And we are back….

Well, the new site is not going to get traction. To my surprise there are too many sites with the same or similar name!
So, there is going to be a change in the status quo. I am going to convert this site, my original one, over to my new format. That was my original plan, but I was concerned about making things too messy for my readers. I have decided that sometimes it is better to go with one’s original plan despite the risks.
So to that end, I am converting this site. It will have a slightly different look and some notable changes as I explained before.
Those changes are as follows:
1) I will no longer be listing or reporting audio gear and those will be taken down. By now everyone knows what is available and of course what their budget is. There is also a change in the economic wind in a negative direction, so it will become pointless anyway pretty soon. In place of that though I will list and review the gear I use for the curious at some point.

2) There will no longer be articles about “audiophile philosophy” or “this format verses that”, etc. They will also be taken down. Those things do not fit the new focus.

3) Album reviews will of course remain in importance but done a little differently. I will no longer use a rating system and the core focus of the reviews will be the so-called “message” or how the music makes me feel, etc. That way I do not sway your opinion by rating the sound or music (ratings are also opinions anyway) and then you can see what you get out of the music should you choose to listen to any album I talk about for yourself.

4) There will be articles about music, mindfulness, how music affects us as humans, etc.

5) There will be selected articles about particular artists

6) I will also keep the “how to” articles and such because after all, we must take care of our music and playback gear.

Of course, I will re-write my mission statement and About page.
This site may be down for a day or two as changes are made, other wise perhaps you will see the metamorphoses as it happens, so please excuse the mess until things are dialed in….it won’t be too bad.

Record Cleaning Fluids – What is right and what is not. Yes, it matters!


THESE ARE NOT RECORD CLEANING FLUIDS!
THESE ARE RECORD CLEANING FLUIDS!

I have tried many of the different cleaning fluids on the market except for a couple or so, but I am going to show the ones I use and or feel are the best performers.
As I talked about in my article on record cleaning, I have seen every manner of fluid or substance used to try to clean records by people whom just don’t want to do it correctly or maybe are genuinely misleading people as some kind of cruel joke or something. It seems to me like it is more of the former. These people just don’t want to spend the extra dollar or less to get an appropriate cleaning fluid specifically formulated to clean their records properly and would rather ruin their records in failed attempts while claiming they are masters of the subject. I don’t care how many forums or websites or YouTube channels, etc. those people are on, please folks, don’t go using wood glue, window cleaner, bathroom cleaner, high levels of alcohol, furniture polish, lighter fluid, etc. to clean your records.
As I stated, I have tried a number of appropriate record cleaning fluids on the market along with my own DIY fluid and found a number of them to be either in least case, completely ineffective or in worst case left a residue behind or to be destructive. However, there are a few record cleaning fluids I am confident about.

I use Audio Intelligent Vinyl Solutions (AIVS) and Mobil Fidelity (MoFi) fluids at this time. I have found the AIVS fluids to be most effective. Some folks complain about the cost of the AIVS fluids and I used to be one of them until I got a chance to try them, did the math and figured out that the cost is actually quite reasonable when you factor in the capacity of cleanings and performance. Here’s the math: a 16 oz size of AIVS 3-step cleaning kit is around $55, that is enough to do about 200 records! So $55 divided by 200 records is 28 cents per record. For lesser dirty records and maintenance, they have a One-step formula that comes in a 32 oz bottle for around $29. That size can clean about 400 records, so $29 divided by 400 is 7 cents per record. So as you can see, it pays to use the proper fluids. Sure, a bottle of window cleaner or can of bathroom cleaner will cost around $4 or $5, but not only does it do fewer records, the important thing is that the records are being destroyed and so you must go and buy another one. This is actually very expensive. Even if the record only cost you a dollar or two, you have to find another one and how many are you willing to buy as you keep ruining them using the wrong thing? Factor into that the risk of ruining your needle and cartridge and it gets unbelievably expensive.
Before and after I got my first bottles of AIVS fluids I spoke with the maker and learned too much about the fluids to go into here, but I can tell you that I was impressed with the research and development that went into making the fluids. The maker even enlisted the help of a few chemistry professors and mastery students and did everything down to the last molecule. Very basically, AIVS fluids are composed of lab grade pure water as the vehicle with various bio-enzymes as the effective cleaners designed to attack different contaminants effectively and of course a surfactant. In using the fluids over the past years I can tell you that they got it right. (Continued on page 2)

“Scrub-a-dub-dub” = Record Cleaning Machines (Updated)

    
*(Updated)* I have removed the expensive ultrasonic machines and such because there was no point in discussing them in this article since one, they are well outside real-world cost and second, they are flawed in ways that potentially do more harm than good without improper use, I must say. It should be also noted that one can do harm to records with any of these devices if used improperly.

RCMs (Record Cleaning Machines). Thankfully, there are many choices on the market today.
First let me say that if you play vinyl records and have even a small collection of say, 50 records or so and if you purchase vinyl records, especially used ones, I believe getting a record cleaning machine is one of the single best investments in your sound system you can possibly make. The beauty of it is that there are virtually no diminishing returns for an RCM. There are many reasons for this and here is just one: You can purchase a used record for $1 or $2 from a garage sale or record fair or what have you, bring it home to your RCM, spend about 25 to 50 cents and a few minutes to clean it and end up with a record worth many times what you just paid. However, it is not really about the monetary worth of the record, it is really about the sound and preservation of not only the record, but your analog gear as well. Who wants to take out their needle or hear lots of noise while playing a record?
RCMs don’t work miracles, they cannot fix damaged or warped records nor improve poor recordings, but they can extend the life of records, bring records back to life so to speak to listening quality and better depending on the record condition. With the exception of fully automatic ones (which are thousands of dollars by the way), RCMs are really just platforms and helpers in cleaning records, but a big help they are. RCMs provide the most effective way to deep clean your vinyl records. Most RCMs employ the same basic design: apply a cleaning fluid to the record to loosen the dirt and debris trapped in the grooves, and in most cases, they have a vacuum system to remove the dirty fluid from the record, leaving behind a clean and dry record.
The only downside to RCMs is the price, that said though, there are many choices today and you don’t have to spend the farm.  As I said in the beginning, if you are serious about record collecting, have a sizable collection, buy a fair amount of used (and new vinyl), some sort of RCM is one of the best investments you will ever make.

However, no matter how well or much you carry out “manual cleaning” (use of carbon fiber brush, rinsing with water, or wet brush), there is still residue of dirt and debris left sitting deep down in the grooves. In fact, I do not call using a carbon fiber brush or a wet brush “cleaning a record”. It really isn’t, it is closer to dusting than anything else. Brushing and rinsing are simply not enough to remove all that dirt. RCMs and proper cleaning methods are able to extract dirt from deeper in the grooves where your needle rides.
I’m going to show you most of the RCMs currently available both in the US and internationally so you can choose what fits your situation and budget best. I will also show the cleaning fluids I use that I have found to be best performers.

No, I have not tried all the RCMs on the market. In fact, I have only done two versions, one was my manual set up and then thanks to a nasty repetitive motion injury, I now currently use my VPI 16.5. Besides, I don’t have the money to try different RCMs and since they are really just variations on the same theme, with the exception of ultrasonic units, what would be the point?

As I talked about in my article on record cleaning, I have seen every manner of fluid or substance used to try to clean records by people whom just don’t want to do it correctly or maybe are genuinely misleading people as some kind of cruel joke or something. It seems to me like it is more of the former. These people just don’t want to spend the extra dollar or less to get an appropriate cleaning fluid specifically formulated to clean their records properly and would rather ruin their records in failed attempts while claiming they are masters of the subject. I don’t care how many forums or websites or YouTube channels, etc. those people are on, please folks, don’t go using wood glue, window cleaner, bathroom cleaner, high levels of alcohol, furniture polish, lighter fluid, etc. to clean your records. See my article here: for more in-depth discussion.
(Continued on page 2)