- Can your machine get rid of scratches?
Surface scratches if not deep do not affect the audio experience. In fact as we restore records we may see more surface scratches as some record sellers use lighter fluid to “shine up their records for re-sale.
Why are other Ultrasonic machines currently on the market anywhere between 3 and 10 times the price of yours?
All sonic machines use the same operating
principles. In my opinion, it’s unfair to price an Ultrasonic cleaning
system to the likes of the turntable/tonearm/cartridge pricing.
A £1,200 price is more than reasonable. Everyone thus may afford a record restoration system and enjoy the audition as a result of the restoration process.
We guarantee between 1.3 and 5 dB increase in signal output from the phono stage using our process.
- Are all machines set to the same Frequency?
Unbeknown to the DIY audiophile, frequencies higher than 35 KHz will see a danger and risk of "sandblasting" or damaging plasticizers in records thus affecting the record permanently.
Lower frequencies less than 35KHz and you do not clean the grooves.
All sonic systems needs a surfactant to be manually applied to the record’s surface as vinyl repels water, and with no water "touching the record” any Ultrasonic system will not see the desired cleaning action.
- Shouldn’t higher frequencies clean records better?
On the contrary, higher frequencies see cavitating bubbles increase in number and an increase the speed of the plasma wave generated which, in-turn, negatively affects the record.
- What is the "white material" being picked up by my needle after using your system?
What is on the needle is softened up contamination found in the grooves of the record, now being picked up by the needle itself. You should put the record to one or two more cleaning sessions. In using our process and system and when you are brushing in the surfactant onto the record using the goat haired brush, do this in swirling patterns. As you brush you will see (in the case of this record) a "white paste-like" substance that will come out. Repeat the 5 minute process until there is no more of this white "tooth paste-like" material appearing on the record surface. This indicates a restored record. Also, always use a light mist spray of distilled water to rinse out the goat hair brush after each 5 minute cycle, dry the goat hair brush using the supplied rabbit cloth.
To note: also use the same light mist of distilled water applied lightly onto the record’s surface at the 12, 4 and 8 o’clock positions at the end of the last 5 minute cycle to then be dried off using the optician’s cloth as well as polishing the grooves using the paretic felt brush, supplied with the system.
- Can I use Photoflow? How about 50% or 99% Isopropyl?
The short answer is NO. Photoflow repulses water which is exactly the opposite of what we are trying to accomplish. Photoflow is used in the development of print film and paper. In the washing process you want to see water run off the paper or film when it is drying to avoid water spots. Sonic cleaning systems need to see the record attract water to aid in the cleaning process.
It has been proven where high amounts of alcohol affect the plasticizer of the record, damaging the record over time. Certainly shellacked records cannot tolerate alcohol unless in the mix ratio of our system.
- What's in the "Surfactant"?
57-55-6 propanol-1,2-diol 178 (2,0%). It is brushed into the grooves.
PVC rejects and repels water.
The use of a surfactant has two main purposes: it helps attract, for lack of a better term, the resulting 500 MPH wave that results from the cavitating micro-bubbles. Therefore the cleaning action is promoted. A bath with distilled water alone in an ultrasonic will not do anything to clean the grooves. Our mix is both anti-static and anti-fungal.
- How many records can I clean with one "bath"?
You can clean two 33 1/3, one 45, and one 78
We suggest you change out the distilled water with 70% IPA "mix" to restore between 15 to 20 records.
Severely contaminated records will show up with
murky water in the tub. Definitely change the "distilled water
with 70% IPA "mix" when murky.
Never keep the water in the tub overnight. The IPA will evaporate and your degreasing mix is no longer in the correct proportions. If you only restored 4 or 5 records and wish to continue the process the next day, refill the original distilled water containers. Then use the next day. Discard after washing 15 to 20 records or when murky. Do not store any longer.
- How long will that Surfactant bottle last before I need to replace it? What does it cost?
You should be able to clean between 100 and 150 records, depending on how dirty the records being cleaned before requiring a new bottle.
The spray bottle costs £19.99 and is available through all of our retailers.
- Why doesn't your machine have a drying mechanism? A vacuum?
In our studies of record washing programs and methods, it has been very evident where many sonic systems air dry the record by way of a fan after being processed ultrasonically. This air drying process dries whatever contaminants that were left in the ultrasonic bath onto the just cleaned record! Added to this; the fan itself blows dust onto the record and moving air also adds a static charge to the record. These both cancel out the entire effort to clean the record!
We see these contaminants appear out of a recently cleaned record easily, with our system they appear as a white paste-like substance through one's observations of our repeated wash cycles: we have to process the record several times as we, in fact, see our system stripping out of the record these left over residues and contaminants including fungus from the tank itself. We have also noted where the so called-filters in some of these sonic systems that pump water around do little as the bathwater is kept for 100 record washings or where the 3 to 5 micron sized fungal spores cannot be removed by the low cost foam filters purported to do this. To filter out fungal spores require ceramic or membrane filters which require water to be pressurised to force the water through.
As to the vacuum; Vacuum drying causes through the Venturi Effect, brings surrounding dust back onto the record. While the vacuum sucks off water from the enzyme cleaner (many of which are not PVC friendly) this process does not go into the grooves and does not remove the film from the grooves that was produced as a result of the vacuum drying process. Only the use of a mechanical system, such as an optician’s cloth as well as the use of a felt brush remove these coatings from the grooved, applicable to any process. A little elbow grease goes a long way!
- What do I look for when cleaning records? Soap?
In our process, human intervention is needed.
After every 5 minute cycle using our surfactant applied to the surface of the record, we keep applying this to the record by way of brush and between applications until there is a noticeable decrease in the presence of a white paste-like substance while the brush is used. This is validation of our restoration action stripping out fungus and contaminants not removed by other systems or processes.
- How many times do I need to repeat the cleaning cycle before I can no longer see "soapy residue”?
Very hard to give you an exact number as needed is first the provenance of the record and how it was maintained. In general, new records see 3 or 4, 5 minute cycles with corresponding application of surfactant needed. Users that have cleaned their records in a prior ultrasonic cleaning system using a fan and where the water has not been changed for months or for a tank that managed 100 record sees us repeat our cycle 7,8, 9 times. This is not the fault of our process, it is a result of the record being improperly cleaned using another process. Generally 4 to 5 cleaning cycles suffice.
- Are all machines safe for records?
Frequency is key, we use 35 KHz.
Temperature is critical: Ultrasonic bubbles
create heat when they burst: water in the tub of any sonic used should not to
exceed 35 Celsius (95 deg F) for water in the bath as records will warp.
We signal a visual alarm. What is in the tank is also critical: no enzymes, no
non PVC safe materials need to be used.
Many systems use high concentrations of alcohol which damages the plasticizer of the record.
Others see the creation of more fungus with enzyme
Systems with tanks that keep water for more than a day should be avoided, as fungal spores are omnipresent, causing health risks.
- Are all machines on the market compliant with electrical safety regulations?
Every manufacturer should have available a certificate in their name from a qualified testing laboratory that meets with local electrical and safety requirements.
DIY systems see contraptions that can be dangerous and fall into the water causing the case for electrocution may arise.