will then spread it in the grooves; the silicone is so efficient that very little is needed to lubricate. The above should make it clear that, in advocating the lubrication of records, I am not professing to know all of the ultimate consequences of using any particular product.

Wenn das cartridge "verklebt" ("gum up")

For my part, I intend, after getting my cartridge fixed, to go right on using the silicone spray, from now on being careful to use only a thin film of it. I want to re-emphasize that the silicone spray, no matter how heavily it is applied, does not "gum up" a cartridge or anything else.

It stays liquid and slippery until after some time it disappears, leaving no visible trace, although the inventor assures me that the invisible film of silicone is still there, and functioning. It never hardens or accumulates. It just lubricates anything it comes into contact with, that's all!

It seems to me not too likely that any other cartridge than the ESL would be affected. Previous experience with a Viscaloid damped cartridge appears fairly conclusive on the point that Viscaloid is little, if at all, affected by the spray, even in excessive quantities.

Manche "cartridges" sind "immun" gegen Silicon-Spray

Thus the G.E., Audax, and most cantilever type variable reluctance cartridges should be immune to these lubrication side-effects. I believe that Pickering cartridges 140, 240 et all of that vintage already use silicone grease for damping, packed around the stylus and held in by a piece of neoprene, so it would seem unlikely that these cartridges would be affected in any way, although here again I cannot be dead sure, not being a chemist.

In a recent Fairchild design, the damping appears to be accomplished by a viscaloid block rather than the rubber membrane through which the stylus bar protrudes. These are only guesses based on moderate knowledge however, and those desiring to make doubly sure should write the manufacturers of the cartridge and record potion in question.

Eventually advertisements of potions may include statements to the effect of, "unconditionally guaranteed to be compatible, chemically and mechanically, with all known phono cartridges", but until then any such guarantees will have to be obtained on an individual basis.

Although the writer believes that in the vast majority of cases no difficulty of any kind will be encountered if the lubricating material is not applied in excessive amounts, the present article should not be taken as a guarantee of this.

Conclusions / Zusammenfassung

In view of the tangible results described in this article, as well as what seem to the writer to be fairly inescapable common sense considerations, it appears that the grounds for reasonable doubt as to the high value of record lubrication are not extensive.

The quality of sound that can be obtained from a disc reproducing system is vitally dependent on near perfect roundness or ellipticality of the tip of the jewel - flats cause that type of raspy distortion that has always seemed to me to be the worst sounding of all distortions, bar none!

At 6-8 grams on a dry record even a diamond, although it may "last" a longtime, gets substantial flats in a mere 150 hours or so, and with all the diamond dust from these flats ground into the groove wall where the shoulders of the stylus tip run, future diamonds are likely to be worn with ever increasing efficiency since the dust from a diamond, embedded in plastic, makes an abrasive surface that can scratch a diamond.

Schmieren ist von Vorteil

Lubrication of this surface will greatly reduce the rate at which particles are removed from the diamond, and probably reduce the likelihood of their becoming embedded in the plastic as they are removed.

With lubrication, they may be expected to slip to one side or the other of the point of contact of the passing stylus. Even if a particle should get caught under the stylus and pushed into the plastic the lubricant might, perhaps aided by capillary action, seep gradually in between the particle and the plastic.

The latter, thus lubricated, would be less able to hold the particle rigidly in place, and as a result of all the above effects the conditions for efficient wear of diamond styli would be
eliminated to a great degree.

If styli can be made to last longer, then the amount of money available to a given audiofan for the important purpose of stylus maintenance will provide a higher minimum standard of fidelity, in frequency response, low noise level, and freedom from distortion.

Aus der Sicht des "Vinyls"

From the standpoint of the disc, the logical consequences of lubrication are no less interesting.

Vinylite is thermoplastic, if the injunctions on some LP jackets to keep them away from sources of heat mean anything. On a dry record, the points of contact of the stylus are said to reach extremely high temperatures, as they might certainly be expected to. Thus the points of contact will tend to cut little tracks for themselves which would pass right through any steep-fronted modulation the amplitude of which was comparable to the dimensions of the tracks.

With lubrication, the temperature of these points of contact should be reduced, thus lessening this cut-through effect on low-amplitude high frequencies. Therefore, if the high-frequency response of a good record appears to be even slightly better with lubrication, there is some logical reason to expect this.

Vinyl - ein erstaunlich robustes Material

The LP record is really an amazingly tough article. How it manages to last any time at all on these sapphire meat-axes in leatherette-covered suitcases that most people use nowadays, passeth my understanding.

But it may be assumed that a good many of the readers of this magazine would like to have their records do better than just not fold up completely.

Lubrication provides a means of slowing down the deterioration of sound on discs to the practical vanishing point. In my experience since lubricating all my records, the amount of use that a record has had, seems hardly to be a factor any more. Original fidelity being equal, the record I got yesterday has no special advantages, in relation to sound, over the one I've been playing over the last six months. (Don't worry, record companies, I still go right on buying records, spurred on, if anything, by the feeling that they are so permanent.)

I can, in general, turn a person loose in my collection, to pick the music he likes, confident that any disc he picks (except a few inherently low-fi items bought for sentimental reasons) will be of demonstration quality, not marred by that harsh sound that makes people say polite things but think "I like my Magnamud-dyboom mahogany console better."

In its long-term effects in preserving the demonstrability of favorite demonstration records, in its drastic increase in stylus life, and sometimes even in a further heightening of the sonic purity of the latest white-hot sensation, lubrication is a potent tool for those who want their sound maximally clean.
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Ein Artikel aus der US Audio von 1959 !!
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