How often do you find yourself in the middle of a session, pulling cables in and out, wiggling connectors from side to side, or turning knobs back and forth, hoping to get rid of that intermittent but ever-returning crackle? The first incarnation of my home studio was wired around a 1/4'' patchbay. With 1/4'' TRS connectors on both the front and back of the bay, these suckers are notorious for suffering from oxide-induced noise. I got tired of "exercising" all the connectors on the back before each session, so I finally invested in a pair of CAIG cleaning products. According to the labels on the two spray cans, DeoxIT "improves conductivity, deoxidizes, seals and protects connectors and contacts" - and PreservIT "preserves conductivity, lubricates and protects connectors and contacts." I first treated the patchbay and all associated cable ends with DeoxIt, pulling the cables in and out to help scrape off the oxide buildup. I followed with a light coating of PreservIT. For many months afterwards, the patchbay never bothered me again. Nowadays, I have a soldered TT patchbay that's much less prone to noise, but the cleaners are still a necessity for many other things. The switches on some of my soon-to-be-vintage gear, the edge connectors on the amplifier cards in my tape decks, the cheap pots used by Aphex, the battery contacts on my cell phone, the relay panel under the leaky dashboard of my friend's VW Golf... I can think of a bajillion recent uses. And even after four years of cleaning and preserving all sorts of electrical things, I'm still on my original cans of cleaner and preserver! It's surprising how just a small squirt of the stuff works so well. ($8 to $9 per can,

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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