no looking back

I posted earlier about an ultrasonic cleaner advertised in the equipment sections. I also caught up on several threads on this forum and other audio forums. I was intrigued as I had just picked up an old 60's collection that needed a lot of TLC. I had used my DIY vacuum system and steaming previously with good success. I had also recently bortowed a friends Loricraft and was really pleased with it and had been looking like i would go that route or Keith monks cleaner. However the Ultrasound process seemed simple so i wanted to see what was out there. On a whim, i picked up a Bransonic Ultrasound bath from ebay and tried it today. Its a real manual system, but it would let me know if it was worth pursuing. The first record i tried was a beat up Salty Dog from Procol Harum (hard to get a clean copy). it came out clean but had a couple of hard deposits on it. I worked with those spots and cleaned again. Then i popped it on my table and i was pretty impressed. This was just a straight cold water bath. I then moved to a full cleaning solution at 120 degrees (My usual mix of Distilled water, Isopropyl, Surfactant, and Dispersants). I cleaned a Stone Poneys, Surrealistic Pillow, and the Salty dog again at the same time. Took about 10 mins to clean, rinse and dry. Popped it back on the table and wow. The Salty dog had a little fuzz (looks like surface noise) but the Stone Poneys, and Pillow sounded like right out of the album. I really couldnt believe how quiet. After playing both albums, no sign of any trash on the stylus and upon magnification with a jeweler glass, the grooves appear to be very clean. Now the only decision is whether to get the commercial one (ie audiodesk, etc) or build a DIY. However, my vacuum and Steamer is now retired.
I'd keep the old vacuum unit for "light duty" clean ups.

I'm lusting after thew Audiodesk but need the price to come down.
Dear Oilmanmojo: You really caught my attention: could you tell me which number model is the Bransonic you bought?

Thank's in advance.

regards and enjoy the music,
Oilman- Can you tell me where you get the surfactant and dispersant? I bought a home-brew ultrasound unit and the only downside I can see is that it requires quite a bit of fluid and I am having a tough time sourcing those two ingredients.
I'm an audio deske owner. If I could do it over again, I would go KL Audio ultra cleaner. In either case, it's worth hand scrubbing your lp's first with your favorite cleaner, wipe them dry with a micro towel, then finish and dry with the ultrasonic cleaner. Subsequent cleaning would be with the ultra cleaner only. I question the audio desks reliability over the long haul. Not so with the KL Audio which will be in my home along side the audio deske in a month or two.
i'm not that careful about cleaning my records...don't see the need. The system sounds great as is
Kinda agree with Stringreen, not for technical reasons, but out of sheer laziness. When I use the vinyl side of my rig, I swipe the record with a carbon fiber brush that "seems" (??) to pick up a lot of dust. I also use a soft carbon fiber brush to swipe the stylus on each record play. That's as much OCD as I can do on a steady basis. Incidentally, I own a VPI 16.5 RCM, but haven't used it in over a year. Too much of a PITA.

Having said that, if there was a "reasonably" (??) priced ultrasonic cleaning machine that also dried the record(s), I might get interested in doing a better job. But honestly, all that fuss with cleaning solutions, vacuum dryers and so forth, just wrecks the fun -- for me at least. Just my humble opinion.
Stringreen, Unless you buy only brand new LPs and your collection consists solely of LPs you bought new over the years, I am astonished to learn that you "see no need" to clean LPs. Maybe the operative word is "carefully". If you buy used LPs, try playing one before vs after a good cleaning with a competent machine of any kind. If you do that, you will appreciate the need for it. (Actually, even some brand new LPs benefit from a cleaning.)

Another way in which I appreciate the need for cleaning is to look at the effluent from the tank in my VPI HW17, the fluid containing debris and dirt that has been sucked off of used LPs, is filthy.
Hi Lew, is my laziness comprising playback quality and perhaps stylus life if I just dry brush my LPs?? I really like the idea of picking up an ultrasonic machine that cleans and dry multiple records at one time. Problem is I just sprung for a new amp and I don't want to part with any more green for now.
It was a Bransonic 32. its an older model but has the perfect bath size for lps. It is unheated and 150 watts of Ultrasonic power (40 KHZ). It only cost 150 dollars.
I used my usual brew for the test i did. That mix is distilled water, 10-15% isopropyl alcohol, 1 oz of Triton x100 surfactant (kodak photo flo is very similar) and small amount of dawn dishwashing detergent (my dispersant). I have used an industrial Surfactant/dispersant from my oil refinery (a Nalco or Champion chemical mix) but found the triton/dawn mix is very close and easier. The amount of dawn was about 1 teaspoon in a gallon of water.
Lewm--I also was amazed at the amount of trash in the bottom of the ultrasonic bath. I knew those records were dirty but i was surprised to see the amount of dirt. Seeing the trash and hearing the difference does make the cleaning worthwhile. However, i use the full cleaning mode to get the album initially clean then return to a clean sleeve. When playing cleaned records, i use a microfiber brush prior to playing
Thx, Oilman- I was looking for the Triton surfactant and industrial dispersant but they were very expensive in the only quantity I could find on-line. Like Stringreen and Bifwayne, I am not a fanatic about this, so I'll give the photo-flo/dawn mix a try. my laziness comprising playback quality and perhaps stylus life if I just dry brush my LPs?
1. Whether playing inadequately cleaned records compromises playback quality depends on the resolution of the system and the sensitivity of the listener. In mine, to me, the answer is "yes". In yours, to you, only you can say.

2. Whether playing inadequately cleaned records compromises stylus life is a question for experts. I do know that an accumulation of crud on the stylus and cantilever can impact many aspects of cartridge performance. I've inspected several cartridges that the owners thought were broken or worn out. After proper cleaning they played like new again.

3. A question you didn't ask, but should have, is, "Will playing inadequately cleaned records compromise the life of my records?" In my experience, the answer is an unqualified "yes". Whether you'll hear the damage being done by scraping unknown contaminants against plastic groove walls with a diamond blade depends on the answer to question #1, but there's no question that damage is being done - damage that could be avoided.
Doug ... how effective is dry brushing? Pretty stinky?? I really want to road test an ultrasonic cleaning machine where I can drop and click. Just too darn expensive. Maybe its back to the hand wash and dry VPI 16.5 RCM. :-(
One of the fastest, easiest and most economical is the Spin Clean. I always use that first and if I want to go further I have the VPI 16.5. I will have to wait until the ultrasonic offerings mature a bit and get more price competitive.
send me email and i will send u some.

Can you clean a dirty floor just by dry sweeping? ;-)

The fluid collected by my Loricraft invariably comes out scuzzy and with lots of sediment, even when cleaning brrand new/never played records.

My own cleaning/listening parameters are over the top compared to some, but I can honestly say that I've never heard any record whose sonics weren't improved by proper cleaning.

But that's me... :-)
Just wanted to update the string on a DIY Ultrasonic cleaner. As i mentioned earlier, i purchased a Used Bransonic bath off Ebay. I recently have completed my first iteration of the cleaner. BTW, the Bransonic is an industrial strength Ultrasonic having 3 transducers and 150 watts of Ultrasonic power. Not sure how this compares to the commercial systems yet but the bath is big enough to clean 3 records at a time. the drive unit is a 6 RPH. I chose the slower speed to give the bath enough time to do a thorough cleaner. The device is crude at the point but after cleaning 30 albums, (all pretty dirty), i am convinced this is the best cleaning system i have every used. Every record is visibly clean and very silent (except the ones that have a lot of surface issues). I use a cleaning solution of 25% iSOPROPYL 75% distilled H2O and small amount of surfactant. I rinse each one with a distilled water spray and air dry. I have cleaned some with my vacuum (mainly for speed) but the rinse with Distilled water and air dry show no visible residue. I am borrowing a microscope this weekend to compare the grooves under about 200 power to see if there are any deposits left after the cleaning and rinse. More to come