I suggest you take a few of your recently-cleaned records to a dealer who sells ultrasonic cleaning machines, and have him clean them for you. Then you can decide for yourself.
For me, the appeal of ultrasonic isn't just cleanliness. It's the one-button "set it and forget it" convenience that something like the Klaudio offers.
While I echo @cleeds observations regarding convenience for me the real benefit of the us cleaner is how it improves the detail and resolution in LP playback. I used to own VPi and ClearAudio vacuum cleaners and the best thing these did is clear the record. My KL Audio actually changes and improves the sound of the LP, even those that play and appear clean. Whether this benefit is worth it on your system is for you then decide but the investment you make now will pay back as your system improves
Results will depend on the condition of the record. Do you buy a lot of used vinyl?
I know you are looking for input from people who own an US cleaner, but that said, cleeds post makes a lot of sense!
(I've ordered the Degritter US cleaner, hopefully to arrive this fall, and I'm really looking forward to trying it out. It will be my first record cleaner, beyond using an anti-static brush).
I am not sure I can hear the difference between a new record and a US cleaned one. I have ordered a cheaper US cleaner which I want to use to remove as much as possible the ticks from old second hand records but I am not certain of the results as I am still waiting for delivery of the machine. To say that US cleaner will improve details and resolution is beyond me.
Short answer: Yes, you will hear the difference.
Longer answer: You may not like what you hear. US isn't magic and it can't do anything for damaged records. I found that several of my older vinyl copies weren't just dirty after cleaning them with US, they were junk.
On the other hand, the records that were just dirty played, well, not new, but much better. Some of the rare and rarely played stuff, was simply excellent as compared to pre-US cleaning.
So, you have to make your own decision. For me, I firmly believe US to be the single greatest advance in vinyl playback improvement since the Discwasher brush. I think that as long as you stay within whatever you consider to be a reasonable budget, you won't go wrong. I got into mine for < $750 and that worked for me.
Good luck and happy listening no matter which way you go!
Thanks to all for your wise comments. It sounds like a good investment but I cant ,yet, justify the 3-4K machines for my mostly used vinyl. Effischer : which machine did you get for < $750?
Very probably, and for the better.
But you will certainly extend stylus life. Since my cartridge is an expensive rebuild, the sonic benefits were free.
That said, I have had sealed records which sounded terrible, and could not be made right. But mostly ...
The rig I purchased was called V8. A simple US tank with a home built rotisserie. No drying, just drip-dry. The guy used to advertise here. Not sure if they are still around. Not a KL or Audio Desk, but those things are crazy expensive. You can also DIY one. The tanks can be had off Ebay cheap and the rotisserie is easy to make.
Good luck and happy listening!
, IMHO @pbnaudio
gives you a great recommendation. I used a VPI 16.5 for years, used it with most of the available fluids and brushes available and it was pretty good. I was a beta tester for AudioIntelligent, but my fav was the Walker Audio Prelude which took 4 steps, a bit of a pain in the a**. Then after checking out a few friends US machines and having champagne taste & beer budget, I followed suit following the methodology eloquently described by @rushton in this thread: https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/rushton-s-diy-approach-to-ultrasonic-record-cleaning-published-by-posit
Long story short; ebay US tank, Vinylstack record spinner to rotate LPs in the tank, a combo of suggested chemicals (a complex first purchase that will last most years), a cheap pump/filter setup to keep the tank clean for ~50-60 LPs without changing water/chemicals and a DIY vacuum rinse station that I made from a $5 Ikea lazy susan. Details of that easy project is in my posts on Rushton's thread. All in ~$500,
It works great, is easy to do(not as simple as a one-button $3k machine), and clearly improves sonics both on old & new LPs. Crap in newly purchased albums isn't to be underestimated. It wears on styli and cantilevers and they should always be cleaned before playing if you want to preserve your gear and get the best sound for your investment. Cheers,
I have a V-8. I'm not sure I heard a difference at first between that and my VPI 16.5. I was just using distilled water, photoflo, and isopropyl alcohol, as suggested by the seller of the V-8. Then I tried the "suggested chemicals" that is in Rushton's thread. I think that led to a noticeable improvement in detail and clarity. The chemicals are a blend of tergitol (Triton X-100), hepastat, and isopropyl alcohol. Works great!
I own the V-8 and it certainly does improve the sound of records. It opens them up considerably. But as I've posted elsewhere, the GEM Dandy Record Cleaner did a considerably better job for a far more significant drop in price. For older and damaged records, I found the Groove Lube to very helpful at reducing the sonic effects of the damage. It does leave some residue on the stylus that can easily be removed, but you have to carefully follow instructions and use as little of the Groove Lube as possible and buff the record carefully after spraying on the pads, rubbing them and applying the treatment.
i have the same set up. It’s made 40 year old lps, that I took great care of from day one, come to life. Who knew what micro dirt could take out of the music?
flea market records can still disappoint, but not nearly as often. Makes taking a chance on a $5 copy of Europe ‘72 a good gamble.
Takes a bit of work to do it right but you only need to do it to disk once. And a good anti-static brush is all you’ll need.
You’ll find an excellent formula for the bath here on Audiogon, Audiokarma or several other sources. It takes a bit more than just distilled water to get it right. Go for it.
I've heard of "clubs" forming to purchase and share the high end cleaners. You pool your money, purchase the unit, and each "member" uses it for a week/month then sends it to the next person.
No question it will work. I bought the cleaner vinyl adapter and ultrasonic cleaner about 6 months ago...cleaned all of my several hundred records. It made a notable difference. They play much quieter, surface noise was greatly reduced. I figure I spent about 300 for the adapter (2 record version) plus ultrasonic unit. I used a very small amount of Dawn plus photo flo in distilled water.
My first record cleaning machine was KAB's version of the Nitty Gritty. When my friend bought a Keith Monks machine he gave me (!) his VPI 16.5. I have cleaned records using all three of these and have found that when used properly there is no difference in sound between them. All produced clean, quiet records. If you purchase a lot of cruddy used vinyl, an ultrasonic unit just might be better. The more money you spend, the more the machine will do for you.
YES. US cleaning will not magically repair damaged discs, but will likely make the sonic damage less audible.
I previously used a Spin Clean and Nitty Gritty---essentially a 2 step version of the VPI process. I was mostly happy with my results. Then I spent time to research US theory, process and application.
Purchased a DIY US kit. Chinese tank, Vinyl Stacker, Rushton's formula.
My results are much better. Surfaces (including from previously cleaned LPs) are more quiet. I hear better reproduction of transients and ambiance cues- the the small and subtle sounds that can be buried underneath even moderate surface noise.
Before US cleaning, I still heard a low level shhhhhhh-wooosh sound on many LPs. After US, just about all gone. My take is that a microscopic layer of debris becomes bonded to the LP surface over time. The layer is thick enough to blunt transients and cover the very low level background cues in the mix. US cleaning removes this layer, uncovering all that is in the groove to hear.
My cost was about $500. New Kirmuss machine is about $8-900 and is a self contained box. Other one box solutions are more expensive.
I wonder what happened to user @inna? (He was a frequent poster here for a while). What does this have to do with your question? He sent me a somewhat noisy record he had a couple copies of, and was curious to know whether my cleaning methods would produce a better result. (I combine conventional vacuum cleaning with ultrasonic, using a point nozzle type vacuum machine- typically more expensive than a wand type). if @Inna is still around, he can comment for himself- my recollection, not surprising to me, is that he heard more information from the record, but it didn’t necessarily eliminate the noise.
FWIW, I have been able to reduce groove noise type distortion on some copies that I would have attributed to damage of the record, but it usually involves multiple cleanings, using something like AIVS No. 15, pure water rinsing, and ultrasonic --sometimes repeatedly. (And in some cases, the record IS damaged, and no amount of cleaning will help). This is almost always something that involves an older record that was not handled or played with audiophile care, circa the late ’60s or early ’70s.
There’s a ton of stuff here and elsewhere on the benefits of ultrasonic. I like it, but it is not the sole method I use for cleaning- and I find, as I’ve written at length (sorry, I don’t mean that to sound pompous- just people might get bored seeing me say the same thing repeatedly), that the different cleaning methods- manual cleaning fluid application and vacuum RCM plus ultrasonic --are complementary and synergistic in result.
As I mentioned earlier, I don't yet have experience with USC as I'm still awaiting my Degritter USC.
But if you want to hear a comparison before and after an old record was cleaned, Degritter recorded such a comparison. If you go to the Degritter site here:http://degritter.com/
You'll see a link just down a bit under "News," to the recording of a polish singer, where you can listen to the before and after recordings.Not all the crackle is gone, but there is an impressive (to me) clearing up of the sound, especially instrument tonality. Before sounds flat and whitened with noise. After at least sounds like hearing more realistic voice/instruments through some noise.
Of course grains of salt must be taken as this recording is offered by the company selling the record cleaner.
I'm still going to temper my expectations. For one thing a pal with a nitty gritty cleaner cleaned some old records of mine. They looked spanking new afterwards, but didn't really sound that much more free of noise. Similarly, I just received a 1979 record (bought on discogs) advertised as near mint. It sure looked near mint - either unplayed or having been put through a record cleaner. But it actually played as one of the noisiest records in my collection - tons of pops and ticks, and background noise (that did abate somewhat in to the recording).
So I'm learning you can't necessarily tell how noisy a record is going to be just by how clean it looks.
(And I'm also appalled at how visually dirty many new vinyl pressings are when I open them!)
IME, you can't judge record cleanliness by appearance. All my records have appeared pristine since I bought a 16.5 back in the Precambrian.
Five years ago I bought a lab grade German US machine and ran it at 80 KHz. After cleaning and rinsing, the records look the same - pristine. But grunge collects on the bottom of the US tank, indicating just how much further there was to go - I would say about 80%, meaning the 16.5 was good for maybe 20% of the deep crud. The sound of the records gives a similar impression.
To come clean, these are just crude subjective guesstimates, not measurements. Also, you may not get what you pay for when you buy a US machine. High frequency, high power, hot chemistry, proper spacing, and a machine that actually meets its specs all make a difference. Quality costs, here as elsewhere - but bang for buck is very, very high.
At Degritter site you can hear the comparison before cleaned and cleaned record.
Although the recording is not particularly good you can still hear that on the non cleaned one you have focused presentation, with piano, vocal, accordion and violins have their own space in the venue.
On the cleaned recording nothing is anymore from one piece. Instruments are out of focus, transferred to left or right, vocal became big and hollow for the same reason. Everything is in your face. It seems cleaner, but you loose the event hologram. Something that happens when you go from Decca to London.
If you have very high resolution system everything is more obvious and you can clearly hear what US cleaning does to the records.
if I read you right you are saying Ultrasonic cleaning makes things worse and the better the playback system the worse it will sound. Am I right ??
"transferred to left or right"
From this statement alone I call BS
My experience has been that a noisy record will remain a noisy record with an RCM, Ultrasonic, or any combo thereof.
I’ve taken problematic samples to my local B&M audio store with an ultrasonic cleaner with detergent bath and air blow dry cycles. Despite multiple attempts at home on my RCM - some records just remained noisy. So I was hopeful that an ultrasonic cleaning would be the answer.
Twice thru and all the ticks and pops were in the exact same spots.
I’ve sent the same problematic samples (8 records) to a company that specializes in multi-step cleaning/archiving services for vinyl LPs. I carefully played and noted surface noise problems before sending and unfortunately, after return, the surface noise remained. Perhaps the sonics were improved a bit, but ultrasonic cleaning will not be a magic cure for ticks and pops.
Pbn, first listen to the two recordings and if you do not hear it that way, good for you.
Rrm, in my view ruined. The cleaned piece sounds to me completely flat and soulless.
Inna is here. Yes, Whart is correct, more information and a little more natural sound overall. As for the noise, almost no difference, but the record I sent to him was already very clean. It was a Cielo e Terra album by Al Di Meola, acoustic guitar, electro-acoustic guitar atmospheric music with percussion on some tracks. I use Okki Nokki machine and Audio Intelligent three step cleaning solutions. Double water rinse. I guess, my system is comparable with the OP’s, I play records on Nottingham Spacedeck/Spacearm with Goldring 1042 MM and Acoustech PH 1 phono. Purist Audio and Tchernov Audio Reference MK II cables.
I use the Vinyl Stack, the E bay US cleaner and the formulas and techniques described by Rushton Paul on this forum. I rinse twice and dry with a VPI Cyclone. I thought that my records were clean until I started using the US. On older used records the detail and image have been improved to almost new. On new records, the film and any debris are cleaned off making another big difference.
@rollintubes Amen, bro. What he said. Except for being too cheap to being a Cyclone to do the drying, I'm doing the same. I bought a 3D-printed attachment with velvet brush that slides onto a shopvac. With my lazy susan-based manual drying station spinner, it does the trick like the VPI 16.5 that I had used before. I sold it and it covered most of the cost of the whole US setup. Cheers,
"if I buy an ultrasonic cleaner for my records will I be able to hear the difference?"
If you are serious about vinyl playback, yes. In use, the KLAudio ultrasonic machine outperformed my previous Keith Monks and VPI's by way of thorough record cleansing. Sold both older machines, never looked back. Cannot attest to the DIY route.
After reading all this I am interested in the Degritter machine, which I believe will be available in September. Does anyone know what the price will be?
Also has anyone tested a beta sample and can comment on its effectiveness?
Someone said that you don't want to clean records with ultrasonic more than once or maybe twice, that it does something bad to the vinyl.
Can anyone confirm ?
Someone said that you don’t want to clean records with ultrasonic more than once or maybe twice, that it does something bad to the vinyl.
Who said that?
I use the Klaudio cleaner and haven’t had any damage at all to my LPs.
I too remember reading something about US cleaners being hazardous . But , like you , can't remember where either !
Anyone else ?
Just about anything can be hazardous if the equipment is improperly specced or doesn't meet spec.
Or appear to be hazardous after an inappropriate experiment.
Bottom line, I have cleaned thousands of records, with only the occasional warp caused by chemistry which is too hot. But then, my equipment is properly specced and meets those specs. Budget hunters, YMMV.
The original price of the Degritter was just over 2,000 Euros. I don't know if it will cost the same, less, or more once production starts (and they are producing the first batch now).
I got in on the orders before they closed and I'm expecting my Degritter sometime around September.
For the view of a beta tester, go to: http://degritter.com/
And you'll see a link on that page to a youtube video of a beta tester's impressions. (He loved it).
I can't add any reports as of yet, but I can say that my interaction with the Degritter team, pestering them with various questions before, during and after my purchase, has been flawless. I always get a very helpful reply within 24 hours, and I've seen others give similarly positive reports from their interactions.
Any questions about Ultrasonic record cleaners will be cheerfully answered by Dr Vinyl
Big sale on Autodesk cleaners for the month of August onlyhttp://drvinyl.net/drv_news/