best fluid for vpi 16.5 cleaner non-vpi brand?


I just purchased a vpi 16.5 on the 'gon and have not received it yet. It has some vpi's own fluid but wanted to know what people recommend for basic versus deep cleaning with the the vpi.

I know there have been similar threads but they often go onto tangents about brushes and other stuff!!


Over the past 25 years I have used various brands of cleaning fluid.
The most effective so far with fabulous results is the Walker Audio active enzyme cleaning solution.

Money back guarantee.
It does everything the ad says it will do.

No exaggeration and bull here.

I'm sure there are other active enzyme base cleaners on the market that are just as effective.

It's a 4 step process and takes minutes to do both sides of an Lp. A double final rinse is recommended.

If this is your first record cleaning machine, you are going to be thrilled.

Wait till you hear your favorite music....
Most highly recommended:
Agree with Stiltskin. Walker Audio Prelude is the best I've used. Highly recommended.
thanks for input so it better than the less expensive audio intelligent?

even though I hear mostly surface noise not loud pops, is the talisman necessary. Some professional reviewers love it but am a bit wary about a powerful magnet near my audio equipment!

I've not tried the Walker system. I currently use the Audio Intelligent fluids, and I am quite happy with the results. I use the three step process. I also use a separate brush and vacuum wand for each step to avoid cross contamination. For records that need a quick cleaning (ones that have already been given the three step process) I also have the one step AI cleaner as well.

A vote for Record Research super wash and deep cleaner. Now distributed by Mobile Fidelity.

Used 'em for years, no-nonsense and they work.
Another vote for the AIVS fluids. They're superior to VPI, Disc Doctor or old style RRL (now MoFi) in my own experience and that of several friends.

I haven't tried the Walker, but it's very similar in concept to AIVS so there's little reason to expect major differences. Prelude came out some time after the current AI product line began to acquire a well deserved following. If there's anything better about it (beyond a brand name) it's not apparent from the writeup on the Walker website. Has anyone compared directly?
Michael, people are reporting good results with both the Walker Audio Prelude and the Audio Intelligent fluids. I've heard of comparitive tests where the users prefered one and other comparative tests where those users preferred the other. I happen to prefer the Walker fluids and brushes, and I use the Walker Step 4 rinse on those "special" records to bring the sound quality up yet one further notch.

I use the Walker Audio Talisman with each LP, just part of my regimen, but don't think of it as a tick and pop reducer - that's not it's role. For ticks and pops, focus on cleaning with the your choice of effective cleaning fluids and using ultra pure water for a double rinse finish. Then, use the Talisman to achieve that next level of midrange resolution and clarity, and upper frequency purity of tonal reproduction. Consider the Talisman as a "clarifier" of resolution, timbre and soundstage. The same holds true for the Walker Audio Step 4 rinse fluid in my experience. All have a cumulative positive effect.

Enjoy your explorations!
I'm actually using Disc Doctor with double rince which also works quite well. I may have to try the Walker or AI but the reports of success with a variety of fluids makes me wonder if the most important part of the process is actually the gentle but meticulous scrubbing process. I won't go into a tangent on brushes and such...don't worry.
These record cleaning solutions that use "active enzymes" is the key.

Active enzymes are used for cleaning, sterilizing on a microbe level in the medical and laboratory fields.

You are not going to find a superior cleaner or any other method that even approaches the results of what active enzymes will do.

A cleaned Lp with enzymes rendered shocking sonic results with recorded music I thought I knew well.

The end results are that good....
I agree with Stiltskin. I've used DD and other surfactant based solutions. None of them comes close to a process like AIVS or Prelude that begins with an enzyme soak. The improvement is indeed shocking.

Scrubbing has little to do with it. I scrub only lightly. My records are far cleaner and quieter than they used to be and scrubbing harder doesn't make them more so (except perhaps for garage sale filth, which we rarely bother with).

The brush type is of some importance, but keeping the brushes clean is more so, especially the two used for a final double rinse with extremely high grade water.

The Talisman works as you described, but if you want a real shock then try a stronger (AC powered) demagnetiser. We have one that cost less than half the price of a Talisman and provides a much greater benefit. The effects seem to be permanent and it really does a job on tubes and cabling too. There's always more! :-)
Hi Doug, yes there is always more! Crazy isn't it? In that same vein, try some of the Walker Step 4 Final Rinse. It sure surprised me.

Has your demagnetifier been reviewed by any of the professional rags?

I use a dartzeel preamp and amp that sits 12-30 inches away from the tt respectively and they are rather finicky and sensitive so am wary of these products a little! I know it needs to be kept away from the cartridge!


Most of the best new ideas and innovations in audio are discussed, beta tested and shared on forums like this one, not in the mainstream mags. I doubt the professional rags would waste their time, space or reputations reviewing an ugly, $79 utility tool sold to machine shops. It's much more impressive to review an $1800 Furutech DeMag, which does exactly the same thing with the addition of an auto-timing circuit, a shiny case and a selling price that brings the buyer some cache and the magazine some ad revenue.

Personally, I'm happy toggling the on/off switch and controlling the strength of the magnetic field manually, exactly as one does with the Walker Talisman. I can buy alot of records with that $1721 in savings, not to mention the amount I save by not subscribing to the usual mags. ;-)

You'll note the mags haven't reviewed the Magic Eraser either, and probably never will. Why review a stylus cleaner we all buy for pennies at the supermarket or Walmart. It does a notably better job than the $25-50 stylus cleaners sold by advertisers, so an honest appraisal would risk ad revenue.

BTW, I hope no one uses *any* demagnifier near their TT, preamp or any other component. Demagging should be done well away from your equipment. Anything else would be foolish.

FWIW, we demag each LP before it goes on the RCM. There's some chance demagging before wet cleaning might help loosen certain grunge and the strength of an AC powered demagnifier means the effects seem to be fairly permanent (as with the Furutech) so it doesn't really matter when or where you do it.

Well, I may have to give an enzyme based solution a try. I'd trust the opinions of end users here sooner than any vender or reviewer. Are Walker and AI roughly equivalent?
Sonofjim, folks are getting good results with both Walker and AI. Doug likes AI, I like Walker, take your pick. My preference for the Walker is because it was better than the original AI formulation (before Osage bought it and improved it) and I've kept using it. And, I never have gotten comfortable with enzymes being sold premixed in solution -- I prefer Lloyd's approach of providing the enzymes in powder form and mixing with ultra pure water for just-in-time use. As always, ymmv...
I ordered the AI just because I would prefer not to have to also mix the solution....never was good at chemistry!

My current bottle of Disc Doctor is almost gone which would make it easy to try something new. Would my Mofi and Disc Doctor brushes work well with the Walker system to save some expense or do you really need the Walker brushes too?
I purchased the Walker deluxe Prelude kit from a local dealer.
He told me straight up...follow the directions, clean a few Lps, then play them.
If you do not hear an improvement or do not like this cleaning solution for any reason, return it for a full refund.

Off the top of my head.
The prelude deluxe kit comes with three directional brushes with replacement pads and a tray to set them in as you go through the cleaning steps.

A small jar of active enzymes, a mixing bottle,with filler lines marked on the bottle, two sized very tiny spoons to scoop the enzymes for mixing, depending on how many Lps you want to clean.
This is to be mixed with the supplied laboratory grade water.

A bottle of liquid cleaner for the second step and a bottle of laboratory grade water including extra lab water for rinsing.

Also you get a nifty 6 inch cobalt blue ruler in case you need one.

There is nothing complicated with using this method of cleaning at all.

I have cleaned quite a few Lps, I'm just starting to get low on the lab grade water, I also use it to wash out the brushes.

Anyway, $135.00 for the kit is expensive, however I was offered a full refund on the initial purchase.

Check it out....
Sonofjim, your MoFi and Disc Doctor brushes will work fine. I've used them quite satisfactorily with Disc Doctor, AI and Prelude. I've come to prefer the shape and texture of the Walker brushes, which I know use, but any of these three brands will work fine.

As Stiltskin points out, Walker Audio offers a refund guaranty of purchase price if not satisfied and the unused portion is returned within 30 days. Hard to go wrong.
Audiohifila, let us know how your cleaning ventures go with the VPI 16.5 and the new cleaning fluids! Congratulations on getting started!

For spreading the enzyme mix almost any brush that doesn't contain natural fibers will work. I use an Audioquest carbon fiber brush, but the cheapie Last brushes or even a painting pad/brush both work *almost* as well. A DD/MoFi brush is probably overkill. You have to apply enough enzyme solution to prevent the LP drying out during the soak phase, and a DD/MoFi brush would absorb/waste alot of fluid.

DD/MoFi brushes are fine for steps after the enzyme solution but before the final rinse(s) with ultra pure water. I use my DD brushes for those steps. Install new pads to avoid contamination from your old fluids of course.

For the final water rinse(s) I much prefer Audioquest CF brushes. The tiny fibers help force the water deep into the grooves and they don't hold much fluid, so you don't waste much. Also, the fibers start clumping together when the brush begins to get dirty, an early warning sign that it's time to rinse the brush (with some of the ultra pure water, *nothing* else). The purity of the last rinse (or two) is very important so I use two CF brushes, always in the same order, and they're never used for anything else.

Others will have their own preferences. As long as there's some reasoning that makes sense to you it's your choice - as Rushton said about AI vs. Walker.

Have you said where to get a demagnetizer like the one you use? If you did I'm not seeing it.