I’m forever blowing bubbles

Ok, so this is just about the strangest issue I’ve experienced in HiFi and this is totally repeatable so, it’s not just me having a ‘moment’.

So, when listening to vinyl, I’ve started getting this perfectly defined bubble popping noise from the left channel of the speaker. It’s not loud, but it’s there and rather annoying during quieter passages of music. This does not occur when playing music digitally, from my NDS and up until today, it only seemed to occur when music was actually flowing and the needle was on a record.

Today, however, I have found that if the turntable arm is fully lifted or at rest, it doesn’t occur but, if I lower it to the point the needle is just hovering over the record (but not touching) bubbles starts popping! At this point, I should probably point out I have not been near alcohol for over 24 hours and I’ve not overdone the caffeine, so this is actually happening, honestly!

Has anyone heard or experienced anything like this, and if so, if you have been able to diagnose the issue, I would very much appreciate some pointers on the cause. Thanks.

I wonder whether it’s being caused by static electricity in the LP? Have you tried running an LP through an RCM and then trying again?

Thanks Richard,

I did wonder whether static may potentially be a cause, but unfortunately I don’t currently have a cleaning machine or anti-static gun. I might invest in one of the anti-static guns and see if that works. I’ve not had any issues with the mat sticking to the LP when lifted off the table recently, which I understand can suggest a static charge is present, but that’s not to say that it’s not there. Do you know if those anti-static guns are effective?

Just changed to a different LP from the one I had been testing with this morning and it’s not popping on this one, so maybe it is static. The last listening session it seemed to occur on both LP’s I played so I assumed it was now happening all the time, but that appears not to be the case now.

I’ve a had a couple of the Discwasher anti-static guns back in the '80s and they were pretty much useless as far as I could tell. The best way to deal with static is by washing the LP.

Ok, I’ve got some of the vinyl clear solution I use for cleaning records. I’ll try cleaning with that and replace in some fresh, anti static sleeves once dry. Maybe that will solve the issue on the albums I’ve experienced this on recently. Thanks Richard.

Hi Jason,

Static for sure. I never had an issue with this until recently. We had a dry spell here a few weeks ago here in the southern USA, no rain, no humidity in the air and I had some issues with static on my lp12 mat (I have a collaro red mat).

The mat pulled off the platter with the album, when I peeled it away from the album and went to place it back on the platter, the static pulled it to the platter and you could hear the little micro pops as the mat drew back to the platter then “pop” went the speakers from the excessive build up and discharge through the Kandid. Rain came and with that, the humidity, and no issues sense. I have read about it, but I never experienced it.

Scott

Hi Scott,

Thanks for sharing this. I was quietly hoping it was just static but also wondered whether there may have been a failing component in my phono amp etc which could be causing it. Whilst this has been repeatable with one or two albums, it doesn’t seem to happen with all of them and that for me confirms it must be static. Your experience tends to confirm this, so that’s reassuring. It has been an unusually dry spell here too recently, which may explain why I have not experienced this before.

With some albums more affected than others, it seems Richard’s suggestion of wet cleaning is a good one, which will hopefully solve the issue. Thanks.

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