Joe Cohen's DIY Record Cleaning Machine

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
#1
From Joe Cohen

Here is a link to my blog on building a simple and inexpensive but highly effective articulated vibrating brush for your existing cleaning machine. Please let me know if you try it and what you learn.

https://www.lotusgroupusa.com/blog/archives/04-2020
 
Likes: kach22i

kach22i

WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
1,448
153
225
Ann Arbor, Michigan
www.kachadoorian.com
#2
I might have to do something like that.

I was somewhat disappointed tonight after cleaning an old Julie London LP four times at 2 to 3 minutes each time.

New fancy $35 brush and an enzyme cleaner people raved about.

I spent so much time cleaning that I heard only one LP tonight, that one and it still wasn't very clean.

Edit:
Should there be a "k" in front of the Hz figures posted?

35kHz?

https://www.kirmussaudio.net/index.php?route=information/information&information_id=10
 
Last edited:

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
1,576
1,084
230
the Upper Midwest
#3
I might have to do something like that.

I was somewhat disappointed tonight after cleaning an old Julie London LP four times at 2 to 3 minutes each time.

New fancy $35 brush and an enzyme cleaner people raved about.

...
For really dirty records, try keeping the enzyme on the record for a longer period of time, say 10 minutes per side. You may need to add a bit of fluid so it doesn't dry out. Gently agitate the fluid with the brush while you stand there. One of the reasons for the popularity of ultrasonic machines.

Then again, the problem with some records is not dirt - in Julie's case maybe its not the cleaner or the brush.

And there's always that question: when should I stop cleaning?
 

kach22i

WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
1,448
153
225
Ann Arbor, Michigan
www.kachadoorian.com
#4
For really dirty records, try keeping the enzyme on the record for a longer period of time, say 10 minutes per side. You may need to add a bit of fluid so it doesn't dry out. Gently agitate the fluid with the brush while you stand there. One of the reasons for the popularity of ultrasonic machines.

Then again, the problem with some records is not dirt - in Julie's case maybe its not the cleaner or the brush.

And there's always that question: when should I stop cleaning?
In retrospect all the friction caused by multiple cleanings may have induced static into the LP.

In addition those old LP's may be thicker throwing my VTA off, and that increases surface noise.

I will check out these theories tonight.

This alternative methods of record cleaning via modification topic interests me. So much so that while looking outside normal avenues I found pond misting pucks (fogger), ultrasonic welders and transducers.

I sort of came up with a KISS method of my own as a result.

I might take my direct drive Technics and remove the headshell from the tonearm. Then attach somehow one of my wet record brushes, and using the counterweight of the tonearm set a very light amount of pressure.

To top it all off, set the table on top of my subwoofer and play one of those deep organ CD's I have. Not an ultrasonic shaker, a low frequency shaker.

If I do this I will post it, just try not to laugh.

I have to turn my Record Doctor by hand, so Joe C's DIY will not work for me.
 
Last edited:

TooCool4

Well-Known Member
Feb 7, 2013
198
114
125
England
#5
If you have a very dirty record and you don’t want to go the record cleaner route, give Record Revirginizer a go.
 

kach22i

WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
1,448
153
225
Ann Arbor, Michigan
www.kachadoorian.com
#6
If you have a very dirty record and you don’t want to go the record cleaner route, give Record Revirginizer a go.
Thanks, but somehow the challenge interests me.

I may have steamed cleaned this LP 15 years ago and attempted to Orbitrac it in addition to RCM and antistatic brushing. Some LP's might just be unsalvageable.
 

TooCool4

Well-Known Member
Feb 7, 2013
198
114
125
England
#7
Some LP's might just be unsalvageable.
That is why the Record Revirginizer is worth trying, if it can’t clean the record then the chances are the record is unsalvageable.
I use the Loricraft PRC-3 for all my records new or second hand, if that does not work then it's the Record Revirginizer.
 
Likes: kach22i

kach22i

WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
1,448
153
225
Ann Arbor, Michigan
www.kachadoorian.com
#8
I used a manual not digital caliper to measure the Julie London LP against a typical one in my collection - same thickness.

I measured my old Dual rubber mat against the heavier Pioneer linear tonearm mat, the lighter Dual mat is a good 1mm thinner so I tried it just now in an attempt to play with VTA.

I also brushed the record both sides while grounding my body to it by holding it like a pizza tray in conjunction with a Hunt carbon fiber brush.

Either I'm now used to the surface noise on this LP or it is actually a lot less annoying now.

I can truly focus on the vocals without it being work.

When I close my eyes a pure phantom center is there with minor ticks R&L that no longer compromise the performance to a level of distraction.

Very far from perfect, but no longer makes me cringe or get upset.

Considering what I'm working with perhaps getting a better copy in good condition would be the best solution.

She has an outer and inner liner now, that is the least I can do.

I'm told finding one in good condition is rather difficult from a fellow that uses "Julie is her name" as his avatar at AK.

This cleaning episode brings up an interesting question.

Is it best to play an LP fresh off the RCM, or wait a time 24-48 hours?

Roberto once said in the Martin Logan section that an LP should not be played again for another 48 hours I think it was to allow it to cool down.

Should a freshly cleaned Record also be allowed to rest for a couple of days before playing?

And if friction causes static, and there is friction in cleaning, then discharging said static must be done prior to playing, right?

What's the best way to do that?

EDIT:

Cleaned the LP again, this time 8-10 minutes each side. Plus two distilled water rinses sucked off with RCM.

The rinse is noticeable, takes any remnants of a cloudy haze away (visual/shinny).

I then pumped/waved/fanned record in front of our Ionic Breeze by Sharper Image (Quadra) to maybe remove static built up during cleaning.

I can still hear lots of noise, but the amount of musical information has bloomed like spring.

EDIT-2:

The second LP that received similar cleaning is a used Original Master Recording of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.

In a word - Wow!

It was all worth it, and then some.
 
Last edited:

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
1,576
1,084
230
the Upper Midwest
#9
Cleaned the LP again, this time 8-10 minutes each side. Plus two distilled water rinses sucked off with RCM.

The rinse is noticeable, takes any remnants of a cloudy haze away (visual/shinny).

I then pumped/waved/fanned record in front of our Ionic Breeze by Sharper Image (Quadra) to maybe remove static built up during cleaning.

I can still hear lots of noise, but the amount of musical information has bloomed like spring.
Good to know that you heard improvement when giving longer time for the enzymes to work. My guess is the noise you still hear is not from dirt on the record.
 

TooCool4

Well-Known Member
Feb 7, 2013
198
114
125
England
#10
This cleaning episode brings up an interesting question.

Is it best to play an LP fresh off the RCM, or wait a time 24-48 hours?

Roberto once said in the Martin Logan section that an LP should not be played again for another 48 hours I think it was to allow it to cool down.

Should a freshly cleaned Record also be allowed to rest for a couple of days before playing?
I clean the record then i use Furutech Destat III, then i just play the record. As far as i am concerned no need to wait as long as the record is dry. I know some people do like to play records wet to reduce the surface noise, it’s not something i have ever tried nor would want to try.
 

kach22i

WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
1,448
153
225
Ann Arbor, Michigan
www.kachadoorian.com
#11
From Joe Cohen

Here is a link to my blog on building a simple and inexpensive but highly effective articulated vibrating brush for your existing cleaning machine. Please let me know if you try it and what you learn.

https://www.lotusgroupusa.com/blog/archives/04-2020
Just a wild thought.

Is there a remote danger that if the record is allowed to go dry, the bristles of the brush can be ultrasonically welded to record?

This popped into my head as I was dreaming up alternatives on my manual machine that included replacing the puck that covers the lable with a ultrasonic transducer.

I decided that the transducer may weld it's self to the lable or transmit vibrations into the RCM so that motor windings, solder joints, box enclosure glue joints, box cladding finish, and even my body joints should I remain in prolonged contact could all be compromised or stressed.

Just a fearful thought born of ignorance, but could this be of concern just vibrating a little brush is the question.

EDIT::

I suspect the reason there was no "k" in front of the Hz figures is that these things have already been considered.
 
Last edited:

Joe Cohen

Industry Expert
Jun 10, 2012
37
34
93
#12
I used a manual not digital caliper to measure the Julie London LP against a typical one in my collection - same thickness.

I measured my old Dual rubber mat against the heavier Pioneer linear tonearm mat, the lighter Dual mat is a good 1mm thinner so I tried it just now in an attempt to play with VTA.

I also brushed the record both sides while grounding my body to it by holding it like a pizza tray in conjunction with a Hunt carbon fiber brush.

Either I'm now used to the surface noise on this LP or it is actually a lot less annoying now.

I can truly focus on the vocals without it being work.

When I close my eyes a pure phantom center is there with minor ticks R&L that no longer compromise the performance to a level of distraction.

Very far from perfect, but no longer makes me cringe or get upset.

Considering what I'm working with perhaps getting a better copy in good condition would be the best solution.

She has an outer and inner liner now, that is the least I can do.

I'm told finding one in good condition is rather difficult from a fellow that uses "Julie is her name" as his avatar at AK.

This cleaning episode brings up an interesting question.

Is it best to play an LP fresh off the RCM, or wait a time 24-48 hours?

Roberto once said in the Martin Logan section that an LP should not be played again for another 48 hours I think it was to allow it to cool down.

Should a freshly cleaned Record also be allowed to rest for a couple of days before playing?

And if friction causes static, and there is friction in cleaning, then discharging said static must be done prior to playing, right?

What's the best way to do that?

EDIT:

Cleaned the LP again, this time 8-10 minutes each side. Plus two distilled water rinses sucked off with RCM.

The rinse is noticeable, takes any remnants of a cloudy haze away (visual/shinny).

I then pumped/waved/fanned record in front of our Ionic Breeze by Sharper Image (Quadra) to maybe remove static built up during cleaning.

I can still hear lots of noise, but the amount of musical information has bloomed like spring.

EDIT-2:

The second LP that received similar cleaning is a used Original Master Recording of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.

In a word - Wow!

It was all worth it, and then some.
It’s the vacuuming that causes static. I usually limit vacuuming to three complete rotations. Sometimes if I’m not being lazy I will put it in the Acoustic Revive LP demagnetizer (RL-30 MKIII) for a couple of rounds after.
 

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