Record Cleaning Machines

Johnny Vinyl

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
May 16, 2010
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Hello, John. Those are good suggestions. How is the humidity level in your listening room? IIRC, you have a carpet that you most likely walk across that may be introducing unwanted electrical charges as well. Adjusting the humidity level may thwart some of the static buildup.

Tom
Good morning Tom. The humidity level seems fine as I'm not getting any charges when touching my system or anything else I do around the apartment. I'm quite convinced it's the RCM's doing.
 

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
Sep 6, 2010
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In Singapore, where relative humidity is often above 95%, any residual fluid won't evaporate and so I run 5 - 6 revs under vacuum. In Summer in Seattle, where relative humidity is much, much lower, I have gone as far down as 1 rev under vacuum. If you do a distilled/RO water rinse, then if the grooves are still a little wet, it won't hurt. And if the grooves are a little wet, it will reduce static further.
 

MylesBAstor

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Apr 20, 2010
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New York City
In Singapore, where relative humidity is often above 95%, any residual fluid won't evaporate and so I run 5 - 6 revs under vacuum. In Summer in Seattle, where relative humidity is much, much lower, I have gone as far down as 1 rev under vacuum. If you do a distilled/RO water rinse, then if the grooves are still a little wet, it won't hurt. And if the grooves are a little wet, it will reduce static further.
But that residual (just as moisture from blowing on the record) water will crud up the stylus as shown by Peter Ledermann. :(
 

garylkoh

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But that residual (just as moisture from blowing on the record) water will crud up the stylus as shown by Peter Ledermann. :(
That's why I mentioned a distilled/RO water rinse. If you have reagent-grade water, it'll be even better.
 

allvinyl

Well-Known Member
Apr 10, 2013
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RCM + Ultrasonic Methodology

In Singapore, where relative humidity is often above 95%, any residual fluid won't evaporate and so I run 5 - 6 revs under vacuum. In Summer in Seattle, where relative humidity is much, much lower, I have gone as far down as 1 rev under vacuum. If you do a distilled/RO water rinse, then if the grooves are still a little wet, it won't hurt. And if the grooves are a little wet, it will reduce static further.
All - I recently discovered the following regimen which is giving me pause to think I need to re-clean my entire collection... uggghhhh!

Hardware: VPI 17F, Last applicator brush, UltrasonicRecords V8 with water heated to 25 to 30 C, Audio Intelligent Enzyme fluid, Distilled water, 3, 4 drops PhotoFlo(the UR V8 takes 2 gal distilled water in which I put 3 drops PF), rubber coated dish rack.

1. Using a clean Last applicator(those white or gold thin plastic handled brushes) I apply AI Enzyme fluid. The painful part is holding the brush lightly on the LP as is spins for a total of between 2 to 3 minutes of continuous fluid agitation reversing the direction of the 17F turntable every 20 - 30 seconds. You develop a "feel" for when the fluid has done its thing.
2. Vacuum off the fluid(I've been using 5 revolutions to assure as dry a record as is possible with the 17F. Amazingly, I have not been able to generate any static. Kinda wierds me out.)
3. Place LP on the UR spindle.
4. Repeat steps 1, 2 seven more times til I have 8 LPs on the UR spindle.
5. Run the usual 10 minute cycle through the V8.
6. Place LPs in dish rack to air dry.

I tried the AI (Listener Select) brush for applying/agitating the fluid but it pales in results to the Last applicator. It's amazing how you can feel the fluid do the work. You just have to stand there and hold the brush on the LP as it spins, reversing occasionally.

I am completely aghast, in a good way, how transparent, click/pop/tick/STATIC free, open, (you name a superlative) LPs are after this process. Next step is to replace the distilled with reagent water in the V8.

John
 

topoxforddoc

Well-Known Member
Feb 20, 2015
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Cheltenham, UK
I use an old Keith Monks RCM. It's an early machine (probably 35-40 years old) and still going strong. Built like a proverbial tank - works really well. What's not to like? This one should see me out. I'm not sure that you could say that about all of the newer ultrasonic machines - how many of these will still be working in 10 years, let alone 40?
 
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Stump

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Jul 15, 2012
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Nitty Gritty have been around a while.I dont used since I have a KLAudio which are now no longer made..


 

kach22i

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Apr 21, 2010
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Been reading that cleaning adds static.

What is the best way to remove static for good?

Now I read this:

https://www.sleevecityusa.com/GEM-Dandy-Hydraulic-Record-Cleaning-Apparatus-p/gem-dandy.htm
Vacuum machines can damage your record, both by flattening the lands, the delicate raised areas that separate the grooves, with the force of suction and by drying cleaning fluid prematurely with the blast of air being sucked into the machine, sometimes even picking up dust from the surroundings and dragging it across the surface of your record.]
 

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
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Been reading that cleaning adds static.

What is the best way to remove static for good?

Now I read this:

https://www.sleevecityusa.com/GEM-Dandy-Hydraulic-Record-Cleaning-Apparatus-p/gem-dandy.htm
Vacuum machines can damage your record, both by flattening the lands, the delicate raised areas that separate the grooves, with the force of suction and by drying cleaning fluid prematurely with the blast of air being sucked into the machine, sometimes even picking up dust from the surroundings and dragging it across the surface of your record.]
There is little unique about cleaning a record that causes static beyond any other object rubbed in contact with something (like a brush.) Electrons move, electrical charge builds up.

I don't know of a way to remove static permanently from records. Even pulling a record from its plastic sleeve can cause static build up, although there are sleeves that claim to be antistatic. Try increasing the humidity in your home. Short term, the Zerostat gun can remove static, sorta. Furutech makes two different anti-static brushs that work. There is an interesting electrical device from DS Audio called the DS-Ionizer; it was discussed in a thread here on WBF and costs north of $1500..

--> Do not put stuff on your records like Gruv Glide or anti-static sprays.

The quote you offered sounds like it was written by someone trying to sell you a product by saying something negative about alternative products. Imo, I'd pay no attention to either it or that product.

Vacuuming a record can be a source of static. Vacuum machines vacuum, they do not clean - the cleaning is left to you. The better vacuum machines are from Monks and Loricraft; they don't use brushes placed around a suction slot (eg VPI) but rather a nozzle that rides across the record like a tonearm. Ultrasonic machines clean but don't vacuum. The biggest challenge for ultrasonic is drying the record. See my article here for a discussion.

There are other threads in this sub-forum that discuss various off-the-rack machines and DIY alternatives for cleaning records.
 

kach22i

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Apr 21, 2010
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Thanks for the reply tima.

Took me almost two hours yesterday to clean up my old Record Doctor, and getting the 20 year old adhesive strips off was not fun.

However, I am now cleaning records, with hearing protection on. Cueing up a record with ear protection on because I forgot to take them off was a bit funny.
 

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
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Thanks for the reply tima.

Took me almost two hours yesterday to clean up my old Record Doctor, and getting the 20 year old adhesive strips off was not fun.

However, I am now cleaning records, with hearing protection on. Cueing up a record with ear protection on because I forgot to take them off was a bit funny.
Congrats - cleaning records is a good thing!

I had a Record Doctor years back. It was my first machine. It does need new lips from time to time - keep those lips clean and rinse records well with distilled water. Iirc it was loud; I guess that's why you're using ear plugs. The fluid sucked off goes into a sponge inside the box where its supposed to evaporate. Eventually the bottom of the particle board box kinda rotted on mine. But its a start.

I think the latest Clearaudio machine is around $6k.

How many records to you have to clean?
 

kach22i

WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
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How many records to you have to clean?
I have a 6' x 6' Ikea Kallax 75 percent full of records.

On a few records there are familiar non-removable pops/ticks using the Nitty Gritty nylon brush.

I have good luck getting such things out with a drapery steamer but it is a harrowing thing to put an LP through for just one or two slight imperfections.

I'm considering better fluid and a better brush for starters.

One recent comment stated the record cleaning machine only sucks the fluid off, that the user cleans the record with the brush.

So which brush?

Lots of talk about fluids and enzymes in this thread, very little about brushes unless they are part of a fully auto machine.
 

kach22i

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Apr 21, 2010
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Thanks, that is the brand I was looking at. Was not sure about the brush.

Looks like No. 6 will fit my life style as I can use a drapery steamer for the really narly stuff.

Quote:
Designed with agitation in mind, Osage Audio, another of Jim's brands, offers Listener Select brushes sized for 12", 10" or 7" records ($29 each).

I could not decide between the MoFi brush and the Osage.

Leaning towards the Osage as I also have a Nitty Gritty in an unopened package.
 

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
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You're welcome. When I wrote that, I got to try the Listener Select brushes which I came to prefer over the Mobile Fidelity (originally Record Research Labs.) The Mofi brushes are well made but they're flat and designed for spreading fluid which tends to lead to pressing into the record and rubbing. I believe that scrubbing is the wrong approach. The technique is described in the section titled "Progress is born of agitation", let the fluid do the work. Make sure to rinse well.
 
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Folsom

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Oct 26, 2015
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These are on sale right now. Just ordered one to replace my ghetto home made version I was to embarrassed to post on here. That along with this for vacuum cleaning is a good place to be. I'm going to use distilled water, hepastat, and surfactant (Triton X) with a tiny bit of ethyl alcohol in the ultrasonic. Then for the rinse and vacuum will be a touch of hepastat and plain distilled water.

I was to kind to say something at another time, but a vacuum does not cause any static. It certainly doesn't cause anymore than fans mounted in some utlrasonic cleaners. Air is air, there's no if ands or butts about it. The reason people are use to vacuum systems causing static is because alcohol itself causes static on LP's. Pure water and hepastat actually neutralize static.
 
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I am using the ClearAudio Smart Matrix Pro RCM and thus far am very happy with it. The VPI's were on back order everywhere when I needed one and the ClearAudio had great reviews. I use VPI brushes with the AIVS cleaning system.
 

kach22i

WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
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The reason people are use to vacuum systems causing static is because alcohol itself causes static on LP's. Pure water and hepastat actually neutralize static.
There might be some truth in that, cannot verify.

On Nitty Gritty and AA Record Doctor clone there are felt lips that seal the vacuum slot. Friction between lips and record causes static as I understand it.

I would assume any kind of fluid would short the charge or even act as a lubricant, but one rotational turn too many on a bone dry LP and I bet a static charge returns.
 

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