ultrasound record cleaning machine damaged my records

I recently purchased an ultrasound record cleaning machine. For reasons which I hope you understand I won’t name brands, because I am not wanting to make bad publicity to anyone but to discuss the matter. 

Previously, I had anather ultrasound machine which broke. I cleaned more than a 1000 records with it, with no concerns at all. The machine broke and, due to its steep price, I decided to go for a less costly solution. 

With the new machine I cleaned 7 records. One of themLeonard Cohen’s “New Skin for the old ceremony”. When listening to “Chelsea Hote”, I remarked a distortion that wasn’t there before. IT was clear on the low notes, like the instrument being out of focus or vibrating. I had some old very worn records which had that problem due to bad stylus. At first I started to think that there was a problem with the stylus of my Lyra Atlas. So I went to another version of the same album I have at home, to check if there was a problem with the stylus. Clean passage. No problem at all. 

As on the previous cleaned record I noticed a similar problem, not so apparent, I decided to clean the second version of the LP on the new machine. Playing it i heard  the same distortion on the same music. Checking out all the 7 records I cleaned, I heard issues on all of them, some less apparent ( the mono ones) and some more appparent. 

I couldn’t believe it but the new machine was damaging my records. 

The combination of my atlas and my SME 312 arm gives some “needle talk” - music heard when with everything muted you put your hear next to the stylus on the record. Doing it, I heard the same rumble distortion that was being amplified by the system. 


I used distilled water (not a new one but one which was opened for the previous machine) but it was clear clean. I put the exact amount of surfactant liquid on the mixture of distilled water. I kept all the operating instruction rules. I don’t understand what is wrong, but the fact is this machines damages the grooves on the record. 


Does anyone had this problem before? Any help provided?


Note: I already contacted the dealer who sold it  and I am going to see him next week. It is a very good a solid dealer.  It I’d like to hear your opinion. 


Best regards,


Cleeds, I drive a well known German automobile. Can you name it with any certainty? No.

Of course not. That’s my point. I don’t understand the coy secrecy here.


I’m guessing based on the specs it’s a Humminguru.

Of course everyone is free to speculate. We can speculate that @lewm drives a Porsche. But he could just as easily be a VW or MB guy. Or something else.

I have a Hummingru machine, have used it on all my records, new old, and vintage. It has done nothing but clean them. Some vintage ones need a couple of rounds to get everything out. But there has been 0 damage done. You are more likely to damage a record with manual cleaning than the ultrasonic machine. The Hummingru machine is suppose to have a thermal shut off if the water gets too hot. It also states to not run more than a few times per round. If you do the wash/dry cycles it cools the unit off during the drying cycle. My water never gets hot, even after using it all day, as I usually clean in 20-50 records at a time.

My routine is to use G2 manually, then go into the bath. Only distilled water and one drop of G2 ultrasonic cleaner per gallon. 

You are more likely to damage a record with manual cleaning than the ultrasonic machine.

That's very likely true, but in this case we don't know much about the machine he's using. Perhaps he's rigged a commercial machine intended for an entirely different purpose. Or maybe he's just fabricated the entire affair.

@antinn Not to side track the thread, but at present I work with the suggested for the UK, BASF™ Dehypon® LS 54 nonionic surfactant. as a substitute for  Tergitol 15-S-9.

Can you give a description of how Polysorbate 20 also(Polysorbate 80 is found), fits in as a additional chemical to be used for a solution, or is the chemical to  Supersede Dehyphon as a part of a solution?  


That the distortion problem was related to not effectively removing the surfactant does not surprise me, nor am I surprised that Neil deduced this based on the facts provided. Before I connected with Neil (my blog is where his work on vinyl cleaning has been published), I had worked through all sorts of cleaning processes using a combination of manual cleaning, vacuum removal of fluid and ultrasonic. A lot of this was just working and reworking various records, rather than a scientific approach. I am not a chemist, or engineer. 

One thing I found with older records (typically what I purchase) is that a lot of issues come from a bad previous cleaning in the hands of predecessors. In some instances, you can look at the dead wax of an LP and see residue of liquid spotting. I remember all the sorts of cleaning products, from sprays to wiping, that were used back in the day. A lot of these left a residue, which may be the chief problem with "used" records, apart from groove damage from kludgey tone arms, bad set ups on changers or whatever. 

To me, if you are using any chemistry, you should rinse. That holds true with vacuum machines as well. I know some folks prefer a "one step" vacuum cleaning agent and perhaps the chemical residue of those is low enough? I don't know. @antinn 

Glad the OP got it sorted. 

Bill Hart