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post #1 of 62 Old 02-17-2020, 10:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Question regarding intermittent, loud pop when playing records

Finally got my vinyl set up again after a few years of being dormant, and I just have a question regarding the potential issue outline in the subject line. It's not a barely audible pop, either - it's loud enough to be startling. I don't recall this being a thing the last time I had my record player hooked up, but I also had it hooked up to a little Rolls VP29 pre-amp because my receiver at the time didn't have a proper phono connection. It's not happening at any specific intervals. The concern is more that this pop will cause irreparable damage to my speakers if I don't figure out how to stop it from happening.

I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on what it might be. Could it just be crud in the record? A grounding issue between the record player and the amp? The amp itself? The cartridge? Is it just a build up of static?

The only things I have done to troubleshoot is swap out the RCA cable with another, and I've also been cleaning each record as best as I can with some distilled water and a brush prior to playing the record, but I am unsure as to how well the cleaning has been done. A few things I am going to try when it's not as late as it is right now is try plugging the amp, and record player directly to the wall (they're both connected to a sort-of power bar right now), and if there isn't any issues with doing this, I will try routing my record player through the Rolls pre-amp I have, and connecting that to one of the other RCA audio in slots on the amp (or even the amp's phono slot if there is not foreseeable problem doing that, either).

I'm a novice when it comes to this stuff, so any advice is greatly appreciated, and I am willing to try anything in order to resolve this possible problem.

Equipment currently being used is a Stanton T.62 (with its stock cartridge) connected to a Cambridge Audio AXR100 amplifier.

As an added note, there's no popping whatsoever when streaming music from either my phone/computer or playing CDs. This only occurs while playing vinyl, and so I believe I can rule out the actual speaker connections?

Thanks in advance!

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post #2 of 62 Old 02-17-2020, 11:27 PM
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Pops and crackles are generally from dust, dirt and other crud on the record. A bad ground connection results in hum, not pops.

If you don't clean your records before you play them, you can expect pops and crackles. It can hard to impossible to clean it well enough to play without pops.
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post #3 of 62 Old 02-17-2020, 11:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Worf View Post
Pops and crackles are generally from dust, dirt and other crud on the record. A bad ground connection results in hum, not pops.

If you don't clean your records before you play them, you can expect pops and crackles. It can hard to impossible to clean it well enough to play without pops.
Thanks for the response!

Little pops and crackles, I'm not too concerned about - when it happens, it's one single, startlingly loud, pop (it even spooked my cat once). If it happens to be just crud/dust/dirt, I will have to do a better job at cleaning the record beforehand.

Do you think this is something I should be all that concerned with aside from being a little more diligent with the cleaning?

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post #4 of 62 Old 02-18-2020, 03:57 AM
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Static.


Use one of these:
https://www.amazon.com/Milty-5036694.../dp/B0033SHDSS


and/or:
https://www.amazon.com/12-ANTI-STATI.../dp/B01AY1E1V8
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post #5 of 62 Old 02-18-2020, 10:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post
Yeah, I have read about using a cork turntable mat. I will have to pick one up. Right now, I've got a felt mat. I'm not sure if I can invest in that zero stat gun at this point, though - I may just go the anti-static carbon fiber brush instead for now, and include that later on. I'm also looking into getting anti-static inner sleeves for the records, too, to replace the stock paper sleeves.

I am kind of sure at this point that it's a matter of cleaning the vinyl better, and reducing the amount of static. I live in a rather dry environment already, and it's winter right now, so that doesn't help things all that much. I did read that it could be static build-up as well as just gunk in the record, so getting these responses really reassures me that it's not the wire connections (thankfully).

Thanks to the both of you who took the time to respond.

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post #6 of 62 Old 02-18-2020, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Ryan Statz View Post
I am kind of sure at this point that it's a matter of cleaning the vinyl better, and reducing the amount of static. I live in a rather dry environment already, and it's winter right now, so that doesn't help things all that much. I did read that it could be static build-up as well as just gunk in the record, so getting these responses really reassures me that it's not the wire connections (thankfully).

Depending on the brushes/tools use for cleaning, you could be creating or contributing to the static charge. And yes, dry environment is a huge contributor.
If it were "gunk in the record" or physical damage, the POP would occur at the same point (or close to) on the record.
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post #7 of 62 Old 02-20-2020, 10:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post
Depending on the brushes/tools use for cleaning, you could be creating or contributing to the static charge. And yes, dry environment is a huge contributor.
If it were "gunk in the record" or physical damage, the POP would occur at the same point (or close to) on the record.
So I picked up a cork mat (the Vinyl Styl one you rec'd is over $40 in Canada, so I found one for $16), and an anti-static carbon fiber brush. Depending on how the brush fairs (it's *supposed* to be anti-static, but I understand how it can contribute rather than eliminate), I'll look into that antistat gun.

Next thing is to replace those damned paper inner sleeves.

I hope it helps because those pops make me nervous that they'll damage my speakers.

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post #8 of 62 Old 02-23-2020, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Cork mat arrived Friday, and played a record the first time since replacing the felt mat today. Could be post hoc fallacy, but it appears there has been an improvement as I got through almost an entire record without a giant, unnerving pop - happened only once as opposed to 5 or 6 times, so I consider that a win. The anti-static carbon fiber brush arrives tomorrow.

I can't thank you both @Ratman and @Worf for your assistance on this. So glad that it wasn't anything to do with cables or the like.

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post #9 of 62 Old 02-24-2020, 06:53 AM
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I agree with Ratman; a loud pop which occurs randomly (meaning replaying that same section of the record won't replicate the problem because it is actually just a big surface glitch) is likely a static discharge. Assuming your platter/spindle is metal or acrylic (conductive) as possessed to glass (non-conductive), installing a ground strap which leads to the turntable's ground wire will help bleed off the static charge build up. [And grounding your main system in some way, such as using a three prong power cord or a dedicated wire to the screw of your wall plate, may need to be put in place.]

This friction of the stylus being run through the vinyl record groove is the culprit, akin to the friction of rubbing a balloon against your hair which also builds up a static charge.

Here's an underside view image (from my turntable's video) showing its metal, floating-transport assembly's ground strap, put in place by AR exactly for this purpose:

I believe the original mat also had some compound added (carbon?) to make it conductive too, although just having the spindle made of metal may be all that's really needed. I'm not sure.

Thanks to the ground strap constantly bleeding off the charge, I never get static pops.
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post #10 of 62 Old 02-24-2020, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post
I agree with Ratman; a loud pop which occurs randomly (meaning replaying that same section of the record won't replicate the problem because it is actually just a big surface glitch) is likely a static discharge. Assuming your platter/spindle is metal or acrylic (conductive) as possessed to glass (non-conductive), installing a ground strap which leads to the turntable's ground wire will help bleed off the static charge build up. [And grounding your main system in some way, such as using a three prong power cord or a dedicated wire to the screw of your wall plate, may need to be put in place.]

This friction of the stylus being run through the vinyl record groove is the culprit, akin to the friction of rubbing a balloon against your hair which also builds up a static charge.

I believe the original mat also had some compound added (carbon?) to make it conductive too, although just having the spindle made of metal may be all that's really needed. I'm not sure.

Thanks to the ground strap constantly bleeding off the charge, I never get static pops.
It 100% does not occur in the same spot, so I believe you are both 100% correct in your assessments.

I'll check underneath my turntable. It's a Stanton T.62, so I'm not sure (at work so, I can't take a look right now) if it's possible to do that. The spindle is definitely metal. The Cambridge AXR100 amp itself has a 3-prong plug, and it's plugged into something like this: https://www.rocketfishproducts.com/p...TS1615/4689045

The cork mat may have helped, but I have only really played one record since swapping out the mat. It only made that loud pop once the entire time I played that record when it had done it 5 or 6 times previously. I just got my brush today, but if it's slowly building up, and releasing, the brush won't really prevent that, especially if it turns out that the brush contributes to the build up of static charge

All I can think about when it happens is my poor speakers
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post #11 of 62 Old 02-24-2020, 11:50 AM
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I can't say I've ever had need for one, nor know how effective they are, but there are aftermarket "dust bug" sorts of devices which claim to drain away the charge for you if the turntable platter (and mat) itself isn't grounded. [I'd look for one that itself had some sort of ground wire you connect. Not sure about this linked to one.]

Random example: https://www.amazon.com/Sleeve-City-T...SIN=B00B2AMSYS
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post #12 of 62 Old 02-24-2020, 12:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post
I can't say I've ever had need for one, nor know how effective they are, but there are aftermarket "dust bug" sorts of devices which claim to drain away the charge for you if the turntable platter (and mat) itself isn't grounded. [I'd look for one that itself had some sort of ground wire you connect. Not sure about this linked to one.]

Random example: https://www.amazon.com/Sleeve-City-T...SIN=B00B2AMSYS
I'll keep that in mind, thanks

I'll see if I can ground the platter - assuming it's done how you've illustrated in your previous image?

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post #13 of 62 Old 02-24-2020, 12:11 PM
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I'll keep that in mind, thanks

I'll see if I can ground the platter - assuming it's done how you've illustrated in your previous image?
Do you have a multi-meter? I would set it to "continuity test" mode and look for some screw underneath which shows as being electrically the same as the metal spindle up top. That could be a good point to connect your ground wire to.
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Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post
Do you have a multi-meter? I would set it to "continuity test" mode and look for some screw underneath which shows as being electrically the same as the metal spindle up top. That could be a good point to connect your ground wire to.
I do not have a multi-meter When I get home from work, I'll investigate the underside of the turntable - I can post some photos of that if that will help.

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Competent multi-meters are very affordable these days. Maybe now would be a good excuse to buy one? Besides testing continuity [testing if one metal point like a screw is effectively the same as another point, like a platter spindle ] they are great battery testers.

https://www.amazon.com/WeePro-Vpro85...qid=1582576296

They are often powered by a single 9V battery but some use 2x AA or AAA instead.
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If the mechanical suggestions don't work, perhaps consider a humidifier.
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post #17 of 62 Old 02-24-2020, 02:30 PM - Thread Starter
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If the mechanical suggestions don't work, perhaps consider a humidifier.
Yeah, seeing how dry it is here, that is always another option. We've been meaning to get one for a while, now, too.

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Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post
Competent multi-meters are very affordable these days. Maybe now would be a good excuse to buy one? Besides testing continuity [testing if one metal point like a screw is effectively the same as another point, like a platter spindle ] they are great battery testers.

https://www.amazon.com/WeePro-Vpro85...qid=1582576296

They are often powered by a single 9V battery but some use 2x AA or AAA instead.
I could probably just borrow one from my father if push comes to shove

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So that's the underside of my TT... when I get the time, maybe tomorrow, I guess I can open it up, and see what's inside to check if there's a way to ground the spindle/platter. If there's a less invasive method, I'm all ears.

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Exclamation Ryan I THINK I have the SAME problem (only mine w/ movies !) LOUD "pop" (high-pitch)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Statz View Post
It 100% does not occur in the same spot, so I believe you are both 100% correct in your assessments.

I'll check underneath my turntable. It's a Stanton T.62, so I'm not sure (at work so, I can't take a look right now) if it's possible to do that. The spindle is definitely metal. The Cambridge AXR100 amp itself has a 3-prong plug, and it's plugged into something like this: https://www.rocketfishproducts.com/p...TS1615/4689045

The cork mat may have helped, but I have only really played one record since swapping out the mat. It only made that loud pop once the entire time I played that record when it had done it 5 or 6 times previously. I just got my brush today, but if it's slowly building up, and releasing, the brush won't really prevent that, especially if it turns out that the brush contributes to the build up of static charge

All I can think about when it happens is my poor speakers
Ryan, I think I have the SAME problem, only mine is when listening to MOVIES ! We are sitting there calmly, and then (Holy schnikes !) a high-pitched
"TCHHHHH" occurs. I guess it could be described as a "POP !" but mine is more of a "TCHHHH" sound? And it goes through ALL seven of my speakers. It is not at the same point in the movie, so it is not the disc, AND I AM SAYING TO YOU THAT IF YOU CANNOT REPRODUCE IT, IT IS NOT DUST ISSUE !!
I have asked many, many folks about the possible cause. I think the problem for you and for me lies in the AVR. Do you still run a slightly older Onkyo ? How long/old is that AVR ?
The "POP" (or "TCHHHHH !!!" that I get) is very, very irregular and pretty rare (maybe once every other movie).
I would go the cheap route and switch out your cable and if necessary speaker wires first. If not that, I think you have a bad AVR. PM me on this.

I think people blaming "dust" on a LOUD POP are "full of dust" (but I could be very right or VERY wrong). Let me know.
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post #21 of 62 Old 02-24-2020, 07:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by WOLVERNOLE View Post
Ryan, I think I have the SAME problem, only mine is when listening to MOVIES ! We are sitting there calmly, and then (Holy schnikes !) a high-pitched
"TCHHHHH" occurs. I guess it could be described as a "POP !" but mine is more of a "TCHHHH" sound? And it goes through ALL seven of my speakers. It is not at the same point in the movie, so it is not the disc, AND I AM SAYING TO YOU THAT IF YOU CANNOT REPRODUCE IT, IT IS NOT DUST ISSUE !!
I have asked many, many folks about the possible cause. I think the problem for you and for me lies in the AVR. Do you still run a slightly older Onkyo ? How long/old is that AVR ?
The "POP" (or "TCHHHHH !!!" that I get) is very, very irregular and pretty rare (maybe once every other movie).
I would go the cheap route and switch out your cable and if necessary speaker wires first. If not that, I think you have a bad AVR. PM me on this.

I think people blaming "dust" on a LOUD POP are "full of dust" (but I could be very right or VERY wrong). Let me know.
I believe you're describing a completely different problem - one that I am not sure what the culprit could be

This is purely related to the turntable, and 100% caused by static build-up, not dust (dust would just cause a little crackle, and maybe a quiet little pop). Vinyl takes a bit more care in order to play cleanly vs. CD or streaming. This is a completely different set up from my HT, which doesn't have any issues whatsoever. My Onkyo AVR isn't involved at all, and if it was the Cambridge AXR100 amp I have for my 2ch music area, the problem would happen regardless of the media I'd be playing.

Whatever is causing your specific issue, I hope you are able to find a solution!

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Statz View Post
So that's the underside of my TT... when I get the time, maybe tomorrow, I guess I can open it up, and see what's inside to check if there's a way to ground the spindle/platter. If there's a less invasive method, I'm all ears.
Sorry, there's no less invasive method to see if there are ground strap(s) in place but with a continuity meter on hand you could at least test to see if the (externally accessible) main platter is electrically grounded to the ground wire bundled with the RCA outs, or not. If it already is then further surgery and placing another ground strap inside isn't likely going to help. It it isn't attached to ground then the surgery is warranted if you feel safe and electrically competent [I don't like instructing people over the web on such matters due to electrical safety concerns. ]

Sorry I have never worked with Stanton. [Is he a nice guy? --LOL, little joke] So I don't know anything about him them.

Maybe look for threads in this or other forums discussing it to see what other people do for static?
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post #23 of 62 Old 02-24-2020, 08:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post
Sorry, there's no less invasive method to see if there are ground strap(s) in place but with a continuity meter on hand you could at least test to see if the (externally accessible) main platter is electrically grounded to the ground wire bundled with the RCA outs, or not. If it already is then further surgery and placing another ground strap inside isn't likely going to help. It it isn't attached to ground then the surgery is warranted if you feel safe and electrically competent [I don't like instructing people over the web on such matters due to electrical safety concerns. ]

Sorry I have never worked with Stanton. [Is he a nice guy? --LOL, little joke] So I don't know anything about him them.

Maybe look for threads in this or other forums discussing it to see what other people do for static?
I feel comfortable adding a ground strap if it's necessary - I've taken apart game console to re-apply thermal paste a few times before. I don't foresee any problems doing that, just thought I'd inquire in case something different struck your mind. For the ground strap, would just a very short length of speaker wire (I have yards of 16AWG OFC cable sitting around) and something like this: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B07...F5BSK656&psc=1 be fine for that or would you recommend something pre-made? I am certain my father has a meter, so I can borrow that from him - earliest would be Sunday. That one you cited before is ~$38 in Canada vs. just under $10 in the US

I'll have a look around some forums in the meantime. I've done some preliminary searches, but haven't turned up anything yet that has been specific to Stanton TTs. The only other thing I've seen mentioned is grounding the tonearm.

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Originally Posted by Ryan Statz View Post
For the ground strap, would just a very short length of speaker wire (I have yards of 16AWG OFC cable sitting around) and something like this: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B07...F5BSK656&psc=1 be fine for that or would you recommend something pre-made?
That would be fine. You don't have to bother adding a ring terminal or spade lug. Bare, stranded speaker wire twisted together and then looped in a hook shape attached under a screw would work. Spade lugs and ring terminals are more tidy though.

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Originally Posted by Ryan Statz View Post
The only other thing I've seen mentioned is grounding the tonearm.
Yes, grounding both the arm and platter is good.
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Look on the turntable itself near the phono connectors and see if it has a ground post or ground screw. Both turntables I have has one. If not, the phono connector ground could be used. Dont daisy chain grounds. Use a central ground point to run the amp, turntable, preamp (if used) grounds to, and then connect that to an earth ground. It is possible the ground pin on your amps a/c plug is connected to the earth ground, in which case, you could use the amp if it has a 3 wire plug, as your ground buss.

Some things I would check. Does it pop if no record is playing? If the turntable is off? Might be a bad capacitor or bleeder resistor in the power supply for your preamp. Hope you find a simple solution.

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Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post
That would be fine. You don't have to bother adding a ring terminal or spade lug. Bare, stranded speaker wire twisted together and then looped in a hook shape attached under a screw would work. Spade lugs and ring terminals are more tidy though.
If I end up doing that, I'd probably prefer it to be as clean as possible, so I'd likely add the spade lugs.

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Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post
Yes, grounding both the arm and platter is good.
I haven't been able to find anything that illustrates how to ground the tonearm Of course, I'll know whether this is all necessary soon enough.

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Originally Posted by Davenlr View Post
Look on the turntable itself near the phono connectors and see if it has a ground post or ground screw.
It does, there is a ground wire connected from the TT's ground post to my AXR100 amp's ground post.

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Originally Posted by Davenlr View Post
Some things I would check. Does it pop if no record is playing? If the turntable is off? Might be a bad capacitor or bleeder resistor in the power supply for your preamp. Hope you find a simple solution.
It does not pop if no record is playing AFAIK. The pop has only occurred while playing a record, and it has never popped when the turntable is off. There's no issue, either, playing music from other sources (i.e. CD or streaming via bluetooth).

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The tone arm being grounded I would not think would matter, as the wires from the cartridge travel through it, but are not usually electrically connected to it.

Here is some info on grounding you might find helpful in diagnosing your turntable:
https://electronics.stackexchange.co...es-ground-wire

N5GGG
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post #29 of 62 Old 02-25-2020, 04:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Ryan Statz View Post
Yeah, I have read about using a cork turntable mat. I will have to pick one up. Right now, I've got a felt mat. I'm not sure if I can invest in that zero stat gun at this point, though - I may just go the anti-static carbon fiber brush instead for now, and include that later on. I'm also looking into getting anti-static inner sleeves for the records, too, to replace the stock paper sleeves.

I am kind of sure at this point that it's a matter of cleaning the vinyl better, and reducing the amount of static. I live in a rather dry environment already, and it's winter right now, so that doesn't help things all that much. I did read that it could be static build-up as well as just gunk in the record, so getting these responses really reassures me that it's not the wire connections (thankfully).

Thanks to the both of you who took the time to respond.
I also use the Zerostat and have since they came out in the 80s (I believe)

I also use the below for mats on both my tables, a VPI Classic Signature and a Musical Fidelity Roundtable and both are remarkably free of noise.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I've had a few, very few, noisy LPs bought new, but many of the used LPs I've bought have had issues. With a new LP, I wet clean once, and unless there's a reason, just use a carbon brush and the Zerostat from there on out. True, I've lived in a humid climate over the last ten years, but lived in SoCal for 30 years prior to that, and don't recall ever having much trouble.

I'm not sure I'm much help why you're having what sounds to be a static discharge on regular intervals.
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Originally Posted by Scotth3886 View Post
I also use the Zerostat and have since they came out in the 80s (I believe)

I also use the below for mats on both my tables, a VPI Classic Signature and a Musical Fidelity Roundtable and both are remarkably free of noise.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I've had a few, very few, noisy LPs bought new, but many of the used LPs I've bought have had issues. With a new LP, I wet clean once, and unless there's a reason, just use a carbon brush and the Zerostat from there on out. True, I've lived in a humid climate over the last ten years, but lived in SoCal for 30 years prior to that, and don't recall ever having much trouble.

I'm not sure I'm much help why you're having what sounds to be a static discharge on regular intervals.
Yeah, it's definitely static discharge Not sure if I will go for a leather mat right now, but if it does a better job than the cork, I can't rule it out in the future. Thanks for that suggestion! Zerostat gun will really only be if all else fails. I believe even just adding humidity in the air will help. Now that I have the carbon fiber brush, I've started to use that at first to clear off as much dust/cat hair as I can, and then I use some distilled water with a velvet brush to give it a wet clean. I have been doing that for each side of any record I have put on the TT since setting up my music area again. It's all really to protect my speakers more than anything because I don't think that repeated loud pops like that can be good.

@m. zillch haven't opened up the bottom of the TT yet because I think I decided I might try using the multimeter first before making any further decisions on that. However, I did actually get through an entire record without a single pop this afternoon - playing a second one right now (one I haven't played before). I call it a major win if I can get through 2 without it happening.

Edit: baby steps - 1.5 records without a pop. It happened twice on the second side of the second record. So much static that the cork mat was stuck to the record after it was finished playing.

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Last edited by Ryan Statz; 02-25-2020 at 09:48 PM.
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