Pro-Ject VS-C Record Cleaning Machine

I've been waiting a long time for this product to come to market. They announced it more than a year ago, 2 years maybe? And it's finally for sale! 

I had a VPI 16.5, which was a nice machine. But it developed a terrible leak around the motor.  So, I was very pleased to receive my new Project VC-S about a month ago. And it would seem that Project has examined the competition and made improvements wherever they could. The unit is heavy, with solid aluminum suction arm, and heavy duty rocket switches, seems like a rock solid machine.

It's doesn't have a platter, but it has a clamp that holds the record and covers the labels completely so they can't get wet. I feared that the record would not be stiff enough to apply enough pressure to scrub them,  but in practice that has not been a problem. I suspect if you really had a train wreck of a record you could lay it on a towel and scrub it if required, but so far, I've had no issues with the way it works. Instead of a platter down in a box, the record is over a smooth box. So any fluid that may spill over the side doesn't get up under the platter or is difficult to get out of the box, you can just wipe it off. And mostly the best thing about no platter is the fact that when you clean the second side, you don't put your clean side down on a dirty platter. Both sides perfectly clean, and easily slides into a vinyl sleeve without having to touch it. 

It has a bi-directional motor, so the record spins in either direction, with plenty of torque, which really helps get it clean. And you drop the suction tube made of solid aluminum with felt lips onto the record and it vacuums it dry in one single rotation. Very good suction. And quiet! Much quieter than other machines I've heard. And mostly, I can take a stack of 10 albums and clean them all in half the time.  It has a plastic collection bottle inside, no drain hose hanging out the back, no leaking. It recommends you simply tip the unit up on end to dump it, but I think I'll use a small siphon hose and a cup to empty it. As I said the unit is heavy. 

So I have to say it's a superior machine! One caveat, I had to screw the lower clamp plate on, and the screw was too long. So, i had to find a shorter screw. (Actually I cut the screw off)  Hopefully they've fixed this minor issue by now?  Anyway, it was minor and now that it's together it works great. And the good news is it's substantially cheaper than others at its quality level! Selling new at $499! Highly recommended. 

I just got the newest iteration of the Pro-Ject (marketed as the MK II in the UK) and have been pleased with it.  I still use my Spin Cleaner for the really dirty records first...don’t want to stress the new baby yet 🙂.   I am still experimenting with my cleaning process.  

The company has a recommended cleaning process of adding drops of their (diluted) cleaning liquid, turn on the machine rotation, use the goat-hair brush to spread the liquid, reverse the rotation and use the brush again, then vacuum two rotations and reverse for two more rotations.  

My dealer recommended another process that he uses for his record cleaning service: he uses a Spin Cleaner for the initial cleaning of very dirty records, then attaches the record and cover, adds liquid, then gently scrubs with a Mobile Fidelity cleaning brush.  He then vacuums the machine in one direction.   

I have seen a marked improvement in the sound quality, and my cleaning and drying time is halved.  Love the fact the RCM has no platter.  I have had only two minor problems:  the aluminum arm rests on a plastic collar and is so tight I could not manipulate it; a little engine grease fixed that.  Also, the vacuum arm when fully swung over touches the record lock and causes aluminum shavings to fall on the record.   Slightly adjusting the vacuum arm avoids this. The factory-provided liquid seems to work well