ANSWERS: 2
  • If it's an ongoing problem, it might not be due to static. Check the routing of the wiring going to your speakers, and make sure that it's not running parrallel to any power cabling. You may be getting electrical noise induced in your wiring. Another posibility is your connections. Also, make sure that your speakers are wired in phase with each other, because a lot of times, if they are not, you will hear wierd harmonic anomolies due to the sound being reproduced out of phase. Still another possibility is that your speakers have some issues. Try repositioning them. And yeah, it could be a grounding problem too. make sure all the components in the cabinet are being grounded on the same circuit and you aren't using one of those little tricky guys to make a three prong AC connector into a 2 wire one. Could still be lots of other things, but there's some easy fixes to play around with.
  • I'm a vinyl veteran :) Sounds of 'crumpling cellophane' or CRACKLE could be a number of things, including static electricity. STATIC ELECTRICITY. Vinyl records have a tendency to accumulate a static electric charge, just as certain fabrics or other thin dielectric materials do. If the relative humidity is low, raise it with a humidifier. I also use a conductive, extremely thin carbon-fiber brush (no nano-tubes yet!) that supposedly discharges small voltage potentials over the size scale of the groove. I bought mine at Radio Shack about 10 years ago. Those other products you mention (I never used them) are also targeted at reducing static charges. Try running the record under water tap (or better, spray distilled water over the surface) and play it wet. Nothing bad will happen to your system -- though definitely not recommended for routihe use :) If the crackle is gone or reduced, it probably was just static electricity. DIRTY VINYL: The microscopic grooves can attract and hold all kinds of micro-gunk, which can generate crackle during play. There are even certain molds that grow on vinyl! You can hand-wash a disk gently with soap & water; rubbing alcohol is a safe solvent. But some old records never seem to come clean. Buy or borrow a brand-new record & see how it sounds. DIRTY STYLUS. Comes from playing dirty vinyl. Use a stylus brush -- brushing back to front in the direction the vinyl travels. EXTERNAL INTERFERENCE: Nearby motors or electronic devices can generate spikes that can get to the audio amplifier through power lines or by free-space radiation. Cheap power supplies might not reject these, or a good supply might have failing filters. Try running the whole setup on a UPS battery to eliminate any through-the-cord interference. Try sheet metal shielding for radiated noise. FAULTY ELECTRONICS: Small components can go bad -- sometimes gradually and sometimes catastrophically. The crackle could be a sign of a bad transistor. Sometimes it's temperature-dependent and occurs only after the equipment has warmed up -- but not always. If you can access the circuit boards, try an instant-freeze spray product over one section of the board at a time. If the crackle suddenly disappears when you freeze a particular chip or transistor, you've isolated the problem. I once fixed my stereo in this manner by replacing one chip for about 30 cents! It's also possible for a cracked circuit board or bad solder connection to develop (from mishandling, temperature extremes, or 'old age'). This might cause crackle. Again, with access to the circuit board the problem can be isolated. BAD CONNECTIONS can cause crackle. The most common are the connections between cables and components. Everything should feel tight. Try plugging and unplugging a few cycles to break up any corrosion and form new metal-to-metal contact. RCA phono plugs can be rotated in their sockets. GROUNDING problems are NOT a likely cause, as they tend to produce 60-Hz hum (like a steady organ pedal tone) rather than crackle. Good grounding of the phono signal is recommended, however, for noise immunity (a bad ground can amplify external noise) as well as to eliminate hum. Stand-alone turntables often come equipped with a separate ground wire to be strapped to the next component in the signal chain -- usually the pre-amp. If your turntable has its own POWER CORD it should be plugged in to a socket / outlet near where the other components are plugged in. Hope all this somehow helps.

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