Record Cleaning Machines; Protecting your vinyl collection

If you love vinyl and you value your collection, the only way to properly clean your records is with a record cleaning machine. Regular cleaning is more than just good housekeeping; it also reduces surface noise on the record - those little pops and clicks you hear in the background that are the signature sound of vinyl. The main difference between manual cleaning and the RCM - manual cleaning shifts muck around your LP and hopefully removes enough to make a difference, there is the probability that it will not remove all of it. Some proactive manual cleaners (i.e. alcohol-based) also threaten to damage the vinyl itself. The RCM can actually suck dirt from your record’s grooves, taking it off the record and entirely away from the area while doing so in a gentle manner. Pro-Ject VC-S ($429) The VC-S by Pro-Ject is a particularly effective and efficient method of keeping your records clean at a modest cost. Designed to reach dirt that is deep within your records, the VC-S uses a double strategy of cleaning fluid to loosen the dirt along with a dual brush and vacuum combination to remove the dirt and dry the record simultaneously. The included record clamp keeps the record label dry while holding the record in place during the cleaning process and easily screws on and off for quick record change over. The results speak for themselves with even brand new vinyl benefitting from the removal of mould release agents left on the surface during manufacture let alone what can be achieved with used records. The use of this machine with the appropriate cleaning solution also results in a vast reduction in static build up meaning your vinyl stays dust free for even longer. Okki Nokki RCM ($499) The Okki Nokki RCM is an exceptionally well-designed device created specifically for cleaning all vinyl recordings. The Okki Nokki consists of a heavy-duty motor/turntable and vacuum system encased in a compact aluminum chassis. The motor function provides for ultra-quiet forward and reverse operation. When used with the supplied goat hair cleaning brush, the forward/reverse turntable motion allows for extremely effective groove scrubbing. Once cleaned, the record can be vacuumed using the aluminum suction arm. The residual dirt and fluid is then removed by suction and transferred into the internal liquid reservoir, which has a sensor that will shut off the machine when full. Dedicated suction arms for use with 7" and 10" records are available as an option. Accessories supplied with the machine include a standard 12" LP suction arm, goat hair cleaning brush, record clamp, grounded detachable AC cord and a small bottle of cleaning fluid concentrate that requires mixing with a liter of purified water (available from a pharmacy) - not recommended for shellac or acetate recordings. VPI HW16.5 ($699) The HW-16.5 is the standard in affordable record cleaning machines but neither its build quality nor its cleaning power has been compromised. Its high-torque, 18 RPM turntable motor is more than capable of withstanding the pressure of heavy scrubbing during extended cleaning sessions, and its 35-second cleaning cycle per side makes quick work of even the dirtiest records. Now with self aligning vacuum suction tubes for even more accurate cleaning, the HW-16.5's high-powered vacuum ensures quick, deep cleaning. The newly designed vacuum pickup tube automatically adjusts to accommodate records of any thickness. The internal fluid collection system is made of stainless steel to prevent corrosion, and the fully enclosed design prevents splashing. In the VPI tradition, all components are extra heavy-duty and professional grade. SOTA LPC ($1250) The SOTA LP Record Cleaning Machine has been carefully designed and manufactured to provide years of trouble-free, high-quality record cleaning. This LP Cleaner sets new standards for record cleaning quality, ease of use, and quality of manufacturer. Eight ounces of LPC Crystal Fluid and a hardwood soft-bristle brush is included with the LP Cleaner. SOTA's LP Cleaner cleans better and holds more waste fluid for hours of record cleaning without stopping. For excessive high volumes of cleaning, the LPC has been designed, and is available with an exhaust fan, which allows air flow and cooling for non-stop cleaning pleasure. The LPC is housed in a sturdy, hand crafted, scratch resistant, attractive black laminate cabinet with a watertight interior. The hand polished black acrylic cover is removable for easy storage. The SOTA record cleaning machines incorporate a precision waterproof polymer platter with a soft PVC record mat, providing long-life as well as a flat and safe record-mounting surface. The LPC Crystal Fluid dispensing system provides full record application with spill-free semi-automatic fluid application allowing easy one-hand operation. Loricraft PRC3 ($2570) Loricraft are one of the very few record cleaning machines to offer genuine freedom from re-contaminating records during the cleaning process - The PRC3 includes a number of significant advantages over other brands, such as more reliable suction for thorough cleaning and quietness of operation. Low noise levels may not sound of major significance but sitting beside the noise that many machines emit while they clean records soon becomes unpleasant and intrusive. These are one of the only cleaners to clean just a few grooves at a time which translates into a more thorough cleaning operation. It is also probably more gentle on the record surface than other methods. The motors are continuously rated, unlike some machines where the motors get hot and are not really suited for continuous operation. The PRC3 is a fully professional record cleaning machine used by record shops, collectors, and discerning audiophiles world-wide. It has a large, very quiet pump which is mounted externally in its own box. This can be placed up to a couple of metres away, even in a cupboard for almost silent running. Clearaudio Double Matrix Professional Sonic ($6000) The Double Matrix Professional Sonic offers the possibility of operating the whole cleaning process at the touch of a single button, as well as the ability to control each step in the process with a user-friendly operating panel. The cleaning head automatically adapts to records of different diameters and thicknesses, and the microfiber cleaning strips are effortless to change. An LED light indicates the cleaning fluid level in the internal tank and, as an additional precaution, the suction turbine features overheating protection. Made from high quality and heavy-duty materials, the Double Matrix Professional Sonic is designed for continuous operation, so that collectors can clean complete record collections. And yet it is incredibly easy to use and maintain.