Ultrasonic cleaning before and after


I used a track on side B of Helen Humes and the All Stars. (Muse MR5217). My Old Flame. $1.99 record store.

Before cleaning, the vinyl was fairly dirty with some fingerprints and a lot of dust. Vinyl was greyish from dirt.

I cleaned the single record in my China-made US tank and a motor driven rotator for 5 mins. 80/20 distilled water/isopropyl alcohol with a few drops of Triton X100 surfactant.

Before: A fair amount of surface noise with crackling in right channel from fingerprint marks. It sounded pretty decent as the recording is fine.

After SpinClean pre-rinse: Reduction in surface noise but fingerprint scratch was still as pronounced. Recording sounded better with somewhat blacker silences and improved dynamics.

After US and SC rinse: Much quieter. Surface noise practically gone. Fingerprints noise reduced by 70%. However what I was not expecting was much better music. The acoustic bass line appeared literally for the first time. Piano notes came together in a melody where before they seemed random and disjointed. Brass became three dimensional coming forward in the mix. Vocals centered and became more nuanced like she was singing to you with an increase in sibilance where called for.

Summary: I am genuinely surprised by the improvement wrought by the second cleaning. I can’t say for certain if it was due to the US or simply to playing it three times! I cleaned the stylus before each play.
Previewnoromance
This mirrors my experience on moving from traditional wet vac to us cleaning. The difference was not in the traditional realm of dirt and pop click removal but more that after a thorough us celan (KL LP200) the disc sounds more seamless and integrated, more organic and as if the players are somehow more in tune with one another. 
Nice to read.  Thanks.

I'll be receiving my first record cleaner within the next couple of weeks - it's the Degritter ultra sonic record cleaner.  Can't wait!  I've built up a lot of records to clean.
prof, That looks like an impressive cleaner. Let us know what you think after using it.
Never make a cleaning solution with any solution that is deemed damaging to PVC. Never buy any solution unless its content's are listed. Compare both to the PVC CHEMICAL COMPATIBILITY CHART, many such charts are on the web. Alcohol in the quantity used is detrimental to PVC and the plasticizer,  liquids like photoflow are anti surfactants, mono polar, not to be used to aid in surface cleaning.   
Couldn't agree more.I went the DIY route and my records have never sounded better. Bought a 10L Ultrasonic tank with a really nice record spinner , I only clean two albums at a time. 20 minutes per cycle with water temp at 38 degrees C.  I use Steam Distilled water in the tank.
 I use Versa-Clean from Fisher Scientific at a 40 to 1 mixture so about 6 ounces as the tank holds approximately 240 ounces. The Versa-Clean is specifically designed for Ultrasonic cleaners and vinyl records .
 I use a capful of Photo-Flo per tank. Once the cycle is complete I run it thru my Nitty Gritty 2.5 cleaning machine while washing off with Steam Distilled water the Versa-Clean and Photo-Flo using the vacuum on the record cleaning machine. 
 My trusty Nitty Gritty 2.5 bit the dust after 18 years of use so I ended up picking up the Record Doctor VI while manual compared to the NG 2.5 
It does the job of vacuuming off the excess very well although you have to turn the record yourself. No big deal.
Since I posted this last year I've changed the mixture and routine a little.

  1. Rinse in Spin Clean distilled water.
  2. 95%/5% distilled water/isopropyl alcohol with a few drops of Triton X100 surfactant @ 40°C. Max 2 records per dip for 7 minutes.
  3. Rinse off in Spin Clean distilled water.
I have not retested the effect.
I'm sorry, but this spinner seems inferior to the Vinyl Stack for the money.
With dirty records Ultrasonic cleaning is the best. I would still add like 1% ethanol or 2% isopropyl  alcohol to the distilled water. You will get rid of the oil based deposits like finger prints better. 
Having said this there is no type of cleaning that will make a new record sound better and as long as you never let it collect static and get dirty you will never have to clean it. I have never bought a used record. I think it is a crap shoot. I would if I got the chance and the price was right buy a large collection, say over 2000 records from an estate sale then sell off the records I do not like. One owner can not listen enough to one record  to wear it out with a collection that size. Small collectors will buy a new hit record and play it over and over until they get bored with it or the next hit record comes along. With standard record hygiene they wind up building a collection of damaged records. These are the ones you have to avoid.
@mijostyn,

"as long as you never let it collect static"

How many ways is this statement wrong?

The very act of playing a record, creates static.




Noromance, glad you only paid $1.99 for the record. An 80/20 solution is WAY too much alcohol for records. Even 5% is pushing it. Agree on the value of ultrasonic cleaning, but really dirty records may still need a scrub. 

I have bought lots of used "Mint" records, many still sealed, from Discogs and had very few problems with sellers. I was willing to pay reasonable prices. Many older records from the early 50’s are tough to find in great condition.
Slaw,

  I can assure that the record spinner is very well built , it surprised me at just how well it is made,Heavy gauge metal for sure , it is not cheap in any way or form.
noromance ..... you're  only cleaning for 7 minutes ? 

I use a solution that's pretty close to yours but with the addition of a touch of Spray N Wash in the mix.
I clean 3 Lp`s at a time.  
I set my timer for 30 minutes @ 1 rotation per 10 minutes ...3 complete rotations in all.
I`ll clean as high as 45C 
I then vac with a Record Doctor. 
Everything sounds great to me..just wondering if maybe I`m over doing it a bit !




@scm 2 records only allows the action to be more effective. Life’s too short to clean for 30 mins. The pre-wash in the SpinClean helps. I’m happy if I get 80% of your result! That said, I'll give a longer cycle a shot.
Slaw, you are absolutely correct. I use a conductive sweep arm that has conductive carbon fiber bristles which is wired to ground. It shorts the record out while it is playing and tracks the record with the tonearm. The record never collects static and never draws dust to itself. 
Been playing around with ultrasonic cleaning for over a year. I have found that all surfactants do contribute to the sound of the LP washed with it. Currently I use a less than 2.5% isopropyl solution in the ultrasonic bath. Spin 3 LPs spaces 1.25” apart at 35 deg C for 15 minutes. No surfactants used. The isopropyl does somewhat lower the surface tension of the water. 

Rinse and vac off with a clearaudio double matrix sonic machine with a minimal isopropyl mixed with distilled water. This So far yields the best results. The alcohol in the final rinse does make a an appreciable benefit.
"never draws dust to itself"

This is impossible. I can't think of how many ways that statement is wrong.