VPE HW 16.5. Had mine for over 25 years, still works fine. There are better, but they would cost a lot more.
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I just bought a VPI Cyclone a few weeks ago. To say I am amazed at how good my vinyl sounds would be a major understatement. This is the best investment I have made in many years.Im cleaning lp's from the early 70's that I thought were shot. Cant believe how friggin good they sound, and quiet!! Have not turned on my CD player since I got this. I know this ( Cyclone ) cost more than your budget,but I wouldnt hesitate to buy the 16.5 based on years of positive reviews. Trust me, you havent heard your vinyl till youve heard it clean. Good luck.
Even at $1660 you can get into ultrasound, if not all the way up.
I would begin with the Vinyl Stack spinner. I use one. It is excellent. Say $300.
Then a dish drying rack and rubber draining board. Say $30.
Then an ultrasonic tank. Since you have $1330 left over, you can afford a very fine ultrasonic tank. Go for higher frequency. If you can stretch to another couple of hundred or so, buy an Elmasonic P60H, which runs at up to 80 KHz, which I use. It is a premium German commercial machine, finely made and very powerful. It has all the features you need. I have cleaned thousands of records on mine.
Highly, highly recommended. You will not believe the difference between an US cleaned LP and a conventionally cleaned one.
Another reason to go to US: getting rid of the last of the grunge not only improves the sound, but it will probably increase stylus life. That’s got to be worth something - in my case, quite a lot. According to my dealer, my premium cartridge had zero stylus wear after 400 hours. YMMV
The Elmasonic P60H is the top of the Elmasonic line: internal heater with thermostat and thermometer, timer, 37 KHz and 80 KHz operation, fractional power, degas setting, sweep setting, and pulse setting. The drain valve is top quality, which means that you can leave the chemistry to settle overnight, then turn on a slow drip, and let the tank drain into a jar over an hour or two. At least 90% of the sediment is left behind; with practice it’s more like 99%. Who needs a filter when gravity does the work?
The most useful accessory is a stainless steel basket, which allows one to clean small items, like jewelry. If you are a DIYer, you can find lots of uses. I use mine to clean electronic boards, other parts, and tools on the 37 KHz setting. Bonus value!
My cleaning chemistry is simple: distilled water (not purified or bottled drinking water) and a good lab grade detergent near the minimum concentration recommended for US. I use VersaClean from Fisher Scientific, which is rated for US and especially formulated for plastics. That means 4 litres of distilled water and 125 ml of VersaClean. Nothing else. I find that following good scientific practice saves much angst.
I preheat the chemistry using the 40 degrees C setting. Since the temperature sensor is near the top of the tank, the interior is hotter, so the chemistry must be stirred. If it gets too hot, I simply wait half an hour for it to cool. When the temperature is a uniform 40 to 45 C, a little more than body temperature, I put two records on a Vinyl Stack spindle, separated by 1.5 inches to allow the US wave plenty of space to develop, and place them on the Vinyl Stack motor assembly. (Actually, I do a test fit to adjust this without any chemistry present). I spin the records in the warm chemistry to get the records warm throughout.
Then I set the P60H to 100% power at 80 KHz for 20 minutes, set the Vinyl Stack to spin at 1 rotation in 5 minutes, and wait for 20 minutes. I rinse 4 times: with filtered and purified running water poured directly onto the records, a twice purified water bath, pour more running filtered and purified water, and a final bath in distilled water. That’s starting with very pure water from the tap. You may decide to use bulk purified - I would test it first on disposable records.
Then I set the records to air dry in a dish rack. That evening I put the clean records in new sleeves, and enjoy at leisure.
Don’t forget to degas the mixture every time you pour it, and every time you top it up. With practice, you can experiment with higher temperatures and disposable records. I continue to clean records to 50C, but have warped records permanently at 55C.
I cleaned a dozen garage sale records first, to get the hang of it. I noticed that the records warped immediately when put in the warm bath - but - happy days, it’s temporary. By the time I remove them, they can be flatter than when I started (subjective impression, not measured).
Sounds complicated, but isn’t. The Elmasonic is a pro’s machine, it’s easy to set, and keeps its settings. So is the Vinyl Stack.
Total cost here is considerably under $2000. That’s less than the cost of retipping my Koetsu, so if I reduce wear to 60% or less, the US has been free; if my three years of experience holds true, wear is far below 60% of normal, and the Elma has more than paid for itself.
More details on Rushton’s US thread. Good call on your part. And good luck!
The Okki Nokki is a decent unit in your price range. I used one for a number of years, and thought it worked quite nicely, although fairly loud. I really liked the forward and reverse capability. I have since moved on to a Clear Audio Double Matrix Pro Sonic. An exceptional RCM, but way more expensive, but worth it to me.
You are a true devotee and I applaud you and bow before you. I am pretty happy with my humble hand-vac process with a homemade super solvent and 2 DH2O rinses. I could do about the same volume as you in an hour...if my back could take hunching over the unit that long.
This formula, that I found below has done a surprisingly good job on some 1950's LPs I found in my parents moldy basement. It was developed for US machines.
By the way, do you use any preservative after cleaning?
@2channel8 (looks like the link didn't take)
I feel your pain. My first record cleaning experience was similar.
I agree completely with your link. Co-incidentally, my solution also comes from a friend who is a retired biochemist and record collector. What gives me great confidence in VersaClean is that Fisher Scientific sells to professional labs, and that is a very unforgiving environment. Lab stuff HAS to work as advertised, HAS to meet spec year in and year out.
I use no post-cleaning treatment. The last rinses flow off the record like water from a freshly waxed fender.
A good choice, I think, although I have not tried it.
It's a 40KHz machine, which is inferior to an 80KHz machine, but it has a very large 200W of US power per record, which should compensate. You may find that further rinsing is unnecessary; why don't you try it and let the forum know the results?
In any case, I think you'll be delighted with the results.