Degritter ultrasonic record cleaner

Hi y’all, just a few words on what I think is a worthy alternative to the Audio Desk Systeme and KLAudio ultrasonic cleaners.

http://degritter.com/media-kit/

I’ve been a beta tester on the Degritter for the last few weeks, and am happy to offer my opinions and answer any qs for those interested.

I believe official launch is in early May, and at this stage after a couple of quibbles in day to day use, I’m planning to keep my unit, it’s been a pretty good success, and invaluable addition to day to day life as a vinyl addict.
 
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dminches

Active Member
Oct 22, 2011
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Something I don't think I've seen discussed is that Degritter bills itself as the first "smart Record Cleaner." They have put some emphasis on the software built in to their cleaner. E.g.:

Degritter is capable of recovering and warning users in the following situations:


  • sensor malfunction
  • water temperature too high
  • water in the cleaning tank due to switch off during wash
  • external water tank missing
  • insufficient water
  • pump failures

http://degritter.com/

There's also the in-field-use upgradability via software updates.

Do any other USRCs offer similar features?
My guess is that most machines operate differently so that isn't a need for some of these features.

Many of the features you mentioned are of value when the machine isn't running properly. If the machine is working well then they aren't really used. It is nice to have something to tell you what's wrong if something is wrong but I would still choose a machine based on how well it cleaned the record when working well. That's not to say that the degritter wouldn't win that battle, but that's my criteria for selecting a machine.
 

COF

Member
Sep 30, 2017
61
10
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That makes some sense, dminches.

Another question comes to mind about the water filtering.

As I understand it the Audiodesk filters the water too. But I thought...and could be wrong...that it filters the water *after* the wash.
Degritter apparently actively filters *during* the wash by cycling it through the filter during the wash. Curious if the Audio Desk does the same.
 
Mar 17, 2012
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Cheltenham
Ok Call me old fashioned (or anything else)....I have a Keith monks audio cleaner. bought it second hand 20 years ago. Built like a post war Volvo, parts are still available. I think that the Morris minor hand pump has been replaced with something else, can still be serviced. Easy to use and still being made. I have a preference for old legacy products that that were built to last :) Why should I change ?
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
7,801
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Don't, Perart.
I have a 1968 Citroen DS21, a 1998 Barco CRT PJ, a 2004 Pioneer HLD-X0 LD player, all examples of best in their class.
Of course, for those that don't have these, or your Monks RCM...
 
Jan 27, 2019
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Ok Call me old fashioned (or anything else)....I have a Keith monks audio cleaner. bought it second hand 20 years ago. Built like a post war Volvo, parts are still available. I think that the Morris minor hand pump has been replaced with something else, can still be serviced. Easy to use and still being made. I have a preference for old legacy products that that were built to last :) Why should I change ?
No need to change.

I went for the Degritter because I wanted to check out ultrasonic cleaning as my Loricraft PRC6 sometimes needed repeat cleanings to get records to the best possible. In the beginning with dirty s/h records I used the Loricraft for a first pass and the Degritter for a second. But eventually I just used the Degritter on its own, knowing that occasionally I'd have to run it again. (And in the very early days of the prototype I had drain problems that meant the Loricraft was handy to suction off the water left on when there was a drain failure. Thankfully these issues were bred out as the beta programme progressed).

I ended up selling the Loricraft because in the end I found the Degritter's ease of use meant I just chuck a record in there without that first step, accepting that occasionally I'm going to have to run it again. Just like I did with the Loricraft.

But in a way I'm back where I started - occasionally needing two passes - barring the fact that the Degritter does both sides at the same time and is fully hands-off. You certainly aren't missing a trick with the Keith Monks I'm sure it cleans pretty much as well as the ultrasonic machines.

Having said that the idea of trying to live without either a good RCM like the Loricraft/Keith Monks, or an AudioDesk/Degritter is just horrific.

BTW I also had loan of an Audiodesk which I put up against the beta Degritter and the Loricraft. It's good - I think the Degritter has the edge on all three on cleaning and ease of use, but I wouldn't say the difference is massive and shrinks to near zero on all of them on a second pass.
 

COF

Member
Sep 30, 2017
61
10
8
No need to change.

I went for the Degritter because I wanted to check out ultrasonic cleaning as my Loricraft PRC6 sometimes needed repeat cleanings to get records to the best possible. In the beginning with dirty s/h records I used the Loricraft for a first pass and the Degritter for a second. But eventually I just used the Degritter on its own, knowing that occasionally I'd have to run it again. (And in the very early days of the prototype I had drain problems that meant the Loricraft was handy to suction off the water left on when there was a drain failure. Thankfully these issues were bred out as the beta programme progressed).

I ended up selling the Loricraft because in the end I found the Degritter's ease of use meant I just chuck a record in there without that first step, accepting that occasionally I'm going to have to run it again. Just like I did with the Loricraft.

But in a way I'm back where I started - occasionally needing two passes - barring the fact that the Degritter does both sides at the same time and is fully hands-off. You certainly aren't missing a trick with the Keith Monks I'm sure it cleans pretty much as well as the ultrasonic machines.

Having said that the idea of trying to live without either a good RCM like the Loricraft/Keith Monks, or an AudioDesk/Degritter is just horrific.

BTW I also had loan of an Audiodesk which I put up against the beta Degritter and the Loricraft. It's good - I think the Degritter has the edge on all three on cleaning and ease of use, but I wouldn't say the difference is massive and shrinks to near zero on all of them on a second pass.
Great info! You are the only Degritter user I've seen who has compared it to other US cleaners like the Audiodesk. Sounds promising.

Do you use the Degritter cleaning fluid? And if so, do you find any need to wash it off afterwards with another rinse?
 
Jan 27, 2019
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No I use distilled water. Degritter provide a small bottle of additive and a dropper-type thing to add a small amount of fluid to the tank, which I assume is a surfactant - just like I would add to the fluid used with the Loricraft. (I used Ilford photographic wetting agent in both the ethyl alcohol cleaning fluid mix and the distilled water final rinse for the Loricraft). The Degritter additive doesn't leave any residue that I can detect.

There's no need to run the Degritter with alcohol or any other special fluid. There are some cheap and cheerful DIY solutions out there that use ultrasonic jewellery cleaning tanks and some kind of barbecue-style spit roast arrangement to stack and spin records, where people are using a percentage of ethyl alcohol in the tank but I don't fancy that idea at all. A lot of them get pretty hot too, something the Degritter is very careful with in terms of temperature sensors.

Yes it was pretty nice to have the Degritter, Loricraft and AudioDesk in the room at the same time. They all have their benefits and foibles but ultimately all are good machines. I had intended to keep both the Loricraft and the Degritter but as I was only using the Degritter, it made sense to sell the Loricraft.
 
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COF

Member
Sep 30, 2017
61
10
8
Cool.

BTW, I just noticed a fairly new post in the Discogs forum from Taniel of Degritter (a response to some concerns someone raised about Degritter).
In his response Taniel makes some pretty intriguing observations about the AudioDesk. I'd love to see a reply from the Audiodesk folks.
 
Mar 17, 2012
77
16
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Cheltenham
Just some thoughts concerning Ultrasonic cleaning machines. I am sure that these machines can and should be more effective at cleaning than the scrub and suck machines. However I used ultrasonic cleaning machines in my business for years and there are some important considerations worth thinking about if you want to optimise the performance.

1 Degass. This really critical and refers to the fact that the cleaning solution in the tank will contain dissolved oxygen and the bubbles trapped in the solution will not be a vacuum and therefore their efficiency will be reduced if not removed. Usually commercial machines provide a degass feature but failing that, you can just switch the machine on get it to temp and start the ultrasonics and wait for the bubbles to stop rising and the waves to be visible on the surface of the liquid. Therefore degass every time you use.

The foil test: this enables you see if the UC is working effectively. Degass.Cut a strip of aluminium foil 2" wide and long enough to be suspended in the tank without touching the bottom. Leave in for one minute and then remove. The strip should be both wrinkled and perforated.

2. Temperature control. As a general rule; as the temp is increased then the viscosity of the cleaning fluid decreases and the effectiveness of cavitation increases. However as you approach the boiling point of the cleaning fluid the performance declines. The aim should be to work a 80% of the bp of the liquid. Therefore the nature of the cleaning fluid used and the abilty to control temp is critical. This why some UC will specify the cleaning fluid to used as they will be optimised to work at a particular temp

3. Frequency. As a general rule the higher the frequency the smaller the cavitation bubbles generated and the more effective the penetration. Again commercial machines will allow you to adjust the frequency range. 40kh-70kh, 70kh-200kh.

4. Cleaning agent. There are so many variables that it is difficult to be prescriptive. However if we start with water based cleaning solutions then De ionised is the way to go. It is the purest you can get as it is an active cleaner and will pull the ions out of anything. Do not drink! Distilled water will work as well. There is usually a wetting agent; surfactent and cleaning agents. Do not use inflamable liquids! The point about the Cleaning liquid, is that its effectiveness will be a function of surface tension and vapour pressure determine cavitation intensity. The higher the ST the cleaner induces, the greater the energy required to produce cavitation and the greater the shockwave. I could go on......

So whichever machine that you choose it is worth thinking about the above. Some machines will be plug and play and have done all the thinking for you. Others, hopefully, will have some functionality and explanation as to how to get the best out of them. I have to admit that I have not looked at any UC used for vinyl. Perhaps I should after sharing this!!
 
Likes: tima
Jan 27, 2019
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Really interesting Peter. Thanks for sharing. I doubt any of the ultrasonic machines out these address all these points though the Degritter certainly addresses some.
 
Mar 17, 2012
77
16
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Cheltenham
Hi Tom....I had a quick look at the Degritter....interesting. Not sure about the temp. range though, given the BP of water is 55c Additives may raise that of course. A frequency sweep is useful but I could not find the range;. It will affect the size of the cavitation bubbles.
 

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
604
219
43
As I understand it the Audiodesk filters the water too. But I thought...and could be wrong...that it filters the water *after* the wash.
Degritter apparently actively filters *during* the wash by cycling it through the filter during the wash. Curious if the Audio Desk does the same.
The ADS filter works during the cleaning cycle when there is water+solution in the tank. It is a passive sponge filter, not pressurized. Water washes through it but is not forced through it.
 
Likes: COF

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
604
219
43
Just some thoughts concerning Ultrasonic cleaning machines. I am sure that these machines can and should be more effective at cleaning than the scrub and suck machines. However I used ultrasonic cleaning machines in my business for years and there are some important considerations worth thinking about if you want to optimise the performance.

1 Degass. This really critical and refers to the fact that the cleaning solution in the tank will contain dissolved oxygen and the bubbles trapped in the solution will not be a vacuum and therefore their efficiency will be reduced if not removed. Usually commercial machines provide a degass feature but failing that, you can just switch the machine on get it to temp and start the ultrasonics and wait for the bubbles to stop rising and the waves to be visible on the surface of the liquid. Therefore degass every time you use.

The foil test: this enables you see if the UC is working effectively. Degass.Cut a strip of aluminium foil 2" wide and long enough to be suspended in the tank without touching the bottom. Leave in for one minute and then remove. The strip should be both wrinkled and perforated.

2. Temperature control. As a general rule; as the temp is increased then the viscosity of the cleaning fluid decreases and the effectiveness of cavitation increases. However as you approach the boiling point of the cleaning fluid the performance declines. The aim should be to work a 80% of the bp of the liquid. Therefore the nature of the cleaning fluid used and the abilty to control temp is critical. This why some UC will specify the cleaning fluid to used as they will be optimised to work at a particular temp

3. Frequency. As a general rule the higher the frequency the smaller the cavitation bubbles generated and the more effective the penetration. Again commercial machines will allow you to adjust the frequency range. 40kh-70kh, 70kh-200kh.

4. Cleaning agent. There are so many variables that it is difficult to be prescriptive. However if we start with water based cleaning solutions then De ionised is the way to go. It is the purest you can get as it is an active cleaner and will pull the ions out of anything. Do not drink! Distilled water will work as well. There is usually a wetting agent; surfactent and cleaning agents. Do not use inflamable liquids! The point about the Cleaning liquid, is that its effectiveness will be a function of surface tension and vapour pressure determine cavitation intensity. The higher the ST the cleaner induces, the greater the energy required to produce cavitation and the greater the shockwave. I could go on......

So whichever machine that you choose it is worth thinking about the above. Some machines will be plug and play and have done all the thinking for you. Others, hopefully, will have some functionality and explanation as to how to get the best out of them. I have to admit that I have not looked at any UC used for vinyl. Perhaps I should after sharing this!!
Thanks for this post perart1. A few comments:

Degassing is most relevant when the water/solution used in the USC comes from a pressurized source which can force gases (air) into the water. If you pour distlled water out of a jug you buy at the grocery, degassing won't do much, though it does not harm, other than using up transducer life span.

The boiling point of of water is 100° C; the boiling point of ethanol is 78.5° C. I would not clean records at 63° C which is ~145° F.

While high cavitation frequencies produce smaller vacuums and as such can penetrate where larger may not, the implosions from higher frequencies have less force and will be less effective in dislodging larger particles/fragments. Both high and low frequency cavitation is needed. That it operates only at 120kHz is, imo, one of the weaknesses of the Degritter design. Sure it will do cleaning, but machines operating at a low and high frequency can be more effective or even at a single frequency lower than 120kHz. Do foil tests at 120kHz, 80kHz and 40kHz to see for yourself.
 
Likes: perart1
Mar 17, 2012
77
16
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Cheltenham
Thanks for this post perart1. A few comments:

Degassing is most relevant when the water/solution used in the USC comes from a pressurized source which can force gases (air) into the water. If you pour distlled water out of a jug you buy at the grocery, degassing won't do much, though it does not harm, other than using up transducer life span.

The boiling point of of water is 100° C; the boiling point of ethanol is 78.5° C. I would not clean records at 63° C which is ~145° F.

While high cavitation frequencies produce smaller vacuums and as such can penetrate where larger may not, the implosions from higher frequencies have less force and will be less effective in dislodging larger particles/fragments. Both high and low frequency cavitation is needed. That it operates only at 120kHz is, imo, one of the weaknesses of the Degritter design. Sure it will do cleaning, but machines operating at a low and high frequency can be more effective or even at a single frequency lower than 120kHz. Do foil tests at 120kHz, 80kHz and 40kHz to see for yourself.

Actually degassing will take place naturally but is more often used when the cleaning solution is replaced for obvious reasons. It is good protocol to degass on turning on the machine. Which is why commercial machines have that facility.

Errr yes you are right. Not sure why i wrote that regarding the BP of water!

Yes I agree about the need to have the ability to vary the size of the cavitation bubles. As I mentioned; that is normally done by being able to vary the frequency of the sweep. I understand that the Degritter does this automatically.
 
Likes: tima

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
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Yes I agree about the need to have the ability to vary the size of the cavitation bubles. As I mentioned; that is normally done by being able to vary the frequency of the sweep. I understand that the Degritter does this automatically.
From Degritter Web site: "Degritter also comes with Frequency Sweep feature, which provides better cavitation energy and power distribution. Degritter is the only cleaning solution on the market working at 120kHz and having the Frequency Sweep feature."

It is not clear that the Degritter changes frequency by much or what is the frequency range under what it describes as its Frequency Sweep. Maybe it varies frequency as part of its Sweep feature, but I stongly suspect any frequency variation is small. Unless Degritter varies frequency at least by, say +/- 25kHz, it is not varying cavitation bubble size by enough to make the kind of difference obtained under multiple frequencies of greater frequency distribution. That's not really the purpose of a Sweep function.

Sweep is used to mitigate hot spots (higher cavitation in one area of a tank) or dead zones (lower or no cavitation in one area of a tank). During operation hot spots can develop immediately above transducers while zones of lower ultrasonic intensity develop around the edges of the tank. Sweep varies frequency slightly to yield a more uniform ultrasonic intensity throughout the tank.

Degritter can say they are the only one-slot record cleaning machine operating at 120kHz with a Frequency Sweep because they are the only record cleaning ultrasonic machine operating at 120kHz. Sweep is a good feature to have and use; I'm all in favor of it. But don't mistake it for the functionality of multiple frequency operation.
 
Likes: perart1
Apr 23, 2018
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I am not a very active member in this forum, but thankfully it was pointed out by one of our beta testers that there are some questions in here that I could address (thanks Tom) :)


PeterA said:
I am also curious about the noise level
As have been mentioned in here by others, the loudest elements in Degritter are the drying fans. At full power they do produce up to 70dB of noise. For Degritter retail machines we have added an option to pick a suitable fan power from one of 20 settings.

perart1 said:
1 Degass. This really critical and refers to the fact that the cleaning solution in the tank will contain dissolved oxygen and the bubbles trapped in the solution will not be a vacuum and therefore their efficiency will be reduced if not removed.
We have added a separate degas program for the retail machines. This will simplify degassing your cleaning solution.

perart1 said:
2. Temperature control. As a general rule; as the temp is increased then the viscosity of the cleaning fluid decreases and the effectiveness of cavitation increases.
This is true, but with vinyl you risk melting your records when the temperatures exceed 40 degrees celcius. The ultrasonic cleaning is producing quite a lot of heat (we are using 300W to power the ultrasonics) and this will start to gradually increase the water's temperature. Because of this Degritter comes with temperature sensor that stops the cleaning once temperature exceeds 35 degrees celcius.

perart1 said:
A frequency sweep is useful but I could not find the range;. It will affect the size of the cavitation bubbles.
Degritter's Frequency Sweep range is 122kHz - 126kHz. The main purpose of Frequency Sweep in ultrasonic cleaners is to compensate transducers resonance frequency. For every machine we are measuring the transducers and pairing them by their impedance, but their resonance frequencies can still differ. For example you can have following set of transducers 124.5kHZ, 123.5kHz, 125.5kHz, 124.0kHz, if you would drive them at fixed 123.5kHz then one of them would work a lot better than the others. Sweeping the frequency guarantees that all of them get their equal share. Also, as tima said, it also mitigate hot spots and dead zones.

Degritter does not have multifrequency.

tima said:
While high cavitation frequencies produce smaller vacuums and as such can penetrate where larger may not, the implosions from higher frequencies have less force and will be less effective in dislodging larger particles/fragments.
For this reason we are using a lot of power (300W) for a really small ultrasonic tank (~1L).
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
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E. England
Hi Taniel, the beta testers here are all big fans. Awaiting final production units w great anticipation. I've really enjoyed being a part of your product development, some more choice in this limited market has got to be good, esp if Degritter offers something a little different.
 
Likes: montesquieu

COF

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Sep 30, 2017
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I'm no expert, but the Degritter strikes me as such a well thought-through product.

As have been mentioned in here by others, the loudest elements in Degritter are the drying fans. At full power they do produce up to 70dB of noise. For Degritter retail machines we have added an option to pick a suitable fan power from one of 20 settings.
Wow, that sounds new!

Do I understand correctly? Previously you had a video demonstrating 3 fan settings, low, medium, high. But now you've increased the available fan settings to 20 , for even finer grade selection of the fan noise?
 

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
604
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While high cavitation frequencies produce smaller vacuums and as such can penetrate where larger may not, the implosions from higher frequencies have less force and will be less effective in dislodging larger particles/fragments.
For this reason we are using a lot of power (300W) for a really small ultrasonic tank (~1L).
Thanks for your responses, degritter_taniel - it's always good to hear from the manufacturer. I have a few follow-up questions, if you please, to learn from your expertise drawn from the development of your forthcoming machine. Thank you very much in advance for any thoughts you may share.

- Does the amount of applied power change vacuum 'bubble' size?

- Does the amount of applied power change water/soultion temperature?

- Is it possible to correlate power (wattage) to cleaning effectiveness or implosion force? Could such a correlation hold across any commonly used transducer frequencies?

- I read some Degritter literature some time back (when spirit was first telling his beta experience) and it said something like: 'Our use of 120kHz is gentler and safer than other commonly found lower frequencies in other machines.' (Not a quote, but that was my takeaway.) I don't know if your literature still makes a claim like that. Does using 300W in a smal tank mitigate the 'gentler, safer' claim or change it in any way?

My questions are not meant to challenge statements from Degritter, and acknowledge the need of manufacturers to differentiate their products. I'm more interested in facts and concepts about ultrasonic cleaning and its use for cleaning records - an area which seems still developing in knowledge.

Claims/statements about transducer frequency and particle size removal are pretty common in the ultrasonic cleaning industry, though fewer in relation to cleaning vinyl records specifically. Can you share what Degritter studies have found?

Here is a graph that addresses frequency vs particle size. (Referenced in footnotes of my third DIY article.) It pertains tor ultrasonic cleaning of perpendicular magnetic tape (PMR), not vinyl. Have you found similar relations between particle removal and frequency for vinyl records?

Low and High Frequency vs Particle Size.jpg
 

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