Either one is a major step beyond the Disk Doctor including other NON emzyme base soak cleaner products and methods,this includes steam cleaning.
My experience using Walkers fairly recent addition of the Step 4 rinse ,I realized it completes his already fabulous Prelude product.
I have not compared Audio Intelligent to Walkers Prelude,less the Step 4 rinse.
However what Doug Deacon had to say about the A I.
I would guess it equals Walkers product on its own. Perhaps the Step 4 takes it to another level.
Seriously, I do not know what you are waiting for.
All that you have read about these products by seasoned members is true.
The results from using these Lp cleaning methods are far from subtle.
In the past 25 years using various record cleaning machines including many products on the market.
It's incredible to me what emzyme base cleaners will do.
You WILL re-discover your music collection....
I just decided to move up as well and ordered the Walker products. Should get them today. Can't wait!
Agree with Stiltskin. AIVS and MoFi's enzyme based fluid systems go far beyond DD. Waiting until you run out of DD is just wasting precious music listening time. Use the DD to wash the car or something.
I haven't compared Walker's fluids, but since the theory is similar I'd expect similar results.
Sorry, I haven't done a head to head comparison of the current AIVS to the Walker Audio Prelude that I use. As Stiltskin and Doug say, both products work well.
Walker Audio offers a full satisfaction guarantee, return the unused portion and they will refund your purchase price (not shipping). AIVS used to offer a sample trial kit of the fluids, they may do still.
Whichever fluid you use, upgrade your VPI 17F with the replacement vacuum wand now being offered by Walker Audio (recent thread here
This isn't a perfect comparison, so take it with a grain of salt, but:
I have taken albums cleaned with a VPI machine and AI listened to them, and been happy. Upon visiting a friend, I heard obvious improvement after he cleaned my LPs with Walker's system including step 4, and the same VPI 16.5 that I have.
Even better, after listening he re-cleaned the LP using the new Walker Vortex tube on the VPI and the improvement was startling! Stuff that I can't see is getting removed from the album, because at casual glance, the records were already clean, but you can certainly hear the difference. Remarkable. Cheers,
Steam beats them both. But I do like using the AI cleaners and pure water rinse. I must admit that all of the positive comments about the Walker solutions makes me a little curious. But then I hear that the Walker rinse has something else in it. Anyone know what that something else is and does it get left behind?
I believe accurate comparison between two such fine products may be a crap shoot, because us end users perhaps only have one criteria to measure by, and that is our ears. As far as scientific analysis, does any of us possess lab equiqpment, or other devices to accurately measure thier findings under strict controls.
By saying this, one could perhaps also conclude that they used Walker Products first, then repeated thier cleaning regimem with AIVS, Mo-Fi, Premier, or other cleaners-rinses, and came up with similar, but opposite findings, in that the latter cleaners seemed to offer improvements.
The actual "true" conclusion could be that two, or more cleanings resulted in a cleaner LP, versus just one of any particular brand.
As a reader of this thread, I might be inclined to try Walker, but again, how would I know my findings are accurate, cleaning an LP that was once previously cleaned with XYZ cleaners, and followed up with Walker cleaner, and then claimed that Walker is of course better, and getting my Vinyl cleaner. My findings would be flawed, and not give a true accurate analysis of one product versus another, due to lack of controlled scientific testing.
This does not at all make any claims by myself that other user's opinions are in error, they may very well be noting improvements, but perhaps not for the reasons that they believe. Mark
To quote myself from an earlier thread:
I spoke with Lloyd today about the Step 4 final rinse and was told it is composed of ultra-pure water, a teeny bit of alcohol, and 1% of a secret ingredient. It replaces the second pure water rinse in the Prelude regimen and Lloyd suggested it made a 10%-15% improvement.
I've tried a bunch of different cleaners over the years, though not the AIVS. And I trust my ears. I can tell the Walker is the best I've tried because its results are clearly audible.
After using the original Prelude regimen for many months, I then tried the new Step 4 Final Rinse. It was better than I expected and again, results were clearly audible. After rinsing records previously cleaned with Prelude, results were not subtle. I heard less surface noise, but more impressive was the real, substantive increase in harmonic and overtone information. Record after tediously cleaned record, I continue to be impressed with the Prelude system.
FWIW, my experience with Walker Audio Prelude and the Step 4 Final Rinse matches Jtimothya's experience. But regardless of my choice of Prelude, I'm convinced that you can't go wrong trying one of the top cleaning regimens recommended here and then trusting your own ears and experience. Using either Walker or AIVS is going to be way better than most (if not all) of the other alternatives out there.
And, I do agree with Markd51's observations about testing any of these very good products against one another. I've heard of lots of comparisons, but most that I've heard about are the serial cleaning with one product followed by cleaning with another product. Not a very good methodology in my opinion for a controlled test, for all the reasons Mark highlights. The only viable way to do a controlled comparison test would be with multiple identical copies of the same LPs from the same pressing run and adjacent to one another in that pressing run. I don't have a reliable means for doing this type of controlled comparison.
Agreed Rushton, I think life is too short, or full of other things, that would make us normal end users resort to such scientific testing.
And that's why we have these forums, to hear of other's findings, because perhaps in some instances, we might take then advertisement of "miracle claims" by manufacturers (for any product) with a grain of salt, believing "it is perhaps too good to be true".
I think there is one things we will all conclude to agree upon, is that with any cleaning product, a good rinse-rinses as a final step will increase the efficiency of "any" cleaner, be it L'Art Du Son, LAST, Disc Doctor, Nitty Gritty, VPI, etc etc.
I recall Doug Deacon stating that he, and Paul use two final rinses with AIVS, and at first I thought this might be a bit of overkill, but I myself am also doing this too now, with every record that goes on my 16.5.
More costly, and a little bit more time consuming, yes, but aren't our treaured LP's worth it!? :-)
I feel it insures that any remaining cleaning residues are "hopefully" whisked away in the process. If as Jtimothya says, that he noted an improvement with a final step 4 rinse, after the Prelude Cleaners, this "might" indicate that something was still left in the grooves that the step 4 finally removed?
As noted, this rinse, with the addition with an alcohol, is no doubt acting as a surfactant in a way, reducing water tension, enabling the rinse to perform better? Mark
Markd51, like you, I also do a double rinse with Ultra Pure water -- doing so made a difference and I continue doing so even with the addition of the Prelude Step 4 Rinse to my process.
As you surmise, the Step 4 rinse does have less surface tension than the Ultra Pure water and Lloyd tells me that this is the reason for the addition of that small amount of alcohol. He says the alcohol also acts as a drying agent. The nature of the additional secret ingredient is something Lloyd keeps to himself, other than to say it leaves absolutely no residue and aids in the final removal of anything remaining in the grooves.
For those who have experimented with steam cleaning, or are dedicated users of steam cleaning, you may be interested to know that experiments with steam cleaning are what pushed Lloyd to develop the Step 4 Final Rinse. A member of the local Philadelphia Area Audio Group used Prelude and added a steam cleaning step. Lloyd heard a further improvement by using that steam cleaning step, and Lloyd is ever pursuing any improvement in sonic results that may be possible to obtain. The Step 4 High Resolution Rinse is the result of his push to make the cleaning process even better. The audio group member has now adopted the Step 4 Rinse saying it provides an even greater improvement than the steam cleaning step without the risk of heat damage.
OK. Thanks to all for the input. I'm impressed by Walkers fresh enzyme approach, but AI seems to present less of a problem in terms of what is left on the vinyl at the end of the process than step4 of Prelude (although there appears to be a method to Lloyds madness). Any chemists have an idea as to whether a small amount of alcohol in last application can lead to any dryout or breakdown of vinyl? After all, my approach to vinyl is like a doctor-patient. First, do no harm.
Gpgr4blu and all, there is no residue left on the vinyl after using the Walker Audio Step 4 Rinse and no risk to your vinyl from the minor amount of alcohol.
Disclaimer: I'm certainly not a chemist, just a dedicated vinyl lover who's used a lot of different cleaning fluids on my LPs over 30+ years.
... but AI seems to present less of a problem in terms of what is left on the vinyl at the end of the process than step4 of Prelude (although there appears to be a method to Lloyds madness). Any chemists have an idea as to whether a small amount of alcohol in last application can lead to any dryout or breakdown of vinyl?
Please excuse, I don't mean to be contentious but I'm not following. What is it that AI leaves less of? I thought you had not tried either cleaner?
I have not tried either cleaner. According to the info in various threads and the products websites, the final rise with AI's last step is pure de-ionized and highly filtered water whereas Walker has a very small amount of alcohol and another ingredient in the 4th step rinse. These ingredients, I surmise, may be left on the vinyl at the end of the cycle. Of course it is possible as well that the alcohol and extra ingredient is not left behind or left behind in such amounts as to not have any impact whatsoever on the vinyl even over the long term. That's why i referenced chemists in my latest query. If you have LLoyd's ear Jtimothya, I'd love to hear the theory as to why the final rinse is something other than pure filtered de-ionized H2O. What's the upside and downside (if any) to additional ingredients?
You are correct with your speculations,
LLoyd Walker has a history of failed and reckless attempts to improve vinyl play back.
Walker's product's are nothing but snake oil.... and his turn table and arm! geez
I confess, LLoyd payed me to hype his product's.
Stick with your Disc Doctor cleaning fluids, they leave nothing behind and have no harmful ingredients
I have a question: is it worth using the full Walker regimen on brand new vinyl? I've been purchasing old sealed vinyl (and brand new pressings as well). I'm just wondering if I'd be wasting these precious fluids on them or whether it's just as applicable.
And do any of you ever use Last preservative?
Has anyone compared steaming with any fluid regimen head to head against either of these two systems alone. Reading a post like this tempts me to try the Walker system but then when I consider the price and the success I'm having with Disc Doctor, Steam and type I reagent grade water I find myself sticking with my less expensive and quicker regimen. Also, is the Walker enzyme mix available separately or does it have to be bought with the rest of the system?
Madfloyd, yes. It is worthwhile using the full Prelude regimen on new high quality vinyl. I demonstrated this with some members of our local audio group during a gathering at my house last weekend. Everyone heard the improvement in clarity and resolution provided by cleaning a couple of new LPs member had brought to play (one was a recent Groove Note pressing, "Percussion Direct," the other a Music Matters Blue Note reissue, "Little Johnny C").
I used the Last Preservative for many years with no adverse effects, but I stopped using it some years ago when I switched to using Disc Doctor and now Prelude cleaning fluids. With really clean vinyl and care in use, I'm not inclined to make the significant investment in the cost of the Last Preservative. I also decided after some comparison listening, that the Last was leaving a slight sonic signature - not as much as the signature left by the original Research Labs fluids, but still audible.
Madfloyd, To answer your specific question, about using a complete four step Walker regimem on new, or sealed vinyl, and is it a waste of time, or waste of products-money, I feel the answer is no, you will reap benefits with vinyl that will be cleaner than directly from the jacket.
There's the argument about Mold Release Formulas, some say they have it, some say they don't.
I try not to discriminate with any of my LPs, whether they were thrift shop finds, or brand new expensive current releases, and perhaps with the thrift shop finds, I may do a repeat step with an enzyme cleaner and/or let this step remain longer on an LP.
Provided that a person uses a good, trusted brand of cleaner, or a properly made DIY, good techniques, and preferably a good RCM, I'm of the belief that any good brand of cleaner, such as VPI, LAST, Nitty Gritty, AI, Walker, Mo-Fi, L'Art Du Son, and others would be a benefit, rather than a detriment, provided you have properly removed said cleaners with a good rinse technique, with very high quality waters-rinses.
As a side benefit, your Stylus will also thank you as well.
From what I understand, Vinyl continues to also leach plasticizers during its life span, so perhaps although some people may not be aware of this, at some point in the future, vinyl again should be re-cleaned. This point in time may vary, and may be hard to determine by an end user. It perhaps depends upon enviornment, the frequency of use of the vinyl, and how the vinyl media is handled.
In regards of LAST Vinyl Preservative, I've used this product for quite a number of years, and quite a few of my LPs were treated with it. I'm sure countless others here have used it as well on the vinyl.
This is one product which may not be the norm, in comparison with other "treatments", such as Gruve Glide.
I've never noted any detriment in using it, my treated vinyl all plays extremely well to this day, and many end users reports seem to usually point to "they think they should not use such a product for ultimate playback", yet you won't find many who will say that they heard a detrimental sonic signature by using LAST.
IMO, one of it's biggest downsides is cost. I once lost 1/2 a bottle, tipping it over treating an LP! A quite expensive mistake, as this liquid evaporates faster than you can say "oh hell"!
Although I still have a full bottle, and a half lying around here somewhere, I have not used the product for a number of years now. This must be a personal choice to try. Try it on a few LPs, and see what you think?
Sonofjim, you can buy the enzyme mix separately. Elusive Disc sells it
, for example. But, I don't think the replacement kit comes with a mixing bottle or measuring scoops so you may have to sort that out independently.
As to a head to head comparison of steaming with one of these cleaning regimens alone, that is what the audio group member I mentioned in my earlier post
was doing. He's now stopped using the steam cleaning step and is using only the full Walker Prelude system.
If you have LLoyd's ear Jtimothya, I'd love to hear the theory as to why the final rinse is something other than pure filtered de-ionized H2O. What's the upside and downside (if any) to additional ingredients?
The final step of the Prelude system had been 2 pure water rinses. I found that very effective, and inexpensive, especially if you buy reagent grade water in bulk. (I'm using NERL.)
As I understand it Lloyd's rationale for the composition of his new Step 4 rinse is grounded in hearing results of its use. As I noted above I hear less surface noise which I attribute to a *cleaner* record rather than otherwise. I attribute hearing more music information to the stylus more directly riding the ridges of a now cleaner groove. When I bought the additional Step 4, Lloyd remarked 'listen for yourself'.
So, to respond to your query about "why is it what it is" finds an answer suggesting "because it sounds better".
Is there a downside to the specific formulation of Prelude Step 4? Since I have been using it I find no evidence of that. My stylus certainly stays clean. This is not to say it has no downside, but it is hard to prove a negative over a very long time period.
While chemist's speculation might be of some value, if someone has access to an electron microscope that might prove more definitive of physical change.
In the meantime I'm accepting that: a) there are no guarantees, and b) I'm willing to trade whatever theoretical risk there may be for the beneficial results. **At this time I believe there is no more risk in using Prelude than there is in actually playing the record.**
Wrt mold release agents, my understanding is that the modern vinyl press does not use such a compound, with vinyl released from the previously heated polished mirror-like surface of a stamper by cooling it. For older records, the most effective product I've found is MicroCare Premier
which I vaguely recall employs Dupont Vertrel as its solvent.
Thanks Jimothya. Very informative. Agree on microscope. Chemical analysis and microscope would be even better. But, highly impractical.