Record Restore Cleaning Formula

Record Restore Cleaning Formula

Available in convenient 200ml combination packs for restocking your Record Restore Box Set.

200ml Record Restore

  • application rate: 3.0ml - 3.5ml per side of a 12" record
  • bottle capacity: 30 twelve inch records

Description

Secret Chord Analogue's record cleaning films are proprietary formulations designed to dissolve the mixture of dust, dirt, grime and binder substances commonly found in record grooves. This mix will include all manner of oils and fats, finger grease, mould and mould spores, particulate matter such as stylus dust (ie diamond dust) and airborne dust. The SCA cleaning formula emulsifies and breaks down the binders which hold this soiling to the record. Once the binders are broken down the soiling is dissolved into solution. This solution - or slurry - dries sealing the trapped impurities into a removable skin which can then be peeled off for a 100% clean. Record Restore eliminates static electricity from the record surface and creates an ongoing barrier to static, the primary cause of noisy records.

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How it Works

Benefits

Our formula works by first penetrating deep into the grooves where it turns contaminants, and the binder substances that weld them to the groove walls, into an emulsion.

The formula is engineered to specifically target and remove static charged soiling. Unless neutralised, this form of contaminant will remain adhered to the groove walls.

When the emulsion dries, the dissolved solids are trapped in the resulting film, which is simply peeled off the record. The binders and 100% of the dissolved contaminants are fully removed – without leaving any residue.

Unlike other cleaning methods, there’s no cross-contamination from reused fluids, cloths or brushes. And there’s no abrasive scrubbing or harmful ingredients that can damage your records.

Record Restore delivers a number of direct benefits. The removal of fine particles eliminates noise and protects the stylus against excessive wear, which in turn protects your records. In removing binders, Restore exposes the finest wave patterns on the groove walls. Little wonder people report hearing material they've not heard before.

Record Restore's advanced groove cleaning ability is highly rewarding for high end stylus shapes such as micro-line, micro-ridge, Shibata, etc. Sitting lower in the groove, these styluses are less tolerant of groove contaminants.

Another advantage Record Restore has over other cleaning methods is its long-lasting anti-static properties. Once a record has been cleaned, it remains static-free indefinitely.

Features

How it Works

Our formula works by first penetrating deep into the grooves where it turns contaminants, and the binder substances that weld them to the groove walls, into an emulsion.

The formula is engineered to specifically target and remove static charged soiling. Unless neutralised, this form of contaminant will remain adhered to the groove walls.

When the emulsion dries, the dissolved solids are trapped in the resulting film, which is simply peeled off the record. The binders and 100% of the dissolved contaminants are fully removed – without leaving any residue.

Unlike other cleaning methods, there’s no cross-contamination from reused fluids, cloths or brushes. And there’s no abrasive scrubbing or harmful ingredients that can damage your records.

Benefits

Record Restore delivers a number of direct benefits. The removal of fine particles eliminates noise and protects the stylus against excessive wear, which in turn protects your records. In removing binders, Restore exposes the finest wave patterns on the groove walls. Little wonder people report hearing material they've not heard before.

Record Restore's advanced groove cleaning ability is highly rewarding for high end stylus shapes such as micro-line, micro-ridge, Shibata, etc. Sitting lower in the groove, these styluses are less tolerant of groove contaminants.

Another advantage Record Restore has over other cleaning methods is its long-lasting anti-static properties. Once a record has been cleaned, it remains static-free indefinitely.

Record Restore customer, Brendan Lea, shares his experiences in this interview with Secret Chord Analogue founder, Stephen Price. Brendan has long been looking for a way of improving the sound of his records and, as he says, he has found it in Record Restore, going on to clean his collection of nearly 900 albums.

Early in 2023, Joe purchased the Alan Parsons Project eleven album reissue from Abbey Road Studios. In this interview, Joe talks about the unsatisfactory state of the records as he received them and his unhappy experience with professional ultrasonic cleaning, followed by his happy experience discovering Secret Chord Analogue's Record Restore cleaning service.

Record Restore Box Set Kit

Begin your record cleaning journey with our comprehensive box set, featuring all the essential tools and products for maintaining your vinyl collection.

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Record Restore Box Set Spare Discs

Our Box Set Spare Discs are designed for both cleaning and drying your records. Keep your collection in pristine condition with this essential accessory.

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Record Restore Box Set Accessories

Featuring spare components to replace worn parts of your Record Restore Box Set Kit, our accessories guarantee a seamless record cleaning process from start to finish.

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Record Restore Stack Rack for Drying Accessory

Designed specifically for drying records after the application of the record restore cleaning formula. Specially designed for the record restore cleaning system.

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The Results

Record Restore’s effectiveness has been independently analysed by respected US audio specialist Dave Askew, formerly of MediaDMA.

1. Introduction 2. Hear the Improvements 3. See The Improvements 4. Quantifying the Improvements
Introduction

“I’m an audio professional who specializes in audio preservation and restoration, audio forensics and audio sciences. So to make me a believer in an audio product, I need to be extra discriminatory as to what’s happening on a microscopic level. My experience with Record Restore has left me quite astounded. It is undoubtedly one of the best products I’ve seen.

“Record Restore works by spreading it on the surface of the vinyl and peeling off the dried film. However, Record Restore does this with the utmost consideration to the physics of a vinyl record, and without leaving any chemical residue behind, or without causing any damage.

“Not only does it remove decades of particles (like nicotine from cigarette smoke and ‘diamond dust’ from the breakdown of the stylus), but it can remove even the original molding residue left from the manufacturing process.”

“In the end, I averaged the amount of noise over time, and took percentages of each recording. We ended up with an 11db increase in overall signal to noise ratio, which is around a 75% improvement in how it sounds to the logarithmic way that humans hear sound, and an 8db improvement to the peak noise floor, which is an improvement of over 50%.”

“I stand behind my measurements and say with confidence that Record Restore is a superior product that I would put my stamp of approval on, and entrust my entire vinyl collection to for years to come. While we can’t reverse the effects of aging, we can certainly control them, and Record Restore is the only way I’d recommend to any audiophile.”

Dave Askew


Hear the Improvements

Here are audio files demonstrating the improvements after cleaning with Record Restore. Not only has noise from the contaminants been removed, more music has been revealed.

BEFORE CLEANING Elgar Cello Concerto AFTER CLEANING Elgar Cello Concerto
BEFORE CLEANING Drifting by Walter Norris & George Mraz AFTER CLEANING Drifting by Walter Norris & George Mraz Here is the sound of just the dirt that was in the groove, achieved by subtracting the ‘After Cleaning’ segment from the ‘Before Cleaning’ segment.
See the Improvements A spectral analysis of the same section of audio before and after cleaning with Record Restore.

“In the after example, it is fascinating to note a few things you may not hear on first listen but can clearly see. There are no ‘pits’ or holes left over in the audio data where the ‘crud’ was removed. All of the musical information is retained, even in the upper harmonics. This means that there is no destruction of even the most sensitive parts of the vinyl.

“You can also see that the musical material looks brighter and stronger after cleaning. So the original musical material that you weren’t hearing before has resurfaced. This comes from the stylus being able to sit deeper in the groove and become more reactive to the grooves.

“You will also see at the beginning of the notes there is much more intensity vertically. This results in the restoration of audio transients and dynamic range. This will give you a deeper sense of accuracy and realism. In the cleaned version, you can clearly hear the hammer of the piano striking the note, which is difficult to hear in the dirty version.”

Quantifying the Improvements

What was tested?
Five vinyl recordings were chosen with the intent to find recordings of different genres and dynamic content. Each recording saw different amounts of playtime, storage time, storage habits, and grime over the course of their history. The goal was to find consistent and measurable differences before and after Restore was applied.

How was it tested?
The first step was to digitize the chosen selections before and after Restore treatments were applied, and measure them with computer software. This was accomplished with modest consumer equipment available to anyone, in an average environment to prove that even the most humble equipment will see and hear the results.

How was it measured?
Each segment of audio that was tested, was aligned and measured at the exact precise times before and after cleaning. This would ensure the measurements that relied on timing were accurate. Not only did each recording need to be referenced to itself in terms of how well the product improved playback, but in a way that could be related to each other as well, since we were working with such a broad assortment of audio material.

The chart on the first page is simply an overview of all of the tests that were performed, and it’s average percentage of improvement, with
the baseline measurements being taken from the original recording. It’s simply easier to visualize all of the data at a glance, without needing to do
all of the math.

The measurements for average db RMS, and the 4 different loudness measurements, are just a way of averaging loudness over a given period of time. So each show the same kind of data, with the exception that they are all weighted and averaged over different amounts of time and values.

The measurements for maximum digital peak, and minimum digital floor also factor in to the previous loudness measurements. We can think of the minimum digital floor as “hiss” or dirt, and the maximum digital peak as a “pop” or jump of the needle. There’s more to it than that, but it’s probably
the easiest way of explaining what these are. They are the immediate highest and lowest dynamic measurements in a recording. So being able to look at these afterwards is a great way of being able to see how Restore is pulling the grime out of a vinyl.

The difference between the highest and lowest values is called dynamic range. In all cases we’re looking to improve and increase dynamic range by pulling out the dirt and debris which create additional noise on top of the original recording. Conversely with the instantaneous and average
measurements we took, the lower the numbers after cleaning the better.

All things factored, these are simply just a narrow scope of what we can measure with modest equipment and a bit of math. So not only do the results show improvement on paper, but the results are stunning after using Record Restore.

Dave Askew
Media|DMA ©2020

We have just yesterday finished our first group of 10 albums using Record Restore and the results are AMAZING!

These albums were all produced in the late 70s and have been stored in a plastic crate in a cupboard for 30 yrs. Originally been played in our late teens/early 20s when unfortunately they would not have been paid the due care they deserved so we are astounded by the results……..Record Restore is so easy to use and the visual improvements are evident as soon as you peel the product off. Having played them all we are extremely pleased it’s eliminated the popping and static and sound quality is like new……we have probably 1 dud so far which I’ll own up to as mine Silk Degrees by Boz Scaggs but it was played to death and the surface shows serious signs of neglect but even it is playable again!

Maree Gear Umina, Australia

I have now Restored 50 LPs and the results have been fantastic!

Some of these LPs went through a Spin Clean Mk II several times and were still noisy and scratchy. One application of Restore! and they are sounding near mint (or at least "very good +" - if you know discogs).

Worth investing for more. Restore! has done a great job and I have plenty more LPs that need it. It has made a few not so playable gems I picked up used very playable - including my quadraphonic mix of Dark Side of the Moon. I am grateful for that!

Jonathan Samuel Hornsby, Australia

Chris notes that ultrasonic cleaning is not all it's cracked up to be

Chris B Camperdown, Australia
FAQ & Tips

Common questions and helpful tips.

How to properly clean vinyl records?

The secret to properly cleaning vinyl records is this: there must be nothing left in the record groove after cleaning. Sounds straight forward, but it’s not. The fact is a higher standard than “cleaning” is required if music playback is to be of the highest fidelity. The record must be restored to probably better than its original state, because straight off the press a record may not be in its finest state.

Whatever method is used, once done the cleaned record should be silent, which is to say you should hear nothing except the music. Assuming the record is not physically scratched or otherwise damaged you should hear no pops, crackles or hiss; and you should hear all the music; every shimmer off the back of a cymbal, every breath, every string overtone.

Why should I worry about dust on my vinyl records?

Quite apart from the sound degradation, dust and dirt on your records is costing you money. Dust, grit and particles worn from the stylus tip may not only damage records and reduce stylus life, but will likely affect tonal response. Given the composition of the dust, we can see that almost 65% of the extraneous material is harder than the comparatively soft record material and, therefore, is capable of scratching and damaging it.

Apart from improving the sound quality, keeping your records clean will save you money. Leaving that highly abrasive mix in a record groove will greatly increase the rate of stylus wear, thereby shortening it’s life and causing playback distortion – your music won’t sound very good.

At the same time, a worn stylus will do permanent damage to your records which you will hear as reduced detail.

What causes the unwanted noise on vinyl records?

People will often describe that their noisy records as “scratched”, wrongly attributing the noise to physical damage.

The reality is most likely that the noise is crud in the grooves, so-called “dust”. This is great news because it can be cleaned-out.

But what is this “dust”? An analysis of the crud removed from a number of stylus tips, which had been used on dirty records, showed that it consisted of approximately 12% jagged silica particles, 35% diamond dust, 40% miscellaneous particles, including soot, grit and particles worn from the record groove itself, the remaining 13% consisting of fibers and lint. This is only the particulate matter.

Added to this can be fats, oils, finger grease and other airborne substances such as nicotine ( think those older collections…). These act as binders holding the particles to the surface. They will also reduce sound quality, clogging the tiniest of vibrations

Do all vinyl records benefit from cleaning?

Short answer? Yes.  All vinyl records will benefit from proper restoration, be they brand new, part of a long cherished record collection or somewhere in between.

Brand new records are not soiled but they need to have the mould release (the treatment that helps them separate from the press) and they need to be treated to protect against static electricity.

Long cherished collections will have all manner of impurities in their grooves.

Are all vinyl record cleaning methods essentially the same?

No. The only acceptable standard is a method that achieves the elimination of everything from the groove.

Given what we now know can be in a vinyl record groove, it’s easy to see how brushes and cloths will be next to useless as our quest is to totally eliminate unwanted substances from our record grooves.

We need to dissolve all unwanted crud – particulate matter, binders, mould release, spores and the mould they grow; and we need to eliminate static electricity. Static is the greatest enemy of silent vinyl record playback because it attracts all tiny airborne particles from the air and the turntable platter and binds them tightly to the record’s surface. If that bond is not broken, those fine particles will never leave the record.

Why Is Record Restore so good at cleaning vinyl records?

Effective restoration of a vinyl record is about more than simply cleaning the dust, especially for older records.

Chemically speaking, the challenge is removal of “soiling”, the mix of unwanted contaminants in the record groove. In the case of a vinyl record it may be understood as the cocktail of particles and binders.

These particles typically comprise silica, stylus dust, soot, grit, particles worn from the record itself as well as flocculated fibers and lint, mould and spores. This particulate matter will be bound together and to the record surface by air borne binders including substances like oils, fats, resins, nicotine as well as finger grease.

In scientific terms, RECORD RESTORE!’s unique formulation breaks down the oil and grease binders which in turn disperses the particulates and releases the soil from the surface of the record, the binders are emulsified, allowing everything to dissolve into solution. That solution – or slurry – then dries trapping the contaminants into a removable film. The film containing the soiling and binder substances is peeled off and discarded, while eliminating the record’s ability to hold a static charge.

All in a single treatment!

What Is the best way to clean vinyl records?

If your aim is to remove everything from the groove and prevent static electricity, then the answer is Record Restore. Only Record Restore removes 100% of dissolved impurities and eliminates static electricity in the one treatment.

What are the benefits of Record Restore?

Features & Benefits

  • Prevents static electricity – stops fine particles being drawn and held on the record
  • Restores fidelity while eliminating noise – hear all your music
  • Lengthens the life of your stylus – protects your records and saves money
  • Very practical – needs no electricity, sets up on an average coffee table
  • Simple to use, no mess, plus batch handling methodology – average 3 minutes per record

Restore is different to the old water-based disc washer technologies. In fact, it is not so much a “vinyl record cleaning” method as a high fidelity restoration for records. The old methods rely on water based washing techniques, as would be done for windows, floors and cars; they all leave residue. The standard required to restore high fidelity to records is arguably superior to hospital grade cleanliness; hospital don’t have an issue with fine particles provided they are sterile.

For high fidelity there must be absolutely nothing between the stylus and the record’s groove walls. Microscopic particles, such as stylus dust (yes, that’s diamond!) or coatings such as oils, fats, even nicotine will degrade playback and hasten stylus and record wear. Moreover, if you are lucky enough to have records from those times you have the work of the original recording engineers and vinyl engineers. Today’s remasters are not the work of those yesteryear masters. Protect and cherish your originals!

Why Is Static Electricity So Bad For Vinyl Records?

Static is the oft forgotten enemy of pure vinyl sound playback. A static charge on a record may discharge through the playback cartridge causing pops and crackles whilst also adhering every airborne particle of dust to the record itself with a vice-like grip. Unless the charge is neutralised particles cannot be removed. Record Restore eliminates static charges and stops it reoccurring. So whilst new records may not demonstrate the same sonic improvement as older records, the anti-static benefit of Restore is a must.

Why Is Record Restore so good for restoring older vinyl record collections?

Record Restore is ideally suited for restoring older collections, especially large ones. With its Box Set it supports batch processing of up to 10 LPs at a time on a workspace of just over one square foot. It does this without the need for power and makes no noise or mess (there is no mixing of chemicals). Once the technique is mastered, a batch of ten LPs will take around half an hour to treat, excluding drying time.

Reviewed and Proven:

  • Australia HiFi Review of June/July 2019; ranked #1
  • Media DMA review
  • SoundStage! review
How easy is using the Record Restore Box Set to clean vinyl records?

Perhaps the leading reason why records are noisy is that their owners don’t clean them – even when they own a record cleaning solution!

Many of us walk around chores, meaning to get to them “next”. Sometimes it’s the thought of setting up, doing the job and cleaning up afterwards.

Owners of our Box Set know the following is true:

  • Set up takes less than a minute and requires only one square feet of work space – a coffee table will do
  • Do one record or ten; no additional space or setup is required
  • The actual cleaning task is a pleasure to perform, some say even therapeutic!
  • There is no mess, certainly no watery solutions to splash around
  • Packing up takes two minutes (which includes cleaning the brush)
What is the safest way to clean and restore my old 78s?

The first flat records produced for recording sound are referred to today as 78s, logically because their playback speed was 78 RPM.

The bulk of 78s were produced on the more fragile shellac material which cannot be cleaned with modern methods or solvents. Record Restore Shellac has been specially formulated for use on 78s (and is safe to use on both shellac or vinyl).

Step-by-step guide

Record Restore Manual


Download our helpful guide to get you started on your journey to greater listening pleasure

Step-by-step video

Let Secret Chord Analogue’s founder Stephen Price simplify the cleaning process for you. In this video he takes you through each step using the Record Restore Box Set and shares some handy hints.