Review: Audio Desk Systems Vinyl Cleaner Tweak

Category: Accessories

Summary: I hope to express my evolution regarding the importance of, and the benefits of cleaning lps.

History: I've been a music lover all of my life. The effect music has had on my life has been immeasurable. I know now, even more, how music (effectively and honestly presented), can have a positive impact on life.

Here we go. Over the years, I've developed a cleaning regimen. An effective one at that. But, there was always an "elephant" in the room, so to speak. That elephant being, using the vacuum cleaners out there has been a useful but ineffective tool, because, one is constantly trying to clean away crud by "brushing away", (supposedly), the contaminates set deep into the lp grooves. In reality, we are imbedding some of the crud, deeper into the grooves by this time honored process.

My current cleaning regimen: I lay an lp on a clean microfiber cloth, administer Audio Intelligent Enzymatic fluid by way of a VPI bristle brush (that I always steam clean after each lp). While this is working it's magic, I'm waiting for my steamer to reach operational value. I then clean one side, repeat for the other side. I then take that lp into another cleaning station where I administer Audio Intelligent Archivist Formula with a separate applicator, and vacuum that off on my Record Dr. Then after the two sides are done, I take it to my VPI 16.5 and use Aquafina water on a dedicated brush to spread that across the lp before it is vacuumed up. During all of these processes, I clean the velvet pads with my steamer. I have separate cleaning brushes for each individual stage. This prolongs the 'pads' life.

My middle name should be "Anal". That's cool with me. Lp's are like my children. I'd do anything for them.

I do as much record buying by way of "events" as I do by mail order. I think to properly get across the effectiveness of this product, I need to convey my experience with an lp I purchased new and that has evolved with me in all of my evolution of audio.

Shawn Colvin "Steady On". My most played lp of all time. I even purchased an additional copy after believing my original was becoming "worn out". I just played it again after putting it through an Audio Desk cleaning. The loud ticks & pops that I've listened to for decades are now at the most, negligible, at the least, non-existent. This is important, this is an lp I purchased new, been under my control all of it's life. I know this lp!

Sonics: What I've noticed immediately was, leading edge transients were more relevant, more 'a part' of the musical whole. The air, bloom, headroom, normally associated with a good set-up, seems to be integrated naturally. Not a big deal, (It really is).

Other aspects: With the vacuum cleaners out there, we always have static introduced by the cleaning process. This most likely comes from the velvet pads. I became a slave to, (after my past/present, anal cleaning process,) constantly using an antistatic gun before each side. Thankfully, this is no longer necessary. Actually, subjecting an lp to the usual carbon fiber brush before each side is a thing of the past! Additionally, having to constantly clean your stylus is not necessary. Put an lp through the Audio Desk, put that lp into a clean anti-static inner sleeve.... AHHH! Since dust doesn't stick to an Audio Desk cleaned lp, if you notice any at all, just a blow will get the job done. Am I getting through to you now!

I think you may be "getting it"! It's fully automatic. Go listen, come back later. It's clean and dry!

For me, It's the ultimate, a life saver. I can sit back an enjoy each and every side of any lp, knowing all the while, I've done my part. Now, the question is, Have you done yours?

A caveat: I will continue to steam clean every lp before it sees the Audio Desk. There is the cost of the "barrels, fluid/water" and such.

With my dedication to vinyl done right, I can't think of any other product that brings me more joy and satisfaction than the Audio Desk System vinyl cleaner. ( I have NO affiliation with the manufacturer or it's importer).

As I stated earlier, my middle name is still "Anal".

Long live analog!!

Similar products
I have had a regimen I've developed through the years. The following is a list of products I currently use:

(1)Record Doctor
(2)VPI 16.5
(3)Mapleshade (original) steamer
(4)Disc DR. @ VPI velvet lips
(5)Audio Intelligent fluids
(6)VPI lp cleaning brush
(7)Various microfiber cleaning towels
Some notable factors I left out of my review:

I think it's vital that the lp is immersed in a bath throughout the cleaning process. This allows particles released by the cleaning process to 'float' away and eventually become trapped by the washable filter. The barrels are white in color. This is a factor that allows the end user to see the released particles that form on the tops of the barrels that aren't able to float away. This is a visual reminder of the crud you're getting rid of with this cleaner.

A few negative factors. The "wipers" that the lp turns through aren't set perfectly as to wipe away the total fluid on each pass. This seems to be from a slight manufacturing issue with getting the channels, the lips are held by, in proper relationship to the lp. This is noticed more on thinner vinyl. It's important to check each lp after taking it away from the cleaner before placing it on your platter that all traces of water have been removed. Also, I cleaned a 180 gr. lp that had etching on one side and it didn't complete the cleaning cycle without my help. I think this is an area that the manufacturer can and should address.

This product has seriously enhanced my enjoyment of reproduced music in my home.
As a separate note, here are the sonic advantages I've experienced:

(1) Leading edge transients+++. This is sometimes 'startling'. It isn't an aspect of music reproduction that shouldn't go unnoticed.
(2) Increased level of noticeable inner detail, subtle cues, other sound reproduction that has escaped me until now. Another added benefit.
(3) Did I mention, no, static charge left on lps after cleaning. This is a luxury.
(4) The automatic aspect of this cleaner. Leave it alone to work, while you go about other things. +++++!!!
(5) You know your lps are performing at their best!
Until you have experienced a Keith Monks machine you have not entered the world of 'clean'.

Until you have experienced the KL Audio Cleaner - you have not experienced the world of Clean.

Good Listening

Buconero, Do you have experience with Audio Desk?
A non answered will be considered as a "no".

I have with both the Audiodesk and the KL and the Keith Monks. The Audiodesk is very very good, the KL is better, the Keith Monks ruined one of my LP's at a show some years ago.

Good Listening

I'm sorry this review resulted in a battle between A'gon members on their "mine is better than your's" issues.

I'll think twice before spending my time trying to be informative to members in the future. I had some other issues to relate but it's irrelevant now.
the Keith Monks ruined one of my LP's at a show some years ago.

Shouldn't use hardware you don't know how to operate
Oh, I was not at the controls, the folks whom demonstrated the machine was.

Good Listening


I agree completely, the information is useful. Please consider posting your other thoughts, they are often helpful. Just switched from the VPI 17 to the Audiodesk and it is amazing, both in terms of ease and sound. Keep the thoughts coming. I tend to ignore the noise, it distracts from the music.
Great review. I have an Audio Desk Systeme RCM and love it. I did have a mechanical and the dealer and manufacturer did repairs very quickly, handled all costs except return to the US dealer and were very supportive and quick with communication. I have cleaned about 1000 records with it in the past year and would purchase again in a minute.
Thanks guys. You've helped to reinvigorate me in terms of trying my best to help others. "This is what I thought the whole thing is about".

If I had a hand in some sort of re-design, it would be the following:

The top casing, where either side of an lp enters/exits the machine casing: I'd fashion some sort of "guide" out of a slick, non-static material so the lp can be washed without the "wobble" effect that is more noticed with thin lps. This, in my experience could eliminate or reduce the remaining water after a cleaned lp. Maybe a very slight re-design of the "wipers". Very slightly longer?
The wipers squeegee action can be improved by the following tweak I read somewhere: gently remove each wiper using tweezers. Get 2 paper-coated wire ties, the kind that commonly came with plastic bags, and put 1 behind a wiper- push both the wiper along with wire tie behind it back into the recess. Each tie should be a little longer than the wiper so it extends out the front a little bit. Repeat on other side.
The wire tie will slightly extend each wiper out further more effectively removing fluid. I did this on my Audio Desk and it certainly improves removing fluid.
Thanks Hiendmuse.

My comments should be taken from now on as this: when looking at the machine from the front, there is a right & left side. The right side has more contact within the workings of this machine. The drive rollers (unseen) that contact the lp are positioned more towards the right side, the barrels and their constant motion happen to position more torque towards the right side. This leaves the left side to wobble at the left side. A replaceable, low/no static insert machined into the top of the cabinet on the left side would remedy this wobble and have a substantial affect on the wipers performing better.
Update: I failed to mention the 'filter' is also white.

I've cleaned maybe 150 lps by now. As I stated earlier, the WHITE barrels and now the WHITE filter doesn't lie! It's very telling how, after my initial steam cleaning of lps and then putting them through the AD cleaner, how these white filters are turning black. This is the "crust" of the issue folks. This is indisputable evidence of how superior this machine is to the others I've used.

Every lp sounds better, no doubt.
Update: I failed to mention the 'filter' is also white.

I've cleaned maybe 150 lps by now. As I stated earlier, the WHITE barrels and now the WHITE filter doesn't lie! It's very telling how, after my initial steam cleaning of lps and then putting them through the AD cleaner, how these white filters are turning black. This is the "crust" of the issue folks. This is indisputable evidence of how superior this machine is to the others I've used, and how the sound will improve by this factor.

Since my purchase, here's the downside. It's obvious that the water blown away by the fans and by mother nature's evaporation, both come together to ultimately make the owner spend money on more & more fluid. (not cheap). The initial cost of this machine is a major investment. Couple this with the ongoing cost of the fluid and you have money draining out of your pocket. It's up to the end user to determine if this is a worthwhile investment. For me, I believe it is.

Every lp sounds better, no doubt.
I decided to initiate a mid (500 lp fluid change as recommended by the manufacturer), regarding their cleaning/maintenance suggestions on my AD. I used a fine paint filter and drained my current fluid into a clean container. I then used new distilled water to pour into the AD in order to wash out contaminates in the unit. I also rinsed out the filter. I then reinstalled the filtered fluid back into the AD and added (new) to top it off.

I trapped some large vinyl pieces this way. I also washed off a lot of noticeable vinyl pieces from the filter.

I feel this is a way to prolong the buying of the expensive AD fluid. I do realize that at some point, dirty water is "dirty water".
Heindmuse: I tried your suggestion, I had no luck. At first I thought it helped, oh so slightly, but realized it didn't.
I subsequently tried turning over the wipers in the exact same place, in the opposite channel and so on. I came to the conclusion that once the wipers get "use" to a direction, that is the direction they prefer. Kind of a memory effect.
It's an excellent & convenient cleaner . However is it reliable ? & how is the quality of service by the manufacturer ? Within a month of purchase , my unit failed. Took a long while to get it repaired. After using it happily for more than 1 year, suddenly it failed on me & I saw smoke coming out of the machine after only cleaning 3 LP. Now 10 days later , no response to my mail at all from audio desk . Even the distributor I got this unit from can't get a response from the manufacturer ? If I manage to repair it , will probably sell it to buy KL audio RCM
By the way , I have 2 other reliable RCM , Loricraft PRC4 & VPI 17f
Audioblazer: You said: "After using it happily for more than 1 year, suddenly it failed on me and I saw smoke coming out of the machine after only cleaning 3 lp."

Wow! Do you even realize what you just said?

You just said you owned it for one year and in that amount of time you cleaned a total of 3 lps. If my record collection/listening schedule just allowed me to clean/listen to just 3 lps in one year, I'd never spend $4000 for an lp cleaner!

Get a grip!!!!
I purchased this cleaner from the Cable Comapny a couple years ago. I cleaned exactly 356 LPs; kept track of each to change fluid as recoomended. After several months of not cleaning an LP I flipped it on and the rollers wouldn't collapse onto the record during cleaning and the rollers did not spin. I sent it back to the Cable Company and they couldn't fix it. They said they sent it to Germany to be fixed and after a two month wait I got it back and the unit was as it was when I shipped it to the Cable Company; still broken with the rollers not spinning and the rollers not collapsing onto the record during the cleaning cycle. At a $4 list price, this unit is a true disappointment and the quality suspect. I would think long and hard and look for other threads of the same issue I describe in 2013. The manufacturer obviously has manufacturing and design issues and I can't help but wonder about the quality control before returning a unit to the owner. Buyer beware on this one. My VPI never died in the several years I owned it and while I like the approach of the Audio Desk, I am not sold on the quality.
Hifimaniac: I feel your pain. However, you have not explained, the steps one would have taken after the description you just gave us all. I felt as if after you received the "fixed" unit back and it, in fact wasn't fixed, you just "gave up"! I reached that conclusion because you failed to go into any detail regarding this aspect of your reported unresolved experience to your problem.

Did you in fact, report this experience to the Cable Company? If so, what sort of resolution did they offer you?
Seems all agree, steaming is a must, no matter what equipment or method you use.
Everyone: This will most likely be my last post here. In that vein, here are my findings so far:

(1) I've owned the AD cleaner for 18 months
(2) I realized early on that (one) should treat this cleaner similar to an automobile, in that, like a necessary oil change, so does the AD need an ongoing water change/filter rinse/compartment rinse.
(3) This additional expense (is) really necessary in order to keep any future maintenance issues at bay.
(4) I realized that owning an expensive piece of equipment really requires forward thinking maintenance, that isn't noted in any reviews or in the manual.
(5) I just changed out the fluid/water and washed the filter and rinsed out the inner compartment. This required over a gallon of distilled water and filling/shaking/re-filling/shaking... as I watched the contaminates go out, I found this method to be beneficial. ( if one is familiar with a steamer, you know that there will be slimy particulates that need to be washed out on a regular basis. The AD cleaner is not immune to this.
(6) Steaming lps prior to the AD cleaning is essential and will benefit you by making the roller/barrels last SO much longer!
(7) My feeling is that others may have had maintenance issues because of their lack of treating this cleaner as one would treat their auto...
(8) In addition to the initial cleaning benefit, I find the lasting benefit to be the (instant) ability to re-clean an lp and have that lp to be, again, static free/dust free. Awesome!
I have a money saving tip for AD owners. The microfiber barrels can be cleaned. I put mine in a 50/50 solution of bleach/water. Then use a stiff nylon bristle brush (a stiff toothbrush can be used) to scrub them. A very easy job. Just make sure you rinse them completely before re-use. This tip will save you big bucks! Sorry AD.