At 500 you'll be hard pressed to find a beter machine than the VPI 16.5 but you will have to send your girlfriend to the store while you clean. Or get her some good noise cancelling headphones.
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I use the Spin Clean and then vacuum them with the KAB EV1 from kabusa.com ($169). It is basically the top portion of a manual Nitty Gritty machine. I am very satisfied with this combination. The EV1 uses your own vacuum cleaner so, as Czarivey says, it all depends on how loud your vacuum cleaner is.
You can build your own ultrasonic cleaner and stay within $550...600 easy.
I found ultrasonic bath with non-working heater for $150 with 120W transducers(4x40w), built my own frame to hold puleys and rotating pole, utlized unused electric corded drill by drilling an extra hole on the trigger to get slow rotations and mounted it to the frame with pooleys.
I was able to get the rotation speed of 2rpm. I also attached an acquarium filter purchased used on CL in great condition.
The total cost went way bellow VPI HW16.5.
Some of the extreamly valuable records I place on VPI after ultrasonic cycle is complete. I use timer on ultrasonic bath that signals the end of process.
My custom made unit is able to clean upto 8 records.
Thats interesting, never really considered the possibility of build my own or using my own vacuum. Definitely going to look into that, thanks!
The reason I was interested in this is manly because of the sheer quantity of records I clean on a regular basis. I work out of my apartment an I pretty much spend all day listening to records so in turn I build up a fairly large amount of records in need of cleaning. If I was only doing a few at a time then it wouldnt probably be a probably for it to be a little loud.
All vacuum cleaners are loud. They use cheap parts. It is the way it is.
When you want something civilized you have to go for a point nozzle design (Keith Monks, Loricraft) or Ultrasonic. But these units have their price. But a lot of users use a wet towel and tell the world that this is the ultimate solution. Green power counts ... :-)
@Mr Cz- If you had 30 records to clean, and worked straight through, at as little as one minute per side(wash and vac), you would be looking at two hours total time, less than ten minutes of which, would be loud(again- at under 10 seconds(two revolutions) per side). I don't like noise either, but- GEEZE.........
Mr Rodman WRONG.
It's a LOT more and even 10 seconds of VPI noise is already more than nuf.
I have older 22 years old VPI 16 machine and only use it when I dry out pricey records now.
Before I built ultrasonic machine, I really had to wear ear plugs. For contaminated records I had to rinse more thoroughly and vacuum more thoroughly far more than 2revs per side of record. For large quantity of contaminated records even with ear plugs you'll get headache by the end of day.
I retail records,memorabilia,CDs and make my living on that.