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
    Jenn,

    Here is an 'acid-test' for your current cleaning process and it will cost you nothing. Take the nosiest record that you have cleaned and that the noise is not obviously caused by a deep scratch and do an Acid-Soak. I addressed this previously but will repeat it as follows:

    1. Apply the label protector and just elevate the record (with label protector) on a plastic container. Put it in the sink.

    2. Apply a liberal coating by light spray of the Citranox to the record, adjust container/record to keep the record/Citranox level - and let sit for 15 min.

    3. Rinse with tap water - no need to brush. Reapply Citranox and then brush clean the side that was soaked. This removes any swollen but not dissolved debris.

    4. Rinse/brush away the Citranox with tap water.

    5. Rinse away the tap-water with DIW spray - no need to dry.

    6. Repeat Steps 2 to 5 for the other side.

    7. Final clean both sides with Tergitol 15-S-9, tap-water rinse, DIW rinse and dry.

    There is a used record store not far from me and I bought 6 records last week. All 6 were very dirty but no evidence of deep scratches. Three cleaned-up to near mint (NM) playback (noting that most new records on my scale are no better); one cleaned to mint playback (as quiet as digital) but 2 were still noisy VG. I acid-soaked both and after which one reached NM and the other reached VG+ borderline NM. But I had new records that were VG and after acid-soak - no better. After acid-soak, I stop. I cannot do any better.

    Would ultrasonic help those that were VG after the 1st but before the acid-soak. Maybe. For sure the ultrasonic cleaning would not take almost 40 min that the total acid soak would take to clean one record; but I do not need to do it very often. So instead of the power of ultrasonics - I am using the power of some aggressive chemistry. But like I said in the book:

    XII.13 The final chapters of this document will discuss machine assisted cleaning methods: vacuum record cleaning machines (RCM) and ultrasonic cleaning machines (UCM). It’s important to consider that machines are generally developed for two primary reasons – reduce labor and improve process efficiency. Process efficiency can mean faster (higher throughput) and/or higher probability of achieving quality or achieving a quality that manual labor cannot produce. Manual cleaning in the appropriate environment with appropriate controls can achieve impressive levels of cleanliness, but the labor, skill, time and probability of success generally make it impractical for manufacturing environments. But for the home audio enthusiast; depending on your attention to details, adopting machine assisted cleaning may or may not yield a cleaner record. However, the ease of use and convenience provided by machines can be very enticing and cannot be denied.

    Take care,
    Neil
     
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  2. pacvr

    pacvr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    Many people using the Degritter (Record cleaning machine that is easy to use - Degritter) do some sort of pre-clean before final clean with the Degritter. While an expensive machine ($3K) as far as performance/convenience combined the Degritter is the best available. The 120kHz 300W ultrasonics (four 75W transducers/two on either side) directly facing the record and a volume of only 1400 mL, its a powerful UCM. The 120kHz will be pretty quiet and the high kHz targets very small particles better than the more common lower frequency 35-40kHz. My other thoughts are here - Degritter Review in HiFi+ .

    Good Luck
    Neil
     
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  3. pacvr

    pacvr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    Jenn,

    Thanks for sharing. You probably could do as well with some macro settings of most current phone camera's. I go as as far the UV light. It a slippery slope before you turn it into a science project which means no end in sight. But everyone's threshold is different. As I said in the book Forward - there are many off-ramps with cleaning records and an equal number of processes and variations. And many people put their own stamp on their process - just as you have done - your dialing in your process for you which is great. For others the plug & play convenience offered by say the Degritter is very enticing if you have the resources.

    Neil
     
  4. WntrMute2

    WntrMute2 Forum Resident

    I think the other side of the coin here is your playback system as I've probably stated before. I have stumbled across a system that is excellent at not reproducing those clicks, pops and groove noise. This compliments my simple clean , rinse and done with the Degritter.

    This set-up consists of a SoundSmith Paua and a DIY tube phono-stage. HiFi Haven Group Project - Building The "World's Best Tube Phono Preamp"
    A close by friend has the same phono-stage with the SoundSmith Zephyr and has equally good results.

    My second set-up that is close to the above is a Ortofon Per Winfeld feeding a K&K Maxxed-Out phono-stage.

    I hope this isn't going too far astray from the original thread topic.
     
  5. pacvr

    pacvr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    I also use the Soundsmith Paua as well as the Soundsmith Boheme and Soundsmith Carmen. Soundsmith cartridges are known to be generally quite - some of it based on their design that uses mu-metal to shield all six sides, but I use two different solid state preamp (two tonearms), and I would say that neither preamp is quieter wrt to clicks or groove noise.

    But a lot depends on what are you cleaning - are you cleaning only new records or used records that are 'cleaned' (for whatever that means). The store I buy used records from does not clean any records - you get the record as they bought it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2021
  6. WntrMute2

    WntrMute2 Forum Resident

    That has not been my experience but this is an area where you have great experience and real knowledge so no argument from me. Additionally, this is a thread about water and cleaning so my contribution was ill placed anyway.
     
  7. pacvr

    pacvr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    Keep in mind your clean and rinse process with the Degritter is effectively a pre-clean/final clean process. Your 1st step using the Degritter cleaner is essentially a pre-clean. Your 2nd step that swaps in the 'rinse' tank with only DIW is a final clean since the record is still being 'cleaned' by the ultrasonics with the DIW.
     
  8. Jenn2021

    Jenn2021 Active Member

    Location:
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Neil,

    Regarding: Nth degree...
    Before record frisbee, I'll try your Acid test. My problem to overcome is not being able to expertly determine if a record is worth cleaning in the first place, or take it back to the record store for a partial credit for a different version. I've been so wrong before in making a determination, fooled by what I thought was unplayable due to scratches, wide scuffing, blobs that were rough. After the 3 pass clean (Liquinox, Citrinox, Tergitol), so many played quiet. That USB microscope was a huge disappointment, I don't know where they come off claiming 1000x, I thought I could use it to see if the record was worth cleaning in the first place.

    Regarding: Ultrasonic time vs. speed...
    If you would please help me understand your post on Acid test vs. final Ultrasonic use... Do I understand correctly that there "may" or "may not" be additional benifit for use of an Ultrasonic after the 3 pass clean (Liquinox, Citrinox, Tergitol) ?
    For example, after your 3 pass clean and after the Acid-Soak VG to NM, could a 40Hz machine be an acceptable candidate, or is the $1,800 German machine with filter/pump the only potential. If electing to do a 4th clean pass via Ultrasonic, what method and chemical/dillution is appropriate. Couldn't I overcome the deposits when lifting out the record from the bath by a vigorous distilled water spray ?

    I can't believe I have so many questions !
     
  9. pacvr

    pacvr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    Jenn,

    I do not see much value for a 40 kHz UCM after the 3-step cleaning process. There 'may' be benefit following up with a higher kHz UCM. This USA company CleanerVinyl Ultrasonic Record Cleaning sells a variety of UCMs and they do sell a 132 kHz unit for $599. Their spinner is $189 and has a good range from 0.5 to 3 rpm. Their filter at $399 is quite expensive - you can do much better DIY. They also now sell a three frequency unit 40, 80, 120-kHz for $1599 and also sell the Elmasonic units. Let me 1st say that the low cost 40-kHz units are noisy and given your conservative safety position - you absolutely want to wear hearing protection. The higher kHz units are much quieter.

    But, I am not going to tell you or recommend to you that you drop $100's if not a $1000 or $1000's for one of these machines. If you buy an Elmasonic you will get a detailed operators manual such as - Elmasonic P Ultrasonic Cleaning Units - Operating Instructions (elma-ultrasonic.co.nz). If buy the low cost off-shore units - you may get one page. However, once you buy it I (and others will chime-in) can assist you with how to best use it. But there is the whole issue of bath management that you will need to address if you plan on getting the maximum benefit. If you do not filter the bath, after a few records its dirty - if you wait till you can see that its dirty - you waited too long. If you try to extend bath life with filtering then you need to monitor TDS - Amazon.com : tds meter because it will degrade over time. Alternatively, you can buy the plug & play 120kHz Degritter for $3K which add the benefit of automated drying.

    Its all about how much convenience and how complicated do you want this to be. The benefit of the manual procedure is that their is no maintenance (the brushes and sponge are not wearing out anytime soon) and you are always using fresh cleaner, fresh tap water, fresh DIW; but its labor intensive. However, if you want convenience, it cost $$$.

    Its your choice,

    Neil
     
  10. Jenn2021

    Jenn2021 Active Member

    Location:
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    OK, thank you Neil, I will keep that in mind.
    I posted a separate question for 'after' the 3 pass wet clean since it is a new topic and didn't want to bother you.
    Take care.
     
  11. recstar24

    recstar24 Senior Member

    Location:
    Glen Ellyn, IL
    Thank you Neil for your comments. I was able to procure a Degritter through a place that allowed a very generous trade in of an old preamp I had lying around! They are shipping it today! Looking forward to using it, combined with my manual process I've continued to develop and tweak, it will be nice to send the vacuum-based RCM to pasture, so to speak.

    My last question and I will be done I promise (lol), I'm assuming I can do my tergitol step, brush, rinse with tap water, shake off excess water, and just throw into the degritter and do a quick cycle to finish off? Or would you recommend still liberally spraying with distilled afterwards to remove as much of that tap water leftover, before throwing into the degritter?
     
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  12. pacvr

    pacvr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    For the manual clean process - liberally spray with DIW to rinse off the tap-water. Otherwise, over successive records the small amount of tap water and its total dissolved solids (various salts) carried over to the Degritter will build up and quickly contaminant the Degritter bath - its only 1400 ml. Also, you may want to first try the Medium wash (3:45).

    Otherwise, congratulations and enjoy. If you have not already, its worth reading their well written operators manual - Degritter-manual-v2.2-ENG.pdf.

    Neil
     
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  13. Tommyboy

    Tommyboy Senior Member

    Location:
    New York
    Hey Neil, question for you.

    Would the combination of Citranox, Liquinox and Tergitol remove the remnants of LAST preservative from an LP?
     
  14. pacvr

    pacvr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    Liquinox should be able to remove the fluorocarbon oil film that is left by the LAST preservative. You may need to apply twice to remove all remnants of the film.
     
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  15. Jenn2021

    Jenn2021 Active Member

    Location:
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Hello again Neil. Thanks for offering to help if I get a US. When you mention "... how best to use it.", are you referring to a 40kHz or 132kHz US ?. Would the wet pre-clean procedure be any different (Liquinox, Citrinox, Tergitol) before the US. I've gone through the process (3-step), then the Acid-step, and still have some pops and hiss. I understand there may not be additional benefit after the Acid-step but I am considering experimenting with a 40kHz unit in lieu of the Acid-step, which forum should I be asking questions on the DIY filter please ?

    Best regards.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2021
  16. Bill Hart

    Bill Hart Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Austin
    No kidding. I've been studying this stuff deeply for say six plus years and still don't know what I don't know.

    Although Neil seems tireless in his willingness to answer questions, I would not worry about asking questions. It's probably the best way to learn- you face something you don't understand. Then ask. I am of course a big fan of Neil's but the questions are part of the process. Thankfully, I don't have to answer them. :)
     
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  17. Tommyboy

    Tommyboy Senior Member

    Location:
    New York
    Thanks Neil.
     
  18. pacvr

    pacvr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    Jenn,

    If you did the acid soak and there are still pops and hiss, the record is damaged - you cannot not fix this. No amount of cleaning can fix a damaged record - the groove is damaged. It may be poor vinyl; it may be from a poor stamper, or it may be from an over-worn stylus.

    If you buy an ultrasonic tank (UT), then I am the same person ask about the filter system - much of it addressed in Chapter XIV beginning XIV.4. I can give you a detailed parts list - I now have it all in an .xls spreadsheet - I would just need to take an image and post. The low cost option is ~$250, the medium cost option is ~$300 and the high cost option is ~$380. I have assisted people all over the work with setting up their filtration systems - USA, UK, Poland, New Zealand, Australia.

    If you buy an UT, you 'should' be able to do away with the Citranox. I address a number of possibilities in Chapter XIV.9. Once you move to UT, the sequence of steps is not as detailed and specific as the Chapter V manual process. A lot has to do with the specific UT tank, are you going to rinse after UT, so ultimately every use has to be dialed in specific to each user.

    Otherwise, as I said previous, I am not going to recommend to you which UT tank to buy - the cost is now too high. I showed you the chart and I discuss in the early sections of Chapter XIV, its up to you to make an informed decision.

    Neil
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2021
  19. pacvr

    pacvr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    Typo "...the filter system - much of it addressed in Chapter XIV beginning XIV.14.".
     
  20. Jenn2021

    Jenn2021 Active Member

    Location:
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Neil,

    I will stop and reconsider 'not' pursuing the UT :mad:. I'll re-read the past posts here and related chapters again soon to sharpen up. P.S. Excuse if I sounded like I wanted you to recommend a particular brand, I was attempting to refer to UT in general by design and functionality.

    Thank you again.
     
  21. pacvr

    pacvr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    Jenn,

    Recall what I said previously: "I do not see much value for a 40 kHz UCM after the 3-step cleaning process. There 'may' be benefit following up with a higher kHz UCM. This USA company CleanerVinyl Ultrasonic Record Cleaning sells a variety of UCMs and they do sell a 132 kHz unit for $599.".

    35 to 40kHz machines are the norm; they are intended for general cleaning. They produce the largest cavitation bubble that 'can' produce (with enough power) the largest cavitation intensity that can do the best general surface cleaning. But, they produce the least amount of bubbles and are not great for the very fine particulate in the groove. For filtering they are the most impacted by flow. If the tank flow which is the combination of the record(s) turning and pump/filter exceed 50% of the tank volume/min, the cavitation intensity drops. So, depending on how large the tank, how many records are being cleaned at-once, the pump flowrate, you often filter the tank between batches.

    80kHz to 132kHz; these are intended for removing very fine films and particulate. They produce a smaller cavitation bubble that produces less cavitation intensity, but produce more bubble that are good for getting into the groove and the risk of any 'erosion' of the record is less. The higher kHz UCM will (need) to have more power (watts) than the lower kHz UCM. For filtering they are not impacted by flow. So, the higher kHz machines can be filtered while the unit is operating with essentially little or no loss of cavitation intensity.

    Of the above, which is best, it all depends on what is your goal, what process you are going to use? How many records do you want to clean at once? How convenient/how fast do you want to clean? How dirty are the records to begin with? Most people move to UT cleaning for the convenience - there is no technique - the machine does all the heavy scrubbing work. Many people are totally adverse to manual cleaning; and it is technique dependent. Recall what I wrote XII.13..."But for the home audio enthusiast; depending on your attention to details, adopting machine assisted cleaning may or may not yield a cleaner record. However, the ease of use and convenience provided by machines can be very enticing and cannot be denied.". How much $$$ do you have to spend:

    @Bill Hart 1-record cleaning system is ~$8K. Pre-cleans with a Monks point-source vacuum RCM then final cleans in KL Audio (40kHz) UCM with DIW only anf then dries back on the Monks.

    @r.Din 1-record cleaning system is ~$6.5K. Pre-cleans with a Nessie vacuum-RCM (with Liquinox) Vinylcare then UT cleans with a 37kHz Kirmuss and then final cleans/dry with the Degritter (120kHz) DIW only.

    @dminches 6-record cleaning system is ~$8K. Uses two Elmasonic UT machines a P120 with Kuzma spinner RD Ultrasonic Record Cleaning kit - Kuzma Professional Turntables, Tonearms and Accessories 0.2 absolute filtration for cleaning (w/Tergitol) and then DIW rinse with a S120 with 0.5 nominal filtration; air-dry.

    The people above are getting exceptional results.

    Others use some sort of pre-clean and then 37 kHz machine such as P4875(II)+MVR10 (isonicinc.com) (note that 10 records at once is way too many) with filtration and then a simple basin with DIW for rinse.

    Others just use the $3K 120kHz Degritter with two-tanks that they swap. One tank has cleaner, the other just DIW. Excellent results can be obtained.

    The general consensus is that the best results when wet washing is to have a final rinse. But, in the book, I do address a no-rinse cleaning formulas XIV.7 and XIV.10.

    I assisted someone with limited dexterity with a two UT tank process, the first 40-kHz for pre-clean and then a 132-kHz for final clean/rinse.

    Now with the proliferation of very low cost 40kHz UT from Amazon/China (just as there are a proliferation of low cost USB Digital Microscopes). The number of records cleaned at once is too many and many of the spinners rotate way too fast so you still need to buy a new power supply to slow them down example -Amazon.com: JOVNO Universal Power Supply 3V-12V 5A 60W Adjustable AC/DC Adapter 100~240V AC to DC 3V 5V 6V 8V 9V 12V with LED Display and 14 Plugs 1 Reverse Polarity Converter Cable for LED Strips Motors Speaks : Everything Else.

    You need to consider the logistics. How much OEM support do you want? The very low cost 40kHz UT from Amazon/China you get none. Most people have the UT tank in a semi-permanent location especially if you add a filtration system, this is not very portable, however it can be designed to do so. Also, how mechanically inclined are you? A DIY pump/filter system will have as many as 20-parts; tubing, fittings, clamps, pump, pump power supplies if you go with a 12VDC pump, filter element and canister, etc.

    Neil
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2021
  22. pacvr

    pacvr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    Jenn: Here is a review of the latest plug&play UT machine - watch and hopefully grasp the conclusion. The power discussion has some errors - the 2 transducers face the record while other fire upward. Also, the volume is 400 mL so it needs less power. But, if its spinning at 0.5 rpm, its way to fast for the small volume. Making UT work needs some thought.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2021
  23. Jenn2021

    Jenn2021 Active Member

    Location:
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Wow Neil,

    I'm still chewing ! That's a lot to consider. I'll try to address some of your questions.
    Which process: I don't mind a wet pre-clean with Liquinox, appears advantageous before UT
    How many at once: 1-2 12" LP
    Tank: 1.5 liter
    How dirty: Unknown used records, probably all should be considered 'dirty'.
    Convenient/time : I have patience/time for 3-step clean for 10-15 records at a time, 1.5 hours
    Budget: < 1,000.00

    If some combination of wet clean / UT could yield "possible" increased cleaning abilities to reduce pops/hiss, I would pursue UT but not for convenience sake only. I try and brush a similar speed to turntable rotation, it's slow and if the record looks worthy of a larger paintbrush use to deliver increased mechanical pressure, it doubles the time. I keep exaggerating to myself I can do 1 record every 5-7 minutes but it doesn't ever happen. If I ever saved up enough $$$ for the Nth degree, I would probably go for your mentioning the multi frequency/sweep model and figure out the final rinse when I understand which of the ingredients to combine.

    I am however, curious if I wet clean followed by a 132kHz unit... might the 132kHz have sufficient power to attach leftover pop/hiss, or is the result mostly going to be noticed in increased clarity in the mid highs - high frequencies ?
    Not sure if I phrased that question correctly but I'm wondering where the 132kHz would be most effective ?

    Your help and patience is very much appreciated.

    Take care.
     
  24. Jenn2021

    Jenn2021 Active Member

    Location:
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Neil,
    Oops... major oversight. I have been using powder Alconox thinking it was Liquinox.
    I found this today addressing the differences Alconox/Liquinox: Differences between Alconox and Liquinox - Alconox Blog: TechNotes

    Is it OK to keep using Alconox in lieu of Liquinox ? I asked tech support for the dillution and the answer was: 2 level teaspoos per 32 oz. = 1%
     
  25. Jenn2021

    Jenn2021 Active Member

    Location:
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    I tried to add this in but the 'edit' button timed out.
    I was wondering if there is possibility of damage if the wet brushing occurs perpindicular to the grooves.
    I saw someone doing that on a video to disloge stubborn dirt.
    Thanks.
     

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