Choosing to put the money towards my next car, I decided to buy a VPI 16.5, instead of one of the better ultrasonics. I’ll say this thing is a hoot to use! Simple and perfect for a rainy day and stacks of records. They come out looking new and sounding noticeably better. Nice gizmo.
I have had a VPI 16.5 for close to 20 years. Best $500 I ever invested in listening to LPs and it is still going strong. I clean every record that comes through the door whether new or used. Every LP gets a fresh clean inner and outer sleeve.
Before ultrasonic I experimented with numerous cleaning solutions including homebrew. I found that depending on the amount of grunge, a combination of Audio Intelligent cleaning solutions worked best for me.
The sterile factory videos on YouTube for how records are made have lulled the younger generation into thinking new records are clean and made in a hospital clean setting. They’re filthy. It’s a hot and dirty process. If you’ve ever cleaned a new record on a VPI cleaner with the hose attachment for the drain, then you’ve seen what I’m talking about. Just filthy.
One thing that I notice is the different feel of the dust brush on the record before each play after the records have been cleaned. Very smooth and silky.
I have a funny/stupid story about a VPI 16.5 and obsession. I owned an absolutely original and perfect sounding first pressing of George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass. I bought it when I was in high school the day it came out. It was the kind of copy the Hoffman boys would pay a lot of money to own. Side 2 of disc 1 had visible swirls, as records do; however, it sounded perfect. Not a tick on any of the three records. I obsessed over those swirls until I ruined the record trying to clean it (the first record I attacked when I bought the VPI). I have worked hard over the years to tame my audiophile, and otherwise, obsessions in the pursuit of a myth. I don’t always win the battle.
Funny, i have an album—Milt Jackson and Wes Montgomery that has marks on the pressing that would make one think it would be unplayable. But it plays just fine. Now, where’s that sandpaper??
I color the edges of all my records with a green pen
I am following exactly same route here, clean every record coming to door, after each play. New inner and outer sleeves.
Anyone using “Revolv” cleaning fluid?
If anyone’s interested in a DIY record cleaner liquid, the old recipe I received from my audiophile mentor is distilled water, denatured alcohol, and a few drops of Kodak photo flow or similar. However much you make, the distilled water should be about 80% of the water/denatured alcohol mixture. Don’t go crazy on the photo flow… only a few drops per gallon to make the mixture flow out on the vinyl and not puddle up.
Still have the classic 16.5, use a good procedure for great results and would love to clean every record, but too time consuming, I acquire too much music and need the time to listen, just use it when necessary.
Also, this work swimmingly with a VPI style cleaner.
I use my VPI 16.5 & MoFi Super Record Wash. Been using it for many years and have been pleased with the results.
I use a similar home brew varying the alcohol concentration from 5% to 20%. I agree 2-4 drops of Kodak photo flow to a gallon goes a long way.
Help me understand. Is this home brew better quality than what is available, or is it the cost?
The short answer is it is equivalent in quality, and as a nice bonus is also less costly. Note that the majority of my records start out as very to exceptionally clean.
I have not done extensive research and comparison to all available commercial record cleaning solutions. The home brew I use has been extremely effective IME, and has not resulted in any vinyl degradation what so ever. I have used the solutions listed at the end of this to date and this is one I continuously go back to. It is based on a Library of Congress formulation. Over a 25+ year period I have cleaned about 10,000 records, most with this formulation. As well, I have had no gunk build up on phono cartridge stylus’. I suggest you give it a shot, and should you, the key is to use the Kodak Photo-flo very sparingly.
I’ll add this, my records tend to be extremely clean to start out, and the used records I purchase are visually inspected and tend to be at least VG+ and very clean otherwise they don’t come into the house. Understand, typically I am not asking too much from a record cleaning solution, I lean more to the no harm done school.
Constantly running out of commercial cleaners when cleaning records led me to pursue a home brew. Cost was a consideration, but not a primary factor. So the convenience of having an effective solution handy has been the primary motivation. I still use commercial cleaners on occasion, but honestly I can’t remember the last time I used one. I have 3-4 full bottles of the MoFi Super wash and two of the L’Art du Son as a back up.
Solutions I have used:
Home brew with varying alcohol content from 5-20%
MofI Super Record Wash
Record Doctor Cleaning Concentrate
VPI Record Cleaning Solution
L’Art du Son Record Cleaning Solution
Audio Intelligent Record cleaners (Premium and Super Cleaner)
Various other brands whose names elude me
For any record coming into the house my regimen is as follows:
(1) visual inspection
(2) Place record on one of tw VPI 16.5 RCMs
(3) sweep both sides clean of dust with a Nitty Gritty fabric brush
(4) Apply home brew solution and spread on record surface with a VPI brush
(5) Follow-up while record surface is wet with a Record Doctor or MoFi record cleaning pad
(6) Vacuum dry with VPI 16.5 RCM
(7) Apply distilled water rinse and spread it on the surface with a VPI brush
(8) dry with VPI 16.5 RCM
(9) visually inspect record and re-clean if necessary
(10) Place record in rice paper sleeve
(11) Place record jacket in mylar sealable sleeve
I have considered an ultrasonic cleaner , but just do not want to invest the time in the process. I have come close to purchasing one three times in the last 18 months. I have an average of 12 LPs per week added to my collection of 10,000. The ultrasonic method is even more time consuming at 10 -20 minutes per record, totaling 2-4 hour per week. Personally, I don’t enjoy the record cleaning aspect of the hobby and would rather listen to music.
Hope you find this helpful.
I know a real expert in all that washing topics who told me what’s really recommendable to put together as an ultrasonic cleaner instead of the market ones around 3,3k, which is suited for multiple records and with much higher intensity etc. But he also said, if one doesn’t have to clean mainly dirty originals, it’s not necessary, so I stayed calm
I use the Loricraft PRC4. It appears Mr Fremer also uses one. It’s very effective, quick and quiet. I got a nice deal from Terry O’Sullivan. He’s since sold the business to SME (presumably semi-retired) and they’ve just brought out a new version that looks much the same (except the pice).
The Loricraft is great, wish I had one. When using an ultrasonic, one anyway needs a normal machine afterwards to get it all to a good end result.