Author Topic: Carl's Ultrasonic Record Cleaner  (Read 539 times)

Online Sir Thrift-a-Lot

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Carl's Ultrasonic Record Cleaner
« on: July 11, 2017, 11:12:08 PM »
First, let me say that I am sorry to dub this "Carl's Ultrasonic Record Cleaner", but I don't know what else to call it.   He didn't invent it, but it doesn't have any brand name either.   At any rate, I suspect he will be along at some point to clarify it's origins.   Second, for anyone who doesn't know, I am a HUGE proponent of record cleaning.   The $100 CanFab RCM has literally revolutionized this hobby for me.   Clean records are simply a much better listen than dirty ones.

So, Carl was kind enough to invite me over to check out this setup (many thanks, Carl).   We cleaned records and did some listening in between.   I brought a couple that I was sure couldn't be helped by cleaning, a rare record that I just want to get every last morsel out of (a UK first of "Electric Ladyland" of which I have temporary custody), and one that was really the test subject; my Blue Box copy of The White Album.   Noise on side four was the only glaring aural imperfection in the whole set, so I was hopeful to bring it up to the standard of the other 12 albums.

The setup is pretty impressive.   The heart is a standard Ultrasonic heated bath like you can get on eBay (2 liters IIRC).   What takes it from a jewelry or parts cleaner to a record cleaner is an elaborate device made by a machinist friend of his who is also an audiophile.   It involves several heavy steel pieces, welded and nicely finished by his friend, a motor to turn the records in the bath and a spindle/label protector mechanism to suspend the records in the bath.   (Perhaps Carl will add a photo.)

The device, while perhaps a bit awkward to use initially, I suspect will become second nature as one gets used to it.   Carl did the first batch, then we worked in unison on the others.   Since the bath has a heavy concentration of Tergi-Kleen in it, we followed each cleaning with a distilled water rinse on his VPI RCM.   Mounting and unmounting the records, while somewhat time consuming, isn't so laborious that it wouldn't be worth the effort if a significant improvement is to be had.   What may be a deal breaker for some is the loud, obnoxious squeal which emanates from the US transducer.   It really is a horrible racket.

We cleaned the Hendrix first and listened to it while we did the others (it was not in the listening room).   It sounded wonderful, but again it was already nearly perfect, so I wasn't sure if I was hearing any improvement or not.   At the very least, I was sure the process hadn't been detrimental in any way (not that I expected it to be, but probably worth mentioning).   I knew visually that the process did not help either of the records that I didn't expect it to.   But hey, one can hope for a miracle, it just wasn't to be had here.

The moment of truth came tonight after I put Jerome up to bed.   I put on the headphones and listened to side four of The White Album.   I am happy to report that while there is still some surface noise, it is a small fraction of what was there.   The improvement is great enough that I am no longer considering trying to find a replacement copy.   This is very good.

That said, I'm still not sure how I feel about the ultrasonic process.   I have found that even with my inexpensive RCM, repeat cleanings can offer subsequent improvements.   Would my album have had similar improvement after a second RCM cleaning?   I'm not at all sure.   Also, I wonder if the ultrasonic waves are really the secret ingredient here, or if simply spending 15 minutes in a hot soapy bath isn't what is doing the trick.   RCM cleaning is measured in seconds, not minutes, and the fluid is at room temperature.   Could that in itself be enough to accomplish the difference which was observed?   I'm not at all sure, and I'm also not sure how to test for those answers.

So, my opinion to this point is that the process definitely was beneficial.   However, is it worth the cumbersome set-up, the terrible noise and the expense?   That will be a personal decision.   For myself, I don't see me running out to get one (where would I put it?), but I am glad to have a friend with one for that occasional special record which merits the extra attention.     ;D
« Last Edit: July 11, 2017, 11:16:28 PM by Sir Thrift-a-Lot »

Offline papabearjew

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Re: Carl's Ultrasonic Record Cleaner
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2017, 11:40:48 PM »
White album... Interesting...

Online Sir Thrift-a-Lot

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Re: Carl's Ultrasonic Record Cleaner
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2017, 11:48:22 PM »
White album... Interesting...


Did you miss the thread about my $10 Blue Box?   Stupid Photobucket broke the photo link, but here is the thread...

http://vintagehifi.audio/index.php/topic,3862.0.html

Offline Kingman

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Re: Carl's Ultrasonic Record Cleaner
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2017, 06:17:12 AM »
Thanks for the review! Pics would help.
IN REALITY IT ONLY MATTERS WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE TO YOU!!!!!

Offline schwarcw

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Re: Carl's Ultrasonic Record Cleaner
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2017, 11:09:31 PM »
Thanks Mark!  It's always a pleasure when you come for a visit.  I am just seeing this thread now and I agree with Mark's observations.  The verdict on the ultrasound cleaning process is not complete.  It cleans, no doubt but it is time consuming and clunky.  The noise is obnoxious!  It's like running long, chipped fingernails down a chalk board.  You have to place and use it away from family and friends.

 I will get some pictures up soon!

Brad, I am such a slug with your White album!  I am surprised you haven't sent a hit man to get me.  I need to get it back to you.  I will give it an ultrasonic bath too!   8)
« Last Edit: July 12, 2017, 11:12:36 PM by schwarcw »
Carl

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Re: Carl's Ultrasonic Record Cleaner
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2017, 11:57:37 PM »
Oh, now I understand Brad's post.   I thought it was a jab at me.

Offline EmperorNorton

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Re: Carl's Ultrasonic Record Cleaner
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2017, 03:45:48 PM »
Sounds like a splendid time was had by all....
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Offline schwarcw

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Re: Carl's Ultrasonic Record Cleaner
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2017, 01:57:05 AM »
Some pictures!

Carl

Offline schwarcw

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Re: Carl's Ultrasonic Record Cleaner
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2017, 01:58:18 AM »
Some more . .
Carl

Offline schwarcw

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Re: Carl's Ultrasonic Record Cleaner
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2017, 02:07:01 AM »
And more . .
Carl

Offline MacGeek

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Re: Carl's Ultrasonic Record Cleaner
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2017, 07:10:25 AM »
Nice that it cleans more than one disc at a time
MAC C-46 pre, MQ 108 eq, MC 352 amps (2), MR 78 tuner, MCD 500 CD, MPI-4 scope, LS 352 speakers, Sony HDR-F1HD AM/FM/HD tuner, Denon DRS 810 cassette, Denon CDR-W1500 CD recorder, Music Hall MMF-9 w/B&O MMC2, Revox A-77 R to R.

Offline Jim Pittsburgh

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Re: Carl's Ultrasonic Record Cleaner
« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2017, 08:41:58 AM »
sweet! 
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Offline OldiesButGoodies

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Re: Carl's Ultrasonic Record Cleaner
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2017, 08:35:05 PM »
And more . .

I am focusing on the table again - love that metal top for disc cleaning activities!  Look forward to seeing your new turbo cleaner.

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Offline schwarcw

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Re: Carl's Ultrasonic Record Cleaner
« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2017, 09:38:16 AM »
I cleaned about 20 records over a two week period using the same bath of Triton-X and water.  The tank had a cover so there was no atmospheric dirt and minimal if any evaporation.  I've attached a couple of pictures of the bottom and sides of the tank after I drained it.  So you can see the ultrasonic cleaning process removed a lot of dirt.  There is no doubt the cleaning process removes dirt from previously cleaned or new records.  The question is "can you hear a difference?"

I think the answer ranges from little or now difference to a noticeable change.  The big changes that I heard was the music seems to have more "air" around the instruments and voices.  The music seems to be more lively and greater detail.

The lesson that I learned is that the cleaning process should be done in batches of at least 9 or 12 records to be efficient.  Additionally, there is some down time.  I can see where I could clean a lot of records during a football game.  As Mark noted just close the door to the room because the noise could drive you mad!  LOL!
Carl

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Re: Carl's Ultrasonic Record Cleaner
« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2017, 06:13:50 AM »
All I have is a lowly Spin Clean and the dirt in the tub is very apparent after cleaning 15 or 20 records.
MAC C-46 pre, MQ 108 eq, MC 352 amps (2), MR 78 tuner, MCD 500 CD, MPI-4 scope, LS 352 speakers, Sony HDR-F1HD AM/FM/HD tuner, Denon DRS 810 cassette, Denon CDR-W1500 CD recorder, Music Hall MMF-9 w/B&O MMC2, Revox A-77 R to R.

 

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