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2 Questions cleaning and mono albums

 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3602
Registered: May-05
First question is probably the easiest one...
I just received a ton of vinyl from a friend. Some are mono. I see cartridges designed for mono. Would my stereo cartridge have any problems? It may sound stupid, but would they cause damage to my cart or would my cart damage the albums? They're vinyl, not shellac albums.

Now for the hotly debated and never-ending part...
These albums are pretty dirty. Some have mold on them. While going through them and making sure the albums were in the right jackets, my hands were a mess. And I barely touched the albums.

I'm contemplating a few different cleaning methods/machines. They are the Spin Clean, GEM Dandy record cleaner, and the KAB USA EV-1.

Links -
http://store.acousticsounds.com/d/58982/Spin-Clean-Record_Washer_System-Record_C leaning_Machine

http://www.kabusa.com/frameset.htm?/

http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/gem/dandy.html

The Disc Spin turns me off a bit because the records sill basically sit in their own filth and contanimate each other with their filth. But they claim that there is something in the cleaner than binds to said filth and makes it sink to the bottom. Its also the cheapest option by far. Some people love it.

The KAB EV-1 is more or less a re-badged Nitty Gritty. It doesn't have an internal vacuum; you hook up your own. My apprehension lies in that using the same brush for the albums, won't I be transferring some of the mold and dirt to the other albums? The album gets vacummed off, but what about the brush? It seems like it'll be a cesspool for fungus and other disgustingness after a few albums. I'd rather buy the KAB than a Nitty Gritty. It'll save me some cash to put toward more music. I already have a good vacuum.

Then there's the GEM Dandy. My gut tells me this is the best way to go, as I won't transfer much if anything at all from one album to the next. If you've ever used a pressure washer for anything, you know how well they blast away dirt. I just don't know about tap water drying on my albums. Will it leave some deposits? I have pretty good water, but its not distilled. The albums will get dried off with microfiber towels, but something will remain. I don't want white spots on my albums. It also seems like I can make the damn thing for about $10. Not that I have the time, patience, space, and most importantly the tools and dimentions.

What do you guys think? Anyone tried any of these or more than one?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 14256
Registered: May-04
.

The Gem Dandy is an effective cleaner but you pay for its low cost by trading efficiency and the absolute mess it creates in a typical kitchen sink.

There are plenty of DIY cleaners available on line that all rely on a low priced shop vac for power. Low price implies relatively low power which is desirable for record cleaning. You generally need more vacuum power than your Dyson can pull but not as much as some of the high priced shop vacs offer which can actually damage the typical LP.

If you're looking for bang for buck products, look towards something similar to a DIY. And, if you think about it, the magic of most cleaning machines is in the devices that touch the disc. A bit of velvet or some microfiber around the brushes and any shop vac can sucessfully be turned into a record cleaning machine if you have some patience and the desire to be very careful with your touch. You don't really need fancy housings and platters if you can work carefully and steadily with the disc on a pad of microfiber towels.


And that's the benefit of the Nitty Gritty machines, you virtually cannot screw anything up even though you're still using what is essentially a shop vac pass through motor attached to a wand attached to a cabinet. At the entry level of cleaning machines you are paying for the more or less implied guarantee of not damaging your records as easily as you might with anything less expensive, less Rube Goldberg or less effective. If you have a record collection you need a vaccum cleaning system. You will not hear the best sound from your vinyl unless you can remove the crap from the groove. So spring for a vacuum system - even if you clean all your discs and never need it again, you can sell a cleaner on line for about what you paid for it. There are always people looking for a deal on a cleaner and they do not linger on the pre owned pages of Audiogon. Thing is, I doubt once you use a vacuum cleaning system you'll want to not have it available.


Read through the archives here for my DIY cleaning solution and procedure. If the solution with a slight addition of EverClear doesn't remove the grunge on your discs with a microfiber towel and a cleaning machine, then you need to consider how much trouble you'll go to for the music contained on that album and then either move on or head to the prepared solutions that are intended specifically for such difficult cleaning jobs. Disk Doctor has one of the better but not too expensive solutions for moldy records.

There is no compromise for extremely dirty or moldy records when it comes to the decision to buy a vacuum cleaner or not. You'll never get the grunge off the disc without the assistance of a vacuum.


Cleaning the grunge and not transferring it from disc to disc requires you have more than one cleaning wand and/or towel and a dedicated evening of cleaning only filthy records. You wash and wash again and rinse and rinse again and you rinse and replace towels and pads frequently during the course of a long cleaning session. If you make a conscious effort to not spread the crap around, you'll do fairly well. You'll find more on this in my thread on DIY solutions and the DIY solution's low cost makes a double wash and repeated rinsing bearable. For the severly nasty discs a quick wash and rinse with plain tap water can remove most of the surface crud before moving on to a vacuum cleaning.


As to the cartridge, you can play your mono LP's with any stereo cartridge. Look here, http://stereophile.com/artdudleylistening/605listening/ for some information regarding mono vs stereo playback. If your table doesn't allow the easy exchange of cartridges, then you probably don't want to bother with a different mono cartridge - though once you become dedicated to mono material a dedicated table set up for mono playback is cheap and advisable.

If your albums are of the newer variable pitch variety, they will look to the naked eye very much like any other LP in your collection with shiny and dull streaks running through the course of the album. These can successfully be played with any cartridge with just a little adaptation as outlined in Dudley's article. Of course, any mono disc will benefit from a stylus change. Eliptical styli are an invention of the stereo era and conical styli work best with any vintage mono disc. If you have a cartridge that has a user changeable stylus assembly and that stylus is available in a conical version, buy the conical stylus.

A large difference in mono vs stereo playback of vinyl is how the cartridge responds to motion. A mono cartridge is only responding with output made from horizontal movement of the stylus. If you playback with a stereo cartridge, your cartridge is meant to respond also to vertical movement of the 45 degree variety which provides channel separation left to right. You can rewire the cartridge but that tends to be dangerous if you're not that good at rewiring cartridges and the cloodge provided in the Dudley column works just about as well as a dedicated mono cartridge. It comes down to the cartridge picking up vertcal movement in the mono disc's groove which it then translates into noise not heard through a dedicated mono system. A dedicated mono system with a cartridge designed explicitly for mono playback and not just rewired internally from a stereo version provides cleaner sound and "blacker" blacks in between notes. This might be a moot issue for you right now since the discs are in such bad shape but you can consider just how much you find to enjoy in mono playback.

Most mono discs were made long before the soon to come rush to run everything through various electronics and overdub or mix channels. (If you're unfamiliar with Les Paul's early attemtps at making a "mix" from several mono takes, do some reading, it's worth your time as an audiophile.) This, mono recording from vintage studios, is the essence of "direct to disc" recording as all the performers played together as they would in a live performance and compression along with now common studio manipulations are totally absent from vintage mono discs. PRaT is emphasized as the performers are responding to one another and not being layered into a "mix" weeks or even months after the fact. Other than a bit of gain riding by the engineer there is no compression of natural dynamics. Through a high quality mono system soundstages emerge with surprising depth and a narrowly defined but easily preceptible width that represents what was there to begin with and not manufactured by the engineer afterwards. Listening to mono playback can be almost as much of a revelation about how recordings should sound as you would find in attending a live performance. Equipment used during the mono era was all tube and you can hear both the good and bad points of vacuum tubes residing in the groove. If you like what you hear from this experiment, try finding a few of the original Mercury Living Presence or RCA Living Stereo pressings in mono. Any of the Blue Note or Chess recordings from the late '40's and early '50's are worth a listen. They are cheap and rather easy to find in second hand shops since most "audiophiles" still spurn mono recordings despite their superior in some ways sound qualities. With top notch sources you can find a new appreciation of what your modern day recordings are doing either poorly or nicely. On top of that, mono playback opens up an entirely new world to the listener who can find original recordings not normally availble from roots artists like B.B. King or early Johhny Cash. Hearing the performance as it was laid down is still an education for most of us when compared to hearing the same selection done as a digitally remastered CD. If you listen at all to classical performances, then mono will, IMO, be a step up with performances from the original artists.

Most of all, if you find the music interesting, you tend to learn better how to listen beyond the imperfections of a recording to get directly to the performance itself. Mono wil also teach you quite a lot about the quality of any modern system when all but the music is stripped from its bones.


.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3604
Registered: May-05
The information is much appreciated Jan. My cartridge (Dynavector 10x5) isn't easily changed and doesn't have an interchangable stylus. I like the idea of a mono set up, but don't have nearly the catalog to justify the purchase. I haven't inspected the new albums carefully enough, but I quickly spotted a half dozen or so mono albums. Off the top of my head there are 2 or 3 Beatles, 2 or 3 Rolling Stones, and 1 Hendrix mono titles. I'm sure there's a few more hidden in there.

The info on mono in general was very interesting. I knew some of the advantages, but not the depth of what they were talking about. I'm sure it goes much further than that.

I'm torn between the Gem Dandy and vacuum cleaners. I understand the mess aspect of it, and that's a big turn off.

It seems like you've used both or something very similar. Regardless of price, mess and convenience, do you feel one does an inherently better job than the other? I think the pressure should get pretty much everything off, but vacuuming makes a ton of sense too.

Being in the health care field, I'm very obsessive compulsive with cross contamination. That steers me toward the GEM Dandy. But something else I just thought of - will spraying off all that mold release it into the air and all over my kitchen or bathroom?

I've got a few weeks before I plan on buying one, so I'll mull it over.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3605
Registered: May-05
As for the DIY RCM route, I don't have the tools or the appropriate space for something elaborate. If I had a basement or garage, or it was warm enough to work outside, I'd consider it. DIYing a simple vacuum wand could happen, but I'd probably butcher my albums with it. I'd rather spend the money and get the right thing then tinker with it, ruin some albums, and then end up buying what I should have bought in the first place. My track record in things like that speaks for itself.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 14188
Registered: Dec-04
Amen on the track record, Stuie. Roger that.

Nice record collecion there old boy, I will follow with interest.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 14257
Registered: May-04
.

"I'd rather spend the money and get the right thing then tinker with it, ruin some albums, and then end up buying what I should have bought in the first place."


Then spend the money once for a good vacuum system like the Nitty Gritty.


.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3606
Registered: May-05
Any insight on the VPI 16.5?

I watched some You Tube videos of people cleaning their albums with Nitty Grittys and VPIs. While both seem overpriced to me (then again, what isn't overpriced?) the VPI seemed far more convenient. There is a guy who added steam cleaning as one of the steps. I'd like to try it, but wouldn't want to do that on a Nitty Gritty.

I currently use an old Technics TT to clean my vinyl on. The financially responsible part ot me says to scrub and steam on that, then transfer to the Nitty Gritty for vacumming. The other financially responsible side of me says get the VPI and be done with it.

Music Direct is bundling cleaning fluid (one of which I own), MoFi inner sleeves (which I use and need more of anyway), and a extra brush with the VPI, sweetening the deal. The better (or more convenient) machine with $100 worth of stuff I'd need to buy anyway makes it tempting, but $550 seems pretty steep to me.

A few sold for $400 on Audiogon. I doubt they lasted long at all.

Any insight on the VPI would be greatly appreciated, as is everything so far.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 14259
Registered: May-04
.

The VPI is my choice given the difference in price over its nearest entry level competition. However, virtually all vacuum based cleaners operate in the same fashion and you are merely selecting features that you find convenient when you choose from column A or column B. If you're stretching your budget to the $2,500-3,500 range then you can do very slightly better than either the VPI or NG by investing in the redone Monks machine or a select few from the high end of the cleaning systems manufacturers. However, the difference is slight and wouldn't be noticed I think on all but the most extravagant of systems. Different fluids have more effect on cleaning than do the actual machines.

I've not seen any side by side comparisons that prove conclusively one machine is better than another between the VPI's and the NG's. The difference exists far more in the fluids and how they are applied and then removed. I find the most common problem with most cleaning machines is the user's reluctance to put sufficient amounts of costly fluid on the disc in the first place and then to actually scrub their precious vinyl with enough pressure to actually do anything worthwhile. Not enough fluid on the disc and a light touch on the brush/towel and all you do is spread loosened dirt around while not suspending the material in an aqueous solution that can then be vacuumed away. (Keep in mind the "detergent" in any cleaner is not the ingredient doing the actual cleaning. Soaps and detergents are there to act as surfactants which allow the water better flow characterisics. Surfactants then work with the water to hold the dirt and contaminants in suspension until they can be removed, hopefully in this case, by a good vacuum system.) Lower cost DIY fluids make the liberal application of enough fluid possible and are about as good as most non-specific cleaners you can buy and not that different from many offered at higher cost through the aftermarket. Difficult problems require something more than DIY solutions but in my experience those situations are not at all common so keep a bottle of a good aftermarket cleaner on hand for thise times. If you use the correct cleaning brush - I prefer the VPI brush for very dirty records and a micro-fibre towel for most others - you are not going to damage your records by applying it to the disc surface in the direction of the groove - bi-directional scrubbing works best - with some degree of vigor to actually do what needs to be done.

Steam is a good idea since hot cleans much better than cold in most situations. Steam however poses its own problems and requires some getting used to along with systems that do not drip or burn the user. My own DIY system uses water heated to a higher than tap temperature which gets the job done and doesn't make a mess nor risk damaging a record label.

Personally, I find using an old turntable as a cleaning base to be a PITA. If you buy the VPI, one advantage over the NG is the size of the platter and the potential for more fully automated operation. However, I still prefer to clean my LP's on a large terry towel folded and refolded over the course of a cleaning session. Everyone's different in their likes and dislikes here but I can control the solution's application and the amount of scrubbing power better on a towel than on a platter. A towel is also easier to clean and change out when you're working with extremely old or filthy discs. Either way, the NG is at a disadvantage when it comes to having a good cleaning surface and becomes, IMO, more likely to either not get the job done as well as the VPI or to be more of a hassle than the VPI or a towel.

Overall, the VPI's have a reputation for being more convenient and slightly quieter than the NG's. Both can do the job equally well if the user is doing their job well. The NG has the advantage of lower entry price and smaller cabinet size. The VPI is more convenient and despite its slightly larger size keeps everything neat and tidy if the machine is going to sit out - which makes it more likely to be used even for a quick before play swipe. I think you'll also find it is far more convenient to dispose of the dirty fluid the VPI gathers, the NG's are still, to my knowledge, somewhat messy in this regard. The top of the line VPI machines do virtually everything for you short of pulling the disc out of the sleeve and replacing it with a smile without sacrificing results. If you have the cash and can handle the size of the VPI, the deal offered is, IMO, worth the investment.

The only exception I make to the VPI recommendation comes down to price. I own a Disk Doctor machine which was a very stripped down (mostly cosmetics) NG that sold for $199 when it was on the market. Rather like owning a stripped down hot rod or a non-automatic camera, it does only what it needs to do - vacuum the disc - and I do the rest. That made the trade off between it and the VPI acceptable given the price difference. I still like cleaning the disc on a towel vs a platter and I like the simplicity of the DD. If you could find one on the used market - not likely, buy it and move on to cleaning discs. Otherwise, you will appreciate the sound of any disc you clean on a vacuum system and the intial cost is more than made up for by the money it would otherwise set you back to gain the same sonic improvement in your system while still playing dirty LP's which the improved system would only make more evident are in need of cleaning.


Buy a vacuum cleaning system.


.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 14190
Registered: Dec-04
http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=14322
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3607
Registered: May-05
You basically reinforced my opinions of why to buy the VPI over the NG. I didn't think the VPI would get the LPs any cleaner on its own, I thought it has a far more stable base to scrub the LPs and turns the records for me, which frees up a hand. I was looking into their entry level model which doesn't apply fluid or scrub. I'd rather do that myself anyway.

I wouldn't want to scrub an LP on a NG. I hadn't thought about the benefit that the VPI is faster and more convenient to get up and running would make it more realistic to clean more often.

I agree that the scrubbing and vacuuming are far more important than which machine I'm using.

After my wallet recovers from Christmas and New Year's Eve, VPI it is. When factoring in the convenience, the $100 worth of free stuff I'd have bought anyway (which narrows the gap in price), and the amount of vinyl I know have, its a lot easier to justify the added cost. The only extra thing I think I should get would be another cork mat - one for dirty sides to sit on, and one for clean sides.

The $350 NG becomes $450 after buying the extra stuff. The extra $100 for the VPI isn't that much because I'm going to get a good amount of use out of it. I just have to keep repeating that in my head!

My handheld steamer works pretty well and I'm used to using it (not on vinyl though). There's a guy on You Tube using one similar to mine with a VPI. He has one or two too many steps IMO, but who am I to say so? I haven't heard his albums.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6OjtKUZ048

Thanks Jan.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3608
Registered: May-05
Nuck -
I saw that same guy's thread on Audio Circle. It looks great and I'm sure it works great too. I lack time, a table saw, and most importantly a place where I can create a bunch of sawdust.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 14260
Registered: May-04
.

http://www.mapleshaderecords.com/audioproducts/deepcleaningsystem.php
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 14191
Registered: Dec-04
I placed an ad on CAM a while back, looking for others to join me in a group buy of the vpi 16.5 rcm.
While there wasa group of 4 of us to buy, not a single dealer responded to my ad, asking for pricing(not disclosed on the forum).

Not a single dealer responded to the competative pricing ad.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3609
Registered: May-05
Thanks for the Link, Jan. I've seen that before. My handheld steamer is basically the same thing. While I haven't checked the temperature of the steam, it hasn't burned me (I've accidentally put my hand closer than I should have), and it doesn't drip unless its just about empty.

My plan is rinse the LPs off under tap water to get rid of the easy stuff (there's a lot of it), steam w/ distilled water, clean and scrub with super deep clean, let it sit for a minute or two to soak in, vacuum, rinse w/regular cleaner, vacuum. If I need another steam after the rinse, I'll do that too. Let the LPs dry a little more, then put them in a new MoFi sleeve.

I don't think I need to go that crazy with new vinyl. I think steam 'em, clean w/ regular cleaner, then vac and store in a new sleeve.

Obviously there will be some trial and error. If they're not clean enough, I'll change things up a little.

The stuff I just got is pretty dirty. I guess that's what happens when they sit in milk crates in an unfinished attic for 20+ years without anything to protect them. Even the crates are pretty bad.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 14192
Registered: Dec-04
A labour of love...
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3610
Registered: May-05
It truly will be, Nuck. There's so much good stuff in there. Entire catalogs from Cream, Yardbirds, Jeff Beck, Hendrix, and on and on. The guy who gave them to me plays guitar and has played with some noteworthy people. He played in a band with Ace Frehley before Kiss, and co-wrote a song or two on Ace's solo album. He still jams with him from time to time, along with some of Ace's famous friends.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 14197
Registered: Dec-04
Then you will be a charity for one of this years questions for a cleaner, LOL!
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3645
Registered: May-05
I just ordered a KAB USA EV-1. I figured the almost $400 I saved ($150 vs $550) can be put to a new DAC. It should be here in about a week or two. I'll update when it arrives.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kevincorr

Fairbanks, Alaska Usa

Post Number: 675
Registered: Jul-07
Hi guys.
The new Feb issue of Stereophile Mag recommends a cheap one that "...really, really works". The Spin Clean for $60. I guess since I never got one the good ones I may as well go for this.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3669
Registered: May-05
Good to hear from you, Kevin.

I was contemplating the Spin Clean too. My concern is that there's no vacuum or pressure removal of the stuff. I'm pretty sure it works well, as many have said. That Stereophile report also said it wasn't as good as a vacuum method. Still good, but not quite there I guess.

The albums I got are pretty dirty. I guess that's what to be expected when they get stored in an unfinished attic for a about 3 decades. I think for semi-regular cleaning and maintenence, the Spin Clean would be a great way to go.

Let me know how it works out for you. I'll report back on the KAB EV-1 when it arrives.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3697
Registered: May-05
The KAB EV-1 arrived a few days ago. I got a chance to clean a few albums and spin 'em.

I first rinsed them in the sink making sure to keep the labels dry, and gave them a quick wipe with paper towels. There's a lot of dust and grime on them that would probably take forever to get off if I didn't. They're so bad that there were instant finger prints everywhere I touched them.

After that I put them on my old Technics turntable, which has a rubber mat that makes very little contact. Turned it on and hit them with the steamer, about 4 or 5 inches away.

Used some Mofi Super Deep Clean, spread it out with a KAB fiber and nylon brush while the platter was spinning. Turned off the TT, and scrubbed clockwise and counter-clockwise.

Threw it on the EV-1, turned the connected Dyson on, and vacuumed it all up. Then repeated on the other side. Put them into a fresh Mofi inner sleeve, put them back in the cover, then used a fresh heavy outer sleeve.

I've used the inner sleeves and heavy outer sleeves for a while now. They're a great investment IMO.

There is a small drain plug on the EV-1, which I pulled after I was done. The water was pretty disgusting - a greenish brown color.

They came out looking like new. And they sound fantastic. I'm not sure what was most responsible, because I never used just one part, and didn't hear the albums before (they were given to me). I'm pretty sure it was a little bit of everything. The water that came out of the drain would have probably stayed on the albums if I didn't have the EV-1.

The whole process was a lot easier and less monotonous than I thought it would be. I should have gotten it a long time ago. I'm pretty happy I got the EV-1 over the VPI, as it saved me about $400 and the convenience features of the VPI aren't worth it IMO. If I didn't have the Technics deck, it would have been a lot more tedious and difficult. I got 6 albums done in about 45 minutes, set up and break-down time included. I'm pretty sure I can cut some time off the process as I get into a routine.

I also cleaned my old copy of Pink Floyd's The Wall. It was just about unlistenable before, due to pops and clicks. They're still present, but there's far less of them and they're no where near as loud. After I cleaned both discs, I was holding them at the right angle and noticed there's a lot of bubbles/dimples in the vinyl. Both sides of both discs. I'm pretty sure that's the cause of the remaining noise.

If anyone following all that doesn't have a vacuum cleaning machine, the EV-1 is a solid choice IMO. I have little to compare it with, but they reportedly all clean to the same extent. The EV-1 is an entry level Nitty Gritty minus the ijnternal vacuum.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 12200
Registered: Feb-05
Nice write up, Stu. Cleaning your records makes a huge difference.
 

Gold Member
Username: Soundgame

Toronto, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 1121
Registered: Jun-08
Nice to hear it's working well for you Stu. I dread cleaning my records...love to play, dread to clean. Sounds like you've got something working well for you. All the best.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 533
Registered: Dec-06
Now that I have a table I've been on the lookout for some cleaning accessories. My records are in pretty good shape and they've always been handled carefully; with this in mind I am opting against buying an expensive unit. However, some are close to 30 years old and could definitely use a cleaning. I was initially going to go with a totally manual method (Audio Intelligent solution and cleaning with a brush) but I've decided to give the Spin Clean a shot given all the good reviews it's had.

Other than this I will get a Clearaudio carbon fiber record brush for that quick swipe before I put the needle down.

A vacuum unit works well I guess because after loosening up any dirt in the grooves it then sucks that dirt up. I am hoping the Spin Clean brushes adequately dislodge any dirt stuck in the grooves of the record and then given that the record is bathing in a liquid solution, the liquid would just carry the dirt away and to the bottom of the pail. This is the idea at least and judging from user reviews it seems to work well.
 

Gold Member
Username: My_rantz

Gold CoastAustralia

Post Number: 2960
Registered: Nov-05
What table did you end up getting, Dan?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 12215
Registered: Feb-05
Yeah..what table did you get? Inquiring minds...!
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 14619
Registered: Dec-04
What did I miss, Dan?
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 534
Registered: Dec-06
Sorry guys, I got the MMF 2.2. Same as Art, in black. Picked it up this past weekend. (I got stands as well Nuck! Reference 3A stands. Still determining placement at this point but I think I've got them set pretty much right).

I may get a KAB EV-1 like Stu did. I'm not sure yet. There is one review of the Spin Clean (I think it was at Positive Feedback) and the reviewer suggested using it in conjunction with the KAB. Do your cleaning with the Spin Clean and then drying with the KAB and your own vacuum cleaner, total cost is $220. But I'm not sure if that's a bit of a waste of money, considering you can clean via the KAB and skip the Spin Clean altogether. The Spin Clean seems like it wouild be cleaner and easier to use, however. I will probably run the vinyl through the Spin Clean cleaning solution, then distilled water to rinse, and then to the KAB to dry.

I notice in your review Stu, it seems like you only used the KAB to vacuum and not to clean. You cleaned on your old Technics table if I read it right.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 12221
Registered: Feb-05
Congrats, Dan. The 2.2 is a cool table. I just received my phono stage on Monday and have played one record each morning before work and it sounds very nice.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3701
Registered: May-05
You're correct. You can't put much pressure on the LP on the KAB because there's no platter. And I'd have to spin the LP manually.

I used the Technics because I can scrub as hard as I want (not that I'm scrubbing LPs like pots and pans) and the LP spins for me. It made things a lot easier for me. There was also a bit of water on the Technics' plinth from overrun from spreading the fluids and scrubbing. I wouldn't want that on my Xpression.

I'd skip the spin clean unless you don't have a good way to scrub your vinyl (you can always put them on towels). The KAB gets things done very well.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 536
Registered: Dec-06
Nice to hear about the 2.2 Art. I haven't listened to it yet but it seems to be well built for it's price. It'll be a little while before I get what I need to start listening. Cleaning supplies (will go with a Clearaudio carbon fiber brush for a quick swipe of the record before I play it) and I need to pick up another interconnect as well.

I'll have to mull over the Spin Clean a bit. Given the price, convenience, and it's apparent effectiveness, it really seems like a good deal. I've been thinking about how I would scrub and rinse my records without it, and I can't imagine doing it and not getting water on the paper part in the center. And of course just making a mess. So I will probably buy one.

The preamp I got is a Cambridge Audio 640P. I had a tough time deciding whether to go internal or external. I figured that going external would give me more flexibility. It will do both MM and MC and I can always change to an internal phono stage and sell the CA probably quite easily. I really don't know how far I will get into vinyl and so figured that flexibility should be a priority at this stage. The 640P seems well regarded too.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 12222
Registered: Feb-05
The 640P is a nice and versatile phono. Good match for the 2.2. I really like how the Creek sounds...I was surprised at how good it is for the dough. I would stick to MM with the 2.2, the higher output means lower noise in the end (with a budget table and cart) because it isn't amplified at the same level. Keep in mind that you will be limited in Cart selection until you buy a heavy counterwight.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3702
Registered: May-05
The 640P is the best phono stage at the lower price points that I've heard.

I really think the whole 'be really careful not to get the label wet' thing is overblown. I saturated my LPs with running tap water, steam, and commercial cleaner and had no problems with labels. I didn't submerge them, but I wasn't conservative by any means. I think the labels are far more resilient than most people think. If getting about 2 inches away from them with a steam cleaner isn't going to damage/remove the label, I don't know what will.

I'm not trying to sway your opinion as to what to buy; just letting you know my thoughts and experiences.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3703
Registered: May-05
In fact, I can't say I've ever seen a label come off a record. I have a few that were stored under a porch in Northeastern US for over a decade. All labels were intact. One or two had scratched or gouged labels, but nothing from the elements.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 14628
Registered: Dec-04
Just rodent droppings, bites and a few bits of a nest?
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 538
Registered: Dec-06
No worries, Stu. Those labels all seem to be pretty thick, with a semi glossy coating that feels like it would repel water to some degree. So I definitely understand where you are coming from. Pretty sure I will bite on the SC though. For $60, the ease of use and lack of mess seems worth it to me. I'd probably pay that much just to get the proper solutions and brushes and what not even if I opted to go without a machine of any sort. And then the KAB is probably the cheapest way to do the vacuum thing.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3704
Registered: May-05
"Just rodent droppings, bites and a few bits of a nest?"

And mold, dirt, mud, decomposing paper inner sleeves to name a few more. My father hid a keg cooler full of albums there after years of my mother nagging him to get rid of them because he didn't have the heart to get rid of them. That's where my Santana and Hendrix collections came from. All original pressings. After some elbow grease they came out surprisingly listenable. Now that I've got the KAB and steamer, they're flawless sonically.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3705
Registered: May-05
Basically, I'm doing a combination of what these guys are doing.

The second video gets a little too OCD, even for a guy like me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SkeUW7kxuM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6OjtKUZ048

Whatever cleaning method you use, make sure you're using new inner sleeves. If you're not, you're just putting a bunch of dust and mold right back onto the record. I really like the Mobile Fidelity sleeves -

http://www.musicdirect.com/product/73913
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 542
Registered: Dec-06
http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=186385

This is interesting. Dish soap and water. What do you guys think of this method? Seems that those posters at AK that tried it enjoyed the results. I suppose if you use the right brush then you won't scratch the record, and dish soap isn't all that harsh. One poster even suggested using the all natural and free of dyes and perfumes Seventh Generation brand.

If I were to do this I would probably use a brush made for wet cleaning of vinyl, and then a rinse with distilled water, and then a vacuum dry. I'm kind of leaning this way. I was going to buy a Spin Clean but they are on backorder everywhere now.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stryvn

Wisconsin

Post Number: 1215
Registered: Dec-06
I have been cleaning my records in this manner for a few years with good results.

I use RO water (I installed this sytem when I built the house) and just a drop or two of dish soap. I don't believe the soap does any of the actual cleaning. But it does help break the surface tension of the water. Then a careful (as in, stay off the label) rinse again with the RO water. A microfiber towel to dry. Works pretty good for me on some very nasty records purchased used. I also use this method for records that just sound dirty.

Also, I cut the bristles of the paint brush down a little bit just to stiffen them up some.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 543
Registered: Dec-06
Vacuuming seems like a good step, but I wonder if it's necessary when using this method. The soapy water and brushing, then rinsing, will clean out all the grooves and flush away the debris. A rinse with distilled water should prevent mineral deposits from the water from settling on the record. So air drying seems like a viable option, as the water should evaporate and leave nothing on the record.

I believe vacuuming has two purposes when used with cleaning machines like the Nitty Gritty. First, it lifts off the cleaning solution or water used to clean the vinyl. Second, it lifts off debris that is still on the record, considering what most people do is simply brush on some cleaning solution but don't actually wash it off with running water. Essentially what they are doing is dislodging debris and pushing it through the gooves with the brush. So it's loose but still on the record. Vacuuming should get it off. With the soapy water method that should all come off the record when rinsing.
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