Keith Monks discOveryOne record-cleaning machine

If you’re going to spend time scrubbing records, the task might as well be made fun and easy. That seems to have been Jonathan Monks’ goal when he designed the new discOveryOne record-cleaning machine ($2495, base price).

“Dad’s machine was designed in the 1960s, and it was very tweaky,” Jonathan told me. At the time, users had a basic understanding of how turntables worked and were more comfortable than today’s users with the hands-on relationship dictated by the old-style cleaning machine. “We wanted to make the process as simple and intuitive as possible. And we also wanted to get away from as many short-run parts as possible.”

The discOveryOne starts as a modified DJ turntable. “You might notice a resemblance to the SL 1200,” Monks smiled. The direct-drive device operates smoothly and quietly. The pitch control allows users to “fine tune” their cleaning results. Feel like closely monitoring the dirt that’s lifted from your LP? Switch on the turntable light for easier viewing. You can even reverse the turntable rotation for “enhanced deep cleaning.”

This is all cute and fun, but the discOveryOne also provides the classic Keith Monks wash system: built-in tubes apply record-cleaning fluid directly to the brush, this activated by Monks’ “Mini Cooper” washer pump; Monks’ “point-suction” vacuum system employs a white thread, which is automatically played out through a vacuum wand—not as part of the cleaning process, but to ensure proper suction and provide a cushion between the LP surface and suction nozzle. It’s really a fascinating process, and must be seen and used to be properly appreciated.

The operation is whisper quiet and semi-automatic: Once you’ve applied the fluid and set the wand in motion, you can walk away: The pump and arm drive automatically stop at the end of a drying cycle, so you can “go down to the pub or watch a game,” said Monks. Perhaps most important, and unlike other record-cleaning machines, all of the discOveryOne’s contaminated fluids (and dirty threads) wind up in a specific waste jar. Smart.