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$250 vs $950 vacuum record cleaning system comparison

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I wanted to share a video for feedback that my wife made comparing two vacuum record cleaning systems - the Okki Nokki One vs the Squeaky Clean Mk3.

She would like to do more record cleaning videos, but wanted to get feedback before working on the others.

She's wondering if she missed anything obvious that she should have included?
Is there something that you hoped she talked about but didn't?


If you have any questions, please let us know! Thank you!
 
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BDWoody

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Nice work!

Is that an SL-10 she's using?
 
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Is that an SL-10 she's using?
Good eye, yes it is!

That's actually what started us down the rabbit hole of wanting to find better ways to clean records.

The SL-10 we got had the irreplaceable EPC-310MC cartridge, so we figured that we needed to up our cleaning game, so that we don't unnecessarily wear out the stylus. So we replaced the 310MC with a run-of-the-mill Audio Technica P-mount, until we felt that we knew the best way to clean our records.

Nearly a year later and we're getting close to putting the 310MC back into service :)

In that time we've tried and accumulated too many record cleaning products, and a microscope to figure out why the heck nothing seemed to work - so we figured it makes sense to start making comparison videos.

I wish we had come across Neil Antin's Precision Aqueous Cleaning of Vinyl Records sooner. https://thevinylpress.com/app/uploads/2022/01/PACVR_3rd-Ed_2022-01-17_Master.pdf
 

DVDdoug

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The best record cleaner I ever had was Discofilm. (I couldn't find an English website, but I bought it in the U.S. back in the vinyl days.) It applies like a gel with sponge built into the container/dispenser and when it dries it's like a dense-thin Jell-o and you peal it off.
 

Crystara

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So glad I have an ultrasonic cleaner. I have tried many other cleaners and I pair it with my Record Doctor vacuum and I have a cleaning set up somewhere in between your two set ups that does a way better job at cleaning New and Old Records.
Very good video to see what other people are using thank you
 

Digby

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The best record cleaner I ever had was Discofilm. (I couldn't find an English website, but I bought it in the U.S. back in the vinyl days.) It applies like a gel with sponge built into the container/dispenser and when it dries it's like a dense-thin Jell-o and you peal it off.
I think this may be one of the only way that truly cleans records, rather than pushing muck around the grooves.

This can be done with non-proprietary equipment, but it may shock some as to how it is done.
 
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Our full cleaning regiment pulls a lot from the PACVR guide, has manual steps washing under a tap, and then incorporates ultrasonic and vacuum to finish off.

Since we had both machines on hand, it made sense to compare the two - but not necessarily as an endorsement that vacuum is cleaning is the "best" and only way.
 
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The best record cleaner I ever had was Discofilm. (I couldn't find an English website, but I bought it in the U.S. back in the vinyl days.) It applies like a gel with sponge built into the container/dispenser and when it dries it's like a dense-thin Jell-o and you peal it off.
Hadn't seen the Discofilm before, but it reminds me of the wood glue technique.

It would be interesting to see if it leaves any residue. Thats one of the hard things to check.
 

Digby

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To be fair, the records you used seemed to be in pretty good condition to start with, perhaps stuff I wouldn't even bother cleaning. I think you might see a difference between the two cleaners (if any) on records that are quite grotty with embedded brown dirt (sadly, I've seen a fair amount in my time).
 
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We've got piles of dirty old records from $1 bins, but for the video we wanted to make it as apples-to-apples as possible.

And truthfully, for any record that is really dirty, I would always rinse under a tap first, and now after reading PACVR do a pre-clean with an Alconox solution, followed by Citranox solution.
 

BDWoody

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The SL-10 we got had the irreplaceable EPC-310MC cartridge, so we figured that we needed to up our cleaning game, so that we don't unnecessarily wear out the stylus. So we replaced the 310MC with a run-of-the-mill Audio Technica P-mount, until we felt that we knew the best way to clean our records.

I am just putting mine back together after replacing the belt and cleaning up a nasty greasy mess that was left during a prior 'service.'

I have that excellent cartridge as well, along with an SL-15 with a couple of the P205mk3's that originally went with it. (Also hard to find.)

Great tables, often overlooked... I think they aren't fiddly enough, and some are just allergic to the idea of a fully automatic turntable, but it just does a great job for me.

0429221252_copy_734x734.jpg


I ended up getting an ultrasonic, and am happy with it. Good luck with the videos. I'll look forward to more.
 

JeffS7444

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And truthfully, for any record that is really dirty, I would always rinse under a tap first, and now after reading PACVR do a pre-clean with an Alconox solution, followed by Citranox solution.
Aha, first reagent bottles, and now talk of Alconox - reminds me of my student days working in a food science lab at the university.

What of the "effluent" that you're collecting: It it being turned into an aerosol with health implications? I remember emptying out RCMs in the past, and the stuff in the waste tank looked nasty.
 
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What of the "effluent" that you're collecting: It it being turned into an aerosol with health implications? I remember emptying out RCMs in the past, and the stuff in the waste tank looked nasty.

That is a very good point! And especially relevant when the vacuum is the sole cleaning system.

Our actual process is different from what's in the video, in our case the vacuum is the last step used to pick up distilled water rinse, after a run through in the ultrasonic.
 

MattHooper

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So glad I have an ultrasonic cleaner. I have tried many other cleaners and I pair it with my Record Doctor vacuum and I have a cleaning set up somewhere in between your two set ups that does a way better job at cleaning New and Old Records.
Very good video to see what other people are using thank you

I was nutty enough to spring for a Degritter:


But I got in on the early beta deals.

For me it was totatally worth it. I care about having clean records enough to want to clean many of them (or some of them). But I don't want to turn washing records in to a second job. I can just drop a record in the Degritter, listen to another record while it cleans, and come back to a cleaned, dry record. (And usually, a better sounding record after cleaning).
 

BDWoody

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That is a very good point! And especially relevant when the vacuum is the sole cleaning system.

Our actual process is different from what's in the video, in our case the vacuum is the last step used to pick up distilled water rinse, after a run through in the ultrasonic.

I have a couple more thoughts to throw out there.

Are you familiar with the Parks Audio Puffin? One of its cool features is that it will give you a letter grade rating for the record quality, ranging from A+ on down. Maybe something more objective like that could be worked in along with trying to evaluate and correlate results subjectively.

0502220853_copy_734x734.jpg


0502220854_copy_734x734.jpg


You can turn it on and off, so you could grade one or two songs, or the whole side.
 
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Hey, that's an interesting idea!! Thank you for sharing that.

I wonder what algorithm is being used, whether it is proprietary - otherwise could analyse the capture from any ADC on a computer.
 

BDWoody

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Hey, that's an interesting idea!! Thank you for sharing that.

I wonder what algorithm is being used, whether it is proprietary - otherwise could analyse the capture from any ADC on a computer.

I'm sure there are other ways to objectively compare the recorded files, but I'm all for easy! ;) Maybe one of the vinyl/ripping software packages can do this as well.

I've always found Shannon Parks to be very helpful in answering questions, so might not hurt to ask. I haven't looked into exactly how it works...there's likely more info on the site.
 

Digby

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Questions:

1) Do you clean brand new records as a matter of course?
2) Is cleaning a thing to be done regularly or once a record is clean it stays clean, given proper handling?
 
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