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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Jun 18, 2020
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Thank you for the recommendation and the email address of Albert Porter. He has one in stock so I am ordering it immediately!! I will cancel my order with Hi-Fi Heaven since they still do not have any in stock.
 
Jun 18, 2020
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Questions for those using a Degritter (mine finally arrives tomorrow). How often do you have to clean a record more than once. With my current RCM I occasionally have to clean a second time (usually a deep clean with enzyme soak) to get a record clean - problem is only about 1/3rd of the time does that improve the record significantly. Also are there any tips or tricks you have learned on optimizing cleaning? For example - Do you clean everything on the heavy cycle?
 

djsina2

Active Member
May 31, 2019
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Questions for those using a Degritter (mine finally arrives tomorrow). How often do you have to clean a record more than once. With my current RCM I occasionally have to clean a second time (usually a deep clean with enzyme soak) to get a record clean - problem is only about 1/3rd of the time does that improve the record significantly. Also are there any tips or tricks you have learned on optimizing cleaning? For example - Do you clean everything on the heavy cycle?
First, update the firmware on it if there’s a new version. I do all records old and new with a heavy wash one time then maintain after that with a quick wash. I’ve tried multiple heavy washes to try and fix a bad album. It didn’t seem to do anything. I think if it’s that bad there are issues other than cleanliness. This album was greatly improved with one heavy wash though, something my KLAUDIO couldn’t do.
 
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bazelio

Well-Known Member
Sep 27, 2016
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What is the difference between these cycles?
The duration of the cleaning cycle.

I also use the same approach as @djsina2 . I use only distilled water, and no cleaning fluid though. I don't know if the cleaning solution might improve results with especially soiled records, but I've never detected any difference with vs without cleaning solution nominally.
 

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
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It is near impossible to compare results of different methods across records if the records are in different conditions prior to cleaning. Even though a record may look and sound clean, thin-film contaminants may still adhere to groove side walls.

Water alone in contact with a record has a relatively high surface tension. Using only water relies solely on ultrasonic cavitation to drive the water into the groove. Adding a surfactant to the cleaning solution significantly reduces the interfacial tension between the solution and the vinyl, thus improving groove penetration. The proper surfactant also aids the breakup of soils, fine particulates, especially oily soils such as fingerprints.

A sufactant molecule is often described as having a thick head and a thin tail. The head is water soluble or hydrophilic and the tail is hydrophobic or water insoluble but it is oil-soluble. Surfactants added to water form molecular structuctures called micelles. The tails of these micelles trap oil and dirt molecules while the heads of the miscelles keep the trapped soil in the water. In effect, surfactants enable and improve the cleaning process. This is not unique to cleaning records. Whether washing clothes, washing dishes, washing your car or washing your hands, use of a surfactant designed for the job promotes a cleaner result.

Surfactants can leave residue of themselves that can dry on a record if not removed. Residue can be trapped by a filter, preferably a very fine filter. Residue can be rinsed off. Different surfactants can potentially leave different amounts of residue depending on the surfactant's chemical composition. Thus, it is important to use the right surfacant and the least amount of it needed to get the job done.

RCM manufacturers who recommend and include a cleaning fluid usually tell you only to use their fluid. That's because it is known to them, they tested it with their machine and they make a tidy profit selling little bottles of solution. However there is a variety of alternatives that can do the job as well (or better.)

Does anyone know the composition of the Degritter cleaning solution?
 
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timztunz

Active Member
Apr 23, 2018
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Texas
It is near impossible to compare results of different methods across records if the records are in different conditions prior to cleaning. Even though a record may look and sound clean, thin-film contaminants may still adhere to groove side walls.

Water alone in contact with a record has a relatively high surface tension. Using only water relies solely on ultrasonic cavitation to drive the water into the groove. Adding a surfactant to the cleaning solution significantly reduces the interfacial tension between the solution and the vinyl, thus improving groove penetration. The proper surfactant also aids the breakup of soils, fine particulates, especially oily soils such as fingerprints.

A sufactant molecule is often described as having a thick head and a thin tail. The head is water soluble or hydrophilic and the tail is hydrophobic or water insoluble but it is oil-soluble. Surfactants added to water form molecular structuctures called micelles. The tails of these micelles trap oil and dirt molecules while the heads of the miscelles keep the trapped soil in the water. In effect, surfactants enable and improve the cleaning process. This is not unique to cleaning records. Whether washing clothes, washing dishes, washing your car or washing your hands, use of a surfactant designed for the job promotes a cleaner result.

Surfactants can leave residue of themselves that can dry on a record if not removed. Residue can be trapped by a filter, preferably a very fine filter. Residue can be rinsed off. Different surfactants can potentially leave different amounts of residue depending on the surfactant's chemical composition. Thus, it is important to use the right surfacant and the least amount of it needed to get the job done.

RCM manufacturers who recommend and include a cleaning fluid usually tell you only to use their fluid. That's because it is known to them, they tested it with their machine and they make a tidy profit selling little bottles of solution. However there is a variety of alternatives that can do the job as well (or better.)

Does anyone know the composition of the Degritter cleaning solution?
I love this explanation and its primarily why I chose the Audio Desk which does use a solution (yes, their own) over the Klaudio which only uses water. It's also why I do an Audio Intelligent Ultra Pure Water rinse in my VPI 16.5 after an ultrasonic cleaning. If a used record is particularly grimy I'll clean it in the VPI before the Audio Desk with Audio Intelligent #15 and then the aforementioned process.
 
Jun 18, 2020
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Ok, after cleaning several albums today with my new Degritter. My thoughts so far when compared to my Clear Audio Smart Matrix Pro using the AIVS three step system. I have not noticed a reduced background level with the Degritter. Both seem to provide similar result. Albums that were cleaned with the Clear Audio system don't seem to improve noticeably when cleaned with the Degritter. The Degritter does a very good cleaning job and I would put it on par with the Clear Audio system as far as end result. Frankly I was expecting slight improvements and lower background noise levels with the Degritter based on what I had read in various forums. On the plus side the Degritter is quick, simple and easy to use and MUCH less work than the Clear Audio / 3 step AIVS system. That is where the unit shines. Put the record in, choose the wash cycle, start it and walk away. It is almost too easy. That is the reason I will keep it - it is less work to accomplish the same level of clean.
 
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Oct 28, 2019
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I love this explanation and its primarily why I chose the Audio Desk which does use a solution (yes, their own) over the Klaudio which only uses water. It's also why I do an Audio Intelligent Ultra Pure Water rinse in my VPI 16.5 after an ultrasonic cleaning. If a used record is particularly grimy I'll clean it in the VPI before the Audio Desk with Audio Intelligent #15 and then the aforementioned process.
Replaced my Audio Desk with the Degritter and never looked back. Even using only distilled water in the Degritter the Audio Desk comes nowhere near in terms of results. Records that come out of the Audio Desk with crackle, come out of the Degritter silent. I'm convinced the Audio Desk isn't ultrasonic at all and does it's cleaning with the rotating brushes... I'm not the only one of that opinion either. Still, could be wrong about that, however the Degritter ultrasonic consistently and convincingly outperformed it.
 

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
1,905
1,436
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the Upper Midwest
I'm convinced the Audio Desk isn't ultrasonic at all and does it's cleaning with the rotating brushes...
I believe the AudioDesk has a single transducer, unclear about its frequency. You can see the ultrasonic bubbles if you shine a light into its slot. It uses a combination of cavitation and rotating brushes. It was the first automated (one button wash & dry) single-slot desktop RCM and went through early years of growing pains over the course of its development. The fact of its success is found in its innovation and the rise of subsequent competition.

Imo, the biggest improvement of newer desktop RCMs over the AudioDesk is found in the addition of a separate water tank. The Degritterr further improves over the AudioDesk in its accommodation of cleaning fluid other than their own. The AudioDesk cleaning fluid is way too expensive imo. Use of alternative solutions furthers end-user control over the cleaning process and, along with the separate water tank, should make it easier/cheaper to change solution more frequently. If I had a Degritter, I'd change solution after 5-10 records.
 
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djsina2

Active Member
May 31, 2019
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The easy to clean and replace Degritter filter is important too. When I went to clean my KL for resale I was shocked at the sludge in the tank (which is near impossible to clean out).
 

timztunz

Active Member
Apr 23, 2018
59
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Texas
Replaced my Audio Desk with the Degritter and never looked back. Even using only distilled water in the Degritter the Audio Desk comes nowhere near in terms of results. Records that come out of the Audio Desk with crackle, come out of the Degritter silent. I'm convinced the Audio Desk isn't ultrasonic at all and does it's cleaning with the rotating brushes... I'm not the only one of that opinion either. Still, could be wrong about that, however the Degritter ultrasonic consistently and convincingly outperformed it.
I try not to buy records that are very dirty in the first place so I've never really had an issue with records coming out of the Audio Desk with any crackle. But you and @tima are offering some pretty compelling arguments. Seems there could be a Degritter in my future! ;)
 
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bazelio

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Sep 27, 2016
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The Audio Desk components have been revealed and discussed herein. The ultrasonic unit inside is a low power and inexpensive (at $30ish USD) device. I also believe the Audio Desk to be ineffective in terms of pure ultrasonic cleaning capability, and that its main mode of cleaning records is via the brushes. How effective that is overall can be debated. I'm happy to have gone with Degritter.
 
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bazelio

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Sep 27, 2016
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Regarding the Degritter cleaning fluid. I'm going to revisit its use and I have a 2 mL pipette coming tomorrow. From the manual:

"Adding cleaning fluid to distilled water is beneficial to the cleaning process. The machine will still clean without it, but some impurities need a detergent to properly get rid of them."

I think my mental block with using the solution previously was the word "detergent" and the possibility of residue left behind. A few users seem to have reported satisfactory results now, so I'll give the "detergent" a second pass.
 

timztunz

Active Member
Apr 23, 2018
59
28
25
Texas
The Audio Desk components have been revealed and discussed herein. The ultrasonic unit inside is a low power and inexpensive (at $30ish USD) device. I also believe the Audio Desk to be ineffective in terms of pure ultrasonic cleaning capability, and that its main mode of cleaning records is via the brushes. How effective that is overall can be debated. I'm happy to have gone with Degritter.
I don’t doubt that the Degritter produces better results than the Audio Desk. At least I hope it does because I just ordered one. But I also believe that the Audio Desk produces better results than just a vacuum RCM like a VPI 16.5. That’s been my experience anyway.
 

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