Kirmuss Audio Ultrasonic RCM?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Steve0, Apr 28, 2018.

  1. Mugrug12

    Mugrug12 Black book/Grappling hook

    Location:
    San Francisco
    Thats cool but you say you've no vested interest in one machine or another. But If kirmuss is so good it will disrupt your business as your customers could buy one and not need your service. So you do have a business interest in discussing and casting doubt on kirmuss. Everyone else here who does the same are just concerned about their record collections. This is why I'm commenting on the honesty of your discourse in this thread.

    Dave
     
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  2. Record Genie

    Record Genie Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Natick MA
    I understand what you're saying.. I don't want to confuse anyone, so I'll stop commenting after this, at least for now..

    It's always been the case that if a customer has enough records in their collection they want to clean, and the time do it themselves, that they would go ahead any buy their own equipment.. I've had some customers over the 5 years do just that and get an Audio Desk or Klaudio, knowing first hand exactly how each different machine cleaned their own records before they spent their money.. Other customers bought their own 40/60/80khz tank cleaners and paired them with a rotisserie arrangement like a Vinyl Stack..

    With the "cost of entry" to ultrasonic record cleaning lower than before then the "cost/benefit decision" for a collector is of course different.. Plenty of people who are willing to spend the time and effort are already using 40khz (or higher) tanks safely and to great effect, and I don't really see what Kirmuss offers that's new at twice the price of $800, other than easier loading/unloading and the uncertainty of whether a 35khz tank, those chemicals, using the same brushes/cloths, are actually safe for records..

    The bottom line is that people have choices, they can buy proven equipment for less than Kirmuss is asking, or use a cleaning service, plus many record stores now have cleaning equipment. There are a lot of records that need cleaning, and I'm not the only credible service now, times have changed since 2013 when I started something completely new with one Audio Desk and one Klaudio machine..

    Please just use common-sense, keep your eyes and ears open, and listen to your BS detector! Michael Fremer is skeptical for good reason, and I know he really cares about records and their preservation for future generations, so hopefully he will get Kirmuss to properly explain all that he has said so far in another interview, get him to publish his research, or maybe both..
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2018
  3. Leonthepro

    Leonthepro Skeptically Optimistic Autodidact Debater

    Location:
    Uppsala Sweden
    It wont though. He already said what he offers is time and effort saved with his service. And given how slow Kirmuss machine is it still will. Anyone can buy an ultrasonic machine or make their own if they really wanted to. Even an Okki Nokki will do fine for cleaning. But people still use these services. Kirmuss wont change that market much if at all.
     
  4. bluesaddict

    bluesaddict High Tech Welder

    Location:
    Loveland, Colorado
    Just thought you might want to ask him so you could get first hand knowledge and maybe get a better understanding of his process.
     
  5. Drewan77

    Drewan77 Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK/USA
    Charles Kirmuss posted on this thread May 7-8 & no doubt he will be along soon to address the various questions raised & links to the technical reference documents referred to. It seems unlikely that he is no longer looking in on this discussion & I would expect he is following with interest.
     
  6. bluesaddict

    bluesaddict High Tech Welder

    Location:
    Loveland, Colorado
    I have chatted with Charles a bit. With Denver being his home I would think he will be at the Denver audio show this fall and get to chat more face to face.
     
  7. Smokinone

    Smokinone Active Member

    Location:
    Southern Nevada
    I found this on Wiki, and it may solve the "anti-freeze" propane debate. I think Charles may have gotten something confused early on with the surfuctant terms.

    Ethylene glycol solutions became available in 1926 and were marketed as "permanent antifreeze" since the higher boiling points provided advantages for summertime use as well as during cold weather. They are used today for a variety of applications, including automobiles, but gradually being replaced by propylene glycol due to its lower toxicity.

    So where Charles states the solution was propanol in the first video and on the web site, it may have been the propylene solution, which is anti-freeze?

    But it still leaves the question of using it on vinyl, and is it really an effective anti-fungal - surfuctant?
     
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  8. Shawn

    Shawn Forum Resident

    You keep bringing up the cost as being $800, but it was $650 at AXPONA. Perhaps they regularly charge less at audio conventions? Also, you mention concern about the ultrasonic operating at 35khz, wondering where/how you discovered this?
     
  9. Record Genie

    Record Genie Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Natick MA
    It's $850 on the Kirmuss Audio website, which you should read carefully (mentions 35khz a lot):
    KirmussAUDIO - Ultrasonic Record Cleaner, Audio Cables

    It's based on this 35khz iSonic P4875 tank based rcm, with rotisserie replaced by Kirmuss 4 record insert:
    iSonic Inc Ultrasonic Cleaners

    Interestingly, the iSonic P4875 has 3 heater settings: 122F, 131F, 140F, (or 50/55/60c) which are all too hot for safe record cleaning. I saw on the video that Charles Kirmuss recommends 95F max, so what are the heater settings on the Kirmuss version? Also, since ultrasonic cavitation generates heat and will cause the water temperature to rise, how is the unit kept at safe levels if cleaning more than a couple of records in a row?

    Hope that helps!
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2018
  10. Rentz

    Rentz Forum Resident

    Location:
    Texas

    Correct I’ve only seen people getting the cheap price at show, and Mr Kirmuss even mentions the frequency saying it makes their unit superior but from all I read it can chew vinyl
     
  11. Record Genie

    Record Genie Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Natick MA
    I'm not absolutely sure that 35khz will damage or "chew" the records, but it is a concern people seem to have, given that the lower the ultrasonic frequency, the harsher the cavitation action, and everyone else is using 40Khz or higher. What is a safe low frequency limit for vinyl records?

    I edited my comment above to add the following about tank operating water temperature, which I know will damage records if too high:

    "Interestingly, the iSonic P4875 has 3 heater settings: 122F, 131F, 140F, (or 50/55/60c) which are all too hot for safe record cleaning. I saw on the video that Charles Kirmuss recommends 95F max, so what are the heater settings on the Kirmuss version? Also, since ultrasonic cavitation generates heat and will cause the water temperature to rise, how is the unit kept at safe levels if cleaning more than a couple of records in a row?"
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2018
  12. Leonthepro

    Leonthepro Skeptically Optimistic Autodidact Debater

    Location:
    Uppsala Sweden
    Its really simple, more intense physical interraction = better cleaning but also more wear.
     
  13. Shawn

    Shawn Forum Resident

    Right, I'm just wondering where it's proven 35khz will damage records? Not saying it does or doesn't, but raising a red flag around this without any proof is just as bad as unfounded claims by Kirmuss.
     
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  14. Record Genie

    Record Genie Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Natick MA
    Can you remember exactly where you read that 35hz "can chew vinyl" and post a link for everyone to read?

    I know I read in that monster "DIY thread" that thread creator "bbftx" had concerns that some cheap Chinese tanks might be operating at lower frequencies than their claimed 40khz, and that they could cause damage, but I don't know what frequency, and why he thought that. There are commercial parts washer tanks that are designed run as low as 20khz, but those are for cleaning metal parts, engine blocks, heads, carburetors etc, and not anything delicate. I searched that thread just now and couldn't find anything, it's 190+ pages over almost 6 years now..

    So, assuming that 35khz is okay, or even superior as Charles Kirmuss says, then my other concern would be that the Kirmuss "system" has no cooling provision for the cleaning solution, to ensure a stable operating temperature that gives consistent results.. Cavitation increases as water temperature goes up, but too hot and you risk warping the records, too cold means cavitation and cleaning effectiveness will be reduced. If you start off properly by degassing your cleaning solution and heating it anywhere close to a safe but warm 90-95F, in my experience with tank cleaners the temperature will exceed that safe level after continuous operation when cleaning batches of more than a handful of records, since cavitation generates a good amount of heat..

    Admittedly this is the same problem you'll have with any other cleaning system that uses a significant wattage of ultrasonic power, but having a filter loop can provide some level of cooling, and if needed a radiator with thermostatically controlled cooling fan can be placed in the loop (like later Klaudio machines use, earlier ones could overheat) to maintain the correct operating temperature in continuous use. There is no filtration provision with the Kirmuss "system" although the provided iSonic P4875 tank does have a drain, so it's possible one could be added, although you'll need to design and build it yourself.. Thankfully there's plenty of info about filter loops on the "DIY thread"..

    Sorry about writing more on this, after saying I'd stop posting for a while.. Yes, I do clean records commercially, and was therefore accused of having a business interest and bias against the Kirmuss "system", but cheaper tank based setups have been available to those who want them for quite some time now, so it's a bit of a moot point..

    I hope anyone reading my posts can see that I just want to point out potential problems for those who might be new to ultrasonic cleaning and "blinded" by the "marketing sizzle", and I don't want to see anyone unfairly taken advantage of.. I think everyone should experience the joy of playing really clean records, and my approach to any cleaning equipment is purely based on practical considerations - If you're paying good money, what you get really should work properly as promised!
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2018
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  15. Smokinone

    Smokinone Active Member

    Location:
    Southern Nevada
    I for one don't think you should quit posting, a lot of what you say can be food for thought that's for sure. The Kirmuss has a lot going for it I think in the fact you don't have to skewer records, as you just drop the record in and clean it and wipe it basically. If and when I get an US cleaner, I'm pretty sure I'll use the vacuum on the OKKI at some point after the US clean. After all, I don't think any of us live in a "clean room", so no matter what you do, or how long you do it cleaning wise, the record is subject to all the elements around you and is going to pick up some contaminants if that's what you want to call it. We all should do the best we can, cleaning wise, within a budget we can live with, and continue to play records. Any cleaning method in my opinion is better than no cleaning. I went from gluing and finishing with a Spin Clean, to my OKKI. All have made improvements in what I listen to. It took me a while to get the OKKI, so I used the other methods until I could afford better things, just as I try to buy better quality records as I progress in the hobby.

    we all have opinions, and we have a great sounding board here to express them. If we all agreed to the same things, there would only be one method of cleaning, or one type of car etc., etc.
     
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  16. Smokinone

    Smokinone Active Member

    Location:
    Southern Nevada
    Says $850 in one part of the web page and $795 just above it and I believe was at 795 or 800 in another narrative on the unit. I think the price is going up...and down. Shawn got his for $650 show price, and another show price was $700. I think a couple of vendors are at $795.00 with free shipping. So kinda all over the place. the isonic record cleaning machine is about $625 at amazon.

    I don't think there is a heat setting on the Kirmuss if you look at the control panel it's just on/off, pulse, and time. I believe it is permanently set to the default 95. Simple controls.
     
  17. Smokinone

    Smokinone Active Member

    Location:
    Southern Nevada
    Just reviewing the first video where Mr Kirmuss says the surfuctant is propanol or propane-2...so it's Isopropyl alcohol...just gets more confusing really.
    Propanol
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Not to be confused with profadol, propofol, or propranolol.
    There are two isomers of propanol.

    • 1-Propanol, n-propanol, or propan-1-ol : CH3CH2CH2OH, the most common meaning
    • 2-Propanol, Isopropyl alcohol, isopropanol, or propan-2-ol : (CH3)2CHOH
     
  18. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Audio Note (UK) dealer in SoCal/LA-OC

    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    I spoke with (well, mostly listened to) the Kirmuss people about why their's is better than ANY other kind of record cleaning. They were very, very technical and intelligent about their record cleaning theories. I was mostly convinced that their research and development is extremely valid. I ordered one at T.H.E. Newport Show, and if I like it, I will be a dealer for them in the Orange County area.

    They say that you MUST dry a record after any wet cleaning, to remove all impurities from the record cleaning solution before the solution evaporates. There are only 3 ways to dry a record after cleaning: vacuum, blow dry, and manual (with a cloth). Blow dry, like the AudioDesk, is the worst because it evaporates the fluid but leaves the impurities. They say vacuum is almost as bad, because even though you think you are removing everything with the vacuum, actually you are just blow drying in reverse. Most of the impurities still remain, plus air from the environment being forced past the record grooves, carry even more impurities onto the record surface. Either way, the impurities harden, and effect the sound, not only adding noise, but also obscuring the high frequencies. Hand rubbing with a cloth is everyone's least favorite way to do it (because of more effort required), but a cloth is the best way to pick up the impurities and the fluid at the same time.

    They say that their machine is basically just a mass produced ultrasonic cleaner for jewelry. They did make a few subtle modifications, but they buy it from the original mass-producing manufacturer. So, it is still good for cleaning many other items beside records. The only part they created was the cover, which hold 4 records at once, and motorizes the turning of the records. This is why their machine is less expensive.

    So, they have tests that show their frequency is optimized for cleaning anything, including records. They have more tests that show the vacuum machines and the blow-drying machines, cause records to have rolled-off high frequencies due to deposits from impurities that gum-up the grooves. But cloth drying, from their tests, removes impurities more completely, and therefore does not have the problem of high-frequency loss.

    And, they say that mold accumulates with time in the record grooves when you seal records in their jackets. So they want us to apply a bit of anti-fungal spray (which they supply) to every record after cleaning.

    Regarding the term "surfuctant, as far as I know the only thing it means is an additive to help a cleaning solution "wet" or adhere to a surface that would normally cause cleaners to bead-up on the surface. So it provides a mechanical aid in cleaning.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2018
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  19. DaveyF

    DaveyF Forum Resident

    Location:
    La Jolla, Calif
    The idea that vacuum drying a record adds environmental impurities seems to me to be complete bunk. Blow drying in reverse carries more impurities onto the surface....???
    If anything, drying with a cloth would more likely lead to impurities being introduced into the grooves by any crud left on the cloth...from having it in the dryer or wherever else it was stored.
    That cloth had better be ultra soft and perfectly clean, otherwise scratching the vinyl is a possibility.
    An anti fungal spray....yikes, what kind of surface additive is that going to leave behind!
    As a record collector for more than forty years, I can say that I (nor any of my fellow collectors) have ever had any issues
    with a quality vacuum record cleaner. Reducing the high frequencies of the record by this method...really! How would these guys know that when they are listening to Bose speakers for their tests, lol.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2018
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  20. rollo5

    rollo5 Forum Reprobate

    Location:
    Altadena, CA
    Off topic, but if that was your Audio Note room at the Newport Show, kudos! I really enjoyed it.
     
  21. Leonthepro

    Leonthepro Skeptically Optimistic Autodidact Debater

    Location:
    Uppsala Sweden
    A cloth is not the least favorite because it takes effort, its because its the most primitive and seemily least effective. If its so incredibly picky about contamination and impurities then you should only use a cloth once and throw it away, even then there might be impurities on it from the factory. Its also bad at covering the whole record area. A simple circular wipe wont cover every micron spot of the grooves . And where is the source for vacuum suction just being air drying in reverse? And its supposed to contaminate the record by blowing air? Do people play their records in space these days or am I missing something?

    Link me those studies of RCMs removing high frequencies.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2018
  22. Leonthepro

    Leonthepro Skeptically Optimistic Autodidact Debater

    Location:
    Uppsala Sweden
    Thats what Im saying. Wouldnt it be amazing if what some percieve from Vacuum cleaning as better dynamics and frequencies is actually worse altogether? I just believe it to be confirmation bias, but oh my days.
     
  23. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Audio Note (UK) dealer in SoCal/LA-OC

    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    I hope nobody is shooting me just as a messenger. I am not sure that I believe what they say. But it's a new set of theories to consider, and I too would like to see the hard data from their research.

    Philosophically, I never liked the idea of an AudioDesk RCM blowing air across a record to dry it. But now they inspired me to think, good or bad, sucking air across a record vs. blowing air across a record may be more similar than different. They claim that both directions of air flow bombard the record grooves with whatever impurities happen to be floating around in the room's air. Maybe they are right, and we have been fooling ourselves that vacuuming a record is so perfect at removing everything.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2018
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  24. Rentz

    Rentz Forum Resident

    Location:
    Texas
    I've read so may diy threads researching this i cant remember, i know somewhere it said the stronger cavitation could cause damage to the grooves which makes complete sense but i dont think it was scientific finding or anything
     
  25. psulioninks

    psulioninks Forum Resident

    Location:
    Kansas City, USA
    Regardless of what machine you choose to use, I have recently found that it is incredibly important what solution you use in your tank. For quite some time I had been using an ultrasonic cleaner with distilled water only in it as the second stage of a four part cleaning regimen:

    1. AIVS Down with Dirty soaking each side for 5 mins then vacuum with VPI 16.5
    2. Distilled water rinse in Spin Clean
    3. Ultrasonic with distilled water
    4. L'Art du Son final application then vacuum with VPI 16.5

    When using this method, I never saw much of anything in the ultrasonic tank or Spin Clean. For the past couple of months now my process has been:

    1. AIVS Down with Dirty soaking each side for 5 mins then vacuum with VPI 16.5
    2. Distilled water rinse in Spin Clean #1
    3. Ultrasonic with DIY cleaning solution
    4. Distilled water rinse in Spin Clean #2
    5. L'Art du Son final application then vacuum with VPI 16.5

    Not only do my records sound incredibly quiet, but I am finding lots of debris now in both the Ultrasonic tank and my Spin Clean #2!

    For those who care, here is my cleaning formula:

    Triton X-100 - 5 ml
    Hepastat 256 - 3.75 ml
    Isopropyl Alcohol - 6 ml

    I make about 5-6 of these home brews at a time putting them each into 15 ml plastic bottles. One is used per gallon of distilled water. For my 6 liter tank, I make two gallons of the cleaning fluid as it takes a bit more than 1 gallon to reach the right fluid height in the tank. I then top the tank off with another 200 ml of Isopropyl Alcohol.

    This is working great for me! The point of my post is, ultrasonic machines are great...but be mindful about what you are using as your cleaning solution (if you want clean records).
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2018
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