Spring cleaning time is almost here, and maybe this year you can start with those records you keep meaning to do something about. Visit a disc shop and look over the accesories; they are relatively inexpensive and can save you a lot of grief.
The most useful accessory is a good record-cleaning system. But shop carefully; many products, such as oil-based lubricants and oil-soaked cloths, can clog and damage delicate record grooves.
One of the best and safest record-cleaning kits you can buy is Disc-washer's D3 system, which contains a bottle of cleaning fluid and a buffing brush to be used on a record while it rotates on the turntable. Suggested retail price is $15.
Once a record has been cleaned, its lifespan can be increased by coating it with a non-oily, dust-retarding, friction-reducing lubricant. Sound Guard manufactures an especially good preservation kit containing a spray bottle of lubricant and a buffing pad. The company claims that the preservative is based on a lubricant used in space satellites and gives records a strong, smooth coating that protects them from dust and wear and keeps them sounding new through many playings. It sells for about $10.
Another useful accessory is a destaticizer. Static electricity on records makes crackling noises, attracts dust and lint, and can even cause stylus mistracking. Permostat, a new product from Stanton, is a liquid designed to eliminate record static permanently. A kit with a pump bottle of the fluid and a buffing pad costs around $20.
For the hi-fi owner who would like to clean, protect and destaticize his records in one operation, Audio-Kare recently introduced a one-step record-care kit called Quietone. The product is sprayed onto a record and then buffed with an applicator. It leaves a protective, non-oily film, which the company says does not damage records. Suggested retail price is $7.
For a collection of very dirty records, a good bet may be a container of Disco Film by Empire. It comes ina large plastic bottle, and when you unscrew the lid you find a foam top. Pierce it, turn the bottle upside down over a record, and rub its moist surface into the grooves. When it dries, it peels off, along with accumulated dust and grime. Empire says the product is even useful on new records since grooves can contain vinyl left over from the molding process. A bottle of Disco Film large enough to clean about 70 records costs $30.
Other record-care products are available from Adcom, Audiotex, Bib, Transcriber and Cecil Watts.
And record and stylus-care products aren't the only kinds of accessories available -- many companies manfuacture items such as audio cables and speaker wires, stylus force guages, record stabilizers, tone-arm aligning and damping devices, vibration-damping feet and bases for turntables, speaker stands and other items.
For the home recordist, which is getting to mean almost everyone with a tape deck nowadays, there are various kinds of accessories for demagnetizing tape heads and for cleaning the heads, rollers and pressure pads of tape recorders.