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Neil Antin's Aqueous Cleaning of LPs- 2nd Edition

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Bill Hart, Mar 2, 2021.

  1. pacvr

    pacvr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    Jennifer,

    Overall, your slightly modified procedure looks fine, just three comments:

    Safety Items - use of a respirator is a personal decision. None of the chemicals once diluted recommend its use. Alconox Citranox recommends use of eye protection Citranox_tech_bull.pdf (alconox.com), and all would recommend use of protective gloves for hand washing. I mention this for others who may be reading this post.

    Steps 8 & 9 - I am not a fan of cotton towels - they are very absorbent, but they shed lint. You will not see it - but after cleaning if you were to inspect the record with a UV light (this is the one I use; I address in Chapter IV Alonefire SV003 10W 365nm UV Flashlight Portable Rechargeable Blacklight for Pet Urine Detector, Resin Curing, Scorpion, Fishing, Minerals with Aluminum Case, Charger, Lithium Battery Included - - Amazon.com) you may see a lot of small lint fibers. After I had cleaned a batch of records, under UV light they were covered with lint that fluoresces. I was not using any cotton to dry the record(s), but was using a cotton cloth to dry my gloved hands. The lint transferred to the gloves that transferred to the record. I ditched all cotton from my kitchen and now use only lint-free microfiber cloths such as HDX 18 in. x 18 in. Multi-Purpose Microfiber Cloth (18-Pack)-7-516 - The Home Depot - similar are available Amazon.

    Step 9 - The statement
    belongs in Step 8 since its applicable to the PVA sponge. I mention this for others who may be reading this post.

    Otherwise, thanks for feedback, and it is impressive just how quiet and dynamic these "cleaned" records can play.

    Take care,
    Neil
     
    Ingenieur likes this.
  2. Jenn

    Jenn Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Thank you very much Neil.

    Ordered a UV light today.
    Will plan to switch to Multi purpose Microfiber after UV review.

    May I ask why you are not concerned of abrasion from the Multi purpose Microfibre since it grips
    compared to the smooth Tiger Anti-Static cloth ?

    Best regards,

    Have a great weekend.
     
  3. recstar24

    recstar24 Senior Member

    Location:
    Glen Ellyn, IL
    @pacvr Hi! I know we've conversed before but I've continued to update and modify my process which continues to integrate more and more of your concepts, combined with my typical RCM vacuum usage. I'd love to get your opinion on my current process:

    1) I go straight to the tergitol, spray on record, and use record doctor brush to distribute. I found these great label protectors on amazon, nobusound I believe, because the vinylstack guy no longer sells them

    2) water rinse through the sink as outlined by your process

    3) dry with PVA sponge (the company is right down the street by me in Illinois!), and I use an ILFORD anti static cloth I got from amazon as it was more readily available and I think slightly cheaper, works great.

    4) spray DIW, work through with a paint pad, and do a final dry cycle on my vacuum RCM.

    You may recall I was doing two rounds of vacuum, one after the tergitol and then another after the DIW. I've determined that may be excessive, and possibly not beneficial due to increased static as well as more particulate floating in the air. I also think there is some noticeable benefit in a straight water rinse from the sink, the physical agitation seems to bring about some good results (and possibly do a better job of getting rid of all the tergitol). So I've reduced my vacuum drying time in half, and am using good ole water rinse in a sink to help things.
     
    pacvr likes this.
  4. pacvr

    pacvr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    Jennifer,

    First, microfiber cloths should be soft enough not to abrade the record. However, with the PVA Sponge, you should not need to use the microfiber cloths to wipe dry the record. You should only use the microfiber cloth to lay the record on. But for clarification I am going to provide you specific procedures for two options to use for drying a record with for your equipment (I use Option A):

    Option A:
    1. After DIW rinse, holding label protector knob - shake to remove large drops.
    2. Holding label protector knob in one hand, with the other hand, angle the PVA sponge so the edge contacts the record and wipe to remove DIW drops. The 'wiping' of the PVA sponge may cause a squeaking sound - no problem.
    3. After 'wiping' both sides of the record with the PVA sponge, holding tightly to label protector knob, vigorously shake 1-time to dislodge DIW trapped under the edge of the label protector.
    4. Holding label protector knob in one hand, with the other hand wipe both sides with Tiger Anti-Static cloth to remove/spread-out any drops of DIW. You want to leave a thin film of water so no static develops and the record dries quickly.
    5. Place record on lint-free microfiber cloth, removed label protector, and using Tiger Anti-Static cloth wipe area round label that will have some drops. Flip record and do the same (if required). In this step the microfiber cloths are used only as a cushion and blotter.
    6. Place in drying rack.

    Option B:
    1. After DIW rinse, holding label protector knob - shake to remove large drops.
    2. Place record on lint-free microfiber cloth(s) - the microfiber cloth will absorb moisture from the face-down 'wet' record and after a few records may get very wet. Removed label protector, and blot or angle the PVA sponge so the edge contacts the record and blot or wipe to remove DIW drops. The 'wiping' of the PVA sponge may cause a squeaking sound - no problem. Then wipe record with Tiger Anti-Static cloth to remove/spread-out any drops of DIW. You want to leave a thin film of water so no static develops and the record dries quickly.
    3. Flip record and place on a 2nd lint-free microfiber cloth(s). From Step 2, the record is near-dry so this microfiber cloth will mostly stay dry. If there are water droplets blot or angle the PVA sponge so the edge contacts the record and blot or wipe to remove DIW drops. The 'wiping' of the PVA sponge may cause a squeaking sound - no problem. Then wipe record with Tiger Anti-Static cloth to remove/spread-out any drops of DIW. You want to leave a thin film of water so no static develops and the record dries quickly.
    4. Place in drying rack.

    Good Luck!
    Neil
     
  5. pacvr

    pacvr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    Overall, your procedure is fine, and for sure flowing tap-water improves cleaning & rinsing of the cleaner(s), but here are some suggestions.

    1. If you are cleaning used records, then you really want a more aggressive pre-clean before the Tergitol and this is where 1% Liquinox (10ml/L or Qt) comes in - Amazon.com: Alconox - 1232-1 1232 Liquinox Anionic Critical Cleaning Liquid Detergent, 1 quart Bottle : Health & Household.

    2. After your Step 2) tap water rinse, before your Step 3) you want to do a DIW spray rinse because you do not want to dry tap water on the record. Any mineral deposits that 'may' form are not going to easily be removed with Step 4).

    3. I presume you are doing Step 3) to remove water before removing record from label protector and moving the record over to vacuum dry. If so, you really do not need to use the ILFORD and the ILFORD cloth ANTISTATIC CLOTH (ilfordphoto.com) is a "High quality cotton with unique anti-static treatment". The "anti-static treatment" is often a chemical additive. The Kinetronics Tiger Anti-Static Tiger Cloth | kinetronics is a "microfiber cloth that has been specifically engineered for cleaning photographic films. The 10″ x 18″ (250mm x 450mm) orange cloth has stripes of effective conductive fibers knit every 1/8″ or 4mm that dissipate or drain off static charges.".

    Good Luck,
    Neil
     
    recstar24 likes this.
  6. Jenn

    Jenn Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Many thanks again Neil, nicely written.
    I am intriged by this article regarding the size of the fiber and what constitutes a 'quality' microfiber;
    What Is A High Quality Microfiber Towel?

    Excerpt;
    "By definition microfiber must be lower than 1 denier, which is equal to 10 micrometers.
    Good quality microfiber towels for cleaning usually have below 0.5 denier.
    This makes it small enough to pick up a variety of germs, bacteria, and microbes!"
    1. Split Microfibers
    2. 250+ GSM
    3. 80/20 or 70/30 Polyester to Polyamide ratio
    4. 0.5 Denier Or Less
    If using a < 0.5 denier microfiber cloth with the above characteristics, would you ever consider gentle wiping with it as a final light wipe ?

    Best regards.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2021
    pacvr likes this.
  7. pacvr

    pacvr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    Jennifer,

    The problem with simple microfiber is that it can create static on the record; its all about that Triboelectric series. The Kinetronics Tiger Cloth is a very fine/soft microfiber cloth but is anti-static which is really a nice way of saying it will not create static. The microfiber towels I use to dry my gloved hands and as a surface to rest the PVA sponge are medium-nap.

    Before I sleeve a freshly cleaned record, I will inspect with the UV light (use in reduced lighted area - do not look at the light) and then use the Tiger cloth to swipe away any fibers that may have fallen onto the record.

    Neil
     
  8. recstar24

    recstar24 Senior Member

    Location:
    Glen Ellyn, IL
    Thank you Neil for those recommended tweaks to my process! Always highly appreciate your input!
     
  9. Jenn

    Jenn Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Neil,
    Thank you for your continued review.

    I am concerned about areas of leftover moisture spots and blobs after sponging, since the sponge doesn't get into the grooves.
    I have limited knowledge of microfiber cloths but the thought of tap water left in the grooves that was not completely removed by the final distilled water spray nags me.
    If I understand correctly, it is inadvisable to attempt to wipe water more completely out of the grooves with anything other than the Tiger cloth.

    Best to you.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2021
  10. Ingenieur

    Ingenieur Forum Resident

    Location:
    Gone
    I possess < 1/1000th the knowledge of Neil on the subject.

    My comment on mf clothes. I used them, now I don't.

    When I got my VM540ML after I had played records that were cleaned/dried using a mf, upon inspecting the stylus, it had a lot of fibers wrapped around it. A lot.

    It was the color of the rag. My old stylus did not get deep enough to dig them out. Must have been very small and wedged in the bottom of the groove.

    This was after thorough rinses with kitchen sink tap water and 2 rinses with DW. And cleaning with the AT fluid/brush.

    Only a brush is used now, and shake/air dry.
     
  11. pacvr

    pacvr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    Jennifer,

    I have cleaned >500 records using tap-water and then final DIW rinse. In the book, Table XI does a detailed analysis of the risk of leaving tap water residue in the groove after the DIW rinse and takes in account the efficiency of the DIW rinse and to make a complicated analysis as simple as possible - the risk/consequence is insignificant.

    After the tap-water rinse, you should observe that the water almost completely (by just gravity) drains from the record. The amount of tap-water left in the grooves is very small and the large quantity DIW rinse (in comparison) mixes with any tap-water left in the grooves instantly diluting it. The sponge absorbs and wicks the water. Trying to get into the groove with a microfiber cloth is only going lead to a bad result as @Ingenieur experienced.

    However, there are microfiber cloths and then there are microfiber cloths. Very fine denier microfiber cloths are great for polishing cars or painted speakers but can shed in contact with a record @Ingenieur I suspect experienced. But, you can mostly dry a record with a lint-free medium nap microfiber cloth which is what I first used and was written in the first edition of the book. But the results were not that great so I ultimately found the PVA sponge which then replaced the medium nap microfiber cloths for the 1st dry and is in the 2nd edition.

    My basic philosophy is that the only thing physical item that belongs in the groove is the stylus. Other than the brush used during cleaning (which does not penetrate the groove deeply), I no longer use any brush; and I am testing a new concept that even replaces the use of the Kinetronics Tiger Cloth to remove incidental lint prior to record play; and the new concept appears to simultaneously neutralize static. Details to follow...and it will only cost ~$25.

    Have a Good Weekend,
    Neil
     
  12. Bill Hart

    Bill Hart Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Austin
    @pacvr - Neil I agree with your conclusion and am interested to learn what you discover, but this is where I use a point nozzle vacuum and a very high purity rinse step to eliminate any vestiges of the cleaning process. Not a cost-effective option, to be sure. To try and be pithy, I'd say "dry does not equal clean" and the concern over residue or the drying process isn't easily answered- I am not happy with forced air drying results compared to point nozzle rinse/drying via vacuum, but that stage is after some previous steps of rigorous cleaning and the use of ultrasonics. We should talk now that Vinyl Stack is OOB, since a good replacement may be available as semi-DIY, but I find people want a "kit", i.e. a specific set of directions on what to buy and that's a fair question from the user end.
    Bill
     
    recstar24 likes this.
  13. recstar24

    recstar24 Senior Member

    Location:
    Glen Ellyn, IL
    Hi Neil! Since you’re here, I did have a question re: the DIW water step in your process. It doesn’t really detail how much DIW I should be spraying on to basically rid/dilute the leftover tap water from its rinse. I’m assuming liberally? Also, do you work in that distilled water with a brush of sorts, or is it just a liberal spray, shake shake shake, and PVA sponge dry?
     
  14. pacvr

    pacvr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    Bill,

    For drying, the Monks point nozzle vacuum RCM definitely avoids risk of environmental contamination associated with vacuum RCM using high air flow rate blowers. However, I draw your attention to Table V of the book. Any decent DIW rinse - just Purified - even 3ml dried will not leave a residue thick enough for any impact - the residue thickness is less than the vinyl record surface roughneness. Use of Pure or Ultra-Pure becomes nothing more than a science project. When I was in the Navy working with NASA years ago during the phase-out of CFC-113 from precision cleaning they were using clean processes that achieved a level cleanliness far in excess of what was required and at very high cost. Being blunt, for the Navy we could not afford to do what they were doing. There is always a big cost difference between an engineered solution and a scientific pursuit.

    As far as VinylStack now being OOB - the book already recommends an alternative - the USA Made Groovemaster - The Clear Choice For Cleaner Sound® (groovmaster.com). There are now cheaper knock-offs, but they are just 1/3 the thickness. As far as record spinners for UT, there are a number of alternatives including the Kuzma RD Ultrasonic Record Cleaning kit - Kuzma Professional Turntables, Tonearms and Accessories which I address in the book.

    Take care,
    Neil
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2021
    Tommyboy and Bill Hart like this.
  15. pacvr

    pacvr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    Just liberally spray with DIW. Your are holding the record (w/label protector) and the DIW spray bottle in the other. As I wrote in the book:

    V.Step.9 Final DIW Rinse: Using the DIW (distilled/demineralized water) spray bottle, liberally spray the record surface from top to bottom (both sides) to remove the tap water. The surface should readily bead-up evidence that all cleaner has been removed. This will leave only DIW that when dry will leave a clean, spot free surface. Gently shake the record to remove bulk drops.

    Neil
     
    recstar24 likes this.
  16. Jenn

    Jenn Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Neil,
    Having a good weekend so far and loving the music.
    I missed this in your post...
    If you no longer use a brush does that mean "at all" ?

    New related question;
    After finalizing the cleaning process, for those of us who wish to experiment with a further
    use of a 40 Hz ultrasonic, 5 minute, single record at a time, 1 rpm... what potential results might be expected for deeper cleaning related to groove location, depth, other.

    Not sure if I worded the question articulately enough, but I am considering being totally A. retentive and going one step beyond (I think that's a song), and finishing with Ultrasonic if it has the potential to add enough additional cleaning effect(s).
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2021
  17. pacvr

    pacvr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    Jennifer,

    I use a brush when wet cleaning records. Otherwise, I use no brushes dry for maintenance of cleanliness as I addressed in Chapter VI of the book. As I wrote in Chapter VI - the last paragraph:

    VI.11.c Ultimately, as stated in the opening paragraph of this chapter, the recommendations of THE WEAR AND CARE OF RECORDS AND STYLI, Harold D. Weiler, 1954 (26) and Record Contamination: Causes and Cure by Percy Wilson, 1965, (52) are still applicable. In essence once cleanliness is achieved, the only item that should see the groove is the stylus. A very light brushing with anti-static brushes can remove some surface particulate. I have had some success using the Kinetronics™ Tiger anti-static lint-free microfiber cloth, and others have reported success with silk cloth. A smaller piece cut from the large cloth used as a swipe (just lightly touching the record surface) to essentially brush/dust the record can remove surface lint and particulate without penetrating the groove. Also, the orange color of the cloth allows easy observation of any fibers that may be deposited from the cloth.

    Once you get a the UV light you will get a better view of what you are up against, but do not obsess about it, we are not in cleanrooms, so some dust/particulate/lint is inevitable. But understand that once the record is spinning the probability of dust/particles/lint dropping onto the record decreases. Larger particles will deposit/fall from the air exponentially faster than smaller particles. Once the record is spinning it develops its own air currents which should 'shield' the record from all but the largest particles depositing. Paraphrasing an article - particle settling rate, the rate of surface accumulation is proportional to the airborne concentration which is differentiated by the particle size, the exposure time, and the orientation of the surface relative to the air flow. Surfaces parallel to the average direction of flow and at right angles to gravity sustain the lowest particle accumulation.". If you check CACR25_FINAL_LR.pdf (gla.ac.uk) Figure 4 you will see where the Deposition Velocity for the small stuff <5 um is very slow, but the big stuff>25um is much faster. Placing your table under air register is not prudent.

    Don't over think this. There is some science to keep us from going crazy.

    Neil
     
    recstar24 likes this.
  18. Jenn

    Jenn Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Neil,

    Got the UV flashlight today you use and looked at the cleaned records. I don't see anything fluorescing (If that's a word),
    except the pattern in the Vinyl showing different colors. I was however, shocked at all the other unidentified flying objects
    the UV light shows on the floor... Ew, I'll have to get to that tomorrow.

    If there was a concern, would I see small lint like fibers fluoresce... I don't see any ?
    Is there a possibility this might mean the 'Spin-Clean Mk III' drying cloth has not created static or deposited fiber ?

    Also, I bought a USB Microscope . Should I use that to look as well ?

    Best 2 U

    And also thank you's to the other people who helped me so far.
     
  19. Ripblade

    Ripblade Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Six
    As an addition to a thorough manual scrub, the UCM can clean those spots missed by the scrub. One method or the other is incomplete but the two together is. I find the result doesn't necessarily lead to a lower noise floor but it seems to bring the record one step closer to the master tape, especially in the top octave where a lot of the instrumental location and environment cues are. This last bit may be entirely subjective and system dependant, so your mileage may vary.
     
  20. pacvr

    pacvr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    Given the three-step manual scrub you are doing: pre-clean Liquinox (anionic-nonionic detergent); then pre-clean Citranox (acid +anionic-nonionic detergent) then final clean Tergitol (nonionic detergent), the probability of improving the sound with a 40 kHz ultrasonics is remote. 40 kHz ultrasonics is intended for surface type contaminants and larger particles. A 40 kHz UCM will produce bubbles about 75 microns diameter. These are not going to get into the record groove. Additionally, the low cost ultrasonic machines are low power - enough to produce cavitation but not enough power to produce the cavitation intensity sufficient to improve upon what you have done. Adding the acid clean dissolves/removes the very fine particulate that would otherwise benefit from ultrasonics. If there was to be any improvement you would need to step up to a 80 kHz or 120 kHz ultrasonic tank with a lot of power. As the frequency increases the bubble size and number of bubbles increases so a 120 kHz UCM will produce bubbles about 20 microns and these can get into the groove.

    https://www.whatsbestforum.com/attachments/1625834240324-png.79974/
    [​IMG]

    If you use ultrasonics after everything you have done, if not done correctly you will actually contaminant the record. If the bath is not first degassed - you get essentially no cleaning and if not filtered (0.5 micron absolute or better), when you remove the record any particulate in the water will just re-deposit on the record. However, if you really want to take this to the nth-degree, the German made Elamsonic P-series ultrasonic tanks such as P60H PP_Elmasonic_P60H_EN.pdf (elma-ultrasonic.com) cost about $1800 (and you still need a spinner + pump/filter) is probably the best available for single record cleaning. It is a dual frequency unit 37 kHz and 80 kHz and has degas function, and a pulse function that could improve cleaning. Its 5.8L with ultrasonic power effective 180W and ultrasonic peak performance max. 720W. Some high-end users cleaning 6-records at time use the P120H with Tergitol and 0.2 micron absolute filter and then another UT for rinse such as tima's DIY RCM | What's Best Audio and Video Forum. The Best High End Audio Forum on the planet! (whatsbestforum.com) . I am active on this other site, but this is focused on cleaning of about 6-records at a time with ultrasonics. @dminches is testing an aluminum (copper is no good with DIW) radiator to cool the liquid to allowing higher throughput.

    PS/Sweep frequency options for ultrasonics is good for parts cleaning - its not really beneficial for records - read tima's DIY RCM .

    Neil
     
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  21. pacvr

    pacvr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    First - did you charge the battery, it may take about 4-hrs to fully charge, otherwise you will not get the full. However, if you do not see any lint which fluoresces intensely white, then the cotton Spin-Clean cloth is not yet shedding. Also, your HEPA filter is controlling airborne lint so the record is very clean - well done!

    The fluorescent patterns of colors in the vinyl - read Chapter IV - very intense coloring is from use of repressed material which is quite common with some records from the 70's and 80's. The best virgin-vinyl will have a uniform color throughout.

    As far as a USB microscope - if you have a record that is still noisy after cleaning, you may want to inspect to determine the cause if the resolution is high enough. Even though it says 1000X, that does not mean its usable. There are industrial digital microscopes such as those by Olympus DSX1000 │ Digital Microscopes │ Olympus (olympus-ims.com) that can magnify to 8000X, but you also need a stable granite platform to prevent any shaking to get a stable image - and I am quite sure the cost is breath-taking. But, use what you have, its the old saying nothing ventured, nothing gained. But, it is not something I do.

    Neil
     
  22. Jenn

    Jenn Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Neil,

    Yes, I do want to take it to the Nth degree but you have burst my bubble ;-), and I'm glad you did. Your guidence has been instrumental in elevating my Vinyl experience many times over anything I have used so far and I've used a lot. I will throw in the towel for now and be satisfied with an occasional non-music noise... after all, it is Vinyl. I'm still shocked at how terrible a scuffed up record can look and still play noiseless, I didn't think that was possible. Your attention to detail is phenomenal.

    Regarding the USB microscope... yes, I did fully charge the battery ;-). I am planning to use it for attempted repair of skips and if the UV light doesn't show shedding, I'll let it be and feel happy as a goat.

    Take good care.
    Best 2 U
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2021
  23. Ripblade

    Ripblade Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Six
    I'm only speaking from my own experience. This is my 2nd tank, after having sold the 1st one several years ago because it left me wanting. The 1st one I used as many others here recommend...a quick dip for a few minutes, leave the record to dry and call it a day. I kept my DIY Gem Dandy clone because IME nothing beats it. However, this 2nd time around I use the tank as an adjunct to the Dandy clone and find that it works well enough to justify the additional 10 mins it takes run it. As the tank is used both pre and post Dandy scrub, I do an additional quick pass after the 2nd UCM dip to remove any debris that may remain on the record. I'm quite pleased with the results. I've followed up with a PVA peel on particularly troublesome records and found no further improvement.

    As there are so many variables at play, not the least of which is how we listen to our records, I'll repeat my initial disclaimer: YMMV.
     
  24. recstar24

    recstar24 Senior Member

    Location:
    Glen Ellyn, IL
    Thank you Neil for your contributions regarding ultrasonic, both here and your article. I am planning on picking up a degritter ultrasonic to supplement my process I’ve outlined above as a final step. It appears it checks many of the boxes you’ve outlined above. My vacuum based RCM has been activity weird so I figured might be best to do an upgrade while I’m replacing.

    I’ll plan on still using my manual process with the tergitol, tap water rinse, DIW rinse, PVA sponge, then doing a quick clean through the degritter.
     
    pacvr likes this.
  25. Jenn

    Jenn Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Hi Neil,

    This is the best I can get from this USB microscope... this is an uncleaned record destined for it's new home, the Land-fill.

    #1 USB-Microscope-01
    #2 USB-Microscope-02
     
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