RCM; maintenances and choice?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Zero, Feb 12, 2019.

  1. Zero

    Zero New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Denmark
    Hello,

    I am new to this place. But every time I’ve been searching google for answers regarding hifi, LP’s and so on, this forum always seem to provide me with the answer.

    So it seemed like the next logical step, would be to sign up. :)

    Without further ado. I have been An LP enthusiast ever since my mother gave me her old turntable along with her records. She could not afford to give me a cd player, for which I am very grateful today.

    I have tried a bunch of different cleaning methods during the years. All of them have been moderately effective, but non have been to my satisfaction. But due to a limited budget an RCM has always been out of the question. My latest method involved a lazy Susan, a shop vac with a modified nozzle(using the MoFi replacement pads for their brush), and the MoFi cleaning brush with replaceable pads.

    I purchased a dozen of records yesterday, all of them in wonderful condition. During my cleaning I noticed hairline scratches on the dead wax. I then tried to run the MoFi brush over the dead wax again, and sure enough more appeared. I have tried cleaning the pads with a nylon brush after every record I clean, I replaced them, but still I am left with these hairline scratches.

    So I have decided to take the plunge, even though it is very expensive, and purchase a RCM. With my budget and my logistics I only have two options, the Okki Nokki or the Pro-Ject VC S. I think both machines are the latest versions, so the MKII/MKIII for the ON and the MKII for the Pro-Ject.

    Which of these machines do you consider the superior choice?

    What about maintenance? At some point the velvet lips of the vacuum will build up quite a bit of debris, which will scratch the records. I know you can replace these, but I can’t do that for every cleaning. So how do you clean these? And how do you know when it’s time to replace them?

    What other maintenance requirements do these machines have?

    Lastly, I intend to have three different goatshair brushes, which are to be used with a dedicated cleaning solution. MoFi Enzyme Plus, Super Record Wash and Pure Record Rinse.

    I apologise for the lengthy post. I do appreciate all the help and advice you can give me.

    Have a nice day.

    Kind regards
     
  2. Subagent

    Subagent Forum Resident

    Location:
    Arlington, VA
    I used an Okki Nokki for a few years. You'll need to empty it out from time to time, of course Change the "velvet lips" on the vacuum extension every so often. They will either wear to the point that you can see it, or one may come loose (as happened to me once). In between, I cleaned them with a light brushing with the same goat hair brush that came with the machine. Sometimes I brushed them out with my finger (don't tell anyone).
     
    Faceman likes this.
  3. Zero

    Zero New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Denmark
    Thank you for your reply. I really appreciate it. :)

    What about the goat hair brushes? Did/do you clean them in any way?
     
  4. daytona600

    daytona600 Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Do you have friends of family with records & share the costs of the RCM
    Buying a RCM is a no brainer & a good one will last for decades
     
  5. GyroSE

    GyroSE Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sweden
    I’ve had my Okki Nokki for 7 years now and it’s indeed one of the best investments I’ve ever done for my records and sound system.

    I clean the velvet strips on the wand with a soft childrens toothbrush after cleaning each album side. After each cleaning session i remove the wand to rinse it under running lukewarm water and I also pour some lukewarm water in to the wand hole to rinse the small tank inside the RCM.

    I believe any of the two machines you’re looking at are equally good, both of them are robust and really get the job done.
     
    Carter DeVries and Faceman like this.
  6. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    DO NOT use goat hair brushes with enzyme cleaner. The enzyme will eventually break it down. If you needle a bristle type brush for enzyme cleaner, find one made of nylon. Nitty Gritty sells one, which I just purchased recently for my RCM. The bristles are soft and shouldn't scratch records unless you are applying way too much pressing. They also have a velvet type RCM which I got recently. I use that one for my rinse cycles.
     
  7. vinylontubes

    vinylontubes Forum Resident

    Location:
    Katy, TX
    Either would be good. I have a Okki Nokki MkI. It's served me well. I bought it because it was supposed to be quieter. It definitely quieter than the Record Doctor it replaced and much easier to use. One think nice about he Okki Nokki is that is has optional 7" and 10" wands. I think the Pro-Ject only has a 7" wand and it's very expensive. The Pro-Ject doesn't have platter. This is either a good thing or a bad think. With lighter weight records, they will flop around. The Record Doctor has the same problem. Without a platter, there is no risk of cross contamination. This is something I don't worry about. I just try to keep the platter clean and put the dust cover on when I'm not using it. But I like the platter. It's very helpful in providing a stable surface during the scrubbing process. This is something I didn't like about the Record Doctor. I think I would have the same issue with the Pro-Ject. But it is a nice looking machine.
     
  8. classicrocker

    classicrocker Life is good!

    Location:
    Worcester, MA, USA
    I have a Record Doctor V which is half the price of the bigger brand names and does a fantastic job IMHO.

    It is manual so requires some effort, but not much, to spin the LP during cleaning. Doesn't have a full size platter which I find a bonus as it does not contaminate the LP side not being cleaned. The small platter will wobble with the dime sized platter ring bearing provided but KAB sells a larger ring bearing which solves thst issue.

    It is about as loud as a small shop vac but not overwhelming IMO. It is a bargain compared to the more expensive units.
     
  9. Subagent

    Subagent Forum Resident

    Location:
    Arlington, VA
    Yes, I thought it was pretty important to wash it out-- swish it out, really, in a shallow bowl of distilled water once or twice after a session. I let it go without cleaning it for the first few months that i had it, and one day realized that it was getting sort of funky. I don't know if the manual addresses that. I'm bad about reading manuals....
     
  10. BrilliantBob

    BrilliantBob Use The VTF, Luke...

    Location:
    Romania
    I washes my records with a pork hair brush well-drizzled in warm water with detergent. Brushed smoothly forward and back in the direction of the grooves. The label is covered with clamps to not get wet. Rubber gloves. The rinse is done with hot water from the shower, with moderate pressure. Water is the best cleaner. I don't use any other sort of mumbo jumbo magic solutions.

    I tried before all sorts of methods, but this is the best IMHO. It removes all the dirt from the grooves. I tried this on some old dispensable records to see how it works and I was amazed by the results. The records don't appear to be damaged, I listen them on the TT and now the sound is crystal clear (bass, mid and hights), much better than before. Clicks and pops gone.

    I saw somebody on net using a 40KHz ultrasonic cleaning machine but after cleaning, the clicks and pops was removed only 50-60%. He tested this with Audacity. I was very disappointed, because I thought before about buying an ultrasonic cleaning machine from China with $120. However, now I think the old good brush and the classic methods cleans the best.

    My two cents.
     
  11. eddiel

    eddiel Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Maintenance on either machine would be relatively low. Keep a spare set of velvet strips on hand so you aren't caught short and empty out the reservoir after every cleaning session. I also give it a quick rinse by pouring some water down the arm hole just make sure I got everything out.

    I used to own an Okki Nokki and learnt the hard way what happens when you don't empty and rinse out your reservoir. :)
     
  12. Guitarded

    Guitarded Forum Resident

    Location:
    Montana
    Regardless of the machine you get, I would advise starting with L'art du Son for a cleaner. Used with a distilled water rinse, you really can't beat it.

    I had poor results using the MFSL fluids. They worked. Just not nearly as well.
     
  13. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Their Super Record Wash is basically crap and didn't do much more than distilled water IME.

    I use AI #15 now and won't use anything else.
     
  14. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    The issue with the flip and vac machines is that they are not conducive to strong cleaners that require soak time. If you buy a fair amount of used vinyl and use strong cleaners like I do, the flip and vac machines are not the way to go. When you flip, you will make a mess.

    Now, regarding cross contamination, there is a way to get around that. I use a mat on RCM and it has "dirty side" and "clean side". I simply flip the mat between cleaning each side of the record, pretty easy. I also use separate wands and brushes for the cleaning fluid and rinse cycles, further cutting down on cross contamination.

    I would only recommend a "flip and vac" machine for someone that primarily uses one step cleaner. Otherwise it's not ideal.
     
  15. Zero

    Zero New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Denmark
    Patient_ot: thanks for the heads up, regarding the goat hair brush and enzyme cleaner. I had no idea.

    eddiel: Could you elaborate on that? What happened to your ON when you didn’t rinse out the reservoir?

    When it comes to cleaning fluids nothing is carved in stone. MFSL fluids are just readily available in my country. My problem with L’art du Son(which I would love to tru) is that you need to mix it with distilled water, which is very hard to get and very expensive in my country. It still baffles me that you can purchase distilled water for cheap in supermarkets in the states. Where I come from the process of making distilled water is time consuming and costly. We only have demineralized water, which is readily available and quite cheap.

    Again, I really appreciate all of your thoughts and inputs. :)
     
  16. BrilliantBob

    BrilliantBob Use The VTF, Luke...

    Location:
    Romania
    That's why I wash my vinyls with tap water. It's only 36 ppm here.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    If you can't get distilled water, quite honestly you are going to have a tough time getting the most out of an RCM. No matter what cleaning fluid you use, the best method is to rinse after using the cleaning fluid, and you need to rinse with distilled water ideally. Some folks use "purified water" which is almost as good as distilled water, depending on the type and brand. The main thing you want to avoid is "drinking water", which usually includes added minerals for taste - check ingredients. Here in the U.S. distilled water costs around $1 a gallon. Some commercial brands of bottled water, such as Aquafina, are actually distilled water, though the formula for making it and the quality may vary by country. I have no idea what is like where you are.

    If you can't get good water, whether from the store or using some kind of filter system to get rid of minerals and impurities, then you probably want to stick to weaker one-step cleaners. In theory these cleaners do not require rinsing but they benefit from a rinse as I said above. Just don't expect amazing results with one step cleaner. I've been through it and swore it off because I buy a fair amount of used vinyl. Even NM promos of records that are often 30, 40, 50+ years old will have layers of dust and other crud on them and the weak cleaners just don't do a great job on those.

    I've been through most of the DIY methods some people are talking about here too and those were a waste of time IME. If I had known what I know now, I would have just skipped the DIY crap, Spin Clean, homebrew fluid, weak one step, etc. and gone directly to a good enzyme + surfactant cleaner like I use now (AI #15). Having to reclean records is time consuming and a hassle. Better to do it right the first time.
     
  18. GyroSE

    GyroSE Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sweden
    Here in Sweden only pharmacies sell high quality distilled water- maybe it’s possible to order distilled water in the Danish pharmacies as well?
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019
  19. eddiel

    eddiel Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Mold grew where the tube came out of the tank. I only knew because I was having drainage issues. Opened it up and there it was. My machine was second hand so it could've started with the other owner. But I had been lazy from time to time and didn't empty the reservoir all the time.
     
  20. Drew769

    Drew769 Forum Resident

    Location:
    NJ
    Another vote here for a Record Doctor or a used Nitty Gritty (basically the same thing). It will do at least 95% of what is possible with anything else. It’s significantly smaller than a platter-based RCM. You can give an LP a 2 minute clean up right before playing it. You can go nuts with all of the cleaning regimens, both with cheaper and more expensive processes. I also have a Kirmuss ultrasonic but only really use that when necessary, and so do them in batches. The NG is my daily cleaner.
     
    classicrocker likes this.
  21. Bill Hart

    Bill Hart Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austin
    It is puzzling that distilled water is harder to find in parts of Europe. What about an auto supply store? They used to sell 'battery water' here fairly cheaply.
    From what I know, the main concern is the solids in the water so demineralized may be ok. Here's an excerpt from a Q/A I did a few years ago with a U.S. Library of Congress preservation specialist on water for rinsing records:

    Q: You also suggest using “deionized water”- what properties does this have over “distilled” water of the type you buy in the grocery store?

    A: I can’t speak to the quality of grocery store distilled water. In general, distilling removes organic and inorganic impurities from water. In deionization, the emphasis is more upon removing minerals. Deionization tends to be less expensive than distillation. For the purposes of cleaning records, there is less need for the purity of distilled water because the primary concern is to not leave any mineral residue on a disc, which can happen with tap water.
     
    patient_ot likes this.
  22. classicrocker

    classicrocker Life is good!

    Location:
    Worcester, MA, USA
    We obviously have different cleaning methods as I do a pre-clean with a Spin Clean before doing a second cleaning with the Record Doctor V. The platter thing is a matter of what you prefer and I like having the label sized platter myself.

    I do not have any issue with making a mess from the cleaning fluid when flipping the LP as I give it a quick wipe with a microfiber cloth to get the bulk fluid off after the Spin Clean before I put it on the RD V to dry it. Despite the bad experiences others here have had, I have never had issues with dust from the microfiber cloths I use as I bought dust free types and then I wash them first and let them hang dry so as not to pick up lint from the dryer. When cleaning on the Record Doctor for the second step I am pretty liberal with the supplied cleaning fluid and it clings to the LP so never had a mess issue when flipping to dry. I find it pretty painless and easy to use actually.

    JMO, while it is manual and requires a little more work, the Record Doctor V does a great job and is a bargain for anyone looking for a vacuum type RCM at $200 USD. Best value-based investment I ever made in this hobby.
     
  23. classicrocker

    classicrocker Life is good!

    Location:
    Worcester, MA, USA
    Interesting because as far as I know the reason to distill water is to remove the minerals so I am confused by the response you received by the LoC preservationist. When the water is boiled and turns to steam it leaves behind the minerals. This is one of the reasons steam iron Mfg.'s used to recommend using distilled water so you didn't get mineral buildup.
     
  24. Zero

    Zero New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Denmark
    Alright... A lot of great info. :)
    And a lot to process.

    Patient_ot: I can purchase the pure water from MoFi, so I think I might still be able to clean my records. Though it is expensive.

    GyroSE: The pharmacies in Denmark do carry distilled water, but it is VERY expensive. Then it’s cheaper to go with the MoFi water.

    I do work with reef aquariums, so I have easy access to reverse osmosis water. It is quite pure. Otherwise I will try to contact a mechanic regarding the “battery water”.

    Do any of you living in the states know why distilled water is so cheap on your side of the pond? Of course, anybody can make distilled water, but it would probably be contaminated. As far as I can see/read, the process requires an extremely sterile laboratory, which makes this type of water quite costly.

    Most Danish record stores tell you to use demineralised water. Which have probably only been run through a filter once.

    Well, no matter what, I’m not giving up. I intend to get my LP’s as clean as my budget allows. I’m am going to a store next week, to take a closer look at the okki nokki and the pro-ject.
     
  25. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Assuming the RO water doesn't have minerals added, it's probably good enough.
     
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