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Cleaning vinyl (Read 7695 times)
John-M
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Cleaning vinyl
09/18/17 at 23:48:00
 
Greetings!

It's been 30+ years since I listened to vinyl.  I just received a ZP3 today and am finally spinning the black again.

Question for the hive mind:  how do you clean your vinyl before playing it?  Back In The Day I used a a Discwasher that was just a wooden block with some padded "directional" fabric on it and some "cleaning fluid".  What improvements have been made over the decades?

Thank you all for your time.

John
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Crazy Bill the Eel Killer
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Re: Cleaning vinyl
Reply #1 - 09/19/17 at 01:59:15
 
Hello John,
welcome back.

The Discwasher has long been surpassed.
I use a VPI 17F and it is quite effective.
There are other vacuum machines at various price levels that do a great job. My recommendation for a vacuum machine as follows.
I would no longer buy a VPI 17, as I prefer to apply the cleaning fluid manually and then vacuum. The VPI 16 is fully up to that task.

Also google up " steam cleaning vinyl records ". The combination of steam cleaning ( which works very well ), with the VPI set-up really gets the grooves clean.

That said, many believe the new cats meow, STS, in vinyl cleaning lies in the ultrasonic cleaners. I've never used one so I can't compare the two methods. Tread carefully there, as some believe the cavitation process used in ultrasonic cleaning damages the grooves, especially in the high frequencies.

The ultrasonic cleaners are pricey. I'll stay away because of the price and the fact that I get superb results using a combinastion of steam cleaning and the VPI.

Cheers,       Crazy Bill        ;D
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Archie
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Re: Cleaning vinyl
Reply #2 - 09/19/17 at 16:52:48
 
I use the Discwasher with a fluid that I make up with Photo Pro and distilled water.  I also use Mofi sleeves.  Once the vinyl is clean and stored in good sleeves, I find only light, superficial, occasional dust that easily cleans with a carbon brush of the Discwasher.  My vinyl plays with no noise generally.
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hdrider
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Re: Cleaning vinyl
Reply #3 - 09/24/17 at 17:48:19
 
I have been using a carbon fiber brush and Signet ultrasonic cleaner for my stylus for every. I have used the LAST products, record cleaner, deep cleaner, record preservative and stylus cleaner for at least 30 years. I have just started talking to Sonic/Scott about Record Cleaning Machines and really think that I need to take it to the next level. Anyone here using VPI, OkieNikoe, Nitty Gritty, Record Doctor, Project or something else? What are your thoughts? Up sides / Downsides? Happy listening, Chris.
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Tripwr1964
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Re: Cleaning vinyl
Reply #4 - 09/25/17 at 17:47:09
 
i use a $79 spin clean with a basic nitty gritty (i picked up a new one on ebay for $200) to vacuum it after.  been cleaning records for yrs with these.

pretty good combo.
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Rivieraranch
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Re: Cleaning vinyl
Reply #5 - 09/26/17 at 01:15:18
 
How about glueing a record? Elmer's Glue gets everything out of those grooves
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DirtDawg
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Re: Cleaning vinyl
Reply #6 - 11/23/17 at 08:45:54
 

I tried that once on a Gino Vanelli LP (only album I had handy that I knew I did not care about). It seemed to pull a lot of stuff off, judging by looking at the glue, after allowing it to cure for two days.

The only problem was that, "as advertised"  the glue did not come off in one quick swoop. It was actually troublesome to remove.

I probably won't try it on an album I like.

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hdrider
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Re: Cleaning vinyl
Reply #7 - 11/24/17 at 23:34:31
 
How about a list of record cleaners and the pros and cons. Just landed a new Dynavector cart and now would like to ''up'' the game on the record cleaning front, something better than the Last products (which have been darn good for 30+ years). Happy listening, Chris.
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neac1976
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Re: Cleaning vinyl
Reply #8 - 11/25/17 at 00:30:28
 
Chris, I have been using The Audio Desk Systeme Pro (from Germany) for more than a year now.  It is a wonderful investment for your LP's.
1. Just place in an album and it cleans both sides at once.
2. You can adjust the "scrubbing time" in accordance with how dirty your albums are.
3. When done cleaning, it dries the albums automatically and even beeps to tell you that the cycle is finished.  The albums are always sparkling clean AND dry, without any hint of residue.
4. I have several hundred LP's ranging from the vintage weight to new 180 gram weight releases and it cleans all equally as well.
5. Always keep and eye on the rollers as they do age and need to be replaced periodically.  
6. It is simple to operate and in my opinion does exactly what it is supposed to do album after album after album...

Take care, Mark
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hdrider
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Re: Cleaning vinyl
Reply #9 - 11/25/17 at 16:36:21
 
Mark - That looks like an amazing piece of gear and I bet it cleans records like no other. Sad to say that would be way out of the $$ range for now. Thanks for the info and happy listening, Chris.
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neac1976
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Re: Cleaning vinyl
Reply #10 - 11/25/17 at 21:39:31
 
Chris, I am located in Naples, Fl., if you are close by, bring all of your albums over and you can clean them at my house.
Mark
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hdrider
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Re: Cleaning vinyl
Reply #11 - 11/25/17 at 22:24:44
 
Mark - Thank you for the offer but Santa Cruz California is almost as far away from Florida as you could get and still be in the USA...Alaska would be further I guess. A truly generous offer though, and happy listening. Chris
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CSP3, Rachael, ZP3, ZMC 1, Oppo BDP-93, Sota Star TT w/ FR-64, Dynavector D17 DX Moving coil, Omega 7XRS Mk 2 walnut, DeepOmega 8 sub, Morrow Audio PH3 and MA3 IC's, Gamma Electrostatic phones.
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DirtDawg
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Re: Cleaning vinyl
Reply #12 - 09/19/19 at 21:29:20
 
Consider this inquiry a thread bump as opposed to beginning a new thread on the same subject.

Down to spending a few hundred bucks on a uni-tasker to do the work for you, mostly or spending a few afternoons doing things "long hand" so to speak the record cleaning issue will never go away. I have ways to pre clean just before playing, but bringing back from salvage an old fortunate find is still a very time consuming endeavor.

Ant new suggestions or battle plans on this front?
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Archie
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Re: Cleaning vinyl
Reply #13 - 12/30/20 at 16:59:36
 
Reviving this old thread with a major update.  I just bought a Degritter ultra-sonic record cleaning machine and oh, what a beauty!

I've started systematically cleaning my collection.  I believe this RCM is the new "Rolls Royce" of RCMs.  Some young Estonian lads designed and build this in Estonia.  They took a ground up approach and came up with a simple to use, highly effective cleaning solution.  No, it's not remotely cheap at $3K but with what I have invested in vinyl playback (including vinyl) it finally made sense to go big.


As advertised, the noise floor (blacker background) goes way down and clarity goes way up.  While I never worried too much about pops or clicks (having very few anyway) now even one per side bothers me!  lol

If you are serious about vinyl, have a high-end TT, cart and phono stage and a large vinyl collection, get one.   Smiley

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IMG_2824a.jpg

ZLC
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HockessinKid
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Re: Cleaning vinyl
Reply #14 - 12/30/20 at 17:39:13
 
Cool find Archie. Thanks for sharing.

HK
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GroovySauce
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Re: Cleaning vinyl
Reply #15 - 12/30/20 at 19:40:59
 
Archie,

Congrats!  I've wanted one for over a year now. Have you had any WOW! moments? Most of my records sound really good. Others I don't know if it's damaged or the spin clean just isn't up to the challenge.
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Archie
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Re: Cleaning vinyl
Reply #16 - 12/30/20 at 22:22:15
 
I haven't listened to enough yet to tell.  My vinyl mostly sounded great too.  What got me wondering was a conversation I had with the owner of a small HiFi shop.  He insisted that cleaning my records (with a VPI type) would reveal a whole 'nother level and would keep my stylus lasting longer.  That's what really got my attention since these MC carts cost a fortune to rebuild.

I do think the lower noise floor is real.  What I need to do at some point is to clean some of my "retired" vinyl and see if they are still good.  When I see pictures of grooves taken with a microscope, that's when I get concerned!

Here is a very long thread on the Steve Hoffman Forum that starts with the first Degritter and goes to the present (my posts).  Lots of great info there.

https://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/degritter-users.856572/

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ZLC
Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods) -- currently not in use
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers (F15s)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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hdrider
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Re: Cleaning vinyl
Reply #17 - 12/31/20 at 01:44:54
 
Archie - Thank you for the great write up. I have LUSTED after a real record cleaning system, but have never made the plunge. I will read the mentioned threads this weekend, and get up to speed. One of the many wonderful things about this forum is all the great research and opinions shared. Bless you all, happy listening, and HAPPY NEW YEAR. Chris.
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GroovySauce
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Re: Cleaning vinyl
Reply #18 - 12/31/20 at 16:23:39
 
Thanks for the link Archie. Some day I'll get the degritter.

I am curious how much longer you can go on a stylus without replacing / rebuilding when you have meticulously cleaned records using the degritter vs using a spin clean or other product.



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Archie
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Re: Cleaning vinyl
Reply #19 - 12/31/20 at 17:44:05
 
That's a good question on stylus life.  I've always used 2000 hrs as a target but Ortofon told me to use 1000 hrs!!!!  Honestly, I've looked at needles under a microscope and I couldn't see wear at all.

It's quite possible that other considerations come into play beyond diamond wear.  Cantilever suspension is one I can think of.

I read once someone recommending against using nylon brushes when cleaning the bore of a firearm since nylon, while considerably softer than steel, is abrasive over time.  They used the example of how a fishing line will cut through the tungsten tip of a rod, given time.  I think this is why soft vinyl eventually wears the hard diamond, grit or no grit.

And speaking of grit, while my records hardly look any different pre and post clean with the Degritter, I have the following photographic evidence that there is considerable dirt down in the grooves.  The Degritter recommends cleaning the filter after 50 records and replacing it after 100.  They also recommend replacing the cleaning water after 30 records.  I just changed mine and here is the filter after cleaning 32 records.  The dirty filter is shown next to a new filter for contrast.

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32_cleans_HCa.jpg

ZLC
Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods) -- currently not in use
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers (F15s)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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GroovySauce
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Re: Cleaning vinyl
Reply #20 - 01/01/21 at 14:10:36
 
Archie are you getting kick backs from degritter? Cheesy Thanks for the photo.

I have a feeling once musicdirect gets them back in stock one will be heading my way.
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Archie
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Re: Cleaning vinyl
Reply #21 - 01/01/21 at 17:11:10
 
I bought from Jeff Harris, Reference Audio, in Oklahoma.  He is the first guy listed on the Degritter site under Vendors.  He still has a silver one in stock since I bought the black one.  I couldn't finagle a discount out of him but he did throw in extra solution and filters and one other goody.  Free shipping and I had it in a couple days.  (Tell him Adam in Colorado sent you.   Wink )  I had thought I'd clean records and keep listening to the rest of my collection but I find that I won't listen to anything that hasn't gone through the Degritter.  They sound so good!

I shill for Steve too!   Grin  When I find a great product and company I'm not shy to share.
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ZLC
Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods) -- currently not in use
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers (F15s)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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ja1
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Re: Cleaning vinyl....Degritter
Reply #22 - 02/11/21 at 02:33:43
 
I received my Degritter 3 days ago. While it is expensive, it is money well spent. Not only does it do an exceptional job cleaning records, the ease of use will have you cleaning record after record. Drop the record in and press start. Walk away. 10 minutes later its clean and dry. Huge audio difference from the Spin Clean I was using. Excellent build quality. Highly recommended. John
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Archie
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Re: Cleaning vinyl
Reply #23 - 02/11/21 at 06:57:55
 
John,

Several of us have had a productive discussion on the Steve Hoffman Forum about cleaning with the Degritter and cleaning solutions.

https://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/degritter-users.856572/page-42

This is a very long thread and the last ten of more pages relate to cleaning residue left on the record.  One member has gone way over the top trying to find the optimal record cleaning process -- regardless of time, effort or cost, it seems.  I've settled on a cleaning solution that seems to reduce residue considerably.  The short version is 2.5% IPA and 2+ drops (@ 25 drops/ml) of Tergitol 15-S-9 in distilled water.  You can dive deep into that thread or send me a PM if you want more info.  I have a couple unopened bottles of Degritter solution that won't get used now that I've gone this direction.

And yes, the Degritter is a phenomenal machine!
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ZLC
Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods) -- currently not in use
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers (F15s)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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ja1
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Re: Cleaning vinyl
Reply #24 - 02/11/21 at 08:47:07
 
Hi Archie,
Thanks.
 I am interested in the solution formula that you are using, but I don't believe I can PM you, as I don't have enough posts yet. I'll give it a try. In the meantime, I will revisit the Steve Hoffman forum. I am sure I will have questions for you. Could you PM me the formula?
So far, I've cleaned 30 records with 1 mil of the Degretter solution. I have listened to 4 of them. All four have seen a major improvement over the Spin Clean.  My plan is to change the water and run them through a quick cycle with no solution as a rinse and compare.
I am a mostly a lurker here and appreciate the knowledge and reliable information that the members bring to this forum.  
Thanks again, John
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Archie
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Re: Cleaning vinyl
Reply #25 - 02/11/21 at 17:25:19
 
There has been a lot of discussion about the need or desirability of a DW rinse cycle.  One guy claims he hears an improvement with a rinse.  One thing to keep in mind is that the rinse water gets contaminated.  I just had a thought, maybe after many rinse cycles, the rinse water could be used as the primary cleaning water - with the addition of more cleaning solution.  I considered getting a second tank but they want a fortune for that piece of plastic!  For rinsing, a dedicated second tank would be nice since you could run a clean cycle with no dry and then rinse and dry.  This would save record handling and fan time.

I clean my stylus after every full record with a DS audio ST-50 cleaning pad.  It usually has some white residue on the stylus -- some records do not though.  It may depend on when in the tank-use cycle the record gets cleaned.  I've settled on no more than 30 cleans per tank.  My records visually look clean already but given how the filter gets yellower and yellower as I go through the tanks, there is obviously dirt in the cleaning water.

I've been systematically cleaning my entire collection with a Heavy cycle.  I'm over 600 and counting.  Once I get through them all I think my Degritter will go to occasional use mode.

I think the Tergitol is an improvement over the Degritter solution but it is only available from one supplier in the US.  With shipping, you'll pay almost $40 for a pint -- which will last for probably 1 million records at the rate it's used!

https://www.talasonline.com/Tergitol-15-S-3-and-15-S-9?quantity=1&size=32&qualit...

BTW, I think 5 posts is the magic number for PM privileges.
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ZLC
Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods) -- currently not in use
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers (F15s)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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ja1
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Re: Cleaning vinyl
Reply #26 - 02/14/21 at 03:27:21
 
Archie,
Thanks for the link. I ordered a pint today. John
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4krow
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Re: Cleaning vinyl
Reply #27 - 02/19/21 at 18:48:00
 
 I have very recently gotten back into vinyl. Oh, it's like starting another hobby. Of course, record cleaning is high on my list, since albums aren't cheap, and who wants to hear noise if they don't have to? I am doing it a bit backwards, as first I bought a TT and cart. Then, a stylus cleaner that I like, and some record sleeves. Yes, albums are all on their way. I still have an old Discwasher from long ago. I have ordered a kit from Last which contains some fine brushes that are likely to be superior to the DW. Still, a Spin Clean or some thing as effective has to be purchased. With the amount of cash outlay, my budget is at $100. Dam!
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