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VINYL HEAVEN 3

Cleaning Your Records
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Technics Resources:

Panasonic Technics

Technics SL-1200 MkII

SL-1200 on KABUSA
KAB's Kevin Barrett is one of
the world's SL-1200 authorities

SL-1210 at Superfi

Cartridges:


Cool Gales - suppliers of
cartridges, cleaning equipment & accessories. Very helpful. (UK)


Turntables & Needles (USA)




Vinyl Care & Accessories:

British Audio Products Online -
record sleeves, care, cleaning (UK)

Cool Gales - suppliers of record
care accessories & cartridges

(UK)




Sleeve City- record sleeves (USA)


More Links


Noteworthy Audio -
record care

Analogue Seduction -
record care

Technics SL-1200 on Wakata.cz












Amateur
                    Radio
Vinyl Heaven 3 - CLEANING YOUR RECORDS

Once your Technics SL-1200 turntable is set up it's time to start spinning some discs.


But wait!

There's more! . . . . . . . .



RECORD CARE
Technics SL-1210 Mk2

Here are a few tips to keep your records in the best possible condition:-

Never Ever touch the playing surface of a record with fingers - or indeed anything else except proper cleaning devices and the stylus itself;

Always store records vertically and flat to avoid warping;

Store records in clean anti-static sleeves;

Never ever put a record down on a table or on the floor - always store vertically in its clean anti-static sleeve;

Keep the turntable, platter & platter mat clean and dust free.  It may be wise to cover the whole turntable with a special cover to minimise dust ingress.  Ensure that platter is free from dust before placing a record on it;

Brush off all surface dust with brush like the the Milty / Goldring Exstatic carbon fibre brush and velvet pad before playing a record;

Keep the stylus dust and debris free using stylus brush and, if necessary, good cleaning fluid such as Audio Technica AT607;

Play records with turntable lid down to prevent dust from falling on to the surface during play;

For the best possible sound reproduction use a wet cleaning and vacuum cleaning routine, which will be especially useful for very dirty records.


You can read more details below....



Brushes

Before playing your cherished LP's and singles a thought should be spared for their cleanliness.  A dirty and dusty record will not only impair the all important sound quality, the accumulated debris will cause unnecessary wear to the record groove and to your expensive stylus.

Exstatic Cleaning Brush
Pictured above, the Goldring / Milty Super Exstatic carbon fibre cleaning brush.

At the very least the record surface should be brushed clean before playing using a good quality cleaning brush.  Such a brush will normally consist of a line of very fine micro fibre carbon bristles in an effort to remove dust from the groove and also a velvet pad to collect the debris from the surface.

A popular example, and the one I use, is the Golding Super Exstatic Disc Cleaner, now known under the Milty brand as the Milty Super Exstatic Disc Cleaner.  This is available from Cool Gales along with other brushes such as the classic Decca Deram Record Cleaning Brush, the Decca 2 + 2 Cleaning brush and the Clearaudio Record Cleaning brush.

It can be very useful to have a small brush to clean the dust from the main record cleaning brush too.

See:
http://www.goldring.co.uk
http://www.coolgales.com



Anti Static

Milty / Goldring
                                  Zerostat
Above: Zerostat anti-static gun
The use of the Goldring ZEROSTAT anti-static gun, now sold under the Milty brand, may also help reduce the amount of static that can build up on the record's playing surface. 

Static electricity attracts dust and dirt and so having the ability to reduce the amount of static build up helps reduce the amount of dust that a record will collect.  

Zerostat recommend that the gun is used in the following way:



"Hold the Zerostat within 12" (30.5 cm) of the surface or object to be treated. Squeeze the trigger slowly for about two seconds, to emit a stream of positive ionized air over the surface of the object. As the trigger is slowly released, a negative show of air ions is produced resulting in static neutralization. Repeat this procedure at several points across the surface of the object. The Zerostat needs no batteries or electrical supply and unlike other antistatic products, the Zerostat contains no radioactive components whatsoever."

Brushing a record before a record is played each time is a necessity, however no brush can reach far enough down onto the record groove to remove all the accumulated dirt.  The only way to clean a record right down into the groove is by way of a special vacuum cleaning method.  More below > 



STYLUS CARE

Stylus Cleaning Brush

Clearaudio Stylus Brush Another useful accessory is a small brush to clean the inevitable build up of debris from the stylus.
A good one is the Clearaudio Diamond Cleaner stylus brush. This consists of a stiff brush pad with a shaped handle designed for careful dry-cleaning of your stylus.

NEVER brush the stylus assembly from side to side, this will cause irreparable damage to your delicate needle.  ALWAYS brush the stylus and cantilever assembly from the back towards the front gently.

Above: The Clearaudio Diamond Cleaner stylus brush is available from http://www.coolgales.com




Stylus Cleaning Fluid

Audio Technica AT607 stylus
                                  cleaning fluid If the stylus becomes too dirty it will not be able to trace the record groove properly and will cause audible distortion and unnecessary wear. 

It may be wise to have some stylus cleaning fluid available to give the stylus an occasional thorough clean.  There are various types available, as will be seen from the Cool Gales website. Make sure that the cleaning fluid is suitable for your stylus.

Audio Technica recommend their own AT607 stylus cleaning fluid for their products (of course). 

The Audio Technica AT607 fluid comes with a brush in the lid and should be applied sparingly, brushing only from the back of the stylus assembly towards the front - NEVER from front to back or side to side as permanent damage may be caused to the delicate and precision cantilever assembly.  

Audio Technica AT607 is a very reasonably priced cleaning fluid and is available from stores such as Bartletts Hi-Fi, Sound and Light Company and UKDJ.

< Left: Audio Technica AT607 stylus cleaning fluid

See:
http://www.bartlettshifi.co.uk
http://www.sound-light-company.co.
uk
http://www.ukdj.com


Other examples of stylus cleaning fluids: Clearaudio Elixir Of Sound, Stanton Stylus Cleaner, Lyra Stylus Performance Treatment and Groovy Stylus Cleaning Fluid.




VACUUM CLEANING - The ONLY way to get your records REALLY CLEAN

Moth Record Cleaning Machine
Above: The Famous Moth RCM
Brushing alone can never reach far enough down into the groove to remove all the build up of dirt.  It is certainly necessary to brush a record before each play, but this only removes surface dust.

The only way to clean a record thoroughly is to wet clean the record with a special cleaning fluid and brush and then vacuum the disc clean using a purpose designed vacuum cleaning device.  This will ensure that as much deep down grime as possible is removed and that records, so long as they are not scratched, will have as few ticks and pops as possible.


Perhaps the best known Record Cleaning Machines (RCMs) in the UK are made by Keith Monks but the price will probably be prohibitively expensive for the average home user.  Moth is another famous brand that immediately comes to mind.  The Moth Record Cleaning Machine is available from British Audio Products Online for a rather more affordable price of around 400 to 450, or as a kit for between 225 to 250, but bear in mind that you would need to have good woodworking skills to assemble the kit since you'll need to build a substantial plinth (the box) to mount the machine in. The Moth RCM is pictured above and is popular with many 'vinyl junkies'.


For more details about the Moth Record Cleaning Machine from British Audio Products Online see: http://www.britishaudio.co.uk
Available to buy from the online shop at: http://store.securehosting.com/stores/sh204131/shophome.php


Other record cleaning machines are made by Clearaudio; the Clearaudio Smart Matrix Record Cleaning Machine which sells for about 449, and by VPI which is a well known brand in North America.


These machines have a built in platter that spin the record slowly and will automatically apply special record cleaning fluid across the surface of the record and agitate it with a brush to release the dirt and grime. Then the in-built electrically operated vacuum sucks up the remaining fluid and dirt through a special cleaning pad/nozzle that is held against the record's surface as it slowly rotates.


For more information about these various brands see these links:
http://www.britishaudio.co.uk
http://www.keithmonks-rcm.co.uk/
http://www.clearaudio.de/
http://www.vpiindustries.com/
http://www.nittygrittyinc.com/
http://www.kabusa.com




BUT .....Let's Get Down To The NITTY GRITTY

Nitty Gritty Cleaning Machine
Above: A Nitty Gritty record cleaning machine
Unfortunately many of these RCM products may be rather too expensive for the casual home user / listener and there are other alternative machines available at somewhat more competitive prices. The name Nitty Gritty should be of great interest.

Nitty Gritty machines seem only to be available in North America, but are priced very competitively and I would think that they could be imported into Europe fairly easily.

All Nitty Gritty record cleaning machines have in-built vacuum cleaners, and come in various levels of sophistication and automation, so if users are willing to forego certain automated features, such as the auto applicator and motor driven disc turning, then even lower prices can be offered.

Find out more at  http://www.nittygrittyinc.com/  and  http://www.kabusa.com

Review:  http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue19/nittygritty1.5.htm




But Wait!  There's Yet More!

While thorough vacuum record cleaning should be seen as a necessity for music lovers, it is also unfortunate that record cleaning machines are indeed rather pricey.  Never fear though as help help is at hand:

KAB Electro Acoustics in the USA not only stock the attractively priced Nitty Gritty machines, but additionally Kevin Barrett of KAB USA has designed an even more pared down version, called the KAB EV-1, that sells for a very reasonable price indeed and is probably the most inexpensive, yet equally effective, record cleaning machine system on the market.

The KAB EV-1 manual record cleaning
                            machine
The KAB EV-1 Manual Record Cleaning Machine
Available now from  http://www.kabusa.com

The KAB EV-1 is based on the Nitty Gritty Lexan Top Plate (the vacuum cleaning plate) but is completely manual in operation, saving on the cost of a motor to turn the record, the in-built vacuum cleaner and other automated features.  You use your own home vacuum cleaner to provide the necessary suction. However, it is stressed, the EV-1 cleans to exactly the same degree and efficiency as all the other Nitty Gritty machines.

The EV-1 comes with applicator brush, 'Nitty Gritty Purifier 2' vinyl cleaning fluid, record turner and connection hose, and hose connection adapter.



Does It Work?

As an example, I selected an LP dating back to 1979 - Blondie's 'Eat To The Beat'. I chose this record not only because it is a rather dirty and very crackly sounding, but also because I just love Blondie, and getting this excellent LP clean again would be just fantastic. Before cleaning I played it to remind myself just how crackly it really was and then proceeded to clean the record according to very clear the instructions that Kevin provides with the EV-1 machine.

On returning the record to the turntable for another play, it was immediately apparent that there was significantly less surface noise. The intrusive sharp crackles were noticably reduced to such a low level that any surface noise was no longer distracting. Just as significant was the fact that the sound quality of the record was noticably clearer, more dynamic and detailed - the overall experience being vastly more enjoyable than the pre-cleaned disc. In fact it was like listing to two entirely different LP's

So, does the KAB EV-1 work? Yes - most definitely yes. If you have a collection of more than a few dozen records then this KAB EV-1 is a must-have hi-fi accessory. The beneficial effect of cleaning a record using the KAB EV-1 offers a much more worthwhile and immediately noticeable improvement in sound quality compared to spending ones hi-fi pound or dollar on an expensive loudspeaker cable, interconnect cable or equipment support etc.

I would even venture to suggest that before considering a phono cartridge upgrade in an effort to improve the quality of LP record replay, that the vinyl lover should invest in a KAB EV-1 in the first place. It may be found that the post cleaning improvement in clarity may be all that's needed, and even if a new cartridge is subsequently purchased it will be reassuring to know that it is being presented with records that are in the best possible condition and being clean will not be causing unnecessary wear to the delicate stylus tip.

I imported my EV-1 from the USA into the UK. It arrived very nicely boxed up and well packaged. The unit itself looks very well made of good quality plastics, as do the accessories. The record turner works very well, with soft, very 'grippy' rubber to hold the LP steady as it is being turned. The grey flexible connecting hose also appears to be of very high quality and fitted very snugly into our Meile home vacuum cleaner nozzle.

I must also point out that Kevin Barrett of KAB Electro Acoustics, who must also be one of the world's foremost turntable experts, provided exemplary service, being extremely helpful offering all necessary advice regarding the purchase. The product, too, is top notch.

For the very reasonable asking price the KAB EV-1 must be rewarded with a whole hearted Thumbs Up.

http://www.kabusa.com
.


Importing the KAB EV-1 Record Cleaning Machine into the UK

The KAB EV-1 could be imported into the UK, and other countries.  You'll need to add the cost of shipping from KAB in the USA plus the costs of import duty and VAT.  The duty, description and tariff that should be applicable for the UK is shown below:

UK import duty is 1.7 percent.
UK VAT must be taken into account at 17.5 percent. 
The item description for customs is:  "Powerless phonograph record cleaner made from plastics".
The UK customs tariff code is: 8479899790

The GBP / USD exchange rate in 2007 was quite favourable and made the KAB EV-1 a very competitively priced record cleaning machine in the UK.

Even as the value of the British Pound value declines in 2008 - 2009 the KAB EV-1 could still remain a very good value for money choice for cleaning your valuable record collection. 

Don't forget that when you have cleaned your records they need to be put into nice new clean record sleeves - see below.


Review at TNT Audio:
http://www.tnt-audio.com/accessories/kabev1_e.html The reviewer, Nels Ferre, concludes by saying: "By cleaning your discs with the EV-1, not only are your records spared a large amount of wear, but so is your stylus. The EV-1 could easily pay for itself by stretching the time between stylus replacements or re-tips. I purchased my review sample. Need I say more?  I would like to say "Thank You" to Kevin Barrett for marketing such a worthwhile, effective and inexpensive product."


Review at Audio Asylum:  http://www.audioasylum.com/audio/vinyl/messages/494346.html The reviewer, A Blake, comments: "...the EV1 is "serious" and I mean serious, record cleaning for under $200. I fully believe you could spend much, much more, not get anything better, and quite possibly end up with something that does not do as good a job. Very impressive."


User Comment:
Hi Mike, My KAB EV-1 cleared customs last Thursday and has now been in use for a day or so. I am really pleased with it; my vinyl sounds very, very different, and the KAB is very simple and easy to use.  No mess.  Excellent.  I have now invested in some isopropyl alcohol and distilled water to mix my own record cleaner.

Customs Info:  The customs end is now handled by Parcelforce, who will send out an invoice once the package clears customs.  You can track your package right the way through to delivery.  You can pay the customs duty and VAT fee (mine was 29.62) online and obtain next day delivery.  Good service too.

I will be emailing Kevin with my 100% praise of this miraculous little machine.  Who needs a built in motor or vacuum when this little thing works so well? 
http://www.kabusa.com

Regards to you and yours and thank you for your friendly advice and support and for publicising KABUSA.

David.

 

Here is what KABUSA say about the EV-1 Record Cleaning Machine:

"Nitty Gritty Co. of California specializes in hi value professional record cleaners. In 1992, KAB received approval to use the precision Lexan top plate -the heart of every Nitty Gritty model- in an external vacuum record cleaner of our own design, The KAB EV-1.

The EV-1 creates two breakthroughs. Weighing in at under 5 Lbs, It ships nearly anywhere in the world at very low cost. The EV-1 offers a cost savings of over $100 when compared to the basic Nitty Gritty Model 1.

For proper operation of the EV-1, you must have a home style canister or upright vacuum with hose attachments. Shop vac units are not to be used for they are too powerful.

With the KAB EV-1, you apply the fluid and rotate the records manually. Includes Turner/Label protector, applicator brush and 4 oz of LP fluid .

A great record cleaning value! And remember, with the KAB EV-1 you are getting the famous Nitty Gritty record cleaning system.

The KAB EV-1 brings professional record cleaning to more people than any other model. Manual application of fluid and record rotation, save the user a lot of money.
Most households have a vacuum cleaner, so you already have the key ingredient to better sounding vinyl. All you need now is the EV-1!
Operation is really very easy. And once you get the hang of it, only takes a minute or so to clean a record.
And remember, after cleaning on a KAB EV-1, the record is ready to play or store away. No waiting for the record to "air dry", only to become contaminated and noisy again.
The really great features to take note of with the KAB EV-1 Cleaner are, I believe, the ease of use and low cost. Ever since its introduction in 1992, the EV-1 has been a favourite of cost conscious record collectors and audiophiles.
There simply is no better way to clean vinyl. The test of time has shown that wet scrub vacuum removal is the accepted and trusted method to effectively clean vinyl. The micro groove is so small, that the least little bit of contamination left behind will make noise.
Other models offer additional convenience features like built in vacuum, motor drive and fluid application. If you find these features desirable, take a look at them. And don't miss the famous Model 1 Basic LP cleaner, a great value.
But remember, all models will clean your records to the same degree.

Kevin Barrett.  KAB USA.

KAB  EV-1  FEATURES :
KAB Gliding Platter
Wet Scrub Vacuum Removal
Velvet Covered Vacuum Slot
Direct Coupled Venturi Design
Precision Moulded Cabinet
Precision Lexan Top Plate
Dimensions 6" X 9" X 3"
Shipping Weight 4.5 Lbs
Gray Over Black Finish
1 Year Warranty
Accessories included:
- 4 oz of 'Nitty Gritty Purifier 2' LP cleaning fluid
- Applicator Brush
- Record Turner
-18" flexible Connector
-Adapters For 1-1/4" OD and ID Vac Hoses
.
The KAB EV-1
                                            manual record cleaning
                                            machine
The KAB EV-1 Manual Record Cleaning Machine
Available from  http://www.kabusa.com





RECORD SLEEVES - Protect Your Vinyl!

British Audio Products
                                  Online inner sleeves

See:  http://www.britishaudio.co.uk
Once a disc has been cleaned to such a high standard it should be put in a brand new and therefore clean and dust free record sleeve.  There are many types to chose from, but I have found that the Nagaoka style inner sleeves from British Audio Products Online are excellent. 

"They share the same static fighting properties and they don't - if kept clean inside - scratch discs, but they lack the easy-to-handle stiffness and the higher price".



These are excellent sleeves and fit the record perfectly and because they are so snug they can be slipped back inside the original paper inner sleeve.

See the British Audio store page here: http://store.securehosting.com/stores/sh204131/shophome.php

There are many different types and suppliers of this very important article, including Exstatic sleeves from Goldring and the genuine Nagaoka sleeves.



A Note About Cleaning Fluids.

There are a number of cleaning fluids available for record cleaning machines, such as those supplied by Moth and Nitty Gritty. Nitty Gritty, for example, supply two types:  "Purifier 2" which has some alcohol content, for cleaning vinyl LP's and "Purifier 1" which contains no alcohol for cleaning shellac 78's.

The Nitty Gritty Purifier 2 contains a degreaser, a static neutraliser, a mild detergent, and surfactant. It has an extremely low 6 parts solid per million dissolved solids, and is claimed to be residue free. Purifier is for 78 RPM records as it contains no alcohol. Both Purifiers are said to be totally biodegradable.


Buy Commercial Products: The commercial cleaning fluids mentioned above are available from a wide variety of sources, but here a just a few links:
http://www.britishaudio.co.uk/  visit their online shop at http://store.securehosting.com/stores/sh204131/itemdetl.php?itemcode=361
http://www.divineaudio.co.uk/hi-fi/turntable-parts-and-accessories/moth-rcm-fluid-1-litre/prod_2791.html
http://www.kabusa.com/frameset.htm?/rcleaner.htm



DIY  -  Mix Your Own Cleaning Fluid

Some hi-fi enthusiasts even make their own cleaning fluids, and there are a number of recipes available.  Cleaning solutions that contain alcohol are not suitable for cleaning shellac 78's, the alcohol will damage these discs. Solutions for cleaning vinyl usually contain very pure distilled water, plus a smaller proportion of pure isopropyl alcohol and a drop of wetting agent. 

One Formula according to Laura Dearbon's Good Sound book is:

Pure Steam Distilled Triple De-ionised Water
25% pure 'lab-grade' or 'technical grade' Isopropyl Alcohol.
A drop of surfactant (wetting agent) such as Triton X-114 from Rohm-Haas or Monolan 2000 from Diamond Shamrock.

Apparently these materials would be available from a chemical supply house.

I have not tried this home brew method yet, and I have read elsewhere that the Isopropyl alcohol proportion should be no more than 10%. So it's a case of experimentation I suppose.




Clamp It

KAB Record Grip with bubble
                                  level
Record Clamp
The use of a record clamp can help improve the sound quality.

A record grip will help reduce the resonances and acoustic vibrations that can occur during the playing of a record by holding the record firmly on the platter.

A record grip can also help with slightly warped records by helping flatten them out.

All this frees the arm, cartridge and stylus to perform a better job of tracing the record groove with the result of the best possible sound quality.

There are a number of record clamp devices available, some are reasonably priced like the one above from http://www.kabusa.com  while others can be very much more expensive.  A search of Google or Yahoo should reveal a variety.




ENJOY THOSE LP's

I hope these tips prove useful and helpful, since when you have a turntable as amazingly able as the Technics SL-1210 Mk2, then it deserves to be presented with the cleanest of records!!

Happy listening.

Mike


COMMENT:

Huw Evans comments:  "It was 1980 when I first used it, yes "SLIME" a children's toy. I poured  it onto an LP and peeled it off to discover that it took the dust off, remarkable! "Platter Plasma" I said to myself and thought, 'If you could introduce an anti static agent in to it, maybe it would increase the benefits?' The good thing about it is that the slime itself depletes, so you have to buy some more (an asset to a manufacturer). It might catch on, you never know! Regards Huw Evans" (February 2015)

Hi Huw, Many thanks for your email, it's great to hear from you, especially as you have such an interesting story! I have never come across using slime as a record cleaner. I wonder if anyone else has tried this? Thanks again, Mike.


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