I finally got a record cleaning machine. First thoughts.

As I previously mentioned, I was given a load of 78 RPM records which are filthy mandating a cleaning device if I want to play them. After months studying the situation I opted to get a Clearaudio Double Matrix Pro Sonic. A lightly used one came up so I jumped on it. Why this machine and not an ultrasonic cleaner? Several reasons. It uses fresh fluid for each cleaning and discards the waste. It sucks everything off the record. Even distilled water will leave a residue if it is dried by an evaporative method. It uses mechanical scrubbing which my instinct prefers over ultrasound. There is an ongoing argument over what ultrasound will do to shellac. The Clearaudio has a reputation for being very well made and it is.

As for it's performance the Double Matrix is fast, quiet and very effective. The fact that it does not drip fluid all over the place is amazing. Records come off spotless and bone dry. You can play them right off the machine. You can tell that each and every function of the machine was carefully thought out. 

After cleaning  new records that were played once before cleaning, there is no change in noise levels and there is no difference in sound quality. However, there is a noticeable improvement in turntable hygiene! There is always dust on new and old records. I see it when I clean my sweep arm between sides on black felt. Now there is all but zero and everything under the dust cover stays cleaner. THERE IS A MARKED REDUCTION IN STATIC! Vacuum platters will create huge amounts of static under dry conditions but every single record I washed develops none that I can notice. I am not sure why this should be the case but it is. Play a record not washed then static. Play a washed record then no static. The fluid I am using for vinyl records is a proprietary formula of distilled water, Triton X-100, Isopropyl alcohol and benzalkonium chloride. Obviously, this is not the formula to clean shellac, you'd melt it. In one week I am going to replay some of these records to see if the anti static effect is durable or not. My guess is it won't be. You might ask, why benzalkonium chloride? Fungus can live on vinyl. BAK is antiseptic. It also has surfactant properties. 

Lastly, after playing 10 records that had just been wash I inspected my stylus under magnification and there was no residue on it meaning that the fluid and cleaning process left nothing in the groove the stylus could pick up. 

Next I am going to clean some old really filthy LPs I got with the 78s and see how much I can bring them back. 

I have never cleaned new records. My sweep arm collected any dust removing it from the path of the stylus and for decade this worked well. But, I am a clean freak and I like not having to clean the turntable after a listening session. After playing a record, once the vacuum released on removing the record I would frequently get a loud pop or two when the static on the bottom of the record arced to ground. The sweep arm discharged the top of the record during play so none of this affected the sound quality. Static does not turn 180 degree corners. However, it is nice not to have any static at all. So, there are positive attributes to cleaning records that go beyond reducing noise and improving sound quality. It is also fun to watch the Double Matrix do its thing. Worth $6500 for a new one? Only if you have extra money lying around or like buying used records. 

OK, now you can beat me up:-)


I've used the ClearAudio machine and it is a very good, well thought out machine.  I like very basic vacuum machines myself, because I like scrubbing the record back and forth across the cleaning pad to really get things scrubbed (I actually to the rubber wheel off a Nitty Gritty machine in order to turn the record by hand.  But, for some records, I do use an AudioDesk ultrasonic cleaner as well.  For the VAST majority of records, a vacuum cleaning is sufficient, and one will not hear any improvement by also employing ultrasonic cleaning.  But, once in a while, a record that I have thoroughly cleaned on the Nitty Gritty will be significantly improved by also being cleaned ultrasonically.  There may be some stubborn crap that is removed by the additional, and different form, of cleaning.  I have a used record that I thought suffered from significant groove damage that actually turned out to be persistently dirty and it cleaned up quite a bit on the ultrasonic cleaner.  This is such a rare circumstance that I really cannot recommend the ultrasonic cleaner, at least not as the primary cleaning machine.


Looks very German, maybe the S Class Mercedes of RCM's?

I want a proper RCM. Fortunately, my used buying streak is more quiet than garbage finds.  

My Spin Clean makes them at least look nice and clean!

Clean in good health.

@mijostyn, regarding fluids have you tried Walker prelude cleaning system?





I got my brand new record Dr for essentially free..it’s good enough for me and does a great job. Upgraded with the Kab USA bearing, big improvement. Audiointellligent #6 fluid and a better brush too. 

@larryi Well considered and well said. 

@tablejockey I used a Spin Clean on occasion for years. Thank you!

@audioguy85 I think you would call me an avid collector of vinyl who makes every effort to be scrupulous with them and this is the very first record cleaning machine I have ever owned. So, in my opinion you do not have to buy an expensive cleaning machine to take first class care of new records.

@petg60, I just got the machine two days ago. You have to give me a little time. Warning!! I will not buy any cleaning fluid that I do not know the chemicals and concentrations. 



Congratulations on getting the Clearaudio Double Matrix Sonic. It is definitely worth it if you love playing clean static free records, and in my case, have a large record collection exceeding 10k and ever growing. 

I first had the basic Matrix years ago and that was good, but the Double Matrix with its double sided cleaning allows for quick record cleaning and straight to the turntable. I leave a stack of MOFI sleeves next to the cleaner for those used record purchases that get cleaned and get a new sleeve. I will always know they are cleaned whenever I pull that record out with the new sleeve in place. Sporadically, I may clean a new record if it appears dusty and has lint type stuff on the record. 

I tell people when they ask what is, “well, it’s the same machine used in the Library of Congress to clean records for digital preservation. Oh wow, that’s cool.”

Have fun listening to music. 



Congratulations. That looks like a great machine. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on it.


My old VPI died last year and I fairly quickly evaluated the solution space and got a Nellie… also German and well thought out. Not quite at the level of the Clear Audio you reviewed. Thanks for your input… I would imagine if I was now in the market… I would probably consider the Clear Audio.


Thank you again!

Last night I cleaned an old Bobby Darin record. The original owner was actually pretty careful with his records. The were no obvious scratches or finger prints. The surface was a little cloudy and the record had that mildew smell to it. I ran it through the double cycle twice. It got cleaned 4 times. I think everyone has to remember what people were playing records with back then, ceramic cartridges with huge conical stylus and 5 gram VTFs. Sonically this record sounded great. No distortion, and the recording quality was surprisingly good. Unfortunately, there was a continuous stream of ticks and pops noticeable on all but the loudest passages. This is the result of playing a dusty record over and over again. Even if you clean the dust off, the vinyl surface is left pitted from dust being ground into it. This is what you see when you scan the groove with a microscope. Modern Styluses are much better at pushing (pulling?) dust out of the way but those old conicals just ran right over a lot of it. 

Listening to these old records is fun and the damage gives the music an antique patina. It would be really amazing if the records were pristine.  

After playing three old records I examine my stylus again under magnification and there was no residue on it meaning the grooves were free of anything the stylus could pick up. None of these records collect static under vacuum whereas most uncleaned records do! I have to figure this out. All of a sudden I have records that will not hold a static charge? Go figure.


You have got an excellent cleaning machine and a genuine investment, i believe it is working overtime. Yes it is amazing that even those lp’s played through ceramic cartridges can still sound great after a good clean. I have a DIY rotating device, cannot complain fully as job is done perfectly but at a much slower pace.

Walker gives no further details about their formula, but i am using it for a long time and i can comment on a much lower noise floor, increase in transparency and air, more inner detail, texture and harmonics without any left residue as it is a 3 or 4 step procedure. Overall a much better musical experience. Have used other formulas also but none of them comes close.








I won’t debate the effect of cleaning on static, but your 78s are presumably not made of PVC and so perhaps have a lesser tendency to accumulate charge. Also, the paper label is neutral in the triboelectric series and so is unlikely to be involved in charging up vinyl, let alone shellac 78s. And the Shure Corporation experiments did show that charge migrated from one side of a vinyl LP to the other, which does constitute a 180 degree turn or reorientation.

@lewm , I have not cleaned a 78 yet. These are all PVC LPs. 

Perhaps one day I will be able to demonstrate to you in person how one side of a record can have a static charge and the other will not. For whatever reason Shure was wrong. I have now seen this HUNDREDS of times now since I got my new turntable. Another interesting phenomenon is how static will travel over surfaces. If I leave a record on the turntable for just 10 minutes after I turn it off there will be no noticeable static charge. The only path to ground is the spindle.

Paper and PVC are at opposite ends of the triboelectric series.  

I'm not sure where you are getting your info from but you need a new source. 

Mijo, Shure showed exactly what you say, that charge can momentarily reside on one side of an LP while the charge on the other side is minimal (probably not zero).  Which is also what I wrote.  So there is no conflict between your findings and what I said or what Shure demonstrated.  I would imagine that that condition is transient as the charge would probably tend to re-distribute itself to both sides in a finite time.

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Thanx @kellyhilton001 😉

That may be true Lew. Nothing is ever perfectly neutral and there are so many sources of static and varying conditions under which charges develop. Charges definitely travel over surfaces, that is how our speakers work. They are huge. 8 feet tall and three feet wide. If I get near the diaphragm with a grounded screwdriver the entire panel will discharge into it (and make quite a spark). Does the charge make a "U" turn in time? I have never looked for that and would have to develop an experiment to look into it. I can not use the turntable because the record always arcs out to the spindle when removing it. If I leave the record on the table after shutting it off the record discharges through the grounded spindle. We need to charge one side and watch what happens in time. I'll play around with an old record and see if I can rig an experiment to show what happens. 

I have the basic Clearaudio Matrix which replaced a VPI HW-17. The clearaudio had a smaller footprint along with manual brushing and I hoped it would be quieter. I prefer the manual brushing. I was using the clearaudio brand fluid but importing became annoying so switched to Record Time.

Through experimentation I have learned cleaning new records removes some noise and improves sound. It just depends how excited I am to listen whether I have the patience to clean a new record. But the moment I hear that first tick or noise I end up taking it off and cleaning it anyway and that clears it up. I should just be more patient but sometimes it’s the Mingus Ah Um one-step and and… well you know how that goes.







+1 I am the same way. I can get too excited to hear a new album… but a lot of ticks… and it comes off together a cleaning.

@ghdprentice , @pratorious My guess is that what you are hearing is the incidental dust (lint) that all records attract. I never hear that because the conductive sweep arm removes it from the path of the stylus and dumps it all in the runout area. Clearly, cleaning is the best way of removing it for a while anyway. I do not hear a before and after difference because of the sweep arm. What noise is left is due to poor pressing, bad vinyl, air bubbles and such. As we all know it is possible to make extremely quiet records where all you hear in the background is that quiet rushing sound. I have discovered that removing that dust totally before playing results in a much cleaner turntable which I do like. Then there is that static issue I have not figured out yet. I suspect it has something to do with the cleaning fluid I am using. I have to clean out the machine and clean a record with straight distilled water to see if there is a difference then add one ingredient at a time to see if one of them is responsible. I still do not see any residue collecting on the stylus.



Thank you. Yeah, we are in the same place… same observations. I tried one of those sweep arms decades ago… did no good what so ever.

Today I just received a new 45rpm copy of Joe Jackson’s Night and Day. A fantastic recording… and pressing. I cleaned an treated with Last. The first and third side were fantastic… I used Last All Purpose cleaner before playing… the moisture helps pick up dust that static electricity attracts. But sides 2 and 4 still had much more surface noise… sounds like static charge… I have repeatedly bought those stupid anti static guns and found them to be useless. Typically, the season changes and the problem goes away.


I have not yet figured out the static issue either.

@ghdprentice , Please try this one. It is cheap but it definitely works once you get it set up right. It is dirt cheap.


Once I figure out why records do not collect static after I clean them on this machine I will certainly get back to everyone. It has got to be one of the ingredients I am using in my cleaning solution.

 This is making me wonder whether electrostatic speakers charge some of the air in the room, causing a static build up.

 I know that when I tried using an ionizer in my shop, the surrounding area was very full of static.


  Your thoughts are appreciated.

@4krowme , as far as I can tell they do not and I have been using them since 1978. 

The reason My records develop a lot of static now is the vacuum clamping. Everything is grounded correctly. The charge is so high on the bottom of the record  it arcs to the spindle when I remove from the platter. Records that have been cleaned do not collect any charge that I can notice without a meter. Every once in a while an uncleaned record will not develop a charge. My guess is that if the record seals perfectly no charge will develop but the edge of records is not smooth and most records leak a little which makes the pump work more frequently pulling air across the bottom of the record. It could also be the other way around. The records that leak are not as intimately connected to the mat so electrons will not transfer. You can not change the mat on a vacuum table nor would I want to. As always, it will take some time to figure things out. They why do just cleaned records stay neutral. It is either one of the ingredients of my cleaning fluid or perhaps enough moisture remains on the record to keep a charge from developing. The first thing to determine is whether or not the effect is durable. As soon as I have a record that was cleaned a week ago I will have that answer. The machine is 5 days old now. 

 Come to think of it, I encounter the same static when using my vacuum in the shop. The particles passing through the tube are making this happen. A leaking record would be doing the same thing using the vacuum system.

@4krowme , Yes! That is absolutely true. In the section of plastic duct I have there is a naked wire that travels the length of the duct. Dust is a wonderful explosive! One spark is all it takes.

Congratulations on your purchase. Record cleaning is truly a labor of love. 

@wturkey , Thanx!

I replayed a record I cleaned last week to see if it collected static or not. It did not!

That means something about the formula I used for record cleaning fluid prevents static build up. I cleaned all my Artic Monkeys albums and will follow them along and see how long this lasts. This also means something is staying on the record. I have repeatedly examined my stylus under magnification and there is no noticeable residue. So, whatever is happening is on a molecular level. I have to do more comparing of digital files to see if I can detect any difference is sound and background noise levels. I do not think there will be a noticeable before and after difference. 

Thanks @mijostyn 


I’ll give one a try. This problem comes and goes… typically weather dependent. I don’t think I had seen one with a ground before. I used to own a brush without a ground. That was good for pushing the dust around.

Clearaudio Matrix Used by Library of Congress??

I bought and love my Keith Monks RCM. It is used by the Library of Congress, BBC, Better Records, etc. It takes about a minute a side. I scrub in their proprietary fluid then suck it completely up with an arm and nozzle connected to a German medical grade pump so powerful that you have to be careful not to pick up the record. But it removes fluid and dirt a track at a time.

When applying the fluid and scrubbing it in you can see the white cavitation.

These are much less expensive than the Matrix. I love mine and always feel gratified as the arm moves across the record and sucks up all the crap.

Actually, Better Records cleans with the Monks then apples the Walker system

I have been curious about the Walker but take pause at the time consuming process.

@ghdprentice , I have a record brush refill pad stuck on the plinth to wipe the brush on after play. Every once in a while I clean them both with alcohol. I slide the little tracking force weight all the way to the front and put a dab of crazy glue in there to keep it from sliding around. Then I bend the shaft at the tracking force weight about 5 degrees increasing the VTA if you will. It holds on to the dust better this way. I'll put a close up shot on my system page!


Congratulation mate on the Record Cleaning Machine, hope you will now enjoy it even more than before. Stay happy and do wonders.


Regards: halloween squishmallows 2022

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I'll be receiving a Audio Desk Vinyl Cleaner Pro X this week from a member of another forum for the price of ..............................shipping!

Seems this was the second Audio Desk he has had. First died and was sent back to Germany, Many months later and big time screwups from Audio Desk he got a new 2020 model. Well, it's starting to act up so he's done. Purchased a high end KLaudio record cleaning machine so had no use for this. I asked about the Audio Desk, sent him to a post on here about repairing them. We started chatting and he offered it to me.

So it "May" have a failing motor, it still works but makes noise. So I'll evaluate it when it arrives. Only have several hundred records here, Might get through all of them. Either way it will be nice to clean my collection. It's 95% thrift store picks.




I have read from many sources that the l’art du son cleaner is worth finishing with. 

@lohanimal , It has a good reputation but stay tuned. Being the experimental type I am playing with various formulations and ingredients to make an attempt at figuring out what is best. I do know that L'art du son does leave a slight residue because I tried it in a Spin Clean a while back. I always thought that was a big negative but with recent developments it is possible that a very light residue, on the molecular level might possible be of benefit. The records I have cleaned will not collect static and we are now two weeks out from when the first batch was cleaned. I one of those records every Wednesday to see if it will collect static. My stylus continues to stay clean so whatever is left in the groove is non volatile and is not collecting on the stylus. I have better magnification coming with photo capability so I will be able to show pictures. The next question is if I'm leaving something on the record will it build up over time (very bad) or dissolve in the solvent every time it is cleaned. The chemicals I am using are composed of very polar molecules so they very extremely dissolvable in H2O. It is this polar characteristic that is neutralizing the static.

I am not yet sure where I am going with this but it is very interesting and a lot of fun. 


I follow a two stage process

I mix quart and isopropyl with distilled water for thee first stage then for the second stage isopropyl with a bit of 'wetting' agent.

seems to work - i got it from another forum - in that forum there is a link to a 200 odd page record cleaning book (clearly someone dedicated to his task)

I'm not mega obsessive. That said the guy from Expert stylus advised me to buy a spectacle lens cleaner, and use toothpicks around which a tiny bit of cotton wool is wrapped (a thread) with that clean the stylus between record sides because styli pick up a lot of vinyl related gunk. He said don't bother with fancy cleaners.



I follow a two stage process

I mix quart and isopropyl with distilled water for thee first stage then for the second stage isopropyl with a bit of 'wetting' agent.

seems to work - i got it from another forum - in that forum there is a link to a 200 odd page record cleaning book (clearly someone dedicated to his task)

I'm not mega obsessive. That said the guy from Expert stylus advised me to buy a spectacle lens cleaner, and use toothpicks around which a tiny bit of cotton wool is wrapped (a thread) with that clean the stylus between record sides because styli pick up a lot of vinyl related gunk. He said don't bother with fancy cleaners.


Well my Audio Desk Vinyl Cleaner Pro arrived yesterday, thing looks brand new! Maybe later today I'll try and get it going, he did include a couple of bottles of the cleaning concentrate that needs to be mixed with about 1.25 gallons of distilled water. Once mixed, does anyone know how long it last in the machine?



What’s in it? Alcohols will eventually evaporate out of solution. I wouldn’t worry about it.

@lohanimal , if your stylus is picking up a lot of "gunk" you have a serious problem.

A stylus should not pick up anything, not even lint. 

@jerryg123 , not true at all. It depends on how the record is dried. I could have gotten any ultrasonic cleaner on the market and spend less than I did. I do not like any of them for one reason or another. 

I know I clean my LP's using an ultrasonic cleaner and vacuum after I let them drip a bit. Best system I found in 40 plus years.  


Not sure if you've read it - but i assume you know that when a needle goes through a groove the stylus heats up to over 300 degrees. Apparently extraordinary pounds a square inch. That's what leads to record wear and clicks and pops that get stuck to the groove.

As i wrote i have a thorough record cleaning routine and prefer prevention over cure.

I took the advice of 'expert stylus' on this and i think they do know the odd thing or two about cartridges...

@lohanimal , it is something like 35,000 psi. There is no cure. Once a record is ruined it is done. If you are not using a dust cover during play and are not using a grounded sweep arm also during play then what you are doing is for naught. You are still grinding dust into the groove maybe a little less but it does not take much.

Very interesting 35,000 psi. Love to know where this measurement data came from? I have found data stating 14,000 and 8,000 but 32K sounds way high. 

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The calculation is made by estimating the area of the stylus contact patch then extrapolating to the square inch, using VTF as the pressure. The result is a frighteningly high number for pounds per square inch, but the calculation itself is totally bogus. The pressure on the groove is related only to the area of the contact patch and the VTF. The stylus tip is not contacting a square inch of the record surface obviously. As to the absolute requirement for a pivoted record cleaning brush such as the one that Mijo uses and the dust cover on top of that, I must be living a charmed life, because I use neither, and I have LPs that I have been playing for 40 or 50 years, and they are only minimally diminished due to stylus wear. And none of them have more ticks and pops than they did 40 years ago. I am just a careful person, not particularly astute about preventing dust etc. from landing on the surface of an LP. All of this is much ado about very little. Of course I have no way to know about other people’s listening rooms in terms of their dust problems or lack thereof.

I must be living a charmed life, because I use neither, and I have LPs that I have been playing for 40 or 50 years

Last week I took a couple of baroque records to a friends place to listen to his new Van Den Hul Grand Cru and top of the line VDH phono stage - both of the records  I bought in the early 80's, played a lot ( I use to use one for VTA ),  absolutely dead quiet, zero ticks and pops and they have never been cleaned - ever - nor treated for static or anything else.