squeakycleanvinyl.com MK-III Record Cleaner

Discussion in 'Vinyl Nutjob World: Turntable and Related Gear' started by Vansen, Jul 9, 2017.

  1. Vansen

    Vansen Gear Master (retiring)

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    Introduction

    Earlier this year, I ventured in to the vinyl world with a U-Turn Orbit. I've felt that this transition was inevitable as I've listened to friends' turntables and reel to reel tape rigs over the years. And in the entry level of the vinyl world, I've found that having an easy and effective way to clean records is one of the best things you can do for your system. For the first few months that I had my turntable, I was driving down to my friend's house to clean my records on his VPI HW-16.5 record cleaner. This worked well, but I eventually wanted to get something of my own to clean records with. The VPI is nice, but I wanted something a little less expensive. After a little bit of research, I purchased the squeakycleanvinyl.com MK-III record cleaning machine. If there's a more palatable name for this guy out there, I'm not aware of it. I'll refer to it as the MK-III from here on out.

    Here’s the link to the unit I have: Ambiguously Named Record Cleaning Machine Website

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    What's Included

    With this, you'll get the 3D printed record cleaner with vacuum attachment, record center weight, a 7" record adapter, a 10" record adapter, a cleaning "brush", and a microfiber cloth. I paid about 125 USD to for this shipped to the US from Canada.

    What's Not Included

    You'll need a small shop-vac style vacuum. I found a suitable one at Target for about 25 USD. You'll also want two spray bottles for the cleaning solution and rinse. This was about another 5 USD. For the cleaning solution I use about 1/3 70 isopropyl alcohol, 2/3 distilled water, and a drop or two of Dawn dish soap. For the rinse, I use 100% distilled water.

    Pro-tip: Do not used colored plastic bottles. The dye from color from the color of the bottle may seep into your solution and stain your white or lighter records. I was going to differentiate my rinse and cleaning solution by bottle color and stained a white record with purple spots!

    Overview

    The video on squeakycleanvinyl.com does a solid job at giving an introduction to the features and use of the MK-III. All of the 3D printed parts fit together well and are of great quality for the price. Using the wash and rinse method, it takes me about four to five minutes clean both sides of a record. The cleaning solution takes quite a few passes to be completely picked up by the vacuum, while the rinse pass comes up completely in about two passes. In comparison, it takes me under two minutes to clean a record on the VPI.

    As an example to the effectiveness of the MK-III, I found a what I’m assuming is an original copy of Eddie Money’s self-titled album at Goodwill for one dollar. Both the record sleeve and the record were covered in mold on both sides, but with the exception of the mold, the rest of the record looked like it was in great shape. You can see the mold damage on the upper right hand corner of the sleeve and on the record itself.

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    To clean this record, I made two changes: I let the cleaning solution soak for about 30 seconds and I used a microfiber cloth instead of the brush on cleaning portion. In about five minutes, the record above looked like this:

    IMG_2018.JPG

    Overall, this record sounds great. There’s a little sleeve wear on the record, but it surprisingly doesn’t show much on playback. A few of the other one dollar records I picked up from Goodwill on the same day look immaculate but sound like someone drug a nail as a stylus across the record for its life.

    Suggestion for Future Revisions

    I get the impression that the MK-III was the result of feedback from previous generations. At this price point, the main thing I would change is material on the bottom of the center weight. The material on the bottom is some sort of spongy rubber that absorbs water or cleaning solution easily. I'd rather this be silicone instead. My second recommendation would be to give the device a distinct name. The hardest part of writing this was deciding what I’d call it. perhaps 'Canfab3D MK-III Record Cleaner’ or 'Squeaky Clean Vinyl MK-III Record Cleaner’.

    Summary

    For around 150 USD all in, I doubt you could do better for an entry level record cleaning machine. The MK-III cleans records just as well as the VPI I’ve used, but takes a little longer to clean each record.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2018
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  2. Gaspasser

    Gaspasser Flatulence Maestro

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    IMG_1015.JPG Thanks for this excellent review @Vansen. I enjoyed your thoughtful comments, and as an owner of the MK-III, all I really need to say is "yeah, what he said".
    If I may, I would advise, from experience, to be careful with starting out at full suction (with vent closed on wand). I cleaned the first few records this way and it left a mark (two parallel lines) on the vinyl that I can't get off. It doesn't seem to affect playback.

    All in all, the best inexpensive way to clean records.
     
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  3. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    I've posted about this cleaning system before and I love it! I have no desire for a more expensive vacuum based cleaner.
     
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  4. Skyline

    Skyline Double-blindly done with this hobby

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    Do I understand correctly that they don't sell finished cleaners...only DIY kits?
     
  5. Vansen

    Vansen Gear Master (retiring)

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    It's finished. You just have to go buy a vacuum cleaner for it.
     
  6. Skyline

    Skyline Double-blindly done with this hobby

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    I couldn't find the page to order them. Wouldn't be the first time I've overlooked something obvious :)
     
  7. Dino

    Dino Friend

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  8. Skyline

    Skyline Double-blindly done with this hobby

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    Much thanks @Dino!

    I was skipping a lot of the text and just looking for the order button/page.
     
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  9. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Almost "Made"

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    I've been using a SCV kit for a couple of years and even after trying Ultrasonic (ebay tank, VinylSpin agitater), I keep going back to the SCV system. I have two wands - one for cleaner, one for rinse, and I use the Osage Audio brushes to agitate but the ergonomics of it and the great vacuum performance leaves me wanting nothing. I use it in conjunction with Audio Intelligent cleaners. AI #15 for really bad stuff, followed by a PureWater rinse, or just AI #6 for general purpose cleaning.

    I have found that a couple of wands have been a little inconsistent in their suction. The very first one I got is very powerful if I close off the airflow completely. Makes drying a breeze.
     
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  10. Skyline

    Skyline Double-blindly done with this hobby

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    I'm officially a fan. I bought my squeaky clean several months ago but only finally got around to cleaning my entire collection...it took about 3 hours in total to clean about 90 discs.

    The results are pretty spectacular and I'm kicking myself for every buying the Spin Clean back in the day.

    Several of my records that I thought unplayable have been brought back to life in spectacular fashion.

    I'm using a home brew solution that I also feel comfortable in recommending:

    https://londonjazzcollector.wordpress.com/for-audiophiles/home-brew-cleaner-for-vacuum-rcms/

    No need for a rinse with this particular solution, which speeds things up significantly.
     

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