[Dixielandjazz] Cleaning and transfering 78s

Anton Crouch a.crouch at unsw.edu.au
Sat Nov 1 20:57:38 PST 2003

Hello all

A word of caution about cleaning and transfering 78s. I admire Bud Taylor's
ingenuity in cleaning his 78s with WD40 and playing them at 45rpm, but I do
urge people to think about what they are doing before following suit.

WD40 is a moisture-displacing oil and it leaves a residue. It's a "last
resort" application for rust-frozen metal parts and wet electrical systems,
and should never be used on delicate equipment. Many a lock has been
clagged by the use of it. 

"Wet" playing of 78s (and LPs) often gives a smoother playback but usually
at the expense of wear. Silicate dust in a water or oil slurry is a very
effective abrasive. If you wet-play with any oil you will be not only be
abrading the grooves but also leaving a residue which will bond more dirt
and cause more damage with subsequent playing. If you want to keep your
records in good condition, make sure they are very clean before wet playing
them. I would never use an oil, either for wet playing or cleaning.

The playing and recording at 45rpm, and digitally re-sampling to 78rpm, has
some advantages - better tracking of the stylus for example. BUT, you have
to remember about the RIAA de-emphasis (playback) curve. Applying the
de-emphasis to the 45rpm recording means that, after re-sampling to 78rpm,
the final product will not be correctly equalised. This problem is more
theoretical than real, however, since most phono preamps do a poor job at
reproducing the RIAA curve and, in any case, most 78s were not recorded
using the RIAA pre-emphasis.

Let you ears be the judge.

All the best

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