How well does the VPI 16.5 work??

I am looking for opinions on the VPI 16.5. Does this machine do a nice job with cleaning new and old vinyl...
Is it messy... what fluids are used..any tricks?
Is there any comparable products that I should consider..
Custom Audio LLC
I just got one about 3 months ago. It's pretty easy. I also use disc dr brushes and Record research super cleaner and Record research wash. Takes about 90 seconds a side. HUGE improvement in sound quality, not just noise reduction. Disc Dr fluid also works well, takes more time, does a better job at static...
I debated a long time before I bought one. Now I just laugh at myself for waiting so long to get one. It is by far one of the most significant changes in listening to vinyl. I had always cleaned my records--but not like the VPI does. You can really make quite a difference, especially on used and sometimes dirty vinyl. As to fluids to use, there are many threads on that here--just do a search.
Wouldn't do vinyl without one. Easy to use. Great results. I have a few preliminary steps prior to vacuuming except for new vinyl. Advise to get one and don't look back.
Very easy to use. If you are seriously into vinyl it's a must have. The only reason I would sell mine is to get the model 17. Should be able to find one new for about $425.
I second what everyone else has said. It is a great record cleaning machine. This is one purchase you will never regret making.
Just bought mine last week and it's awesome! Very fast and
easy to use. Everyone's right, it you're into vinyl, it's
a must have.
I have two VPI 16.5's and a Nitty Gritty 1.5FI that i use. The VPI is a much better machine in my opinion. The equivalent Sota machine may be even better than the VPI from what i've seen about it, but i've got no first hand experience with it. Sean
By your responses, It looks like the vpi is a terrible product and I shouldnt buy one as soon as possible!!
:) Thanks Much
Happy Listening,
Custom Audio LLC
I have a VPI 16.5 and the unit does exactly what it is reported to do....cleans the record completely!!! Excellent product.

However a caution. Be sure the felt pick up tube lies completely on the record to suck up all the wet cleaning fluid. I was starting to hear some major distortions in my playback system (I only use vinyl) and could not figure what the problem was. I finally saw, by peering down at the tube, that it was not sitting completely on the record and therefore leaving a moist (not seen by eye) sediment on my records. So what I had was 90% of the record was clean and fine but the first 10% of the disc-at the very beginning) had the remains of Disc Doctor. To add to my problem.....when I put it on to play it was OK...but the next time I listened to a record that had Disc Doctor remains....that's when I heard all this distortion. Boy, was this driving me mad!@!#!!!!

It was an easy fix ( just filed down the base of the tube) and cleaned all my record again!
I wouldn't be without my 17F!
Before filing down the base of the tube, which may have been required in Rwd's case, check out the collet ring at the base of the vacumm post (not the tube). This ring has an allen set screw that you use to adjust the height of the vacuum wand when it is "sucked down" on the record surface. If the ring is "canted" it will not allow the wand to make even contact. This worked for me.

My 16.5 is far and away the best analog accessory I've ever bought. Worth every scheckel. Look for one in good condition used and you can save but, in my opinion, they are worth the retail price. Not many things you can say THAT about.
16.5 has a powerful motor that allowes you not only vacume the record but clense the dirty one as well with felt brush and liquid.

I use different liquids: Nitty Gritty one for the greasy and dirty records. I spread a large amount of Nitty Gritty with VPI supplied brush accross the whole surface except label and than cleanse the record with Discwasher brush-conditioner with turntable ON. I use Last-regular for taking care of the light dust(the best budget one since just three drops will eat your dust completely)

16.5 can't get rid of small gum-like substances on the record but for this the best tool is the toothpick or cheap cartridge.
If by chance you are interested in the sota, I ordered one
for $599 plus tax and shipping from HCM Audio in Chico Ca.
That is for a brand new unit,and also way under the retail.

Check out I found them thru the Sota website.

Just my two cents worth.

Charlie: Thanks for the info. "For the record", Sota is located about 15 - 20 minutes from my house. I've talked to Kirk ( from Sota ) regarding their machine and the various design aspects of it vs the VPI's & NG's and came away with the feeling that the Sota is probably a little bit better machine. I have not actually used or seen one though, so it might all be built up in my head. I'm sure that the info that you provided will come in handy for anyone that is interested in obtaining a Sota machine at a good price though. If i didn't already have the machines that i do, i would surely check into the Sota. Sean
Maybe someone can tell me what's up with my 16.5. After I wet the record,put the vacuum tube facing the spindle, and turn on the vacuum, the tube lowers, but it stops the record from turning. Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.
Do you have the recored securly fastened down with a clamp??? If not the record will be sucked up by the vacuum.
Cmp, my guess is one of three things is causing your problem. First, it could be that the nut holding the record to the platter is not quite tight enough, as Rwd suggests.

Second, and likely if not the first reason, the adjustable collet on the vacuum post is set too high on the post and, combined with a strong vacuum, the wand is pulled down too hard on the record surface. Do a dry run by swinging the wand over the record and turning on the vacuum with the motor running. The wand should come down flat against the record and JUST enough to provide solid suction contact. Lifting the wand with one hand as you shut off the vaccum will let you decide if you are getting good suction. If needed, loosen the allen set screw and adjust the collet height.

Third, though not likely. is that your motor shaft/bearings are worn out. Unless it is VERY old or has been abused, mine is 15 years old, I doubt this is the case.

One last thing is that the 16.5, unless you have installed a motor fan, will only do bout 6 LP's before the motor gets hot. When it gets too hiot, it willshut down and the platter won't turn. After cooloing, it will work fine again.
Thanks,4yanx and Rwd. Problem solved. I'm not absolutely sure whether it was a loose hold down nut, or the collet on the vacuum post, but I made doublely sure the nut was tight, and I also made a minute adjustment to the height of the collet on the post with a hex key, and that seemed to solve the problem. I think it was the collet. Thanks again for the advice.
The Sota LPC is a better cleaner, and a little easier to use. I wrote a full review comparing it to the 16.5 which I also owned, if you are interested. It costs a little more, but is worth it.
I had a VPI HW16.5 for several years and recently sold it, replacing it with a Loricraft. The Loricraft costs quite a bit more than even the HW17F, but I find there are two nice benefits. First, it does a better job. Records I thought were starting to wear were restored to like new condition. Second, it is quiet. The VPIs and similar machines are very noisy. The Loricraft, on the other hand, makes some noise, but I can actually be listening to a record and cleaning one at the same time, for example. The only disadvantages I see are the slightly longer time to clean (about 1 minute per side) and the use of nylon thread which probably isn't something you'll find at the local fabric store. I especially disliked the noise of the VPI, and the Loricraft is a pleasure to use in comparison and does a great job.
I just got mine 2 weeks ago.all i can say is WOW..WOW..WOW.. but a little nervous about using the brush that came with it
Use the supplied brush for spreading a large amount of liquid over the record surface. Do not try to cleanse the dirty record with it since you can damage it(the record).