Record cleaning

Re: Record cleaning procedure

Postby Lewisranchmike » Sun Jan 11, 2015 7:09 pm

I first use my DIY ultrasonic cleaner to clean and get all dusts off. Next, I pull record from ultrasonic cleaner and rinse in DI water then lightly brush clean with 75% DI water, 25% Proponal and a few drops Triton X-114(surfactant) and do final DI rice and vacuum dry and immefiatly put in Mofi sleeve.


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Re: Record cleaning

Postby Harry » Mon Jan 12, 2015 12:32 pm

My experience is now really dense in this topic of USC VS Vacuum alone or USC and Vaccum together. There is no doubt that using any of the USC's and then rinsing in clean water gives a great but still unfulfilled listening experience. Cleaning on a USC be it home grown or commercial and then vacuuming with distilled water is the ultimate solution to getting a master tape sound.

I use my own version of the multiple record USC machine, clean four records at a time, remove them one at a time and vacuum them in my Cyclone bidirectionally using pure distilled water. This gives as close to master tape sound as I have ever heard off of a piece of vinyl.

Caveat - When compared to a master tape of the record you are cleaning it now appears to be softer in the high end and it looses a bit of the shimmer that is there on a non USC cleaned record. There definitely is something going on burnishing those grooves but for me it is so much cleaner I can live with it. Do not think you will get this result with air drying alone, it is good but leaves a residue, you are missing the last bit of detail you will only get from vacuuming the disc bidirectionally afterwards.

Listening system for reference: Ampex ATR-102 rebuilt by mike Spitz (same as used by Acoustic Sounds making the records) JBL Everest's, VPI Avenger with 12" 3D arm and Lyra Atlas balanced out, DSA phono section optimized for Atlas and balanced, ARC Ref 5SE preamp in balanced mode, pair of custom made Marantz Nines balanced in. This is a noiseless highly resolving system so I can hear everything that is going on.

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Re: Record cleaning

Postby babybird » Mon Jan 12, 2015 9:12 pm

Thanks for the follow up and update Harry. Good info and interesting stuff.
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Re: Record cleaning

Postby Myles B. Astor » Tue Feb 03, 2015 10:53 pm

Harry wrote:I have now collected three ultrasonic cleaning machines for inspection and use, plus I enjoy cleaning records!! For the most part they do a nice job, they definitely change the sound, but at the same time really bring out some new staging and textural details. My favorite is the one made by Dave R because it lets you do multiple records, is relatively easy to use, and there is no way for it to fail. The other two are extremely complicated, take a long time for one record, and still need to be dried at the end to really clean them.

Dave gets the prize but I did have to rebuild the entire rotisserie setup for rotating the records on a consistent basis, not heavy duty enough for me and my 10K+ records. The trick is to use Dave's machine ( do some mods if you are like me with a huge collection) and then vacuum off the records on a Cyclone or 16.5. You get the best of both worlds without stacking up records to dry and then having accidents you really don't want to happen ( lost a mint Basie 88 when it rolled out of the drying rack!!!!) while they are hanging out in a vertical position. Plus it still costs much less than the foreign made units and works better. BTW, the vacuuming does not put static back in the record, that happens from living in heated spaces!!


Hi Harry!

I've played with two of the three US machines (AD, KL) as well as your machines and just wanted to add my comments

1. Not sure what difficulty you ran into; both the AD and KL were as simple as one could get. Simply fill with water, drop in the LP and come back when the machine beeps. (unless you are referring to really dirty LPs.)

2. Drying. The AD is a little funkier than the KL machine but I never had any issue with drying on the KL. One or two mins was fine.

3. Cleaning times. It's actually all that different if you take into account many audiophiles use a multi-step cleaning process. So actually say the KL audio machine might actually take less time than say a Walker or AI process. You also didn't mention what how long you set the cleaning time for. I found that even for new records, five mins was clearly optimal even with the KL audio unit

4. What puzzles me is your observation of the loss of transient attack in the upper octaves. I could understand that with the AD as I feel the surfactant you add to the water affects the upper octaves (you can see I noted that in my KL audio review on PFO). And yes, I really hear the effect of and don't like surfactants in the cleaning solutions. Many audiophiles are reducing the amount of fluid added to the water in the AD machine. But I don't find that effect on the KLaudio. Like you, I have a fave LP (Mallets, Melody and Mayhem --one of HP long time favorites - on Columbia) that I use for upper octaves response, specifically the Worried Drummer Cut on side 2. There's no question (and I know we're using similar front ends) that after cleaning with the KL that there's better transient response, longer decay and a "shimmer" that wasn't there before before US cleaning on the triangle here. And I don't note any change in placement -- and I'm getting a huge soundstage with the Atlas or especially the Koetsu Azule Platinum. So I don't know if that was an anomaly or something weird with the CR (personally, I wouldn't use them for evaluating upper octaves) but I'd definitely go back and recheck my results.

Cheers and enjoy the warm weather!!!

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Re: Record cleaning

Postby Harry » Wed Feb 04, 2015 4:13 pm

Myles, my biggest gripe is these are expensive machines and one of them warped so badly I had to remake the brackets, the drying rack, and the mounting for the rotisserie in Delrin. The AD and KL definitely removes that sheen in the upper octaves that I hear from live cymbals or the top of a piano which could be related to the fluid used but I think it is more than that.

I was sitting at a bar in Aruba and was sandblasted by the blowing sand from the constant winds on those beaches, my nose actually turned red! It made me think of what was happening in these machines as we are pummeling the vinyl groove with the junk just removed. This isn't cleaning carburetors or jewelry, it is vinyl with ultra fine modulations some at the wavelengths of light and I think that is what is doing it. I will build a pump that will evacuate the water while it is running to keep it super clean and see if it is better but I'm not sure that will even do it fast enough. Any dirt removed from the record is immediately a ballistic missile in that bath water.

That being said, if you keep the cleaning to 5 minutes or less, keep the water pump running, and change water often, it is wonderful. But, I would never use it more than once and I always clean it again on a Cyclone when done because that non vacuum drying method does not work for me. I need to know that record is vacuumed off.

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Re: Record cleaning

Postby teenage diplomat » Wed Feb 04, 2015 6:09 pm

I have had only one experience with ultrasonic LP cleaning. At the DC audiofest two years ago the V8 fellow demoed his machine by cleaning 6 records I had bought at the show. I took them home and played them, and didn't like the results. Not only were highs duller than I anticipated the LPs all suffered from residual snap, crackle and pop. A trip through my aged, but very functional 16.5 brought them to life and quieted things down nicely. I went back to the Audiofest the next day and reported my results to the vendor, but he had no explanation for my experience. I didn't buy the machine. $1495.00 seemed too high a price to pay for a machine that didn't obviate the need to use my 16.5. Just my experience, YMMV. FYI: my typical cleaning process is to use a diskwasher to get off surface dust, wash with home brew fluid (distilled water, 91pct isopropyl, photoflow, and a drop of dish soap), vacuum, rinse with distilled, vacuum. I use 2 VPI brushes, one for wash, one for rinse.
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Re: Record cleaning

Postby Harry » Thu Feb 05, 2015 2:57 pm

Exactly my reaction to these machines, you must clean them anyways on a vacuum machine. There is definitely a burnishing of the grooves with the USM's and it really cleans but the record sounds different. The Take Five 45 RPM from Acoustic Sounds plays just like the master tape, you can clean it in a Cyclone or 16.5 and there is no change just cleaner, put it in any of the USM's and it sounds different. It sounds cleaner in the low end and mids but the sparkle is gone in the highs. I am not convinced on this subject yet. If I was I would make one with vacuum built in, believe me it is easier than making the Direct Drive!!!! Be careful if you get one, keep the time as short as possible.

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Re: Record cleaning

Postby JerryF » Sun Feb 08, 2015 2:11 pm

Hi Harry,

Just wondering if you are using a 40KHz or 60 KHz ultrasonic cleaner?.

I have been researching this subject as I plan to build my own and found there seems to be some consensus that the 60KHz units have a gentler cleaning action and the ability to reach into smaller areas.

I am curious if you are using a 40KHz? Could that possibly be the reason your are hearing the “burnishing” ???

Here are 2 links to articles on the subject if found. ... n-bubbles/

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Re: Record cleaning

Postby Harry » Sun Feb 08, 2015 9:46 pm

I'm nuts, when I investigate something I do it. I have a 40K and 60K machine that I bought on line and a multi record holder I picked up on E-bay, it lets you mount the records using magnets and has a multi-speed drive motor. I hear a tiny difference between the machines but not enough to matter, I hear bigger differences with length of drive time on the rotating motor. I'm best at 10 minutes and 7 volts of power to the DC motor. Listened to a copy of Charlie Byrd on Crystal Clear 45 RPM and it blew me away. I play that all the time to show you can put a real drum set in the listening room at realistic levels and now you have the drum set with crucial timing of the other instruments audible. This is exciting gain.

I am in clean record heaven but I still hear that slight softening and I still vacuum afterwards because the US doesn't take off some finger grease caused noises and other weird things but doing the US and Cyclone makes the record better than new. I'm talking about records I bought in the 50's and 60's, I kept them in great shape but they still became noisy, the noise is gone with this process. William Steinberg on Command and the Kingston Trio on Capitol have completely come back to life, actually better than new!!

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Re: Record cleaning

Postby tom collins » Sun Feb 08, 2015 11:03 pm

that byrd record is da bomb. it will let you know if your system is up to snuff allright. all drum kits should be recorded like that.
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