AXPONA 2019 Turntable Round Up

AXPONA 2019 held this past April 12th-15th at the Schaumberg Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center, established the show as North America's pre-eminent audio event. It was the largest show of its kind in terms of industry participation and when the attendance numbers are announced probably attendance-wise as well.

The show was too big for any one individual to fully cover yet that was the task for AnalogPlanet editor Michael Fremer who early on decided to concentrate solely on turntables and other vinyl playback gear (cartridges, tone arms, phono preamps and accessories) rather than on room-by-room coverage, which was how Stereophile covered it using a team of writers. So go there for that kind of reporting.

For analog-centric coverage—the Internet's best— you've come to the right place! This hour long plus video strictly covers the above named subject matter and nothing else. In fact, providing this level of comprehensive coverage meant that Fremer did not have an opportunity to actually sit down and listen to anything! But no matter, these hotel room venues are generally poor indicators of actual sonic performance.

Another video will follow shortly and the accompanying text will include more detailed written coverage as well but for now feel confident that after watching this video and the next you will have seen just about everything analog offered at AXPONA 2019.

theboogeydown's picture

Top quote from your broadcast, "Can you get up from that?" Thanks Michael, always fun to have been shown around the joint!

Michael Fremer's picture
I got right up from the "lunge"
EdAInWestOC's picture

The new pressing of Hell Freezes Over is superb. If you like the album it is highly recommended.


Fsonicsmith's picture

You may not remember me but I was the guy who "snagged your attention" as you were busy taking photos to ask your opinions of Van den Hul cartridges as I had just purchased a Crimson Stradivarius after having the thrill of meeting AJ Van den Hul himself. I love it that you chose the shot of the Steve Dobbins Garrard 301 as your cover shot for the hour long video and is a nice surprise as I have a nearly identical deck with a Reed arm purchased from Steve Dobbins and bought the Crinsom Strad from him at the Show. You were kind and gracious even though I could fully understand that after so many shows over so many years that grow mundane and with all the attendant fatigue and chaos, wild questions from a wide-eyed attendee must be tiresome. I have no doubt that if you had a nickel for every wild question posed by a show attendee you would have banked even more money than you did from your Wally-mentored turntable set-up video. I thank you for your patience and graciousness and hope you will remember that it means all the world to folks like me-someone who had never attended an audio show previously and got up at 4:00 am and drove six and a half hours to get there that morning.
On a different note, your comment about shows in general; "But no matter, these hotel room venues are generally poor indicators of actual sonic performance" resonates (pun) with me as it was my conclusion as well. Nice to look at cool gear and get reinforcement that you are not alone in the world of audio geekdom, but all said and done, these shows are much to do about nothing.

Michael Fremer's picture
Take for granted readers or people who come up to me at shows. Without them (you) where would I be?
RH's picture

Thanks for the video Michael.

The record cleaning machines in the video reminds me:
Are you aware of a particular new kid on the block in the record cleaning market? The Degritter Ultra Sonic Record cleaner?


It was something of a kickstarter/indiegogo business started by some young, bright guys in Estonia. They drummed up quite a bit of interest with the previews of the machine, and very positive reports from beta testers. So I got in and ordered one early in their campaign.

It looked like the perfect design for folks like me. I have gotten heavily back in to vinyl and have many used records (and new ones) that could benefit from cleaning, but I just didn't want to turn record owning/listening in to any more of a chore than necessary.
And pretty much every version of record cleaning I've ever seen looked to me like a chore - and often a noisy one. And, it may seem silly, but I'm not fond of the industrial-type aesthetics of most record cleaners, including the Audiodesk/KLaudio units.

Whereas the Degritter promised to be an actually aesthetically pleasing design, ultrasonic cleaning, fully automatically cleaning and drying, water filtered as it works, with a very flexible, nice looking and user friendly interface. It looked to me like the most thoroughly thought through cleaning machine I'd seen.

After the usual bumps and hiccups in getting to the production stage, they are finally for sale and I received mine not long ago.

Thus far it has been exactly what I hoped for. Drop a record in, press a button, come back to a shiny new-looking, dry record to play (and with better sonics). The cycles are highly adjustable and can be saved as user pre-sets for washing/drying times. And the fan even has a power setting where you can dial from "high" (loud, dries very quickly) with 20 steps down to "low" (very, very quiet, longer drying time). So you aren't stuck with a jet engine vacuum level as you are with other cleaners. Very handy if it's going to be used anywhere around other people, opening up placement options.

All that said, though it seems to work great, and I hear a more pristine sound from my records, it's my first record cleaner so I can't compare it to others, including the performance of the AudioDesk and KLaudio with which it most directly competes (it costs less!).

I hope at some point it makes sense for you to get hold of a Degritter for review. It would be great to see how you'd rate it against the competition.

Michael Fremer's picture
about that 120K frequency for records using surfactants based upon what I've I'd be careful
RH's picture

Thanks Michael.

Just so I understand: Do you mean that particular combination of the higher 120K frequency combined with surfactants could be a problem?

If so, is there more info somewhere on why that might be a problem and what we would worry about?

I'd read many enthusiast threads on US cleaning and haven't yet heard that proposed as something to worry about.

RH's picture

Oh man, Michael really left me hanging.

When one of the world's leading analog/turntable advisors says essentially: "From what I've learned, I'd be skeptical about the product you've careful"

It's like a leading detective telling a woman "From what I've learned about your fiance's claims to love you, I'd be careful."

Wait...what??? What are the details here??? What should I be worried about?

Since Michael include any details about what he's learned to justify the skepticism, it sent me off trawling through any web site or ultrasonic cleaner discussions I could find again. I can't find anything at all that conjoins 120K ultrasonic frequencies with surfactants as a particular danger. In fact, pretty much everything I read suggested 120K would be a gentler frequency in terms of cavitation force, than the lower frequencies often used for US record cleaners. So I'm still completely baffled as to what Michael might be referencing.

Best I could do then was email the question to Degritter to ask what problems that comment may be referencing and how they would have addressed it. No surprise, the reply pointed to the gentler higher frequency used as being safer, which is consistent with any information I've been able to encounter.

I hope Michael can return to pass on more detail in support of his skepticism. We could all benefit from knowing some detail about a legitimate concern.

degritter_taniel's picture

Hi Michael,

My name is Taniel and I am the CEO of Degritter company.

I would also be interested in as to why exactly you advise against the 120kHz ultrasonic cleaning frequency?

You are a well respected man in the HiFi community and claims made by you have a lot of weight. Because of this, we would be very grateful if you could share any website links, articles, or other references that have caused you to be cautious, as then we could publicly address these fears.

According to multiple research papers and our own research, the 120kHz ultrasonic cleaning frequency is significantly more delicate than the most commonly used 40kHz.
Here are a few of the articles backing this claim:

We have written a short document explaining how ultrasonic cleaning works and why Degritter is using 120kHz ultrasonic cleaning frequency. The document has multiple references to great articles and books that we recommend to everyone interested in Ultrasonic Cleaning to read.

The document can be found here:

All the best

Michael Fremer's picture
Perhaps that was the wrong word to use. I just wonder whether that frequency is too high to be truly effective. The higher the frequency the smaller the bubbles, which is good but at what point does the cavitation become too weak to be effective? Of course you've had more experience with it than have I...
RH's picture

Thanks for the added detail, Michael.

I've encountered the occasional claim here and there that some using US cleaning have heard a rolling off of high frequencies - "shimmer and air" - and a softening of the attack of leading edges.

Harry Weisfeld of VPI made these observations using several different US machines. (Until he developed a more complicated regime, which included much rinsing and vacuuming he says finally kept those high frequencies).

Have you ever noted any roll shaving off of high frequencies with any US machines?


Michael Fremer's picture
Have not with Audio Desk or Kirmuss machines
RH's picture

Thanks Michael, that's helpful!

degritter_taniel's picture

Feedback from our customers has been very positive regarding the cleaning effect.

The higher the frequency, the smaller the bubbles, but when the energy output is kept constant, then there are more of the small bubbles. This means that when comparing higher frequencies with lower frequencies in similar powered systems, the higher frequency system has significantly more bubbles that improve the cleaning energy distribution.

You are correct that the smaller bubbles are more delicate in their cleaning, because of this Degritter is using custom ultrasonic amplifier with significantly higher power output of that used in general purpose cleaners. Degritter's ultrasonic cleaner's power output is at around 300W per 1L of water.

For example, general purpose ultrasonic cleaners used for cleaning vinyl like the quite popular CODYSON-CD-4875 outputs at most 410W per 7.5L, which gives approximately 55W per 1L of water.

Also, the ultrasonic cleaning effect is most effective near the transducers (emitters). With general purpose cleaners the transducers are placed at the bottom of the tank and they emit the ultrasonic waves from the bottom. In there the cleaning effect is also most effective near the bottom and dissipates near the top.

To provide uniform cleaning with equal cleaning energy distribution, Degritter is using custom ultrasonic tank with 4 transducers, two on each side of the record to make sure that the cleaning energy is evenly directed at the record.

In short, the reasons why we chose higher frequencies instead of the most commonly used 35-40 kHz are:
- more delicate cleaning (cavitational effects of 35-40kHz are very strong especially near transducers)
- better cleaning energy distribution
- smaller bubbles have better access to the record grooves
- less audible noise

We compensate the reduced cavitational effect with the use of more power and with the use of custom ultrasonic tank layout.

Michael Fremer's picture
I'm not an expert on this but I've heard back from other manufacturers who dispute some of what you write here, especially as to where you've chosen to place the transducers, the use of surfactants in the tank, the possible negative effects of "tiny bubbles" (among other things). However, at this point since I'm not a cavitation expert I'm left as an observer. I can neither confirm or argue with your assertions, which is my position with the claims made by others!
ckirmuss's picture

I usually do not respond to blogs but felt it important to do so as everyone is entitled to their opinion. In this case there are serious errors in the blog which I feel needs correction. I am the Owner and Chief Engineer of KirmussAudio. We have spent 4 years pulling apart various cleaning processes before we came out with our system. Indeed we contracted a commercial manufacturer of sonics to supply us with a base engine as in today's age there is no sense in manufacturing a new engine but our patented process is revolutionary and where we in fact modify the unit as to our use and understanding of standing waves in liquids as to cavitation and have thus made changes to suit our needs for record groove restoration. This performed in my own factory that I have overseas since 2006. With our modifications of a base unit we now see the generated plasma wave in turn allows us to restore grooves in any shellacked or vinyl medium, any size.

Indeed: many experts out there so it would seem. Indeed, everyone has their personal opinion on sonics but respectfully I must disagree with the statements as to 35 KHz versus higher frequencies. We used 12 underwater 600 fps capture cameras as well as have in house a $80K Keyence digital microscope to prove our findings as how cavitation and the resulting plasma wave interacts to what we have in the tank and what we accomplish in the grooves. We are not dealing with sub microscopic particles, we are usually dealing with contaminants suspended usually in the release agent that was never removed from the grooves.(new or records that are 30 years plus old..) We are not discussing surface cleanings. Did I mention where our system can handle lacquered or shellacked records safely? Check out the microscopic views and measurements we have taken seeing and measuring what is actually "in the record's grooves" on the KirmussAudio web site.

To the statement made where: QUOTE: “ A 120kHz frequency provides finer and more evenly distributed cleaning action than lower frequency systems. In fact, this technology at even higher frequencies is used to clean parts in the semiconductor industry, where surfaces need to be pure on a molecular level.” END QUOTE…

In cleaning using an ultrasonic cleaner: Major considerations need to be looked at, not just simple frequency review and to not to make generalized statements as such. We need to consider in any product design destined for GROOVE RESTORATION (and NOT SURFACE CLEANING): The Object/material to be cleaned; (strength, surface); Cleaning Time; Temperature rise due to cavitation; Proximity to the transducer/part fixture design; Ultrasonic output frequency; Watts per gallon; Loading - the volume (configuration) of the part being cleaned; the parts itself as to the composition and form, the part's or surface resistance to water (key part here, ads vinyl repels water, same ionic charge). To this we did not copy the patented Audio Desk Systeme with its water circulation system, suspect foam filter, air drying technique, very much like the Degritter. All told: Records are fragile.

Outside of frequency, discussed later (below): Bottom mounted transducers or side mounted transducers are to be decided on the materials to be cleaned and how they need to be placed in the device. Not just simply place transducers haphazardly in a tank. CASE IN POINT: For records, in most sonics, we see records inserted vertically, so it is reasonable to assume where we need cavitation to rise from slightly above the bottom of a tank and move upwards with little resistance. Then the resulting plasma wave is generated by way of cavitation and preferably at a 90 degree angle (+/-) which in itself then is attracted to the record by de-ionizing the record as it relates. It must be attracted to all the grooves… It is the plasma wave as known in ultrasonic manufacturing circles that promotes the cleaning action. Indeed microbubbles are present, the result of cavitation, and where the speed of the plasma wave also comes into play, as well as standing waves which dictate power needed, angle, and the variable loading of transducers. We do not use just a simple cavitation bath. It is modified. Those of you that are amateur radio operators or CB'ers know full well what SWR is. We have compensated for this. In our studies, side mounted transducers as in the Degritter do not promote I believe total record contact in this model using their configuration based on sonic action in liquids and the vertical rise needed for cavitation and the resulting plasma wave over the entire grooved area. A simple sonic technician's test is easy to perform to validate. Moreover: In any sonic design that deals especially with single or multiple records and transducer placement, one needs to consider standing waves and their effect of cancellation of cavitation. This said:
a. With due respect, suspect is the evenness of the cleaning process.
b. Indeed, while generally as higher frequencies do have greater penetrating capability, the plasma wave is very intense as we rise in frequency.
c. As to the record and contaminants: to select frequency one needs to divide contaminants into two groups: microscopic contaminants and submicroscopic contaminants. I referred to this previously.
i. Microscopic contaminants are best removed by lower frequency ultrasound.
ii. Submicroscopic contaminants are often best removed by ultrasound at higher frequencies.
1. We are dealing with dirt, grime, oils, and fungus, all microscopic in nature. Ti take matters into context as to frequency: These contaminants are usually 1 to 5 microns and up in a groove that is 30-35 microns in width and 40-45 microns in depth. (You may see pictures on our web site of what grooves look like as well as what contaminants inside appear as.) (We are not discussing the cleaning of surfaces.)
iii. While records have grooves, the material itself is relatively soft. We do not to want to "sandblast the minute details found of the groove as generated by the dyne of the cutting needle. THIS IS THE BENEFIT AND BRILLIANCE OF ANALOG!
1. When these cavitating implosions happen near a solid surface, the bubbles emit high-powered streams of plasma that collide with and will agitate and remove foreign particles and substances from that surface and as such it is also known where higher the frequency, the higher the speed of the wave and where the cavitation bubbles penetrate even closer to the objects being cleaned. So a danger exists, especially for shellacked and lacquered/glass/foil records, and more so especially if a wetting agent is applied to the grooves.
a. Back to the technology review: They use no wetting agent. (Remember, water is repelled by vinyl due to like charges of the vinyl and water and with even a cleaning solution added.

To frequency and question thereof: 35 KHz versus 120 KHz…
a. A sound wave - one wave length (Lambda) – passes through a distilled water in a cleaning tank. The highest energy occurs at the peak of the wave. It is therefore possible to predict the location of the greatest cleaning energy given a specific frequency and knowledge of the acoustic velocity with transducers on the bottom. 1 wave length (Lambda) = acoustic velocity (c) / frequency (f) and where Lambda = c / f; where: Lambda = wave length (m); c: Acoustic velocity of washing liquid (m/s); f: Frequency (Hz)
In the case of distilled water; c ~ 1500 m/s
If we consider 35 kHz frequency, we can obtain the wavelength distance as: 1500000 (mm/s) / 35000 (Hz) = 42.85 (mm) -> 1 wave length. Each peak of the wave will be located at: 42.85/ 2 -> 21.4 mm = .84 inches hence our configuration of record spacings and height from bottom.
Therefore, each interval of 21.4 mm results in the most efficient removal of particles.

Back to our comment and point at hand: we have designed our sonic knowing the above elements and have made changes to our outside vendor base engine including a patented design for multiple records and avoidance of too high a standing wave and avoidance of heat and where in reading my peers datasheet, anyone familiar with ultrasonics (we have 100 such cleaning units used in my homeland security manufacturing business for our pcb's, etc..), this since 2006, the use of Purified (distilled or demineralized) water only as recommended by my peer and as a user of commercial sonics knowing where vinyl repels water, same charge as what is in the tank, their machine with the advertised with extended washing times with distilled water does little to get into the grooves with water. Further: While a “soap” is downplayed, there is no disclosure as to what the solution is made of. Irrespective: a. Sonics need a surfactant on the record, not in the tank. b. As it relates to grooves: and while a soap is added to the tank, it is proven in aerospace and manufacturing circles where sonics do not benefit from whatever is in the tank as we have like charges between mediums.
I believe where testing and groove measurement before, and after, as well as the capability to remove both record release agents as well as any protective coatings sees the results we offer: 1 micron on average more depth for the dyne of the needle to reach, with a resulting 1.5 dB gain. Upwards of 3 to 5 depending on what prior processes have been used. We see, hear, feel the music... of course we have both quantitative and qualitative measurements shared as results.
Thank you for your time,
Keep those records spinning! Remember also where we are all custodians, most records are irreplaceable.

ckirmuss's picture

I FORGOT TO ADD: Timers and the like do not indicate to the audiophile when a record in fact has been "restored"... Timers are just that. All subjective... we have a patented process that allows the user to determine when all the contaminants have been removed from the record grooves including remaining release agents by a visual inspection not requiring any special tools, measurement devices and the like.

Keep those records spinning!


ckirmuss's picture

I have replied in detail as to sonic construction and so on in an extensive review of generic ultrasonic technology that I responded to in a prior posting. I reflected on power, standing waves/reflections, etc.. It is commonly known in sonic manufacturing circles where side placement negates the efficiency of the resulting plasma wave as cavitating microbubbles rise,(at an angle due to gravity rather than perpendicular to, in this case, the record), and thus do not propel very efficiently in a horizonal plane offering spot contact, especially as vinyl repels water! A simple ultrasonic test technican's procedure can prove this. No need for high speed underwater cameras.

...Indeed all sonics as well as vacuum based systems offer to one degree or another adequate "surface cleaning", rather than groove restoration. Do consult the KirmussAudio web site to see how we can measure groove restoration. (depth, width, coatings and film thicknesses, Before and After Restoration).

...Some cleaning systems in fact that have been tested following the manufacturer's instructions give the audiophile a false sense of a "cleaning", surface or otherwise, as the air or vacuum drying process leaves a residue on the record and as a result the needle and its dyne is now avoiding the contaminants deep within the grooves riding now on the coating and obviously resulting in less pops but at the same time less timbre and imagery. (especially more pronounced as more cleanings are performed (repeated).)

On our web site we show a microscopic view of a record that was coated with a protective coating (and the measurement of the film), (BEFORE) and within the coating discovered a hidden dirt particle... not picked up by the stylus. With this protective now coating removed, (AFTER), as well as the release agent removed which held the dirt particle in place originally, and voila!!!! ... breath, air, imagery, feeling.... all restored. Now finally the details of the mother (son) as a result of the lacquer and final stamping is now seen, touched for the first time as intended to be. No coating of a release agent present.

Further, to the PVC of the record itself: A wash system or a sonic bath with or without an additive in the tank cannot efficiently and totally accomplish groove restoration due to the like charges of the record and tank contents. Our process is, as commented on, a little more extensive, but we do restore 2 or 3 LP's in 25-27 minutes on average simultaneously, depending on the model, with visual feedback to the user as when the restoration process has been completed.

Keep those records spinning and restore them!
Owner: KirmussAudio

RH's picture


Kirmuss sure takes an aggressive slash and burn approach to his competition!

I can't say everything in there was clear, but it was food for thought.

degritter_taniel's picture

In the academic world, it is expected that every presented claim is based either on the research of others (citation would be needed) or is backed by the research and conclusions made by the party making the claim. When presenting your own research, it is expected that it is also backed by references, citations, or detailed descriptions of experiments so that it could be verified by other parties. Also, the burden of proof relies on the party making the claims.

Charles, the comments you presented above are a mess of opinions and claims, of which none are backed by citations nor with references to a properly presented research by you or others. Because of this it is very hard to address the claims made.

Still, I have structured these claims and I will address them here:

1. Record grooves are restored by the generated plasma wave

We have seen no respectable literature mention plasma waves in the context of ultrasonic cleaning. There are references to plasma jets caused by the collapse of a cavitation bubble.

2. Kirmuss machine is dealing with GROOVE RESTORATION and not SURFACE CLEANING.

The word restoration implies that you are placing new vinyl material back on the record. As long as you are not doing this, we are talking about surface cleaning.

3. Cavitation bubbles produced by higher frequencies penetrate closer to the objects being cleaned and therefore present danger to records

What you are referring to here is the “boundary layer”, a layer next to the cleaned surface where the cavitation does not happen and the layer is essentially motionless. The thickness of the layer depends on the frequency and power used by the cleaning system.
According to “Development of Ultrasonic Cleaning” by Edward W. Lamm 2003, at 40 kHz, the boundary layer is fairly thick at 2.8µ. This is thick enough so that the record groove contaminants can hide out.

As you increase frequency, the boundary layer is reduced, permitting the higher frequency to be closer to the surface and therefore provide better cleaning action.

As to the danger of higher frequencies compared to the lower ones. The study “New evidence for the inverse dependence of mechanical and chemical effects on the frequency of ultrasound” in 2011 observed that when submerging polystyrene plastic (harder than vinyl) to the effects of different ultrasonic frequencies, then the plastic experienced more weight loss and structural damage in lower frequencies, especially between 20kHz and 40kHz than with the higher frequencies. Link to study:

4. Higher frequencies like 120kHz are unable to remove particles with size of 1-5 microns

Based on the author of “Ultrasonic cleaning and washing of surfaces” F.J. Fuchs, the cavitation bubble size at 120 Khz is 2-3 microns. That is on par with the size of the dirt removed.

In addition to the 120kHz frequency, the frequency generation also produces multiple sub-harmonics (lower frequencies) that create larger cavitational bubbles. Also described here:

While the lower frequencies are more effective at removing larger particles, the main reasons that we have picked higher frequency are:

  • The added safety and more delicate cleaning (explained before).
  • Reduced boundary layer (explained before)
  • Less audible noise (120kHz is far above human hearing range)

5. The cavitational bubbles have time to "rise" and "move" in the water and they "rise at an angle" due to gravity. Due to this placing ultrasonic transducers vertically negates the ultrasonic cleaning efficiency and transducers must be attached to the bottom of the ultrasonic tank.

First, compression (or longitudinal) waves responsible for the cavitation effect can be propagated in any direction in water. Due to this you can mount the transducers at an angle and by doing so you can change the direction in which the compression wave is emitted.
Read more:

Second, the speed at which cavitation bubbles are formed and imploded is several orders of magnitude faster than the speed at which these bubbles float upward due to buoyancy. This claim is like saying that you need to take into account for the vertical drop of a bullet when firing at a target point blank.

The lifecycle of the cavitational bubble and directions of the water jet during collapse are best described in the research paper “Modeling of surface cleaning by cavitation bubble dynamics and collapse” from 2014. The paper can be found here:

Mounting transducers to the ultrasonic tank’s sides is quite common. Especially when immersible transducer enclosures are used like the ones in here:

6. Plasma wave is generated by way of cavitation and preferably at a 90 degree angle (+/-) which in itself then is attracted to the record by de-ionizing the record

As described in the previously mentioned study “Modeling of surface cleaning by cavitation bubble dynamics and collapse”, the water jets created by the vacuum bubbles are more inclined to collapse towards hard adjacent surfaces. There is no 90 degree angle that affect the water jets.

One must be careful when stating that plasma de-ionizes surfaces. In general, the opposite is true. Plasma treatment is a well known surface activation method which indeed ionizes surfaces and creates radicals on them, increasing adhesion, wettability etc. Read about plasma treating PVC here:

7. Four transducers aimed at the sides of the record as in Degritter ultrasonic tank layout does not provide better cavitational energy distribution than three transducers placed at the bottom as can be seen in Kirmuss machine layout

Based on the "Power Ultrasonics" by W. Lauterborn, R. Mettin in 2015, the amount of ultrasonic cavitation bubbles significantly diminishes with the increase of distance from the ultrasonic transducer. Placing transducers at the sides increases proximity of transducers to the record surface and enables an even energy distribution to begin with. Placing them at the bottom will result with diminished cleaning effect near the top. Link to the book:

Here is an image taken from the “Power Ultrasonics” book chapter 3.4.4 from which the ultrasonic cavitational bubbles distribution can be seen. The image is captured with 2250 FPS camera.

Also, with 3 transducer layout it is very difficult to place the record so that it receives equal amount of cavitation effect on both of its sides.

8. Vinyl repells water and distilled water does not get into the grooves of a vinyl

To say that vinyl repels water is misleading. The correct term to use is wettability, which is in broad terms a measure of how polar a surface is. Vinyl is made of PVC, which is generally considered a wettable surface. Wettability of vinyl was measured in this study:
Thus it makes no sense to say that water, be it distilled, deionized or from the tap, does not wet the grooves of vinyl. Quite the opposite - it does.

Furthermore, the cleaner a PVC surface is, the more wettable it is. On a very dirty record you will see water “beading up” more, whereas on a very clean record, the water will want to form a thin film on the record, rather than group into beads.

9. Ultrasonic cleaning requires solvents to be added on to the surface of the cleaned object and it is not enough to add solvents to the cleaning medium. Also Degritter does not use solvents.

True, solvents significantly improve the cleaning effect of ultrasonic cleaners. What we do not understand is why do you claim the need to apply surfactant directly on the record’s surface instead of applying it into the cleaning water?

Cleaning surfactants are designed to dissolve well in water and within a few moments all the surfactant applied to the record with the brush will be evenly dissolved. Unless the brush is there to wipe away the dirt, I see no effect that this can provide other than foaming up the soap. Furthermore, water itself is a decently strong polar solvent. Surfactants are foremost needed to help with non-polar dirt, such as oils.

In the light of this, it is nonsense to claim that Degritter does not use solvents, as distilled water is a solvent in itself and we ship a cleaning fluid with the machine which helps with, among other things, non-polar dirt.

ckirmuss's picture

While this is not a forum to have such discussions, you predicated my reply due to the incorrect statements made on our patented technology that required a response. Added: To see one copy a design made by others and just change frequency and not solving known issues of the faulty designs and to copy it also is not proactive, and the crust of the matter to not know our technology that solves these issues and thus required our response.

To your most recent response:
In the world of "i" you need to be very careful as to what you seem to like to refer to on the medical reference web site that deal with bacteria and your prior mention of the cleaning of submicroscopic particles by sonics. Also to the preferred use of higher frequency of 125 KHz with reference to semiconductors, assumedly silicon wafers, contaminants sub microscopic in size...and implied hard surfaces. We agree fully with the description of the matter of 125 KHz, but if you review the matter, it is NOT RECOMMENDED FOR A SOFT RECORD WITH MICROSCOPIC AND NOT SUB MICROSCOPIC CONTAMINANTS.

We stick by the use of 35 KHz which sees the cavitation occur further from the object being cleaned with less intensity due to distance. (pI).

We also disagree as any sonic manufacturer would as to purportedly using just water in a sonic tank.

...Indeed, the references on sonic generics taken from the web are of course very valuable as a base line, but one cannot omit nor neglect, nor manufacture a product for record cleaning (in our case a product for record's groove restoration) without the understanding of other elements especially thus resulting in a proportionately positioned plasma wave to remove soft, microscopic (and not submicroscopic) coatings and contaminants from a soft material, a record.

Yes the "internet world of things..."

The matter at hand is where we also have a record made of PVC with plasticizers that need to remain. These are submicroscopic.
125 KHz, sub-microscopic removal…

Let us study the matter needing "cleaning", and walk away from the semantics of frequency, which is just one part of the solution.
4 years of study on our part with a $80,000 3D digital microscope to prove our findings with 600 frame per second underwater cameras to view the action.

Ah, the record:

One needs thus to appreciate and understand where many of the pops and crackles heard are mostly found IN THE GROOVES. They are heard as a result of the needle and its dyne making first contact with the groove, and generating heat. In playing the record we create inadvertently more of these pops, clicks etc. by way of micro-welding of surface dirt and dust into the record's release agent which is present. (Has one wondered why playing a new record twice on the same side hears added pops? This is the reason…) More revolutions, more of these "burnt in contaminants" hit. Knowing this: now added with accumulation of a coating over time due to fungal activity or films left over from prior surface cleanings by way of air or vacuum drying ultimately see less travel of the needle, conical or elliptical, reducing the audition quality...the sound, as we have coatings that preclude the needle from properly making contact with the groove detail, now hidden. SO: How to regain the breath... we call it groove restoration, not record cleaning.

We wish to remove the original release agent present which has trapped these contaminants and also serves as a ground for dust dirt to accumulate and promote fungal growth in more humid environments. Also to remove films left from prior cleaning processes.
All microscopic..
Not submicroscopic in nature.

This the world of "internet" and reference to sonics alone is blind and means nothing without referencing the above, as well as other parameters as I shall discuss.

A medical ultrasonic salesman's approach is not needed, rather the study of conservancy and how to eliminate the cause of the problem at hand and covering more than just frequency.

...The statement I made prior is very clear as for one to first understand the material we are dealing (a record, vinyl or shellacked/lacquer), and where simply making statements as to using a sonic destined for medical and semiconductor use due to a frequency of 125 KHz alone and removal of microbacteria which is favored at 125 Khz is not what is the task at hand for any process to improve a record's audition, sorry to say.

The science of developing an ultrasonic was clearly reflected on in my prior review from an engineering perspective, taking into consideration the item that requires the use of sonic action, in this case the grooves of a record, and a record being soft so not to also affect the brilliance of the original pressing. So, in our case with the half a dozen design principles reviewed one of which being stated as low power with 35 KHz a frequency in our case as described before is our recipe;

..The proof is in the pudding… a 1.5 dB gain in a new pressing removing the original release agent, 4-5 dB gain over noise floor level in a record that was cleaned by other processes using forced air or vacuum further coating the record.

...did I mention before where we measure before and after: signal, groove depth and width, contaminant thickness, contaminant size, bandwidth?... as well as listen to the results?

The references to sonic frequency statements and descriptions and the like is moot. As I eluded to, the design of whatever system using a sonic to clean a record's grooves as well as remove the contaminants that are perhaps micro- welded into the record's grooves by the heat generated by the needle's dyne making contact with the release agent, a successful sonic design needs to be first validated by way of the use of test equipment and the like.

1) We first used high speed underwater caneras in the tank using video validation to the sonic's safe action on the record and in the record's grooves.

2) Further: the entire record's surface needs to attract plasma wave activity. This visual inspection now validating the effectiveness and safety of the cavitation and plasma wave hitting the record and the agent used to promote the attraction to see the ionization of the record for this was further proven. The view of results and underwater action using 600 fps cameras irrespective and of the [proper sized wave irrespective of the web site links presented by my peer means nothing to the end result: ...Visual validation allows us to select the safe frequency, proper power, transducer and or record placement, placement etc.. all for the cavitation so as to NOT damage a soft item such as a record but remove contaminants that in most cases are soft or softer than the record.

3) In the many illustrations presented by my peer: the size of the micro-bubble created is not important as is the size and speed of the plasma wave upon the cavitation/implosion and ESPECIALLY as made mention to the proximity/distance from this event to the record's surface. I agree with his presentation of this, and thus well pointed out where 125 KHz is very close (too close) to the surface of the record in the rebuttal! I agree of this fact, indeed the fact where the higher the frequency, the closer the cavitation effect to the surface, dangerous for records in our study! That is why we measured and reviewed the results of our 35 KHz topology as the base engine, records are fragile. We have the right bubble size and plasma speed.
Seen by camera!

4) This held in mind: Reference to discussions on sonics without validation and understanding of the materials being cleaned (flexibility, durability, strength, surface detail) or how it in fact got contaminated in the first place is very important to make note of.
.. I made mention to the 5 or six key elements that one needs to relate to in a design of a sonic platform as well as the material being cleaned, the latter cannot be underestimated. This is critical.

5) My contemporary validated my point where the 125 KHz cavitations occur very close to the surface being cleaned, (too close for a soft vinyl record or the more brittle shellacked or lacquered records), but indeed important for sub microbial bacteria on semiconductor wafers and the like that are hard.. the latter needing precise hits and definition. ...Thus 125 Khz NOT RECOMMENDED for soft records with 30-35 microns of contaminants found inside the groove trail. More on this later.

6) I cannot stress where we have seen inefficient application and sometimes dangerous use of some sonics as peers forget what the mission statement should be where we are looking at restoring SOUND which is located in the GROOVES, picked up by a vibrating cantilever then moving a magnetic coil. Focus on semantics of sonics without due consideration to this and the nature of the material is non productive and wastes time. A design to accomplish this task must be realized first and foremost, and not based on articles as they are only part of the recipe needed.

7) Further, not mentioned or reflected on where forced air drying as well as vacuum drying defeats the purpose of sonic technology if applied properly, and creates other issues to a purportedly cleaned record. They are part of the films that a system should also remove and not create.

7) Moving forward for our audience as how it relates to a record with a groove width of 30-35 microns and like depth, give or take, that varies with the type of sound/music recorded as seen in the 3-D pictures on our web site with measurements. We are also additionally looking at records coated with 5-10 microns of release agent, or a film from air drying or vacuum drying, and where we have 1-5 micron sized fungus, dirt and larger elements in the release agent and grooves, including fungal colonies that alone or in groups that are 45-100-150-250 microns in size on the record surface itself, or lodged in its grooves, all to be removed, and to do so gently.
That is the task at hand!
Safe removal.

8) To dangers: If you take a piece of foil in a 45 Khz ultrasonic, (we use 35KHz) , and where many web sites show videos of this, the close proximity of higher frequencies such as 45, 65, 125 to the object's surface needing cleaning, and implosions, (in this case aluminum foil), the higher in frequency, the closer the proximity of the wave affecting this soft piece of foil (or record). The problem multiplied as we increase the frequency. So my peer and I agree with this as directed to the various web sites as to 125 Khz. In now referencing a soft vinyl or fragile lacquered or shellacked record, this can be, and is, detrimental. Lower the frequency, less intensity and less proximity to the surface of the cavitation. We have all to deal with fragile records, and records are soft, and where the dust, dirt etc. embedded within the original and existing release agent of the record or caught in the grooves by way of fungal growth on top of the release agent is also relatively soft. Our contaminants are large when compared to microbials in semiconductors and wafers and the like, as well as where our elements are also are soft, just like the host, the record.

9) So while I mentioned in my previous note as a design engineer where I made remarks as to power, frequency, transducer angle, etc.,. water volume, and the like, as well as the visualization of the plasma wave created and the attraction of this wave and proximity it has have relevance to the material amplified by the ionizing agent required on the record to change its charge to benefit the sonic action: we need to calculate safe distances away from the surface we are dealing with as a damper.

As water is repelled by vinyl, it is not just a simple task of choosing a frequency without understanding the materials that needs to be cleaned and distances as I expressed previously relatively to speed of the plasma wave hitting the ionized record.

Further: simply stating a sonic with a bath of distilled water to be used with a record alone is very misleading. To mention better cleaning occurs with one adding more time to the process is erroneous if you appreciate the like charges of both the materials and solution.

...An analysis using our 3-D microscope after evaluating the high speed camera action underwater in a sonic's tank sees issues with water only; water with a soap (making a solvent); this as their relative charge as to the record being cleaned and the resulting repulsion of the record (vinyl or otherwise against the liquid of whatever type in the tank is evident as both have a like charge. Thus the use of an ionizing agent is required. Added this camera also in our case validated our selection of 35Khz over 5, 40, and 65.. and up.

Professionals in the field are familiar where the deionization of the material being subject under the ultrasonic process need to see the ionizing materials be kept intact for the contaminants to be removed and not to just rely on what is in the sonic system's tank. So more study over and above the sonic generics itself needs to be reflected upon as well, ore than just frequency.

I also mentioned the affect of standing waves on horizontally placed transducers in a tank and the effect thereof. This is also a design parameter, not just frequency selection: The bubble reflections on the vertical record cause a serious standing wave if we see a horizontal transducer used. We use base mounted transducers in our design and not horizontal ones to avoid this, which with proper record spacing allows us to manage the restoration of 4 vertically placed records simultaneously.

..The horizontal placement of transducers negates firstly multiple records being cleaned that are vertically inserted in a bath. With just one record , one sees an increased reflected standing wave being reflected back from the record thus resulting in the need for higher power hitting just a single record. This to circumvent the high SWR. The unfortunate by product in all this sees now more kinetic energy being released in the tank of such a sonic design and thus limits safe cleaning times due to the more rapid temperature rise in the water with my peer.

So enough beating of the subject of frequency as the elements presented by my peer have substantiated our use of 35 KHz… Irrespective, a product design must first and foremost guarantee to an audiophile when there are no more contaminants left in the record's grooves including the successful removal of a release agent. A timer with 3 steps and a sonic using just water cannot do this.

..I believe we have accomplished the mission at hand in a now very validated and safe way to restore both vinyl and lacquered records.
As a summation: While there is agreement in the illustrations in what was quoted, the facts on high frequency and distance of cavitations have thus validated our process of lower frequency, lower power, adjusted SWR of the emitters, in combination where we also consdier the softness of the record as well as the softer contaminants that we are dealing with without removing submicrobial plasticizers. This all then dictates the ultimate product design. As we are dealing with a plurality of record types: the resulting plasma wave to touch the glass/shellacked/lacquered/foil or vinyl of a record needs more than a discussion on frequency generics, but also include power, volume, textures, hardness, reflections, and the like. In my peers review I believe we both have to agree where 125 KHz is not to be used and we in witnessing the underwater action using high speed 600 frame per second caneras and observing the effect in the tank and of the sonic action on the contaminants primarily caught in the release agent in the grooves, the ultimate test and validation is the measurement not only of cartridge output, but of course dynamic range of sound, and also where we measure and inspect the before and after restoration of the physical grooves by views all proven by our 3D images. These tools validate the design discussion as well determines whether a process is working or not.


willefg's picture

An interesting debate between two ultrasonic cleaner (USC) manufacturers. Even though I use a (DIY) USC myself, I’m definitely not an expert on the topic of ultrasonics. I do see two different approaches in the debate. One party claims to have the one and only good cleaning system and another party who feel the need to defend themselves against negatives claims made about their product. I especially liked the remark where the defending party asked to add some academic style to the debate by supplying some evidence which he immediately did by adding links to references and literature.

As far as I can see, the attacking party came no further than just stating this was all not true and that their system is better. Still having Michael Fremer’s video in my head with a guy in a labcoat acting to be a doctor of some sort throwing out many claims that even were new to Michael, like a release agent from the vinyl presses and soap coming of a new record, only after the record was sprayed with a substance and brushed to a foam......

I couldn’t block the words snake and oil out of my head.

So far I saw a response to a clear and more or less academic reply on claims with new claims;
A patented proces; a patent only guarantees something is new, It doesn’t prove that it works
A $87,000 3D microscope; the price and type of the microscope must give me confindence that this proves the claims made are true. Without the real evidence of detailed pictures with explanation, it doesn’t. Now it’s just like saying that driving a $500,000 Rolls makes anybody a better driver than driving a $500 tenth-hand VW.

I do know that I’m left with the feeling that I saw somebody trying to defend their choices for their product design against a sales guy who will just claim anything without backing it with independent evidence just to make their product look better.

Now we’ll just have to wait for a real independent academic test of the ultrasonic record cleaning cycles.


ckirmuss's picture

Dear Frank,
Good Day!
We have a very extensive Powerpoint and now a whitepaper to be presented at the ASRC as to our discoveries.

The above link should provide you with the proof as captured by our 3D digital scope of a record "washed" by first a vacuum based machine, followed by 2 "wash" cycles in a known ultrasonic at 5 times the price of ours, thereafter the record being subject to 3 cycles in our process: Record restored.

Indeed we have a patent and patents pending process where the white materials that come out as white paste by way of the brush and the ionizing agent applied between cycles which rises and then falls, (the rise showing what the prior 5 minute session in our sonic "softened", the fall indicating the last 5 minute cycle as the grooves are cleared.) refers to visual confirmation of the removal of past washings, contaminants (dirt, fungus and the like), as well as release agent being removed. Indeed in a new record as stated by Audio Note as well as cellist Vincent Belanger and Oracle Turntables, they see a 1.5 dB increase over floor of signal output in a new record after our process. Notably now Manufacturers such as Oracle Turntables, Jeff Rowland Audio Design, Yamaha Canada, as well as others all subject the records that they use to our process before demonstrating their equipment at audiophile events. You may wish to contact them for validation. Cannot say more. Keep those records spinning!

willefg's picture

nor any independent scientific proof at the link. I only see some microscope photos of some grooves.
So far it’s only marketing, no science, what I read coming from you and your website. Normally that’s not a problem, but in this case you not only claim your product and process is better, you also claim that a product from another manufacturer is damaging to records. When this party replies to these claims and explains their process and supports that with a vast number of articles and scientific data coming from independent academic sources, you only reply with the same claims without supporting those claims with real scientific data. So far, I need to rely on your work with an expensive microscope and a lot of words. A patent is not scientific proof, it’s just a legal protection so somebody can’t copy whatever you cooked up. By the way, a Google Patents search doesn’t show any patents from you in relation to ultrasonic record cleaning. So, I can only conclude that this is another unsupported claim from your end.
Also name dropping audiophile people and brands isn’t scientific proof of anything other than that the name is dropped.

As I said before, I’m not an expert on ultrasonics or record cleaning and just have to take in all the information I can get to make up my mind. I first saw you in the infamous video Michael Fremer put up on Youtube. The one where you say records are “a living breathing thing” and (for a part) “made of sugar”.

Where it comes down to, is that I don’t trust whatever you’re saying. That’s because you make above mentioned claims that even seem to be new to many experienced audiophiles. But when a new record is claimed to have a film of release agent or other material matter and when that claim is “proven” by spraying some substance on the new record and brushing it to a foam, where the foam becomes the “proof” that there is that “contamination”, you’ve lost me completely. Then something in my brain reminds me of the practices of a door-to-door salesman telling you all kind of stories to just make that sale.

I’m sure your ultrasonic cleaner will clean records, just like any other ultrasonic cleaner has showed us before. Until I see some scientific proof for your claims, not from you but from an independent source like a scientific test agency or a university, I’ll take everything with a large grain of salt.
I actually do have a problem with how you go about communicating about products of other manufacturers who selected another approach. I think it lacks integrity and that, for me, is enough to pass by any of your products.

I will keep my records spinning.. except the ones I don’t like anymore, maybe I will eat them as the sugar will surely benefit my energy levels....


ckirmuss's picture

Hi Frank,
Appreciate your being a skeptic. Not interested in gaining you as a customer. Our mission has been education all along. We have proved scientifically where the processes used by all other sonic manufacturers is flawed. You just need to do some digging. The sonic transducer designers and professional industrial manufacturers concur with our findings as it relates to vinyl and shellacked records and how sonics in fact should be used. With this said: Kindly do some research on your own as to like charges of materials in a sonic bath. This will keep you busy and will certainly inform you as to the ionization and de-ionization process. While this is not the forum to discuss in detail all of our lab work a whitepaper indeed is being published for a specific audience next week. That is why we have spent money on a Patent.. Patents can be disclaimed, but if one has a radical idea or design, just as in the pharmaceutical industry, a professional manufacturer pays for this. Indeed back to your remark, there have been articles and independent testing of our radical concepts with validated results published globally by some of Mr. Fremer's peers. You should follow some of the reviews posted by other skeptics that have been posted now with their own favorable opinion of our radical concept as to sound and signal after our processing a record that was processed by other technologies. I once more normally do not comment or get involved with blogs as everyone has their own opinion. Everyone is an expert. I do so only on occasion when some comments are errant to anyone's knowledgeable of the matter. If seeing the before and after results of our process as to groove "restoration" is not enough, and reading independent reports and both qualitative and quantitative, I cannot say more. Everyone can have their opinions, we still live in a democracy! Have a Great Day and thanks!

..(PS: Hungry??? Food for thought what makes up a portion of some PVC: polyol additives.)

willefg's picture

in order to find evidence to the claims you make? First you say your claims are supported by scientific evidence. Then you say you have a whitepaper available on your site and you provide a link to that site. When I go there I can’t find anything other than a few photo’s that could also have been some Photoshop handy work just to prove a point. And now you say a whitepaper will be released to a specific audience next week.
All that I can conclude so far, based on what you have shown and written, is that for any of your claims you haven’t publicly provided any independent scientific proof that support these claims. So we just have to believe you. Next to that, when somebody tries your machine and is happy with it, it’s still nothing more than a review. Scientific research is done in conditioned circumstances that can be controlled and repeated. To compare multiple machines conditions have to be the same. That’s also why your demonstration on the before mentioned video is so curious. You claim, when you do your antifreeze trick on a brand new record, that there’s some film of dirt or release agent on that record. But that is after the record was put in the ultrasonic cleaner where already other records were spinning around. When the cleaning machine is doing its work, these other records would have contaminated the cleaning fluid. Even Mr. Fremer noticed particles in the fluid. So, looking at that, the whole demostration doesn’t prove anything, it’s your narration that needs to do the convincing.

It’s the way you “explain” things what makes me a skeptic.

Like when you say to Michael Fremer that records are “living breathing things” and “partly made of sugar”, I raise some eyebrows. Yes, sucrose is sometimes used as a plasticizer, but in a chemical process. How you state your claim is like saying a Hydrogen car will run on water because water has more hydrogen molecules than oxygen molecules.
Then your claim about “groove restoration”. It has been said before by someone else; for restoration you need to add what has been lost. In Paris they’ll need to restore the Notre-Dame. I doubt cleaning will be enough to get a new roof on the building. So “groove restoration” is something that can’t be done by a ultrasonic cleaning machine even with a bonus bottle of antifreeze.

So far, it all sounds like marketing mumbo jumbo. But, maybe, some day, there will be independent scientific proof available to us mere mortals. Until then, I rest my case.

ckirmuss's picture

By the way: You are consulting OLD Materials… very out of date.
This stated: Indeed we see PVC manufacturers apply soy based materials.
... The release agent that surfaces hooks dirt and dust and this is where we form microbial fungal colonies. If you look at the composition of PVC with the plasticizers, stabilizers, plus PVC we have attributed of this soy element. Additionally : We use an ionizing agent not antifreeze. We use a diol.

In our terminology, Groove Restoration it is just that, removing the remnants of 40 year old pressing agents still found in the grooves. That is the method to the madness. With our process and as a result: Then exposing for the first time the grooves as they were meant to be as "pressed" by the stamper. (now no release/ coating agent!)…

I am mused: We cannot obviously replace any "torn away" PVC but in most if not all documented cases so far we have exposed for the first time the actual mirror of the stamper, less release agent. Thank God no one knew of a release agent before we started this adventure. Our discovery and talk of this and a scilic acid etc. is where we see in this film present for the 20, 30 and 40 plus years the dirt, grime, past remnant films of prior cleanings left by prior cleaning methods etc.... Now found in the original release agent and accumulated over time it is these contaminants that cause the clicks and pops that were micro welded onto the release agent in the grooves by way of heat generated by the dyne of the stylus that now being hit by the needle, are heard.

...Hmm, so how to restore????

Do review how records are made and the scillic acid appearing to appreciate what I just mentioned.

...While you are clearly are misinformed as how ultrasonics in commercial applications operate as to specific charges between the medium and the record, we follow their recipe of repeated ionization of the record's grooves. To this: I am sure you being very learned appreciate the fact where PBC/ vinyl repels water. Now referring to chemists and designers of sonic technology to assist, we developed our "process"...and to get "into the groove"...

Let it be said where one needs to make contact with and expose the minute details found in the grooves of the record. A sonic alone cannot do this, it needs "a process", "needs ionization".
Our process.

The pictures on our web site are evidence enough as to proof as how we do guarantee our attack of the contaminants found in record grooves. Any reasonable person must agree to the images taken.

Did I mentioned to you where on a new record with the pressing agent removed we mention a gain of 1.3-1.5 dB over level, 2 to 3 times more for records that have been maintained by other processes as to the net gain effect? You may easily also measure this with VU meters on a tape deck/recording device/sound board. Of course use test equipment as well. And, to our process: None of our contemporaries talk about gain or have invested in a 3D digital microscope to validate their processes. If you are familiar with the Sugar Cube SC-1, our dealers use it to measure the results of our process.

Oh well,
I suppose for you mumbo jumbo it is!

...2,200 plus users in a year cannot be all wrong, including some of the most prestigious conservatories of recorded materials!


From a custodian:
“Dr. Kirmuss, I want to share my absolute delight and astonishment with your system: A “best buy” for the benefit of ultrasonics to restore LP sonics to their potential. Over the past five decades I have used many DIY and professional cleaning systems….none of those systems have come close to the sonic benefits I am experiencing with this system, …it is like opening a window, ...simply dramatic. What I now hear from them is a revelation. This cleaning solution is simple, effective and impactful.”
Thank-You, Kind Regards,
Lowell E. Graham, D.M.A. Abraham Chavez, Jr. Professorship in Music; Director of Orchestral Activities,
Professor of Conducting,and Ensembles,
Area Coordinator of The University of Texas at El Paso;
Conn-Selmer: Educational Clinician;
President: American Bandmasters Association;
President and CEO: John Philip Sousa Foundation

"Beam me up Scotty!"

willefg's picture

I rest my case.

ckirmuss's picture

“It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not weakness, that is life.”
― Jean-Luc Picard

willefg's picture

as you don’t seem to want to let it rest and therefore it seems you are in desperate need of acknowledgement.

As I said before, I only responded because you attacked the technology of a competitor without providing any scientific evidence that support your claim, where this competitor supported his technology and product design choices with a vast amount of academic papers. You continued on that path, by just stating and restating your, so far, unsubstantiated claims. Maybe there is evidence somewhere but you even sent me looking for it myself and weren’t willing or able to provide it to the community. That’s why all your claims remain unsubstantiated for the community. No product review or name-dropping will change that.
Trying to overwhelm me and other readers by using Trumpian tactics by just shouting louder and louder about how great you, your product and fancy microscope are, doesn’t work with me. It only proves my point that you can’t support your own claims and triggers me to expose you for what you realy seem to be; not a scientist but a salesman/marketeer with the believe that in order to win somebody else has to lose. In this case your competitors. Where have we seen that before? (Retorical question, no answer needed...)
You using that Picard/Star Trek quote proves this point as well.

In my book, this way of conducting business is arrogant and without integrity and if your product is as good as you claim it to be, it is unnecessary and probably counterproductive.

I offered to let it rest until you can substantiate your claims with evidence done or checked by an independent source. But if you persist in digging yourself in deeper and can’t stop the urge of throwing down the gauntlet, I might even pick it up...


ckirmuss's picture


From the Netherlands, Frans Muys van de Moer,

“…Listened to a new LP: AWESOME! Listened to the used one: hmmm. Washed the fourth time: FREAKING AWESOME!!!!!!!!! (still learning, but I get even very emotional listening. So freaking unbelievable what it does!!!!! This piece of equipment is indispensable!
You know that I am a pioneer trying to better the art of reproduction, in that light the importance of the cleaner can't be overstated!
WOW! WOW! WOW! (My previous cleaner a VPI HW17 I think can't even come close, a total different league, incomparable). I am now telling other people that instead of paying 4000 EUR for a turntable, better buy a cheaper one and this cleaning device. The improvement is pivotal to me. It gives me improvements in areas that still had my attention. Of course as I always say: you can never improve or better compensate on other places that where it goes wrong. My work has been to research where what goes wrong and how to improve it, turning every stone. This is one of the MAJOR breakthroughs. This is a once in a few years kind of breakthrough. Feel free to use any of my comments for quoting.” Frans.

willefg's picture

because the writer confirms everything I said about you and your attitude. Thank you. As he writes it so well I will share the link too.

As a teaser some of his quotes:

“My first view of Kirmuss as a company was its staffer bedecked in a white coat. I had to smile at this. I thought, “Hello, what do we have here, then?” The coat may have been worn to instil confidence but that sort of adornment triggers the opposite from myself.”

“Apart from the pantomime white coat there was also the self-aggrandising, self-mythologising and self-promotion.”

“ also sounded like Kirmuss was revealing big Dan Brown-type secrets previously hidden, warning of terrible dangers and pointing a trembling, damning finger at my record collection while stating that the only chance I ever have of reaching analogue nirvana and quite possibly also surviving to my next birthday was via the use of a KA-RC-1.“

“I felt that the company desperately needed (and still needs) a professional PR and marketing team to act as a conduit and buffer between it and the public/press. Sometimes companies need help when trying to convey a message to the press and public. Kirmuss needs such help.”

You sharing this review, says it all....

sharkshark's picture

This is a fantastic thread, and indicative of the very stuff that our host often decries. Micahel's usual skepticism about obvious gaps in the Kirmuss claims is notable - The first thing I ever saw about this unit as a local audio show was a mischaraterised quote from MF that when read in context was far from unconditionally glowing.

This is an appalling hobby at best of times to get straight answers, but when over obfuscation takes place it's all the more galling.

Look at my whitepaper! (it's not there). We have patents! (show the link/number). We have an expensive microscope! (uh huh?)

MF is right to cede to expertise, and should not be held responsible for anything anyone comments, this post included. That said, given his usual critical bent and insistence on cutting through the B.S. his silence on these egregiously formulated claims posted all over this thread is at best tacit acceptance and at worse silent endorsement that such unbacked nonsense can be propagated without commentary.

It's really simple - Kirmuss could just say that their unit is great without crapping on others, or claiming scientific superiority. But from a country with already appalling general scientific knowledge, where active forces seek to downplay fact for fiction in order to trumpet belief over provable fact, this verges on the dangerous. It's one thing to be a circus barker, it's another to claim with appeal to authority when that authority is fraudulent.

Some clear points:

- This is a self declared "Doctor" that even MF defends, unfortunately, as being "in jest". Many people work for years if not decades to achieve that label, it's not something to be applied haphazardly save by when it's earned either through honourary degree or having the capabilities of Mr. Feelgood

- It behooves Kirmuss to show without hyperbole or venting the background science, not just images of cleaned records taken under ones own aegis. Otherwise, the nonsense masks not only the capabilities of their own unit but obfuscates the discourse as a whole, resulting in a "both sides" fluffery that's again indicative of some real-world dangerous political conflation

- One shouldn't accept Degritter's claims at face value either - that's why there's links to actual literature. I look forward to professional reviews of the unit very much, and find recent delays both frustrating but also indicative of a company trying to get it right

- The quoting unironically of Paul Rigby's review, where he goes at great lengths to excoriate not only the process required for using the machine and the nonsense surrounding it, is indeed risible

So, in short, here's what should be demanded here in order to clear the air of the smell of turd, and something that MF should certainly advocate:

- If making a scientific claim then provide proof/citation
- If making a claim against a competitor the same applies, doubly so
- MF talked about "other manufacturers" skepticism - if he's relying upon Kirmuss that's certainly cause for reconsideration given the above.

Again, nothing would please me if the Kirmuss or some similar unit did what it was supposed to, at the price it's selling for. US cleaners are appallingly expensive, and even at $1k this is still for many a luxury item. What certainly cannot help the quality of this discourse is to allow obfuscation to go unchecked, particularly given the reputation of our host.

If the fake Doctor has answers to these specific queries and can present them in a way that allows for general verification and articulated with out hyperbole then they should be provided here without delay. Otherwise, it surely would be MF's obligation to call bullshit where he sees it, regardless of the efficacy (accidental or not) of the underlying product.

For in no uncertain terms Kirmuss is using MF's reputation to burnish his own. As such, it's Fremmer's obligation as a critic to speak up for what's verifiable or not when claims are made that use his name to buttress them.

sharkshark's picture


XjunkieNL's picture

The goal of Degritter was to make the best record cleaning machine in the world. In my book they succeeded, but I'm biased :)

Ortofan's picture

... include that piece of schmutz stuck on the stylus?

Michael Fremer's picture
Ortofan's picture

... Pickering, Shure and Stanton had on some of their cartridges such a bad idea? Maybe they should be making a comeback?
As an alternative, one of the exhibitors was demonstrating a 'dust bug' type device, with a brush (on a separate arm) to sweep the record ahead of the stylus.
Also, it seems as though the more you spend on a turntable, the less likely it is to be available with a dust cover.

Jenn's picture

was probably the folks from Tru-Lift.

Rfigster's picture I really enjoyed it.

Rudy's picture

Enjoyed your presentation in The Audio Company room! You were like the cool kid bringing the rekkids that nobody else in the neighborhood owned. Their room sounded fantastic also--a great way to hear some of your rarities, over all those VAC electronics and Von Schweikert speakers. Thanks!

vinyl listener's picture

who hangs around with steve guttenberg ?
they name dropped you in their latest video

Michael Fremer's picture
Meet the audio chick unfortunately!
Tdiddey's picture

Mike I know you had alot to cover but you missed the Stereo Haven Room with the new Well Tempered 254 turntable and new Dynavector Dv17dx MC cartridge. Excellent sound and lots of cool records (non audiophile) played.

Michael Fremer's picture
I had hoped to hit that room day 3 and then the snowstorm hit and my flight was canceled. I managed to get on another flight (unlike most people) and had to leave the show 3 hours earlier than planned.
infohou's picture

As someone mentioned above, there was a Dust Bug style brush mentioned in the video. Does anyone know the vendor? I found a Transcriptors Sweep Arm but it looks different.

Also, Project has one called Pro-Ject Sweep-IT E Cleaning Brush, but I am not finding a US seller.

Y'all be cool,

Jenn's picture
Wimbo's picture

great video Mike.
Thank you.

volvic's picture

I always wanted one but always had issues with the mechanical integrity of the Audiodeske, the KL was great as well but the price is high. The Kirmuss and Degritter I have not seen in person but would assume are of high build quality. I do have the issue of older particles in the vat of solution, from a previously cleaned record being thrown around on the next record to be cleaned, I am not convinced the filtering processes of those particles in the solution, are removed. I used to stick my hand in them when I worked in the jewellery industry and was surprised how painful it could get if I kept my hands in there for too long, not sure if that has any effect on the sound quality of the cleaned record. In any event, I have abandoned the idea of ever getting one as having a good vacuum record cleaner and instead spending the money on the Sugarcube SC-1 is a much better investment in my opinion. Loved the video, this is the only interesting thing to me about audio shows; vinyl. An endless sea of DAC's and fly by night speakers would quickly get me off the audiophile bandwagon. Cheers NL

Michael Fremer's picture
With cavitating vinyl records has been all good....
volvic's picture

I am sure I would be very impressed as I did have one record treated and was impressed. I am simply making the point where I would put my limited resources given a choice and it would be the Sugarcube.

WaltonGoggins's picture

the nice tour, Mike. I did miss the happy voice of Heinz this time around, but the new Pro-Jects do look to be very nice.

soundbliss's picture

Hello Michael,

Impressions about the new EAR 834p?

Slammintone's picture

Any reviews coming on the massive Kuzma table and arm pictured above? I have always admired the look of Kuzma turntables and arms.