I'm using a walgreen steamer in conjunction with a diy RCM and have been happy with that. A gentleman who is a Nitty Gritty RCM user just purchased the Mapleshade and posted a review this morning on audiokarma.org in the turntables and tape forum. It's just initial observations but he's happy with it.
I agree it looks interesting. I haven't tried it, but there is more than one thread on the subject in the archives.
Please, check the post under "Deep Cleaning Records With Steam?" and you will find a good deal of information.
Smoffatt: Build your own for $30-$40 or buy the MS version for $150, both work the same. Don't fall for the MS hype posted on the Web site. MS never cleaned one more LP than they had to before putting the "kit" together. MS a master at taking ideas and research from other without acknowledgement. Go to the steaming thread, lots of FREE information and FREE ideas.
Thanks Charlie. You're the best!!!!I have gone on the other thread since i posted this and have read every single one of them. I will be steamin' soon. I live in Canada and Canadian Tire sells a Simoniz steamer with numerous attachments for $60.00. It comes on sale once in a while so i will be looking for the sale price. It is spec'd at 1050 watts. I also have a Nitty Gritty Mini Pro 2 which cleans/vacuums both sides at the same time. This would be an awesome combination. Looking forward to get steamin'.
Smoffatt: Thanks for the kind words. You might check out Walgreens.com . The company is selling the Perfection Steamer at the reduced price of $20 US. Many steamers including me think its a best buy. All the best.
I got the mapleshade steamer, thought in combination with my VPI 16.5 I'd have super clean LP's. The combination was worst. Tried them seperately, the steamer won hands down. I sold the 16.5 I can clean more than twice as many with the steamer than the 16.5 and they are cleaner. I seldom ever get dust build up on my stylus.
I believe, from my own recent experience, that your LPs would still benefit from steaming and vacuuming. I use the $20 Walgreen's steamer and my DIY RCM, which I would match my RCM against anything short of a Loricraft or Monks. You could get a small, cheap, shop vac. Anyway, the vacuum really gets everything out of the grooves and drys the record immediately.
BTW, dust is not the concern with build up on the stylus. I can highly recommend using the Magic Eraser at least after each LP. It really keeps that diamond polished.
Dan ed : Thanks for the advice . I have yet to use the Magic Eraser to clean the stylas . I shall experiment with a clean Magic Eraser I have at home.
For the record, my only concern with the Sf-227 is the fact it is so powerful. On "thin" LPs they waver a tad with the 227 but not with the Perfection. So, I always keep the 227 farther away from the LP surface than with the Perfection. Frankly, I usually reserve the 227 for grunged 2nd hand buys.
I've given up on the Mapleshade Phonophile Deep Cleaning Kit. What I'm convinced is their Scuzzbuster is nothing more than some household Orange Cleaner. It leaves a passage of grime for the stylus to plough through. Below is my email to them:
"I purchased on March10th the PhonoPhile cleaning system along with several other items. After my first session of "cleaning" 6 LP's, I found that they were unplayable. A massive residue build up accumulated on the stylus before the first track was over. I followed the instructions in the manual to the letter. I called your tech support and I don't recall who I talked to but he was very knowledgable about the manual (he wrote it) and was surprised when I informed him that there was no tap water rinse step after the second scrubbing (step 4 on Page 4 of the manual). The manual directed you to go back to Page 3 and follow the steam rinse procedure. I was informed that there should have been a warm tap water rinse step to rinse away the Scuzzbuster before moving on to the steam rinse step. He assured me that the water would not harm the record label in any way.
Well today was the first time I had another cleaning session using the "correct" procedure. I rewashed all of the towels and rinsed the blue micro-fiber block the night before. I thoroughly rinsed each side using warm tap water after the Scuzzbusting steps, did the prescribed wiping with the micro-fiber block, yellow towels. Even double steamed and rewiped. Went upstairs to play the record and it sounded like sh**. I hope another record cleaning system will undo the damage. There appears to be no way to remove the accumulated Scuzz Buster residue. My stylus looked like it was dragged through wax after 1 minute of contact with the record surface."
I've been happy with several of their other products, but this one clearly isn't up to the job. I probably spent 6-8 meticulous minutes per record to get a record that is unplayable. Any suggestions on what I can do to bet the grunge off? Isoproponal?
Steam is good to press your pants.
I've also moved on, bought a PRC-4.
When all else fails I steam....and then I fume....IMHO steaming is the clown of vinyl cleaning. Lol
We need to steam clean our vinyls like we need a bullet in the head.
Indeed, steam is good enough to steam your pants and that's about it.
My vinyl steaming process lasted 30 minutes and i threw the steamer to the curb in front of the house.
I must have been high on something when i started this thread.
I apologize profusely.......
I still think it adds to the process. I think using it alone is probably what's disappointed many. I've always seen steam as an adjunct to a cleaning regimen. As part of a multistep process including cleaning fluids, vacuum RCM and lab grade water rince it's given me results I'm still not ready to abandon. It's safe, effective and cheap. The FDA approves drugs that don't meet all these criteria all the time. I don't blame anyone for not wanting to steam but don't pile on the hate here. I really think it's not a case of the tool but how you use it that matters. My personal regimen is labor intensive but relatively fast. I see the uber expensive cleaning machines as high priced cop outs. I've seen the Audio Desk and the Oddysey working and to me they looked like laughable excuses not to do the real work at hand.
I still think the most important thing about record cleaning is to just do it. Multiple methods give positive results. The tide of popular opinion seems to have turned against steaming. Don't worry, there'll never be a consensus on vinyl cleaning. I'm just glad I've found a regimen that produces great results and doesn't cost as much as a high end table.
As the inventor of a number of patents on the use of high purity steam to clean semiconductor grade silicon substates, I can tell you steam cleaning can be extremely effective. However, there are numerous variables that impact its outcome:
1) The amount of condensate (or steam vapor condensed) is critical. The steam vapor does not clean, the condensed liquid water does. Because vinyl is a plastic insulator, it does not condense much vapor by itself. The heat of vaporization of water is very high. To condense more steam vapor, you need to heat sink that record, so place it on a massive cold surface like a stone tablet. Also, if you hold the record in the air while cleaning, you will heat the vinyl to the 100 C temp of condensing steam, not good for plastics or vinyl.
2) Steam cleaning works because pure steam is the purest form of water. It does not have all the garbage in tap water and the hardness minerals (or the NaCl in softened water). However, cheap steam cleaners have sloppy boilers which entrain droplets of the fluid being boiled. These droplets contain all the impurities of tap water and contaminate the steam being condensed.
3) If you don't have a good steam generator, you are better off using heated de-ionized water from the grocery store. It will be as pure as any cheap steam generator and its cheaper to get. Just don't use metal containers to heat it up. Good quality pyrex glass only if you want to minimize contamination of your DI water.
4) I think there is still the potential issue of pulling the "plasticizers" out of the vinyl with high purity steam. This may in fact damage the vinyl near it's surface by making it brittle. Plasticizers are essential to mantain flexibility of the vinyl surface.
That's the problem. You can't get the steam hot enough to clean the vinyl without causing more stuff to leach out. Then you're just pushing the stuff around. Works great for engine blocks, though.
The audiodesk systeme is a joy to use and does a great job, better than my VPI 17f.
I bought the Mapleshade steamer and used it for awhile. It is cheaply made and started leaking, so I tossed it. As a suggestion, try the Mapleshade maple planks under your speakers. Spike the planks to the floor, then spike your speakers to the planks. Worked amazingly well on my system.