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Excessive static with turntable

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hi, I'm fairly new to slightly-higher-end audio.

I have a Project Debut III turntable. I am experiencing static electricity issues beyond what I suspect are normal amounts. Every time I take a played record off the platter it is stuck to the felt mat. Peeling the mat from the record results in a lot of static crackles; clearly the record is alive with electricity. A brand-new record plays with plenty of pops and clicks. I've attached an audio file of a recording of a completely blank (grooveless), brand new record being played. It concerns me a little that what should essentially be silence is filling up the bars on a VU meter halfway!

Generally the turntable sounds fine, but often the needle will pick up a lot of dust (threads of it hanging gracefully off the needle) and treble/vocal-range sound is degraded in quality.

The table isn't grounded. It seems optional on this table and I have no issue with hum, and nothing to ground it with anyway (I use it only with headphones through the built-in phono).

Perhaps these are normal operating parameters for a turntable in an average humid home environment. I just don't know, so I'm asking people who do :-)

Recording of blank record: http://wayne-marsh.com/stuff/crackle.wav
post #2 of 11
Thread Starter 
I'll just add that I clean the records with an AudioQuest anti-static brush each play, and the needle with Ortofon's cleaning brush.
post #3 of 11
Do you have a humidifier by any chance ? A Milty Zero stat is great tool to have to zap the static buildup but that costs a fair penny. If you have a humidifier set it up in the room and get your humidity levels up to around 40%...that should help reduce some of the static build up. Another option is to replace the felt mat with good quality cork/rubber type (like a Ringmat or something similar to it).

Frankly I can't think of a quick and cheap fix right now (other than the humidifier if you already have one). Hopefully some other members with better ideas than I've come up will chime in.

post #4 of 11
+1 humidity and ZeroStat.

Living on the Gulf Coast has many advantages.
post #5 of 11
x2 on the humidifier. It does make a noticeable improvement during the winters here when the air is dry. I've seen videos on youtube of someone using a cheap "portable air purifier" that seems to remove static from records. I plan on looking into this more. Also, I use the Audioquest anti-static brush, and it does seem to actually do a fair job of removing a static charge.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks all. A humidifier isn't an option as I am a lodger at a house owned by relatives at the moment, and there is a problem with mold in this room as it is (slight growth in room corners and windowsills). I don't want to run a humidifier and make it any worse!

I've got a cork mat arriving soon, and I'll see if I can scrape together the pennies for a Zerostat, although that's probably money I should be using to move out of here!

Thanks all.
post #7 of 11

Hi There

Hey how's it going? Have you solved your problem? If not, how do you clean your records? I find that even new records come loaded down with static, but an effective way to solve this is to wash your records. Not with soap in a sink (although I think some people do that), but with something more effective designed for records. I found a really cost effective solution is a "spin clean" record cleaner system. You can find them on the web for about seventy dollars. Cheaper than a static gun. I think if you can afford one, it would be a good long term investment for you. It comes with solution and some towels and I really like mine. I have a more expensive KAB cleaning system but I find this one easier to use, faster, and the solution is good at eliminating static. Anyways, hope that helps.
post #8 of 11
The Debut's mat eventually wears and stops being so static-y. You'll be surprised.

I prefer a cork mat, but it messes up the VTA on the Xpression III. It can be adjusted, but I am lazy enough to just keep using the felt mat.
post #9 of 11
Pick up a manually operated Nitty Gritty or VPI record cleaner. If you are serious about vinyl, you need to invest in the most basic vacuum device, at the very least, along with a supply of cleaning/treatment solution. I also recommend something like the AQ anti-static brush, but it is not a substitute for real cleaning and treatment.
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hi all, thanks for the followups.

I've got a static gun and cork mat arriving soon, but I might just pack the turntable away until I move.

There's no good flat surface here that I can put the turntable on (it's currently on a hollow-body chest made level with damaged blank CDs I'm using as shims). I'd like to set it up properly somewhere away from the dust, static and wonky-ness of this room.

I've also noticed that the needle in the cartridge (Ortofon OM5E) seems to be bent. Looking at it vertically, it seems to be pointing left more than right, i.e. it's not parallel with the sides. Has anybody seen this before? Is it normal for a needle to be this way (after all, it is built to travel left and right easily to pick up the information from the grooves)?

As you can tell, I got this table second-hand! It was "barely used" though.

So yes, I'll probably put the table away until I get a new place, replace the cartridge with a budget-but-not-so-bad one (2M Red?) and calibrate the system carefully in a better environment. I don't want to destroy all of my records.
post #11 of 11
When I recovered my father's old turntable from his attic, along with most of his vinyl from the 60s/70s era classical collection, it needed major reworking.

It is a Mitusbishi PL-6, a very early quartz direct drive device. I figured this out when I tried to find a belt to change.

Something had landed on the tone arm and both bent it at the support and broke the plastic end. This required a bending correction, and glue correction of the plastic end (the end holds the headshell)

I did do a general cleaning, get a cartridge (only half of the original one was present), and get some felt mats to replace the warped rubber mat that was present.

Now all I need is to fashion some sort of dust cover to prevent the mat form becoming dusty, and to keep the cat off of it.

Sounds good. I plan to recondition the vinyl, and the new/used records I get with a record cleaning machine, and then decide if I am "in" to vinyl enough to get a better turntable.

I have about 150 in a cartridge so far, and another 50 in set up gear.
The VPI 16.5 with sundries cost more, but its resale is pretty good.

Fun little habit, and the music is truely better than my good computer source, although SACD is pretty much there. If SACD were the established media instead of CD, I don't think the vinyl resurgence would be nearly as appealing to me.
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