I have been using the L'Art Du Son for several years now, (with a BIG thanks to Audiogoner Theo. He has tried a bunch of different fluids and had a batch of this left over. He now uses the Walker 19 step process. Just kidding on the 19 steps, but it sure is a lot).
I have an older VPI 16.5 that uses just the evaporative process to dry out the fluid, no container needed, so I can't tell if the fluid is darker or not.
I have also tried many different fluids and do really like the L'Art Du Son from a sonic standpoint. I think it cleans better and sounds better.
I use VPI HW16 with 20% of surgical tools cleaner and distilled water.
It's alcohol free and can be used on 78rpm records.
It's also dries faster and leaves no residue on the play surface and unbeatable at any price point or brand.
Thinking to switch to ultrasonic cleaner, but need to stretch budget or create one of my own.
I bought some Tergitol from TALAS Online and now mix my own per the library of congress recording preservation web site.
I bought one pint of Tergitol, for $20, use 2 ml per gallon. I have enough for my entire life and probably won't have made a dent in the original pint when I am buried. LOL
Works as well as anything I bought commercially and I have been cleaning records for over 20 years. Rinse with distilled water is imperative.
All cleaners are mostly distilled water anyway. Three choices: Alcohol based, surfactant based, enzyme based. (Light, medium, heavy). But I don't want to start another cleaner war, so I'll leave it at that.
I use only distilled water through a 1-step cleaning process: Drop the LP in the slot atop the Klaudio Ultrasonic cleaning machine. Once you hear what you've been missing, you'll never go back.
Ultrasonic is the way to go. I understand Harry is working on their first ultra unit. Harry sees the writing on the wall.
I second AVIS, been using it for years. Seems to do the job.
Audio Intelligent Solution #6. The best! Also recommended by Arthur Salvatore.
I like all the products of Audio Intelligent, especially their no. 6 one step cleaner. It saves a lot of time and money.
Another very satisfied AIVS user here. Tried and/or beta tested products from several companies over the last 10 years. None have matched the results from Jim Pendleton's solutions.
I, too, started cleaning records with the use of the Audio Intelligent solutions, back when Paul Frumkin was the owner/manufacturer. My DIY RCM is in their RCM museum. I still use the Audio Intelligent 3-step solutions; haven't tried the "all in one" (#6) yet because I have plenty of the separate solutions left that I need to use up first.
I've seen Holly's DIY RCM and it's really pretty cool. I was
I have been planning on trying the AIVS #6 solution, once all
of my L'Art Du Son is gone. Might be awhile...
I use Walker 4 steps for 3 years now with a Keith Monks. Very good but so boring...
I just tried the Discovery cleaning fluid and think it works as a charm. Very good at cleaning dirty records. Used with a distilled water rinse I think it very very near the Walker.
I consulted a biochemist friend, and he suggested a good lab detergent. Fisher Scientific has a lab detergent especially formulated for plastics, VersaClean.
With my VPI, I used a mixture in the range suggested, plus alcohol to 10%. Since there are a hundred ways to denature alcohol, I used a pure Vodka - there is only one way to make pure Vodka - with ethanol and a charcoal filter. That, plus a distilled water/Vodka rinse served me well, until -
I tried ultrasonic cleaning. I use an Elmasonic from Germany, sourced from, you guessed it, Fisher Scientific. Now I use VersaClean and distilled water, no alcohol. The results are dramatically superior to the VPI - though at a significantly greater capital cost.
AIVS #6 here too. I rinse with distilled water, but I can't give a great reason why. I checked with Jim, and he was sort of like yeah why not, but I have his blessing.
I am in the middle of the discovery process for this very thing. Found that while my records sounded more alive and dynamic after using the Spin Clean with their fluid all by itself, I was also hearing more pops and clicks in the lead in grooves, etc.
On the suggestion of a few places online, I tried starting with AIVS enzymatic cleaner first, then right into the Spin Clean. I've recleaned several albums this way and generally they do sound quieter, in a few cases startlingly so. So I'm sold on the AIVS stuff, too.
It seems AIVS collects the vote of many who tried it. Think I'm going to try it too. Most of my records are not so dirty or even already washed with current cleaning fluid (I mean not enzymes), so do I need the 3 steps for these or will the n°6 do the same work in listenning results for not really dirty records ?
Thanks for your advices
I used to use AIVS. Then I switched to TTVJ's enzyme cleaner. Much, much better and a lot cheaper.
It seems AIVS collects the vote of many who tried it.
Well, it is like reading a review. All is great, all is fine but:
AIVS is a multistep cleaning solution, that means, any owner who spends 30 minutes per record expect to hear terrific improvements. And the more fluids he can use, the better.
I am sure, when any of the other users clean their record 3x with LADS or whatever, they will get the same result. I used AIVS, too and it didn't bite the bullet for me. Probably I have a superior cleaning machine, who knows...and not one record I cleaned with the Enzyme fluid gave me an improvement to the fluid I used before with it.
Syntax, you're lucky. I wish I had 3X LADS to help clean my records!
Even one would be good sometimes. I tried without success to convince my wife to do it after dishes while I'm watching TV drinking some Cognac but washing several times the same thing is not in her culture.
Maybe Ultrasonic should be the right way to go.
I was using Lloyd Walker's fluids, first 3 steps, then 4. (Ugh). Switched to using AIVS No. 15 and lab water. No discernible sonic difference, and 1/2 the time (two steps v. four). I suspect that any combination of good detergent/surfactant, followed by a pure water rinse will accomplish much the same thing; I am partial to the enzyme cleaners, like the No. 15 (which is apparently both an enzyme along with detergents), because I clean a lot of old records. Some of these benefit from a soak and mild agitation with the cleaner- whether it was cigarette (or other) smoke, combined with air borne grit or other foreign matter, it seems like some of these old records literally had stuff 'glued' to the grooves, and the difference between a superficial cleaning and a thorough cleaning is dramatic.
I think the key to the lab water rinse is to get the cleaning fluids off the record surface; not sure even a high quality vacuum, ala Monks, does that 100%. (I'm not a chemist but suspect there is some residue left that may create a sonic signature. That was certainly the case 30 years ago, when I used 1 step fluids with a VPI- the records would sometimes be noisier after cleaning). I think the water rinse is itself not just a solvent, but may displace whatever cleaning fluid was put on as a first step. (Scientists- chime in here- I'm speaking only from anecdotal experience).
I'm interested in the fact that the Monks fluid doesn't necessarily require a 'rinse.' I'm going to try a Monks machine next. While I like the ultrasonics for convenience and lack of 'static,' I've found that I am getting better results 'pre-cleaning' manually and using a vacuum machine before using the ultrasonic, at least on old records.
I think the key to the lab water rinse is to get the cleaning fluids off the record surface; not sure even a high quality vacuum, ala Monks, does that 100%. (I'm not a chemist but suspect there is some residue left that may create a sonic signature. That was certainly the case 30 years ago, when I used 1 step fluids with a VPI- the records would sometimes be noisier after cleaning).
The Monks can do that much better than any other Machine on the market. The VPI has two lips, one in front of the slot nozzle and one behind. When the back lip is wet from a few cleanings, the slot mechanism is nearly useless because the contaminated back lip serves the gunk and fluid again onto the record. That is the reason why VPI cleaned records needs a new clean again and again after the drying time...it is a cheap but hardly a serious solution for an intelligent Audiophile like you are.
Here is a pic from the result of the cleaning with a Monks Design. Records cleaned only new Reissues or Records from early 60's in Mint ir Mint minus condition....Fluid removal with a Monks Design
Btw. the cleaning fluid I use is clear like fresh water...
I'm looking forward to using the Monks. I'll be happy to check out the fluid you like too, Syntax. I have no vested interest in this, other than to get these records in the best sounding and playing condition I can-