It occurred to me that enzymes might do nothing for certain molecules, even though they might be great for things like mold. Maybe someone has a rec for a step between the enzyme and the rinse?
I have read that MoFi's older products like the 'deep cleaning fluid' leave residue with a sonic signiture. Ooo, no one wants that.
There's others here who certainly have greater knowledge than I, I still feel I'm a relative "greehorn", but I constantly strive to learn more, and more, and bu participating in forums like this one, I feel I have come a long way from as little as the past year, even though I've been spinning vinyl for around 36 years.
With that being said, I do get an impression that many products on the market are sort of "incomplete". As Mo-Fi has now come with this Enzyme Cleaner, I feel "well then, what's the next step after this?" Just a pure rinse, nothing else in between these two steps?
I gather the MFSL Super Deep Cleaner is still marketed.
Then, should that be used after? I believe some do, but reading many other's posts with what they use, and with what order that they use them in, it really has begun to sound like a veritable hodge podge combination of different assorted products, which there's no set in stone regimem-rules?
This is where it can get real confusing! (Ah, the ole "Who's on First, and What's on Second!") lol
And then there's the Steam?
I've concluded (at least for now at the present time) that there should be some order in which specific steps should be used.
I believe two companies like Walker, and AIVS had/have recognized, and concluded this importance of specific, orderly steps, with highly specialized products to achieve the very best results.
I do get a strong impression, that these two singular products in themselves are perhaps not adequate to achive the desired results you wish to achieve, and your final results seem to suggest this.
Others will no doubt chime in with very good advice, but my advice is, I do suggest you perhaps try either AIVS, or Walker products.
I would also like mentioning the obvious, that the cleaners do need time to do what they are designed to do, but I'm sure you probably already know this. Mark
I got some good advice from a guy named Roger at Music Direct, who suggested I try MoFi when I started listening to vinyl again last year.
On Lps with dirty pop/click grunge, I use the MoFi Super Deep Cleaning fluid. I also use a MoFi brush. I get the fluid on and spread it around, then I use a gentle scrubbing motion for about 30 seconds. (Roger didn't mention the scrubbing--I decided to try this after I found I wasn't seeming to have enough success without scrubbing, and I saw some suggestion somewhere that scrubbing helped, and let me emphasize -- GENTLE SCRUBBING ON PROBLEMATIC RECORDS REALLY WORKS.) Then I walk away for about 2 minutes, then come back with the brush for 30 more seconds or so, then vacuum it off. (I use a VPI 16.5)
After that, I do a simple and quick "rinse" with the Super Record Wash, vacuum it off, and I'm done.
Does that work 100% every time? Nope. There are some records that I haven't been able to fix. I'd be inclined to try an alcohol-based cleaner for those (whether it's viewed as a no-no or not--once isn't going to kill a record, in my view), however, I haven't looked hard enough to find one. (I think VPI cleaner used to have alcohol in it, but I really don't know.)
I've read darn near every long post on Audiogon on record cleaning fluids (which are exhaustive and exhausting), and I do not recall ever having heard that MoFi fluids leave a residue. And, frankly, if they do, and that's why the records sound so fine after a good cleaning, then I'll take the residue.
One note of caution. I think I even did a post about whether scrubbing is potentially damaging to records...but I'm past 50 and don't remember everything... I suppose there is some theoretical danger to gentle scrubbing, but if you're having a problem getting a dirty record cleaned, I think it's worth the trade-off, risk-wise, and out of the 100 or so records I've cleaned with scrubbing, I don't think I made any of them worse-off. But you've got to be GENTLE.
Yes Eweedhorme, I have heard this too. The enzyme based cleaner and pure rinse were supposed to be a departure from all this. That was what had disappointed me, and it doesn't really work all that better than the cheap VPI stuff.
Sure, scrubbing could pose a danger, akin to if you were glazing-waxing your car, and there is trapped grit-dirt between wax applicator, and paint, you will scratch the surface-finish.
To lessen this, I suggest pre-cleaning-dusting with at least a Carbon Fiber Brush, specifically used for this purpose, before placing an LP on an RCM. This will also place less wear and tear on your RCM's Wand Protective Strips, and Scrubbing Brushes.
I certainly cannot speak for everybody out there who cleans thier records, but I'd probaby be correct saying that even the folks who are using the very best state of the art RCM's made, such as Loricraft, Monks, Hannl, etc., and are using whatever cleaners, whether a one step, or a multi-step such as Walker, AIVS, Mo-Fi are resorting to scrubbing with seperate, dedicated brushes for each particular cleaning step-rinse.
For each step, apply first with Brush-Brush Pad, let those products sit, to first do thier job for a number of minutes, attacking-working on the contaminants.
Only then begin your scrub routine, use a technique following the grooves, in a forward-reverse motion, scrubbing both ways, cleaning a 1/4th to a 1/3rd of the record at a time, and then move onto the next section of record, insuring overlap. Use the best quality Brushes-Brush Pads you can afford. After scrubbing is completed, then vacuum off fluids, and continue to the next step. There is nothing that says a specific step cannot be repeated, and it may be wise to do so with horribly dirty records. Same applies with the pure Water Rinse.
It is always important that you NEVER let any cleaner-rinse dry on the surface! An example is washing-spraying your car with tap water, let the water dry, then look at your paint finish, and the resulting water spots which are then very difficult to remove.
I think most here will generaly agree with what I have written, and I hope this helps you achieve better results. Mark
Markd51 - Good description of "safe" scrubbing (which I didn't describe). Also, I completely agree that a pre-cleaning dust-off of some kind is fully appropriate, and do so with and old VPI record brush (and usually a few Zerostat zaps to deal with the static).
It's a darn nutty ritual, isn't it? But feels somewhat virtuous.
"It's a darn nutty ritual, isn't it? But feels somewhat virtuous."
Words of genius Eweedhome.
Trite at this point I know, but I think steaming has real merit. Try it I say. What do you have to lose? It's cheap and very reproducable. I use the 16.5, Disc Doctor fluids, and the Perfection steamer from Walgreens. The results are beyond anything I've acheived so far. If I do try an enzyme fluid it will be the Walker which is the only one I can imagine having effective enzymatic activity at the time of use. On the other hand, right now I'm floored by the results I'm getting for pennys on the dollar so why change? Also, find a local biological supply company and buy type I reagent grade water for your rince step. Nothing anyone has can be more pure and it's only about $17 a gallon(versus $64 for Walker's ultra pure) As someone with a strong biology background, I would warn you to exercise caution in spending big money on some of these fluids. There's some snake oil out there.
I would highly recommend the AIVS fluids, I have had excellent results with them. Also, you might try leaving the enzymatic fluid on for a longer period of time, sometimes this makes a big difference.
Sonofjim, From my understanding, this is incorrect, that Walker is the only company selling an Enzyme product of any merit, or effectiveness. With that being said, one doesn't have to mix up a fresh batch, just to get active Enzymes.
Asd I understand it, time is not the enemy-detriment of Enzymes, but rather heat. Mark
I'm with Sonofjim on this one. Find a good first step cleaner and follow it with the highest quality water you can find. As far as I'm concerned it's more important that the first step be surfactant based than enzyme based unless you're cleaning records that are covered in mold or cockroach remnants (and I've cleaned records that pretty much fit this description with Mo Fi Super Deep-formerly RRL-and ultrapure water with steaming integrated into the process and they have cleaned up flawlessly).
My thought on the rise of enzyme based cleaners is this: there are so many variables out there with respect to cleaning regimens that it is very difficult to attribute what is doing what. For example, with the enzyme based cleaners it is almost universally recommended that the cleaner be left sitting for a longer period on the record before being vacuumed off. What's to say that doing the the same thing with a surfactant based cleaner would not result in a much cleaner record? Or that simply cleaning a record for a 2nd time isn't going to result in a cleaner record with a particularly dirty record?
What I find interesting is that the rise of the enzyme based cleaner was accompanied by the introduction of ultrapure water as the final stage, with the exception of Walker's new product which supposedly uses ultrapure with trace amounts of alcohol as the final stage.
Frankly, I've been using ultrapure for the past few years as it's available to me at no cost through my wife who works at a research facility. Mark me down as one person (and there are others who have posted here such as Doug Deacon) who has found that the Mo Fi (or RRL) Super Vinyl Wash definitely did leave a sonic signature when used as the final stage in cleaning. In fact, when compared to ultrapure as the final stage of cleaning, I haven't used any cleaning product (ie. home brew, Nitty Gritty fluid or the RRL SVW) that did not leave a significant sonic signature or result in a less clean record than using ultrapure as the final step.
I still like the Mo Fi Super Deep and use it regularly. But color me skeptical-my opinion is that much of the effectiveness of any of the popular vinyl cleaners of the moment can be attached to the use of ultrapure water as the final stage of cleaning (it is on its own a highly effective cleaning agent) and rinsing.
I also think it's foolish for audiophiles to be paying the prices that they are for ultrapure when type 1 reagent grade water or ultrapure is easily available at quite reasonable prices if you do a bit of searching. And I am not one to advocate the use of simple store bought distilled or RO water; as far as I'm concerned the quality of water used is extremely important in the cleaning result. It's just that it's not really necessary to pay $64 a gallon for it.
Absolutely no consensus here!
Absolutely, there never is. Let me add Walker Audio Prelude. Which of the four steps is vital from the enzyme to the Step IV I don't know but the cleaned records have virtually no noise and sound much better than the four other systems I have used.
Do Mobile Fidelity offer any kind of refund if not totally satisfied with their record cleaning products?
While I'm asking this question, are you aware of any other brand's on the market that offer a full money back guaranty if not totally satisfied with the result's of their record cleaning solution's?
Last year while at a audio store ,out of pure curisosity I bought and tried out Walker Audio's Prelude deluxe record cleaning kit.
I was made fully aware if I didn't care for it, return it with in 30 day's for a full refund.
My thoughts were, here's a record cleaning method put out by Lloyd Walker, the man behind the Proscenium table.
On top of it Lloyd offers a full refund if not satisfied.
If Walker's cleaning method equaled or slightly edged out what I was using at the time which was Disc Doctor, I would of certainly returned the prelude kit for that price.
However, as it turned out Lloyd Walker's method of cleaning and recipe of solutions are very effective with astonishing result's.
I have absolutely nothing to gain promoting this product, all that I know is that it work's.
I would suggest going to Walker's web site and read what he has to say about his record cleaning method.
Many of the folks here, I myself included, and as well, as folks on other forums, we have perhaps tried this, or that, or maybe a few different cleaning products, rinsing products, and/or different techniques as well.
It would probably be a rare instance indeed, where a number of member can come forward, and say they have tried every single product on the market, past, and present, to make fair, and accurate analysis/judgement of what products superceed/best others. And what others fall short, and how they fall short.
And I would probably be 100% correct that even in this hypothetical scenario, that there was a sufficient number of prople who have, how many then have used accurate methods "laboratory methods of such testing?
Answer most likely is zero.
Basically all of us end users have to go by, is what our ears, and eyes tell us. Although the human eye, and ear can reveal a lot, none of most likely have electron microscopes in our arsenal, or any other type of lab measuring equipment.
We go by what others say, go by what manufacturers tell us, or profess thier products do, and I'm not going to profess to snake oil products, because none of the very well known products available on the market (Mo Fi, VPI L'Art Du Son, Nitty Gritty, LAST, Disc Doctor, AIVS, Walker, Premier, Phoenix, and others) can be called "snake oil".
It might more actually come down to a "lure", and who might possibly have the best BS story-advertisment yarn to tell? Sort of like Car Manufacturers with thier slogans, and little jingles, thus trying to suck you into a purchase.
Part of the problem I see with many of the cleaners available, is the end user has absolutely no idea what they contain, the purity of thier contents, the actual effectiveness, and safe vinyl use they purport.
Of course we certainly cannot expect companies to give away proprietary formulas. But still, it would be nice at least knowing the basic contents.
I guess the bottom line is, always has, and always perhaps will be, is to use what you like, and what you like paying for. What works for Joe, Jim, and Mike, might not be best suited for somebody else.
This also holds true with any rinsing agents- purified waters.
Without provided Lab Analysis of gases, solids, methods of purification, we are only again "guessing" that Reagent Grade is as good as this, or Mo-Fi Pure is better than that, etc.
I of course like the products I currently use, which is AIVS, but no matter what brands I use, I myself cannot accurately, or truthfully make claims that such a product is better, or worse than another which I have not tried. Mark
Markd51, it seems to me that being the case that you would indeed go with the cheapest.
For the record (no pun) I tried MoFi enzyme on quite a few LPs since I bought it, and I must say, so far, I am not impressed at all. I might even prefer the cheap VPI fluid I got with my machine.
Having said that, maybe the 'detergent based' stuff has its merits, at least for the kind of grime I encounter buying used LPs. I think I will do a survey of what's out there, specifically Walker and AIVS.
I hope this thread is engaging enough to go on for a while, because I will check back in with results. For now, I am going to use everything I have.
It is interesting to note that NO ONE makes a fluid I can be totally satisfied with. Who would have thought it, all that money and still I am 'driving the dirt road'.
...except for the ones I have not tried of course...
There's plenty to read in recent archives on this topic, specifically product's from AIVS and Walker....
Perhaps I should re-iterate-re-explain, as I don't believe I concluded that cheaper products, or saying as well, to say that one step versus multi-step is better, or preferred.
These cleaning discussions-battles have been going on for years, and there are as many camps of thought, as there are posters. There are many who believe-conclude that DIY is every bit as good as any commercial cleaner made on the planet, and some may even go as far to say that the big players in the market are selling hype, peddling lies, and snake oil.
This is where I stand my ground firmly, and totally disagree, that the best products in the market will be the best that can be used, and provide the very best final results period, no ifs, ands, or buts.
Many people of course have thier apprehensions-disbeliefs that more costly products are a waste of money, and that the time-expense of thorough scientific research, and the money spent on the very highest quality components-ingredients of a Cleaning System are either not needed, or are hype to get folks to open-empty thier wallets.
As Chashmal concluded, or perhaps for a better word "questioned" earlier in this thread, that something was perhaps missing as a step in between the Mo-Fi Enzyme, and Pure Water Rinse? He might be correct, I have no personal knowledge of what exactly are the ingredients of Mo-Fi Enzyme Cleaner.
It does appear to me at the present, that companies such as AIVS, and Walker have concluded that a multi step process gives the very best results, and I conclude, as well as many others here, that both companies have poured much thought, research, expense to insure thier products are of the very highest quality.
Others have claimed-noted the advantages-improvements of Steam, and I personally (for what it is worth) am not prepared, nor inclined to go to such processes, even though folks such as Mapleshade have touted its effectiveness. I personally prefer to keep heat away from the grooves, in that the detriment of heat near-on PVC could possibly outweigh the benefits.
Your opinions are valued by many of us here and I don't doubt that your results using these products are of the highest quality. I think the reason that there is much dissention on the subject of vinyl cleaning is that there are numerous ways to reach essentially the same result. I actually have half a mind to buy the Walker system just to prove to myself that it works no better than my much less expensive method. I can assure you that steam applied evenly does nothing but get records astonishingly clean. The Walker system does the same as does AVIS I'm sure. I'd rather spend my money on vinyl for now. It's mostly out of print and getting harder and harder to find in good condition.
Markd51, I'm sorry, I misunderstood what you were saying by 180 degrees.
Sonofjim, in my experience there are clear benefits of some cleaning methods over others. Years ago I tried steam cleaning to no get benefit. Perhaps I did it wrong. Before the three step Walker Prelude system, I had used Diskdoctor, VPI, Diskwasher, AudioNote, L'art do Son, and several others. When I got the Prelude, I played previously cleaned records and then cleaned them with the three steps. It was clearly audible on all of them, causing me to spend seven days to reclean everything previously cleaned. Then I got Step Four from Walker, not really expecting much. I was shocked at the additional improvement. Just yesterday I found a record that was previously cleaned with L'art du Son. I used only Step Four. Again I was shocked at the improvement. Just to check I did all four steps and relistened. It was much better. In my opinion there must be degrees of "clean."
Tbg: if I am not mistaken, isn't the Walker step 4 just purified water?
Bugtussel has been making an enzyme product for years. AIVS had an enzyme cleaner before Walker introduced his. Effectiveness is always subjective.
Enzyme cleaners are only effective against organic contamination.
Every enzyme cleaner I have ever heard of needs to be followed by an alcohol rinse to de-nature the enzymes. Then follow with the pure rinse.
NOTHING left behind is ALWAYS best, IMO.
Thank you very much for the compliment Sonofjim, that my comments-thoughts are favorably regarded. I know at times, we can all feel a bit like the ole "Rodney Dangerfield"
Much of what I've learned, is an accumilation from mostly many of the folks here, rolled into one ball. I'm only trying to donate, and give back, perhaps in thier temporary absence.
My friend Doug Deacon has been a very helpful person to me. He's saved me lots of runaround, wasted money, and has helped me to learn to squeeze much more than I thought I ever would from my system, particularly my analog set up. Up course many others have as well have unknowingly contributed-helped me, so please forgive me for not including your names also.
I'm fortunate to say, that I've listened, and I've read, and tried soaking in all of thier very good advice, knowledge, and experiences.
The VPI 16.5 RCM I bought about 16-17 months ago was a very wise expenditure as well. Yes I know there are better RCM's made, but doubtful there's a better one for the money.
A good RCM, high quality cleaning products, and a fanatical care for our vinyl all go hand in hand.
The combination of this, the knowledgable advice, a wonderful Cartridge I bought new (ZYX Airy 3X SB). and other improvements-upgrades-set up tools to my analog front end have produced vastly improved sonics that didn't exist in my system just a couple of short years ago. Mark
Chashmal, I had been doing two final rinses with Ultra pure water, Walker's Step Three. I have since cleaned many of these records with a very great improvement in sound. Lloyd assures me it is not just pure water.
Dan_ed, Walker's Enzyme Step One is followed by a cleaner step, which in turn is followed by a pure water step three.
Of course, nothing left behind is the goal. The question is why some sound so much better.
Curiosity: I think a couple of folks remarked to the effect that the Mo-Fi fluids leave residue. Where does notion come from? I was under the impression that the rinse took care of any residue.
Tgb and Chashmal, just a point of clarification if I may. The Walker Audio Prelude Step Three solution is "just" very pure water with no additives (to say it's "just" purified water is to greatly understate the steps taken to create this water).
It is the recently introduced "Step Four High Resolution Rinse" that is not just purified water. For this new fourth step, Lloyd developed something that he adds to the Step Three ultra pure water to improve this fourth and final cleaning step. Lloyd won't say much about what he's added to create his Step Four solution, but the improvements we find here
when using it are very impressive.
Rushton, my experience both with Step Four and with Lloyd was the same.
i would suggest adding steam cleaning as a step in the process. I have found that steam increases the effectiveness of any cleaning regiment. I utilize my own version of an enzyme agent and cleaners though i have used the mofi products also.
Which ever level of Lp care and attention you choose Lloyd Walker's cleaning method involves more steps then most.
The price alone for the complete kit IS expensive and use of it IS time consuming.
These fact's along with comment's by end user's like myself have lead some to speculate on this formulas ingredients and overall effectiveness compared to what they use....
I find Walker's method the very best that I have ever used in the past 25 plus years.
The recent addition of the Step 4 rinse completes this product IMO.
Well worth the time, expense and a no brain er with a full refund guaranty attached to the sale....
I use the enzyme based cleaner for LPs that are new (for mold release), used (with finger prints/mold. I scrub by hand using a MoFi brush and let the fluid sit for 4-5 minutes. Next I rinse with MoFi final rinse and then on to my NG 2.5Fi cleaner. Great results each and every time.
Miner42: You use MoFi enzyme first, and then MoFi rinse, and nothing in between? I was interested by the statement above that an alcohol stage to denature the enzymes is helpful. What do you think of that?
How long are you letting the MoFI enzyme solution sit and work in the grooves? Most LP's need at least 4 minutes of soaking, enough fluid to not dry out and occasional brushing to distribute fresh fluid around. Longer than 4 minutes wouldn't hurt, especially on stubborn/filthy records.
That said, it's possible these records are just trashed beyond any cleaning. A record played dirty many times **cannot** be salvaged by cleaning. Damaged vinyl cannot be cleaned back into shape.
We're apparently among the few (only?) who've directly compared MoFi enzyme + rinse with the AIVS fluids. FWIW, we ended up choosing both! We use AIVS Enzymatic, Super Cleaner and Premium Archivist (in that order) followed by two final rinses of MoFi pure water. Not a huge difference either way and nothing that would explain your frustration, but this regimen gives us our best results. Haven't tried the Walker yet. So many fluids, so little time...
Thank you for your input Doug.
Yes, I let the enzyme sit for at least 4 minutes. However the later case you stated might be the issue. I am not dealing with truly trashed LPs, as they appear to the eye to be mint. However they might have been played dirty many many times, as you stated.
I have also cleaned some sealed LPs which, when opened, sounded dirty and maybe always will. This is the case with a sealed copy of Paul Jacobs playing the Schoenberg solo piano pieces (which I payed far far too much for). As you might know, these pieces have a lot of silence in them, and thus LP quietude is really needed. The LP is a Nonesuch, and I have noticed that many Nonesuch pressings sound a bit dirty. However I have goten decent results with the VPI fluid on them, but I have a few that are just stubborn.
Chashmal - Glad to run into anybody that appreciates Paul Jacobs' work. Great pianist. Yes, Nonesuch pressings can be problematic. I have multiple copies of the Paul Jacobs Lps that I could get hold of (mainly the Debussy titles), and those seemed to benefit from the Mo-Fi cleaning I gave them...but they're not perfect. Frankly, I'm getting to a point with some labels that I may just stick with the CD versions--IF they exist. (And I think the Jacobs Schoenberg was out on CD at one time.)
Also, and I guess this is obvious, but the amount of surface noise one has to deal with is substantially affected by cartridge choice, phono pre-amp, etc. Since I think most everything sounds too bright anyway, my system is "tuned" so that "average" surface noise is not a big deal. But on a buddy's system, I hear a fair bit more surface noise than I do on mine...not infrequently on records of mine that I didn't think had a surface noise issue.
I'm using a Koetsu Black on a Linn LP12 with an EAR 834 with a couple of Mullards and a Telefunken...none of which comes as much of a surprise, I suspect.
Paul Jacobs is my favorite for Schoenberg solo piano by far. I agree (as of now) I prefer the CD because of the noise. It is actually a great sounding CD beyond just the absence of noise. Even with Glenn Gould I am finding I would rather listen to the CD over the LP, and I think I have every LP Gould even recorded. Those '70's pressings sure are terrible sometimes.
Sometimes there is so much quiet space you can fly an airplane through it on 20th century solo piano, like with Cage, Berio, or Morton Feldman. It seems that the CD excells in all these cases.
Chashmal - I appreciate your comments about Gould, and, in fact, Columbia is the first record label I was thinking of when I mentioned there were some labels from which I would just as soon listen to the CDs. I think Sony did a very nice job with its efforts to upgrade CD quality with the original 20-bit sampling remasters back in the 90's, and the Masterworks Heritage series was very good. I've been trying German and UK Lp pressings of various of the good ol' stuff: Szell, Ormandy, Walter, Bernstein...and I strike out more often than not. But, then, sometimes some of the late US or NL pressings are pretty good, and, if you can find them, some of the Japanese pressings are good. (And the Odyssey Budapest quartet pressings are not bad.) But it's so hit and miss. On your advice, with Gould, I'll stick to the CDs.
Not to mention Eweedhome, all the extra stuff!
I don't know if you are a Cage fan, but one of the benefits of Cage on CD is ACTUAL silence where it is supposed to be silent. (Keep in mind, like many on this thread, I almost never defend digital). Feldman too.