Degritter brand ultrasonic record cleaner


I received notification yesterday that the Degritter ultrasonic record cleaner is finally making it into production. I have been watching the company for about a year, as the cleaner has moved from prototype to beta testing , and now to a limited production of the finalized (we’ll see ;-) version. The design is excellent, eliminating my reservations about the high-priced (around $4,000) ultrasonic cleaners, at a little over half their price (just over $2,000, last I read). The Degritter uses 120kHz as it’s ultrasonic frequency, and features water filtering and disc drying. It also looks cool, like a 1950’s toaster! Details available on the companys website.
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120khz now that is interesting. Nice looking unit and looks well thought out with filtering and drying.  Was there ever a consensus on higher frequency 120khz vs lower frequency 40khz? I recall advocates on both sides of the argument.
I am still cleaning my records the "old fashioned" way with the VPI RCM, but willing to dive in to US cleaning. 
When it comes to cleaning records, or anything to do with getting the absolute best sound possible from them, I would defer to Better Records. They don't use ultra-sonic. They have by far the most pristine vinyl I've ever seen. They have by far the best sound I've ever heard. Pretty sure the machine they use is a lot more than $4k, but they also use Walker Enzyme Fluid for the bulk of the cleaning process. I would start with that.

Yeah sure its easy to take the position something else like in this case Degritter is at least as good if not better. Its ultrasonic! Blah. Blah. Blah.
I could not care less. Results are what counts in my book. Buy a couple Hot Stampers, hear how insanely good they are, realize they could not possibly be this good without an insanely good selection process- which includes cleaning with this- and then get back to me.

https://www.better-records.com/product.aspx?pf_id=rcm&rurl=
2600 Euros on their website. So, almost $3000. No thanks. Although it does look awesome and should be effective. Just not in my price range. I'll stick with enjoying my records cleaned in my SpinClean. Not perfect, but not $3000 either......
Damn @reubent, the price has gone up 50% from just six months ago! I posted this not to make the case for ultrasonic cleaning, but for those considering purchasing one of the $4,000 machines (Audio Desk, KLAudio, etc.). Here is a cheaper (even with the price increase) alternative that may actually be superior to the $4,000 models. A perfectly acceptable usc can be assembled DIY for far less, of course, and many of us still pretty happy with our VPI’s, Nitty Gritty’s, etc. I don't require Tom Port's advice on record cleaning---I've been doing it longer that he ;-) . My first cleaner was a Watts Preener in 1968.
So then you've tried the machine he uses and know from experience it is inferior?
FYI @millercarbon the cleaner in question is an Odyssey MKV, very well regarded and similar approach to the Monks and Loricraft machines although the Odyssey is built to Teutonic tolerances 😉. Personally I like the speed and simplicity of my US machine but I might like to have a Monks as well for those discs needing a real deep clean 😜


@millercarbon,

Forgive me if I'm wrong but judging by your post above, you don't have personal experience with US cleaning, and you're ready to recommend the Walker fluid without personal experience.  All the while, ready to question others' experience?
I use a Monks Omni and ultrasonic. The results are synergistic. I talked to the Degritter people when they first announced the machine a couple years ago, and suggested that coming in at a low price point might give them a real edge in the market. At the time, the person I spoke with was not optimistic about keeping the price down, but wanted to build a better machine. Perhaps they have done that.
In the meantime, an awful lot of people have hopped onto the DIY bandwagon, and not just for lower cost. The feature set can be better, and if you add a circulation pump and filter, you can really optimize what you are doing. I know @slaw has gone this route, @Terry9 has done so, as have a few others. Rush Paul wrote that seminal article bringing together a lot of the learning on the DIY Audio thread (a vast undertaking to read). Tima has contributed several articles on the subject as well, including some thoughts on filtration and water purity.
The high frequency used by the Degritter is, as far as I know, novel among the current crop of US machines used for record cleaning.
The Walker fluids are fine. I get the same results from AIVS #15 and reagent grade 1 bought in bulk and it takes far less time than the 4 steps involved in the Walker Prelude kit.
I hope these folks can bring it to market and succeed, in spite of the price.
Too bad the Odyssey is no longer made. I would have bought one. The Monks is pretty well made, relies on a German dialysis pump and has a sort of classic British engineering vibe to it (no, it doesn’t leak oil and the lights don’t go out). There’s the Loricraft too, and I think Fremer wrote up at least one other point nozzle at a lower price point.
In my estimation, you don’t need fancy equipment to get the job done. Most of it is about method/process and good practices. An all in one machine that works with the push of a button has yet to be made cheaply.

I lived two blocks from Tom Ports apartment in Sherman Oaks in the late-80’s/early-90’s, and bought some LP’s from him (the original German pressing of Magical Mystery Tour is a must!). I was pretty surprised by his hi-fi system, and not in a good way. A mass-market Japanese "automatic" record player, a receiver, and some box speakers. It was like being in a Best Buy! I don’t recall what record cleaner he was using at the time, but ya know he doesn’t have some secret information no one else does. A clean record is a clean record, however that is achieved.

Brooks Berdan had a Keith Monks (original) in his shop in Monrovia, but preferred the VPI HW-17F. I love my 17F (with which I use fluids by VPI, Last, Nitty Gritty, and Torumat), but am still going to put together a DIY ultrasonic. There is one guy offering tanks with a choice of frequency---40k, 60k, 80k, 120k; I’m thinking 80k is a good compromise between power and gentleness. That and a VinylStack LP spinner plus water filter makes for a great, low cost usc. The Degritter looks great, but I’d rather put $3,000 into more LP’s.

Slaw
Forgive me if I’m wrong but judging by your post above, you don’t have personal experience with US cleaning, and you’re ready to recommend the Walker fluid without personal experience. All the while, ready to question others’ experience?
Went and read the post again, its pretty darn clear I have records that were cleaned that way. All my comments were directed at the results, none at the use. The sequence is transgression, apology, repentance, then forgiveness. Not my rules. Your turn.
for the record, pardon the pun my finely over engineered Tuetonic tolerance ride caught fire today....left for the Benz dealer on a flatbed. So far the UK ( 1967 MGB ) and GDR are tied 1:1

why not the $899 ish US machine....? Kirmuss..I believe...
The 17F VPI is a fine machine, probably the best one VPI built. Here's pic from the Library of Congress showing a big VPI and a Monks from my visit to the Packard Campus back in December, 2014: https://thevinylpress.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/DSCF0273-1024x682.jpg




I can't speak for anyone else, but the LP's I bought from Tom Port are no quieter than those I cleaned myself. But then, those LP's were acquired from Tom many years ago; perhaps his current cleaner does a better job than the one he used on my LP's.
Kirmuss uses a pretty ubiquitous ultrasonic bath* with the addition of a proprietary spinner that uses multiple slots rather than a rotisserie like the Vinyl Stack. He also uses a fluid that he claims removes all sorts of nasties left over from prior bad cleanings. I haven’t used it- there’s a fair amount of anecdotal information on the Hoffman forum about having to repeatedly clean to remove a paste-like residue that Kirmuss claims is the result of built-up contamination. Judging from those comments, which you can read yourself, it’s a pretty time intensive process.
I don’t have an issue with his introducing a low cost entry into the ultrasonic sweepstakes, but some of his claims are, well, a bit extravagant.
If you can ante up for an Elma, another fine piece of German engineering (sorry about your MB, @tomic601 - my favorite was a ’69 300 6.3- sort of a short wheelbase 600 with oodles of power), you’ll spend more but get a better quality US bath. Add a water recirculation filtering system for less than 100 dollars and the Vinyl Stack and you are in business for more than the Kirmuss but still far less than the AD or KL.
*One claim he does make that I agree with is the position of the transducers on the bottom of the tank, rather than at the sides; given how wave propagation occurs, the LPs act as baffles if the transducers are at the sides of the machine. 
One of the reasons for 40 khz is that the resonance of water is right at that frequency. 41.2khz, approx. IIRC.....

So a 40khz ultrasonic resonator is designed for that frequency and then to wander in that range (+/- 250hz, approx) until it finds the lowest reflections of energy in the resonator and the highest rate of transfer. So not the water resonance really, but the best condition of energy transfer through the medium of water.

This comes out of the ultrasonic sealing industry, the place the ultrasonic resonators at’ 40khz’...come from. Most times they work with water-based products like toothpaste, creames, hair shampoo, etc.

In that, I’m not sure what is accomplished with 120khz. Other than cavitation and heating at the surface of the resonator. Maybe the odd photon.

I’m ready to be wrong about all that, in the face of other arguments. We shall see, kinda thing. Not negative, just neutral.

A bigger number is not automatically better, is the deal, ....but...there may be good reasons to go to 120kz, and such hardware would likely take some tuning, tied to correct analysis...in order to get it to the right spot.
 @whart Thanks so much for referring the Elma.... I need more German stuff in my life :-) I can heartily recommend Brinkmann anything... ha

my manual but hyper trusty Nitty Gritty is fading....
@tomic601 - no problem. If you do go ultrasonic, don’t get rid of your vacuum machine. I find that ultrasonic is not a complete answer with older records that have been exposed to who knows what.
@teo_audio- your comments about the resonant frequency of water fascinated me, so I did some quick and entirely inconclusive reading. There was a fellow named Keely who did some experiments back in the late 19th century experimenting with "etheric forces" and water. There was a mention of a sympathetic frequency a little above 40kHz where water shot through a tube and blew a hole through the roof of his lab!

I think a lot of the information we have about ultrasonic cleaning of records is anecdotal and extrapolated from other fields. I don’t know that anyone has funded any independent research on the subject that has resulted in published papers. I gather that some of the work done by the fellow that developed the AD is considered proprietary.

One person who visited here briefly to discuss ultrasonic cleaning said he measured the frequency of the KL at around 35 kHz, rather than the 40kHz claimed.

One constant seems to be the question of damage- which I have found no evidence of in my use of several different machines. The theory is that the higher frequencies generate smaller, less powerful bubbles which are less likely to cause any pitting. Part of the reason for the spinning of the record is to avoid this sort of damage, though I have not tried to damage a record deliberately using ultrasonic machines.
I think the days of major companies funding research in these areas is long gone-- there is little economic incentive to do so and most of the companies in the market in the record cleaning space are small operations, or are using US baths that are designed for industrial use, not necessarily for cleaning records, e.g. Elma, who make equipment for labs, dental and medical, industrial applications, etc.
I use the Nitty Gritty enzyme cleaner for the more difficult discs, seems to help
i will add that as a pre-clean step IF I go US

what a sometimes strange, esoteric and archane hobby we have....


@whart which model Elma and size tank do you recommend? Thanks so much!
@whart ..
so you came across Jerry Decker’s keeleynet. Which he’s abandoned, probably due to his health. Jerry’s been at it since before the net existed. One of the original scientific oddity data websites and collections, it is. It is slowly fading and the loss of his collection is a great loss to the searchers on the edge of the herd. Those that are by definition the edge of change itself. Reading such oddity websites is what takes a person to being, via finding those chestnuts of data within..can put one 10-20-50 years ahead of anyone else, in some aspects of scientific knowledge. Critical when it comes to putting things together into a framework that works in the now.

In there, when you get past the strange and obsessive ’guardians of the scientific laws’ (don’t look! they scream, with all that agitated hand waving) when you get past the illiterate clams that all they don’t know is foo... then you can get into all the interesting edge phenomena that are indicating where to go and look in emergent science.

Eg, what you just found from nearly 100 years ago, as some sort of grandiose crazy story would be normally delegated by the spitty foo claimers as being a charlatan’s tale ----is actually something that became connected to a real thing, but nearly 100 years later.

This happens a thousand times over. Check the record, to note it when you come across it. And it will happen again --a thousand times more. Thus, logic says, look to the edge and into the darkness, as the middle of the herd..has nothing. Nothing at all.

So ignore all the naysayers and forge ahead. And when they confront you in their self appointed fiefdom of comfort, safety, dogma, and so on, those ’halls of laws and negativity in science’ (Eg engineering..which is given as dogma, for specific reasons), gently push them by the head into a wall so you can say ’excuse me’ and step past their weird negative space ranting. They are psychologically knotted up, and it’s not going to go away. Part of the condition of being in a herd and not knowing the self....

The thing is.. they will all gang up and beat one to death in the public interweb streets for looking at and playing with data they don't understand..but not a single one will appear and show some humanity and chagrin, when they are shown to be wrong. Such is my repeated experience for decades.

And move on to real science (which is by design all theory), which comes from the new and the strange, the oddities and the observations. Always has, always will.

Textbooks are for telling you where the norm of the now is, in the historical sense. Read them and relate and note, but then it’s all on you to throw the textbook over your shoulder..and step out to find the new. The map is not the territory.
@wakethetown- the Elma P60H is the one that is more reasonable in price, but will require some attention to fill level and record placement due to its smaller size. Offhand, I know from their posts here that @dgarretson and @terry9 are users of this unit. They can chime in on using this unit.
The larger, more expensive P120H will accommodate more records, larger capacity tank at a greater price. Here’s the piece Tima wrote when his cheapie US tank crapped out and he stepped up to the Elma, with some good observations on water recycling: https://thevinylpress.com/timas-diy-rcm-follow-up-2-compelling-changes-improved-results/
(note those are Tim’s words, not mine).
I’m still using my KL so I haven’t crossed the DIY Rubicon yet.
PS: there's a relationship between tank size and the number of records you can effectively clean, something that has been discussed on other threads and can be revisited here. 
@teo_audio: I learned a little about medical science and holistic medicine from a veterinarian in Vista, New York who showed us ancient medical texts that explained the symptoms of our cat’s disease, since overwritten by more modern science, and then proceeded to treat the animal sympathetically with non-invasive treatments and prolonged the animal’s life for 3 years when other conventional vets suggested brain surgery or euthanasia. So, I’m well equipped to learn, even if my scientific skills are somewhat lacking. I also learned something about conventional science and reality in the Lyme disease arena, where established science is only now coming to grips with that misery. I shall soldier on....
@millercarbon
I believe most here understood my meaning.
@slaw- can't remember, did you buy an Elma too?

let’s hope the unknown as yet undiscovered far exceeds the known....otherwise it is going to be a pretty boring next thousand years...

yep thirty five years ago..nobody understood how a 225# 12 varsity letter 21 year old athlete could get Juvenile diabetes....well, we know now....

peace to all those who carry a burden, visible or otherwise....
I still have a Nitty Gritty......when the mood strikes me, and I feel I want to get it the best that it can be, I steam clean it. ....cheap and very effective.
I’m using an Elma and Vinyl Spin, with an external DIY 1um pump filter circuit and the finishing touch of a VPI 16.5 to extract residue loosened but still in the grooves after ultrasonic cleaning. I’m suspicious that the high-priced integrated units are conceived mostly for ease of use, and that their automated brushes and inboard filtering circuits may be less effective than manual techniques. They are certainly added points of failure owing to complex mechanisms. The Elma offers both 40 and 80K frequencies. I can’t hear any improvement at 80K. At 80K there is much less ultrasonic energy communicated to the LP, as measured by the increasing heat of bath temperature during the cleaning cycle. This could be a good or bad thing w/r to safety and cleaning results. But there is no damage to the LP provided that the Vinyl Spin keeps spinning. I have melted LPs on the few occasions that I forgot to engage the spinner. One or two lessons like that and you won’t forget to turn it on.

 @dgarretson mind just a quick rundown on essential bits of the DIY filter....I think RACOR makes a nice 1 micron replaceable element model....I can write that off against the boat account as safety equipment!
@whart,

I did not buy the Elma. I'm still having fun, experimenting with my original Rushton copy.
The thing about higher frequency is that the wave length is shorter. A 40KHz wave is about 1.5" long, a 120KHz wave is 0.5" long. The significance of this is the space necessary for the US wave to develop. If the space (record to tank wall) is less that the wave length, then cleaning is compromised. And don’t forget to factor in a margin for warped records, so those numbers are an underestimate.

Bottom line is a 120KHz machine can have a smaller tank. If it meets spec, and truly generates 120KHz. Which is why it’s a good idea to buy lab grade equipment like the PH60 - you know what you are buying, and you can trust it to meet spec, this year and next.

The first thing I did when I bought the PH60 was to test for damage. It doesn’t, unless you overheat (50C) the chemistry - then records warp, but the grooves remain undamaged. At least, not with my equipment, which includes an air bearing turntable and a Koetsu.

I have cleaned some 3000 records, most of them twice, some many times. No detectable damage from US. YMMV, but I doubt it.
@whart
@slaw
@dgarretson

Nice to hear from you, and that you’re still cleaning.
Thanks @terry9 ,

There was a lot of info on the "Thumbs up for ultrasonic cleaning" thread that most here contributed to. I've found to be true the same as you and @dgarretson have said regarding overstating possible negative effects of heat up to 45c and higher frequencies than 40khz by others/other manufacturers. I do want to get a .5 micron pre-filter to go in front of my 1 micron filter next.
A .5 micron filter would be nice, but the large 1 micron filter canisters available on Amazon do a great job of clearing the bath of all visible debris-- which accumulates quickly over the course of several cleaning cycles.   Circulation through the soft plastic tubing to/from the external pump and filter also returns a hot bath to safe temperatures. 

BTW,  for an external filter circuit, my pump of choice is Little Giant Model 1-AA-OM.  The brass nipple fittings can be found at Home Depot or Lowes.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/NOS-LITTLE-GIANT-PUMP-COMPANY-1-AA-OM-SPECIALTY-IN-LINE-PUMP-115V-50Hz-0-45A/232944607106?hash=item363c949f82:g:FrQAAOSwk-9brkFg

@dgarretson - i haven't gotten hands on with these yet, but Tim, who wrote several pieces, went to a 0.35 micron filter and bought a cheap TDS meter and claims it is very effective. I'd have to check what pump he's using. (the last installment is in the link I posted above). 
You know, after thinking about it, it may make more sense to use a .5 micron filter, after the 1 micron filter when thinking about filter life.

I got in on the Degritter and ordered one back in the summer. Given the start-up and crowd-fund nature of the company I expected delays and of course there have been a number of them. All well explained by the company though.

I should be getting mine hopefully within the next couple of weeks.
It will be my first record cleaning machine! And I have so much vinyl I’ve bought since I ordered it, piling up, waiting to be cleaned.

For me this machine based on it’s goals, design and the feedback of beta testers, is precisely what I was looking for. I buy plenty of old and new records and wanted a record cleaner. But frankly every single version of record cleaning I’ve ever seen has turned me off. It just looks like adding a chore to the experience of listening to records. I have taken albums over to my friend’s place and watched him use his VPI cleaner and it was just, as I said, too chore-like. And as I have sensitive ears I HATE the loud fans on so many record cleaners.

The automated US machines from AudioDesk etc seemed to do what I’d like, but were expensive and, IMO, damned ugly.

As soon as I saw the Degritter I wanted it. Love the chic industrial design. Looks like a finished product I would actually place in plain view, rather than the kludged together in someone’s basement look of other record cleaners.

Loved the intuitive looking controls, the fact you just pop a record in and hit a button, then you can walk away do other things and come back to a dry record ready to play. And they seem to have thought through so many little user-friendly design aspects, especially flexibility in the drying process. There are now something like 22 finely graded settings for the fan dryer noise, so you can dial it to really quiet (longer dry) or louder (shorter dry).

I took the chance in paying 1/2 up front, 1/2 upon delivery. The feedback from beta testers was all highly positive both for the machine and for the Degritter team being conscientious and responsive.

Since paying up I’ve found that to be very true. All inquiries have been responded to within 24 hours, often sooner, with confidence-inspiring detail.

As to the price, I can certainly understand why someone would blanche at paying thousands of dollars for a record cleaner. But this is really about personality and budget. As I said, I look to records to relax, not add chores to my life. To some they may like to clean records so it’s no big loss to go a cheaper route, or a manual route to cleaning. Which is great! But that’s not me. I rationalize the money in that I have spent similar sums and more for various equipment over the years - speakers, amps, pre-amps, turntable, etc. Given I'm listening mostly to vinyl these days and cleaning a record will upgrade the sound to some degree (variable, I know, I’m not expecting miracles) I look at it as an upgrade similar to if I were buying some other component that would improve the sound of my system. 

So that’s my story with the Degritter, thus far.

I’ll report back when I get it in action.



Agree 100% @prof. I registered on the Degritter website, and have received regular email updates on the status of the cleaner ever since. Many of them included the announcement of a slight increase in price, but nothing like the latest!

At around $2,000 US I didn’t consider it overpriced (as I do the $4,000 usc machines), but $3,000 is pushing it. Still, as it appears it may actually be a better machine than the KLAudio and Audio Desk, that price IS defendable. For anyone not wanting to have to assemble a DIY usc, and with the required disposable income (or savings, for you retired gents), the Degritter is mighty attractive and tempting. As you said prof, to see it is to want it!

I’m not crazy about the idea of forced-air drying of LP’s, but anyone with a VPI, Nitty Gritty, Pro-Ject, Okki Nokki, or even Keith Monks vacuum machine can use it to dry the LP after a cleaning in any usc. I also like having a VPI if for no other reason than that it provides a platter upon which a used, dirty LP can be scrubbed by hand.

One advantage of the Vinyl Stack spinner is the ability to clean up to five LP’s simultaneously. The only automatic usc that does more than one at a time is the Kirmuss (and then only two), with which I have serious reservations (for one thing, 35kHz is imo unacceptable. For another, their pitchmans claims for the Kirmuss cleaning solution strike me as bs. Plus, drying an LP with a cloth?!).


bdp24,


Yeah the price hike does push it upward to a smaller audience.  I got in when I could buy it at just over $2,300 so I'm happy enough about that.


Still, the price demanded for the KLAudio and Audio Desk does put the Degritter in better perspective, and it looks to me like the better machine in many ways.

I've started to really anticipate the Degritter because, as I wrote, I've built up a big collection of LPs, especially tons of older "library music" LPs from the 70's to early 80's.  I have bought brand new premium inner sleeves to use once my records are washed.  So...I'm all ready to go, just twiddling my thumbs waiting.


Excellent, prof, can’t wait to hear if it lives up to our high expectations. The designers (who appear to be very sharp young men) really took their time, making every effort to get it perfect. I can't see a thing they missed!
I received this email today from Degritter:

"New web store stock on March 25As you may have noticed, our webshop is up and running. You may also have noticed that the number of machines in stock was rather low and that they’ve all been already bought. 

"Bear with us, though. There will be five more machines available in our shop on March 25. Indeed, we are keeping the quantities low in March, but this is to ensure that the stock that is currently available is available to buy throughout the whole month. 

"Degritter accessories will also become available on March 25. This includes 7” and 10” adapters, replacement water tanks and filters as well as cleaning fluids. 

"There is still some more good news. We expect the availability of stock to stabilize by April. This means that considerably larger quantities of Degritter machines will become available in our webshop. 

"We appreciate your patience and aim to deliver the best ultrasonic record cleaner in return. 

"All the Best,
Team Degritter"
 

There's a lot of chatter on forums about using cleaners/surfactants with US cleaners - what type, or whether to even use them at all.

It seems generally acknowledged that surfactants work well in aiding the US cleaning process, but some are uncomfortable leaving any residue on the vinyl.

The Degritter cleaner apparently leaves a fine "anti-static" coating that they claim does not affect playback at all.   Some beta testers seem to agree as they use the surfactant.

But for those uncomfortable leaving it on, an idea is to do a double wash - first with surfactant, second to wash the surfactant off (Degritter says you can wash off the surfactant).

I inquired a while ago about the possibility of acquiring an additional water tank to make a double wash easy - just have the tank with fresh water, sans surfactant, on hand to switch in after the first wash.   They said they'd be making the water tanks available on their own.  Nice to see they will be available!

(Though I'm looking to simplify the record cleaning process as much as possible, which is why I went with a Degritter in the first place.  So if I like what I hear using the surfactant I'll likely stick with that).