Analog Corner # 305: Degritter record cleaner & Aidas Gala Gold LE cartridge Page 2

The illuminated right button includes multiple, real-time status displays showing remaining program time as well as a circular progress bar and a water-cooling indicator. There's even an SD card port to install downloaded software updates. This is a smartly designed machine, and it comes with a 2-year warranty.

The Degritter in use: I used the Degritter for longer than a usual review cycle because I wanted to assess its reliability. My months of use suggest that it is reliable, and it's a smooth operator: quiet, glitch-free, and a pleasure to use. Drop in a record, select the program, push the button, and you are good to go. The record oscillates slowly back and forth during the cleaning cycle and then rotates as it dries. Degritter supplies a gauge you can place against a record to help set the water level for a particular record, depending on how close to the label it's cut. A nice feature.

Almost all the records I inserted over the months came out totally dry—and sparkling clean in ways that vacuuming cannot approach. A small number of records still had a tiny water droplet or two, always on the lead-out groove area. That's "flawless" in my book.

I did not do an "A/B" test with the Audio Desk in terms of record quiet. I think that's kind of nuts. Both machines work extremely well and are essentially the same in terms of cleaning, but the Degritter, at approximately $2990, costs about $1000 less than the recently upgraded Audiodesksysteme PRO X, which sells for $500 less than the model it replaces. The Degritter is stiff competition for the originator.


I'll review the PRO X soon, but given the Degritter's host of features and its operating system and the fact that it doesn't include applicator rollers that cost $99 a set to replace, can the extra $1000 be justified? I don't have an answer. If you already own an Audiodesk that works, I don't see any reason to replace it.

One last thing: I strongly advise against putting really filthy records in any machine that recycles fluid and is intended to clean many records before each fluid change. Instead, I suggest precleaning really dirty records first using an Allsop Orbitrac 3—about $40—or a Spin-Clean or Vinyl Styl machine—both under $80. Why contaminate the tank with garage-sale sludge?

A few years ago, at a garage sale, I found sitting forlornly at the back of a milk crate—not even in a sleeve—a second UK pressing of The Pink Floyd's The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (EMI/Columbia SCX 6157). It was crud-infested, but for 50 cents? I took it. I would never put so dirty a record directly in any vat-type cleaning machine, so I first used an Orbitrac 3 to remove the baked-on dirt, pressing gently so as not to rub it in. Then I cleaned it in the Audio Desk. It's now VG+/M– and much better sounding than the most recent vinyl remaster, which sounds muted.

A few weeks later, at another sale, I found a battered, original UK jacket (yes, the spine says "The Pink Floyd") with no record inside. It was free. It wasn't a reunion because the jacket was for the mono original, which is far more valuable than the second-pressing I'd found previously. But it's still a great story if you are into vinyl bargain/conquest stories, which I still am.

The Aidas Gala Gold LE MC Cartridge
With top-shelf cartridges now costing $10,000 and more, here's a midline cartridge wound with gold coils and costing $5000, from Vira USA, a company I was unfamiliar with until recently, when I learned that someone I don't know had used my name in a business dispute between that individual and a California-based company ( Using my name as a cudgel doesn't go over well with me, so I decided a review was in order.


The company is an international consortium that sells new and used cartridges, used records, a tangential-tracking tonearm, and a few other analog-related items (footnote 2). The extensive Aidas line of cartridges is based on what appear to be variants of a basic, familiar-looking design. The cantilever goes through an opening in the front pole piece (Alnico 5 magnet), behind which is attached to the cantilever the armature/ coil/elastomer damper assembly. A piano-wire suspension system terminates at the rear of the long cylinder, held in place by a tiny set screw. Body, stylus, and coil wire differ depending upon the model and price, which ranges from $3000 to $8500, though the prices aren't listed on the website.


In this seminude design style, the delicate coil leads are soldered to four rigid-metal channels that terminate as pins at the body's rear. In the case of the Aidas Gala Gold LE (which is named after Galina-Gala, the then–85-year-old mother of Vira USA's Victor Simakov, and limited to 85 copies), the body is made from Blue River Agate (a synthetic stone) and the stylus is Namiki's MicroRidge, attached to an "Adamant boron composite" cantilever (footnote 3) with a former wound with 99.5% (pure) Gold 0.04mm coil wire. Anyone using a microscope for SRA setting will recognize the Namiki design by the generous amount of adhesive used at the stylus-cantilever joint. If you wish to learn more about this stylus, you can do so at


The cartridge's specs are weight, 11.5gm; output, 0.26mV; coil impedance, 3 ohms; recommended VTF, 1.9–2.1gm; compliance, 13µm/mN, lateral; channel separation: >30dB at 1kHz; channel balance, >1dB/1kHz; trackability at 300Hz and 2.0gm, 60µm; VTA, 20°. Suggested loading range is 100–1000 ohms, though that's high compared to the usual 10× internal impedance rule of thumb. If you'd prefer a Ruby or Sapphire cantilever, you can special-order it for the same price.

No stylus guard: Aidas is not alone in not offering a stylus guard. Just be careful installing, and if you have cats, kids, or an overzealous cleaning person, you are on your own—especially with the fully exposed cantilever.

The key to a somewhat standard, hardly innovative design like this is build quality. Setting up the Gala Gold LE was made easy because both SRA and azimuth were right on the money. The arm parallel to the record and cantilever perpendicular to the record surface produced 92° SRA and 31dB and 30dB interchannel L-R/R-L separation. Tracking the Kuzma 4Point tonearm at 2.0gm, the cartridge sailed through the 60µm Ortofon test record track. A cynic might say this sample was carefully built and tuned for the review. I can't help you there.


I ran the Aidas Gala Gold LE into both the current-sensing CH Precision P1/X1 and the voltage-amplification–based Audio Research Reference Phono 3SE (review next time), settling at 100 ohm because of the cartridge's sweet-yet-detailed, linear-sounding sonic profile with that loading, though at 200 ohms the cartridge's top end opened up a little, making the choice a matter of personal taste.

Sound Quality: Vira USA recommends 50 hours of break in, and after that the sound opened up somewhat, but straight out of the box the cartridge was a pleasing sonic winner.

The Aidas cartridge's timbral balance was neutral, particularly in the midbass and midrange, and well-extended from bottom to top with a subtle, slightly warm sonic signature (no lumps and/ or bumps). Its portrayal of both macro- and microdynamics was very good; its retrieval of detail was equally good. It did everything well and nothing poorly, which is what you should expect from a $5000 phono cartridge.


I played a recently received, newly released, double-180gm LP Specialist in All Styles by Senegalese band Orchestra Baobab (World Circuit WCV064). I was a big fan of their CD-only Pirate's Choice.

This joyful (need it now!) African/Afro-Cuban fusion record was originally released in 2002, only on CD. This year, the group celebrates its 50th anniversary. Coproducer Nick Gold and engineer Jerry Boys were also behind The Buena Vista Social Club, an audiophile fave (footnote 4). Boys recorded this album mostly in London. Buena Vista Social Club's Ibrahim Ferrer and N'Dour guest on vocals. Guy Davie cut lacquers, from 24/96 files, at Electric Mastering, where Electric Recording Company records are cut.

This record features lots of percussion (drums, congas, timbales, maracas), reverb-drenched wah-wah guitar, bass, saxophones, and multiple vocalists spread across a wide and deep soundstage. Tube mastering gives it a warm signature, but all the percussion cuts through with edges intact. The Gala Gold LE got the job done, getting out of the way, as I found this cartridge did with every record I played. I found it did well on jazz, classical—female vocals, too. If rock is your main music, you might want something with a slightly harder edge, although, after writing about "The Pink Floyd" album, I pulled it out and played it using this cartridge. That album's wide-open psychedelic top end shone through just fine. Other cartridges at this price point are probably better suited for hard rock, but they wouldn't produce this cartridge's liquidity on female voices and sheen on massed strings.


Bobby Hutcherson's 1963 recording The Kicker (Blue Note BST 21437/B0031654-01), a new Blue Note Tone Poet reissue, has never been on vinyl before because Alfred Lion passed on it for reasons not easily understood. And when Michael Cuscuna finally put it out in 1999, it was only on CD. The Kicker was very well served by this cartridge: Grant Green's guitar was properly liquid, flowing, and harmonically rich; Joe Henderson's tenor was reedy—not smoothed-over—and Hutcherson's vibes were round and mellow but with a satisfying attack.

When I played all of these records using the more-than-double-the-price Lyra Atlas Lambda SL, was the sound worth the price difference? With the right turntable and arm, yes. I'll leave it at that.

There's plenty of competition at the $5k price point, including for example Ortofon's less costly Windfeld Ti ($4390), which has a selective laser-melted body and Ortofon's detail-digging Replicant 100 stylus (not to mention a stylus guard!). The Ortofon also has outstanding build quality, but in its own way, the Aidas is fully competitive. And it sure is pretty.

Footnote 2: Aidas Audio, 206 Spruce St., Tehachapi, CA 93561. Tel: (310) 806-2854. Web:

Footnote 3: "Adamant" is a word that describes a mythical stone of impenetrable hardness; it has at times—historically—been used as a synonym for diamond. I don't know what it means here.—Editor

Footnote 4: I was the house bass guitarist at Sawmills Recording Studio in Cornwall, England, 1975–1977. Jerry Boys was the studio's chief engineer and I will be forever in his debt: watching him choose and place microphones, edit analog tapes, and operate the studio's mixing console and outboard effects was an education in the recording art.—John Atkinson

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

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


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.
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

Jack L's picture


How "ultra defensive" & "thin skinned" ?


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!

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

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:
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.


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?

Old Audiophile's picture

It irks me when sales & marketing babble is not backed-up with at least a modicum of evidence, especially when there are some audiophile publications out there giving a product like this a nod of approval.

Mr. Fremer, perhaps the good people at Degritter would respond to a query from you regarding how they came to the conclusion that 120 kHz/300 watts is the best or, at least, a better frequency for cleaning vinyl records. The apparent convenience of a record cleaning machine like this is, I'm sure, very appealing to many vinyl lovers. As such, I'd seriously be inclined to part with $3,000 of hard earned green if only I could get just a little in the way of proof as to how these folks determined that 120 kHz/300 watts is the way to go. It doesn't have to be proprietary corporate secrets; just some evidence or rationale! In the absence of such, perhaps this calls for a shoot-out review amongst several top machines or systems (e.g. inexpensive; mid-priced; high-priced). A comparative critical listening analysis like this conducted by professional, respected audiophiles would, I'm certain, be of great interest to many vinyl lovers!

donnrut's picture

I do vinyl. Have used a VPI 16.5 long time. I mix 20% of the 91% pure isop. and 80% distilled water. (I used to buy 94% pure but it is hard to find.) I usually only clean an LP once. AM I missing something? I use a carbon fiber brush when I play an LP. I do not encounter much goo that won't come off a record, I don't quite know how far down into dirty some people find discarded/used/secondhand LPs.

Do I really need to update my cleaning? Maybe a better brush than the 22 yr old original from VPI, one with finer, yet stiff, bristles, to touch the bottom, of the groove??? I have a real system, VPI Prime, Lyra, "ribbon" type speakers. I Buy some 180 gram re-issues and some 45s.

All opinions are welcome. Trump vs Hilary comments are not needed at this time.

rom661's picture

Since you have extensive experience with the Kirmuss I wish you had compared the end efficacy of one against the other. I realize that one is automated, the other quite labor intensive but since I have the Kirmuss, and they do use dramatically different frequencies, if the results differ. Thanks