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Cleaning Vynl Records

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  • Cleaning Vynl Records

    I am trying to determine the best way of cleaning my old vinyl records. While searching through the numerous cleaning solutions, machines etc. advertised I also came across a "recipe" which is simply equal parts Isopropyl alcohol and distilled water along with a small drop of liquid detergent. I tried it out on an album that I wouldn't be too upset if it was ruined and it worked very well. I know this isn't for 78s as it will ruin the shellac.

    My question is whether this is adequate, or whether it's worth the investment in some of the kits or machines that are out there. I'm not adverse to spending some money on a better product but I don't need to buy the same thing I'm using in a different package.
    Last edited by Craig Maier; 09-01-2019, 02:33 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Cleaning Vynl Records

    We use a Keith Monks record cleaner (in conjunction with the approximate formulae that you stated for Vinyl). It does a superior job that hand cleaning the record, cause it literally drives a string down into the groove to kick up the dirt and extract it with a vacuum system. However, I do not know if they make these anymore. But, ebay may be the place to look.
    "Who put orange juice in my orange juice?" - - - William Claude Dukenfield

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    • #3
      Re: Cleaning Vynl Records

      I have someone who constantly goes out and scares up all kinds of vinyl for conversion to polycarbonate (CD's). I was previously cleaning records by hand with a Discwasher, fluid and a carbon brush. After researching as much as possible I settled on the purchase of a VPI 16.5 Record Cleaning Machine. Wow! I cannot extoll fully the appreciation I have for this piece of equipment. It is very easy to use and will deep clean the nastiest of records in about 35 seconds. I have seen a lot of info posted on record cleaning machines that state just how effective they are. I would not have believed it fully until I experienced it myself. Prior to getting this machine I would find it a hassle to pull the records out, clean them by hand and thrash around with them with DC Millenium (just got DC 5). With the machine, so much additional noise is eliminated from the records that it makes them much easier to restore and I am much more apt to get to work on them. In short the machine makes life much easier. I know that the Keith Monks machine is the pinnicle of that kind of device. From my understaning if you can find one it will run in to the thousands to acquire one. The VPI was supposedly modeled on the Monks machine and is available for about $460.00

      Good Luck!

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      • #4
        Re: Cleaning Vynl Records

        Thanks for the information. I will have to look for one. I did find the Keith Monks machine on line and it does go for about $5,000.00, (but that includes the taxes and shipping) which is a bit out of my price range. Actually it's a lot out of my range.

        I have noticed how much better results I'm getting by just hand cleaning. I'm anxious to see if the machine will help even more.

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        • #5
          Re: Cleaning Vynl Records

          Keith Monks - - - 5 Grand! Hmph. Had no idea. We paid 200 bucks used about 10 years ago, but it did need a little work. Guess we better take better care of ours! I think that I am going to go and clean if off tonight!
          "Who put orange juice in my orange juice?" - - - William Claude Dukenfield

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          • #6
            Re: Cleaning Vynl Records

            Bob: can you please describe the "mechanics" of how you cleaned the vinyl album to achieve, or ensure, your good results? Did you preserve the label?
            thanks
            malcolm

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            • #7
              Re: Cleaning Vynl Records

              All I do is squirt the mixture using a spray bottle and rub the record with my hand making sure to go in a circular motion. I then dry with a clean lint free cloth. Then I gently give it a shot of compressed air to get any loose particles out. Generally I have to do this twice, I clean the record, play it on my turntable and then clean it again. It doesn't get all the dirt out by any means, that's why I'm asking for other recommendations but it makes a difference.

              This is only a hobby with me so I can enjoy my old vinyl albums from the 50s and 60s again. Thus I am on a bit of a budget, but if I'm going to spend the time I want to do the best I can.

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              • #8
                Re: Cleaning Vynl Records

                If anyone is interested in the VPI machine here is a link.

                http://www.audioadvisor.com/store/pr...sp?sku=VPI16.5

                I have researched these machines extensively on the web and it appears that it is a better unit than the Nitty Gritty machines, though they are well thought of as well, and are smaller than the VPI.

                If you search the site on the above link you will find a number of different machines available with different abilities through a wide range of prices. There is also the KAB machine which can be had for about a $140.00 and you utilize your own vacuum cleaner. All these machines are supposed to be very effective in "getting the dirt out", some are just more automated than others.

                Here is link for another store that sells the KAB unit. Just scroll down and hit the KAB button.

                http://www.kabusa.com/index_rc.htm

                Good Luck and have fun!

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                • #9
                  Re: Cleaning Vynl Records

                  Firekat,
                  After debating the issue for a while (I really didn't want to spend that much money) I broke down and ordered the VPI machine. The company said I could try it for 30 days and if I wasn't satisfied I could send it back. I figured the price of shipping was a good risk, and it turned out that shipping was free. Anyway the machine came today and I've tried out a few albums and as of now I'm not sending it back. It seems to be as advertised, I am very pleased with the results. In fact for some records which aren't too bad you ALMOST don't have to restore the recording. (Relax Craig and Rick the records are not CD quality). But I can see where it makes DC5 that much better because the software doesn't have to fool around with so much extra noise.

                  So thanks for the information, and thanks to my wife for being understanding enough to let me indulge myself with my new toy.

                  P.S. Do you use VPI replacement solution or are you going with something else?

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                  • #10
                    Re: Cleaning Vynl Records

                    Thanks for the Kab site, Firecat. Interesting stuff they have on offer. I've found that they stock stylii (?) for my turntable, which is useful as mine is at the end of its life. I can't get any spares (cartridges, headshells or stylii) for record players (other than the rubbish DJs use) in South Africa.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Cleaning Vynl Records

                      BobJ,

                      If you are at all handy in the shop, the following link may be useful for you. http://www.enjoythemusic.com/recordcleaner.htm
                      I have replicated this to an extent. I had put an electric motor in the bottom that has an RPM of 40 ($84). Found a wet/dry vac at the hardware store for $30 and used the belt-sander cleaner (rubber) and wrapped it in velvet. Also used the cleaning solution recommended on that page. Can't ask for better results in a clean record. Cost - About $130 all told. Good Luck.......
                      Ron B

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                      • #12
                        Re: Cleaning Vynl Records

                        BobJ,

                        I have only been able to use my machine for a little bit, though my experiences with it were based on an unbelievably thrashed record through to a near new 12" single (I think these were called "EP's"?). My work has me traveling and away from home for extended periods so I have not had more of a chance to experiment with different solutions. I am using a little bottle of cleaning fluid that came with the unit. When I bought the unit from a local audiophile store Music Lovers Audio & Video
                        they promised the VPI concentrate that you mix with distilled water. That was not in the box so when the store gets it in stock I will pick it up. This is a great store with lots of high end equipment that I can't afford, but it's always nice to dream, and they do have some low end systems available that far exceed regular retail commercial stuff. The people are really nice and they have this neat cat that hangs around the store.

                        I have been so impressed with the process of using the record cleaning machine that previous LP's that I have restored will be redone. With the little bit of work that I have done with DC 5 and VPI I have found that silibance and "essing" artifacts are greatly diminished. In the past I spent countless hours trying to get the best settings; with the greatest noise reduction, least dynamic range impact and the least amount of "digital artifacts". It can be quite a balancing act, though with the machine and DC 5 it seems quite a bit easier (so far!).

                        Cleaning records seems to be more of an art than a science, with many dissenting and diverging opinions. This is just one link to some good info, though I would not say that it is the absolute gospel for addressing this issue. If you are playing around with older media such as the old 78's you are probably best to follow the procedures outlined in the DC 5 manual and the info on the tracertek site. Since as we know, they have professionally restored many old recordings I would trust them implicitly on that issue.

                        Record Cleaning

                        Good Luck, Happy Listening & Happy Holidays!

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                        • #13
                          Re: Cleaning Vynl Records

                          Firekat,
                          Thanks again for all the info. I'm going to keep the VPI unit because the one thing I am not is handy with tools, so although it would be cheaper, building one on my own would not give me the results I wanted, and would probably destroy the records I have.

                          The more I work with the VPI unit the better I like it. At first I was a little timid using the brush so the results, although good, were not as good as the ones I'm getting now as I have gained experience. I too am using the cleaning solution that came with the unit, but I might switch to Disk Doctor as mentioned in the article you gave the link to.

                          I'm in the same boat as you are regarding redoing your previous restorations. Basically I'm going to have to do just about all the ones I've done since the results I'm getting now are so much better. This is a function of using the VPI, moving from DCart32 to DC5 and just learing how by doing restorations.

                          I would love to visit your local audiophile store but I'm on the other coast and it might be a bit of a commute for me.

                          Once again, thanks for all the information, and Happy Holidays to you as well.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Cleaning Vynl Records

                            Great! I am glad that you like it. I could have built my own too though for me the thing is TIME. As far as things go the VPI is a TIME MACHINE. If it cuts the amount of TIME to restore a record than it is absolutely worth the price. Now lessee... what was the price on time?

                            I have been thinking about the static issue on records as it was mentioned in the manual for the VPI. The way I figure it if you place the LP on your turntable and have some finger contact to the edge of the record and touch the metallic case of any grounded electrical appliance that you have, this might dissipate any residual charge on the record. Don't know if this works or if it is effective at all but it might be worth a shot.

                            Take Care.

                            P.S. I saw the VPI demo unit in the store and there was a fair amount of white stains in it from spilled cleaner that was left to dry (the sales guys admitted to being a little sloppy). Make sure to clean that stuff up. Oh, I also clean one LP side at a time. Figure that probably works better.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Cleaning Vynl Records

                              Here's a link I found a while ago... it seemed to be an excellent source of information.

                              http://sul-server-2.stanford.edu/bya...rent/care.html

                              It's text only (HTML format, but no graphics) so you might even want to archive the file to your HD, in case the link disappears later.

                              Happy trails!

                              [ 12-26-2002, 11:28 AM: Message edited by: greg_m ]

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