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 too am using the Hudson hifi record brush and it works as advertised. Plus it's cheap and effective. 

@mr_m ​​@ghdprentice , please look at the picture of the brush on my system page.

You will notice that I slide the little weight all the way to the front the I decreased the VTA by bending the arm just behind the weight so that the brush is almost vertical. This improves both tracking and dust pick up. If the arm stops tracking it need to be cleaned. Alcohol and a clean microfiber cloth will do it. Also you should be able t drop it from an altitude of one inch during play without hearing a thing through the speakers. If you hear a thump you have a problem with record damping/clamping. You not hear ANYTHING even with the volume all the way up.

I have been using this particular brush for some 10 odd years and have been using one conductive sweep arm or another since 1980 or so. This one absolutely works the best even though it is not exactly audiophile jewelry. I have used every singe one on the market including one that costs over $200 and this one works better. (or I would not be using it) 


As I was reading this thread, you were talking about your newly cleaned records no longer holding a static charge.  

When you first discovered this phenomenon, you were going to try a series of eliminations to determine what may be the cause of this.

You mentioned that you would first try cleaning the record with only distilled water on your new machine to see if the static would be eliminated.  I'm curious if you tried this test and what the result was.

Secondly, are you still happy with the Clearaudio Double Matrix Pro Sonic machine?  Any downsides that you have discovered after using it now for just shy of a year?

My VPI 16.5 has served me well for many years, but I feel that it may becoming tired.. so I am giving thought to the Clearaudio Double Matrix Pro Sonic machine.

Thanks much and best wishes,


@no_regrets , The Clearaudio Double Matrix construction quality is first class. I know because my unit was an open box one that I believe was used in a store. A cleaning solution was used that plugged up the water pump and it died in short order. Musical Surroundings was cool with me installing a new pump which they sent me on warranty. So, I have had my machine apart and know it intimately. 

It works flawlessly but it does have a few quirks. The first is, you really have to press down hard on the clamp when you tighten it or the record will slip when the vacuum comes on. I keep my machine down low to make this easy. You obviously have to be careful what fluid you use. Distilled water will not kill the static permanently. To be safe I would use Clearaudio's solution. My mix is proprietary and not up for disclosure as I am considering marketing it. It does kill static indefinitely leaving only the smallest of residues on the vinyl. You just start to see some on the stylus after 10 sides and should clean the stylus after 20 sides using Lyra's solution. If you will write a review on audiogon I will be happy to send you a gallon. 

In short, the only regret I have is buying mine open box. I have no problem recommending this machine. IMHO it is the best record cleaning device on the market. Musical Surroundings has top notch service. You can not go wrong buying any of their products in terms of support. 

@mijostyn   Thank you so much for your reply.  It's great to hear from an actual user!  I've had my VPI for many years and it has done a fine job.  I'm glad that I've had it all this time.  

However, I feel like it may be getting tired... like the motor may be getting weaker and so I am trying to investigate now, which direction I should go if/when my VPI finally fails.  It may be months or a year or longer if/when that may happen, but I want to be prepared for for when that time comes.  In the meantime, I'll be keeping my eyes open for any possible sales.  Maybe there will be one at AXPONA this year😀

Thanks again!  Oh and yes, when I finally do pull the trigger and if your offer still stands... I'd be happy to take you up on your offer.

Best wishes,