I'm happy with my cleaning method ...If you are happy that is all that matters.
There is a qualitative difference in cleaning: some of it has to do with 'best practices' (almost no additional cost, save for two sets of applicators, vacuum wands and some level of purified water, like distilled, which is reasonably cheap). Fluids can make a difference to the degree that they are harder to remove from the record and may leave a residue of chemicals and contaminants on the surface.
The next steps up would probably be DIY ultrasonic.
But @golden210-you said you were impacted by the cost of other upgrades, so where do you want to go with this? You want to know if you are really missing anything?
I did a comparison of cleaning methods a few years ago that I wrote about, using a very basic old VPI machine v. my Monks (a fancy vacuum machine). I did not include an ultrasonic step to keep the playing field level. For most practical purposes, there was little sonic difference between the results on two different machines, though the Monks can do a better job on challenged records and I prefer it to the VPI. That came down to best practices, separate wands, keeping all contact materials with the record scrupulously clean, etc.
I do think the combo of ultrasonic and conventional fluid/vacuum is synergistic, but if I had to choose one type of machine, given that I buy a lot of older copies, it would probably be the Monks rather than an expensive 'made for LP' ultrasonic. Thankfully, I don't have to choose, and DIY ultrasonic can be had for far less cost. It also gives you more flexibility and provides a feature set that you won't find in any commercial US RCM.
Not sure if this is what you asked for~ short answer is you could probably improve your results both by how you are doing it (not the equipment itself) as well as the inclusion of DIY ultrasonic.
Since you already have everything you need for doing a post-ultrasonic rinse & vacuum, you won't have to spend more than about $150 to get a good U.S. tank, $300 for a vinyl stack to spin the records in the tank and a few bucks on chemicals that will last years.
Read the Rush Paul articles here or on Positive Feedback about his U.S. method adapt to use your Spin clean, etc. for the rinsing/vacuuming. It works far better than most everything else except the more convenient U.S. machines that cost >$3k. Cheers,
I have the Pro-Ject machine, $500, I had a VPI before but it developed a leak in the motor. It’s all very nice and does a great job, it really takes playing Records to the next level! But, it’s not doing anything you’re not already doing. I’ve read several recipes for cleaning solutions, with and without alcohol, but I prefer to take the easy route and buy the MoFi brand fluids, Super Clean for most Records, and Enzyme clean for the really dirty ones.
I also put them in vinyl sleeves after cleaning, which keeps them clean. I use a Zerostat pistol too, just for good measure, a lot of pops are just static, nothing actually on the record. Vacuuming Records creates static. Once they are clean, I rarely do anything to them before playing. Unless I see dust on it, I won’t even run a brush on it, but when I do, I use an inexpensive carbon fiber brush. I fear that using a dishwasher brush with D4 before playing is only pushing dust down into the grooves? Or creating static again.
I like the idea of two SpinClean units followed by vacuum removal of remaining fluids and contaminants. I just bought my first SpinClean and have purchased most of the parts to make my record vacuum which will simultaneously clean both sides. Now I’m thinking I should buy a second SpinClean like the original poster for the rinse cycle so I can set up a production line to clean several records in a sequence.
Like the original poster, I’ve been using the Discwasher D4 system since the early 80’s and I really believe in it. The Zerostat is also great as the final step after the Discwasher D4 before playing.
OP: “I’m extremely happy. I hear things that I don’t hear on my CDs.”
Before I sold off my vinyl rig I used to hear things on lps that I don’t get from silver discs as well. The sound of bacon frying, loud pops and clicks, hums, sustained Piano notes being warbled at the end of the side, the euphonious sound of the stylus playing the label, grooves being crunched by the stylus....Man, those were the days!