a record cleaning device and proper method

right now all I have to clean my record collection that is coming out of long storage is the super record wash from Record Research labs a nice brush I bought from the distributor and I dry them with a clean cloth . This is not really right and I tried it this way to see if I could get a way with not having to buy a machine . I have a lot of really nice classical albums and I wont to clean them properly so a machine is ,I guess absolutely necessary ? If so which one, used ,should I buy ? and do I need an additional type of fluid to go along with the supper wash ? I know I need to vacum the fluid off .
I'm sorry if this question has come up many times before .

Thank you all !
Alex, to answer your question directly; no, you don't need a RCM. A RCM does a good job and saves lots of time. On the other hand, is expensive. I clean mine by hand and in a direct comparision, I think my records are cleaner. I use a combination of Audio Intelligence (enzyme) and RRL cleaners with MoFi brushes. I think the "scrubbing" I can apply is more vigorous than what can be accompolished on a RCM. Also, I use a simple setup for vacuuming: A wet/dry vac with a 4 in. nozzle which I cover with a cotton cloth. Of course, it's more of a chore and takes longer than a RCM machine could do.

But, like I've said before, if you want your car REALLY clean, do you just drive through somewhere of do you do it yourself by hand in your driveway??
Steam Clean them
If you expect to clean a lot of vinyl, you'll be glad if you have an RCM. In addition to your existing collection, there are lots of great buys on used LP's . . . so keep this in mind as rationale for the investment.

I brought out my old vinyl, and purchased a new 'table a few years ago after ~15 years of listening almost exclusively to CD's. Since I'm a real tightwad, I first tried to clean them by hand (I used an old broken turntable as a platform for my washing) . . . long story short, once I found I would get back into vinyl in a big way, and experienced what a pain in the butt manual cleaning is, I bought a RCM. I also found that the RCM did a much better job than I was doing by hand (though I confess, my hand wash method was probably not state of the art.

Your choice of RCM should depend more on how many LPs you expect to be cleaning. I initially bought a Nitty Gritty 1.1 which required manual rotation of the disk. It cleaned nicely, but when I started buying arm loads of LPs at my local used record shop I grew tired of the effort involved. I traded the NG in for a VPI 16.5 which is a pretty efficient machine and does an excellent job of cleaning. The NG machines can be found new and used for anywhere from $150 - $350 depending on the model. The VPI can be found used for $350 or so in excellent condition.

As for cleaning fluid, I make my own (remember, I'm a tightwad). Here's a link to the TNT Record Cleaning Site that has fluid recipes and other tips.

Search the archives and you'll find many opinions on best Fluids, and RCM's
>>remember, I'm a tightwad<<

Actually you're quite practical, not a tightwad.

Record cleaning fluids are 99% water and in no way, shape, or form is a $40/quart price justified. Unless of course you're into clocks, pebbles, and teleportation. Then it makes sense.

It is not rocket science although the vendors and even some posters here would have you believe so.

A RCM is quick and convenient but manual cleaning wins hands down all day long.
steam, steam and more steam. Forget a machine.
I know how to steam vegetables but please explain to us ,how steam clean on records,works.
There are lots of handheld steamers.
I use one designed for clothes.
I brought my classical records out of long storage, and was pleased that the ones I had cleaned with my VPI machine 15+ years ago (and kept in boxes in climate controlled storage) still sounded great. And the VPI still worked as well. I bought some of the MoFi cleaner (both the super and the regular...all of which is the same as the RRL, I think), and some new sleeves, and started acquiring more Lps (mostly 2nd hand). The VPI and the MoFi have worked great. They can't cure a scratch, but they can get the crud up almost always, giving me very quiet surfaces, and the process is easy.

I've never tried steam, so I know nothing about it.
Hello Alexthe,
With a semi-manual machine (or should it be called semi-auto?) like the VPI 16.5, you apply fluids, and scrub manually.

Therefore, Fluids can be applied, let sit, so they have the proper amount of time to do thier jobs, scrub to your heart's content, and when realy to remove fluids, the Arm Wand is swung over the Record, and vacuumed up. (There's two switches on the 16.5, one for Platter Rotation, the other for Vacuum Operation)

By missing this crucial step of more efficient removal of fluids, it doesn't matter if you're using the best cleaning fluids, and brushes in the world, you are not getting all the contaminants off the record by simply wiping dry. You are leaving much of them still in the groove.

As for RRL CLeaners, which is now Mobile Fidelity, thier older formulas such as Super Vinyl Wash, and Super Deep Cleaner, which is what you have, countless have users with both positive, and negative results.

Biggest complaints of these products are generally not strong enough-not the proper concentrations of chemicals to remove heavy grunge-dirt-biological contaminants, and the other was the Vinyl Wash contained a Lubricant (glycemic?) that on one hand was stated to quiet groove noise a tad, but also slightly mask dynamics, and detail as well.

Mobile Fidelity I understand is now in the process of two new forulations, is in Beta testing I hear. and will no doubt be on the shelves soon?

An Enzyme based Cleaner is very highly recommended by many folks as a first step cleaner, and Folks Like Walker, AIVS, Buggtussle, and even Phoenix to name a few have thier very satisfied followers.

Usually, the VPI 16.5 RCM holds thier value quite highly from thier now new $540 Price Tag. Certainly not the best machine on the market, but definitely one of the more "affordable ones", and with proper techniques, quality Brushes-Pads, and the best fluids, should bring you to within 90%-95% of any of the mega-dollar machines like the Loricraft, Clearaudio.

The 16.5 is very simple in construction, is extremely easy to use, and even easy to repair should the need ever arise, which with care should last you decades of regular use. If you're into analog for the long haul, I highly recommend a decent RCM.

My biggest regret when I bought my new 16.5 last August, was that I didn't buy it 10-12 years earlier after I seen, and heard what it did for my records, both old, and new. Mark
The Disc Doctor manual system works wonders for most records and supplemental steaming will handle the really tough cases. You were missing a couple of tools needed, mainly a cleaning brush and a rinsing brush. A RCM is totally unnecessary, IMHO. I've been collecting LPs over 50 years and have a revealing system.

For clean records I brush on the TT with a carbon fiber brush, zap with the Zerostat then wipe with a micro fiber cloth and then zap again. Most new records only need this. Occasionally a brand new record will benefit from cleaning with Disc Doctor, but I let my ears tell me rather than trying to clean already clean LPs.

All used LPs get the DD treatment and a very few get steam. (I don't buy visibly dirty LPs, in general, but the occasional promising record gets given to me and try to revive it).

Alexthe : For more information on steam cleaning please read the thread listed below on steam. while some "steamers" do use a clothes steamer , others find relatively inexpensive , comsumer hand held variety quite acceptable.
What I find discouraging is the fact that Steam Cleaning has already been reviewed in several audio mags , abet short-lived , and many AG'ers have supported Steam Cleaning, yet audio folks continue to cling to ol'ideas and machines that can't compete with Steam. Once you have fairly tried Steam Cleaning you may never listen to vinyl any other way.You shall not be disappointed.
You will always get a lot of responses on this subject. My 2cents; you can build a cheap RCM by using a shop vac (29 bucks) from home depot and using the crevice tool as your vacuum wand. just notch out a 1/4" slit in the tool and cover with felt (slit the felt along the slit in the crevice tool). If you have an old turntable, you have a great base to clean from. If not, you can use a lazy susan turntable to make a good cleaning platform. I picked up an old kenwood dd drive table for 10 dollars from a thrift store. I strongly recommend the perfection steam cleaner that CREM1 recommended earlier. with it, and your cheap diy rcm, you have a system that will clean as good or better than most of the cleaning machines out there.

As far as cleaning solutions, lots of good commercial or DIY recipes. You do need to rinse to get good results. If you have a good fluid, you only need one for most records.
Great response MarkD51, I couldn't agree more.