• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

$250 vs $950 vacuum record cleaning system comparison

MRC01

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 5, 2019
Messages
2,717
Likes
2,996
Location
Pacific Northwest
For many years I used a Nitty Gritty 2.5 FI to clean my records. It worked great getting them spanky-clean. When I finally got rid of all my vinyl I sold it to a friend, and it's still in service. I bought it back in the mid 90s so it's definitely a durable quality product.
 
OP
B
Joined
Sep 3, 2021
Messages
72
Likes
95
Location
Princeton, NJ
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?

1. Yup for sure - brand new records can be quite dirty. In the video she opened up 2 sealed records that were certainly not clean.

Most record manufacturing plants have lots of dust and debris. Also, since many new records come in paper sleeves, that deposits a lot of fibres and dust onto the record. And sometimes there are some minerals and chemicals left over from the vinyl making process.

But I find that for most new records, the clean up quite easily compared to old used ones.

Important to not put the clean new record back into the sleeve that it came in! Put the records into a new fresh sleeve.

2. As long as I keep my turntable clean, and the stylus clean, I don't re-clean my records regularly once I've done a full cleaning.
In the PACVR manual that I linked above, Neil describes how to make a Teflon wand that can be used to pick up dust that may collect on the record.

Hope that helps!
 

Angsty

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Apr 11, 2020
Messages
1,124
Likes
1,426
Location
Southeastern U.S.
Just got a HumminGuru ultrasonic cleaner this past week. So far, so good. It’s been able to clean out groove gunk that my Record Doctor left behind.
 

Somafunk

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Mar 1, 2021
Messages
763
Likes
1,604
Location
Scotland
This review by darko may be of interest to some in this thread, personally I’ve never bought a record nor owned a record player in my life……..cue cries of “heretic!…..burn him”:p

 

MRC01

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 5, 2019
Messages
2,717
Likes
2,996
Location
Pacific Northwest
...
But I find that for most new records, the clean up quite easily compared to old used ones.
Important to not put the clean new record back into the sleeve that it came in! Put the records into a new fresh sleeve.
2. As long as I keep my turntable clean, and the stylus clean, I don't re-clean my records regularly once I've done a full cleaning.
...
Good advice.
Back when I had vinyl and a good record cleaner... I found it was VERY important to clean a record before first play. When I bought used records, the record cleaner definitely helped, but how much it helped varied quite a bit.

My working theory was that when you play a record when it's dirty, when the needle hits a piece of crud/dirt/dust, a mix of 2 things happens: (A) the needle acts like a wedge, lifting it out, or (B) the needle acts like a steamroller, embedding it into the record. In case (2), even after you clean the record and remove all the crud, it leaves behind a permanent impression or distortion in the record, like a pothole in a street, so that noise/pop/tick will always be there.
 

MRC01

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 5, 2019
Messages
2,717
Likes
2,996
Location
Pacific Northwest
What cleaning solution have you been using in the tank?
I realize you weren't asking me, but this might be helpful.
Summary:
  • 1 part 70% isopropyl alcohol
  • 3 parts distilled water
  • 1 drop of pure (no perfumes or other additives) liquid soap
1 part iso to 3 parts water is: (.7A + 0.3W) + 3W = .7A + 3.3W, which is .7 / 4 = 18% alcohol
IME, that's enough alcohol to clean the records, but not enough to damage seals in the machine. YMMV.
 
OP
B
Joined
Sep 3, 2021
Messages
72
Likes
95
Location
Princeton, NJ
In case (2), even after you clean the record and remove all the crud, it leaves behind a permanent impression or distortion in the record

I can't remember where I read it, but there was a post about the temperature of the stylus as its been playing in the record, combined with the hardness of the debris, and the material of the vinyl that might lead to the damage to the record.

I can also attest that once you've heard the click/pop a particular record, you can't un-hear it, and every time you play that record, even after cleaning it, you're listening extra careful and you'll swear that you can still hear something wrong.
 
OP
B
Joined
Sep 3, 2021
Messages
72
Likes
95
Location
Princeton, NJ
1 part iso to 3 parts water is: (.7A + 0.3W) + 3W = .7A + 3.3W, which is .7 / 4 = 18% alcohol

I haven't been too worried about damage to the record from the short contact time with alcohol, but it was brought to my attention that for ultrasonic and vacuum cleaning approaches, there is a non-zero risk that the IPA vapours could ignite - and with 18% concentration that's certainly up there.
 

MRC01

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 5, 2019
Messages
2,717
Likes
2,996
Location
Pacific Northwest
The nice thing about blending your own is you can always adjust the formula.
PS: I used up to 35% alcohol in my Nitty Gritty 2.5 FI, which has a 10 amp vacuum. Never had a fire. Yes there were fumes, you could smell it. Later I reduced the alcohol to 18% because the higher concentration damaged seals in the machine (which I repaired) and didn't seem to get the records any cleaner.
 
Last edited:

Thomas_A

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 20, 2019
Messages
2,118
Likes
1,485
Location
Sweden
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.
If you can get hold of Clickrepair you can also extract the removed noise and compare before and after.
 

Angsty

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Apr 11, 2020
Messages
1,124
Likes
1,426
Location
Southeastern U.S.
Just got a HumminGuru ultrasonic cleaner this past week. So far, so good. It’s been able to clean out groove gunk that my Record Doctor left behind.
I use a home brew that I use on my vacuum RCM. 40 ml of Method spray cleaner and 10ml of Jet Dry in 1 gallon distilled water. Of that mixture, I dilute it further by adding 5 ml to the 400 ml ultrasonic distilled water tank. The goal is just enough surfactant to wet the surface and impede water beading. No particularly harmful chemicals to deal with.
 

egellings

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 6, 2020
Messages
2,199
Likes
1,653
I've gotten good results with the Spin Clean record cleaner. It's inexpensive, manually operated, and works well.
 

dr0ss

Active Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2021
Messages
120
Likes
100
Location
Honolulu
Alconox - reminds me of my student days working in a food science lab at the university.
Liquinox is widely used in labs because it is dirt cheap and it rinses very cleanly. I use it in my homebrew cleaning solution, but I wouldn't if I lived somewhere where static was an issue; tergitol is said to be much better for not attracting dust after cleaning the record. (I have seen a credible explanation of this based on the two surfactants' respective chemistries, but I cannot recall where.)

I also use it occasionally on glassware because of the rinsing: beer and champagne fizz best in a glass with zero detergent residue.
 

Angsty

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Apr 11, 2020
Messages
1,124
Likes
1,426
Location
Southeastern U.S.
Liquinox is widely used in labs because it is dirt cheap and it rinses very cleanly. I use it in my homebrew cleaning solution, but I wouldn't if I lived somewhere where static was an issue; tergitol is said to be much better for not attracting dust after cleaning the record. (I have seen a credible explanation of this based on the two surfactants' respective chemistries, but I cannot recall where.)

I also use it occasionally on glassware because of the rinsing: beer and champagne fizz best in a glass with zero detergent residue.
Liquinox looks really interesting, but the concentrated cleaner is over $100 per gallon on Amazon. At 1:100 dilution, a gallon could last a lifetime for me. But a quart would last long enough.

Do you have other sources to recommend that are cheaper or smaller volume just to try it out?
 

norcalscott

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Oct 30, 2020
Messages
175
Likes
264
Location
Sierra Foothills
Being a cheapskate of sorts, I could never justify the purchase of one of these cleaning systems. I've had pretty good luck doing something like this procedure. I also get rid of the paper sleeve (or keep it if it has anything printed on it) and use Diskeeper Anti Static sleeves to store the record and Poly Record Sleeves to store the whole album.

These automated cleaners are cool, however.
 

Angsty

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Apr 11, 2020
Messages
1,124
Likes
1,426
Location
Southeastern U.S.
Being a cheapskate of sorts, I could never justify the purchase of one of these cleaning systems. I've had pretty good luck doing something like this procedure. I also get rid of the paper sleeve (or keep it if it has anything printed on it) and use Diskeeper Anti Static sleeves to store the record and Poly Record Sleeves to store the whole album.

These automated cleaners are cool, however.
Tub washing works; it’s the basis of a SpinClean. I found that SpinCleans and RCMs do a great job at removing the most obvious and harmful dirt. An ultrasonic gets out the last bits embedded in the grooves - the finest particulate. I found it can sometimes improve the grading of a used record by a half grade or more (e.g. VG to VG+ or VG+ to NM).

My Shibata stylus would sometimes still find grime in grooves after Record Doctor vacuum cleaning; the Humminguru makes the record nearly perfectly clean for the Shibata.

It’s possible that other vacuum cleaners do a better job than the RDV, but I’m pretty happy with what the Humminguru does relative to vacuum cleaning alone.
 

bkatbamna

Active Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2021
Messages
127
Likes
355
Being a cheapskate of sorts, I could never justify the purchase of one of these cleaning systems. I've had pretty good luck doing something like this procedure. I also get rid of the paper sleeve (or keep it if it has anything printed on it) and use Diskeeper Anti Static sleeves to store the record and Poly Record Sleeves to store the whole album.

These automated cleaners are cool, however.
I do it with dishwashing soap as well. Great results. Cannot get rid of scratches however.
 

dr0ss

Active Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2021
Messages
120
Likes
100
Location
Honolulu
Liquinox looks really interesting, but the concentrated cleaner is over $100 per gallon on Amazon. At 1:100 dilution, a gallon could last a lifetime for me. But a quart would last long enough.

Do you have other sources to recommend that are cheaper or smaller volume just to try it out?
My last purchase was a quart of the concentrate from Amazon for under $20. Maybe they're out of quarts? I agree that a gallon would be ridiculous for this application, the stuff is super concentrated.

Any lab or chemical supply store should have it, though the ones in my neighborhood tend to sell at 20% over list price.
 
Top Bottom