KLAUDiO KD-CLN-LP200 Ultrasonic Record Cleaning Machine Reviewed

The success of the Audio Desk Systems’ ultrasonic record cleaning machine made it inevitable that others would follow. A few have since been marketed that use existing technology and hardware such as David Ratcliff’s V-8, a stainless steel vat that can clean but not dry eight records simultaneously (or you can clean just one). It uses available hardware adapted by Mr. Ratcliff along with his motor driven rotating spit-like contrivance.

It’s an attractive option if you’re willing to let the records dry in a dish rack. For some of us though, I think instant gratification (of five or six minutes) trumps a large vat of fluid, a rotisserie-like gadget, a dish rack and the long wait—which is not to say there's anything wrong with going the V-8 route.

The first serious, well-designed and manufactured ultrasonic cleaning machine intended to compete with the Audio Desk is KLAUDiO'snew $4000 KD-CLN-LP200. It’s designed in America and built in South Korea to a very high standard.

Conceptually similar to the Audio Desk, the CLN-LP200 uses a tank of fluid that’s pumped into a dry chamber after a record is placed vertically in a narrow slot. Once the fluid has filled the chamber the record begins to rotate and the ultrasonic energizer begins producing cavitation bubbles via high frequency sound waves that agitate the fluid (the ultrasonic frequencies used for cavitation bubble production can be as low as 20kHz or as high as 400kHz. The KLAUDiO, like the V-8 uses 40kHz transducers (for which the company has applied for a patent). Once the cycle has been completed, the fluid drains back into the tank and a powerful fan starts the drying process.

The advantages over the old school vacuum type systems used by VPI and many others is that there’s no static electricity inducing rubbing and no chance of gunk and “schmutz” being deposited onto the velvet ‘lips’ only to contaminate the next bunch of records to be cleaned. Plus based on my experience with the Audio Desk, no other cleaning system comes close to the results produced by the ultrasonic cleaning method. It’s nothing short of miraculous.

KLAUDiO CLN-LP200 Specifics

The CLN-200 differs from the Audio Desk in a number of ways. First of all it begins its cycle automatically upon record insertion. The Audio Desk requires the push of a button. No big deal.

Secondly the CLN-LP200 allows you to adjust and monitor via a series of (overly bright LEDs) washing time from one to five minutes and drying time from two to three to four minutes or to select “dry only". That’s a useful option if the just cleaned record retains a few fluid droplets, which occasionally happens with both of these machines.

Of greater significance are the slot construction differences between the two machines. The Audio Desk’s slot is wider in the center, and narrower on the right side, where a set of soft, thin rubber-like lips support the record, which makes easier record insertion. Even if the record is dirty, one wet record rotation is sufficient to clean the “lips”.

The KLAUDiO machine’s beveled slot is narrower and “lipless” and of POM acetal, which the manufacture describes as a "soft thermoplastic." It’s not a problem as long as you carefully lower and raise the centered-in-the-slot record perfectly perpendicular to the slot surface, but if you’re not careful you will hear that unpleasant sound of grooves rubbing against a relatively surface. I heard it a few times but didn’t see any visible damage so perhaps it is as the manufacturer claims, softer than it appears and feels.

Another difference is the KLAUDiO’s lack of (or freedom from) soft fabric rollers. The Audio Desk unit has two sets of soft white replaceable vertical rollers that rotate in opposite directions from on another to help distribute the fluid on the record surface a-la a car wash. They barely contact the record surface and so don’t rub.

They do need replacing but only after hundreds of records have been cleaned and even then, in my experience, they manage to stay remarkably white after all of that time and they can be rinsed in distilled or RO water and cleaned. Still, if you see that as possibly spreading dirt on the record surface, you’ll find advantageous the KLAUDiO’s non-roller system.

The major operational difference is that the Audio Desk uses a cleaning fluid concentrate, which you dilute with 1.2 gallons of distilled, or reverse osmosis water. Regular cleaning fluids should not be used because the cavitation bubbles have been shown to create unmanageable sudsing action. The supplied Audio Desk fluid contains surfactants that help flow and an unspecified minor amount of what I assume is a detergent. The cost for a six-pack of concentrate is about $100. Each bottle is good for 100 records. This works out to about 16 cents per record.

If you’re spending $4000 on a record cleaning machine, chances are you’re not concerned about spending 16 cents per record. If really dirty records are pre-cleaned (I use Premiér aerosol, which costs $30 a can that is good for a seemingly endless number of records) you can get away with cleaning more than 100 per bottle but how many more I can’t tell you.

The KLAUDiO warranty is void if you use anything other than water (distilled or RO recommended).

Some people will not use either of these machines because they are convinced that unless you follow up on another machine with a pure water rinse, you will be leaving on the record dirt and/or chemical residue. Those folks would probably be more comfortable with KLAUDiO’s system because there’s no possibility of leaving a chemical residue.

My experience first with the Audio Desk and then with the KLAUDiO machine tells me that these folks are crazy. Were they to try either of these machines they would find that their records look cleaner than ever and sound quieter than ever. What’s more, the degree of clean seems to actually produce wider and deeper soundstages, perhaps because the stylus rides more perfectly in the incredibly clean grooves, thereby generating less interchannel crosstalk. This phenomenon has been noted by more than a few Audio Desk owners and can also be heard on KLAUDiO machine cleaned records.

The Audio Desk unit (and the V-8) includes a cleanable filter through which the fluid flows with each cycle. The KLAUDiO machine does not. That and the lack of any kind of cleaning fluid does concern me.

When I emptied the KLAUDiO’s tank, the pulverized dirt particles removed from the records were in suspension, which means each record cleaned after the first few will inevitably be “cleaned” with dirty water. I can imagine a scenario where the pulverized dirt particles in suspension are within cavitated bubbles hurled at great force against the vinyl. No doubt that can happen in the Audio Desk too if you don’t change the water frequently enough, yet the sonic results with both machines were consistently superior to vacuum cleaning and often times miraculous as chronically noisy records were rendered quiet.

Like the additive used with the $79 Spin Clean machine that has a “dirt clumping” ability, the Audio Desk fluid appears to do the same since the fluid drained from the Audio Desk after a hundred or so record cleaning cycles has far less suspended dirt than the fluid drained from the KLAUDiO machine after the same number of cycles.

On the other hand since it’s just water, you can drain and replace free or for next to nothing after every few records or after every record if you’re completely nuts. If you’re worried about dirty water being used to clean your vinyl, just change it often.

My other possible concern is this: if you watch the video you will see at the end where I wipe out from the stainless tank a grey powdery residue that I assume to be dirt. Is it? Or is it fine vinyl shavings removed from overly aggressive cavitation? I don’t know. You can’t gain access to the Audio Desk’s tank so I can’t ascertain if it too has a similar sooty coating removable only by wiping. However, I could hear only sonic improvements, not degradation using either machine so my vote is for dirt not vinyl shavings.

From its heavy metal chassis to its carrying handles and its large rear chamber access opening and compression fit drain system, the KLAUDiO’s build quality is “high grade industrial”. The Audio Desk is not quite as heavy duty looking or feeling but my experience with it over a long period of time during which I’ve cleaning many hundred if not a thousand suggests it is built to endure. The Audio Desk’s drain system isn’t quite as well thought out as the KLAUdiO’s but that’s not a reason to choose one over the other. Both machines are quiet and function reliably and consistently.

The Audio Desk importer sent along this cautionary note after reading my coverage of the above-mentioned V-8. Coming from a competitor, you might want to take it with a large dose of salt.

“I thought I should pass along a caution regarding the use on LP's of ultrasonic cleaning devices designed for use with metals. It is not difficult to apply ultrasonic cleaning to LP's; the challenge is applying it safely, ie. in a manner that will not soften or otherwise deform the (relatively soft) vinyl.

Ultrasonic can be very powerful. Reiner Glass (the Audio Desk inventor) spent 4 years of trial and error in the development of a safe ultrasonic cleaning technique for the Audio Desk Systeme machine. When pressed for the Audio Desk's ultrasonic frequency the designer offered this: "During the cleaning cycle the...ultrasonic transducer runs through multiple frequencies for varying durations. The actual frequencies and other details are proprietary information, and not available for release". He has verified the safe operation by comparing the condition of LP's under the microscope following 100 consecutive cleanings with the Vinyl Cleaner to another copy of the uncleaned LP.

I dread to think about what an 8-10 minute ultrasonic bath in a machine designed to clean metal tools and gun parts will do to a user's precious LP's. Hopefully the "black dirt in the bottom corner of the tank" after cleaning, as described on one marketer's website, is not your high frequencies!”

I liked the KLAUDiO’s rugged build quality, its quiet operation, its wash and dry time adjustability, its superior drainage system including its convenient tank access for complete cleaning and its full fit cover.

I was less enthused by its roller-less operation (though you might find that attractive) combined with its proscription on adding any kind of cleaning solution including surfactants (though for those concerned about leaving on the vinyl chemical residues, this will be a welcome feature). For me, the pulverized, fine particles of dirt suspending in the drained water lead me to believe that with each cleaning cycle they are bombarding the vinyl with great force. Again though, you can easily and often change that water and if you buy the KLAUDiO unit I strongly suggest doing so!

Conclusion

The KLAUDiO KD-CLN-LP2000 is a credible Audio Desk competitor built to a very high standard that includes some well-designed and useful convenience features that enhance its cleaning operation, while the hard edged slot means greater care need be taken when inserting and removing records.

In my world competition is a good thing! It can only lead to better products from all concerned. Clearly no one who owns an Audio Desk (and that include me) need replace it with the KLAUDiO unit, but if you are in the market for such a machine you now have two worthwhile choices worthy of your consideration. And if you want to spend about 1/4 as much and have room for the tank and time to wait for drying, the V-8 is a viable alternative. I know a few folks who own both an Audio Desk and a V-8.

COMMENTS
vinyl listener's picture

... crap on the floor ?

cleaner's day off ?

:)

 

Michael Fremer's picture

That's what the dogs do sometimes. The "stuff" on the floor gets cleaned up and then magically reappears within a few days. 

Zardoz's picture

If someone really wants to create some competition in the Ultra Sonic market, they need to come up with a unit that sells for more like $1000-$1500. There are plenty of ultra sonic cleaners out there for under $500, so a record cleaner based machine should be able to be made and marketed for less than half the price of these two units.

Maybe that's not possible because of less overall demand than for multi-purpose machines, but I think any company could sell a lot more units at $1000 than at $4000, and make more of us poorer audiophiles happy.

only analog for me's picture

Another good and useful review from the analog doctor... Mike, have you tried using these machines to clean "new" audiophile 180-200 gram LP's? do you hear a big difference when they have been cleaned with these machines, or is it mostly the older and dirty LP's that benefit the most?

AQ Shane's picture

Mikey- I too own an Audio Desk as you know. While it's prettymuch money with heavy ,flat vinyl like new 180- and 200-gram pressings, one of its known weaknesses is its relative inability to dry thin and/or slightly warped LPs. many people, myself included who buy used records and own a lot of older pressings of standard weight vinyl know this difficultuy with the Audio Desk.

Is the KLAudio better in this regard?

I think that's also something people looking at both machines would like to know.

gharrington's picture

I have an Audio Desk. I apply LAST after cleaning records. There is very often a bit of black residue on the LAST applicator after using it on the cleaned record. It washes off of the applicator very easily. It seems to come from the lead in groove. That may be the part of the record that doesn't come in contact with the brushes (so isn't cleaned in the same way). Or, it may be that the LAST applicator doesn't reach far enough down into the grooves to pick up the residue. Has anyone else noticed this?

Also, the brushes end up with a blackish ring on them near the bottom of the rollers after a fair amount of usage. Again, it washes off pretty easliy. But it does seem that something is going on.

rlw3's picture

Mike,

I am helping my best audiophile bud clean his records, then I have a couple of feet of my own and I am done(23 feet of lp's). After that I will be cleaning the occasional record and maybe doing some recleaning. When do lp's need to be recleaned with an ADS machine? How long can a tank of soap water sit in the machine before mildew or other problems arise? My ADS works extremely well especially when cleaning an entire collection.  I wonder what the best technique for occasional use is? I am thinking about keeping the machine full of soap water,topping off the water level due to evaporation and refilling the tank every 60 days. All suggestions appreciated. PS emailed ADS never got a reply.

Michael Fremer's picture

Recleaning? No need to re-clean IMO. Once the record is clean you just need to use a carbon fiber type brush to gently remove dust. It is not "soap water" in the Audio Desk. It's reverse osmosis water with a very dilute surfactant and perhaps some detergent (they won't specify).

alphaGT62's picture

Sorry for the very late comments, but I'm revisiting this article, since it was so good. I hear a lot of owners and potential owners already own vacuum cleaning machines. Would it be of any value to vacuum your LP's dry after their round in the ultrasonic? Perhaps that would remove any black dust as noticed by a few commenters? Perhaps worth a try? Just a thought.....

Robert Stein - Ultra Systems's picture

Replying to a few of the posts with tips on the Vinyl Cleaner.

Regarding the post on the black residue on the Last applicator and the black ring on the bottom of the roller, from your description this is likely coming from the black rubber o-ring on the drive wheel which grips the outer edge of the LP to rotate it. If you are getting a lot of black you may want to replace these rings, which is a freebie. Just drop me a line at Ultra Systems and I will send you a new pair of o-rings.

Regarding long term storage of the cleaning solution between cleaning sessions, one good option is to drain the made up solution back into one of those 1 gal. distilled water jugs, rather than leaving it in the machine. You should be able to store it this way indefinitely and without any evaporation.

Re. drying issues with thin or warped vinyl, this should not be a big problem with the Vinyl Cleaner - only occasionally a drop or two. Shane, I know you had a prior problem, but I thought that was sorted out. Please send me an email and tell me what is happening.

Finally there are several new entrants to the ultrasonic cleaning machine market. I wanted to reiterate my note to MF which he incorporated into his report above where I suggest..."caution regarding the use on LP's of ultrasonic cleaning devices designed for use with metals. It is not difficult to apply ultrasonic cleaning to LP's; the challenge is applying it safely, ie. in a manner that will not soften or otherwise deform the (relatively soft) vinyl."

When I have taken the Vinyl Cleaner to the various audio shows, almost every show someone from the audio industry will come up to me, sometimes from a manufacturer of other LP cleaning systems, and tell me how they had thought about ultrasonic LP cleaning some years ago and had worked on a design that had to be abandoned because of their inability to control the powerful ultrasonic. After four years on the market and dozens of reviews all over the world, I KNOW the Vinyl Cleaner is safe. But I also know it took years of development to make it that way. Be careful with your precious vinyl!

Klaudio-Tim's picture

I work for Klaudio and provided the unit to Michael for the review. Like the Audio Desk, we've spent years perfecting our design allowing for a significantly greater level of ultrasonic cleaning. This is a key part of our patent-pending technology which makes our design safe. When we first started, 200W (actually, less) would absolutely degrade the vinyl. We could find it at the bottom of the stainless steel reservoir after a single cleaning.

Without evidence, the implication our current design is somehow unsafe is simply conjecture. Our analysis of hundreds of LP's and debris in the reservoir has so far found no vinyl degradation whatsoever. Lacking a microscope, customers can test for themselves by selecting a solid, brightly-colored LP and cleaning it repeatedly. We've posted photos of such a test (http://klaudio.com/is-200w-safe-for-my-vinyl). Black vinyl shouldn't be used for testing because it's similar to the color of typical dust particles and leftover manufacturing debris in the reservoir.

In summary, our unit has not simply been slapped-together overnight. We think features such as our soft POM acetal slot lining are evidence of this. We are happy to incorporate any constructive feedback we receive from customers. Owners so far have been extremely satisfied with the cleaning performance of their units and the reliability of parts we use, and we have zero reports of disc damage thus far.

Michael Fremer's picture

No such conjecture was implied! This is a very well-built machine and thoughtfully designed as well. I only provided the "conjecture" as a cautionary note and that goes for all ultrasonic cleaning machines. You should see the emails I get from the vacuum machine folks! But their point is well-taken, though so far I don't see evidence that their points add up to anything about which anyone should be concerned.

alphaGT62's picture

After watching your video, I've learned a few things. Foremost, you sir, are a slob! Buy a trashcan and put it in your record storage room! 

Also, the yellowish water drained off reminds me of nicotine stains, perhaps that record was played in the presence of a smoker? My ex wife was a smoker, I'm sure my records are covered with the stuff. You could pour the used water through a white coffee filter to see if any solids were suspended in it. The black residue on your rag, if you could accumulate enough of it for an experiment, I propose you get some on a small metal dish, or just a flat metal surface that you could heat with a soldering iron. If it melts, it's vinyl. If not, then it's dirt. 

 

Russell

Michael Fremer's picture

My rooms are in a constant state of flux as gear comes in and leaves on a regular basis. In this case I wanted to get the video produced and up on YouTube before cleaning up the floor. Believe me, were I worried about being called a "slob" I would have done as you suggest, but the timing was intended to get the review up in a timely manner. More importantly, my cartridge and equipment set-ups are meticulous as is my personal hygiene and those are more important to me than the state of my ever changing utility room floor!

alphaGT62's picture

Mr. Fremer, I certainly never meant to call Into question your hygiene, and I know your reviews are done with precision and are spot on! Hey, I'm here reading your magazine aren't I? Love your work! And while I take most reviewers with a grain of salt, I know what you say is on the level. So don't be too upset about my assessment of your record room there, it honestly doesn't matter to me anyway, I was just poking some fun. And a man who is too obsessed with cleanliness has his faults too I'm sure.

Rayman's picture

does not harm vinyl but that regular ultrasonic cleaners do damage vinyl. They are designed to clean hard plastics and metal IIRC. Ex: the V8 system

Michael Fremer's picture
No evidence of damage. Just the quietest best sounding LPs….
fstanke's picture

The CableCo kindly cleaned a few of my LPs on the Audio Desk Systeme (ADS). The result was above my expectations and I am sold on *the need* for ultrasonic cleaning. There have been quite a few discussions of the operational and cost differences of the 3 machines mentioned above: Audio Desk, Klaudio and V-8. My listening to the Audio-Desk-cleaned examples (most of them 2nd copies of LPs I own) revealed improvements in 6 "dimensions",listed below. Could Mike or others comment the relative merits in of the three in these dimensions or similar ones?

1) Years ago, a friend who was a recording engineer demo'ed for me the "fine white mesh" (my analogy) that sonically lies over virtually all the program material on LPs, which is not present on high-quality tapes of the same program. I had come to think of this as "extra detail" on LPs, but my friend taught me that it was spurious "noise". The noise is quite "white": not particularly confined to any audio band. The level of this noise seems to me to correlate with the general modulation level on LP. The ADS substantially reduced this whitish noise.
2) ADS'ed LPs (like Calvin, I do occasionally verb words) exhibit clearer room acoustics. I *think* this is because my ear/brain can more easily distinguish the direct sound front the reverb, and so I can hear the room as itself, but that's my guess. Room acoustics are experientially clearer.
3) ADS'ed LPs exhibit better "thereness": listening through my Stax 009s as if they were "a window into the venue", instruments and vocalists sound more spookily "there".
4) ADS'ed LPs allow better discernment of individual instruments in choirs: e.g., a "violin section" becomes clearly a "group of violins".
5) ADS'ed LPs better reveal the "action" of instruments, i.e., how they are actually producing the sound. E.g., you better hear the different flows of air associated with trombones and flutes, or again, the interaction of a vocalist's cords, cavities, tongue, etc. In the latter case, diction is more easily understood as an important byproduct.
6) ADS'ed LPs make metallic percussion sound more metallic. This is really a subset of 5), I suppose, but it's so important to me I am artificially separating it out.

Can anyone characterize the "two worthwhile" choices and "viable alternative" in the dimensions I list above?

Michael Fremer's picture
I second your comments. Others have reported similar results in unpublished emails. People do reference this post so I think it's fine where it is. The KLAUDIO operates similarly but there are two major differences: the manufacturer doesn't approve of the use of any detergent additive but as I told him, cavitation will not remove oil. Only a detergent can emulsify the oil that the cavitation can they remove. Also there is no brush action. Some think that's better some do not. The KLAUDIO's main advantage that I like is easy access to the tank so you can clean it thoroughly every so often.
fstanke's picture

Hmm. 'Just realized I posted this to a pretty dead thread. Any suggestions on a better locale to place the comment above with the same subject?

fstanke's picture

Thanks for the clarification!

Has anyone noticed any audible pro's and con's among the 3: Klaudio, ADS, V-8. E.g., do you think you can hear the lack of brushes? One published report, http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue69/klaudio.htm, mentions the extended cleaning with the Klaudio makes an audible difference wrt itself, and that puts it ahead of the ADS. However, that article does not mention the V-8.

audiotom's picture

Thanks for the detailed review Michael

I have owned a KL Audio LP200 for 6 months
The machine is incredible and brings out fine low level info and presence in records I never thought possible. One cleaning and I also don't have to zerosat records anymore.

I have a Loricraft record cleaner that I rarely used as it was so much work. As good as it is, and it and the Keith Monks are the best focused vacuum systems, it in no way comes close to the KL Audio. The ease of use and drop it in and go about your business has allowed me to clean hundred's of records with only a few minutes to put them in new annotated audiophile sleeves.

I monitor the water when I drain it and it's slightly discolored, not full of particles that are potentially being "fired" at the precious grooves

This machine is built like a tank and is every bit as revealing as a serious cartridge upgrade

New mint records show a distinct advantage using the KL Audio
I'm almost always totally pop and click free and dead quiet

fstanke's picture

Mikey,
Could you report on any differences in sound quality you've heard from lps cleaned on ADS, Klandio and V-8?

Michael Fremer's picture
Some people claim to hear differences. I didn't but I did see one difference: the detergent used in the ADS was better able to remove oily fingerprints from older records. Cavitation works great on dirt but without some kind of emulsifier it can't effectively remove oily fingerprints.
fstanke's picture

Thank you for accommodating my OCD (with emphasis on the "D") and giving a direct answer to the literal question! Having worked in ultrasound for metrology (not cleaning) I worry, e.g., about standing waves producing hot spots at these frequencies. (At 40kHz, the wavelength should be about 1.5") I do not know if just the wobble of the LP as it turns, or the ripples in the surface break them up, or if any of the suppliers does slight "sweeping" of the drive frequency. Also, there could be other issues I do not know, a priori. I do, however, accept an empirical approach to the high end, and your experience counts for a lot. Again, thanks.

fstanke's picture

I went for the Klaudio, and have had it for about a month, and will never look back. It generally uncovers a great deal of detail regarding the ensemble and venue on essentially new LPs. Thanks for reporting on ultrasonic cleaners! I would still sorta like to know how the various ultrasonic options compare wrt. the sound quality they achieve, but it is at this point, shall we say, a mute point.

audiotom's picture

This comment from Mike is a bit concerting

"I dread to think about what an 8-10 minute ultrasonic bath in a machine designed to clean metal tools and gun parts will do to a user's precious LP's. Hopefully the "black dirt in the bottom corner of the tank" after cleaning, as described on one marketer's website, is not your high frequencies!”"

I've owned a KL Audio LP200 for 8 months
at no time have I experienced loss of frequencies from a superior cleaning process. I appreciate your detailed review but I can't help but read partiality and an alarmist tone

My friend owns an Audio Desk - it is a great machine and gives good results. It has had numerous problems and it cost a lot to be replacing roller pads. I have had none of those issues, only flawless operation

I am glad I did my own research to find the KL

eugeneharrington's picture

I had been trying to buy a Klaudio unit since August of this year but without any luck. The problem is the paucity of importers in Europe at this time. Just last month a new dealer based in France was appointed so I ordered from him and my unit was delivered two weeks ago.

I have used the VPI HW17F for a long number of years with very fine results particularly with enzyme based cleaning agents. However, the Klaudio (and of course the Audiodesk) far exceed what any vacuum based cleaner can offer. I have never heard my records sound as good as they do now and a lot of unwanted noise has been banished. Even records that I had long since given up hope on have been restored to pretty much 'mint sounding' replay, to use that awkwardly constructed phrase.

Thanks to this forum and our host's in depth analysis of both units I was able to come to a definitive purchasing decision swayed eventually towards the [more expensive, for me] Klaudio, based on its industrial build quality. This machine is quite incredible and worth every penny!

Cork, Ireland.

Michael Fremer's picture
Has never been to "alarm".... Had I encountered the KLAUDIO first, I would have bought it...
Golucid's picture

Today, Friday January 9th at approximately 12:15 pm I called Klaudio and spoke with Tim.

I explained to Tim I don't believe my my unit is working correctly. From all the reviews that I read, my unit just does none of these basic things. Sure, it turns on and makes noise, but my records are not clean. Something is not right.

Tim asked me a few questions and then used the word subjective on me. Seriously?

Tim in no way ever offered any support, concern or even to have me pay to ship it and have it looked at.

Subjective? I own more than $200 in McInstoh audio equipment alone for one room. The $4k isn't going to hurt me. But what bugs me is that during the course of conversation that Tim in my opinion could careless.

A device that costs 4K and I have purchased just about all the accessories with no support, not even pretending to care? I am alarmed. I have a VPI Typhoon and when I call VPI, they care. I am really disappointed. Perhaps AutoDesk and Music Direct is a better venue.

eugeneharrington's picture

Your comments regarding Klaudio resonate with me in some respects. Back in July 2014 and after, I contacted them on a few occasions about buying a unit and I was surprised to encounter what I interpreted as a distinct lack of 'enthusiasm' on their part. I put this down to the fact that Klaudio has no established dealer network in Europe, as yet. Ordering directly from the U.S.A. was not an option for me as I would end up paying huge import taxes on the full U.S.retail price and shipping costs to me. Thankfully, I was lucky to make contact with David Rio of Fusion Acoustic in France towards the end of last year and he looked after me very well indeed. He had only been appointed as a Klaudio dealer in November 2015. The only other dealers at the time in Europe were based in Russia and Paris, France. The importer in Paris did not even reply to my inquiry in August 2014. Whenever I have contacted anybody in the audio industry previously and particularly in the U.S.A., I have been met with 'boundless enthusiasm' by the manufacturer to make a sale whether directly or through an approved agent in Europe if they had one. I was not impressed with Klaudio's attitude, very aloof and unfriendly. Not helpful.

Specifically, how is your unit 'under performing'? I take it that your records are all in NM/M- condition to start? That being the case, you should, in my admittedly short experience with this unit, hear huge improvements in your records after cleaning on the Klaudio. My records were about as clean as they could possibly be, but they still show big sonic improvements nonetheless . I hope you can get your unit sorted out and the manufacturer should show more 'enthusiasm' to help you sort matters out.

Some vinyl formulae do not retain the distilled water on their surfaces as the disc rotates during the cleaning phase, as far as I can see. The cleaning process itself though is underway notwithstanding that. I have owned my unit over a five weeks at this stage and I have been hugely impressed with what it can do for vinyl records. For some reason, it appears to work wonders on U.S. pressed LPs! Just yesterday I got 3 records in the mail, two of which were pressed in the United Sates. This would normally make me a little nervous (pressing quality?) but once I put the LPs through the Klaudio, they both played like Japanese or Optimal/Pallas/QRP quality pressings. The ultra sonic cleaning system is a fantastic advance in vinyl care, maintenance and enjoyment!

Golucid's picture

@Eugeeharrington

It took 8 months of bugging Klaudio, but they finally issued an RMA. They determined that there was a 'transiant" issue and displaced a replacement. I knew something had to be wrong because so many folks say that it's just great.

Even so...

During that time of waiting, I purchased the VPI & AudioDesk.

I find that by combining the use of my VPI HW27 Typhoon, my AudioDesk and then using the Klaudio as the final rinse. Using the Klaudio alone still leaves me with Snap Crackle and Pop, though there is sonic improvement. But my vinyl is still noisy. This is where the VPI & AudioDesk come into play. Largely, my vinyl is quiet and I only left with the slight hint of my stylus riding the groove at the lead-in/exit and transitional tracks. [I use a Ortofon Windfeld]

I take it that your records are all in NM/M- condition to start? Absolutely. I have a huge vinyl collection. My father was a huge vinyl collector [no, he hasn't passed] and he handed down all his min 1st edition pressing to me. I have a great mix: USA, UK, German and Japanese pressings.

eugeneharrington's picture

Good to hear that you got your unit sorted out. Klaudio has a really good product but they seem very 'remote', maybe even cold/unfriendly, it seems to me? I have never encountered an attitude like that from an American business before. I really do hope they improve on that side of things. It is very off putting.

I visited their display at the recent Munich High End Show but because of the 'vibe' that i detected when I tried to buy one of their units late last year, I just didn't feel any desire to talk to their people. I saw the Audiodesk in action as well but so far I have no experience with it. I am sure however that if I wanted to buy a unit, there would be no problem. I find that the German people/businesses are really good to deal with too.

It seems like you have a really good cleaning regimen in place now!

eugeneharrington's picture

Reference to November 2015 in my post should of course be November 2014 .. my bad as they say!

steve3049's picture

I agree with Tim's statement that concern for damage should not be tested with black vinyl and I'll add but rather with a color that's bold and obvious. Thanks again for all these wonderful reviews!

steve3049's picture

There is even a link in Klaudio-Tim's post to colored vinyl tests. Thanks!

jfl97's picture

I am surprised to know that KLAudio has not done their own analysis of the residue found by wiping the solution chamber of their ultrasonic cleaner.

For a company claiming to have invested years of research into their product (which I don't doubt, even as this note sounds somewhat snarky!) it is a very simple and inexpensive analysis to subject such residue to chemical analysis. Mass spectrometry, melting point, and/or simple solubility tests would definitively answer the user's concerns.

Surely their is someone in our midst with the financial wherewithal to carry out these tests. It would not be very expensive (~$200-300?). I, for one, would be very interested to know the result as I haven't bought an ultrasonic but would sure like to rent one, pending this answer, of course!

jfl97's picture

I am surprised to know that KLAudio has not done their own analysis of the residue found by wiping the solution chamber of their ultrasonic cleaner.

For a company claiming to have invested years of research into their product (which I don't doubt, even as this note sounds somewhat snarky!) it is a very simple and inexpensive analysis to subject such residue to chemical analysis. Mass spectrometry, melting point, and/or simple solubility tests would definitively answer the user's concerns.

Surely there(I hate when I do that!) is someone in our midst with the financial wherewithal to carry out these tests. It would not be very expensive (~$200-300?). I, for one, would be very interested to know the result as I haven't bought an ultrasonic but would sure like to rent one, pending this answer, of course!

Golucid's picture

Your wish is my command. I am a consumer that nobody knows but spent over than $10,000 bucks on vinyl clears in search of the truth.

I have been doing some testing and purchased the following units at FULL PRICE. No gifts, loans and non of these manufactures asked me to write a review:

VPI HW27 Typhoon
Audio Desk
Klaudio
and waiting to purchase the new ClearAudio Double Matrix Sonic

I am writing up a report about all the machines which will include photos. I tested the effectiveness of each of these machines, creating a baseline, to clean dirty vinyl. Once I finish writing up my report I will post and provide links to the photos from my host so you can see the before and after photos.

I hope to encourage a lengthy discussion about fact finding and what these machines are actually capable of doing rather than saying, "Oh, Sonic Improvement". Something more tangible, real and honest.

Stay tuned this week.

jfl97's picture

Golucid,
I am very interested to know how your work goes with this testing. I am sure, everybody on this thread is, too. I was just starting to compose an e-mail to Tim at KLAudio to see what analysis has been done on the residues. Micrographs are useless with no chemical analysis and I would have expected them to have lab-certified analyses completed well before releasing their products to consumers. One difficulty I see is that the stylus may 'chop' off microscopic bits of vinyl during normal record play. That PVC-vinyl acetate could end up as part of the residue which will confound the results as the cleaner might hypothetically be generating its own vinyl residues. Mass spectrometry should clearly show chlorine and PVC and poly vinyl acetate copolymer should be discernible with Fourier Transform Infra-Red spectroscopy. Environmental 'crud' might contain sodium, calcium, chlorine, sulphur, etc. and human effluvia that should be identifiable with Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry or ICP/AA.

I would enjoy helping you, or, hopefully, KLAudio, (both?) construct a good experimental design to ensure that we end up with conclusive results. It might involve repeated cleanings of the same LP and meticulous cleaning of the cleaning chamber on each of the test subjects after each run. Some of the human contaminants may also be present in vinyl additives, so this may end up trickier than I initially envisioned. But, that is why I think it is incumbent on someone selling a $4,000+ instrument to demonstrate that it only does what it is advertised to do. What a tragedy it would be to find out you paid someone to help you destroy your priceless vinyl!
Best regards,
jflivingston@gmail.com
Phoenix, AZ

Golucid's picture

I have been writing up my experience for the past two days. I will be posting it up on Audio Aficionado, Audio Shark and Audio Karma. I have photos and will include image urls but unsure if they will come through on this blog page. I am hoping to complete my document tomorrow, 4th of May.

Golucid's picture

I am still working on my extensive review and will add-on.

I Just now purchased the ClearAudio Double Matrix Sonic. It's on back order but I am told that one should arrive in the retailers inventory next week. I may get the unit in two weeks - I hope.

This now means I will own and regularly operate:

VPI HW27 Typhoon
Audio Desk Systeme
Klaudio
ClearAudio Double Matrix Sonic

I should be able to give some great cleaning machine reviews!

zenpmd's picture

Hi Michael, I have gotten in vinyl solely because of the music matters series. Would you recommend a put new vinyl like that through the machine? Thanks, David

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