Record Cleaning Machines

MylesBAstor

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2010
11,219
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New York City
#1
Record cleaning machines continue to sell extremely well, perhaps even better than turntables. Many of these machines are almost always backordered.

I remember scratching to find five RCF when I did my survey for Sounds Like magazine years ago. Today there's been an explosion in the number of record cleaning fluids including products from Record Time, VPI, Walker Audio, Audio Intelligent, LArt du Son, Keith Monks, MOFI, ROR Vinyl to name just a few. These include the standard fluid with surfactants, the newer non-enzyme fluids w/o surfactants and a few other combos.

What fluids have WBF forum members tried, compared and listened to and what are your faves?
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
#2
I saw one last year that I thought was ingenious. Can't remember who made it I remember that in addition to the cleaning fluid it also cleaned with a thread in the grooves as the record spun. IIRC it also wasn't cheap
 

kach22i

WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
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485
Ann Arbor, Michigan
www.kachadoorian.com
#3
I have the cheapest record cleaner you can get, the Record Doctor (Nitty Gritty knock-off) with Audio Advisor "Super Cleaner II". The machine is noisy, difficult to rotate by hand and heats up quickly, but it gets the job done.

A better machine is not on my top list of upgrades.

I have a portable steam cleaner made for drapes my wife gave me for the tough jobs, it kicks arse.
 

Gregadd

WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
7,135
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Metro DC
#4
I saw one last year that I thought was ingenious. Can't remember who made it I remember that in addition to the cleaning fluid it also cleaned with a thread in the grooves as the record spun. IIRC it also wasn't cheap

Loricraft PRC3. Excellent machine.
 

MylesBAstor

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2010
11,219
8
585
New York City
#7
I think you can get one for @ $3k. They have different models now.
So which would you go for? The Loricraft or the Keith Monks?
 

Jay_S

WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
309
1
16
San Francisco - East Bay
#8
I use the same Audio Advisor model as kach22i. It's very simple and really loud but has the virtue of being fairly compact. I don't have any complaints about the way this thing cleans. If the Record Doctor broke I would definitely need to buy a new one, or perhaps a VPI, immediately.
 

MylesBAstor

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2010
11,219
8
585
New York City
#9
I use the same Audio Advisor model as kach22i. It's very simple and really loud but has the virtue of being fairly compact. I don't have any complaints about the way this thing cleans. If the Record Doctor broke I would definitely need to buy a new one, or perhaps a VPI, immediately.
It does the job! It's nice to have some automation though :)

I find the question of how well does the RCM removes the fluid from the record surface/grooves a fascinating topic about fluid dynamics. Turns out that as more and more fluid is removed, it becomes harder and harder to remove the remaining fluid eg the trend out there for some machines to have more powerful suction or adjustable suction. Problem is, and found out the hard way (as I did with the original Teflon lipped NG machine years ago), misalignment of the suction tube can ruin one's records real quick :( So if you have a new machine, always try it out with a worthless record to make sure it's working and not gouging the grooves, etc.
 

MylesBAstor

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2010
11,219
8
585
New York City
#10
I have the cheapest record cleaner you can get, the Record Doctor (Nitty Gritty knock-off) with Audio Advisor "Super Cleaner II". The machine is noisy, difficult to rotate by hand and heats up quickly, but it gets the job done.

A better machine is not on my top list of upgrades.

I have a portable steam cleaner made for drapes my wife gave me for the tough jobs, it kicks arse.
Having tried quite a few, you do owe it to yourself to at least try the older RRL/MoFi RCF. It leaves less of itself on the record and one can hear how other fluids, esp. those with surfactants, tend to mute the highs and veil the soundstage. The RRL/MoFi really opens things up and it's not hideously expensive.
 

Gregadd

WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
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#11

MylesBAstor

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2010
11,219
8
585
New York City
#12
In the real world I would still go with the VPI 16.5.
Price no object Albert Porters KEITH MONKS BASED ODYSSEY MK V @$7.5K Imported by AXISS. http://cgim.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/vs.pl?vaslt&1022712214&viewitem&o20
That's interesting. Didn't know that Art had taken that line on!

Does the issue of the time it takes to clean each side of an lp with say a VPI/NG/Clearaudio/Hanna vs. say the Monks/Loricraft type machine bother you.

One other issue, though they say they've solved it, with the Monks type is that string.
 

Gregadd

WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
7,135
236
560
Metro DC
#13
Does the issue of the time it takes to clean each side of an lp with say a VPI/NG/Clearaudio/Hanna vs. say the Monks/Loricraft type machine bother you.

Back when I was into vinyl (still have my records) I enjoyed the"purification ritual." records can be pre-cleaned. I would then zap em with a Zerostat and give it a once-over with a carbon fiber brush from Audioquest.
 

MylesBAstor

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2010
11,219
8
585
New York City
#15
Are these the two best machines?
Hey Greg,

I'd like to know what the difference is between the Monks and the Loricraft. I'd also like to get ahold of one to try against the VPI.

Myles
 

Wardsweb

Well-Known Member
May 8, 2010
409
45
435
62
San Antonio, TX
wardswebllc.com
#16
I have been very happy with my SOTA. It is a little noisey but easy to use and very good at it's job.

 

Fred

Member
May 31, 2010
295
4
18
Covington, LA
#18
Hey Joe, good to see you around buddy. (BluRayFred here). I too use the VPI 16.5 but mix my own solution that works very well. For the rinse cycle it's nothing more than reverse osmosis purified, micron filtered Aquafina bottled water.
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
9,020
2,936
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#19
Audio Desk Systeme Vinyl Cleaner--hands down the best one-step cleaner!

I owned the VPI 16.5 RCM for 12 years and cleaned 3000-4000 lps with it. Then i owned the Loricraft PRC-3 for 5 years and cleaned another 1500 or so Lps. The Keith Monks uses the same approach as the Loricraft.

3 months ago i purchased the Audio Desk Systeme Vinyl Cleaner and have cleaned about 600 Lps with it.

there are other RCM's....and then there is the Audio Desk Systeme. nothing else is close as a one-step machine.

--it is literally one-step and push one button to start, and it's quiet enough to listen to records in the next room while another record is being cleaned. so you are listening while cleaning which is the very best thing about this unit.....you happily use the damn thing all the time! who cares about a good RCM which takes you away from listening, is a pain to use, or is too loud to be comfortable to use? not me any more.

--so how good a job of cleaning does it do? you place the lp upright into the machine and press the start button. you can vary the cleaning time based on how long you hold down the start button. first; the well fills up with the cleaning solution. then the Lp starts rotating and the 4 brushes rotate. the machine uses both friction from the brush and ultrasonic noise to clean the lps. it then blow dries the lp. this is significant. vacuuming Lps adds static to the record surface which attracts dirt. blow drying does not.

the result is a very clean Lp, particularly the deep cleaning of the grooves which lower the noise floor of the Lp. the Loricraft type machines do do a slightly better job of the removal of loose fine particles; however they don't do as good a job in the deep groove cleaning.

maybe in a perfect world you'd have 2 of these machines or a Loricraft machine sitting there to do a final rinse. for ultimate cleaning to perfection it would take 2 machines. but my perspective is get as close as you can with a RCM which allows you to listen to more music.

i know of some issues with the early production run of these machines. mine was produced in March of this year and i've not had an issue with over 600 Lps so far. think about it......how much music would you have had time to listen to if you had cleaned 600 Lps in the last 8 weeks? with any other RCM the answer would be 'almost none'! with this machine i've listened to more Lps "as i'm cleaning them" than i ever have listened to before when not cleaning them!

it does take a few Lps to get the hang of it....there is a learning curve like anything else. it's not cheap; but it does what it proports to do.

i could not be happier.
 

MylesBAstor

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2010
11,219
8
585
New York City
#20
Thanks for the comments on the AudioDeske! That machine caught my eye too! Tried more than life itself to get one from Robert at CES-but he said he was back ordered and wasn't interested in a review at the moment.
 

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