VPI mschine w/ Record Research Lab cleaning fluid. For v. dirty LP's, use LAST Power Cleaner first, then go thru the VPI.
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If a VPI machine is beyond what you want, the LAST company mentioned has 3 different cleaners that can be used manually. #1 is a deep cleaning fluid good to use on LPs you pick up that are dirty. #2 is a preservative which will lengthen the life of your records and $3 is a daily cleaner before each use. For daily cleaning Discwasher makes an effective and inexpensive product.
i get good results hand-washing my records w/mild dish soap & luke-warm water. during play, i used to use a watts dust-bug, recently replaced w/a n.o.s. keith monks record sweeper, which has a ground-lead to remove static. i also use a milty zero-stat. i think arthur salvatore, a dealer in canada, still has some of these keith monks record sweepers still awailable, for ~$30-35, usa. doug
vpi 17wf with touromat is the best thing i've found- and you don't need to rinse in distilled water. if you obtain such a setup, you should clean EVERY new record before play, EVERY used record purchased before play, and all others about every 3rd or 4th play. BTW, IMO, last preservative is a waste of money, lots of money.
I have a Nitty Gritty 2.5, and it does a very good job. As with any vacum record cleaner, it literally pulls the dirt out of the groves. I know of no better way than to vacum a record, VPI or Nitty Gritty both do excellent jobs, and I doubt there is enough difference in them to make an arguement as to which is better. The VPI does have a stiff brush, but you can purchase that seperatly and use it with a NG machine as a hand held brush. I use the small brushes from LAST and clean both sides at the same time, flip the record repeat (you get 2 different directions of cleaning that way per side, helps break up tough stuck on dirt, mold release compound etc), then vacum each side.
I know Mike Fremer (Stereophile) pre cleans with an Orbitrac before vacuming, this is about as obsesive as you can get.
If you are cleaning garage sale albuems, check out some of the power cleaners, I know LAST has one. These help break up really tough stuff before conventional vacuming.
I beg to differ, the LAST preservative does indeed work, as does Groove Glide by Roz Oil. In the case of the record preservative, in combo wit the stylus preservative, you do indeed reduce wear. I have known more than one person who proved that their stylus lasted beyond the rubber surround (the entry point into the cartridge body), and the actual stylus was still in great shape (over 10 years of heavy use)
I would love to see if there is a differenve in Last preserved LP's vs non preserved, does anybody know of any such test or reports?