Vinyl Flat & Groovy Pouch

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by DR.J, Nov 5, 2012.

  1. Jam757

    Jam757 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle
    I concur completely with your observations. The good news is actually that warping is/was actually quite rare with old 70’s records. Probably 50% of newly purchased records are warped these days so the Vinyl Flat becomes a necessity.
     
  2. matrix-6

    matrix-6 Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Yeah it's interesting. I'm glad to hear about new records as I probably would have over heated them. I haven't tried one yet. I'm glad I over baked an older throw-away record as that will teach me to be more cautious moving forward.
     
    Kyle Mooney likes this.
  3. matrix-6

    matrix-6 Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    So here's something interesting. I took out a record that used to be warped and it's now relatively flat! I heard about people flattening their records by leaving them closely stacked with others. I didn't believe it until now. Still glad I have the VF though...
     
  4. Dave Rose

    Dave Rose Active Member

    Location:
    Wyoming
    Through 50+ years of collecting, I have a fair number of warped LP's and 45's. In addition to that, about 1/3 of my 160 12" vinyl V-Discs from WW II are warped from decades of poor storage, prior to my acquiring them. So I could easily justify buying the Vinyl Flat and Groovy Pouch, which was delivered yesterday.

    For the first attempt at correcting a warp, I selected a badly dish-warped Robert Gordon 12" three song EP. Unusual in that side A plays at 45 RPM and side B plays at 78 RPM. Barely playable at 45 RPM, bad stylus jumping and unplayable at 78 RPM. Disc weighs four ounces/ 110 grams. I used the large felt rings with center holes. BTW, my Groovy Pouch has no low/medium settings, it's either on or off. I must have a new version? I'm seeing many references to others using low and medium settings.

    First attempt: Cooking in Groovy Pouch for 1 hour, 45 minutes cool down. Result: No discernable effect, still badly warped.
    Second attempt: Cooking for 2 1/2 hours, cooldown 45 minutes. Result: No discernable effecct, still badly warped.
    Third attempt: Cooking overnight total of 10 1/2 hours, 1 hour cooldown. Result: Success! Disc is flat (not perfect, but close) and will playback without issue. No sign of groove damage from overheating during the 10 1/2 hour cycle.

    So, I'm happy and encouraged by success with my first attempt.
     
  5. matrix-6

    matrix-6 Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Glad you had success. Just remember some records are different. I had one that ended up damaged after eight hours. It was black vinyl, so the risk some mention with clear and colored isn't limited to them. Mine came with the low/medium switch you use to turn it on. I wish it didn't so I didn't have to think about it. I purchased mine just this April, 2020, so not long ago...
     
  6. BuyMeVinyl

    BuyMeVinyl Well-Known Member

    Location:
    London, UK
    Using one of these now, and whilst it does the job and i cant hear any damage, the records are left with a shiny dimpled effect from the heat. Does this to happen to anyone else?
     
  7. vudicus

    vudicus Analog Dog

    Location:
    UK
    The only time I've had any issue was with 1970's US oil crisis era vinyl which ends up with the "Orange Peel" type look which I think you're describing there.

    What are you trying to flatten and how long are you leaving them in for?
     
  8. nosliw

    nosliw Azunyan! にゃーーー!

    Location:
    Ottawa, ON, Canada
    It hasn't occurred for the dozens of records that I flattened with the Groovy Pouch. Then again, mine is an older model and thus did not include a selectable setting. I believe the heat generated is on the low-end, instead of medium or high.
     
    patient_ot likes this.
  9. BKphoto

    BKphoto JazzAllDay

    Well, I’m going to have to use mine when I get home, my neighbor was supposed to grab a record I got in mail while I’m on vacation, he let it sit on my stoop all day in the sun....

    I’m sure it will be a salad bowl when I get home on Friday....ugh....
     
  10. Henrik_Swe

    Henrik_Swe New Member

    Anyone with experience of flattening 10" records? I've successfully flattened around 25 LPs, most at the recommended 2h with a handful needing increments up to 3h. No issues with any of them. I'm guessing the regular ring and starting at 1h 30 min would be sufficient, but would be interesting to get input.
     
  11. nosliw

    nosliw Azunyan! にゃーーー!

    Location:
    Ottawa, ON, Canada
    I don't own any warped 10" records but I would still use the 12" felt mats and time the heating process accordingly as usual, starting with 1.5 hours and going with 30 minutes increments.
     
    Henrik_Swe likes this.
  12. Henrik_Swe

    Henrik_Swe New Member

    Thanks, makes sense. I've got a stack of 10-15 warped 10" records, see how that goes.
     
  13. Jmoog

    Jmoog Active Member

    Location:
    Detroit, MI
    I just received my Vinyl Flat and Groovy Pouch. Mine has no temperature adjustment, just an On/Off switch. The instructions say to start off with an hour cook time and then to make 15 minute increases from there if no results are seen.

    The first record I tried was a 1970 RCA Records pressing of Julian Bream's "Art of Spanish Guitar" which had wavy edge warps in various places on the record.
    After heating up to an hour and a half in the vinyl flat I saw no difference.

    I decided to try a second record which was a 1971 pressing of George Crumb's "ancient voices of children" on the Nonesuch label. This record had a pretty bad dish warp. I decided to try 2 hours in the Vinyl Flat followed by a cooling period of around 10 hours. This morning when I took it out of the vinyl flat I noticed that it had "orange peeled" but only on a quarter to a third of the record. This must have been a result of uneven heating in the vinyl flat. I figured two hours wasn't a lot of time so maybe it was just the record itself.

    From now on I am sticking to that hour cook time and I'll slowly increase the time from there. For my more valuable records I may just use it without the Groovy Pouch and let the records sit for a couple of months.
     
  14. Misanthrope

    Misanthrope New Member

    Location:
    Poland
    Hello everyone,

    I've been using Vinyl Flat for a month, flattened over 20 records so far. The standard procedure is 8 hours on Low, followed by 10-12 hours of cooling. My pouch maintains a stable temperature of around 50C (120F). Virtually every record after one or two such cycles is perfectly flat. So overall the experiences are very positive. However, in some cases I noticed some very small dots / spots on the record surface after flattering in VF. All these "problematic" records were released by Nuclear Blast
    These dots are only visible against the light, especially in the dead wax region near the label. It is probably not the orange peel effects mentioned here. It looks more like a reflection of the felt structure. I didn't notice any impact on the sound quality either. Has anyone experienced something like this?

    As far as I know, Nuclear Blast records are pressed by Optimal in Germany. It was a thread about the quality problems of this pressing plant. Unfortunately, I can confirm. All Nulear Blast records I bought recently are warped at least to some degree.
     
  15. Henrik_Swe

    Henrik_Swe New Member

    This won't answer your question, but why do you run it at 120F only and for such a long time? The instructions says to try between 130-150F for 2 hours, see the result and proceed from there. I have mine on medium which is usually somewhere in between (140F), and most records are flattened in the first 2 hour cycle. The most I've had to do is 3 hours. Just curious if you err on the side of caution or what your "strategy" is...
     
  16. nosliw

    nosliw Azunyan! にゃーーー!

    Location:
    Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Are you sure it's not dust/dirt from the felt mats? Before I put my records through the Vinyl Flat, I always do a wet clean and dry with my record cleaning machine. Something to consider, FYI.

    I found the records pressed at Optimal Media GbmH tend to have warps and dirt/dust on them but Nuclear Blast would use GZ Media for some of their releases, which I also came across similar issues.
     
    All Down The Line likes this.
  17. Misanthrope

    Misanthrope New Member

    Location:
    Poland
    No, it is definitely not dirt or dust from the felt mat. These are marks on the record's surface, I'm pretty sure of that. As I said, they are only visible under LED light. If the record is dirty or dusty, I also do a wet cleaning before flattening in VF. I have Okki Nokki. As for the flattening itself. I think 120F is enought for most records, no need for more heat. My brother has been using VF for 10 years (the first model), in his opinion 8h is needed to make the record flat in one cycle. I have read this thread and some people keep records in the VF for 10 - 12 hours without any negative effects. I tried 3-4 hour cycles at first, but the results were not completely satisfactory. But maybe you're right, and 8 hours is just too long. I guess maybe a few 3-4 hours cycles would give the same result as one 8h cycle. I will post my future experiences :) For sure, cooling time is equally important, I recommend to keep the record in VF for at least 8-10h after turning off the heat.
     
  18. MRL_Audio

    MRL_Audio Forum Resident

    My experience with the Vinyl Flat and the pouch is that 2 hours NEVER takes care of the problem. I use 4 on the low end and will go to 6 on really bad issues. One tip I'd toss out, and it may have already been stated here, have not read the entire thread, I use 6 binder clips around the edge of the VF to hold the edge as tight as possible. You know those nasty edge warps are difficult to deal with and I have never been able to get rid of them to my satisfaction with just the VF. Added the clips and it was a marked improvement. Your mileage may vary.
     
    Dave Mac likes this.
  19. Henrik_Swe

    Henrik_Swe New Member

    Huh. Interesting. Nasty edge warps aside, 3 hours is the longest I've had to use the VF on a record, but the majority of the 20-25 records I've flattened so far only needed a 2h cycle. For those who didn't (180 gram, other factors), 15 min steps up to 2h 30 min has done it. No groove damage. Every pouch is different, maybe I was lucky with mine. Do you have the thermometer to check the temperature?
     
  20. Henrik_Swe

    Henrik_Swe New Member

    @Misanthrope - btw so the VF and GP are available in Europe? (I saw you're from Poland).
     
  21. MRL_Audio

    MRL_Audio Forum Resident

    With most things like this going low and slow is better than high and short... kinda like BBQing.
     
  22. wallabeing

    wallabeing Forum Resident

    Location:
    United States
    Maybe I'll throw one of my records in the smoker...hmmm
     
  23. Ctiger2

    Ctiger2 Forum Resident

    Location:
    US
    Low heat for a long time is the key. I do 8-12+ hrs at the lowest heat setting. Then let it cool for another 8. Works great.
     
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  24. Dave Mac

    Dave Mac Retired Sophisticated Gentleman Of Leisure

    At various points in these discussions people have complained of an "orange peel" effect seen on the record surfaces after heating/flattening (@BuyMeVinyl and @vudicus for instance.) Without going back through all of the posts and references to the Vinyl Flat throughout the Forum and at the risk of repeating something already suggested I have some advice:

    Parchment Paper.

    Look in your kitchen cupboard or just go to the grocery store (found with the Wax Paper and Foil) and buy a roll of your own then cut 2 pieces large enough to cover the record surface, punch holes for the spindle, and place a sheet on both sides of the LP. Then place the LP and the Parchment Paper in the Vinyl Flat between the felt pieces and cook for as long as you've found appropriate. These devices operate with a range of temperatures, no two heat exactly alike -- mine is pretty hot, and I've found the Parchment Paper which can easily withstand a 450 degree oven seems to protect the vinyl surface from the visual "orange peel" distortion.

    Don't use wax paper by mistake!

    As mentioned before different LP thicknesses require varying cooking times. I'm not sure how much (if any) minor insulating effect the paper may have (it's pretty thin) so your mileage may vary with the cooking time. It's been a while since I've used mine and I don't readily recall the times I'd established for different LPs but I'd only experienced one instance of the "orange peel" prior to using the Parchment Paper and none since.

    Bon Apetite!

    Dave Mac
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2020
  25. vudicus

    vudicus Analog Dog

    Location:
    UK
    Thanks for the tip, much appreciated.
     
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