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$250 vs $950 vacuum record cleaning system comparison

Glen20

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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.
Thanks
I found this tergitol record cleaner online recently called Tergikleen that may interest others
 

Glen20

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Removing the contaminated fluid by rinsing with distilled water before vacuum drying it back onto the record seem sensible


 

dr0ss

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Thanks
I found this tergitol record cleaner online recently called Tergikleen that may interest others
Tergitol is much more expensive than Liquinox, but as I mention above there is a reason that the Library of Congress uses it: less static post-cleaning. (Not an issue for me, as I live in the tropics.)

Just to be clear, there isn't much difference between using Liquinox and using dish soap as surfactants, except that the former rinses faster, and has no additives like lanolin to make your hands soft.

By the way, modern detergents were a wartime invention, and still rather novel even by 1942. I mention this date because Erle Stanley Gardner wrote a Perry Mason mystery that year where a young chemist had a party trick where he made a swimming duck sink by adding a bit of detergent to the water it was in. The plot hinged a bit on the fact that detergents were new, mainly unknown, and could only be obtained from specialty outlets.
 

BDWoody

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I wonder how well a pressure washer might do...

My company uses machines that can do up to 5,000psi @5gpm (probably wouldn't need the diesel burner to heat it up to 200+ degrees). I'd be interesting to see at what point the grooves get damaged, but that might make for a nice extreme test.

I have one of those record clamps that protect the label and will sometimes use that to wash them in the sink before using the ultrasonic (Kirmuss), but have been wondering about using one of the big machines to really get into the nooks and crannies.
 

Thomas_A

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Has anyone in the past made a more thorough investigation of how dirt and dust degrade the grooves? I can think of different ones

- loose dirt on surface,
- particles that get stuck in grooves
- dirt that get more "embedded" in the vinyl (for one thing does it exist?)

If we know the kind of dirt that really exists, it would be more easy to adopt good cleaning methods. It is well known that reducing friction also reduces noise and distortion.
 

BDWoody

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dr0ss

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Incidentally, for regular (not deep) cleaning, I've been using a Discwasher brush for the last 40 years or so. There's a company called Groovewasher that makes a pretty good replacement for the original Discwasher fluid. It doesn't bead up on the brush like the old fluid, so I've had to adjust the way I apply it, but it seeps into the record grooves really thoroughly and doesn't seem to leave any residue.
 

norcalscott

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Incidentally, for regular (not deep) cleaning, I've been using a Discwasher brush for the last 40 years or so. There's a company called Groovewasher that makes a pretty good replacement for the original Discwasher fluid. It doesn't bead up on the brush like the old fluid, so I've had to adjust the way I apply it, but it seeps into the record grooves really thoroughly and doesn't seem to leave any residue.
I have a Groovewasher stylus cleaning kit and it works well - seems a quality product. One thing I read about some time ago for cleaning styli was to use one of the Magic Eraser sponges - I tried that and it actually does seem to work and it grabs "stuck" lint in what seems a gentler way than the stylus brush.

Another video shows cleaning a record with a magic eraser. I haven't tried that yet but there is some logic to it for removal of small particles.
 

Bob from Florida

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From "London Jazz" formula I use with great success.
https://londonjazzcollector.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/ingredients-x1600px.jpg
1652711080513.png

I used a basic Nitty Gritty vacuum record cleaner for over 30 years. Then a friend gifted me a Clearaudio Double Matrix vacuum cleaning machine that applies solution to both sides and vacuums both sides simultaneously. Both the Nitty Gritty and the Double Matrix clean really well. The advantage with the Clearaudio is convenience, quiet vacuum, and speed versus the all manual operation of the Nitty Gritty 1.0.

1652711375902.jpeg
 

cochlea

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Nice friend! :) Double Matrix retails for $6,500!:oops:
 

dr0ss

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The advantage with the Clearaudio is [...] speed
Is that really an advantage? My take-away from the video that started this thread is that vacuum machines are not as good as I'd thought they were at getting out particles that are stuck deep in the grooves. I wonder if a longer soak in the cleaning fluid, maybe with a higher concentration of surfactant followed by more rinsing, could help with that?
 
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The feedback from the author of the PACVR record cleaning manual was that we didn't scrub enough to get the cleaner to foam up and bubble. Note, he doesn't imply to scrub hard, just vigorously enough to foam up on the record and the brush. On that note, that is why he specifically recommends the Record Doctor brush in that the bristles are not hard enough once wet to damage the record surface. The agitation of the liquid with the brush is what brings the debris stuck in the grooves out, so that it can then be vacuumed.

The concentration of the surfactant was sufficient, we've been able to get it to foam more.

Also, he mentioned that the LJC formula used isn't really strong enough to be the sole cleaner. That's where his recommendation of Liquinox as the pre-cleaner, followed by something like the LJC. (And a Citranox step as well ideally for dirty records).
 

BDWoody

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Is that really an advantage? My take-away from the video that started this thread is that vacuum machines are not as good as I'd thought they were at getting out particles that are stuck deep in the grooves. I wonder if a longer soak in the cleaning fluid, maybe with a higher concentration of surfactant followed by more rinsing, could help with that?

I learned more about record cleaning from spending a good bit of time going through the vinyl press guide linked earlier than anything else I've read.

I may be selling my ultrasonic after reading that.
 

Bob from Florida

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Is that really an advantage? My take-away from the video that started this thread is that vacuum machines are not as good as I'd thought they were at getting out particles that are stuck deep in the grooves. I wonder if a longer soak in the cleaning fluid, maybe with a higher concentration of surfactant followed by more rinsing, could help with that?
The "speed" advantage is when compared to the manual Nitty Gritty one side at a time process. On the Double Matrix you push a button to apply cleaning fluid to both sides of the record. You could let it sit for a while before vacuuming and you can reverse the rotation direction also. Really up to the user how to use it to maximum effect.
 

Sal1950

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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
Now there's a man way ahead of the curve. ;)
 

bpb

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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.


I think it's great to see someone talking about record cleaning and showing some actual evidence using the microscope. There seems to be a lot of advice around on what contaminants effect vinyl records (e.g. "oils", "debris", "particles", etc), as well as the best cleaning methods and cleaning agents. However, I've not seen a lot of objective evidence supporting this.

I just grabbed an old school lab microscope to take a look a few of my records and it was quite interesting.

In a small sample of new records, the predominant contaminant seemed to be metal flakes (nickel? Also visible in the OP's video) I presume is from the stamper? Difficuilt to say whether these are audible. The vast majority can't be, as there are thousands across the records surface and a new record might only have a handful of crackles:

New Record Uncleaned 1.jpg

Some are larger like this one and possibly audible:
New Record Uncleaned 2.jpg

On older records suffering from pops and crackles (even after ultrasonic cleaning) I could see particles stuck within the groove. This lump of unidentified 'rock' almost certainly is audible:

Old Record Cleaned.jpg

I also looked at a new UHQR record from Acoustic Sounds. These are supposed to be amongst the best of the best. Uncleaned, straight from the sleeve, it looked fairly 'dusty' but didn't seem to have the metallic contaminants of regular records:

UHQR Uncleaned.jpg

After ultrasonic cleaning of the UHQR record, the surface looked free of contaminants. Subjectively, this UHQR record sounds great, so it's good to see it's nice and clean:

UHQR Cleaned IMG_7540.jpg

Finally, looking at the record's grooves makes me doubt whether "oils" left over from the stamping process could be a major issue. Firstly, I didn't see evidence of oil within the grooves of uncleaned records. Secondly, the undulation and contours of the groove are quite defined at a microscopic level, so it feels difficult to believe that a coating of oil could change the contour to such a degree as to be audible. Obviously, an oily surface is more likely to hold contaminants, but on a clean record it seems unlikely that residue oil alone could significantly impact sound quality?
 

dr0ss

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I learned more about record cleaning from spending a good bit of time going through the vinyl press guide linked earlier than anything else I've read.
If you're going to follow the manual-washing part of that guide I have a couple of suggestions. For covering the label, a pair of 4" round plastic "electrical box cover" protects the label perfectly; you just need to drill a hole in the center and stick a screw through it. (You can sink-wash records without protecting the label, I used to do that a lot in the 70s, but maybe 1 in 10 records the label will end up discolored.) They're just a few dollars at the hardware store. Here's mine:
WIN_20220521_23_49_13_Pro_LI.jpg


(Two knobs instead of one would make the actual washing easier, but I like having it be almost-flat on one side.)

Second, for a brush I recommend a synthetic-bristle shaving brush. It is easier to control in this setting than a standard record brush. Synthetic bristles are thinner than boar's hair, won't break like badger or horse, and cheap. I think they're also easier on the record than other brushes, even if you work them into an area with some determination.

I've been washing records in the sink for a very long time, but nowadays only when I want a really deep clean, since while kind of fun it is also a PITA to do more than a couple at one go.

I use Liquinox as my primary surfactant, it is very mild. I've never used Citranox, the concentrate has a pH of 2.5, that's a bit strong for my liking.
 
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