I don't know about the drops of fluid, but I can identify exactly with your move back to vinyl. I sold my several thousand LP collection 10 years ago(ouch), and said that I would not get back into vinyl, just like you did. I stayed out of audio for 10 years. Then I bought a Sony CD/DVD/SACD player, and 2 months later, I bought a new turntable and started vinyl collecting again. I've now sold the digital player and use only vinyl again, and I love it. I strongly regret having sold my LP collection, and may never get some of those back again.
I use a Nitty Gritty 1.5. After wiping record with a Disc Washer (about 8 drops), I put a line of fluid on each side of the velvet vacuum lips, then clean & vacuum.
Just like you guys, I sold all my vinyl and turntable in 1992, about 1600 records. In 1996 I bought a Rega Planar 3. I have since collected about 500 records. No regrets over selling the records, as new and used vinyl seems to be plentiful, and more fun to shop for than CDs.
I do two rinses of distilled water after the cleaning pass. I lay the liquid on, without gettting on the lable. get that crap suspended in the liquid. Use three different disc doctor felt brushes on the three passes. You want to get the cleaning fluid off of the record. It is time consuming, but one cleaning lasts a long, long time.
You should use enough fluid so the entire surface of the record is fully covered with a continuous thin film. If the fluid gets onto the label or starts dripping off the edge of the record you've used too much. Vinyl is great fun.
I agree with you on the vinyl, much better!. I too have a P25 and the VPI 16.5. I recently sold my nitty gritty and I can confirm you made the right decision on the VPI. I use enough fluid to cover about a 1 1/2 inch wide "puddle" from
edge of the record to the center then I let the brush work it in. And i let it actually "suds up" a little.
I second Gmc's method. Make your own fluid.
Now Lugnut, you are getting a bit out there, I am reminded of the Base Commander in the great Stanly Kubrick movie (Dr. Strangelove) that was fixated about not giving up his "precious bodily fluid".
For maximum cleaning (and this is not really a necessity if you're mostly buying new/sealed quality pressings), buy a good hand-held brush such as the Disc Doctor makes, and do your cleaning by hand on a flat surface (or some use the Alsop Orbitrac for this), then use the vacuum machine to remove the fluid, rinse with distilled water, and vacuum again. Heretic that I am, I use good ol' 70% isopropyl alcohol for my fluid (NOT denatured, and cheaper at the Wal-Mart than water). It cleans the records, doesn't leave residue, and I don't believe, no matter what anybody says, that its occasional use has ever damaged any of my vinyl in the slightest. Oh, and I use it liberally enough to thoroughly wet the entire groove surface - otherwise, how are you going to suspend the dirt in solution?
Although I haven't actually tried this, I am about to. I believe I heard somewhere that de-ionized water has a lower surface tension than regular water, and therefore could be considered a "surfactant" like is used in detergent to break the surface tension of the water, and allow dirt particles to be more easily suspended in the water. From what I've heard, the "laundry balls or discs" use a method of de-ionization with the stuff they have inside them, and that is why they work to clean the clothes without detergent. Does anyone out there know about this, and if de-ionized water really does have this property, and if any other vinyl-safe additives may have this property, cheap?
I know a bunch about de-ionized water. The process works exactly like a water softener. Water passes through a bed of beads that are negatively charged. The positive ions are attached to these beads by magnetism. The water then passes through a bed of positively charged beads. The negative ions are then attracted to these. The final process is ultrafiltration that literally filters out any uncharged particles (bacteria, usually) left in the water. The process can be as simple as what is described here or there can be other steps to attain a more pure state. The best water you can acquire is that used in the manufacturing process of micro circuit boards in the computer industry. If you have a friend in that industry that can get you some of this water for vinyl usage you will have the best universal solvent known.
Since de-ionized water has the "rock" (minerals) removed it will have less surface tension. The difference is not much in the world of cleaning vinyl though. Add a few drops of Kodak Photoflow (a safe soap) and the surface tension will be mostly gone. This stuff is used on photographic film which is much more delicate than our records. If you were satisfied with the Rickie Lee album I forwarded to you, then I share my recipe here for all. I've been criticized for this formula before, so take it or leave it.
50% Computer grade de-ionized water.
50% Denatured alcohol.
10 drops Kodak Photoflow (per half cup finished fluid)
I rinse with pure water following cleaning; clean, vacuum...rinse, vacuum.
I think the computer grade water and denatured alcohol is overkill but not in theory. Regular isopropyl alcohol has lanolin. The water is free with my Micron contacts here in the Boise area. I'd substitute tap water and regular alcohol if I was out of the good stuff.
Gmc, I make my own fluids not suitable for record cleaning several times a day and have no problem with "giving it up". The special fluid that I would never clean my records with is given up to my wife frequently. Not as frequently as I wish, but that's another story.He he.
Here's a good question for Twl, since he may have one of the most revealing systems in this community. Considering that Rickie Lee has been played a hundred times or so and cleaned with the recipe I've posted here, do you think this system I use for cleaning records is harmful?
More fluid is more better......
I can definitely attest to the fact that the Rickie Lee Jones album that I got from Lugnut, is squeaky clean, and wear free. It sounded awesome when I got it from him. In fact, after I listened to it the first time, I realized that I could actually hear the drive motor on the master tape deck running in the background. At first I thought I had a very slight hum in my system, but it went away between tracks. After some listening, I realized that it was the mastering deck motor that I was hearing. It was very low level, but it was there just the same. All the detail is present on that album, and from my listening, there has been absolutely no harm to it from Lugnut's cleaning solution.
Thanks for the tips Pat, and also for the nice Rickie Lee Jones album too!
Lugnut, why do you advocate for denatured alcohol? "Denatured", as far as I know, simply means that the lab-grade alcohol has additives included in it designed to make it unpalatable in order to discourage ingestive abuse, and that it is usually bought only for institutional or educational use. If I am not mistaken in this impression, why would audiophiles want to use alcohol which has been rendered intentionally impure?
The lack of lanolin. Lanolin is a skin protectant in isopropyl. Once again, I think it's overkill. The additives in denatured alcohol evaporate whereas the lanolin remains. Tap water and moonshine would probably be as good.
Twl, there is an unconditional money back gaurantee on that album. Enjoy!
That would be very interesting if true Lugnut, but I doubt it, because all the garden-variety rubbing alcohol I buy lists water as being the only other ingredient besides isopropyl alcohol (C^3-H^8-O), and it seems to evaporate without leaving any kind of trace I can detect (I just tested this using a jet-black reflective glazed-ceramic plate as an evaporative substrate). A little research has taught me that denatured alcohol just means ethyl alcohol (ethanol C^2-H^5-OH, = grain alcohol) to which methyl alcohol (methanol CH^3-OH, = wood alcohol) has been added to make it unfit for consumption, something presumably not needed in the case of isopropyl. I had assumed that denatured alcohol had a petroleum-derived additive, but as this doesn't seem to be the case, I grant you are correct that it could be used for vinyl cleaning, although I note FWIW that tape-head cleaner is always pure isopropyl (sans H^2-O!)in my experience.
Like I said, it's probably overkill. I don't have a bottle of isopropyl in the house to read the list of ingredients. My "facts" are based on interviews with 3 pharmacists and one hospital pathology lab tech. The denatured variety is only carried occassionally at one of perhaps a dozen pharmacies in my little town of 50,000. Once again, moonshine and tap water would probably work fine. At least you aren't smoking my post for the percentage of alcohol used.
Well, I can't criticize that Lugnut, seeing as how the drugstore isopropyl I use is 70% alcohol, 30% water. (Actually, this ratio seems about ideal in terms of cleaning power vs. staying power.) My dad always used the photo fluid like you recommend, except just with water, no alcohol. I haven't bothered with this, because the alcohol blend seems to need no help (unlike pure water) in the surface tension relaxation department, but I'm sure it couldn't hurt. I'm with you - I find it ridiculous to contemplate fancy-expensive designer fluids. The most important elements to cleaning are water, elbow grease using a velvet brush, more water, and vacuum drying if available, but lint-free blotting if not (those 'ultra-absorbant' white hand towels made from polyester micro-fiber work very well for this).