Analog Corner # 305: Degritter record cleaner & Aidas Gala Gold LE cartridge In Heavy Rotation

Sidebar: In Heavy Rotation

1220acornjan.spirit

Spiritualized: Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space
(VMP-E093) 2 LPs

1220acornjan.ellis

Marsalis & Marsalis: Ellis Marsalis & Jason Marsalis (Newvelle New Orleans Collection)
Test Pressing

1220acornjan.lang

Lang Lang: Bach Goldberg Variations
(DG 481 9736 2 LPs)

1220acornjan.trex

Various Artists: Angelheaded Hipster The Songs of Marc Bolan and T. Rex
(BMG) 2 LPs

COMMENTS
tonykaz's picture

Cleaning 10 records per day, how long to clean the entire collection?

how much for the needed solution ?,

can the Solution be filtered and recycled ?

Is it even worth the effort considering our leading golden Ears Audiophiles never seem to mention cleaning their collections.

As far as I can tell, New Audiophile vinyl records come from Chad having NOT been cleaned, why is that ?

Do Vinyl 33.3 Pressing plants recommend cleaning the vinyl ?, if so is there a recommended method ?

How much floor space is suggested for a proper installation of a fully functional record cleaning station ?

It would be nice and appropriate for a qualified audiophile to comparatively audition both the before and after cleaned record, wouldn't it ?

So now, I'm pondering, is this a product review or a product promotion ?

Tony in Venice

ps. I've cleaned every 33.3 Vinyl record I've ever owned, numerous times !

Jim Austin's picture
So now, I'm pondering, is this a product review or a product promotion ?
Tony, it is a review--or, to be more precise, it is a column, which at Stereophile is not the same thing. What it is not is a product promotion--which suggests some quid pro quo. Such casual cynicism is tiresome and will not be tolerated indefinitely. Jim Austin, Editor Stereophile
tonykaz's picture

Dear Sir,
Your own staff have revealed that they have gear on long term loan, which is typical of Automotive Industry practices.

I did not "suggest" as you accuse, so , why do you respond with threats ?

I, as a vinyl devotee since it's 1950s introduction, ponder the utility of this cleaning device.

If we are discussing a "Column" and not a "Review" and I'm writing opinion in the public Comments section, opinion begging for a technical response to a technical question, why not respond with the Product specifics.

I have represented and sold VPI & Nitty Gritty cleaning machines along with a full line of High End Vinyl gear. I own a Fine Record collection.

This is an Analytical subject and discussion, not an emotionally adversarial one.

Tony in Venice

ps. This a Big Tent

Jim Austin's picture

Tony, you are being disingenuous, or perhaps dishonest with yourself. In any case, you are mischaracterizing your own comment.

So now, I'm pondering, is this a product review or a product promotion

This is an accusation masquerading as a question--and it is, of course, the problem. The rest of your message is of little interest or concern.

Stereophile writers and editors do their jobs with integrity--and guard their reputations jealously. We run an honest shop--one of very few still in existence from what I hear. Do not expect to make such comments casually on our own website and experience no pushback.

I will not continue this conversation. If you continue, you will earn a Stereophile vacation.

Jim Austin, Editor
Stereophile

tonykaz's picture

Cancel my subscription.

I won't tolerate your threats and accusations !

Tony in Venice

JRT's picture

Have you been listening to any vinyl recently? I had been under the impression, perhaps false impression, that you were listening solely to streamed digital audio with playback through headphones.

Jack L's picture

........ an emotionally adversarial one." quoted Tony.

I buy yr above statement, my friend.

Users of record cleaning machines, IMO, are kinda sorta members of a "cult".

You may label me a cheapskate as I never spent a penny on a cleaning machine for my 1,000+ LP collection (95% classical music).

I think I've managed to get the best sound out of my beloved music vinyl without such 'capital investment' in a record cleaning machine.

How? WET play! It's that basic & simple. I started wet play when I first started playing vinyl a few years back.

The worst thing of playing vinyl is the static noises caused by the discharge of static electricity when the stylus comes in contact with the DRY record groove sides. The most effective method to kill the static discharge is moisture !! So wet play it.

Talking about dirt trapped inside the record grooves, we never leave any record outside of its sleeve unless being played. So the change of getting dust inside the microscopic grooves is not big at all even it is spinning.

So besides static & dust, what else ?

Before I start to play any LPs (new or preowned) for the first time, I always rinse them in a bath of ionized distilled water to wash out any trapped dirt on them & then hang them dry.

I always wet up the spinning LP by with ionized distilled water by applying it with a nylon paint brush before playing.

Wet play makes the music sounds so so so much more FLUID than dry play besides being so static noise free. I compared intensively wet vs dry play & have finally settled down for WET play strictly on sound quality ground.

Ionized distilled water I have chosen measured 100% pure = 0 mpp using my brandnamed water purity tester. Available in 4-lire (3.8gallon) plastic bottle, dirt dirt cheap from my neigbourhood grocery store.
NO, absolutely no additional chemicals.

Sorry, no cleaning machines needed for my huge LP collection.

Listening is believing

Jack L

Michael Fremer's picture

Has already ruined your cartridge. You just don't yet know it.

Jack L's picture

Hi

How do you know? Hearsay or what?

From my 3 years+ wet-play experience using the same MM cartriige, I've proven your opinion above is an unfounded myth.

The ever powerful vibrant voice of Mario Lanza, the American Caruso, the opera tenor I adore most, who beat, IMO, the 300lb Italian high-C king: Pavarotti, still sound same same since day one of my vinyl switch over.

I clean my MM cartridge stylus every time I start to play, I still do not notice any damage done to the stylus as of today.

May I suggest NOT going by hearsay without first trying it out.

Listening is believing

Jack L

Michael Fremer's picture

The manufacturer was certain that the way it works is, once the review is finished, the reviewer gets to keep the product. He only said this when I asked how he wished it returned. He was genuinely surprised that I was not going to keep it as a "present" because I assume that's been his experience with reviewers around the world. I shipped the unit back to Estonia yesterday. This makes all the more odious Tony's insinuations about my integrity and my having written a "promotional" piece. Damn forking annoying actually. Pardon my use of a utensil.

dronepunkFPV's picture

I just want to add that that I have purchased a few vintage carts from Victor thru either eb4y, Aidas or Vira USA and have been happy.
He sent me an Aidas “Black Sound Red Heart” MC to try out -unsolicited.
I absolutely loved it...
I hope Aidas cartridges get more ink, I think they are incredible.
I am listening to Jesus Lizard -Liar reissue and it sounds better than ever!
“Not a hard rock cartridge” my arse....
A good cartridge is a good cartridge.
Wow, I have read more exciting paragraphs describing toilet paper.
I guess only Lyra and Soundsmith get the flowery prose.
I am a huge fan of both brands -J Carr& P. Ledermann are inspiring personalities.
Maybe I’m just an underdog rooting for an underdog.
No harm meant, just wished for something more formal for a small company.
Please, more freaking cartridge reviews.
Thanks,
Johnny in Venison......

Glotz's picture

What appears implicit now has been explicit in the past.

MF and others have tested, auditioned and reported their findings in the past.

With all due respect to you and your knowledge, I'm beginning to think you got out of analog too early and missed many of the transformations in analog over the last 2 decades.

If I had the dough for a real record cleaner these days, this would be it. Price/value, efficacy, ease of operation... it's a refined design.

tonykaz's picture

I never got out ! ( I travel extensively )

I'm asking important questions:

1.) What is the recommended maintenance for the New & Improved Vinyl from Acoustic ? I owned injection moulding equipment and fully realise the mould release needing to be washed off. Where is the discussion about this ?

Well, it just seems like 33.3 people are ultra defensive and thin skinned.

Vinyl is a hot topic. I just got a catalog from Music Direct with 36 record players ranging in price from $1,000 to $40,000. It's right up front in the Catalog! It's like 33.3 Vinyl is the hottest thing.

So, is vinyl back, in it's full Glory ?

Obviously it's a protected Species just now, was it endangered ?

Tony in Venice

ps. I'm getting word that it looks as if we will get the Vaccination around Febuary'ish. I won't need it, I already have developed immunity.

Glotz's picture

First off and Happy Holidays (since I practice more than one this time of year too)... but God bless on the Corona, no matter who you are.

And yes, Vinyl is back in full glory. There is something about analog creating an event in time and space that will always sound like reproduction of an event and excitingly real.

There are also soooo many of great releases these days and sound to match it. Lots of rushed pressing jobs too, but let's understand everyone is going bonkers for LP's, even this year.

Digital's come a long way but if one is committed to the vinyl investment for decades, there is only forward to the state of the art in one's personal investment for giving me musical nourishment(!) and deep discovery.

I own several AP 'Doors releases from them (others too) and they were very quiet on first play, which is after a very quick spin on a last generation Record Doctor with Audio Intelligent No.6, as always. After a 1st clean with that, little work to make it happy.

$300 these days for really solid vacuum cleaning isn't a lot. (Don't get me started on static in the winter time... on carpet! The devil's playground!!) Furutech, here I come!

I think the takeaway is get back into it is take what you have now and work a great cart like the Hana ML in there somewhere.

Stereophile's analog recommends have been on-point this year. The PS Audio Stellar is really transparent. MF ain't blowing smoke! Neither is HR! (Well, I don't know them personally...lol.)

Jack L's picture

Hi

How "ultra defensive" & "thin skinned" ?

Jack

tonykaz's picture

retrospectively, I might've been referring to myself.

Tony in Venice Florida

Michael Fremer's picture

1) I believe I wrote that the basic cycle takes 5:45 seconds but it's adjustable depending upon how dirty is the record.
2) The tank requires a small pipette's worth of solution for each 100 or so records. A full bottle (100ml) costs $34.95. That will last a very, very long time even if you drink some.
3) I'm sure i wrote there's a filter but come on, that's a stupid question. You dump it after 100 or so records and start over.
4) We all clean our records. We don't mention it for the same reason we don't alert you when we take a piss. Would you like me to? Happy to oblige with photos. P.S.: I don't filter my pee.
5) Pressing plants are not 'clean rooms'. Records don't arrive clean or cleaned.
6) Pressing plants press records. They don't offer record cleaning advice. Not their job.
7) This machine takes up the space of a toaster. If you wish to do a follow up cleaning with just water, the space is two toasters.
8) I've written many times about 'before and after' comparing new records and used using various methods. So has Fred Kaplan and probably our late friend Art Dudley.
9) Your pondering is a waste of time. It would be insulting were it not so lame.
P.S.: I'm glad you've cleaned your records numerous times. At the very least it keeps you out of trouble on what used to be called West Washington Blvd.

Please do whatever it takes to get some disagreeable treatment. It's legal now.

Anton's picture

How many records do you have that need cleaning?

Give us a sense about your place in the vinyl aspect of audiophilia, without using past tense.

AaronGarrett's picture

You might enjoy these very cool records -- there's a subscription option -- from Adrian Younge recorded in his fabulous LA studio. The latest one is two 45s (and very reasonably priced). Great new music and great sonics converge! https://jazzisdead.bandcamp.com/subscribe

Glotz's picture

Really brilliant idea on their behalf. I hope that it's consistent, but one should/would be patient with the pressings every 2 months...

Anton's picture

There is currently a Kickstarter campaign for an ultrasonic record cleaner called Humminguru that looks amazing for the price.

I have no vested interest, so will not even post a link.

You can Google the product.

It's Kickstarter, so the usual caveats apply.

jamesgarvin's picture

I must admit to being a little puzzled why Michael did not compare this machine with the Kirmuss machine, given that the Degritter costs significantly more than the Kirmuss machine, Michael referenced the Kirmuss machine in his column, and Michael has positively reviewed and subsequently commented upon the Kirmuss machine. What does this machine do for the extra coin that the Kirmuss machine does not? Seems to me like a question begging for an answer.

volvic's picture

The Degritter will dry the record for you which the Kirmuss will not, you have to wipe it down manually with a supplied cloth. Also, the Degritter uses a different frequency than the Kirmuss said to be gentler. I will get one but my first major purchase might be the Sugarcube, I do know someone who has one and swears by it and I know someone who has the Degritter and swears by that as well. Decisions, decisions.

Jack Pot's picture

To add a little to the confusion.

I reiterate some of my conclusions, that I shared in a comment to the review of the Kirmuss.
Cleaning records with ultrasound RCMs yields stunning sonic improvements. Also – especially? - on brand new records.
I only have experience with the Audiodesk RCM machine, having used a Spin Clean Record Washer before. The use of the latter did NOT result in any SONIC improvement.
I do not sympathize with Audiodesk because Herr Glass brought onto the market unreliable machines which would irreparably break down over time (check out the complaints on the internet! I discovered I was not alone…). I exchanged my broken one with the latest iteration and had to pay a hefty trade-in price (still cheaper than switching to a Degritter). This latest iteration – The Original – is a much more mature design and highly effective, if used properly. And therein lies the rub.
Paul Rigby – the Audiophile Man – researched the subject in depth. Ultrasound RCM manufacturers are wrong. They request that their “secret” surfactant be added to the water in the tank of the ultrasound cleaner. As a result, the surface of the record emerges contaminated with surfactant residue after the wash/dry cycle. This is embarrassingly audible (see below). I follow Paul’s recommendation. The surfactant, in my case diluted Tergikleen, must be dripped onto the record surface and gently spread with a kabuki brush. The record can then be washed/ dried in the RCM which contains only demineralized water to which 1% isopropyl alcohol has been added. Replace the water in the tank every 50 discs or so. Paul’s methodology spectacularly improves the sound of records, also of those which I had previously cleaned in the Audiodesk using the manufacturer’s method (!!!)
I am now at the stage of cleaning – again - my record collection.
To answer a few questions by your readers: I subject each record to two washing cycles of 5 minutes each. Followed by a final 4 min drying cycle. Applying the surfactant to the record prior to washing takes 2 minutes.
Record manufacturers are mute on the subject. Paul Rigby has formed a reasoned opinion as to why that is.
The longevity of LPs is most probably unaffected. But the full glory of vinyl cannot be appreciated without cleaning LPs in such a machine (or perhaps RCMs based on different principles).
Given the vast improvements RCMs confer to vinyl playing, reviewers should systematically research the subject and share their conclusions with readers. Shootouts between various offerings should reveal spectacular differences. (My guess? provided the surfactant is applied properly, all ultrasound RCMs should yield similar results. Be it a Kirmuss at usd 970 or an Audiodesk at usd 4000. Price, reliability, footprint, and convenience should then become the prevailing criteria. I cannot judge on non-ultrasound RCMs).

ghn5ue's picture

One of my favorite things about this machine is the removeable water tank. You can buy extras as accessories, and having two means you can have one filled with a surfactant solution and the other with just distilled water. You can then run a wash cycle without dry and after that is done swap to the water only tank and run a short cycle with dry. I think the lack of rinse is the fatal flaw with many of the record cleaning systems out there. I can't wait to get my own Degritter!

Jack Pot's picture

Hi there,

I have experimented quite a bit with surfactants. Never add the surfactant to the water in the tank. Apply it in diluted form directly to the LP prior the RCM treatment. The sonic improvements are spectacular. Save yourself the hassle of 2 tanks and the disappointment of perhaps suboptimal results. Also: check out Audiophileman.

Old Audiophile's picture

Want to save some money, clean more records simultaneously and achieve the same results? Check out CleanerVinyl.com.

Jack Pot's picture

Excellent recommendation. Can Stereophile carefully check-out the offerings on the market? I know usd 350 RCMs are not as sexy as usd 150.000 turntables, but the latter are rather useless without the former! Stereophile sould at the same time take the opportunity to explore the methods of applying surfactants - and which perform best - and alternatives to ultrasound RCMs (a.o. Clearaudio RCMs). Tedious, but ultimately very rewarding.

JRT's picture

For cleaning vinyl LP records, does this device or something like it work as well or better than using a thin coating of Franklin International Titebond-II PVA carpentry adhesive?

Anton's picture

I have played with that and did not note much benefit, but love my Audiodesk.

Perhaps people with more experience with the 'glue method' can chime in!

Old Audiophile's picture

Jack Pot (great handle!) and for others interested, Mr. Fremer has already done an excellent review of the CleanerVinyl system on Analog Planet. Here's a link: https://www.analogplanet.com/content/cleanervinylcoms-reasonaly-priced-multi-lp-cavitation-based-recod-cleaning-system
Further, for those interested in the method to my madness you can check out "My Take" in the Comments section. I cannot, honestly, compare my results with this system with those of the 3 and 4 thousand dollar machines on the market because I've never used one of those but I can assure you this beats cleaning or washing records by hand, by a long shot!

adrianwu's picture

I was one of the early adopters, having bought one from the first batch of machines on Indiegogo and having to wait a year to have it delivered. I have been very happy with it. I used an Audiodesk until it broke, and a VPI 16.5 for 15 years before that. The Degritter is clearly superior. Heavily soiled records still needs to be pre-cleaned, but I clean all LPs before listening. As one of the readers mentioned above, I have a second water tank that only contains distilled water for rinsing. The original machine developed a fault a couple of months ago, and Degritter sent me a new replacement machine right away without charge. The problem had been fixed on all the new machines. To be honest, I listen mostly to master tapes nowadays, but I am still surprised how good LPs can sound amazingly close after proper cleaning.

tonykaz's picture

Establish you cred by showing receipts for gear, like public officials are expected to do.

As a Manufacturer, we supply reviewers with "complimentary" not "paid for".

Tony in Venice Florida

misterc59's picture

If you want to go this route, then I suppose all reviewers/contributors MUST do the same to prove their credibility, perhaps for each review? Unbelievable. I hold Stereophile to a high standard and many if not most of the reviewers have decades of experience. I think if they had been disingenuous in the past, they would not be contributing to this publication.
Your comment reminds me of an outgoing politician who annoyingly and antagonistically was unrelenting in demanding birther proof resulting in a HUGE waste of time and resources.

Regards,
Terry

tonykaz's picture

We live in a Capitalistic Business world. Everything is for profit and for money.
Reviewers aren't Charities, Audio Magazines are not Charities, are you a charity? Do you pay for your Stereophile subscription ? I do !

As a manufacturer I expect somewhat honest reviewing from insightful reviewers, the more insightful the better. I don't expect Reviewers to have to purchase Audio Gear ( which is frightfully expensive for a not so well paid review person )

We should keep in mind that everything a Magazine publishes is Opinion ( with the exception of John Atkinson's measurements ).

You can hold and cherish all the opinions you may have, they will remain challengeable opinions until proven with established facts.

I do know of reviewers that have paid for gear, it's the rare exception more than the established norm.

Besides; even when an "influencer" buys, is it established on what basis the pay is arranged ?

I am not at all angry about any of this. I'm not on a mission to correct our cozy little system. Reviewers can choose to keep gear on a long term basis, which is how I identify which gear is outstanding and which gear is so-so.

Reviewers are low paid individuals, I'm thankful for the service they perform.

Tony in Venice Florida

Old Audiophile's picture

I've been doing a fair amount of reading & research (always dangerous) on ultrasonic cleaning specifically applied to cleaning vinyl or PVC records for about the last 4 or 5 years now. This has involved direct contact (i.e. email exchanges) with some of the major manufacturers of tabletop and much larger ultrasonic machines used for medical applications and in clean rooms for the manufacture of microchips, semiconductors, integrated circuits and things like that. I'm not a scientist or expert on such things or anything else, for that matter; just an audiophile and lover of music seeking a better education or understanding of such things.

Seems there is at least a little controversy about what the best or better frequency might be for ultrasonic cleaning of records (e.g. 35 kHz; 40 kHz; 80 kHz; 120 kHz; etc.). This Degritter machine having piqued my interest, I decided to email them and respectfully request if they had any scientific data or any data at all they could share with me that supported their determination that 120 kHz seemed best for ultrasonically cleaning records. That was over a month ago and I haven't received any reply at all. Just about all of the major manufacturers I contacted responded within days or a week, at most. All of them were very careful to explicitly point out their scientific expertise was relegated to things other than cleaning vinyl records and all, with that stated proviso, indicated the relatively standard 40 kHz frequency would likely be safe and sufficient. I was hoping to catch at least one audiophile amongst them that, just maybe, had experimented with this and would be brave enough to venture a scientifically oriented opinion or his or her findings on this but, alas, it was evidently not meant to be. This is one reason I enjoy reading John Atkinson's and other audiophiles' testing and measurement reports in addition to reviewers' subjective takes.

Old Audiophile's picture

Still no word or response of any kind from Degritter. Not even a peep. At the very least, they could have addressed the question of a prospective customer interested in their machine and said something, anything, however vague or subjective, alluding to the research they claim to have done on cleaning frequencies. Remember that old TV commercial with the cute little old lady asking: "Where's the beef?" As I understand it, it's not the microbubbles or their size that do the actual cleaning but the force or energy released when the bubbles implode. Any real scientists out there?

X