Audio Desk Record Cleaner-Anyone buy one yet

I may never get to own one of these due to the price, but if I could I would say that it may the best upgrade to any analog system. I had the opportunity recently to have a couple of records cleaned on one. The two Lp's I had cleaned are one of many copies I have purchased thru the years in search of a good clean copy. The title is the 2 disk set "Renaissance Live at Carnegie Hall". I took one of my copies over in hopes that I would get back that sought after clean copy. However I will preface my comments about the Audio Desk with the cold hard fact that once a record reaches a level of surface noise and contamination, nothing can make it new again. However once the Audio Desk completed it's 8 minute process, the improvements were immediately evident. First thing to take notice of, absolutely the cleanest and shiniest black vinyl I think I have ever seen. The LP's looked better than new under light. But the real test is listening. As I have listened to the title many many times from my first copy back in the 70's and never on LP, CD or Imported CD have I heard the detail of the recording. On disk #1 the cleanest of the two the LP was much cleaner than I have been able to obtain on my VPI 16.5 using Walker 4 Step, Mobile Fidelity Enzime, L'Art Du son, and various other solutions. My guess is the Audio Desk cleaned an additional 50-70% of the surface noise from the album. The depth of information in the Annie Haslam's Vocals, the clarity of the Bass that I had written off as muddled recording failure was now revealing the individual notes each taking their own space in the music field. The orchestra was fully present and not crowded together as before. Now on to disk 2, the disappointment of permanantly damaged grooves was inescapable. However the music that came thru had much more information to re-write the recall of this recording burned in my memory from previous listening sessions. On Scherazade with the verbal introduction to the song, I heard instruments and voices in nthe back ground that I had never noticed before. Little plucks of strings and puffs on brass as the orchestra was making sure they were ready to perform. I will say that an additional cleaning of 20-30 percent of this album was still obvious but to my disappointment, the Audio Desk is not a miracle worker, but a pretty damn good magician. I think 3800.00 is a lot of money for just about anything these days, but is it worth the 3800.00? Yes if you value and love your record collection. I have an LP12 with many upgrades and Lyra Kleos Cartridge. This record cleaner is just 800.00 more than the cartridge and when I put the two in perspective they both can bring a much higher level of performance to your turntable. Unfortunatly you need both and I sadley can only afford one. The financial curse of audiophilia continues....

Thanks for the informative summary. Your experience is consistent with another person I know who owns a VPI, a Keith Monks and most recently an Audio Desk.

The VPI is the least effective, though it's quicker than the Monks. It used to be his "quick clean" option but since the Audio Desk arrived he hardly uses it any more.

The Monks is the most effective, the choice for critical listening, but it takes the most time.

The Audio Desk is fast and does an acceptable job for much of his listening. Its lack of rapid, complete vacuum removal of fluid from the grooves is what ultimately limits its effectiveness compared to the Monks.

For the highest degree of cleanliness there's apparently still no substitute for the pinpoint vacuuming of a Monks/Loricraft but the time required is substantial, especially for a multi-solution regime. My own regime (on a PRC3) takes ~20mins/side... a substantial commitment of life that has certainly reduced the number of records we listen to. If an Audio Desk lets us enjoy more LPs that alone would make it worth the cost. What good are my 4,000 LPs if they're all in the "clean me" pile?
Thanks Doug.

If an Audio Desk lets us enjoy more LPs that alone would make it worth the cost. What good are my 4,000 LPs if they're all in the "clean me" pile?

says it all.

what i do is use the Audio Desk and then if i hear more tics than i think is proper it goes in the 'Loricraft' pile.....for when i have the time. about one (maybe two) out 10 end up in that pile. the Loricraft seems to improve about 30% to 40% of those to some degree.....which i think is mostly a multi-step chemical cleaner issue.....and to a lesser extent that the vaccuum process is simply 100% effective on small particles.

i know Albert uses 2 Audio Desk machines; one with only pure water for a final rinse. which is another valid approach. and he also has a third machine for using chemicals.

the Audio Desk has the additional benefit of useing blow dry instead of vaccuum which does result in less static and therfore less dust attraction and a slightly calmer play.

it is nice to be able to have different approaches for particular pressings.
Thanks for your input Mike. I'll be using the Audio Desk soon but won't be selling the 16.5 just yet. If the Audio Desk goes down I'll need a backup. I am looking forward to getting through a little more of that "to clean pile". Finding and buying vinyl is one thing, playing it is where the rubber meets the road.

For your 20 mins of cleaning, what do you get? Can you be specific? I have a PRC3 and am using L'art du Son as a single step cleaner. I know cleaning is important but to be completely honest, I've never had an LP that was noisy suddenly become quiet. And if I have a clean, silent LP that develops noise over time, for whatever reason, I've never been able to get rid the noise by cleaning. Maybe I'm just not doing enough?

Thanks for your interest. What my partner and I get for our (considerable) trouble is a groove that (to our ears) is as free of contaminants as possible. I'll describe our sonic priorities and then our standards for "clean", which differ from what Mikelavigne and you just mentioned.

Our listening is 95% classical and includes a large dose of early/authentic instrument recordings (Hogwood, Harnoncourt, medieval/Renaissance music, etc.) Such music is typically played by smallish ensembles on natural, acoustic instruments having unique harmonic and dynamic characteristics. My partner and I are intimately familiar with the sound of such instruments. In my college days I helped build a harpsichord. One of our friends is a professor of early music at a local university. Listening to him play the same piece on three or four different harpsichords is an education in listening skills and sonic subtleties.

Nobody's stereo can reproduce that but our goal is to come as close as possible. It is very difficult. People who listen primarily to rock or other amplified music typically have different priorities, sensitivities and tolerances.

Regardless of what sort of music one prefers, a truly clean LP groove is evidenced by more than a lack of ticks and pops. Removing the cause of these is only the first step, and by no means the most important (musically). Further, it's possible to reduce ticks and pops by using cleaning products and processes that leave the groove LESS clean. The absence of ticks and pops is not a reliable indicator of cleanliness.

I can get tick- and pop-free surfaces by using certain "cleaning" products and practices that in fact leave residues. These smooth over irregularities and make for a very quiet (and boring) LP. Anything that masks microscopic irregularities also masks low-level details, complex harmonics and subtle micro-dynamics. This saps the life out of the music we listen to.

A truly clean groove is actually NOISIER than a residue-coated one, because even the tiniest irregularities are bared for the stylus to see. This allows a (suitably responsive and transparent) stereo to reproduce the tiniest groove modulations, which brings the sound of live instruments closer to life.

This is not to say we tolerate clicks and pops. The vast majority of our records are quite free of them. But we achieve this by using products and methods that remove the cause (when possible) rather than slathering over it.

Hope that's helpful,

P.S. If you have a "clean, silent LP that develops noise over time" then it wasn't clean. Unless your setup is wildly off and your're damaging the vinyl, the only possible source of increasing noise is residues in the groove being disturbed/re-arranged by multiple plays. I'd wager I could make any of your cleaned LP's considerably cleaner. They might sound slightly noisier than when you first cleaned them (due to the elimination of all residues) but the life and dynamics that such cleaning exposes would astound you... at least in our system.