Record Cleaning Machine - Loricraft PRC-3 vs. 4?

The Loricraft record cleaning machines look very promising, using a small point vacuum as opposed to a vacuum slot.

The PRC-4 has a stronger vacuum pump compared to the PRC-3, but is it really a significantly better choice in practice? (the difference in price, amortized over years of use and 1000's of cleanings, is less of a concern).

You will not be happy with the PRC 3, the bug of 'inferior' is planted in your brain, never to leave. Buy the PRC 4 and be done with it, at least until the PRC 5 is available.
I have the PRC-3 and have been very happy with it. I have never regretted not going for the PRC-4. The PRC-3 is a great machine with plenty of power.
I've got the PRC-4. Never compared it to the 3, but I'm delighted with it. Silent enough and does remove all fluid on the disk. Maybe someone who owns the 3 can comment on it. Feel free to ask any question.
Tough question. I wrestled with the same until I found a used PRC-4 Delux and bought it. They are great machines and with the right fluids, extremely effective.
I have a PRC-3 and its works fine; the 4 also does the job well. You won't go wrong with either.

The key to getting records clean is not the difference in strength of the vacuum pump between the PRC-3 and the PRC-4.

The key to getting records clean is:
* the fluid used (AIVS for me),
* fluid application technique (brush lightly, don't scrub),
* most impt. the amount of time the fluid is on the record,
* and lastly, a pure water rinse.
Thanks for all the helpful responses.
Both the PRC-3 and PRC-4 look like very good options, and it is not a question of one being inferior to the other, but rather if one really offers any significant advantages in practice?
It sounds like other steps in the cleaning process are equally important considerations, and unrelated to a particular Loricraft model choice.
I am sure that most users would be happy with either one.
The Loricraft "Upgrades" ( ---> Price) are mainly in finish, Dust cover and power of the pump. All of them do the job but normally you will keep the unit for a long time, so it makes sense to invest in the more powerful model. The pump is simply better quality. PRC3 was available 2003 (or earlier?).
I have the PRC-3. When I was talking to the US importer at the time (Smart) he told me that the motors are all high quality medical grade European and will all have very long life. These motors run cool, only difference is amount of vacuum.
i had the PRC-3 and now have the PRC-4 Dlx. in between i purchased an Audio Desk Systeme RCM which is automatic. i puchased the PRC-4 Dlx because the Audio Desk machine does not handle thin pressings very well and also does not do as good a job in some ways as the Loricraft. it's nice to have both.

with the more powerful pump, the '4' is faster, quieter, and does reverse directions which does that little bit more cleaning.

also the 'dlx' has the plastic dust cover i like, and an arm rest which sounds like no big deal but i do like it.

the faster cleaning because of the more powerful pump makes me want to clean Lp's more often. which is good.
Mike, I also have a PRC-4 Deluxe. I like it for all the reasons you mention, though I never use the reverse switch as I find putting the wand on the other side of the label accomplishes the same thing. My final pure water rinse for example is done with the wand starting at the outer groove (as you would playing an LP) traveling to the label and then from the label to the outer groove on the other side which achieves two things: a double dry cycle, one in each direction.

Could you explain how the more powerful pump works faster? I always thought the speed was the same (roughly 72 rpm) for all the models.
I also own a PRC-4 Deluxe and curious Mike in relation to speed.

Have you guys ever have any issues with the wand moving ahead "skipping" and not vacuuming a area because I have, I have tried what Peterayer mentions also on final rince and vacuum and found the second vacuum the wand sometimes just jumps ahead or goes right across the record.

If you don't have any of these issues what should I look for, my unit was brand new when I got it and I don't really see any type of adjustments.
Peter and David,

maybe it's between my ears about the cleaning speed being faster. i never had the PRC3 and PRC4 Dlx at the same time. there was 2 years between those 2 with just the Audio Desk. it just seems quite a bit faster with the PRC4......and since i'm happier i'm just going to skip merrily along thinking it's faster. :)

btw Peter, i want to thank you for your feedback on your cleaning process last year. since you posted that i had thought about changing and finally a couple of months ago i did. i'm also using that 3-step cleaning process, and you are right, it is better. thanks.
You are welcome, Mike. I have since added the AIVS No. 15 as a first step. It is another enzyme step and is well worth the time/effort. I also use two rinses, so the AIVS 3-step for me is actually 5-steps. Crazy, I know.

Dev, on very few occasions, my want skips about 1/16th of an inch about 3/4" in from the outside edge only when I do the first enzyme step. This happens about 1 in 30 times. I don't know why. I just redo the outer one inch and move to the next step. I think it might have something to do with the magnet drive under the arm base skipping somehow. Have you tried contacting Loricraft? I have not bothered.

Hiendmuse, I use zero tracking force. I find that the suction is enough to pull the arm to the LP and vacuum up all of the fluid.
Peteraayer, the 2.5 gram tracking force is per Loricraft instruction manual for the arm. You may find even better cleaning performance and no skipping if you adjust the counterweight at the end of the arm to this spec.
Peterayer, no I have not bothered too, doesn't seem to be high on my list but then I'm reminded when I have the problem again so now it's a must and I'll share their responce.

Is no one else besides Peterayer and myself having such, just curious.
Thanks Hiendmuse. I'll give it a try. As I recall, I was at 2.5 grams and the skipping happened more often and more near the label. Performance is now more consistent, but it's time to experiment again. I appreciate the suggestion.
Just to complicate matters, I just discovered that the Keith Monks RCMs have a local distributor in my city, whereas Loricraft would have to be ordered from out of country. This reduces the cost differential between the Keith Monks and Loricraft RCMs.

Can anyone comment on the merits of the current production Keith Monks Omni or Classic over Loricraft?
... the merits of the current production Keith Monks Omni or Classic over Loricraft?

The Loricraft is a cheap copy from the Monks. The Monks was and is a workhorse for professional users (Libraries, Radio Stations in the past ...) who wanted a reliable and perfect cleaning solution, be it 10 Records a day or 500, day in day out, week for week ...
The fluids are inside, the motor is powerful and very silent. It always was an expensive unit, in professional use that never was a problem because it was the way: Pay and forget.
Now in High End where most users clean probable 2-5 records a day or use those RCM mainly to remove dust from new records, the price is a serious factor.
The Loricraft is a cheap copy from the Monks.


does this go for the current production run of the Monks with the Son in charge, or just the vintage Monks? and do you know if there are performance consquences related to the different build quality that you could quantitate?

i can see and read that the current Monks machines are more robustly built than the Loricraft and are more automatic, but wonder whether they will likely clean my records better. assuming i do my part properly with either.

Syntax is absolutely right concerning the build quality of the Keith Monks RCM. I've bought a Mk. II model last year on eBay. Made in 1996. It used to be part of a record shop. Aside of slight cosmetic flaws, the machine is working properly like on its first day. Much, much better than my previous, surface sucking RCM. I'm really happy with it! Just would like to get new brushes (for 12, 10, and 7 " records).
Well stated Syntax. Could you comment on whether or not the Monks gets the records any cleaner than the Loricraft? I've never read a direct comparison. One issue for me is that I use four fluids in five steps and the Monks automatic tanks can't accommodate that many different fluids and applicators. I also don't like the idea of an automatic fluid dispenser scrubbing the LP surface. So despite the higher quality of the Monks (kind of like a Porsche versus an MG), I prefer the manual application method and simplicity of the Loricraft, not to mention the cost.
Thank-you for the responses.

Keith Monks died in 2005 and the company closed. Production resumed in 2008 under the ownership of Keith Mokns son. Does the excellent build quality of Keith Monks RCMs apply to the current production models as well? How does the new company's product compare to the old?
I have a Nitty Gritty Mini-Pro and a VPI 16.5. My Loricraft PRC4 Deluxe arrived yesterday, and the couriers had bashed it around between the UK, the dealer in Vancouver and me in eastern Canada. The pump had come off its mount and its hoses had detached. Ignoring the 'no user serviceable parts' warning as I wasn't willing to courier it back to Vancouver for a simple fix (and possibly more damage in transit), I took it apart. The pump was easily reattached to its base, and the hoses plugged back on their spigots.This machine does a much better job of cleaning than the NG and VPI machines. The other thing that occurred to me as I figured out how to disassemble it and repair the damage was that I could understand why it costs as much as it does. It is complicated inside, and well built. Lots of screws, bolts, sound damping insulation and custom machining, not to mention the pretty brasswork on the 'tonearm'. I'm rather glad it came as it did, as I would have wondered whether the price was just based on small sales, but now I know it is entirely justified given the work inside, never mind the performance for which I and others have bought it. To call it a cheap copy of the Monks machine is either an enormous tribute to the Monks machine or a downright slander, and since I don't have a Monks I can't say which.
I have recently purchased a Loricraft PRC4dlx and a friend has the latest Keith Monks MkVII Omni.

Both have their own pros and cons.

In terms of build quality, the Loricraft has more of a handmade feel to it while the KM machine has more of a factory manufactured feel (for wont of a better description).

The Loricraft has real wood verneer sides while the KM has faux wood laminate covering. Both have chassis made of MDF.

The KM has a solid cover included with the machine while the Loricraft has an optional perspex cover.

The KM machine has automatic fluid application while the Loricraft is done using a handheld squirt bottle.

The KM machine uses a brush/fluid applicator arm - brush is removable for cleaning. You have to hold brush the record on the Loricraft.

The KM has automatic thread advancement and take up while this is done manually on the Loricraft.

The Loricraft has forward and reverse for the platter while the KM only spins in one direction. Easier to scrub records with the Loricraft.

Where the KM falls down IMO is with it's platter which appears to be off the ones off those cheap Numark DJ TTs. The Loricraft platter is much nicer being neoprene covered, thin and flat.

Both units seem to have the same performance cleaning wise with the KM having the edge up over the Loricraft only in terms of automation.
Hey Dan, congrats! Now you can take 45 minutes to clean an LP like the rest of us audio-nuts.

Just joshin' folks. Dan has seen my PRC3 in action and knows what he's getting. I re-cleaned an LP of his once during dinner and the improvement was startling. We all wish there was a faster way but as Syntax just pointed out on the Audio Desk thread, there's fast and there's effective...
Thanks, Doug. I'm already putting in the time so I may as well get much better results and, most importantly, save my hearing. That Hoover motor probably runs 100 dB. :-)
Great news, Dan! Join the club. I assume you will be using the AIVS fluid system. How many steps? I added the No. 15 as a pre soak to the standard 3-step plus an extra final pure water rinse. Great results. Enjoy listening to more of the music from now on.
At 40 mins. per, forget getting together for listening, we should have a cleaning marathon. :-)