There is a big difference between distilled water and lab grade purified water. But if you can't hear the difference, what difference does it make?
11 responses Add your response
A good compromise would be to buy type I reagent grade water at a lab supply store($17 a gallon instead of $64 for Walker's ultra pure) It's the same thing, maybe better. I think it's made a difference for me but I also was happy using distilled water in the past. If you're going to spend the money to use the Walker system(which isn't mandatory)I think you can at least save money on that expensive water. Flooding the record is much less painful that way.
I'd like commenting, as to what's been already said.
There's first, the comment that the original poster cannot hear the difference between Walker Purified Water, and single step Distilled Waters, so with that being said, does that mean that should serve as a basis of a rinse's worth, and/or quality?
These personal findings (not to be at all insulting, or trying at all to speak down to the original poster) does not change any actual facts of analsis, that single distilled will leave deposits-residues-solids upon the LP's surface.
These variations in sonic results may then be more than likely caused by a less than state of the art resolving system, or the ultimate criteria, that we all do not possess the same level of hearing acuity. This of course doesn't change the reality, that the deposits are being left on the surface.
Sure it hurts shelling out our hard earned money for the highest quality cleaners-rinses. That's what each and every one of us has to decide, whether these costs are important to us, the preservation of our beloved Vinyl, and at what level of quality of playback we seek?
I think I've seen Lloyd Walker on a rare occasion post here to comment, but sadly, Lloyd does not regularly contribute, and I suspect one reason is because on most forums, spitting contests can ensue.
The good reasons for a manufacturer commenting, is to disspell myths, and hearsay, which unfortunately, if there is no one to clarify, or educate us, these myths then become the believed "truth". We are then left to personally decide-sift through what is fact, or fiction?
Truth, that single step Distilled, or even Reagent Grade Waters are as pure, and as worthy for the final rinse as what he, or others market. I'm very sure they are not. Maybe the quality doesn't matter for today?
But what about tomorrow? What about those who eventually seek the upgrade path. Will this better equipment then be able to extract better sonics, or will the cleanliness of the vinyl then be a limiting factor? Will there be future, irreversable harm done to the media?
I've seen much mis-information spread in the Amateur Astronomy hobby-community, with assumptions about how for instance makers produce thier Lenses-Mirrors, etc, and without the manufacturer commenting, and providing real information, you will read everything from soup to nuts, and generally, 99% of the assumptions are generally false-incorrect.
From what I understand, is that Reagent Grade waters can vary in quality, and that there is no one set standard.
There is a good archived thread about waters here, but it is a very complicated thread, and one I have found very hard to sift through, and draw hard conclusions about.
Mark: No disrespect intended, but I think that lumping single stage distilled (or simple RO for example) in with a reagent grade water like this:
is a bit of a stretch. While true ultrapure might undergo a slightly more stringent ultrafiltration (as well as ultraviolet radiation) than a Type 1 Reagent grade like that above. I'd bet that a good reagent grade would certainly be a lot closer (possibly very close to, possibly better-we'll never know without testing both products) to the ultrapure that AIVS, Mo Fi and Walker market with there products than any single stage distilled or Walmart type "purer" water.
The price is also quite a bit different. Not cheap, mind you, but not "audiophile" priced either.
Johnny/42659, I have done careful comparisons on the water used for the rinse step. In my listening comparisons, the UltraPure water made a SIGNIFICANT improvement over standard distilled water (such as readily available from the grocery store or pharmacy) when used on the rinse step, regardless of cleaning system used (Disc Doctor, AIVS or Walker Audio Prelude). What I consistently hear in my system using the ultra pure water versus generic distilled water are: quieter surface, a "blacker" background and greater resolution of harmonic overtone details.
If you're going to the trouble and expense of using a three or four step cleaning process, my experience is that you'll be short changing your yourself on the rinse if you don't use an ultra pure water.
As Sonofjim and Hdm observe, using a reagent grade water may be a pretty good alternative to the ultra pure water sold by Walker and AIVS. While there are variations in reagent grade water and none may match all the steps being taken by Walker, AIVS and other audiophile providers, as pointed out by Markd51, the NERL Reagent Grade, Type 1, water sets a pretty high standard. Several people posting here have tried it and reported positive experiences with it as a reasonable alternative. The challenge is to be willing to buy in bulk or to find some audio friends willing to share an order.
I'll add that, in addition to using the ultra pure water rinse, Walker Audio's Step Four High Resolution Rinse makes yet a further improvement in the results I get. If you like the overall results you're getting with Prelude, you should try the recently introduced Step Four Rinse.
Thanks for your compairson Rushton between the two waters. I just recently ran out of the Walker Ultra Pure water from my first kit so I was courious if anyone else tried a A/B compairson.
I have not tried the step Four high Resoultion rinse yet. I have been very happy with the Prelude Three step process so far but I might give step four a try some time in the future.
Tom Port who sells the Walker record cleaning fluids and is very pleased with them claims to have mixed results with the Walker Step Four. He says some records sound better with it while others do not. He does not use it but many others like your self are very happy with it. I guess each person will have to try for themselfs.
I'm in agreement with Hdm's post.
Having compared the Walker Prelude water with the 9800-5 NERL Diagnostics Reagent Grade water I hear no sonic difference between either used with both the old (2x water) and new (1 water + 1 hi-rez rinse) Prelude regimens and my Loricraft RCM. No special methodology is claimed that a critic would find flawless. (I do believe the new Step-4 Rinse is superior to water only.)
There is however significant cost difference based on 5 gal quantities, with the Walker and AIVS water being 8-10 times more expensive. Each box of NERL includes an analysis (cf. Rushton's pointer) and claims to meet standards for Clinical Laboratory Reagent Water. For my purposes the NERL Reagent Grade water substitutes just fine for Lloyd's water.
That there is a sonic difference between distilled water and other waters has been discussed previously in this useful thread.
Is their a good source you can buy the NERL Reagent grade water??
Google is your friend. I suggest using 'NERL 9800-5' as search terms. A quick look finds ~$32.00 on this page - don't know about shipping. Here: https://www.utechproducts.com/dept.asp?NAV=1&id=2149 There are others.
Last winter I bought a 5gal. box for $33 including shipment - I don't see that sort of deal still available, but you should be able to find it in the $40-$50 range. As far as supply houses go, the NERL water is pretty much a commodity, so I'd buy on price. While it seems like a lot, the 5 gal. box is compact and includes a spigot. Its actually quite convenient to refill your current water bottle.