KL Audio RCM

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
6,546
1,585
340
North Shore of Boston
#1
I have now cleaned quite a few LPs with my new KL Audio RCM. I have tried different cleaning cycle times and drying cycle times. I have mostly cleaned records that have been previously cleaned with my Loricraft Audio PC-4 Deluxe machine using a four step process with the AIVS fluids. I had thought these LPs were already very clean, but the KL Audio further improves the way they sound. Most LPs were cleaned with one five-minute wash cycle and one four-minute dry cycle. The handful of records that had quite a few ticks and pops were cleaned with two five-minute wash cycles followed by one four-minute dry cycle.

I also bought a sound proof enclosure called the Silencer. Here are the results of its efficacy using my Radio Shack SPL meter, dB C weighted:

1. Wash cycle - 70 dB, with Silencer, 52 dB
2. Dry cycle - 71 dB, with Silencer, 55 dB

The interesting thing is that the wash cycle sounds much louder, but it is a higher frequency noise. The noise even with the Silencer, is somewhat annoying because of the high frequencies to which I am sensitive. I had thought I could clean a batch of 10 LPs while reading/working at the computer, but now I’m not so sure. I want to protect these ears and high frequencies irritate me. Unfortunately, I may have to move the machine to a different location, further away from my desk. The dry cycle is fine, just a mild fan noise.

I still have to try cleaning records that have not been previously cleaned with the Loricraft, and I may try reversing the order to see if the Loricraft improves LPs that have already been cleaned with the KL Audio. I should add the obvious: this is the most convenient cleaning machine that I have ever tried. It is a joy to use and it is built to a very high standard.

I am very impressed with the cleaning results that I have gotten so far. The LPs look pristine when they are finished and they are completely dry. I had bought this machine thinking it would simply be more convenient to use than my Loricraft, and it might eliminate a few ticks/pops. Boy was I in for a surprise. I am reminded by what an experienced analog guy once wrote. I think it was either Doug Deacon or Mike Lavigne. Paraphrasing: “A good cleaning method is not so much about removing pops and ticks as it is about hearing more into the music.” A clean record allows you to hear more information and become more deeply involved in the listening.

Hall information: My very first impression was from hearing Cantata Domino, Proprius PROP 7762, and being shocked at how much larger the stone cathedral in which it was recorded sounded. At first I thought the singers were further back in the soundstage, but the more I listened, the more I realized they were standing in the same place in my room, but now my room boundaries further disappeared and I was hearing those singers in the vast space. The reverberations from the voices and organ were cleaner and better defined the dimensions and character of the recording venue.

Resolution: The next impression was from the Janaki String Trio, Yarlung. I heard an increased sense of, and appreciation for, the contrast between string texture, the movement of the bow against the strings, and the resonance of the wooden instruments’ bodies. The three instruments were more distinct sounding, the timbres more unique and accurate, and the overall impression was more natural. The sense of clarity increased. The overwhelming impression I get from hearing the BSO is the incredible clarity of the sound. This string trio now reminded me of that. On “This One’s for Blanton”, the piano sounded less “tinkly”. Brown’s bass had more body, more fullness, and it was more extended. I became very aware, for the first time, of Brown’s fingers moving up and down the neck and squeezing the strings. On “For Duke”, M&K RealTime Records, the brass was extraordinarily dynamic and the sound was piercing, but it was less shrill, less fatiguing. It just sounded cleaner, less distorted and more natural.

Room fill: At some point a couple of years ago I began to pay attention to the distinction between the size and location of the instruments or voice within the soundstage and the sound as it leaves those images and fills the space around them and then the listening room. The newly cleaned records now produce an even greater amount of room filling sound. It is as though the sound from the instruments, voice, piano, violin, trumpet, is greater and freer, leaving its source to more completely fill the listening room with its energy. The sound is more effortless, more enveloping.

My audio friend Al M. came over last night to listen to my newly cleaned records. After hearing a few, we listened to my recording of Beethoven’s “Kreutzer” Sonata with Heifetz on RCA Victor Living Stereo, LSC-2577. I had not yet cleaned it. We listened to the first movement and he remarked on the quality of the sound of the violin, the transients, the tone, but he said that the piano did not have quite as much body as he has heard before from this recording in other systems. I then took Al upstairs to demonstrate the use of the KL Audio RCM. We listened to the first movement again without changing anything else. He heard the differences immediately and said that the piano sounded fuller and much better now. The violin also had more energy.

At the end of the listening session, I asked him for his thoughts. We did not want to influence the other with our own thoughts, so Al asked for a piece of paper and wrote down his impressions. I then told him how I thought the KL Audio improved/changed the sound of my LPs. I basically described what I wrote above. He then told me what he had written on the Post-It Note: 1. Cleaner, 2. More energy, 3. More body of piano.

We heard pretty much the same thing. The improvements are easily audible in my system. The KL Audio RCM has increased my enjoyment of my music collection. I had been contemplating buying one for some time now and am very glad I finally did it. It allows me to hear deeper into the music. I am still experimenting with how to optimize its use, and it does indeed reduce the numbers of pops and ticks, though it has not yet fully eliminated them on some of my records. Perhaps it never will. I may try multiple repeat washing cycles on one LP to see if I can get it really silent without damaging the vinyl.

What a great addition to my vinyl system.

DSC_4162.jpg
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
#2
Congrats Peter

I love mine

They do come out clean and dry and sonic improvements are just as you state
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
7,794
2,121
490
Beverly Hills, CA
#3
Congratulations, Peter!

I look forward to getting this machine when the time comes.
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
6,546
1,585
340
North Shore of Boston
#4
Thank you Steve and Ron. When introspection tells me that something as simple as cleaning a record can produce results similar to a preamp or cartridge upgrade, celebrations are in order. I am pretty thrilled by the difference it makes. And when it comes to the increased convenience relative to my Loricraft/four-step, 25 minutes per side routine, one can be forgiven for a bit of hyperbole.
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
13,809
3,127
530
London
#5
Excellent write-up
 

cuntigh

Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2014
216
5
50
FRANCE
#6
Congrats Peter,
Like you I have a KLAudio and a Keith Monks with 4 steps AIVS and my beloved L'Art du Son. I like both machines and can't decide to sell one. I know it is stupid but can't decide to let one leave the home. All my records have been cleaned with both and I don't buy new records that often.
 
Jan 29, 2012
1,690
873
210
#7
Nice write up Peter. I had a nice chat with Mike L who has owned most cleaning machines over his audiophile life. He convinced me to buy the KL Audio and I'm happy I listened!
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
8,662
2,324
450
#8
Congrats Peter,
Like you I have a KLAudio and a Keith Monks with 4 steps AIVS and my beloved L'Art du Son. I like both machines and can't decide to sell one. I know it is stupid but can't decide to let one leave the home. All my records have been cleaned with both and I don't buy new records that often.
a few years ago I had three RCM's; a KLaudio, the Audio Desk, and the Loricraft PAA4 (same as Keith Monks).

the first decision was easy; the Audio Desk got sold. the KLAudio worked the same but better. I used the KLaudio for my finish cleaning and the Loricraft for the deep cleaning with chemicals. the Audio desk was the odd man out. I found that I would rarely use the Loricraft, so it got sold. and the last 4 years I've only had the KLaudio and never missed the other 2 machines.

if I needed a 'deep cleaning' machine now for use of chemicals and such I'd buy something cheaper than the Loricraft. likely a VPI 16.5 or like that. and then finish clean with the KLaudio. these days few records need chemicals in my particular situation.
 

asiufy

Industry Expert/VIP Donor
Jul 8, 2011
3,553
527
225
San Diego, CA
almaaudio.com
#9
Or you could've kept the Audio Desk, which does both, deep cleaning with chemicals + gentle(r) ultrasound :)
That's my choice, and I've pretty much had the same revelatory experience as Peter, specially since I like to dig through obscure albums from off the beaten path countries, and those generally come pretty filthy...


cheers,
alex
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
8,662
2,324
450
#10
Or you could've kept the Audio Desk, which does both, deep cleaning with chemicals + gentle(r) ultrasound :)
That's my choice, and I've pretty much had the same revelatory experience as Peter, specially since I like to dig through obscure albums from off the beaten path countries, and those generally come pretty filthy...


cheers,
alex
at that time, the Audio Desk had had a history of break-downs. I'd had 3 separate Audio Desk machines. I think since then the Audio Desk has become a very reliable machine, so I don't want to suggest that now it still has issues......I've heard of none for years. but it was an issue then.

and the KLaudio was a little better at a final clean. Peter, the KLaudio guy, is local and I got one of the first one's sold.

as far as a gentler clean I've not had any issues with any effects of harm to the vinyl that with the KLaudio over the years.
 

asiufy

Industry Expert/VIP Donor
Jul 8, 2011
3,553
527
225
San Diego, CA
almaaudio.com
#11
Gotcha :)

But either one of the ultrasound machines are mandatory for the hardcore vinyl heads!
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
#12
as far as a gentler clean I've not had any issues with any effects of harm to the vinyl that with the KLaudio over the years.
I spoke to Ki several years ago on this very issue when I bought mine. Ki told me they did tests on possible degradation of the vinyl with ultrasound. Contrary to the urban myths that there was damage, Ki assured me that even at many times the strength of the KL Audio ultrasound there was no damage
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
6,546
1,585
340
North Shore of Boston
#13
I spoke to Ki several years ago on this very issue when I bought mine. Ki told me they did tests on possible degradation of the vinyl with ultrasound. Contrary to the urban myths that there was damage, Ki assured me that even at many times the strength of the KL Audio ultrasound there was no damage
Yes, I asked Tim about this yesterday, and he confirmed that as well.
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
8,662
2,324
450
#14
Yes, I asked Tim about this yesterday, and he confirmed that as well.
when tested in a lab, the 'grey matter' found in the bottom of the reservoir was pulverized dust, not vinyl bits. it's why the KLaudio is unsurpassed as a finish cleaner. it's perfect as a maintenance cleaner for a mature collection or light cleaning for new records or well cared for used records. you might need a kitchen sink for the occasional stinker.
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
6,546
1,585
340
North Shore of Boston
#15
when tested in a lab, the 'grey matter' found in the bottom of the reservoir was pulverized dust, not vinyl bits. it's why the KLaudio is unsurpassed as a finish cleaner. it's perfect as a maintenance cleaner for a mature collection or light cleaning for new records or well cared for used records. you might need a kitchen sink for the occasional stinker.
That is reassuring Mike. I am curious about the mold release compound residue often left on LPs. I am going to follow the advice given to me to not yet sell my Loricraft. I do like the vacuum nozzle approach to drying over the fan of the US units because of residue that may be left behind. I want to do some direct comparisons between cleaning a couple of new double LP sets, one record with the KL Audio first and then the Loricraft + 4-step AIVS, and the other record with the Lori first followed by the KL Audio to see if I hear any difference. Bill Hart has gotten the best results by using a combination of two machines.

On other forums, there is also discussion about the temperature of the cleaning solutions and the advantages of some agitation/scrubbing and detergents in the Audio Desk unit. I'm open to all of the possibilities. Some of this borders on the obsessive, just like individual VTA settings for LPs, but I enjoy improving the sonics without spending a lot more on my system. There is always a balance that everyone has to find for himself. There is no doubt that the KL Audio machine is the most convenient using only distilled water, pushing a button and walking away. Incredible.
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
13,809
3,127
530
London
#16

About us

  • What’s Best Forum is THE forum for high-end audio, product reviews, advice and sharing experiences on the best of everything else. A place where audiophiles and audio companies discuss existing and new audio products, music servers, music streamers and computer audio, digital to audio converters, turntables, phono stages, cartridges, reel to reel, speakers, headphones, tube amplifiers and solid state amplification. Founded in 2010 What's Best Forum invites intelligent and courteous people of all interests and backgrounds to describe and discuss the best of everything. From beginners to life-long hobbyists to industry professionals we enjoy learning about new things and meeting new people and participating in spirited debates.

Quick Navigation

User Menu

Steve Williams
Site Founder | Site Owner | Administrator
Ron Resnick
Site Co-Owner | Administrator
Julian (The Fixer)
Website Build | Marketing Managersing