I have been startled by the effectiveness of the
Audio Intelligent Vinyl Solutions No. 15
record cleaning solution (http://www.audiointelligent.com/products.htm in Australia go to http://www.recordclean.com.au/). Used in conjuction with a vacuum record cleaning machine (cheapest is the KAB one), this is a major improvement. In fact, the magnitute of the improvement wrought by cleaning with this solution is greater than most of the major component upgrades my many customers make to their systems (eg preamp, power amp, even speakers.) This is amazing - I have substituted components in systems and not obtained this level of improvement!
The results are two kinds of quietness: background noise is gone (apart from scratches of course); so quiet are LP's now that it is uncanny - it's like listening to the master tape; truly astonishing.
The other quietness (or cleanliness) is the sound itself - there is no grit superimposed on the sound, which is now silky smooth and effortless.
Best of all, there is now a level of transparency that is simply startling: several veils, curtains in fact, are removed from in front of the soundstage; you can walk through the spaces between performers; the soundstage extends well beyond the speaker boundaries and way to teh rear corners. I am not excaggerating - records simply do not sound like records any more, it seems you are hearing the master tape!
As well, there is no longer that troublesome feeling that at any moment you will hear distortion (due to mistracking) or pops and clicks; you will notice how relaxed you feel, how a new confidence in your playback system has emerged. Most of all, it is totally startling (spooky, Dame Edna would say) how you seem to be hearing the master tape - it just does not seem you are listening to a record. There seems to be nothing between you and the music (like CD only with high quality sound). Can you say this about listening to LP's now?
It irks me a bit to find that after more than 50 years of listening to LP's I am only now hearing them for what they are!
I buy a lot of s/hand vinyl because I listen mostly to classical music, which is not released on vinyl any more. Recently I bought an opera set (3 LPs) which had mould all over the box and the vinyl. I cleaned the LP's twice (just to make sure) with AIVS No. 15 and the records play like new - in fact better than new - completely and utterly silent and sounding pristine. This is totally amazing!
I have come up with a very time effective way to use this fluid:
Normally you would have to clean one side at a time, wait 10-20 minutes, then do the other side, but here is a way to cut the time in half:
You should have a carbon fibre brushe as well as the nylon padded one that came with your cleaning machine. Also your normal distilled (or de-mineralized) water + 5-10% ISO alcohol solution, as a rinsing solution (you can buy the AIVS rinsing solution if you are well off).
Cut the bristles on the carbon fibre brushe with scissors so they are only about 3 mm long; this makes them stiffer.
Make yourself a spacer for the cleaning machine to go underneath the LP label – 5-6mm thick, from MDF cut with a hole saw or a piece of rubber or cardboard, etc. even bubble wrap. This is so you can clean both sides of an LP at once – see below.
Put the spacer on the cleaning machine.
If the LP is dirty - finger marks, etc, squirt a little no. 15 cleaning fluid onto the record and then spread it around with the nylon brush, pushing down fairly firmly (over the vacuum slot) while rotating the LP to get rid of the dirt; after a few rotations, squirt a little more no. 15 on and while holding the brush very lightly on the LP, rotate it a couple of times until you see a 'lake' of fluid, the grooves no longer visible - top up with fluid if you have to. The first side you do will need additional cleaning fluid anyway as some is absorbed by the dry nylon brush.
If the LP is clean, you can simply do the second part of the above procedure, ie; one application to cover the entire LP side.
Now turn the LP over and do the other side; (this is the reason for the spacer); when done, place the LP on a glass to let the fluid do its enzymatic stuff. Turn the record over every few minutes to let the fluid sink into the grooves. Even one turn-over after 5 min. works. Minimum curing time is 10 min, max about 20. You will see when the fluid starts to dry, the grooves start to be visible again. Do not worry if the fluid starts to evaporate; you can actually let the record sit there for 20 min. and turn it only once.
To vacuum, remove the spacer and vacuum off one side – just a couple of revolutions; turn the LP over and while vacuuming off the other side, squirt the rinsing solution onto the upper side and spread it around using brush #2 (you can just keep it in place over the vacuum slot while rotating the record); then turn over and vacuum while rinsing off the other side, then turn over and vacuum that side. (You can also just quickly vacuum both sides, then rinse and vacuum each side.)
It is important to switch off the vacuum while you are turning the LP, else it leaves a line of damp on it.
It is quite easy to do several LP’s at once this way. Also important is to mark the LP or sleeve so you know you have cleaned it – you never have to clean it again. You can put a dot or tick on the sleeve with a marker.
Don’t be put off by this sounding laborious – it is not, and it is so worth it! Once you hear the difference, you will realize that it makes no sense to have your great stereo set-up and only hear about 75% (or less) of what is on the LP’s.
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