Loricraft Record Cleaning

I've put off buying a record cleaning machine for years now, and doing it by hand is just getting old (So am I for that matter). Seems like everyone has an opinion on which machine is best, but nothing really negative on the Loricraft machines.

I'm looking for a used machine if possible, and if someone has one and is tired of cleaning records period, let me know. If you can point me to a solution or have a reason why I'm completely out in left field, that's helpful as well.

Thanks for the input!
Hello Paul, No RCM machine is without flaw,, the need of tweaking, and some mechanical aptitude. The Loricraft can be touchy from what I understand. But are basically little things you have to insure are in good oder, like a good seal on the Fluid Recovery Jar, the Thread Feed, etc.

The VPI Machines, like the 16.5 are great, economical, but loud like a 747 taking off when vacuuming. No cooling fan might mean heat build-up after a dozen, or so LPs. Easily added for no more thsn $35-$40 total outlay if you're handy.

The RCM is just half the battle. Good Cleaning Fluids, and a pure Rinse Stage are paramount.

Full Auto Machines, with automatic Fluid dispensing may be for the birds, a waste of money as well, if you are going to ultimately resort to a 3, or 4 step cleaning process, which will mean manual application of Fluids, and manual Scrubbing for each. Mark
I went from the VPI 16.5 to Loricraft. The Loricraft takes longer to clean a disc. You sometimes have to vacuum twice to suck up some residual fluid. However, it is extremely quiet and sonically far superior to the 16.5. Records cleaned on a Loricraft as compared to my 16.5 had noticably quieter, blacker backgrounds, better transparency, less grain, better resolution and better sense of air, space and depth. I attribute this to the fact that you do not continually contaminate the LP with the same wand that sucks up the fluid and dirt. The Loricraft may also do a better job of sucking up the liqiid/dirt through the very fine nozzle. All I know is that the sonic results are very consistant.

After getting the Loricraft I enjoy playing my records more. It is a well made machine, easy to use, and it gives excellent results. I waffled for a couple years about getting one (like perhaps what you are experiencing) thinking that this component or that would give a bigger bang for the buck - now, the only thing I regret about the Loricraft is not buying it sooner. Best of luck finding a used one.

The Loricraft is the best.
There are some setup issues like Mark mentions, but once you get past the setup, its smooth sailing after that.

It cleans better than the others, its more quiet, and it does not take longer. With the VPI or similar machines, you clean at least twice, but its never really as clean. As for residual fluid, the correct application is not to use too much in the first place. As long as the LP side is wet, one pass should be enough, otherwise you are wasting solution.

Another benefit is that I've found that I didn't need to clean the stylus anymore after cleaning with the Loricraft, that's a testament to how clean the LP is.
having owned the more powerful loricraft 4, yes it is quiet and it does a good job, but it takes so long you avoid cleaning records. the clearaudio double matrix, while noisier and a little more expensive, is the best tweek i ever bought, money well spent(invested). i now clean records all the time, in record time and i think better then ever before. yes it is a little noisier, but only for a few seconds, where the loricraft runs for minutes doing 1 side the matrix does both in seconds. highly recommended. sold my loricraft could have bought a monk, staying where i am, tas finnally got it right! double matrix highest recomdation to anyone serious about vinyl.
Loricraft is certainly a precision instrument. That said, could it be just a tad overkill? I guess we all have to make choices that result in our final out come... listening. My pockets just aren't that deep. I purchased a VPI 16.5 and it does a great job. I haven't owned a Loricraft so I couldn't say that the difference in cleaning is substantial. What I can say is at 2235.00 to 4475.00USD + dust-cover + shipping for the Loricraft, I find the VPI a bargain. And to top it off I can afford the entire Acoustic Sounds Blue Note Jazz 45RPM series for the relative difference to that of the VPI. And about noise, quiet is better, yes but, I spend more time listening to new records than my cleaning machine.

Happy Listening?!
I was fortunate enough to pick up a Loricraft 3 used on Audiogon here. I do not have any experience with other cleaning machines, so I cannot compare. But I can say that the Loricraft is indeed consistent, quiet, and trouble free like others have mentioned above.

I really have no motivation or cause to look to upgrade or change cleaning machines. The Loricraft does the trick. I especially enjoy the quietness of the Loricraft.
Thanks for the good comments. I haven't owned a record cleaning machine to this point, but I still feel that it's the way to go... at least for me. Also, I know that if it makes a lot of noise, my wife will throw both of us out and I don't need any more damage to my ears from a "shop vac" solution.

I'm probably much like everyone else here, in that I will end up buying what I want regardless of the cost (Just a few more P&J sandwiches for lunch). Maybe there is a used machine out there, maybe not. I'll see what turns up.

Again, thanks for the responses... they all help.

I've just purchased a Loricraft (high power model) but have not used it yet. Sold a perfectly good (like new) VPI 16.5 just because I want to clean records and listen to records at the same time, and in the same room.

The 16.5 is perfectly usable, but I kept it away in a separate room because of the noise.

Will it be worth 8 times the money? I don't know...
I'll second the Clearaudio recommendation, if you can't afford the double matrix then look at the Smart Double matrix (about half the cost) where all you do is squeeze the fluid bottle to float fluid on the recond on both sides is a dream, plus since it does both sides at once it can clean and fully dry a warped record like the Loricraft. The Smart Double matrix is quieter than the VPI 17 with the top down, so it's very nice to use, the VPI 16.5 sounded like I was vacuuming the house, definitely not relaxing between record plays, and you don't have to deal with an extra cork mat to prevent from contaminating the other clean side on the dirty cork when you flip the cleaned side down on a most RCM's. Plus the Cool grounded carbon brush removes the static from the album on the Clearaudio.
Pkubica: What all the rush ? If having a clean recording is what you are truly after, why not spend just a few $$ on a Hand Held Steam Cleaning Unit and some micro-cloths , follow the steam cleaning thread and enjoy the discovery.

Should you believe that your records can not be cleaned without a RCM ,than by all means buy one. Just keep in mind that even Terry O'Sullivan , owner of Loricraft, was impressed by my demo of steam cleaning given to he and his staff a few years ago following the CES.

Initially, we had discussed the possibility of merging the two applications but nothing came of those discussions. So, do what you like but please try a steam cleaning. All the Best
I've had a Clearaudio Matrix since they first came out some years ago and wouldn't even consider another rcm. Three of my 'phile friends were so impressed with mine that they too purchased the Matrix.

As for the Double Matrix, I saw it demonstrated at CES a few years back when it was introduced but I didn't like the idea of not being able to see the underside of the lp as it's being cleaned. Actually, the Matrix is already quite fast, waaay faster than any Loricraft, so cleaning one side at a time is not that big a deal.

Yah, the Matrix is a bit noisy but big freakin' deal. It's only noisy when you turn on the vacuum but you can sure tell from the sound it's sucking every last bit of fluid and crud out of the grooves.

They're also extremely well built and you don't have to worry about over-heating if you decide to spend an afternoon cleaning records. You can't say that about the VPI's.

Lastly, none of the Clearaudio rcm's are cheap, especially with the value of the dollar dropping compared to the Euro, but in my mind it's the one to beat.
Rfogel8: On the lower end Smart Double Matrix, they put a mirror below the record so you can see the other side with a little side lighting while it cleans. And you don't have to worry about too much vaccuming (more than 2 spins on a VPI generates a lot of static, whereas the Smart Double Matrix has the the grounded carbon brushes to remove the static after vacuuming.
Cytocycle, I've been going to CES for many years and always make it a point to check out all the toys in the Musical Surroundings rooms. This year I again looked at the Double Matrix while chatting with one of Garth's reps. I specifically asked him about the carbon brush you mention and also got current pricing.

Even though there's a mirror and light, it's still difficult to clearly see what's going on. Besides, you're going from $3600 for the standard Matrix, which is a killer machine, to $5200 for the Double Matrix. I'm not so lazy that I can't clean one side at a time plus I'd rather take that extra $1600 and spend it on vinyl.

As for the carbon brush, I really don't see the need. I've had my Matrix 5 or 6 years and NEVER had a problem with static after cleaning a record. Neither have any of my three friends who own the same machine.

All these little add-ons and so called improvements do nothing to make your records any cleaner but they certainly give Clearaudio another excuse to raise their prices which they frequently do.

Rfogel8: I agree the prices are nuts now, the Clearaudio's don't have as big of a static problem because of the vaccuum pad is microfiber instead of the felt on the VPI. I keep mentioning the static issue because it was a HUGE problem for me at my house and using a carbon brush to dust my album on the turntable required a zerostat hit...
Yeah the prices went up so I went with the less expensive Smart version because I couldn't afford the smart Matrix.

I only mentioned the anti-static stuff because it was one of the reasons I was looking at buying the Loricraft because of they don't generate static when they vaccuum, I was considering the Loricraft prior and decided on the Clearaudio because I didn't want to do the string spool mod, plus I talked with a bunch of owners and you really need to step up to the 4 model to get the stronger pump to get a completely dry record as the base model sometimes
missed sections.

The other RCM I considered that was cheaper than the Clearaudio was the Hannl, but that was really hard to find in the US.
Cytocycle, I live in Michigan and have a forced air furnace with a flow through humidifier yet the air still gets pretty dry in the winter. Even so, I have no static problems with "cleaned" records. If you're wearing shoes around the house, particularly with rubber soles, I don't care where you live, you'll have problems.

I've heard that some carbon fiber brushes will cause static build-up and while I occasionally use one I really don't notice problems in that area either.

You might want to play around a bit with the ground wires to your table, arm and phono stage. Perhaps the problem lies elsewhere or at least part of the problem.
I appreciate the info, especially on the Clearaudio. It also looks like a very good machine.

For those who are using it... is there any problem transferring crud from one record to another. It would seem like they have some type of "lips" that must touch the surface of the record and as a result, must touch the dirty solution that's on the record surface. Is it a constant cleaning chore? How well does all this work on the lower end "Smart Matrix"?

It would seem that the thread keeps the loricraft head out of the dirty solution... or is there a cleaning issue as well.

Crem1: Thanks for your input on Steam Cleaning. It may be a good "In addition" to a RCM. The problem for me is that I'm an engineer, and run a production company. All day long, everything is a process. When I finally get home, and on the weekends, I'm not looking for another (process) job. I want to relax and listen to some good music. Cleaning the record is necessary, and I don't want to make it an activity unto itself, or a search for the "Holy Grail". I want to do the best I can with the least mess, fuss and noise.

Rfogel8: My condolences on the forced-air furnace issue. I live in Florida on the ocean... no furnace issues and with our humidity, no blue-arc's coming off my fingers as I grab a doorknob.

Cytocycle: I'll also take a look at the Hannl RCM.

Thanks to all!
Paul , I well appreciate your feelings on not wanting another process job. But what I believe you shall find is that RCM's are also a process ; sometimes more complicated than needed , time comsuming and the results don't always justify the effort. I have auditioned most RCMs or have been exposed to those my friends own save the matrix models. Too my ears the results are just about equal, regardless if one spends $ to $$$$$ . I suspect the reason is simple, all these cleaning machines are limited in suction power and ALL leave a "sonic fingerprint" that can not be fully appreciated until one has listened to a cleaned recording free of that artifact.

Frankly, for a "wipe and play" I recommend scientific static-free brushes that retail for about $30 US. Nothing can be easier for weekend plays. The brushes are far superior to any audio product but they have limitations. Steam Cleaning is generally a "once will do you" for the life of the LP, unless of course your living conditions are filled with dust and other airborne grime .

Don't get me wrong I feel that RCMs have a place ; I own a VPI 16 that works splendly to its limits. I combo the VPI and steam cleaning for remarkable results.

Thank you for your kind words. I wish you all the best, Charlie
I have been investigating a step up from my 16.5

What I have found is that for multi-step cleaning fluids, the VPI or Loricraft/Monks seem to be the only machines that fit the bill.

For my VPI I have a second tube holder and tube that slides in and out
for Audio Intelligent steps 1 and 2. The Clearaudio seems like a great machine, but there is no way to change cleaning tubes, which seems to be needed to avoid cross contamination with the enzyme cleaner and the next steps. 2 steps already seems like a lot of effort, so I pass on the last pure water step.

So for that reason I am thinking about going with a VPI Typhoon. The added suction I believe gets the fluid off in 1 pass, so it should be on less time than my 16.5 which needs 2-3 rotations to dry.

I use earmuff type ear protection when I hit the Vacuum button.

Just FYI I just received the brand new Audio Intelligent brushes. They seem to work really well at spreading the fluid and lightly scrubbing the LP.

I tend to pre clean very dirty records with a Carbon brush prior to putting on the VPI, so nothing really dirty goes on the cork platter.

Also I clean the VPI tube felt area after each use with a small brush. My tubes tend to last many years this way, and of course won't scratch an LP with embeded dirt.

Anyone gone from a 16.5 to a typhoon?
Emailists, thanks for the report on the AI brushes. I'll have to give them a try.
Thanks to everyone for the good dialog on record cleaning machines. I went through the info carefully and checked all the machines again. Cytocycle offered a tidbit on the Hannyl RCM, a machine that I hadn't heard of before. Their machines look very good.

They clean much like a VPI, but have a much quieter vacuum motor. They also have grounded the pickup arm to help eliminate static. They are also very nice looking machines and fall into a reasonable price range (Hannyl Micro is under $1400.).

One of their dealers is The Cable Company and they seem like a good group to work with. I'll order one tomorrow and should have it in a about two weeks. I still have to pick out a good cleaning solution, brushes and of course some new clean sleeves. I can't wait to give my old Sheffields a cleaning.

I checked the Hannl and Clearaudio Matrix record cleaners.They all look very impressive,and seriously designed machines.In comparison the VPI 16.5 looks like a toy.I only have 350 LP's,so I am not sure if I can spend this kind of money on a RCM.How much did yours cost?Please let us know of first impressions when you get it and start using it.
I am in the process of upgrading my analog front-end and based on a dealer's recommendation, I recently purchased a Loricraft 4. The Loricraft replaced an ancient Nitty Gritty machine. I have not auditioned or done a formal comparison against other contenders such as the Keith Monks or Clearaudio.

I have cleaned approximately 40 records and can say without hesitation that in my system, I consider this addition at least equivalent to a major compenent upgrade. I have noticed a singnificant improvement in all of the records cleaned to date. There is significantly decreased noise and significant increase in subtle low level information. Upper frequencies sound crisper without sibilance and there is improvement in the quality and quantity of lower frequency information. Most importantly, I find myself playing less well recorded albums and enjoying the performances and not preferentially choosing audiophile or well-recorded discs. The music is more involving and fun and I find myself listening more intently and unable to multitask when a record is playing.

If you have a large investment in vinyl, I can unequivocally recommend a high quality record cleaning machine as a necessary component on a par with a quality arm or cartridge.
Yioryos: I agree with you completely... the units look really good and I'm sure will do the job. Like you, I have a small collection of records, probably less than 500 titles, but at least half of them are really good and worth the effort. I have mostly all the old Sheffield direct to disc, and MFD's half speed masters. I think cleaned properly they will sound stunning. I ordered the Hannl machine, L’Art du Son cleaning fluid and several hundred new clean sleeves. I'll know more in a week or two.
A friend, who owns a Loricraft after a few other machines, tried the steaming method on a few records, and now he is buying one steamer ($30). He used another friends steamer who bought it after knowing my results ( thanks to Crem1). The combination of the steamer and RCM seems to be the way to go, although the steamer along in a manual system is a tremendous alternative for those who can't invest in an expensive RCM.
So now opinions on cleaning products and how many processes do you use?

There is a claim from one manufacturer regarding the enzymes that are used in most cleaning products that is, these enzymes have a short “shelf life” so the gallon of fluid you made up last year in not as effective or even useless,
True or false?

I found the joy of steaming using a VPI for the initial cleaning (applying the fluid) then adding steam before the vacuum and then a polish with a micro fiber cloth.
For my cherished vinyl the third step is second cleaning using TTVJ Gold spray and more steam before a final vacuum and a micro fiber polish.

I have also tried the Gruv Glide on some noisy LP’s but I am skeptical about the results I did not hear a discernable difference in the reduction of noise.
This has been covered in various threads with opinions on both sides…. me I gotta go with “Didn’t hurt, but didn’t work” opinion

But the steam I am sold on, that process really did quiet down certain problem LP’s I had.

I do still have massive static problems (Living in Florida) sometimes I lift an LP from the deck and POP! As the charge hits the stylus.
I guess a Zero stat gun would be one way to go unless there are other suggestions.

I was considering replacing felt strips on the VPI pick up tube with some micro fiber cloth any thoughts?
The Hannl Micro arrived, and my 1st impression was WOW! I had seen the Nitty Gritty and the VPI and they look functional, the Hannl looks like a "high end" turntable. It has a gloss black and brushed aluminum finish and you don't have to hide it in the utility room when you are finished cleaning.

The power cable plugs in the bottom and there is a master power switch next to it. The front panel has the on-off switch with built-in led. There are two front panel push-buttons to spin the aluminum platter left or right. Two more push-buttons control the five speeds of the platter, and led's light at the highest and lowest speed. The final two buttons are for the vacuum motor, and it also has five speeds with the highest and lowest marked with led's.

The full size aluminum platter has a rubber mat to hold the record, and comes with a very heavy record clamp with built-in rubber gasket to prevent fluid from getting to the album label. The platter motor has incredible torque... feels like a winch motor. The platter would rub your fingers raw before you could slow it down.

The vacuum pickup is nicely made with soft velvet strips that contact the record. Two additional replacement sets are included. The vacuum pickup sits above the record on soft rubber rings which allow you to gently push it to the record surface and then it springs back by itself. The vacuum pressure can be set at five different levels and of course the noise of the vacuum pump is at five different levels as well. The noise is much less than the VPI machine and you can easily talk to someone standing next to you. I don't think it is so quiet that I could enjoy listening to music while cleaning a record, but I don't play my music really loud.

Additionally, they supply a record cleaning brush, a small squeeze bottle to apply fluid, a large micro-fiber cloth and a bottle of X2000 cleaning solution. Not sure what the X2000 is and I bought a bottle of L-Art du Son.

Cleaning a record is really fun with this machine. Place a record on the rubber platter mat and use the clamp/record protector to hold it down. Apply some fluid, brush a few revs to the left and a few revs to the right to scrub and loosten the dirt. Then vacuum to the left one or two turns, and to the right one or two turns. Voila... a nice clean record.

I cleaned a few clunkers first to test the results and they were better than I imagined. Next was a good one, the Thelma Houston Sheffield recording. I'm not sure what she is doing these days, but for about 15 minutes she was right there performing.

I'm sure I will give some steam cleaning with the RCM a try one of these days, but for now I'm more than pleased with the results of the machine.

Finally... a tip of the hat to Cytocycle who made me aware of the Hannl machine, also Joe at The Cable Company for friendly service, fast shipping and a great price, and the Audiogon list members... without you I'd still have dirty records!
Thanks for reporting back to us on this great record cleaning machine.I think I am going to buy one as well.
I posted earlier about not knowing whether the Loricraft would be worth the extra expense compared to the VPI 16.5...well, I still can't say much about that, but I can tell you that the cleaning process is much more pleasant and thorough. The additional suction the Loricraft has gets that record dry! I always found the VPI left things a little damp (maybe using too much solution?).

My feeling is the record is more thoroughly cleaned, too. It may be also be a combination of using all the great cleaning solutions that are sent with the machine.

Records cleaned with the Loricraft are quieter on my turntable and appear cleaner to the eye.
Well I just did some very smart or very stupid - depending upon one's perspective. It seems yesterday the price of the Loricraft went up 20%.

I snuck an order in for a PRC3 with the hinged cover at the last moment (maybe too late now but it's worth a try).

Speaking with one of the folks at SmartDev - it seems that the sucking pressure at the tip between the 3 and 4 model is negligible, since the tip can only flow so much. The info I got seemed to indicate the better pump is balanced into 2 halves, so it is smoother, and would have a longer life.

This would not have an effect on fluid trails left, though getting some on the lead out and in area is normal, and can just be dried with a paper towel.

Wow, this is way more than I thought I'd ever spend on a record cleaner, but a 20% price increase just makes it even more out of reach, and the chances of getting one here used are slim. They mentioned that only 1 unit has ever been returned within the 30 day return policy and that was due to cost, not performance. Once I started investigating an upgrade to my 16.5, the price just kept creeping up closer and closer to the Loricraft, and in the end I'd just end up with something that functioned similar to the 16.5 I already own- though about 40-50% quieter.

One thing I did find out about the Hannl is that the cleaning tube is easily removable, so you can have 2 for different fluids. The Clearaudio could not do this, so it was scratched from my list.


Congratulations! You will not be unhappy with your purchase. I have enjoyed my new Loricraft 4 for about a month and have cleaned ~75 albums. I have not listened to a single CD since I received the Loricraft because I've been cleaning and listening to LP's. The Loricraft has significantly increased the performance gap between vinyl and digital in my system (Linn LP12/Ittok/Dynavector and SimMoon Andromeda). I am constantly amazed how much music was locked away in those grooves. I have come to regard a good RCM as important as any other electronic component in a high quality vinyl system. Enjoy!

I found a site that has some great tweeks and setup suggestions for the Loricraft. They suggest a hose clamp over the tube that goes to the bottle for a 25% increase in suction.

I've read your enthusiastic comments and I would like to share some of my impressions, because I think, it can make some things more clear.

Let's say, it is not that important how you put your fluid onto the surface, much more important is:
How to remove it (completely or as good as possible)?

Based on various machines there are 2 kind of Types (in general).
1. Surface Vaccuum Record Cleaning Machine

You can put your cleaning solution manual, semi- automatic or full automatic onto the record and it will be removed via Brush with a slot which can be moved across the whole record.
Some examples for those
Nitty Gritty, VPI, Hannl, Clearaudio,

Their main advantage is, that they are fast, 2 turns and the job is normally done.
Cleaning result can vary from nice to good, but definetly better than nothing.
Some are loud, some have static problems, some can do only a few records, then the brush is wet and the vaccuum is not able to make the records really dry. Most get hot or can not do more than a few records otherwise the user gets deaf or the fluid container is full ....

2. Point vaccumm Record Cleaning Machine
These units use not a brush to remove the fluid, here they have a kind of Tonearm with a vacuum hose in it and they "suck" the fluid inside from groove to groove while the Arm moves from center to the outside (or the other way), driven by a motor.
It takes much more time but the cleaning result is superior.
There is a string between the vaccum tip and the record to guarantee a height difference between these 2 points. The fluid will be sucked into this tip, this one can not damage the record surfaceand, the fluid will be removed from groove for groove.

They are more expensive, because there is much more know how and parts neccessary (Motors for the string, for the Tonearm, for the Platter ....)
Their motors are generally much more silent, their vaccum pressure is simply something totally different (much higher).
The most famous unit is the Keith Monks, based on its superior cleaning result, low noise and unbelievable good working condition.
It is used in big record collections all over the world.
The Loricraft is a copy from this one.
The best out there is an improved original Monks, made in Germany, it is called Odyssey. The cleaning Procedure is identical to Monks (it is not possible to improve that), but the parts inside are the best you can buy for money.

Based on different kind of Designs, the cleaning process will show differences. From my experience with some of those units, all do a good job, because it is simply better than nothing.
Then are some comfort features in some units and the next step is:
How do they do it?

And here everyone can find his personal solution, how much he wants to use it and what results he wants to have.

Happy Listening.
Emailists, have you added the clamp on the vacuum hose? I really suspect the 25% increase in suction is an exaggeration, but I will try it.

I have had my Loricraft since 2001 and still am shocked with what careful record cleaning can do for the sound of vinyl. I have also found the cleaning fluids can greatly affect your results. I use Walker's three part cleaning system when I have time to undertake cleaning 10 records.
Even simpler than a clamp: just put a light coating of Vaseline on the fitting before sliding the hose on. That will stop all vacuum leaks.

Just tried your Loricraft tweak. Thank you! My new Triplanar is awaiting its new turntable and I wanted to thank you for the Triplanar tweak list.

Hi Jazdoc,

Glad that helped, another tip my scientist/engineer partner learned from his dad, a master machinist.

Please don't get all these tweaks confused. Vaseline + TriPlanar = Trouble!

The %$*@@! dealer who used my TP as a demo forgot to empty the dampening trough before shipping. Every square mm was slathered in silicone. It took me five hours to clean it. If you want to get to know your new tonearm really well, try dunking it in oil and then cleaning by hand. ;-)

Enjoy this great tonearm,
Thanks for the heads up! Seriously, your analog advice is greatly appreciated.

I haven't received my Loricraft yet. One thing I see the Monks has that the Loricraft doesn't is auto advancing thread that continuously keeps fresh thread under the suction point.

Does anyone think this is problematic, and has anyone come up with a mod that will accomplish a similar thing?

I suppose one could always just advance the thread a tiny bit manually as the arm sweeps across the LP.

I also understand that as of this month all units will have a bidirectional motor built in. Is this used just for the scrubbing phase, or does it come into play during the drying phase as well?

As I mentioned the purchase became a "now or never" proposition once I saw the price increase. I hadn't intended to spend this much, but of course right afterwards I saw a Keith Monks unit unit had come up for sale right here in NYC, with "local sale only". Now i wish I had seen ad that and jumped on it!
I suppose one could always just advance the thread a tiny bit manually as the arm sweeps across the LP.
Not really. The suction keeps the thread pinned between record surface and vacuum nipple, so if you untwist the spool to generate a little slack it doesn't get pulled up into the vacuum arm until the nipple clears the edge of the record. For this to work with the Monks it must actively pull the thread through. Just giving it a little slack wouldn't work.

OTOH, I don't think it's that big a deal either. Pulling a 1/4" of thread slack to refreshen it after each pass doesn't make my list of hardships! ;-)
I didn't think the Monks advances the thread while traversing the record, just for the start of a cycle.

A slight manual turn of the spool to advance the thread is not a big deal - simplicity is your friend. I do recommend O-rings on the spool spindle to hold the spool snug - it makes accurate thread advancement easier and avoids spool/thread runaway.

I also understand that as of this month all units will have a bidirectional motor built in. Is this used just for the scrubbing phase, or does it come into play during the drying phase as well?
Neither! ;-)

Loricraft added a bidirectional motor to meet customer requests, but I'm not sure how useful it will be.

The platter spins much too fast (75rpm+) for scrubbing. Offering birectional spin with a slow speed would have been useful, but at this speed it hardly matters.

Bidirectional spin probably serves no purpose at all when vacuuming. One way's as good as the other as far as I can see.

As Tim said, simplicity is a good thing. I don't even bother with O-rings on the spool spindle. Advancing the thread by PULLING on the thread while the nozzle is sucking air works perfectly. You control the amount of thread released and there's no thread fouling, which can happen if you twist the spool while the nozzle is down on the LP or the machine top plate. Less is more.

thread fouling, which can happen if you twist the spool while the nozzle is down on the LP or the machine top plate

Without O-rings on the spindle, the spool does turn freely and its easy for the thread to ravel off it or loop under the spool or otherwise foul. I think thats true however the thread is advanced. An index mark with a felt pen on one of the spool's spokes makes for an easy way to gauge the amount of thread played out. Turning the spool with the vacuum on, I get 8 passes out of one revolution of the spool. You could probably get more. Never thought to pull the thread at the nozzle with my fingers - if you choose that method, then yes, you need the spool to turn freely.

I have no idea if the PRC-3 offers improved cleaning with bidirectional rotation and a three position motor toggle. Sometimes I'll put the nozzle on the other side of the record so it runs outside in and I have no idea if that makes a difference vs inside out.

Hello - I am receiving a Loricraft PRC-4 today when Mr. UPS arrives.

What are some of the cleaning fluids others have used with this machine? Do you use the spray cleaner that comes with the unit? Do you manually scrub with the brush before using the pump?

I had a VPI 16.5 and used the RRL/Mofi cleaners with some success.

Jcoehler, SMART used to have a detailed "how to use" page on their website.

No cleaner came with my unit, but I have used AudioTop which doesn't work well with the Loricraft as it evaporates too quickly. I have also used Disk Doctor and RRL, which are both okay. The Walker three stage Prelude is clearly the best of what I have used. I do two rinses, however. The last is with the ultra pure water he includes.

I think you will find that records you thought were clean, weren't.
The best fluids for cleaning are Audio Intelligent 4 step (I do a double rinse with their Ultra-Pure Water) and the Walker Prelude System. The other fluids pale by comparison. My good friend who did a comparison of the two gives a slight nod to the AI over the Walker, but I am guessing you won't go wrong with either product.
The Ultra-Pure Water rinse is essential (whether you use AI or Prelude) and well worth the time and money. It makes a major difference.
I also have the Loricraft PRC-4 and it yields a major difference in the sonics for the positive. You have made a decision that you will be happy with for a long time to come.
The Ultra-Pure Water rinse is essential (whether you use AI or Prelude) and well worth the time and money. It makes a major difference.

Agree with Cello 100% - whatever cleaning regimen one adopts, complete it with one, and even better, two ultra pure water rinses. I've found NERL Reagent Grade Water is very effective in this role. Their 5 gallon box can be had on-line for $25+ship.


"I think you will find that records you thought were clean, weren't."

Hi, is this due to your Loricraft or the Walker fluids? Or both? What diff to you hear?

I might want to upgrade my VPI 16.5 soon...

Thanks in advance!

Jfrech, I am not talking about the obvious pops and clicks, rather the top end sounds brighter and the dynamics become more evident and quick. This is not at all to suggest that records cleaned with my several VPIs did not sound noticeably better than in their original condition. I strongly suggest that the substantially groove by groove cleaning with the Loricraft and Keith Monks machines is the better way to vacuum. I once got metal stuck in the pad on my VPI and ruined one place in several records before I noticed what was happening. I don't know where the tiny sliver of metal came from. At very least, with the Loricraft the advancement of the string would leave a single record damaged and perhaps not even this the the stronger vacuum might just suck it up immediately.

Initially, I used the Loricraft with Disc Doctor, RRL, AudioTop, and later L'Art du Son. I had used Disc Doctor with my VPI. Records that I initially cleaned with the Loricraft sounded better after another cleaning with the Walker. This is to suggest that both are contributing greatly to my results.