Nitty Gritty 1.5Fi vs. VPI HW16.5vs. Okki Nokki

I've been back into analog for about 2 years. As I've resurrected a lot of old vinyl and purchased a lot of used vinyl (Half Price Books, lot sales on Audiogon and other sites, etc.), a record cleaning system better than my present Spin-Clean has become a necessity.

Spin-Clean does a decent job but, with some but by no means all of my records, there is a lot of surface noise that is left behind. I presume that this is due to residue that results from the surface tension of the droplets of fluid left behind after the record is dried (either by air or by using the supplied cloths), or, less likely, the attraction of microscopic particles to the [still slightly wet] record surface as it dries, and which cannot be removed by pre-play record cleaners (i.e., Audioquest brush, Discwasher, etc.).

Why surface noise is audible on some records more than others could be due to many things--the cut and modulations of the groove, mold release chemicals, etc., etc. Also, it can vary from one side to the other and from one track to the next in the same record.

I'll mention that I only use the Spin-Clean fluid, and mix it with distilled water in the proportion recommended by Spin-Clean.

All of which I mention because it speaks to the necessity for some form of vacuum cleaning.

I'd like to open up to the forum re any preferences in the above named field of machines (or any others which any forum contributor deigns to recommend).

Also, could there also be a cheap'n'cheerful alternative to any of the above, such as the KAB record cleaner and a canister vacuum, used in conjunction with the Spin-Clean? I know I'd have to spin the record manually and deal with an external vacuum source, but at a third of the price, it merits serious consideration.

In any event, I welcome the forum's esteemed opinions.

Thanks, John
I personally use a Record Dr. and a VPI 16.5 in my record cleaning regimen. But having read plenty here regarding steam cleaning, that's what I'd look into for an inexpensive way to get those Lps squeaky clean.
I have a 16.5 and it works well enough, get a decent machine it's worth it and send your time listening.
"spend your time"
A Gem Dandy is also inexpensive and you could use it in conjunction with a steamer also. It would be wise to read here, others experiences with these products.
I sold my Nitty Gritty 1.5FS in favor of a VPI 16.5

The NG's advantage is it applies the fluid on the record for you with a simple push of a button, whereas the VPI is a manual process (squirt some fluid on, work it in with the supplied brush). I also find the VPI clamp a bit finicky, you really have to crank it tight or the vacuum action will stop the record from turning. The VPI does a much better job of vacuuming, all in all my records come out much cleaner with the VPI.
Hack put the hollowed out side of the clamp down for thinner records and up for thick ones. When it's on right snug works and you won't ruin the label.
You stated that on some of your records that you clean with Spin-Clean but by no means all of them there is surface noise left behind. If there is noise left behind then either the records that noisy after cleaning either have needle damage done to them or perhaps they where cleaned prior to the Spin-Clean with a cleaner that left a coating of something on the disc that the Spin-Clean was unable to remove in one cleaning. It is also very important to have multiple drying cloths on hand in order to thoroughly dry the records after cleaning and to make sure that you are using the proper number of caps of fluid per bath,
4 oz bottle uses Three Caps Full of Fluid Per Bath and the 32OZ bottle only uses one. There are also a lot of people who use the Spin-Clean for Cleaning and a Vacuum unit to dry because most of the Vacuum units use an alcohol based cleaning solution which can be detrimental to the vinyl.
I also sold my Nitty Gritty years ago for the 16.5 and am so ahppy that I did. I did get rid of the VPI plastic nut and bought a TW weights record clamp that works great. The 16.5 is a simple but extremely well built machine that should last for years. I recently did some mods that should help it last even longer.
Thanks for the response. Truly awesome system, BTW, one of the best I've seen on Audiogon. My system is - uh - a bit simpler - Naim, Rega, Spendor. I've been toying with the idea of moving away from the Brits (say, Maggie 1.7's, obviously with different amplification).

But I was underwhelmed when I heard a dealer demo (and this with mid-line ARC gear, hybrid linestage and CD player and SS amp). Last I heard, ARC at any price level is a few notches above my Naim stuff.

Yeah, it had all of the Maggie virtues, but the tonal balance screamed THIS SYSTEM HAS NO BASS!!! To be fair, speakers and wires weren't quite broken in (and the dealer was using Nordost wires, Blue Heaven, I think). IMO Nordost flat wires tend to be a bit thin sounding with planars; if I had such a system, I'd try a Cardas.

I do use Nordost flat wires (Red Dawn) in a second system, which alternates between a Fisher receiver and a McIntosh 1500 (modified by Richard Modaferri to use 5881 output tubes; the Fisher uses stock 7591's), driving some little B&W's I bought ~10 years ago. Within their context, they sound wonderful.

But, all that said, I just keep gravitating back to Brit-fi.

Finally, thanks for your opinion; I'm leaning towards the VPI and have all but eliminated the cheapie option.

Best regards, John
The Okki Nokki is about the same cost as the VPI, better Built (all metal construction) and has an auto shutoff if waste fluid resevoir is filled. It's really a no brainer for the money. I wouldn't touch a nitty gritty
I have owned a NG 2.5Fi and MiniPro. Both are exceptional cleaning machines. VPI 16.5 just seemed a bit 'cheap' quality to me.
I switched from a Nitty Gritty to a VPI. Don't know much about the Okki, but VPI parts and support is always available.
I'd give a hard look at the Okki Nokki. I purchased a VPI but may have purchased the Okki Nokki if they had distributorship when I made my purchase. The Okki Nokki is similar to the Clearaudio Smart Matrix, which was my preferred choice but not enough to spend the extra $$$ to buy it. I knew about the Okki Nokki but was unable to find one for purchase.

Sumiko ended up getting a distributor deal for the Okki Nokki after I made my purchase of the VPI. Nothing against the VPI but, like the poster above, the Okki Nokki seems like a good value.

I haven't used the VPI much so at times I've thought of selling it and replacing with the Okki Nokki. But I'm not that motivated about it.

I have no experience with the Nitty Gritty but based upon my research, it didn't seem like a fit for me.

Let us know what you decide. Good luck.
If I may make a small but overlooked point regarding the Okki-Nokki.It has a forward and reverse rotation of the platter allowing for a more thorough cleaning as well as metal pick up tube (plus all metal construction) Otherwise I believe the 16.5 and Okki are a dead least in outward appearance.Lastly with a price of $549, being slightly cheaper than the 16.5, I'd say it's a no brainer to consider the Okki

just my two pennies
Okki Nokki has gone up to $599, $649 w/cover. Not as great a deal anymore.

It's a lot quieter than the VPI, you can actually listen to music or carry on a conversation over the phone while the vacuum is running.