I have a Loricraft PRC-4 and use AIVS 3-step solutions with a second pure water rinse. I finish this with a destat then a demag on each side and a new inner and outer sleeve. This is the best process I've used and the results are fantastic, but it takes about 30 minutes per side. I find the AIVS to be much more effective than the L'Art du Son. I have heard the Walker 4-step process is also good.
I have set up my cleaning station on a long table next to my desk in my home office and clean while I read or work on my computer. For me it's worth the effort, but many, I'm sure, will think I'm crazy.
I also have a PRC-4, and I appreciate your not wanting to spend an inordinate amount of time cleaning records (why else have a Loricraft?). I have upwards of 8,000 LPs - - most of them used, but I also buy a number of reissues, including the APO Blue Note 45's/Impulse series. My cleaning protocol is simple:
1. For new and used LPs in really good shape, I use Nitty Gritty Pure 2 applied with an Osage brush ( softer than the brush that Loricraft supplies). I vacuum and - - am done!
2. For "harder cases" I apply Smart's "Potent Formula for Very Dirty Microgroove Records" (Smart is the Atlanta based U.S. distributor of Loricraft). Depending on circumstances, I may follow up with a second cleaning using Pure 2 - - - it just depends.
BTW - the Osage brushes are really nice and come in three different sizes (for standard LPs, 45's and 10" LPs - also works on 78's.
A head's up on AIVS Cleaning products.
I was informed personally by Jim Pendleton, president-owner of AIVS/Osage Audio three days ago, that most of his award winning cleaners have been recently improved again, and are currently on his shelves.
From some more lengthy lab research, he states that his Enzymatic Formula, Super Cleaner, Archivist Formula, and #6 One Step Cleaner have all been improved with another component added, and/or changed, making these products work much faster. And he said these changes were made with no additional detergents added.
He claims that some of these pre-mentioned products could at times, dependent on the condition of the record take 10 minutes or so to work, but now claims these new products have the same effectiveness in as little as 2 minutes.
One of him more recent breakthrough products in the AIVS cleaning system, #15 Pre-Cleaner, he says remains unchanged.
Any combination of AIVS products seem to work well, some use #15 Pre-Cleaner with a AIVS Pure Water Rinse, which must be used with this cleaning product.
Others, like myself are using a 3-step, and evem a 4-step process.
After using all his products I've mentioned here, I'm currently using a 4-step process on all my records with absolutely superb results, and those 4 steps are.... #15 Pre-Cleaner, Enzymatic Formula, Super Cleaner, and Pure Water Rinse.
I've never yet taken 30 minutes per side, even with the slightly older fomulas I've been using. The newer formulas should help save time. Mark
There is no best cleaning on....RCM.
The Loricraft removes the fluid with better results than other RCM because it is a point nozzle design, that's it. You can use the fluid you like best for your Records.
Thanks for all the responses, please keep them coming. I had heard of the AIVS products and with the positive comments on the above posts I went to their website. Looks like a great, comprehensive line of fluids.
Has anyone tried their Premium One-Step Formula No. 6 ?? It may be brand new, and looks very interesting- if it works anywhere near as good as their multi-step fluids apparently work.
syntax, not to be argumentive, but yes, all things being equal, one should hope, that for the asking price of these Loricraft, or Keith Monks type RCM's, with their thread feed-point nozzle designs, that they should do a better job.
But the first sentence in your post confuses, and gives IMO a untrue account on what RCM's can do, and can't do.
The RCM such as Monks, Loricraft, Hannl, VPI, etc with a platter provides a platform for placing record, one applies fluids-cleaners, whether one then scrubs manually, or automatically is dependent upon the design-features of the RCM, then the Vacuum removes Fluid.
Taking the factor of cleaner efficiency in account to the extreme, to make a valid point to you, and others, if one only used straight water to clean their records with, one could come along after, with a 16hp Shop Vac, and even at this level of extreme bar vacuum which could easily lift a Bowling Ball, it is not going to fully remove-lift contaminants off the record.
That the RCM is only part of the equation to really clean records. Agree, or no? Mark
AIVS #6 One Step Cleaner has been avilable for quite some time, but being that the maker states a new, improved formulation, then I guess you could call this particular #6 formulation new. Not sure if the newer versions are yet on AIVS's dealer's shelves at this point, but one can easily order direct from the manufacturer.
Although it is referred to as a one step cleaner, I still think it wise to follow with a pure water rinse, insuring that any remnants from the cleaner be fully removed. Mark
Mark- Have you used the AIVS #6- new or old formula ? If yes, how did it compare to your favored multi-step process?
I use both L'art du Son and AIVS 3 step on my PRC4. L'art du Son is very effective in both time and quality of sound, so I use it most of the time. AIVS definitely provides better sound, but is much more time consuming (15 min a side or so, assuming you stay on the ball) so I tend to save it for really good recordings that I listen to on a regular basis.
Incidentally, I did quite a few A/B/C expts. when I still had my last RCM. In my experience, the improvement of the Loricraft over my last RCM was literally orders of magnitude larger than the difference between AIVS and L'art du Son.
If you are not using steam, you are not getting 'clean' records. Everything mentioned helps but will not add the real benefit of using steam, as the first or last step.
What kind of water do you use when steaming and could you describe your steaming process. I curious to give it a try. Thanks.
I've been using the AIVS 3 step formula with an extra water rinse, applied with Last brushes, on all of my initial cleanings for both new and used. All on a Nitty-Gritty RCM. I also de-stat with an Iconoclast from Mapleshade. After that I use the #6 1 step for subsequent cleanings.
This system is very effective, although not without its faults. It's time consuming - generally takes me 20 minutes to do the initial cleaning and of course it doesn't eliminate all surface noises.
I'm also interested in steam processes, if anyone could share experience/methods on that. Or, if anyone uses the ultrasonic cleaner that is out there.
I have used the #6 One Step Cleaner "Of old", gotten from Osage Audio about 6-8 months ago. The newest #6 is said to be even better, now that Jim Pendelton has come across a better specific component in the cleaner. I could be wrong, but I believe that component to be an enzyme(s), the same used in #15 Pre-Cleaner.
How did I like the #6 One Step? It is very good. If I was goinG to select a sole one step cleaner, this would be my personal choice.
Does the multi-step process give better results, better fidelity than a one step? IMO, and probably everyone else's opinion, including the maker of these products, in one word, yes!
As I understand, it is said to be difficult to incorporate all the needed ingredients within a sole cleaner, that will properly act upon all the various contaminants that can be found on records. That the Specific cleaners have a better ability to combat those contaminants.
I'm sure it's the sole reason that another man such as Lloyd Walker has also chosen a multi-step cleaning process to be deemed superior to a single step process, when he invented-made-marketed his Prelude Cleaning System.
As all know, the downside is additonal time needed. To many, time is one of the investments to achieve uncompromising fidelity of playback. The variance, is not all audiophiles have the same needs, the same pocketbooks, so many of us can only do the best we can within our means.
I feel I chose to participate in the former camp, to the best of my abilities. I could not afford the uber expensive Loricrafts-Monks, but I am getting very satisfying, and superb results with my VPI 16.5 RCM, and the AIVS Multi-Step Cleaners, and Pure Water Rinse. Mark
A Loricraft PRC 4 Dlx replaced a 3 yr old VPI 16.5. While the more expensive PRC, IMHO, is a major improvement on the VPI, I suspect my cleaning results are still sub optimal in the absence of an enzyme in my cleaning regimen. Have just ordered an enzyme cleaner from Osage Audio. Will probably use this as the first part of a 3 step process in conjunction with the L Art du Son and distilled water. Would be happy to hear from Agoners who are satisfied with a L Art du Son based cleaning regime.
Peter and Gradys,
Don't waste your time. In our experience steaming is ineffective at best, and more likely to do harm than good at worst.
We've tried it, with three different recommended steamers, using every technique espoused by the acolytes. Waste of time. Waste of money.
We've also re-cleaned friends' steam "cleaned" records (including one of Dan's while Sunnyboy was visiting). The results were the same each time. Steaming is a joke compared with methods that actually work.
Those methods do take time, as Markd51 described, but if we want to hear all the music in the grooves that's part of the cost of admission. Wish it weren't so, but it is.
Compared to the most effective methods, steaming actually makes things worse. The water we use for LP rinsing is so pure it leached impurities out of every steamer it touched. I'm not spraying that on my LPs, but we did keep one steamer for cleaning the toilets. ;)
Would be happy to hear from Agoners who are satisfied with a L Art du Son based cleaning regime..
I tried a lot of Cleaning fluids the last years, L'Art du son for example, too.
Honestly, first you should know for what you need what. Reissues for example have problems in the cooling process, nothing helps here, they are noisy and they will be noisy after cleaning, maybe a little bit less.
Old records have smoke, dust etc. in the grooves, here you can use 1 step solutions (one or multiple cycles) or multi step solutions. There is a big discussion about fluids, what is best and so on...and how much time it needs.. I don't share this view.
Most fluids do the job quite good, the real problem and the real difference is the way to remove it.
some fluids can't be removed properly, based on their mix, they need additional steps with distilled water, for example (but this is not written in the manual).
You described your experience with a Loricraft and a former VPI, the difference is in the way the fluid is removed (or how much of it), this is in my opinion the most important factor for a superior result.
I use AVIS for example, had LADS before & some others, real dirty records need multiple washings anyway and with a point nozzle design you can reduce that to a minimum.
The other units will have "wet lips" after a few turns and when the record is dry it will be noisy again. Most listen to their records right after cleaning and there the noise is reduced, but this is based on still being wet a little bit...
SunnyBoy my friend,
I'm a little bit surprised you didn't go the full monty with the entire range of AIVS Cleaners, and Pure Water Rinse.
They seem to be engineered that their products compliment one another in concurrent steps (ie: Enzymatic-Super Cleaner-Rinse),(or #15-Enzymatic-Super Cleaner-Rinse)
Syntax, I see no ill effects caused by what you state about "wet lips" somehow recontaminating the record again, and makiing it noisy again?
At least not if one uses a pure water rinse, such as AIVS, and perhaps even goes one step further, and dedicates another Wand for specific Rinsing alone.
My beliefs are this: That one could probably hook up a 16 gallon Shop Vac to their Loricraft, VPI, or whatever RCM, and it still may not fully remove contaminants, and residues if the cleaners have not done their jobs first by detaching those contaminants.
And about the only detriment I can gather that may/can be caused by a wand type RCM like the VPI-Clearaudio-Etc, versus a more sophisticated machine like the Loricraft-Monks, is the possiblity of record surface abrasion, caused by physical contact of a Wand containing contaminants-dirt-dust-grit.
If one takes the steps I mention above, this possibility should be lessened. Mark
I'm not quite as down on steaming as Doug, but he is correct from what I've experienced. (BTW, the LP Doug mentioned was a brand new Music Matters release. So even with new vinyl it can be possible to clean away layers.) Steaming can be better than doing nothing, but I submit that a final rinse with pure water is still needed at a minimum. Steam is not nearly as effective as a good enzyme soak. Since soaking is more effective and takes less work and no energy cost, I have abandoned steaming. To me it is a simple, logical switch.
But, then again, I know several people who don't clean any LPs and are enjoying their music just as much as any of us who do clean.
A bottle of enzyme cleaner finally arrived a few days back and Holy Cow the results are positively amazing. This is the Enzyme cleaner from Osage Audio(Jim Pendelton).On somewhat difficult records a 5 min soaking with the avis enzyme, vaccuum with the PRC 4 dlx, followed with 2 mins soaking with the L Art du Son and finally one or two rinses with laboratory grade distilled water and my vinyl has never sounded better. Pops and clicks I had given up on have largely retreated if not disappeared.
Hopefully will acquire a larger stock of the Avis enzyme cleaner on my next trip to the US in June. Unfortunately, none of the couriers are willing to transport liquids across the globe.
I plan to be miserly with the Avis.
I guess Mark is right. Unless you have the cleaning fluids sorted out the RCM alone will not do.
If you have'nt added a enzyme cleaner to your regimen I strongly recommend you do so. Dealing with Jim Pendelton was a wonderful experience.
Sounds like you have a good routine with excellent results. Congratulations. May I suggest you now follow up giving your newly cleaned LP a demag before you insert it in a new sleeve? I do it with a bulk tape eraser for about a minute and notice a good improvement, mainly in a slightly lower noise floor and thus increased detail and dynamics.
Regarding the cleaning, I have been buying a bunch of used records lately and am experimenting with not wiping off the dust with my Hunt brush to avoid grinding the dust in the groove before I apply the enzyme soak. I think that the dust will float in the fluid and be vacuumed up by the Loricraft anyway without the risk of scratching the grooves.
I also notice that if I leave the vacuum on between applications of fluids, the tube is less likely to get clogged. Also, it seems that the tiny vibrations of the motor agitate the fluid in the grooves, so I don't have to agitate it as much with the brush. This may be gentler on the vinyl.
What have others tried?
Thanks, would like to follow up on the demag suggestion. Any particular product that you have been impressed with? Did read about a Furutech demag gizmo in ST a while back and if I recall that was a couple of grand. Would prefer a cheaper route.
Apologies for hijacking this thread.
The demagnetizer I use is a Geneva Audio/Video Tape Eraser model #PF-215. I bought it originally to demag my CDs in about 1994 and to erase VHS tapes. It cost about $60 back then, though I don't know if it is still available. The Furutech is great and convenient, but very expensive.
It is part of my record cleaning procedure which starts with the Loricraft and ends with new sleeves, so you have not hijacked the thread in too major a way, I hope.
I own a Loricraft PRC-4 Record Cleaner and it is a GREAT unit but the process is very slow and manual to clean each LP. I have experimented with the following solutions:
L`Art du Son mixed with distilled water as prescribed in the provided instructions. I then apply the solution to the LP and then work it into the grooves using the brush provided with the Loricraft. I run the Loricraft in the clockwise mode for about 2 minutes working the solution into the grooves. I then do run the Loricraft in the anti clockwise mode again for 2 minutes again working the fluid into the grooves.
I allow the LP then to sit for another few minutes and then I run the Loricraft in the clockwise mode with the vacuum turned on and the pickup arm located at the inside of the LP. Once the arm has moved slowly from the inside to the outside of the LP vacuuming up the liquid and hopefully the gunk from the grooves, I run the Loricraft in the anti clockwise mode and again position the arm to the inside of the LP and let it repeat the process.
I then carry out the above steps for the other side of the LP.
When I play the LP after cleaning I have found that there is still some noise and pops so I then tried another step in the cleaning process where after I have finished with the above cleaning, I would apply a mix of 50% distilled water and 50% Isopropyl and then use The Disc Doctor Cleaning Brush (felt) to work the solution into the grooves though for not as long as above. Again I run the Loricraft both in the clockwise and anti clockwise mode. I then again start the vacuum and place the Loricraft arm at the inside of the LP and let it vacuum out the solution.
When I then played the LP I found that it was a lot quieter with less pops than just using the L`Art du Son but it increases the cleaning time and with over 800+ LPs to clean I was not looking forward to the cleaning. So I decided to try some other solutions.
Distilled water, white vinegar and rinse aid. I repeated the same cleaning process as for the L`Art du Son but again found the LP to be still a bit noisy with pops. So again tried the distilled water and Isopropyl and found it to be quieter, less pops but again the time required to clean the 800+ LPs was daunting.
Distilled water 50%, Isopropyl 50% with a capful of rinse aid. Again I repeated the same process as with the L`Art du Son but this time I did not allow the LP to sit since the solution evaporates quite quickly.
I then played the LP and found that it was very quite and with minimal pops. I have now cleaned another 20 or so LPs using this last process and I am quite happy with the results and since the amount of time required to clean each LP has significantly reduced, I am not so daunted now in going ahead and slowly cleaning the 800+ LPs.
PS: New inexpensive RCM from New Zealand:
Sunnyboy, glad you're enjoying ever-improving results. We also demag our LP's, with audible improvements as Peter described. We use an industrial tools demagnitizer. These are available from industrial supply houses for < $100.
Good to hear from you. If know you know of any online retailer selling demags do share
I have had a PRC4 for a few years now but I buy almost exclusively 30 to 60 year old records so I don't know that my recommendations will be relevant to you unless you move in this direction.
I have achieved outstanding results, restoring many (but not all) VG or VG+ records to VG++ or NM- condition with the PRC but it takes some time and effort. Don't expect miracles of course with a damaged record but I have been impressed with what can be done in time with records that are in excellent condition but dirty.
I start with just a rise under the faucet using a Last brush. (No cardiac arrests here please, it's just to get the heavy dirt off without using up expensive record cleaning formulas and dirtying lots of brushes).
Then I suck off the excess with the PRC and use AI enzyme and/or just super cleaner depending on what I think it needs.
Then I play it to evaluate and look at the needle after. Usually more cleaning and playing results in more improvement until I am satisfied that just a quick clean with ultra pure water (which is my minimal cleaning before playing any record) is enough.
I have L'art du son as well which I mix with the enzymatic fluid for serious cleaning.