Clean vinyl

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My son Scott created Sprout to satisfy his lust for vinyl. I don’t believe he even owns a CD.

I gave up my fascination with vinyl years ago, yet it still holds a soft spot in my heart. When I read about a product that’s life changing, I want to share with others.

Michael Fremer recently wrote about a new record cleaner in his Analog Planet column called Cleanervinyl, an ultrasonic (cavitation) cleaner. $500 and it apparently blows everything else out of the water. I’ve never tried it, but my good friend Jim McCullough has and I trust him.

Fremer reported on a $500 cavitation system which, on a whim, I bought. 

I took 4 records from the beginning of the alphabet that I knew I didn’t listen to because they were ticky and poppy, even after cleaning and vacuuming on a conventional cleaner, and generally were not rewarding listens, despite the fact that all of them had some reason to expect better than good sound.

Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Going Places: it was ticky/poppy and not the sonic spectacular it’s supposed to be.

Now, this morning, after cavitation, it is an 8 where it had previously been a 2 or 3 on some sonic scale.

I also cleaned a 1981 Peter McGrath recording, that I never listened to because it was noisy. Sounds great.

A classical Jecklin recording which I listened to once and never again because it was noisy. Now fabulous.

And the Bach/Stokowski transcriptions for orchestra, on Chandos, that HP always loved, previously unlistenable and thought by me to be a perfect example of a mispressed record. I can now hear why it was an HP reference record. Really quite unbelievable this improvement.

It’s not just the elimination of noise. Highs and lows are cleaner/clearer. Dynamics are improved “bigly”. Soundstage is bigger. Bigly.

There’s a video of cavitation of a metal part on the cleanervinyl site. It shows what cavitation does. You only need to watch the 10 seconds of what happens to the dirt on that metal part once the bubbling starts happening. And once you’ve seen it, and heard a cleaned record, you understand that’s exactly what happens and why cleaned LPs sound the way they do.

This www.cleanervinyl.com is where the rotisserie (spinning mechanism) comes from. $379.

You can buy the cavitation vat from them for $170 or direct from Amazon for $130.

$380 + $130 = $510. You do the math.

95% Reverse Osmosis Water from Walmart (@$1 per gallon), 5% Isopropyl (99%) Alcohol (@$50/gal), for the rinse.

In the vat for cleaning: 250mL of 99% Isopropyl, 8mL Triton X100 ($38/gal), 2mL Hepastat ($48/gal), fill the rest of the vat to 5 liters with RO H2O. (I think this formula is critical)

12 min cavitation at 25-30 degrees Celsius.

No drying in the vat. 2 rinses with the VPI. (also critical).

Cleaned 18 LPs yesterday. 2 batches of 4 at a time, and 2 batches of 5LPs at a time.

If it can make new records sound better, then it has to be placed among the greatest inventions of all time: fire, the wheel, Digital Lens, and cavitation.”

Thanks Jim! Great report.