LP Record Cleaning Machine - Ultrasonic or Vacuum

I am new to analog and am considering to get a record cleaning machine. There are some comments that the ultrasonic may damage fine patterns oinside the tracks of old records and resulting in lost of high frequency extention. Would anyone have any comments or experience on the issue.

Thank you in advance for your responses.
have you read about steam cleaning?

cheap and effective

i am in the process of building an ultrasonic cleaner and have tested it on several older records. My findings are superb cleaning with no damage. I based this on examination of the record grooves under a jewelers glass (about 10x power) i can see the grooves ok and i do not appear to see any deformation. Also during playback, i know the record is much cleaning and quieter.
However, i understand the concern as the cleaning action is based on "small bubbles exploding" and hence the concern of chipping the fine layers of vinyl between the grooves. In fact if you perform the aluminum foil test, you will find it will punch holes in the foil. I again know this because i ran this test to validate that my "used" ultrasonic bath was working ok.

I have long been an advocate of steaming/vacuum regime as philjolet referred you to and you will find many of my comments on some of the threads. It is a great way to clean and pretty cheap if you DIY. the commercial units are also good.

but back to your question, i understand the concern, but based on my experience todate have not seen an issue
10x is probably way too low a magnification level to really see the results of your work. I read an article a while back by noted audio guru Tim de Paravicini about his vision of further technical advances in stylus design that will continue to harvest ever more of the complex waveforms that are embedded in vinyl. One of his points is that we still are only sensing a fraction of the information contained in the vinyl with current retrieval techniques, and that even old records actually have captured modulations at the nano-level that will some day be able to reveal the vast amount of information that is currently dormant in all our records.

If Tim de is right, we will one day have cartridges that scan and detect groove modulations as small as 1/millionth of an inch. You may need a bigger magnifier to see if ultrasonic waves are really harmless to the full waveform, or if it may actually be making your records useless when that great day comes. I will err on the side of caution and not risk my records until someone does a study using the same kinds of instruments that de Paravicini refers to.

When or if ultrasonic cleaning gets a clean bill of health in a scientific study, I will continue to use my Nitty Gritty.

If challenged, I will dig up a URL for the article I humbly attempt to reference here. Tim is regarded by many as the Einstein of audio engineering, and his own products have been superb. It's too late now, but I think I will probably want to reread it again.
Different 'dirt' requires different cleaning methods. All mentioned processes will work. For most people, who have purchased their collections new, steam and vacuum methods will do. However, if you are one of those that purchased used records, you may need the ultra approach to get great results. You never know what 'dirt' is hidden in those groves. I would rather purchase more vinyl then spend $2,000 on an ultra machine. Many would say I will spend more on purchasing new cartridges to more then cover the cost of an ultra machine. Maybe.
I use both a Spin Clean and a VPI 16.5. Total investment for both was about $400. How much is an ultrasonic cleaner? $4k?. I would rather use the $3,600 difference to buy music, and you can buy an aweful lot of music for $3600!
Someone will have to prove to me that a cutter head can cut a more complicated groove into vinyl than a modern cartridge can read, given they are normally cut at the same speed they are played. Have there been any definitive tests on that issue?
My vinyl collection (about 3,000) goes back 50 years, and is still growing. I love finding great music for $2. My 1st RCM was a Nitty Gritty 25 years ago. Later I moved on to a VPI. Both did an OK job, but nothing close to what I am now experiencing with an ultrasonic. Not only are the LP's much quieter, but there is a significant improvement in presence and clarity. The thrill of finding my collection sounding better than new is priceless. $1.25 per LP is cheap!
Someone will have to prove to me that a cutter head can cut a more complicated groove into vinyl than a modern cartridge can read, given they are normally cut at the same speed they are played. Have there been any definitive tests on that issue?
The contact radius of a cutting stylus is several orders of magnitude smaller than the contact radius of even the finest playback stylus. Therefore, the cutting stylus can trace shorter wavelengths and finer modulations of amplitude than any playback stylus can follow.

You can't perform micro-surgery with a butter knife. ;-)
I use an 6L ultra sonic tank (from ebay) and suspend several records at a time in tap water with a mild surfactant. Then finish on my VPI cleaner using art du son. Quite laborious but the results are excellent, even on old second hand vinyl.
Some albums are virtually silent on replay, the background that is! the music is very clear.

What ultrasonic cleaner are you using? I have seen the loong DIY ultrasonic cleaner thread at diyaudio.com, and that looks mighty promising, though even still, the ultrasonic cleaners, especially those using 60kHz are pretty pricey still.
It was this one, or something very similar

on ebay - Professional Ultrasonic Cleaner 6L - I don't know if the 60Hz would make any difference. This one works fine at 40Hz


I have the Klaudio. I chose it over the Auto Desk for 2 reasons- reported issues with early AD machines and the requirement to purchase their cleaning solution and maintenance parts. The Klaudio needs only RO (or distilled) water which I have in my kitchen anyway. Very quick and easy and no cost to dump and refill as necessary.
I use the Spin Clean, and provide the ultrasonic part with my own loud self satisfied humming caused by my joy in not having spent a pile on an expensive cleaning machine.
I just purchase Klaudio Ultrasonic machine. I have the Nitty Gritty 1.5 Fi and the Spin Clean cleaners, I like both machines but i really want to try the ultrasonic method. I also tried steam cleaning but I could not detect any difference in steaming or using the nitty gritty or the spin clean. I am waiting to see what the Klaudio does when it arrive. I will be listing the others soon.
Friends and I recently had a room at RMAF where 95% of the records played had recently been cleaned with a borrowed AudioDesk machine. I know very little about the machine or its manufacture, but I do know that the room was well-received overall by reviewers and listeners alike. One reason, no doubt, was that the records played beautifully without noise or other distracting artifacts.

In my opinion, ultrasonic is an excellent choice. Which ultrasonic path to take is for you to sort out. I plan on building my own just because I'm reasonably handy that way.
A KLaudio cleaner arrived in the belly of an Air India Boeing from JFK, a few days back. Initial impressions are that I am getting superior results with the KLaudio compared to my 2 year old Loricraft PRC 4 dlx. Does it remove every pop and crackle, the answer is no. Every record in my collection that has been cleaned with a variety of enzyme solutions on the Loricraft is significantly quieter after the KLaudio. IMHO , the KLaudio, with its superb built quality could be a game changer for vinyl cleaning .
My KLaudio arrived yesterday. I only cleaned a dozen LPs so far. All the LPs had been cleaned before with Clearaudio Matrix machine, often multiple times with various cleaners, Mofi deep clean/superwash/enzymes, L'Art du Son, Hannl, Mint, some even soaked for multiple days with dish washer soap etc. A few even had steam cleaning which I found to be better than Clearaudio but took too much time and effort so I rarely bothered. They all showed major improvements as far as pop and crackles are concerned and background is much quieter for sure. I have a big stack of LPs I bought over the past 3 months that I have not cleaned yet. Look like that stack will be taken care easily over the next few days with no hazzle while I am listening to music (the unit is in a different room).
What happened to putting all your LPs on the floor, covering them with carpet cleaner, and then simply get out the vacuum and go at it? This worked for laundry issues in college...
Wolf, LOL
Just out of curiosity, was there an inverse relationship between your cutting edge laundry concept and the ability to get a date in college?

As an aside, I have the Audio desk cleaner. It does a fantastic job. I keep it in an adjoining room and clean the next record while listening. Haven't had any mechanical failures to date. The AD does have a removable/washable filter that filters the water before and after use. I'm not sure that the Klaudio does. If not, would be concerned about increasing dirt/particulate matter building up between water changes.
Yeah...chicks dug me...I always smelled fresh as a daisy, although it was the late 60's in Honolulu which meant much less clothing to worry about.
That is good and affordable to purchase it in cleaning equipment http://www.santoni-india.com/industrial-cleaning-machines.htm
All joking aside, what's wrong with those sub $200 machines as compared to the multi-thousand dollar ones we've seen? bubbles are bubbles, no?
My understanding is that they just don't clean as well. I have seen a few reports of folks building their own on the DIYAudio forum who got cheap ultrasonic machines only to upgrade to a better machine later. The DIYAudio thread would be a good place to look/ask for answers.
I'm using both methods, vacuum and ultrasonic (the AD). Love the convenience of the AD, but i also find that with old records- the vast majority of what I buy- I benefit from cleaning first with AIVS No. 15 and lab water, using my trusty old VPI. There are times when the grunge in some of these records requires some soaking, agitation (using a MoFi brush) and lab water rinse before using the ultrasonic machine.

As to the various commercial ultrasonic machines made for records, I bought an AD just at the time the KL was being introduced and have been pleased with its overall performance. Though I was aware that the AD had 'teething' problems, there was little field experience with the KL at the time. (It has since apparently been proven to be a winner).The KL offers the benefit of fewer moving parts and no need for adding a surfactant (not a cost issue, but a potential sonic issue).
So, my punchline is buy an ultrasonic, but keep your vacuum machine for those grungy records. (Added bonus is obviously that you are not polluting the bath used in the US machine if you are sticking a pre-cleaned record into it). The ultrasonic really does change your life if you are used to laboring over a noisy vacuum machine. Unfortunately, it has also raised the bar for 'clean' and made me even more compulsive, devoting even more effort to cleaning with the combined methods.
RE: Damage

I tested my home-made US machine by US cleaning the whole record, then stopping the motor and blasting the bottom third for 2 hours. I reasoned that the first cleaning should get rid of the gunk, and the 2 hour blast should eat away the vinyl if anything would.

Then I played the record, expecting a change from good to bad every second or so. I heard no difference, using ESL's and a front end to match.
Ebuzz, bubbles are not bubbles. The variables are:
1. size of bubbles - monotonically decreasing with increasing frequency
2. distribution of bubbles - some machines concentrate them in a few locations
3. number of bubbles - some machines just don't make many - a function of power
4. any bubbles at all - duty cycle of machine - commercial machines can run for hours without problems, cheapies for ??? how long?? and how intermittently??
Thanks Terry9, how do you make your own US machine?
I have a loricraft then purchased a Kl audio 6 months ago

I didnt use the loricraft. It was too much work
The kl audio is worth every penny
Sorry for the delay, Ebuzz.

I bought a skewer-like label protector for cleaning 4 records at a time, on Ebay. I mounted this on a frame, then affixed a very low speed motor to the frame. I put the frame over a German commercial grade machine from Elmasonic.

There are several threads on the subject, and several alternative designs. I sprung for an expensive, commercial grade US machine, and am really glad of it. Fisher scientific has a great detergent for US use, which is vinyl friendly, called VersaClean, if I remember correctly.
Thanks Terry,
I'd like to try something like that, but some of those Elmasonic machines are as expensive as the US record cleaning machines on the market now!
Hello Ebuzz.

"Some of those Elmasonic machines are as expensive ..." Just what I said to myself. Then I noticed that the Elmasonic were just that much BETTER than the complete US units for sale; 80 KHz is just the start. They are built to run reliably all day, and they do. German COMMERCIAL quality is so far superior to the crap that we are used to.

I bought the P60 H . You might be able to justify it if you start thinking about cleaning your wife's jewelry, small kitchen and medical things (it's intended purpose, by the way). I like to rinse my records after cleaning, and it's a natural evolution: take the skewer of records out of the US bath, rinse them in filtered water, rinse again in distilled, and allow to drip dry. I end up with absolutely pristine records.

I'm going to give it a try, maybe. If I can figure out how to get the skewer attached to the motor and where to get all the parts from. Any chance you can PM me (or whatever) with some instructions on how you did it?
But those Elma's are over $1400. That's just about the same price as one from Ultrasonic records.com
Like Audiotomb had a Loricraft which I sold and am using the KL Audio.
The KL is very simple to use. Both sides are extremely clean, no static. Have it out side of my listening room where the Loricraft once was.
Love the KL.
Hello Ebuzz.


Look up forums, ultrasonic-record-cleaner

Good luck!
Thanks T, I did that already and if I'm not mistaken, I think I saw the one you built there.