My apologies for being a bit late to this discussion.
Although I do not have experience with ultrasonic disc cleaning, I would
think it would be fine for vinyl and possibly shellac discs, but would be
reluctant to use it on transcription discs (aka lacquers or acetates).
Ultrasonic cleaning works on the principal of mechanical vibration to
detach contaminants from a surface. I would expect the vibration to not
discriminate between contaminates and laminates. In other words, if
there was even the slightest compromise in the laminate - a crack or
substrate edge, for example - the vibration could also detach the laminate
from the substrate.
Iım also curious what sort of impact ultrasonic cleaning has on the disc
labels, if the disc is fully submerged in the ultrasonic cleaner.
Again, my comments are nothing more than hypotheses. It would be very
interesting to hear from the National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra,
Australia, about their experience with ultrasonic cleaning on disc media
and under what circumstances they deploy ultrasonic cleaning:
- what types of disc media?
- what types of contaminates?
- pre- and post-ultrasonic processes?
Iıd also be curious if they follow up the ultrasonic cleaning with a
secondary rinsing process to remove or neutralize any remaining
Cetrimide on the disc and to remove any contaminates that were dislodged
but might still remain loosely on the surface of the disc. In general,
disc cleaning is a two-step process, where rinsing is just as critical
as the cleaning for best results. I cannot emphasize enough the
importance of proper rinsing to the final results of audio playback.
The Cetrimide (CTR) is an interesting compound. A quick search online
indicates that it is an antimicrobial. An ultrasonic cleaner with CTR
could be an interesting way to handle moldy media to minimize airborne
It also appears that Cetrimide in aqueous form is a weak base (pH < 7)
and a surfactant. As a weak base, it might be useful for dissolving
acids (like palmitic and stearic acid formations on transcription discs).
As a surfactant, it helps dislodge dirt and grease and then suspends the
contaminants on the surface of the liquid.
I provisionally disagree with the comment:
"that with the Monks machine some buildup may look like it is cleared
but can reappear in time. The sonic disc cleaner does a find job of
permanently removing the buildup."
If the buildup is palmitic and stearic acid deposits, these are formed by
the exuding of plasticizer from the laminate. After cleaning, there will
still be plasticizer in the laminate. Plasticizers are, for the most part
a good thing, because they keep the laminate ³plastic² (i.e. not brittle)
and as plasticizer is lost (exuded), the laminate shrinks (which causes
long-term delimitation from the substrate). In any case, cleaning cannot,
and should not, remove all the plasticizer from the laminate. And any
remaining plasticizer in the laminate will eventually leach out over time,
then hydrolize and reform as new palmitic and stearic acid deposits.
So whether a disc is cleaned ultrasonically or with a conventional record
cleaning machine like the Keith Monks, palmitic and stearic acid deposits
(aka ³buildup²) will reform as the plasticizer continues to exude from
the laminate over time.
And whether a disc is cleaned ultrasonically or conventionally, the
cleaning process, such as rinsing, and the chemistry used are equally
important as the cleaning device.
The Audio Archive, Inc.
1325 Howard Ave, #906
Burlingame, CA 94010
[log in to unmask]
Disc and Tape Audio Transfer Services and Preservation Consulting
Please consider the environment before printing this email.
On 11/18/14, 7:25 PM, "Rebecca Feynberg" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>I visited the National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra, Australia this
>summer. They use an ultrasonic disc cleaner. It is quite mesmerizing to
>watch the mold and residue lift from the grooves into the water dissolving
>into a cloud.
>Here is a link to the company the makes the sonic disc cleaners. They are
>not made specifically for discs but the cleaning process works well for
>them. Elma is the company that makes the machines.
>They use a solvent in the water, called Cetrimide.
>I have heard that with the Monks machine some buildup may look like it is
>cleared but can reappear in time. The sonic disc cleaner does a fine job
>permanently removing the buildup.
>On Mon, Nov 17, 2014 at 9:51 PM, [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
>> Has anyone used the current generation of ultrasonic record cleaners for
>> professional or home use? Very pricey in the $4500+ range.
>> Eric Nagamine
>> ----- Reply message -----
>> From: "Dennis Rooney" <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Subject: [ARSCLIST] VINYL AND STYLUS AT 1000X MAGNIFICATION
>> Date: Mon, Nov 17, 2014 9:17 AM
>> I note in this thread that no one has mentioned the device that cleans
>> discs better than any other, viz. the Keith Monks machine. Forty years
>> use on vinyl, lacquers and shellac confirms it.
>> On Tue, Nov 11, 2014 at 3:41 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
>> > I have looked with an optical microscope at records before and after
>> > cleaning. Chunky dust as shown in those photographs can be greatly
>> > by wet-brush cleaning and vacuum-drying as is done by the VPI and
>> > other brand machines. I also looked at records cleaned with DiscWasher
>> > (original brush and fluid) and the new velvet brush and fluid sold
>> > the "stanton" brand. Both left clumps of dust, wherever the brush was
>> > rolled backward and taken off the record. I also looked at a record
>> > with Sleeve City's spray-on fluid and their "shammy" type cloth. Not
>> > was dust left, there were visible small scratches caused by the
>> > conclusion was, I only want to use the VPI machine.
>> > Also, regarding syluses, I'm a big believer in that relatively new
>> > Japanese thing that's basically a blob of tacky gel. You lower the
>> > onto the gel blob and let it sit a few seconds, then use the lifter
>> > take it up. Dust on the stylus stays on the block of gel. The gel is
>> > water-washable and I recommend washing it regularly. Stylus
>> > the type that come included with some cartridges work OK but don't
>> > all dust. I still have some old LAST fluid and brush from the 80s and
>> > does a nice job of cleaning crud off the stylus and cantilever. I use
>> > after every couple dozen sides.
>> > -- Tom Fine
>> > ----- Original Message ----- From: "Steven Smolian"
>><[log in to unmask]>
>> > To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> > Sent: Tuesday, November 11, 2014 3:05 PM
>> > Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] VINYL AND STYLUS AT 1000X MAGNIFICATION
>> > Victor Campos wrote an article, "Gunk in the Grooves," that was in an
>> >> American Record Guide in the 1960s. He published a group of
>> >> with it that were groove close-ups of great quality (on coated
>> >> showed all kinds of dirt problems and discussed their solutions (if
>> >> the proper word.) This is well before Disc Doctor came to the
>> >> course.
>> >> Steve Smolian
>> >> -----Original Message-----
>> >> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
>> >> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Don Cox
>> >> Sent: Tuesday, November 11, 2014 2:22 PM
>> >> To: [log in to unmask]
>> >> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] VINYL AND STYLUS AT 1000X MAGNIFICATION
>> >> On 11/11/2014, Carl Pultz wrote:
>> >> Pretty neat images. Makes it that much more amazing that records
>> >>> at all.
>> >>> tion
>> >>> Not sure about the first two, but the third picture is a scanning
>> >> electron
>> >> microscope image that has been around for decades.
>> >> Certainly worth pointing out for those who haven't seen them.
>> >>> Carl
>> >> Regards
>> >> --
>> >> Don Cox
>> >> [log in to unmask]
>> 1006 Langer Way
>> Delray Beach, FL 33483