Record Cleaning Machines

All opinions welcome: religion, politics, ID...

In particular, I'd like to hear opinions about:

Nitty Gritty Mini-Pro

Keith Monks RCM

VPI 17


I have a lot of vinyl and like the operation of my VPI 16.5 just fine. It does an excellent job of cleaning with the minimal amount of hassle and the price was not too bad at all. What more could one want? It is truly a necessary component in any well set up analog system. Whichever way you wind up choosing to go, a vacuum record cleaner is an excellent investment in sound quality and record preservation. Happy Listening!

I also have a lot of vinyl and have purchased a lot of used vinyl over the years. I've become a committed user of the Disc Doctor cleaning fluid (original formula) coupled with the convenience of a VPI 17 which I've used for over 15 years.

I prefer the VPI to the Nitty Gritty because it provides a great platform for scrubbing the record with the DD pads. I use the built-in VPI fluid applicator/brush soley for applying the double rinse that I do (using distilled water). The 16.5 would do as well for the scrubbing platform and vacuum, just without the convenience of the rinse application.

I've considered the Loricraft, but have not gotten convinced that it would be as fast or as convenient a tool within my DD cleaning regimen.

The most important factor for me has been the use of the Disc Doctor fluid for cleaning, not the choice of RCM.
Bgrazman, Rushton makes an excellent point about convenience. I think the VPI machines are hard to beat because they really make it about as painless as it gets to seriously scrub up those great old vintage finds. I also employ the Disc Doctor fluids and like the applicators they offer as well. Here is a great thread that covers everything one could ever care to deal with in record cleaning IMHO. Personally I follow some but not all of this regiment. Cheers!
Based on my research, from reading tons of opinions here and on Audio Asylum (and I suggest you research it yourself and come to your own conclusions!), but the differences, in my mind, are:

The NG and the VPI basically use the same technology, (i.e. a wet-vac with a slot to suck the fluid through), with the VPI being slightly better built, and having a nice built-in place to scrub the records on. (The NG is cheaper, but will get the job done nonetheless.)
Both of these machines are LOUD! So much so, that some poeple use earplugs when using them.

The Keith Monks and the Loricraft use a different technology, (it uses a smaller vacuum tube with a string), which is supposedly not only better, but much quieter as well. (I have not actually seen either of these in person, but I confidence in the opinions of people who have purchased them that they are better and quieter.)

I currently use a NG 1.0, with RRL fluid, and I have no complaints. It works well for what I use it for, which is to vacuum the excess fluid off when I am done cleaning the record. (And it was really cheap, especially used!)
At some point, I would love to buy either a Keith Monks or a Loricraft, but they are both too expensive for me to purchase at the moment.

My two cents worth anyway.
As an owner of the 16.5 and previous NG I agree with both of the above. FWIW listen if I had to follow all this advice in the preperation for the cleaning of a vinyl lp, I would just throw my hands up and forget about this hobby. A hobby is one thing, but this guy and his cleaning tip would leave me no time to even want to listen. I was exhausted just reading the article. And just the thought of following it was enough to want me to go into a convalescent home for burned out audiophiles.
I researched these machines before purchasing, and if I could have afforded it I probably would have bought the Keith Monks. It is ridiculously expensive.
I ended up buying the Loricraft because I felt the VPI may require more long term maintenance - that was my feeling anyway.
There seem to be more VPI accessories to purchase, and I felt the Loricraft was a better design.
The Loricraft is essentially the same as the Keith Monks (from what I could tell) except you need to apply the liquid by hand, and have to set up the vacuum pump. It can be quite fun. The brush supplied by Loricraft to apply liquid works awful.
I use a soft foam paint brush to apply the liquid.

I understand there are a couple new versions of the Loricraft- I think they are probably not necessary. The way that this machine cleans records, I will never be tempted to buy another record cleaning machine- and that is no bull.

As a satisfied Nitty Gritty user since the early l980s, I've never understood the bit about the VPI providing a "stable platform." Do you guys bear down so hard while scrubbing that you're in danger of breaking the record? The plain old manual Nitty Gritty 1 (or its clone from Audio Advisor) enables you to scrub away too, without the encumbrances and closed-in nature of the VPI, and then draws the record crud DOWN rather than depositing stuff on the platform. I know, different strokes and YMMV. Good luck, whatever you decide, Dave.
To clarify:

I currently use the disk doctor fluids & a nitty gritty 1.5....(since the mid 80's)

I wanted something more convenient (automatic)... I have purchased almost all of the LP's I have when new.... so heavy scrubbing is not something that I've had to worry about. I guess it comes down to convenience, noise (& if I'm honest, a new toy for Chana-Chrisma-Kwanz-akkuh).

The monks machine on ebay is getting out of reach, I may go for a nitty gritty minipro 1. What do you think?
Anyone heard about the Zenn machine?

I think it's manual scrub, followed by high speed spin to dry the record centrifigully (if that's a word).
RCM's all suck (the dirt out of the grooves)- so there isn't much difference. The 16.5 is good. I got the cheapest effective one Record Doctor II (effectively the Nitty Gritty) after trying out more expensive ones. It's not hifi gear, so no sense in trying to differentiate the suttle nuances of them. "a fool and his money are soon parted"
Robm321, you're right, all record cleaning machines suck. But some have a higher level of suck than others, and some like to whine about it. :-)
I have had all of these machines and presently use the Loricraft. It maybe that the Keith Monks cleaner was better than the Loricraft, but it took up too much room and took too long. I never compared it side by side with the Loricraft, but I suspect they are about equal. The key benefit to either is the string around which the vacuum draws. It is changed for each record and thus any foreign matter moves on rather than scratching your record.

In direct comparison with the VPI 14.5, I found recleaning with the Loricraft after first cleaning with the VPI resulted in noticably lower popping and generally cleaner sound. I have totally revitalized many old records bought on Ebay using the Loricraft. Mine will never leave, but I continue to experiment with cleaning fluids and brushes. I am back to the provided nylon brush presently and continue to use the AudioTop vinyl system.
I have over 2000 lps collected over the past 30 years (since grade school - only mentioned this so you get an idea of what I may be cleaning. I also frequent used record stores for those hidden, but often dirty gems). I absolutely love the quality cleaning my SOTA LP cleaner gives. The folks at SOTA are also very helpful with any needs you may have. Very good value whether purchased new or if you're lucky to find one on A'gon or ebay.
Hi Audiogoners, I have about 7,000 lp's. I bought half between 1956 and 1962. The other half came from a good friend and audio buddy I've had since the same time period. I generally visited him every few years when I went back to my home town of Milwaukee. 3 months ago I found out he died, I visited his wife to pay my respects: Janet asked me to help dispose of his gear, I'll put it on Audiogon in a short while.

As I was ready to leave, she mentioned she had some records that were going to "Half Price Books" next week, they pay 50 cents each for those they want.

Putting a value on lp's is hard when there are over 26 lineal feet of them. I paid $3'000 for the lot. He was a classical\ country fan. They all look as if they have never been played more than once , if that.

Being 64 years of age I feel I need the best cleaning machine available in order to avail myself of the glorious sound only available on vinyl.

I appreciate your opinions, thanks Ken
Kftool, I think the outlines of what you need to consider are here. There are inexpensive cleaners that work and more expensive units that work better. I have had five cleaner starting with the Keith Monk's machine years ago, two VPIs, one Nitty Griddy, and presently the LoriCraft. This final machine cleans best and is reliable. Cleaning fluids are also important. Here I strongly prefer the L'art du Son.

Good luck and sorry about your loss of a friend.
tgb, I appreciate your reply. Your recommendation of the Loricraft seems to confirm the comments offered on other Audiogon threads and discussion groups. Getting the best or the cheapest has always been an axiom I've followed. If you get the cheapest itseems you will never loose much money when you realize you should have gotten the best in the first place. It seems as though there is always someone who will buy junk at a percentage of it's original price. I just needed confirmation on getting a Loricraft, you have provided that. thanks Ken