Furutech / Air Tight LP Flattener - do they work?

I am wondering if anmyone has actually bought used either of these LP flatteners and how well they work??

I find a lot of general new releases are dished, so record clamp works great on one side, but not on the other due to the dishing?.
Do they flatten dished or bowed LP's.

Forgot to mention,one other friend has the Air Tight unit.He claims it works great.....Yet,for thirteen bucks I made a superb(looks great too)DIY flattener,that seems to be quite effective.

I took two nice pieces of marble/sandstone slabs(12x12 inch),which can color match to almost any room decor.Found at any good Home Depot type outlet.

I then attached a sheet of self adhesive cork liner to one side of each.This gives a slightly pliant aspect to the two pieces and when put together will not hurt grooves.

Just use gravity,and maybe a nice warm windowsill for a few days(not alot of heat,which scares me)and my three LP tries have been quite effective.Mostly on dished LP's so far.

I am sure the expensive Furutech and Air Tight units are better,but my DIY'er looks really cool,takes little space and is effective.

It is puzzling at times to buy a $2k disc flattener and you are flattening 99cent LPs or even $30 new releases LPs. Question is how often will one use the flattener? My take is I'd look for another 99cent LP and I'd return the new $30 LPs and ask for a replacement (I assume you are buying them new from reputable vinyl sources such as elusive disc, music direct etc). Sir Speedy's method is as effective I am sure. Just my thought!
I have the Air Tight unit and very seldom use it. I have been lucky with my LP purchases. It has performed well the few times I have used it though. As Yagbol2 suggests, it would be cheaper to look for another copy.

It may also be puzzling that you are playing 99c LP's on a 10k plus turntable. Not sure exactly what your point is. It would depend on how many LP's you currently have as well.

Very expensive to return US or Euro presssings from Australia.

BTW, you can buy the unbranded original manufactured Air tight unit for $650 in Japan so I classify that as very resonable price.
A surprising number of new heavy audiophile pressings have severe dishing that can't be removed with a record clamp, not to mention older discs. There's another thread here that outlines the frustration of both customer and retailer regarding the difficulty getting satisfaction through returning warped LPs. The economics are primarily about what it's worth to YOU to have a convenient, safe and effective way to deal with this frustrating situation. Granted they're expensive, and granted there are cheap, if not slick, alternatives.

Incidentally, I was reading on the website for the new Blue Note reissues that RTI was having trouble with making 200 gram pressings on presses designed for 150-180 gram discs and that that was responsible for a lot of the warping problems. They do not recommend 200 gram to their clients for this reason, preferring 180 gram pressings. It seems to me that some of the problems I've observed stem from the flimsy packaging of some of the 45 reissues, where 4 discs are shrink wrapped together without a box.

Twould be nice to know a source for the Japanese generic one.
I have bought some "amazing" LP's for 99 cents.My current discs on my "Speedy Flattener" are actually very collectible,and not cheap,but my method actually greatly helps dished stuff.
I am still playing around with time spent in my flattener,and windowsill heat/exposure.I should have this down-pat by summer's end.

Btw,if I could get a Furutech for 650,I'd jump on it,and trash my DIY unit.


I have also flirted with the idea of getting a record flattener. Upon trying various clamps, I realized that the Basis Audio reflex clamp will simply flatten any dished record if you use an O-ring that has a larger cross-section.

According to my measurements, the O-ring the Basis clamp came with has a cross-section of 1.7mm. I use a 2.5mm O-ring between the platter and the mat. The inner diameter is 6mm. The larger cross-section is also to compensate for the recessed center area of the Boston Audio Mat I currently use.

The downside of using a reflex clamp is that I need to turn off the turntable to change sides.



` I currently use the VPI outer ring and it works extremely well. However if there is a warp, even thou the outer ring keeps it reasonably flat, you can hear the warp.

Considering you get these things for under or around the $1k mark - I believe they can be very valuble. email me if you want the details.

Does anyone have the air tight English manual they can email me???
Well I took the plunge and have ordered the new Orb/Air tight Japanese model from Japan, the DF-02.

see link http://translate.google.com.au/translate?hl=en&sl=ja&u=http://www.orb.co.jp/audio/df02.html&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=6&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dorb%2Bdf-02%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG
Cuurent air tight model bottom left.

Any one who does dot want the new model can order the older air tight df-01 from ebay. see link - http://cgi.ebay.com.my/ORB-DF-01-Analog-Vinyl-Disc-Flatter_W0QQitemZ200219137021QQihZ010QQcategoryZ48648QQcmdZViewItem

both suffice to say are a LOT cheaper from Japan than the branded air tight units.

I'll post my thoughts on the DF-02 in a few weeks

SirSpeedy, may I suggest getting an IR thermometer to measure what heat is required? I have purchased one myself solely for a DIY record flattener experiment as well. I just need to get 2 glass sheets cut for this project then I will start. I like your idea of using cork adhesive on the sides that will touch the record.

I will report back on my results as well. I hope to have exact temperatures for everyone.

Kevin at KAB Electro Acoustics mentioned to me a way to go about flattening records:

1. Have 2 sheets of glass for the project.
2. Preheat your oven, bring it up to a specific temperature (the trick is to find the optimal temperature).
3. Slide in your glass-record-glass sandwich flat into your oven and at the same time turn your oven off.
4. Let your oven cool naturally along with your vinyl sandwich.

The trick is to find the precise temperature so that your record doesn't melt entirely, but just soften up so that the pressure from the glass will flatten it.

The idea is to start at a moderate temperature like 90 degrees or so. And of course, try it out on records you don't care about or buy some cheap junk records to test with until the exact temperature is discovered.

I too would like a record flattener, I think it is a required accessory to have in these modern times. New vinyl is pretty bad, and there is the occasional warped used record. The nice thing about buying warped records is they usually do not have a lot of usage/wear because they aren't played as often.
Most oven's minimum setting is about 150 which is more like what is required as long as you turn it off.
Downunder,I am having a hard time understanding the "total" pricing.Is it 785 plus 240 to ship to the U.S.?

Yes, If you are talking about the ebay listing. I asked and 17kg shipping is quite expensive - hence the $240 shipping. Don't forget you will need a step down transformer to bring the US 120 vlts down to Japan 100 vlts. the same4 vendor sells them or buy them in the USA.

I am buying mine newer (more expensive model) direct from JAT in Japan from whom I have bought a couple of cartridges in the past. I have confidence in this guy. If anyone wants to buy from this guy, let me know and I will email the details

My DF-02 was delivered yesterday.

Unpacked it, put my warped/dished "Wolfmother" LP into the unit.

You can select 60, 90, 120 or 150 minutes heating time. the Wolfmother LP is about 150gm's, so I selected 90 minutes and closed the lid.

The LED display counts down, then automatically goes to 2 hours for cooling.

Took the LP out, put it back on the platter and guess what - no real difference - still warped - damm.

Put the LP back into the DF-02 and selected 2 hours and went to bed.

Got up this morning and put it on the platter - the LP is now nice and flat and plays fine.

So far so good and excellent to have the choice of how long to heat for. I'll report back after I have done 10 or so LP's.

Excellent! It's just as well you had the initial experience so you have some gage of what it might require.
Yea, I was going to start off with 60 minutes, but the vinyl is closer to 180gm's than 120gm's so 90 minutes was the better start off choice. WE don't want to over cook these vinyl pizza's do we :-))

I'll find some skinny 120gm vinyl and see how 60 or 90 minutes heating goes.

the unit is supposed to be able to do LP's with no groove guard. Are they the classic 200gm vinyl only??

First off to Downunder("in jest")...."Wolfmother"??.....And you are a high end hobbyist??....No Ravel,George Crumb,John Zorn,maybe some Stravinsky?...Heck,why not some Ricky Lee Jones,or Joni Mitchell?...but Wolfmother??? Hmm!! -:) -:)

As to the Speedy Flattener,costing thirteen U.S. dollars....Well now that we've had a nice four day heat wave,in the North Eastern U.S.,I've taken my "most" dished and "collectible/expensive" Lp(I'm not too worried about it at this point of experience),and given it some time on my "now nicely heated up"(but not hot)windowsill.Just the right amount of heat(I think)to undish the most dished LP's.
My previous four discs that got treated,were a success,except one,which needs some more days in a warmed windowsill,where the DIY unit resides.

It all comes down to how much time I give the LP,and how warm the windowsill gets....Btw,I don't like the "oven" business,as real heat(except the apparently superb Furutech/Air Tight flatteners)scares me.My method may not work on the first shot,but does work,and I am still learning the exposure,and "seasonal heat on windowsill" parameters.Think I'll go into meteorology after all this.
Btw,it does look really nice as it is merely two pieces of beautifully cut Marble,with two different pliant materials between each,so as not to damage grooves.I've added four little rubber footers to the bottom of the lower plate,which is always stationary.Looks like a nice marblized laptop computer sitting on my audio room windowsill.Tight and compact.Almost dressy!

I'd "still" take a commercial unit over it,in a heartbeat,but am quite happy.

Now,if I can finally get my system problems solved,I'd be satisfied.Most likely another month or two.The stuff I've spent tons of money on seem to be more problematic than the "el-cheapo DIY figamajigs"!...Whew!!
At least I have the spare time to look for more LP's in need of flattening.

Btw,Downunder.....all kidding aside,a fabulous piece of music to recommend to you(sorry about the thread hijack),since the composer is local to you.....is....John Antill's "Corroborree".
Yes,it had been talked up in the old(great,but "no"-more)TAS(which stinks now).
This is a fabulous "Australian" pressing of a classic "new orchestral music" EMI label gem!!
If you have a great set-up(that works,unlike mine at the present time...bah)this LP will blow you away,assuming one likes "new" music for large(really huge orchestra)ensemble!!That also happens to be harmonically gorgeous,when it is "not" scarring the crap out of you!!

Great harmonies and dynamics,with a vast percussion battery,consisting of everything from tymps to a kind of wind machine,that is actually a fluted like instrument spun around one's head,attached to a long rope.Ya gotta hear this music!!
It was written by the composer who was remembering a childhood experience in the Australian outback,by Aboriginees performing a ritual ceremony.
FABULOUS...GET IT!!!...Not the "suite" which appeared on other labels,but the EMI pressing of the full piece!It does pop up on some dealer lists from time to time.
Think I'll play it,if I can ever get up and running again -:)

Speedy, Lucky I have such thick skin :>))

The LP manual was quite clear. First use an LP of no real value to try your LP flattener as the manufacturer is not responsible for any damage to your records.
I thought of using my original UK pressing of the beatles Abbey Road first up, but thought better.

So I used "wolfmother" as I know that it can be replaced easy. Anyway, don't knock it - great 70's Led Zep/Deep purple style music.

I'll redemm myself by flattening some audiophile LP's all in good time.

I'll check out the "Corroborree" LP. Trouble is I would probably have to buy it from the USA.

Good to see your DIY version is working. Too much hassle for me.
Dear DownUnder - Where/how did you obtain instructions in English for your Orb DF-02? I just purchased one in Japan while on a business trip..only to find out when I got home that the instructions are only in Japanese! I need to get a Variac before I can plug it in so I can feed it the proper 100 volts - it might be intuitive in use once powered up..but would appreciate any info you cna provide on the instructions. Thanks!
Hi Alex

I'll scan mine and email. It is very easy to use once power up.

You should have bought a universal voltage transformer when you were in Japan - they have them in all electronic stores.

BTW, Don't use the flattener on Universal re-issue vinyl like U2 or Depeche mode re-issues. Somehow Universal have changed the vinyl mix and it cooks the vinyl!! All other vinyl is fine.
What do folks think would be better, a VPI Ring & Clamp or just putting any slighly warped LP in the flattener. It seems to me that the Clamp would be ergonomically a pain to use and I have heard that it can be potentially dangerous to the cantilever. Anyway, I have a VPI Scout & Superplatter and I'm thinking over getting one of these solutions. Any feedback would be appreciated. All the best, Mark
I have the ring clamp and heavy platter and I like them both. I disagree that the ring clamp is really cumbersome to use. It works very well on dished LPs. Of course, it can do very little for "rippling" warps. The disc flattener would be better for that but I think if you get the occasional rippled record, it's more cost effective just to find another copy than to spend big bucks on a disc flattener.
I have the HRX with outer ring for several years now. Works very well and there are no issues whatsoever with damaging your cartridge. You will need space or a stool or something that you can rest your ouiter ring onto when changing records.

I also have the disc flattener and that is excellent as well. However generally when you pull out one of your records you want to play it then and there. You can then flatten it as it takes several hours in total.

Ultimately it is better to flatten the record. After you have done that therer are no issues on whatever table you play with
Both, in that the clamp and ring combo improve the sound significantly even with flat records, and, as noted above, they will not cure severe edge warps.
Are the vacuum platters turntables like Basis effective for severely dished LP's ?
Are the vacuum platters turntables like Basis effective for severely dished LP's ?

I'm not so sure a "severely" dished or warped LP can be played effectively on "any" vacuum table!Especially when there is a wide chasm of vinyl thicknesses to be factored in,and some Lp's just have more pliability than others.Some are just NOT going to "take".

In the case of my SOTA COSMOS series IV,which is extremely effective(in general)I have problems getting a good seal if there is "any" gap between the lip and LP.The slightest seperation of any part of the LP will not allow for a seal to be made.I can run my finger along the lip(or LP side),to attempt to push the lip enough to "coax" a good seal,but it's a hit or miss project.I'd say about a 70/30 chance of success.The 70% is the success rate,in my case.This occurs on "maybe" one out of thirty LP's,which will need a "finger job" -:).

Once it "takes",from successful finger pressure,it is perfect,but no guarantees here.Actually because some LP's have slight pressing "bumps" or high edge spots,this is problematic sometimes too.My answer to "those" little problems is to file down the problem,with a nail file.Easy,and rarely needed.

Still,this is rare,and all I'll do(if I have a badly warped or dished LP)is use a little "pinch clamp" to close the air gap in the hosing.This is quite safe,and easy to do.It fools the pump into "thinking" there is a seal(because in the case of the Cosmos,the pump automatically cycles "down" to a minimum "safe" pressure setting,so as not to potentially damage the vinyl)so I can play the LP anyway.Still a rare occurrence.

I've played around a little with the "FABULOUS"(I love the table) Basis,but I'd still be surprised if you can get a good seal on similar badly dished/warped LP's.You can pitch up the amount of vacuum,on the Basis,but I'd be afraid the amount of vacuum suction(at "that" point)could pose a safety issue with the "vinyl" itself.

Some feel the actual amount of vacuum pressure can negatively impact the "health" of the vinyl on Lp's.In over twenty years of using my vacuum systems,I've not had a single issue.NOT ONCE!!Or ticks and pops either.Just keep the platter clean.

A ring clamp is,from my experience,a terrible product,ergonomically!Sorry,but I've got a pal who "took out" two Lyra Titan i cartridges with a mere half second slip up.

It "can" happen,and I've seen the ruined results,from an unpredictable mishap!

I made a DIY flattener by using two 12 inch pieces of cut marble,and sticking very thin "cork shelf liner" to each inner side.The cork has a little "give" to it,so will not damage the grooves.The weight of the marble,along with a little heat should do the trick,but it's a learning process..

Just put the gizmo in the sun,for only about ten minutes(this needs experimentation,to guage how each LP will react)....I added a few felt pads to the bottom of one marble slab,and place the top piece,carefully in place.This looks quite nice in any room decor,and the entire shebang cost me about ten bucks!It looks a little like a thin lap-top computer when closed.

Yet,I'd still prefer to go the easy way,and spring for the Furutech.I'm just not spending that kind of money on it,especially as the price has gone up in the U.S.Although I have a friend,in Canada,who is a huge LP collector,and claims superb results!He loves it!!

Sirspeedy: thank you ! Great input, exactly what I was waiting. So succion platters are not ideal for warped records, but the main benefit is a sonic one I believe, ond not a small one if I understand what you and Raul say.
I have a VPI ring clamp that I use for non-flat records ( quite common with those new USA reissue unfortunately ) and I am very happy with this device, beside beeing a pain to put on each side. Of course I am VERY careful when I low the arm (never drunk or stoned ! ) If I break my Allaerts I will suffer major depression !
I'm trying to contact Byfo about purchasing his Air Tight DT-01 mentioned below.

05-29-08: Byfo
I have the Air Tight unit and very seldom use it. I have been lucky with my LP purchases. It has performed well the few times I have used it though. As Yagbol2 suggests, it would be cheaper to look for another copy.
Byfo (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

I'm lo-tech (but high science) and posted this question a few days ago and still no response from the moderator unless that is hidden somewhere on this site. I couldn't even turn up Byfo in the search window but luckily when I googled again, the link that led me to this part of the site appeared again.

Does anyone have one of these for sale? Does anyone know of one that does the 3 basics sized for vinyl (7,1- & 12 inch) as well as for same with 78s? I was told by a dealer that Orb makes one but it doesn't work on 78s. when I replied asking him if he'd tried it on 78s, or the manufacturer specifically states that it won't work for 78s and he's never replied. I can't imagine what would prevent the machine from working on 78s and if I had access to one, I could easily experiment, but I don't. One of the other posters talked about the Org which apparently has instructions in Japanese only. Can anyone help? I have the money ready.
Try the Vinyl Flat and pouch. It works great, especially for dish warping on new heavy vinyl. $150 complete.
Cannot comment on if it works with 78's. I doubt it due to different formulation of the vinyl.

5 years later, mine still works perfectly (except crap GZ digital vinyl which has softer different vinyl formutaion).

It is especially useful with US pressings which are invariably dished and the Orb flattens them a treat.

good luck in finding one, or buy one from ebay