GEM Dandy Record Cleaner - Has Anyone Tried It ?

Have you read this review of George Merrill's record cleaner in the latest

Best ever record cleaner (according to the reviewer) and uses ordinary tap water for the rinse. Exclusively for garage sale purchases, or would you have the nerve to try it on an audiophile reissue, too?
I suppose it might just depend on how the tap water in your area is.

The idea actually seems similar to a homemade cleaning machine I saw recently - it spun the disc on a rotor and dipped it into a jewelry cleaning machine. It didn't seem like a bad idea, although it could only clean 7" records.
I'm completely amused by the Merrill cleaning machine. I guarantee you, if I was a kid with no budget and a love for LP's. I'd buy it in a heartbeat.

I have no idea how well it works, but I'll wager it's miles ahead of doing nothing and many people do "nothing" because LP cleaning machines (on the whole) are very expensive.

Good for him and good review.
Funny I sent this item yesterday to my good friend who has a Walker just like Alberts...hiya Albert :).
Anyway he was thinking of trying the steam clean process for his records and I thought the stand would be great for holding records during that process.
At time when used Nitty Gritty (Record Doctor) RCMs go for less than the cost of this contraption -- my current Record Doctor went for $80 here on Audiogon -- it's real hard to generate much enthusiasm. Unless you're really into watersports. And your tap water is VERY soft. As usual, YMMV. Dave
I'm with Dave on this one. Used Record Doctor or new KAB EV1 with a good vacuum which many will already have will provide a much, much better cleaning solution for around the same amount or very little more money. Tap water issues, hand or air drying, water flying all over the place.

No thanks.
The fact that the reviewer was told to dry the records with a soft cotton cloth (as opposed to a lint-free one) is kind of suspect.
Hmm, actually he suggests folded gerber baby diapers, highly absorbent and lint free. I got a bag of chlorine free diapers and they look just about right for the job.
Oh, I didn't know that Gerber diapers were lint-free, good to know!
All this info is good for those that are entering the arena of LP playback and looking for alternatives to clean records.

I owned the Nitty Gritty, two VPI's (including the 17F) and now the best one I've ever seen or used, the Odyssey RCM from Germany.

Still, not everyone has been into listening to records for as long as I have, nor do they necessarily know how deep they want to get into it. I agree that the vacuum based machines are probably more effective, but there are people who will be excited about the GEM Dandy and I don't want to be the one to crush their excitement.

Just like the (very long) Lenco thread, it brought a good number of Audiogon members over to the fun and excitement of LP playback and we NEED more young guys in the hobby to keep it alive.

I'm all for entry level solutions, that's exactly where I began when I was a kid.
Albert, you really think young guys are going to emerge from their baptismal experience with this thing with a huge desire to continue using it? I'd say it's more likely to put a, er, damper on the whole idea of record cleaning :-)
My son would find it fun to use, I'm going from personal experience, that's all I've got.

How many people would buy a 40 year old Lenco, clean, tweak and repair it, only to have to construct a 60 pound custom base before it delivered full potential? Judging from posts here at Audiogon, quite a few.

Many things in high end audio are a hassle, or shall we soften that to "a lot of work." Some people enjoy it, some don't. The reason I have a $6800.00 record cleaning machine is because I deeply believe in the LP format and want the best possible. When I was a kid I would have been a lot more excited about the potentially affordable $100.00 one.

I just don't want to ruin it for someone who might be where I was many years ago. I think the review pointed out the advantages and disadvantages. There are people who play LP's that have never been cleaned, or think they are clean because they bought a record brush.

In that case, any of the machines discussed in this thread would be an eye opening experience. I'm trying to not close the door for anyone who's interested at ANY level.
Well, I sorta agree, which is why I was recommending the sub-$100 approach that doesn't require you to don a wet suit. Those who would prefer to don a wet suit are, of course, encouraged too.

As to how many people, etc., a lot fewer than might get into record cleaning if it were hassle-free. IMHO, that is. :-)
Wet suit? Do you think it would be that bad? I don't know how good the guy is that reviewed the GEM Dandy, but I think I could do fine with it in our sink and create no more mess than rinsing dishes.

Then again, I have not tried it. Just supporting those who contribute to LP music playback.
The report or review that I read (can't remember where) suggested that it was pretty messy to operate. Maybe it takes practice.
So far nobody in the responses has tried this thing. I'm going to go out on a limb and buy one. I have to say, I really like the theory behind it quite a bit. Imagine a stucco wall with 30 years of dirt in the grooves. Would you rather scrub it with soapy water and then go to it with a wet-vac, or take a power-washer to it?

Or better yet, scrub it and then take a power washer to it.

I'll report back.

Those who own a Groovmaster or made a similar label protector, could DIY a base like this GEM. A few PVC adapters and tubing and you are done with it. This is a good addition to steamer users too. You reduce the chances of burning yourself with the steamer and can apply the steam with ease. Another option is to use a sprayer with distilled water ( or better) to rinse away the debries after cleaning.
I bought it based on the review and thought the idea of using water pressuer made alot of sense. Unfortunately, my kitchen sink doesn't handle the attachement. Nonetheless, I tried the fluid along with using the Perfection steamer on my Loricraft RCM (steam a bit, spray on fluid, wait a couple of minutes, steam and then vacum and then steam and vacum a couple of times). I don't know what is in the fluid, but a number of older records that sounded like crap, even after a run-through of the Walker cleaning process, sounded MUCH cleaner. I didn't try the Walker process with steam, so maybe that is the big difference. I plan to try both using the steam and compare. Will let you know what I find.
I copied the Gem Dandy for just a few dollars, partnered it with the Groovmasterlabel protector, and steam clean with a Perfection Steamer from Walgreens. For less than 100 bucks invested I couldn't recommend the system more highly for those on a budget or not. I dry with a lint free micro cloth and my records ( which were originally cleaned on a VPI ) never sounded better.
kbamhi - I would be VERY interested to get an exact list of parts and detailed instructions about how you pieced it together. If you could do that, I think you would be the hero of this thread.

Theory seems great... I would buy it just for the fact its "Touchless" , its Not going to weigh 40 lbs like the others, it can be used Vertically and with Hi pressure no Vacuum needed, no new cleaning pads, and can be stored away safely without worrying about damaging a heavy big finished product like a VPI or a Loricraft.. Only question is how well do they dry on their own without deposits after, but it would seem the pressure pretty much is intense enough to more or less Blow away most of the heavy moisture...

I think it makes a lot of sense and is not very expensive with pretty sensible supplies provided, I bet the album can sound as good with this process as it does with the vacuum machines in my opinion.. However I just don't have a need for one right now so I don't own it, maybe if I end up with another batch of albums in the next couple years I would invest to give it a shot.
The GEM does appear to be a nice addition to steam cleaning records , a home brew all the better. One issue with the GEM , that is the use of tap water. As countless posts on several threads have noted the cleaner the water product the more responsive the sound. Tap may be good for you and me but for records ???
What about a faucet-mounted or under-sink water purifier?
Heyitsmedusty: Now that's an idea...
Building my own version of the Gem Dandy took about 20 minutes ( after a trip to Home Depot ) but instead of the label protector pipe caps as shown I substituted the Groovmaster. Probably the most difficult part was in obtaining the Groovmaster as the seller sells via ebay auction one item at a time.
I will attempt to post pictures and specs as soon as time allows and I believe that should answer most questions.
Kbamhi: Looking forward to the education ...
I haven't had an opportunity to go to Home Depot to look up part numbers or take pictures yet but I can tell you a bit about how I accomplished the spray attachement.

What you want is a dishwasher adapter in place of your aerator. Years ago they had stand alone roll around dishwashers and this fitting would adapt your faucet to the dishwasher. Take your aerator with you for proper thread sizing. If Home Depot does not have it try your local plumbing supply. If I recall it did take a couple more fittings to adapt down to an appropriate size hose barb ( 1/4 in. or so )
On the spray end I used a fitting with the hose barb on one end and threaded a female cap on the other. I then experimented with a couple size drill bits to get the pressure I wanted. I do recall I ended up smaller than 1/8 in.
Now, having described all that, the truth is I don't use that sprayer any more because even though my water is filtered it bugged me to use tap water.

I now mount my records on the home built Gem Dandy, spray them with record cleaner ( of your choice ) scrub the record with a natural bristle paint brush, let it soak for a couple of minutes and then steam with the Perfection Steamer purchased at Walgreens. I then rinse with a hand held spray bottle utilizing Peak demineralized water ( also used in the steamer ) purchased at Pep Boys.

I would like to build an auto drier sometime in the near future but for now I dry with a micro fiber cloth and then air dry for a couple hours in a rubberized dish rack.

You can find a wealth of information regarding steaming right here in the steam cleaning records thread.

I can't take credit for any of this I just took in the information and adapted the various devices to suit my needs.
Kbamhi: It appears you have all the essentials for a hand operated dryer. Have you given any thought to lightly spining the Lp on the "Gem" while holding a powerful, blowing hair dryer 12" or more away, on air dry or low, to speed up the drying time? I believe distance, lo or no heat and hi-fan will do the trick. The disc should be dry in moments. All the best.
Does anybody add a couple of drops of "photoflo" to the rinse water?

Photographers add a couple of drops of photoflo to the rinse water of film to minimize the formation of water spots on the film while it dries.
Crem, that is certainly one way but what I had in mind was more on the order of a suction device adapted to the Gem Dandy. That way a majority of the water is removed along with any remaining contaminants. There are a lot of DYI ideas available. I just haven't looked it to it sufficently yet. I've been listening to records.

Have you heard Jimmy D Lanes album Long Gone ? Wow
Kbamhi: I'm making my thru several hundred 1960's Decca's that were given to me recently. I'll put Mr.Lang on my do list. He's one great blues guitar player.
Hmm, price just went up this week on the Gem dandy to 149.00 .... At 119.00 I thought reasonable, now its gonna be a tougher sell I think.
I recently acquired around 300 LP's most of which are from my parents. The records have been stored in a damp basement and hence many of the records have mold.

The mold is visible in two forms (1) as dark speck like dust that cannot be removed by a brush and (2) record grooves that are gray.

Not only am I skeptical and a tweaker, I am also a CSOB so I spent hours researching and searching for a record cleaner and settled on a VPI HW 16.5.

I was shocked by the price of record cleaners and fortunately for me my friend has a new VPI and I was able to clean a record with his cleaner. It did sound better after a cleaning but my concern with the VPI was, the expense and was not sure about the results. I then found the GEM here on Audiogon and decided to give George a call.

George is very nice person and spent some time with me discussing the merits of his cleaner and some of his research surrounding record cleaning. I decided to purchase one.

When I received the GEM I was not overwhelmed by the stand but one must keep in mind that GEM is not the same thing as a VPI. I then cleaned a few records and I started to feel much better.

The mold I found was completely gone and the records did sound better (after one cleaning); quieter and much more detail. I could not listen to some records prior to cleaning but can now...

I even took the VPI cleaned record and give it a cleaning, the GEM loosened dirt that was visible on the needle after one play. This is not to say that a second cleaning with the VPI would not have also helped. It even revealed scratches that were previously hidden.

I am hooked and can honestly say that the GEM is very effective and would recommend it to anyone who does not want to spent a lot of money on a very effective record cleaner and also someone who does not mind spending 5 to 10 minutes cleaning a record.
I finally got my act together and made a DIY version of the GEM Dandy Cleaner. For the $20 in supplies, why not.

My first impression with this cleaning system is that it is very, very effective. As with any cleaning system, it won't bring a record back from the dead. Some records I cleaned had sustained irreparable damage before they had ever reached my hands. Where the GEM method of cleaning a record shines is completely eliminating surface noise.

I had been using a vacuum cleaning system prior to the GEM method, but it just makes more sense to get a complete rinse. With a vacuum system the crap that you dredge up from the grooves may or may not make it up into the vacuum, and it might settle back into the groove. With a rinse system, it never stands a chance.

Highly recommended.

This is by far the best system I've ever used, waaay better than my VPI 16.5 which I promptly sold after building a GEM clone.
Looks like the device can be DIY-ed... $150 for plumbing parts? I dont know...!! ??
I've had it over a year, absolutely fantastic cleaning system. This thing has completely revolutionized my enjoyment of listening to LPs, even old rejects that had long been given up for dead.

It is very easy to use and not really too messy in the sink. But if you prefer it is no trouble to set up outside with a garden hose.

Don't even think about buying some outrageously expensive vacuum/brush monstrosity until you have tried the GEM.

Yes, you can DIY most of it and tweak a few things here and there if so inclined. Except for the GEM cleaning fluid, that is a requirement.

But I don't have a problem paying for George's idea and invention. He is a great guy and very knowledgeable, I appreciate his contributions to making this system available.

I own and love it. dont even use my top of the line nitty gritty any more.

best cleaning ever.
Can't argue with it's results, especially on mold, absolutely no 'water' problems, and I have the hardest water available, just dry it off with the diapers. It helps to have a DEEP sink, or use it outside with the garden hose....I don't find it takes more than 4 minutes max per lp. Still use a VPI once it's cleaned with the Gemalog...and George's fluid is part of the secret for getting rid of the mold.
George is a nice guy. I own a MS turntable and am happy I spent the money. I purchased the GEM Dandy record cleaner. The thing is so simple that no one thought of it. I contemplated making one myself but for $149.00 why steal the man's joy. Use Peake battery water in the steamer. Also install a dedicated under-the-sink water filter if you plan to use tap water - Spare no expense for a good one. I gave up on the VPI machine the first time one of my records was scratched. I have enough records to listen to while the others dry.
I am almost finished with a DIY version of this, as I am on a very limited budget.
One problem I am having is sourcing the faucet sprayer at the end of the tube.

I am not sure of where to get this, or exactly what size nozzle is on there.

Can anyone help me with this, please?

Thanks much,
Just bought on off the 'Gon set it up in my man-cave bath tub adapted it to run off the shower head with a diverter valve so I can still use the shower head, works like a champ and much easier no issues with over-spray in the sink. I highly recommend anyone with a GEM to utilize this method. All you need is 6-8ft of vinyl tube ($2) a 3/4 male to 1/2 female adapter ($2) and a diverter valve ($10-20 depending on pvc or brass) all easily found at Lowes or Home Depot. When I first used my GEM in the Laundry Room I admit I thought I made a bad purchase, but after the shower mod I am very happy!! Cleans the crap out of my LPs by the way.
Among all of us must be someone with access to a microscope of sufficient power and digital image capturing capability such that a "vacuum vs tap water-jet" post cleaning image comparison might yield more objective evidence in favor of one approach. Anyone in biotech or semiconductor industry with such access. Sounds as though a combination approach whereby water jet is used for deep cleaning followed by vacuum cleaning with ultra pure rinse might be ideal. I get nervous when I see the words "steam" and "vinyl LP" so close together. Can a steam advocate explain their procedure in sufficient detail as to allay any heat/vinyl concerns? Am I the only one worried about heat damage from steam?
I've had one of these for three years now. I have finally gotten the system down and it is doing an awesome job. I have a utility room sink a few paces from my turntable so it is convenient. Here is my method.

I put the album on the device and spray the record surface very good with the solution. I am using a small size glasses spray bottle and it is much easier than using the bottle provided.

Then I take a Disc washer brush and brush the surface of the record.

Then I wash the record with the water jet. Be sure and us an angle of 20% or so. It cleans better that way.

I then shake the excess water of and spritz the record down with distilled water, shake again and then dry with a cloth.

I take the record of of the devise and dry further.

I then place the record on a coffee cup to dry.

I'm finding that I have great results with George's "Groove Lube", But that another subject
My first post. I am getting back into vinyl and want to get the most out of it. After looking at the Gem Dandy and the Groovmaster on the web, it occurred to me that I am already using an inexpensive device that would be useful for Groovmaster users. Search for "oralbreeze". I use a redibreeze. It's very effective and the pressure/strength is infinitely adjustable. I do not come anywhere close to using the strongest jet on my mouth. If you really want to blast the dirt out of your grooves, this will do it. BTW I prefer this greatly to the WaterPic, although I have not yet tried either on a record.