Quick review: Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab One Record Cleaning Solution

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Ghostworld, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. Ghostworld

    Ghostworld Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    US
    http://www.musicdirect.com/p-3634-mobile-fidelity-mfsl-one-record-cleaning-solution-16-oz.aspx

    I just thought I'd post my opinion of this easy to use solution. I've done about 10 records and I'm quite happy with it.

    I've always been skeptical about quick cleaning records. I know LP cleaning machines do a great job cleaning discs, but I've never had success wet cleaning records with brushes (e.g. Discwasher brushes - although I use a dry one before every play). For some reason, wet cleaning a record with brushes always left more muck on my LPs and left them sounding worse. However, given MFSL's experience with great vinyl, I thought I'd give this cleaner a try. I was interested if an all-in-one cleaner from MFSL might be the "D-4" (DiscWasher) replacement that should have been created three decades ago. I am happy to report this is an excellent cleaning solution! It works as advertised and leaves no residue on the records! The cleaning secret, however, is not to be frugal with the solution. You really need to wet the record. Get as even a coat as you can on the vinyl, almost a wide puddle and let it sit for about three minutes, then remove the fluid and you'll hear a vast improvement. I was really surprised with my success. As I've said, this is the first brush-applied cleaner I've used that ever worked and didnt wind up leaving even more gunk on the LPs. My technique: I have three old Discwasher brushes around. I use one to apply a heavy layer of the fluid (yes, while the record is on my platter, I'm not sopping it wildly). One to remove most of the fluid. And after a minute of self-drying, I used the third brush for a final "polish". This system works great and leaves the records shining again. I give this product a 9/10 for doing what is promises. If you don't have the loot for a record cleaning machine, or the patience to hand wash, towel and rack dry your records...this stuff is the answer! Thanks, Mobile Fidelity!
     
    LeeS likes this.
  2. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    Good to know; thanks for the details!
     
  3. artfromtex

    artfromtex Forum Resident

    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
    I just bought a bottle of this along with an MFSL brush. Thanks for sharing your technique.

    I bought a couple of replacement brush pads, I'll try to rig something up and give your way a try this weekend and report my results.
     
  4. Ghostworld

    Ghostworld Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    US
    Let me know how you like the MFSL brush, I've been eyeing one of those.
     
  5. PJJK

    PJJK Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Pennsylvania - USA
    Any word on that MFSL brush? I'd like to try this record cleaning solution but am wondering what kind of brush.

    Let me know if you have a brush to recommend! Thanks!
     
  6. LeeS

    LeeS Audio Research Fan

    Location:
    Atlanta
    Nice review, thanks! I use the MFSL solutions and brushes and find they work well.
     
  7. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    I use the MFSL cleaning brush with a tergitol solution bath (complete submersion of the whole record in the solution), and then I lift it out wearing gloves and go around both directions twice on each side, and it is extremely effective. I replace the pads every probably hundred records or so cleaned. I only use the wet brush for wet cleaning, and it seems to work extremely well. Big fan of this brush for wet cleaning. (Less a fan for dry cleaning, I find it hard to wipe the dust off the record with it, leaves a track behind in my experience.) In any case it's a cheap brush, definitely you should have a couple laying about anyway, and I can't imagine a better brush for a wet scrub, it really gets in there great.

    Then I submerge the record in a distilled water rinse and shake it around under water, then set it to dry on a rack.

    This method is very economical for me, very fast to clean a whole lot of records and 'trashed' goodwill finds, and yields exceptional results. Unless it's scratched, or been played dirty so the grime is heavily worn into the grooves, stuff will come out NM or M. Pretty dang amazing.
     
  8. SBurke

    SBurke Nostalgia Junkie

    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    I have one of the brushes. Not bad but in my experience dry brushing just piles up the dust and particles and doesn't get them off. With your submersion method, what do you do to protect the label?
     
  9. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    Absolutely nothing! You could buy some of those label protector things if you have collectible records you're concerned about, but I've washed more than 400 records using this method and I can think of about 3 or 4 that had any ill effects of note. One weird polish record the red ink washed into the water, one record had a double-label and the outer one bubbled up a little bit, and a couple show minor water marks around the edges. That's basically it. The labels are cured and fused to the vinyl at high temperature, they are essentially unharmed. I don't have collectible records really, so i'm not concerned about it. I just want to get the play surface as clean as possible and as simply and quickly as possible as I can, without the need for much expense.

    On almost all of my records, new and old, you would have no way of knowing they had been completely submerged in water. I read a lot of people talking about various methods to wet-clean without letting any moisture touch the label as if it would explode or something, and I just kind of assumed none of these people had ever even tried getting the dang things wet because it seems like an unjustified fear to me, unless you have seriously valuable rare vinyl that you were very careful with, and concerned about that 1% of labels that might be slightly tarnished in some minor way.
     
  10. Bill Hart

    Bill Hart Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austin
    The MoFi brush is great. I use it as an applicator brush, one of four, as part of a multi-step (Walker) solution(s) along with a vacuum RCM- basic VPI. The MoFi is nice ergonomically, I pre-wet each applicator 'brush' when I start, so I am not applying a dry brush to the record surface even if it eventually gets 'wetted' by the solution on the record. If you order it, order the replacement pads at the same time to save on shipping cost.
     
  11. PJJK

    PJJK Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Pennsylvania - USA
    What kind of towel do you lay it on while you're doing the brushing on each side? Maybe I'm overthinking this... ha ha ha ha. What kind of tergitol mix do you do with water? Is it with distilled water?
     
  12. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    I use the Library of Congress method: http://www.loc.gov/preservation/care/record.html

    I bought the Tergitol 12-S-3 and 12-S-9 from Talas: http://apps.webcreate.com/ecom/catalog/product_specific.cfm?ClientID=15&ProductID=17376

    I mix it in a gallon of distilled water, then pour the solution into a 13" x 2" round baking dish, and then another baking dish with pure distilled water rinse (which I change frequently).

    I use generic unpowdered vinyl examination gloves, and just submerge the record, shake it around in the solution, then hold it in one hand and wipe around (with moderate pressure, the real thin vinyl is annoying because it flexes so much) both directions, rotate the record 180 degrees and wipe again (because it's hard to clean the far side because they can get kind of flexy), then flip it over and do the same thing on the other side. Then shake it back in the solution again, then out and shake off the excess, then shake it back and forth in the distilled water rinse and shake off the excess of that and then it goes into a simple file folder rack. I can wash about 25 records at a time in 30-45 minutes. Then several hours to air dry, and then I sleeve them in sleevetown audiophile ultimate sleeves and on the shelf.

    I wash everything new and old this way before it goes on the shelf or near my TT.

    I like it because it's extremely cheap, and fast, and very effective. Once you get the racks and the pans and the tergitol really the only continuing cost is replacement pads for the MOFI brush and distilled water, but at <$1 for gallons of that at the supermarket, it costs like maybe $3-4 a go at a couple dozen records, very very cheap. I've settled on about 10 drops of each tergitol surfactant in a gallon of water, which will clean probably 50 or 75 records depending on how soiled they are (I'm very conservative about changing stuff out when it starts to get dirt floating around in the water or solution), and at this rate the pints of solution I bought for like $40 will last me a thousand years.

    Hope that helps!
     
    Bill Hart likes this.
  13. SBurke

    SBurke Nostalgia Junkie

    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
  14. Bill Hart

    Bill Hart Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austin
    I love some of the bibliography, which includes Hans Fantel (proponent of DynaGroove) and Enid Lumley, who was often regarded as a kook back in the day, but many of her 'tweaks,' including her obsession with AC polarity, took hold and are now considered credible.
    THE LOC is a pretty amazing place.
     
  15. mikeyt

    mikeyt Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    What do you guys use to clean the pad? I tried using a toothbrush, but it caused little fibers to fall off of it. I didn't apply that much pressure.
     
  16. Jamiroquai

    Jamiroquai Active Member

    Location:
    plymouth ma. usa
    I like the brush for wet cleaning. If you get a little thread hanging from it "by gawd don't pull on it!" It will shed.
     
    artfromtex likes this.
  17. artfromtex

    artfromtex Forum Resident

    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
    Well, it's been about 9 months and I just had to use my first replacement pad on the MFSL brush.

    Now, keep in mind, I only spin vinyl on weekends. Most of my listening is either CD or iTunes through the stereo.

    But, most of my LP listening is on newly purchased vintage vinyl. So, I'm always having to clean before I listen. I bet I've cleaned at least 100 LP's on that first pad. Worked really well. I'm extremely happy with both the solution and the brushes.
     
  18. macster

    macster Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Diego, Ca. USA
    Be careful with the Mofi brushes as they can scratch your LP's. I've got 2 here that I'm trying to figure out, what I'm doing wrong. Of course I'm going to use "none of my other brushes" do this. FYI, the scratches that I'm referring to are light, but they are noticeable during playback.

    YMMV

    M~
     
  19. mikeyt

    mikeyt Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Woah, that's crazy. Maybe you got bad pads? I used mine last night to just remove dust and it worked as advertised. No scratches here. But I really want to know the best way to clean the pads. I started using the edge of the plastic container it came in to scrape it.
     
  20. macster

    macster Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Diego, Ca. USA

    I might be the only one that has had problems, so until someone else chimes in, just take it for what it's worth. Actually test it on a crappy record, I think that my problem may come from the angle that I use to clean the records with them 45 degree. If you use them flat with light pressure, that seems to work. All I know is that I won't use them near my Acoustic Sounds LP's (they simply cost too much to take a chance).

    M~
     
  21. mikeyt

    mikeyt Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Oh, interesting. I swiped at an angle to help remove some left over dust, I hope it didn't scratch. I'll have to check when I get home tonight. That's strange, though, b/c technically it shouldn't scratch regardless of the angle used. Right?
     
  22. macster

    macster Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Diego, Ca. USA

    Yes, when you get home take a look at the surface of the records that you've used the brush on. Look and see if there are groups of scratches or marks on the record's surface.

    M~
     
  23. mikeyt

    mikeyt Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Just checked two LPs and no marks at all. Did your scratch during a wet or dry cleaning? Maybe there was debris that caught in the pad?
     
  24. macster

    macster Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Diego, Ca. USA
    That's great, mine were from wet cleaning. I started using the pad as a part of the record cleaning process with the VPI 16.5.

    M~
     
  25. hishou

    hishou Active Member

    Location:
    Berlin, Germany
    I feel a little cheated with that solution. I've bought that and the MOFI brush following the glowing review. Although is does a good job at cleaning old dirty records, cleaning new records is quite a disaster. I apply a good layer, wet clean with the MOFI brush, let it evaporate for a good few minutes, and all of the sudden the quite passages become noisy. I had the brilliant idea of trying that on a brand new Music Matters title... oh boy...
    I used to have a Spin clean in my previous place, i have a feeling a cleaning with that will kinda restore the original quietness. But cannot invest in a new one at the moment... This hobby can be so stupidly expensive.
     

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