Just bought a nitty gritty, hear no difference.

Hi folks,

So I bit the bullet and bought a Nitty Gritty Record Doctor III, which is distributed only through Audio Advisor. It's a cheaper version of the 1.0- same functionality, with a slightly more utilitarian design, and $100 cheaper. I've cleaned about 10 records with it, and I hear absolutely no difference between records cleaned with the vacuum machine and those cleaned by my $10 record brush. What's the deal? I'm following the instructions to a T... I'd love to hear your ideas.

Well, give us a little more informastion. What kind of system are you listening through? What kind of recordings did you clean & evaluate, new or old, clean lps or moldy old garage sale finds? Did you have a problem with ticks, pops, & groove noise before and does that still persist? Lastly, what kind of cleaning fluid did you use, the Nitty Gritty fluid I presume?
Were the records dirty? Do you have a quality turntable that will allow you to hear any difference?
At least you know they are clean now and sound as good as they can.
I find the record cleaner works best on used vinyl that really needs cleaning.
there is no substitute for a stack of lint-free cloth and a big ole bottle of juice........rub well and air dry.
Hi Muzikat,

Thanks for your response. The records I've cleaned have varied in dirtiness from just a bit of dust to old stains, and everything in between. I haven't heard a difference on a single record.

My turntable is ok, a KD-500 from the late 70s with a rega rb300 and grado gold cartridge. I was under the impression that vacuum cleaning vinyl would get rid of a substantial amount of the clicks and pops- I'm not as concerned about improvements in sound quality.
Although there is an audible difference between a soiled and clean record, it is not night and day in most cases. A clean record will offer less background noise and more nuance/detail than one that is soiled. Relax and listen for the subtle sounds not the bass drum and cymbals.
If the records are very dirty they may need a couple good cleanings. Make sure you have good brushes and a good record cleaning solution. Everybody seems to have a favorite. Secondly, you want to try the "Enzymatic Formula" from Audio Intelligent. It's basically a pre-cleaner used prior to the record cleaning solution. It breaks down mold and other contaminants that resist the record cleaning solutions. Always use ultra pure water and buy a good carbon fiber brush.
Good luck
What cleaning fluid and brush are you using? It can make a difference. Also, if the records have been played dirty a number of times then many of the pops and clicks won't go away because the microdust may be pushed far into the grooves or even fused into the groove walls. Keeping the records clean will prevent this from worsening and will keep your stylus from having undue wear.
RCM's only get rid of pops if it's dirt/dust. If it's pops because it's been played a lot and the grooves are wearing out, nothing can help that out. A RCM is a must and makes a huge improvement, so can't think of why it wouldn't in your case? hmm did you clean the stylus? Are you putting too much cleaner on. It took me some time to get the routine down. If you use too much or not enough cleaner, you will actually get more pops. I guess maybe you took pretty good care of the records. I also have the RDIII.

good luck I'm sure you'll get it working right.
Are the clicks & pops from dirt?

Or are they vinyl damage? (cleaners won't help).

Your experience, even with a good cleaning machine, is why so many abandoned vinyl when CD presented a viable alternative. Once a new LP has been played, the pops & ticks get worse with each subsequent playing. The better the analog rig, the more the LP`s defects become apparant, Michael Fremer & a zillion $ worth of turntable, arm & crtrg. not withstanding.
I once had a Record Doctor II and a Nitty Gritty 1.0, and I can tell you that the Record Doctor is definitely not as nice.

With the Record Doctor II and the Audio Advisor formula that comes with it, you have to clean each side of the record three (3) times. (Wet, use the brush, flip, vacuum completely dry, and repeat.) You will hear a difference on old, uncleaned LPs after that point. It was pretty obvious to me. If you don't, the problem will be elsewhere in the system.

Also, record cleaners will not reduce the record noise that comes from damaged records. If anything, they accentuate scratches. BUT, you get a lot more information out of the grooves across the board. This may be relevant to what you have been noticing.
Thanks for the ideas, everyone. I'm using the fluid and applicator supplied by nitty gritty. I've also tried some DiscDoctor D4+ fluid. No difference. Photon46: as noted before, I've vacuum cleaned a large range of records, from perfect ones with just a bit of dust to really gross ones, though no mold. I'm asking the question because the clicks and pops that were there before have not gone away- that's the problem.

I'm not looking for perfection, just trying to decide whether to return the cleaner. I'd like it to significantly reduce noise beyond what can be accomplished with a brush and fluid, and so far it hasn't done that at all. Will the choice of fluid really make that much of a difference? Shouldn't the vacuum be having an effect regardless of which fluid is used?

Thanks for the continued advice.
When I owned my Nitty Gritty, cleaning results varied greatly, depending on the length of time vacuum was applied. Too often, quick vacuuming leaves the LP partially damp and still contaminated with dissolved solids that later dry into the grooves.

I got a substantial performance increase, especially in residual noise removal, with the Nitty Gritty (and my current VPI cleaning machine as well) when I experimented between 2, 4 and 6 revolutions of vacuuming.

I now use only 6 revolutions or more of vacuum, based on listening tests.

There is no point in going through all the cleaning motions and then leaving stuff behind. I cannot promise this advise will help in your situation but it certainly will not hurt to experiment and requires only an additional 10 or 15 seconds.
This may not be your problem, but my recommendation to make sure lp's get as clean as possible is to scrub copiously with manual Disk Doctor pads first and THEN transfer to the RCM. The RCM is great at removing anything that's been loosened up, but I personally don't think it gets down into the grooves and disturbs hardened in dirt as completely as the Disk Doctor pads.
What is the difference between the record doctor II and the record doctor III ?
The Record Doctor III has a removable tray for the spent liquid.
I had the NG 1.1 and I used to use a Sound GUard mat to scrub the record on before the vacuum stage. I found that the Sound Guard mat held the record in place and allowed me to really bear down with the brush to lossen all that would come off. I did upgrade to the VPI 16.5 and can do that scrubbing on the platter now. But one more thing is I bought the Needle Doctor Scrubbing brushes too. I found those worked much better than the NG Brush.
Good Luck!
that is hilarious!

First of all, the solution to pollution is dilution. The more fluid you lay on the record, the lower the concentration dirt in the fluid and the cleaner your records will be ... to a point, of course.

One of the difficulties in learning how to use a Nitty Gritty based system is that the surface being cleaned is upside down. It's difficult to monitor the fluid amount you lay on the record.

When I owned one, I developed a technique of pumping several times, waiting for the fabric on the cleaning slot to saturate, in order to distribute more fluid on the record surface. I'd saturate the slot several times while rotating and stopping the record.

Now, to Porziob's uninformed comments ...

The better the vinyl rig, the quieter your records will sound. PERIOD! Much of the noise you hear on a low-resolution vinyl rig has to do with resonance - the ringing which occurs after of the initial "pop".

A first class turntable and tonearm will ring FAR LESS, and your records will sound quieter.

Certainly, noisy records will be noisy, but you'd be amazed at what a high mass turntable and a first-class tonearm can do to quiet down your record collection.

Now, I know several audiophiles who are dismayed to hear any noise on an LP surface. You have my sympathies, because you are tortured souls and are missing a wealth of our musical heritage in the process.

Last year, sales of new LP's surpassed the combined sales of both "high resolution" digital formats (DVDA and SACD). At present, analog remains the high resolution medium, and digital is the medium of convenience.

Thom @ Galibier
Nice points Thom. This is a lesson I've learned fist hand myself.
I have a disc doctor RCM and have used several record cleaning fluids. I buy used LPs at yard sales ebay etc. I win some and lose some. As previous posters have said if a record is damaged from over play or play on a bad mostly cheap setup (as a lot of used ones are) no amount of cleaning is going to get rid of all the pops and cracks. BUT, if a record is just dirty including mold release (even found on new records) there is hope as Audiofiel hath spoken. Here is the advice part, invest a few more bucks. First, go to the Audio Intelligent website and order the sample kit which contains small bottles of their enzymatic formula, their record cleaning fluid, and ultra pure water, all for $8 plus shipping. Second, invest in a Zerostat anti static gun, a carbon fiber brush and stylus cleaner (I use the Onzow which I think is hokey lowering my stylus into jelly but it works). Follow Audio Intelligent's procedure for record cleaning which is basically this: zap each side of the LP with the Zerostat, run the carbon fiber brush around the album to gather up loose dirt, dust etc. then vac dry. Apply the AA enzymatic formula and brush into grooves well allow it to dry for one minute then vac. Then apply their RCF rub into grooves with a SEPERATE brush and then vac again. For extra measure you can use the ultra pure water for a "rinse" then vac again. Frankly this last step did not seem to add anything for me on the few records I tried it with. There is no doubt the enzymatic formula is the best stuff I have used to get a record clean. Finally, if you will get some new album covers to keep these "cleaned" records in (don't put them back into old covers which are full of dust themselves)you will be able to take these albums out and play them with only occasional cleaning with rcf. I would highly recommend the AA enzymatic formula to anyone, especially those who are buying new audiophile pressings which are not really clean even new or those who are taking chances on used ones. I have no affiliation with Audio Intelligent, I am just a satified customer.
I use and like the AIVS fluids too, but I've never had to bother with the Zerostat (I do have one) because the AIVS treatment has always eliminated any static charge on the records. Forever? Who knows, but for a year at least. And I have SEVERE static problems in my house.
Hi folks,

Thanks again for all the help. My turntable is not a beauty, but it certainly is high mass, and the tonearm and cartridge are both good. I'll look into purchasing some of the Audio Intelligent stuff and vacuuming each record multiple times. You'll be hearing from me soon!
you don't have to vacuum your records multiple times, just wet them down really really good, scrub, and give them about 5 or 6 revolutions on the RD, your record will be as clean as it's gonna get.
Readster: I am sorry, but this is false in my experience. I tested a bunch of records on my Record Doctor when I had it, and it did get much better between the first vaccuum and the third. I originally did this based on a review I read from (I think) Positive Feedback or some other on-line magazine. They were right: It takes three times to get it sounding best.
well if vacuuming 3 times makes your record sound better to you, then i say more power to you, it would just be a waste of time for me, based on my experience. i'm sure i do things that other people would think are unnecessary as well.
ALL records are not 100% clean after one washing. Some records sound better after more than one washing. It is completely unrealistic to believe that EVERY record is cleaned to its' full potential after one washing. I have some records, 30-40 years old, that are much quieter with fewer pops and clicks that have been washed 2 and 3 times. Lastly some records benefit from a mold cleaner in addition to a second and/or third washing. The products from Audio Intelligence and Bugtussel are ideal for that purpose.