Results from Beta Testers of New Formulas

Hi everyone,

Please use this thread to post the results of your testing of the 2-step formulas. Thank you.

Best regards,
Paul Frumkin
New formulas of what?
The "latest and greatest" vinyl cleaning fluids about which the developer refuses to answer questions - questions that went unanswered in a previous thread - a thread that has somewhat less than mysteriously disappeared.

I read through the entire thread in some detail. Your interest in the topic is obvious and in playing devil's advocate perhaps was meant to stimulate more discussion, BUT your tone is antagonistic and uncalled for. If you developed a formula that you intended on marketing, would you go into any detail as to the composition? Intellectual property is always closely guarded, it's the differentiator that makes your customers buy your product over a competing product (or simply copying your invention).

I don't have a degree in chemistry and certainly don't work in the field myself; as such I rely on what I hear rather than speculate on how or why the fluid does what it does. I've tried Paul's two step process and it works very well. Paul was kind enough to send me some samples, that's the extent of my stake in this whole thing. I also know that Paul went to one helluva lot of trouble to put together a system for a girl that was paralyzed when hit by a drunk driver. Many folks here chipped in with gear and whatnot, but Paul put a ton of time and effort in helping out Leslie. I really doubt you'll gain a lot of points with people on the 'Gon for taking potshots at a truly stand-up guy.

At the end of the day an informed opinion is what counts. Take Paul up on his offer, try out the stuff and report on your findings. Costs you nothing and all of us will certainly listen to what you have to say.
I thought it was odd that I couldn't find that thread! Guess the audiogon cookie monster got another one. :-(
Hi everyone,

I don't know why the prior thread was pulled. I have written A'gon, but have received no reply. That's why I began this separate thread for posting results. Maybe the thread got "yanxed?" At any rate, this is an open forum for the testers to post their results.

For those new to this and the prior thread, I am sending samples of 2 formulas for a 2-step vinyl cleaning process to 20+ people who "signed up" for the testing. I'm sorry, but I can't send out any more samples at this point. If the collective judgment of this expert group is that these formulas work well, then I open a commercial account with A'gon and make the formulas available to A'gon members at very reasonable prices.

Because the prior thread was pulled, I would appreciate it if anyone who posted results on that thread could repeat their results here. Thanks ... and sorry for the inconvenience.

I've yet to receive my samples but will post my findings as soon as practical. I'm glad to be a part of the beta testing.
Have known Paul for a number of years and please don't mistake his point blank attitude as in any way showing him as being less than humble. He is very dedicated to the pursuit of high quality sound and has been , as many of us have, "ripped" by overblown claims of sonic nirvana. I have used the first stage of his two step process to excellent advantage for some time. I was given a chance to use his second phase which was developed to remove "proteins" that become hardened deep into the groves and have to be dissolved. While I only had a brief opportunity to experiment with this solution due to the destruction of my tonearm wand...(long story involving dog...ok I had it off while doing a tweak and needed it out of the way...enter dog...end of story), the two ancient records I used as subjects were dramatically "quieted" by the use of this 2nd step of Paul's process. I'd certainly recommend Paul and his two step process and even if you don't like it, there's a chance you'll develop a friendship as warm as the one I share. There is a thread somewhere outlining the work Paul put into making a home theatre available to one of his clients...and as I recall, he donated the fees he would have ordinarily received to this project as well...MORE than a stand up who gets down on the floor and rolls around with the dust bunnies when needed...
I am one of the 20 testers and find Paul's solution to be exceptional. I heard nothing but improvements when I cleaned both new and old vinyl. I took many albums that I would consider VG condition and cleaned them with another well known brand. I listened and then used Paul's system. I heard improvements in all areas-music came out of a blacker background,surface noise was decreased, dynamics were increased etc. I do not want to publicaly discredit any other well known brands which I own but in my experience Paul's system bettered them. I have no financial interest in this product but I hope it succeeds because it's hard to go back at least for me after you hear it what it does.
I read through the entire thread in some detail. Your interest in the topic is obvious and in playing devil's advocate perhaps was meant to stimulate more discussion, BUT your tone is antagonistic and uncalled for. If you developed a formula that you intended on marketing, would you go into any detail as to the composition? Intellectual property is always closely guarded, it's the differentiator that makes your customers buy your product over a competing product (or simply copying your invention).

Well, Jeff, if you actually did read the entire thread in some detail, you should understand that my obvious interest was centered upon the claim and the GUARANTEE that these fluids would not damage vinyl records. As such, I politely questioned about the research and study that had gone into the development of the product, visa vis its impact on plasticizers and the degradation of these components by cleaners. I also specifically said that I was asking for NEITHER the formula NOR a list of ingredients. My initial questions were then summarily dismissed by the developer (but your reference to “marketing” is most illuminating). But, if I WAS marketing a product I’d be happy to show that I had more than a basic knowledge with respect to interactions between certain chemicals and vinyl (which is NOT shown), answer relevant questions (which were NOT), and demonstrate that I’d done my homework on which to tout my product and guarantee (other than to say that I’ve been listening to vinyl for a long time and have a friend who works at NASA). IMHO, THAT is the differentiator which would hold me in good stead with potential PAYING CUSTOMERS, but thanks for your take on customer service.

Anyway, after I pressed for answers, I was met with derision by the developer who attempted to berate me based on the content of one of my previous posts – which had NOTHING to do with the question at hand. THAT was an antagonistic and uncalled for approach that you seem to either forget or choose not to mention.

I don't have a degree in chemistry and certainly don't work in the field myself; as such I rely on what I hear rather than speculate on how or why the fluid does what it does. I've tried Paul's two step process and it works very well. Paul was kind enough to send me some samples, that's the extent of my stake in this whole thing. I also know that Paul went to one helluva lot of trouble to put together a system for a girl that was paralyzed when hit by a drunk driver. Many folks here chipped in with gear and whatnot, but Paul put a ton of time and effort in helping out Leslie. I really doubt you'll gain a lot of points with people on the 'Gon for taking potshots at a truly stand-up guy.

I don’t have a degree in chemistry, nor do I work in that field, either. Yes, you have to rely upon what you hear. In the case of these fluids, I haven’t heard much – at least not what I’d like or need to hear before risking it on my vinyl. Granted, there was a time when I would not have insisted upon such information, but no more. After doing a good bit of my own research, I have keen interest in the development of such products and the developer’s grasp of complex chemical interactions BEFORE I use a cleaning fluid – free for now, or not. It is, obviously, anyone else’s decision as to what they do and how the proceed. As far as making points, get real. I’ve been on this board for some time now and have taken both popular and unpopular stances on a variety of issues. In my mind, the idea of this board is to ask, answer, and comment - in the spirit of exchanging ideas and information upon which to base decisions or to further our enjoyment. Period. If one is looking to make “real” points I might suggest anonymous charitable contributions.

Your point about helping the young lady is truly heartwarming, and I mean that sincerely. Too little of such goes on these days, and usually it does so only after the request of others. However, it has nothing to do with the matter at hand. Mother Theresa was a wonderful woman but, with all due respect, I’d have the same questions for her if she came out with a vinyl cleaning fluid.

At the end of the day an informed opinion is what counts. Take Paul up on his offer, try out the stuff and report on your findings. Costs you nothing and all of us will certainly listen to what you have to say.

At the end of the day, you are absolutely correct about informed opinion. But, one cannot be informed, as a matter of definition, without adequate information. I don’t feel the developer has provided anything close to that, which is why I posted my questions. It is still odd to me why he has chosen to avoid these questions. Surely, if he is a “stand-up” guy, he can get beyond his personal distaste for me and provide meaningful information to potential future customers. Then again, if he cannot answer them or feels the questions unimportant, that tells us all a lot, too. Performance in terms of how the fluids clean gunk from records is only part of the overall story. I hope they work for folks and that they do not damage their records with a product that was brewed without adequate knowledge of and background in chemical/vinyl reactions.

Oh and, BTW, the previous thread was certainly not “yanxed” as it was so flippantly stated. Nice try at yet another diversion, though. If I had to guess, I’d say that the moderators looked at its purpose and intent – offering a product for free that would later be sold on Audiogon. Even this thread was started by the developer to garner comments on his product that will later carry a price tag. It’s called marketing and it’s called advertising. Last time I checked, it was also against the rules here.

I have yet to receive my samples for testing....

Like I said... I'm no chemist so whatever answers or explanations a developer would provide would be meaningless to me anyway. I would imagine that would apply to you as well, although as you pointed out in your rant you have some active interest in the area so perhaps you're better informed than the rest of us. It's certainly obvious you have a burning desire to be right about this issue. I tried the stuff and it works well, as for any long term effects I'll have to monitor the records and see if there are any untoward changes. The records I used the two-step process on were lost causes and they sound very good now, so what's to lose? I view this as a pleasant hobby, not something to get all worked up about.
I agree with 4yanx that this thread seems to be nothing more than a marketing tool and free advertising. The last thread was likely pulled for that reason and this one will likely meet it's same demise.

Since paulfrumpkin had asked for interested parties to phone or e-mail him for his generous offer, he HAS their contact info as well as their address, right? If all he was after was their opinion, he could have done so directly. Instead, he posts a thread asking for users to share their opinion. Why? Free publicity? Hmmm, is that not a violation of the rules? Perhaps someone with more knowledge could answer that? Common sense tells me that it appears to be a violation ...

Secondly, Paul refused to answer questions about his fluid. 4 yanx has every right to ask whether or not Paul has done his homework and if he has even done any real chemical analysis or analyzed what is in a vinyl record. He has the right to ask if tests were conducted to determine whether or not harm can occur with the use of his fluid. This is not mean, this is not spiteful, not in the least. To me it appears as nothing more than asking for info. I can't understand why Paul didn't answer, unless no tests were conducted or he doesn't understand the question.

Paul has agreed to replace any damaged records at face value, but to me, the value of a record is not determined by replacement value alone, but also by availability. As an example, I'd paid $300 for my Fred Jackson "Hootin' and Tootin'" Blue Note original. It took me 5 years to find a NM copy. Would I risk cleaning it with a fluid when the chemist that made it refuses to tell me the tests conducted to determine it was actually safe? In today's market, via eBay, I might be able to find one quicker, but do I risk it when less than 500 copies were made?

It would be nice to know what tests were done to determine that this cleaner is safe and if there are any long term effects (remember the Armor All CD treatment fiasco? It took 5 to 7 years to make my CD's unplayable) . I'm with 4yanx on this one.
I don't understand Jeff's logic at all. Just because he is not a chemist; therefore, he is not interested in tests conducted to ensure the safety of his records and argues others should also not care as well?
Hi everyone,

I have asked A'gon why the prior thread was pulled. I haven't received an answer. If it's against the rules to give free product and ask for feedback, then I'd hope A'gon would tell me, and I would refrain from doing so. Yes, I could have asked people to e-mail me with comment and copied and pasted those comments into a subsequent advertisement, but I feel that an open forum -- over which I have no control -- is the most honest. I'm surprised that level of openness and honesty offends some. If the feedback from this expert group is positive, I will open a commercial account; but at this point, nothing is offered for sale!

If anyone read the prior thread, they would see that I did not ignore 4yanx. I answered 3 of his postings fully. But he became more demanding and belligerent with each subsequent posting, and it ultimately became clear that he was not interested in answers, but in polluting the thread with venom and slamming something he had not tried ... exactly as he does again here. While he owned up to previously recommending washing LPs in Dawn Dish Detergent, he didn't 'fess up about also recommending DIRECT Vinyl Floor Cleaner for LPs. I have little doubt that 4yanx will again bust into this thread with his aggressive rant. I will not, however, again respond to his postings. His invective means little against the empirical results being reported and which will be reported ... and it is upon those results which I think we should focus.

But free publicity? It costs only $3 to post a commercial ad. It has cost a significant amount in boxes, containers, postage and product to provide these samples. But a commercial ad would not provide a feedback forum over which I have no control. I felt, and still feel, that this open forum is in the highest spirit of our community and shared hobby. I hope A'gon feels likewise, and will let this thread survive.

Best regards,
Before this thread gets yanked, I'm going to jump in on Paul's defense concerning the questions posed by 4Yanx on knowing vinyl compositions and measuring affects on plasticizers;

It is impossible to know all the plasticisers present in records as well as the base polymer blends. We are talking about formulating cleaners that will be used on vinyl records made over the last 50 - 60 years. There have been numerous reformulations and this doesn't take into account the affect of recycling of rejects. Manufacturers do not reveal what they use in their "vinyl" compositions except when they choose to patent the formulation. Even when they patent the formulation, the patent makes wide ranging claims on what polymers and plasticizers could be present. It is also impossible for Paul or anybody to track down a sufficient number of current and former vinyl record manufacturing employees to do interviews to find out what was in a sufficient range of vinyl compositions. Even if Paul could get ahold of these people, very few would remember the formulas exactly unless they wrote down/stole manufacturing documents. Furthermore, it is financially impossible for Paul to go to the effort of having all the variations of vinyl records submitted to a testing lab to break down the formulas. Trying to deformulate polymer blends is brutal. Let's assume that Paul could get samples of all relevant vinyl compositions and submit them to a laboratory for chemical analysis. Such testing would easily blow past $10,000 and very likely would exceed $100,000 due to the number of samples. The cost could even be considerably higher since I haven't consulted any laboratories on what it would cost to answer such a question on a per vinyl formulation basis. High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) and Mass Spectroscopy (MS) and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) testing is not cheap; often ~ $300/hour or more.

I guarantee you that none of the current cleaning formulations and record treatment products currently sold on the market were tested on every permutation of vinyl composition made over the last 50 - 60 years. I've read the U.S. Patents on Discwasher, GruvGlide, and Last Record Preservative and they definitely didn't test everything in sight. They tested a few select records until they were convinced that they could proceed to beta testing, reformulate if necessary after beta testing, then commercialized. If they had to do exhaustive testing to prove their cleaner was safe on everything, the product would never make it to market because they would be bankrupt and it would take decades unless they had a large laboratory support staff. The record playing industry is too small to make enough money to fund the kind of research to answer these questions and still be profitable at selling record cleaning formulas.

I could go on-and-on about all the permutations someone would have to go through to answer the questions about product safety.

The bottom line is that LP record cleaning formulas are formulated in similar fashion to glass cleaners. The total non-volatile solids level has to be low to minimize residue that will show up sonically on records (analogous to minimizing streaking on glass). The sonic signature part is also dealt with by finding the surfactants that have the least inherent noise. I have often wondered that when current record cleaning formula vendors talk about their formulas having low inherent sonic signature, are they confusing this with the surfactants ability to quench static charge and its efficacy on removing soil. After finding the correct surfactants and keeping them at a low concentration, all you are left with is using sufficiently high purity water and possibly blending with ethyl or isopropyl alcohol. The alcohol content shouldn't be run too high because of flammability issues. Alcohols probably can leach some plasticizer as well as the surfactants but it will likely be very minimal because the cleaner ingredients cannot penetrate into the polymer network.

Let's get real for a minute here. If we are so worried about the potential to leach a trace amount of plasticizer from a record's surface, why are we even playing the records to begin with. The wear and tear of playing the record is far worse than what will happen with Paul's cleaning formulas (well, I can't vouch for Shellac or nitrocellulose-based records).

Mr. Kidknow
Note: I am a chemist who formulates water and solvent-based cleaners for aerospace and occasionally janitorial/sanitation applications.

I know Paul and have discussed record cleaning formulation ideas in the past. I don't know if his test formulas incorporate some of my ideas/suggestions but it is OK with me if he has done so in his latest cleaner formulas.

You can point to all sorts of empirical data and testimonials that are often touted by PhD's but frankly I'm in no position to evaluate the validity of the claims. Since I'm far from being an expert in such things I am quite willing to give something a try, especially if the records are considered lost causes. Call me lazy if you will but I don't have a clue what's in the Record Research fluid I use either. No idea at all. Zilch. Nada. I'm totally clueless. The RRL fluid was recommended to me, I tried it out, and I'm quite happy with the results. Paul's stuff seems to restore records that I thought I'd have to junk, even after careful cleaning with RRL. If over time there's no apparent donwside to using Paul's cleaning fluid then I'll expand the use of it. My point to all this: why not approach this with an open mind, and why would anyone dismiss the product without trying it out? End of my contribution to the thread, there's certainly more important and interesting things to worry about. Remember folks, this hobby is supposed to be fun.
I am not one bit surprised that you've taken the approach that you have, Mr. Frumkin. But please, go ahead, berate me, berate my past views. It is evidently transparent that yours is an attempt to shroud your inability or unwillingness to answer the questions I posed with respect to the research that went into your product (which you NEVER answered, in spite of your FALSE statement to the contrary). To name but a few, I asked what your research (if any) showed with respect to the various plasticizers in vinyl records, what they were, and whether your product was developed to specifically avoid the degradation of those plasticizers. You DID NOT answer. I asked specifically about your experience with a particular phthalate - one of the most common plasticizers in vinyl records (do you even remember which one I mentioned?). You DID NOT answer, nor even acknowledge its existence. I asked if you had done research with respect to the composition of vinyl among different records labels and from different production eras within those labels. You DID NOT answer. To say that you have answered fully, meaningful and cogent questions, is being nothing more than disingenuous to prospective customers. But, yes, it is easy to say that someone is really not looking for answers when you’ve no answers to give. Too, it is so easy to say you won’t respond to me in the guise of avoiding the issue. Now it looks like there are perhaps others with similar concerns. Gonna answer them? Or, maybe, go dig up something they’ve said in the past to discredit them and take the attention away from you? And please, look up the definition of the phrase “empirical results”, it might help you in the event you decide to conduct and/or report on your development research.

OK, if you must label this as “busting in with an aggressive rant” (I thought you said this was an open forum), let it be such. I’ve said all I have to say on this subject. I think it is ultimately clear where you stand, or don’t stand. Let the buyer beware. Too bad it is often that way for all of us.

Best Regards,

Oh, and Jeff, I understand where your coming from in your response to Viggen, I really do. But, you mention RRL fluids. Try contacting Brian Weitzel at RRL or the folks at VPI, or the Disc Doctor and ask them the same questions I've posed. You may or may not agree with or fully understand all that they have to say, but you'll find that there is a basis, a process, and a background from which they've formulated their product. Nothing here, though.
I know first hand from past e-mails with both Disc Doctor's Duane Goldman and RRL's Brian Weiotzel that they both had paid outside labs to test various vinyl formulations. Both mentioned that while it was expensive, it gave an idea of what would harm the entire vinyl formulation, which may explain why both shy away from alcohol entirely.

We as consumers need guys like Goldman and Weiotzel that take the extra precaution to insure that we are not ruining our records. What concerns me is the long term effects. I saw above where someone mentioned the Armor All mess where it etched the CD's years down the road and made them unplayable. I've got to admit, I liked the sound of the AA treated CD's at the time. The AA seemed to make the discs sound more analog. But when it made my discs unplayable years later I was upset that I whoever suggested it didn't do enough research and suggested it anyway. I was even more mad at myself for doing it anyway. If someone had mentioned the possible risks at that time, I'd have an additional 500 CD's in my collection. At $15 each that's a lot of money.

Mrkidknow mentions his connection with this fluid and also the expense that Goldman and Weitozel paid to insure that they had safe fluids. It seems that this new record fluid was designed without this information.

Is it safe or is it not?

This reminds me of the whole HRS Cables fiasco. Remember that one? Christain Brower posted here for months like he was going to determine the best cables, only to distribute, market and sell HRS here at Audiogon later. It was a scam.

He used Audiogon.
I have an idea. Admittedly, it's my idea ... and therefore it's likely a scam (see above). But it's a simple idea. How about if we leave room here for those who have actually tried the formulas to post their results?

Holy, jeez. Is there blood in the water, or what?
"Boris, we must get moose and squirrel, each one have half of secret formula!!!!"

Meanwhile our two intrepid heroes, having arrived in Frostbite Falls......
Fatparrot .. I vill gif you halv ... if I get Natasha.
Nyet!!! Unless you are Fearless Leader!
I am frankly alarmed.
I don't believe anyone asked for the 'secret formula'. In the first thread about this new product 4yanx asked what research was done concerning plasticizers. No answer was given.
What is the difference between buying a "branded" product off of the shelf in a fancy package and "trusting it to work as described" or being given something as a test sample and being asked to see how you like it? The difference is that one "assumes" that the marketed product is put out by a reputable company that has performed rigorous testing to come up with that product. As we all know, this is not always true. If it was, we wouldn't have product recalls, lawsuits resulting from false claims / health hazards / damage to property ( even if used as directed ), etc....

You take your chances with ANY product that you've never used before. While having recommendations from reliable sources ( friends, co-workers ) may ease the tension and / or guide one towards more reliable products, there are always instances where one will try a product that they aren't happy with in terms of performance and / or think that it is not suitable for what it was marketed / recommended for.

Paul simply asked for beta testers for a product that he himself thinks is worth giving a try. He's covering the shipping, the chemicals, the glass containers ( NOT cheaper plastic ), etc... and in return, simply asking for honest feedback. I don't remember HMS ( or anyone else for that matter* ) offering "free samples" to anyone, so that comparision is moot.

On top of that, anybody that would think of using an unproven ( by the public ) and unfamiliar ( to them ) product on one of their prized possessions is a fool. Common sense would dictate that one would want to use a disc of little to no retail or personal value for obvious reasons. This disc should be of a known condition i.e. noisy even though cleaning has been attempted on several occassions with several different formulas.

Here's the kicker though. There's no guarantee that anyone in the world could make for this either. That is, what if one of the previous cleaning agents used left a high level of residue on the disc? What if that residue caused a negative reaction to occur with the chemicals that Paul ( or anyone else ) provided? Would this be Paul's fault or liability to cover? While i don't think so personally, it really wouldn't be a big deal IF someone had the sense to use a test disc that wasn't worth anything to begin with.

Another factor here is that if something like a "vinyl molten mess" were to occur due the afore mentioned chemical reaction, who would be responsible for the potential damage done to a stylus? After all, the degradation of vinyl could result in a bonding of foreign material to the stylus itself and / or "wicking" of chemicals into the cantilever ( in extreme cases ). Once again, common sense would dictate that specific precautions with ANY unknown substance be taken into account. Given that not everyone thinks this far in advance, Paul should have issued some basic suggestions with this product.

My suggestion when trying out a product like this is to clean an old junk record as you normally would. If you don't have a record cleaning machine, let it air-dry in a clean area. Put it back in a clean sleeve and let it sit for a few days. If the disc appears to be normal i.e. no visible signs of chemical reaction ( clouding or discoloration of vinyl ), no "softening" or "stiffening" of the vinyl, etc.... give the disc a spin using the TT / cartridge combo that you care the least about. Before doing so, make sure that the stylus is spotlessly clean and properly aligned. If after several plays over an extended period of time the stylus is still spotless, you have reasonable assurance that the vinyl is still stable and that there is little to worry about in terms of potential cartridge damage.

Over this time, you should have been able to formulate an opinion of the effectiveness of this cleaning agent AND protected your expensive and personally valuable investments ( both vinyl and stylus / cartridge ). Should you feel the need for further testing in order to confirm your previous thoughts, you can now play this on your primary TT / cartridge combo for full evaluation.

Outside of all of that, i've spoken with Paul several times over the years. He's been nothing short of a gentleman. The fact that he's gone well out of his way to help fellow human beings in a less than advantageous situation, along with the help of many other Agoner's, speaks volumes of his nature and integrity.

Outside of his personal mannerisms, i know that he's been actively pursuing the goal of coming up with what he feels is the best method of record care that he can find. Several years ago, he forwarded pictures and info to me pertaining to his own vacuum based record cleaning machine. As such, i know that this is not some "shot in the dark, last minute entry" into what he thinks is a viable solution to the problems he's been working on solving.

Having said that, let's keep this in perspective. I'm not saying that i know for certain what Paul has, how well it works or if it will / won't damage your vinyl. All i'm saying is that this fellow Audiogoner thinks that he has something that works well for not only himself, but also for others that may have similar problems. He's willing to share his findings with others, foot the bill for letting them try it out at his expense and asks for nothing more than their honest opinions. I'm sure that he'd like as much specificity as he could get, but if all one told him was whether or not they think it solved their problems, did nothing one way or the other or created more problems, he would probably be happy.

Given that EVERYONE here on Agon is typically looking for "the next best thing" at the best price possible, and one of the "regulars" here has gone out of his way to GIVE AWAY something that he thinks could potentially be such a product to a small group of people, i find some of the attitudes here rather disheartening. Given the other "random" and potentially damaging formulations that others have promoted and / or attempted to use on this and other vinyl related forums, how can this be any worse? That is, so long as proper / common sense precautions are taken.

While it is true that one should always proceed with a certain sense of caution, but when we are talking about NO investment and the common sense use of materials that are of little to no value for the testing to be performed, what does one really have to lose? If one was truly concerned, they could treat a disc or small selection of discs, pay attention to them for an extended period of time ( several months of normal use ) and base their use / opinions of this product over that period of time. Paul didn't tell anybody that they had to buy this product, treat all of their discs at one time and then hope for the best. He offered it up to those that were willing to try it and hopefully, had enough common sense to use it in what most would consider an intelligent manner. Maybe that's asking too much. Sean

PS... Compare this to buying a "home-brewed" power cord that could be mis-wired and have the potential to kill you or severely hurt you when tried out, i think that the above points are pretty much "moot".

*JPS Labs gave away free samples of the materials that they use in some of their cables. While the circumstances were completely different, i didn't want to overlook the only exception that i'm aware of to the comments that i made above.
Just to reiterate, there's absolutely nothing wrong with asking Gonners to try an untested vinyl solution. Chances are nothing bad will happen to the vinyl, and, as Sean stated, just try it out on your junk records. However, what alarms me is the Paul's inability to state a disclaimer stating no test has been done to test the safety of his product, and that the beta testers are the ones testing not only the effectiveness of the solution but also the ones finding out if there are any potential drawbacks.

I never read the initial post, so maybe Paul stated some disclosures in there that I missed. However, seeing his replies to 4yanx leaves gives me a less than confident impression of Paul's practice as a businessman (I see him as a vendor and not as a fellow Gonner). It's a shame because 4yanx is obviously an interested party.
Thanks for a well reasoned addition to a thread that has gotten a bit heated, unfortunately.

The protocol you advise seems like a prudent one. It offers the possibility of sample-testing the safety as well as the efficacy of Paul's solutions over a larger array of samples, situations and observers than one person could easily manage.

I'm also concerned about the vinyl safety issue raised by 4yanx. Since Paul has declined to specify what if any safety testing he's done, prudence forces us to assume that he has done none before this test. That seemingly puts the onus on the volunteer testers, to report not only their immediate cleaning results but also to report the ongoing condition of the cleaned vinyl for some length of time.

Since Paul (apparently) didn't perform safety testing before making his offer, it would have been best if he'd included a request for that, with a warning not to test his solutions on valuable records. That would have made the situation clear from the beginning and prevented much regrettable bloodshed. Having failed to do that, no doubt innocently, Paul could have responded to 4yanx with a simple followup request to his volunteers for a protocol like the one described by Sean.

I hereby move that the volunteers adopt a long-term vinyl-safety test as described by Sean, and that they include as many non-valuable LP's from different labels/eras/countries as possible. Meaningful results will of course require weeks/months/years depending on the degree of uncertainty each of us is willing to accept for the (presumed) cleaning benefits received.

Do I hear a second?
How abot this... if you don't want to try the product - don't. Don't waist your time and everyone elses trying to show us how smart you think you are. I look forward to receiving my samples. I will use common sense in trying them out.

Thank you for the samples Paul. I will respond soon on the results.

Regarding the safety issue ... I tested the solutions on a few LPs, all from different labels. I allowed the solutions (one at a time) to sit on the vinyl for a half-hour (something I don't recommend you do with ANY vinyl cleaner), and then removed with my vacuum RCM. I did this just about every day for about 6 weeks. Given that, with normal cleaning, the fluids should be on the vinyl for a minute or less, I figure this was more than a lifetime's worth of "fluid on" time.

Every week I examined the LPs with illuminated microscopy, and played them. I found no degradation in appearance or sound of the vinyl ... and this result maintained throughout the testing period. I also found no accumulation on the stylus, other than the typical dust that falls on the LP while it's played. One LP I sacrificed to a thumbnail scratch test ... to see if I could detect any increased brittleness, or at the other end of the spectrum, softening of the vinyl. As crude as this latter test may be, I could detect no changes in the vinyl ... and after the tests, the LP made a great (albeit dangerous) frisbee. This testing was mentioned in the prior thread, but in more summary fashion. After this testing, I tried the fluids on my UHQR "Crime of the Century." It sounded excellent.

Sean's appeal to common sense is, appropriately enough, good common sense. For example, when testing these formulas, I hope no one would use their prized $300 (used) Fred Jackson Blue Note original LP (per jes45). But I disagree with one thing Sean said (which I think is a first, Sean). Sean suggests that if you don't have a vacuum RCM, then let the LP air dry. I believe that would allow the gunk you've loosened-up or dissolved to re-deposit into the grooves. I think it would be better to absorb the fluids and the gunk with lint-free cotton toweling (used in photography) or lint-free cotton pads. In fact, if your LP is heavily soiled (or has something strange or really sticky on it), using lint-free cotton toweling or pads is probably a preferable first step. It will keep the fabric surrounding your suction apparatus from getting fouled.

I look forward to the feedback from the testers.

Best regards,
Paul Frumkin
As you can see, Mr. Frumkin himself is open to suggestions and ideas from others, and has just explained some of his safety testing in response to Sean. If the thread starter is willing to respond constructively then by definition the post was useful.

I will of course honor your request by never offering any thoughts or suggestions on any thread of yours. Now that I understand your sensitivities, I wouldn't dream of intruding on your private space.

Hope you enjoy talking to yourself,

This was on the prior thread, but I should repeat it here.

1. Do not use the formulas on 78s. They are made of shellac, and the isopropyl might dissolve them.

2. I also have no experience with acetates, and therefore cannot comment at all about the formulas' safety on acetates.

3. Lastly, do not use a natural bristle brush with the enzymatic solution. Natural bristle = hair = protein ... and the enzymatic is designed to dissolve protein deposits. Hence, over time, the enzymatic would dissolve the natural bristle ... and perhaps leave its remnants on your vinyl.

Please feel free to write with any questions or concerns. Again, I look forward to the testers' feedback. Thanks!

Best regards,
Paul Frumkin
Do you recommend a carbon fibre brush? If so, which? They all seem to be intended for dry brushing.
Hi Jyprez,

Carbon fiber brushes have advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, carbon fibers have incredibly small diameter. They are therefore capable of going deeper into the grooves. But even carbon fibers are not capable of brushing most modulations in the grooves -- high frequency modulations are so small that they're measured in the same units as are lightwaves: microns (one one-millionth of a meter).

Further, carbon fibers are so soft that they provide very little "scrubbing" action. Further, most of the cleaning occurs because of the agitation of the cleaning fluid, and not because of direct brush-into-groove contact. The softness of carbon fibers makes them not very effective agitators.

I tried using a carbon fiber brush for a while with the cleaning solutions, thinking (as perhaps you are thinking now) that their small diameter would allow better penetration into the grooves. I concluded that their drawbacks outweighed the advantages; it also didn't let the fluid flow on the LP very well, and acted more like a squeegee than a brush. I used the Audioquest carbon fiber brush. Perhaps another brush -- such as the Hunt EDA Mark 6 (whose fibers are "backed up" by a velvet-like bar) -- might be more effective.

Certainly, nothing was harmed by using the carbon fiber brush that I could tell. If you try one or more carbon fiber brushes, I think all of us would be interested in your results. FYI, I contacted Audioquest with this very question before trying their carbon fiber brush with the solutions. Their terse response was that their brush was meant to be used dry.

Best regards,
Paul Frumkin
Here are some VERY EARLY initial impressions of Paul's cleaning solutions. Disclaimer: I have no connection to Mr. Frumkin other than to try his product and offer my observations. Also, keep in mind that this first impression is based on using the samples for the first time.
The solution samples come in two bottles, with written instructions for application, which I have followed.
The first solution to be applied is an "enzymatic" which I assume is a "crud buster" pre-wash. This is applied to the LP then vacumned off.
The second solution is an LP washer. Applied with a different brush than the first fluid and vacumned off. The directions specify NOT using a natural bristle brush for the enzymatic fluid which I followed.
Now- for the results: The first LP I tried it on has quite a bit of surface noise due to age and perhaps prior abuse (I bought it used). I cleaned one side with my usual RRL fluids on my 16.5 RCM and played it. Then I recleaned it with the sample cleaning fluids and played it again. The surface noise was significantly lower and the run-in and run-out groove noise was much more silent and black.
Next, I played a recently cleaned disc that is in really good shape with very low surface noise, taking note of string tones, stray pops and clicks, etc. Then I treated it with Paul's two-step cleaner and replayed it. The pops and clicks were gone and it seemed to me that the rough edge I have always heard on the violins on this recording were much less strident and more rounded and "rosin-ness".
As another test, I cleaned an LP my usual way, then recleaned it with the new stuff. Even though the LP was thoroughly clean, a re-cleaning showed more grunge in the runoff after using the review samples.
These observations are very early in the game for me, and, I am interested to see if there will be any changes to the vinyl over the long term due to the use of the "enzymatic" solution. Time will tell. This I will say: the stuff works people! It cleans great, it reduces surface noise greatly, and it seems to add a certain "sweetness" to the music on the discs I experimented with thus far. These were orchestral and jazz trio works. I will experiment further and report more findings as I get more use of the product. My impressions thus far are positive.
For sake of clarity, when i mentioned "air drying" the disc, i didn't mean to apply the solution and let it dry on the disc via exposure to air. I meant that one should clean the disc as one normally would i.e. applying the solution and removing it as best possible and THEN letting it air dry. My thoughts about this were that if someone were to clean the disc and then put it back into a sleeve while still damp / wet, "bad things" might happen. A paper sleeve could bond to the moisture and / or a plastic sleeve could trap the moisture, producing what would probably be a warm, dark, moist area for bacteria to grow. Allowing the disc to dry thoroughly prior to inserting it back into the sleeve would remove any chance of either of these happening. By no means did i mean to leave the solution & "crud" on the disc to dry by the air. Sorry if this caused any confusion. Sean
Thanks for the input Slipknot. I have a lot of old LPs that might be in need of such a solution. I just don't have an LP player at the moment to test the stuff out with.
Based on Slipknot's report I am left wondering which of the two parts had the most impact on cleaning the record. This is purely a guess on my part but I would suspect that the enzyme solution may give the greatest improvement since enzymes are reported to get those nasty protein/mold deposits. I suspect this based on what I have read from users of other enzyme cleaners. Would any of you guys with the samples do a comparision test using the enzyme solution on both and a different second cleaning solution?
Slipknot1, this makes me anxious to receive my samples. It sounds promising.
I'm waiting too, and it does sound promising. I planned on using the same method as Slipknot for the test. I have 6 albums waiting, one of which I can't stand to listen to, even after my RRL cleaning regime.
I have just finished reading this thread for the first time, and as such am not one of Mr. Frumkin's Dirty Dozen testers. Wish I were!

As a suggestion, Slipknot1 et al, if there was a way of recording to analog tape or CD the results of each version of cleaning, well that might be a good aural archive of sorts, perhaps one which could be offered to others here.

It seems odd to me that the current and more prominent LP RCM and RCFluid manufacturers don't provide this to their prospective clients.

Of course this is not a truly scientific method, but at least it presents *some* proof of what is claimed. I know the maker of the lasar TT does this (At a cost, IIRC).

In any event, and to put my suggestion in context, I have read so many raves about LP cleaning methods, new and old, only to be sorely disappointed when attempting to replicate those results on my own collection (which is 8000 LP's strong).

Meanhwile, I will be reading this thread some interest; I wonder if a "New Formula" LP will improve sonically when treated subsequently with DD or RRL; and if those changes are as dramatic as the initial reports when the opposite occurs.


Would it also make sense to clean some records with Paul's formulas first, listen to them, then re-clean with RRL and listen again? You might learn if the benefits change or if they're due to double cleaning vs. particular solutions.

Just some suggestions from a lazy guy in the cheap seats!
Hi DougDeacon,

That was one of my points - do it both ways, all ways...for the reason you mentioned.
Hi Kurt,
We must have posted almost simultaneously. Yours wasn't there when I was writing.

Great minds thinking alike perhaps? Naw, we even missed the entrance exam!

This is very interesting. The vinyl enthusiatsts are all worked up about a method of reducing surface noise, which, I was told in a previous thread, doesn't exist.
Some further observations: using the enzymatic 1st stage, then using my usual RRL as the wash stage rather than the 2nd stage wash STILL results in a much more dynamic sound.
The "edginess" being gone I spoke of in my previous post should not be taken to mean that there was a rolling off of HF information ala Gruvglide or even LAST. Both those products tend to leave a film on the LP (Gruvglide is a lubricant). The enzymatic does not film up, comes up very well with the RCM making the LP very receptive to the wash cycle. Both with Paul's washer solution and with RRL. At this juncture, I think I prefer Paul's. For the next round of testing, I intend to treat the LP's, play them, then rewash in my traditional way with RRL and see what develops. Perhaps also begin throwing a distilled water rinse into the mix as a third step. Any testers doing this yet?
Anyone interested in what music is being used during my testing can follow my posts on the "What's On Your Turntable Tonight?" thread: [url][/url]
Re: Distilled Water Rinse

It's hard for me to say whether improvements will result from a distilled water rinse as a third step. That's because my self-designed RCM (photo available under "systems") uses a powerful 1 hp. vacuum motor, and I am confident in its suction power. (Prior to deciding to build my own RCM, I e-mailed VPI 3 times asking for the rating of their vacuum motor. VPI never responded ... which helped me to decide to build my own).

Certainly, I would recommend removing as much of the cleaner fluid -- now laced with the grunge it dissolved or lifted off -- as possible. If you are less than confident in the suction power of your RCM, then perhaps it would be best to either (1) use a distilled water rinse as a third step, or (2) if the record is still damp at all, use lint-free cotton toweling or a lint-free woven cotton pad to sop up any residual cleaner fluid.

BTW ... does it drive anyone else buggy when, by the time you get your cleaned LP over to your turntable and get ready to cue up, dust has landed on your LP? For a time I used canned compressed air (sold in office supplies for cleaning keyboards, etc) to blow the dust off the LP. But the stuff would frequently spit some kind of liquid on the LP with the compressed air. I have found an alternate solution. Here's the URL address to a page at American Science & Surplus' website:

At the top of this page is a PC cleaning kit for $4.95. The REAL attraction of this item is that it includes a little battery operated vacuum/blower ... which is perfect for that last second dusting-off the LP before you cue up. It's not powerful, but it is sufficient. If the link doesn't work, it's their item No. 34158.

More samples were shipped out on Wednesday and Thursday, so more feedback should be available soon.

Best regards to everyone,
Paul Frumkin
Use of enzymatic cleaners is the latest greatest thing for getting grass stains off your kid's jeans, but I would not think that the kind of dirt that gets on LPs is an appropriate application, but it would be worth a try. Why not use Shout, Oxyclean, or others available at low cost?

Drying the LP seems to be another fine art! This amuses me because in those old days (which I keep mentioning) audiophiles washed their records before playing, and played them wet. Of course our phono pickup VTF ran around 5 grams, and HF response to 20 KHz was wishful thinking, but the water did seem to lubricate the stylus and minimize surface noise. When playing a few very old LPs(50+ years)that have been through the wars and which I once played with a 5 gram pickup, I still do this with my Shure V15MR pickup with VTF at 1.5 grams. It still works.
Go for it, Eldartford! Let us know how the Oxyclean works out. I guess if we see you pop up on one of those tv commercials we could take that as a sign that it worked for you! :)

Or you could just crack open that wallet of yours, brush back the cobwebs, dodge the escaping moths and plunk down $10 for a small bottle of vinyl enzyme cleaner that has been around for several years now.

Just kidding here!
Yikes! I hope Eldartford's comments are tongue-in-cheek.