KirmussAudio Four record ultrasonic RCM

Oct 12, 2013
1,624
9
38
Essex UK
#1
I went to the festivalofsound audio show in London today not intending to buy anything or to listen to anything in particular. Just a day out.
I then came across this RCM. An RCM is something I don't have and need. The more well known ultrasonic ones on the market are £2k and upwards which has always struck me as expensive.
My first reaction was that it looked nice and seemed well made. I then discovered it was £1.2k and that there was a show offer of £998 including delivery and a 2 year warranty.. I chatted with Charles Kirmuss, the inventor and his British distributor and was impressed. He has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Vinyl Record Restoration and Preservation by the University of Texas at El Paso, which has a collection of 50,000 plus records,and it attracted a lot of attention at Axpona 2018.
My search for an ulrasonic RCM is now over and due to receive it at the end of next week. Will update this post once I have used it.
More details including a video demonstration are available on their website www.KirmussAudio.net
 

XV-1

Active Member
May 24, 2010
1,598
15
38
Sydney
#2
It looks pretty good and a very very good price.

Does it dry records as well?
 

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
336
49
28
#3
The Kirmuss RCM in the US is quoted at $850. It has 3 transducers operating at 35kHz with 220W of power to cover 4 cleaning slots (two LP, one 10"(?), one 45).

He has another site at kirmussaudio.com His sites continually change.

Earlier this week Kirmuss had this text on the home page of the .com site (cf. note 1, below) (his capitalization):
"35 kHz is the sweet spot, does not remove these details and does not "smoothen" the grooves as would a poorly designed record cleaner leaving a residue which has the same effect. Not 45, not 80, not 90 kHz. NEVER 120 kHz or higher. All are proven to damage records over time. "

"SMALL BUBBLES WHEN THEY EXPLODE AND CAUSE A PLASMA WAVE DAMMAGE THE DEPTH OF THE GROOVE REMOVING TIMBER AND HIGH FREQUENCIES. THE BEST ULTRASONIC FREQUENCY AFTER 3 YEARS OF TESTING IS 35 kHz WITH A MAX TEMP OF 95 DEG F. Higher frequencies such as 100, 125, 130 kHz are used for fine cleaning jobs as they enter small surfaces including microelectronics, printed circuit boards, medical and precision optics where the resulting higher intensity powerful plasma explosions remove post manufacturing matter and dirt suited to those materials. Records need specific cleaning attributes. "
This is questionable if not false. Higher frequency cavitation produces smaller vacuum bubbles that explode with considerably less force than lower frequency cavitation. There is a greater number of bubbles with better overall dispersion at higher frequencies. This is relevant because cavitation action is strongest immediately under the machine's transducers and you really want it distributed - LPs are typically at the outter thirds of a tank. Smaller bubbles get into smaller spaces where lower frequency bubbles cannot go. More importantly, there is no evidence I've seen (post it if you have it) to support the notion that higher frequency cavitation has any negative impact on timbre or high frequency sonics or causes groove damage. (This assumes reasonable cleaning times. If you leave a record in a USC running for several hours, I hope you have another copy.)

Consider the Degritter RCM that @spiritofmusic likes. Its claim to fame is transducers operating solely at 120kHz. I only mention this as the contrast between Kirmuss and Degritter could not be more stark.

There is a direct correlation between transducer frequency and particular size removal. Ideally you want dual frequencies, low (35-45kHz) and high (70-90kHz). Few USC machines (tanks, not products) offer both. Some will alternate in 30 second intervals between high and low. Iirc the Audio Desk varies frequency across a range. If you want to cause damage, that is much more likely to happen at lower frequencies. Do a foil test at 35kHz, 80kHz, and 120kHz - the results are pretty obvious.


(1) Web archive of Kirmussaudio from 9/2/18
 
Oct 12, 2013
1,624
9
38
Essex UK
#6
Thanks Tima.
I have now also caught up with the analogplanet exchanges following Michael Fremer's video of his encounter with Kirmuss which together with your post raises questions about the merits of the Kirmuss product.
I still have to confirm the purchase so I still time to change my mind.
My clear preference is for an ultrasonic machine and the three main contenders appear to be the KL, the Audiodesksysteme and the Degritter all of which are significantly more expensive. There are questions about KLs reliance on water alone for cleaning and there have been a number of reports of reliability issues with the Audiodesksysteme, though other members including Asifuy speak highly of it.
The Degritter is very new but as you say early users like Spirit speak highly of it.
The efficacy of the conflicting claims on which of the different approaches are best is not easy, for me anyway, to assess and price is obviously a relevant consideration. Ease of use is also very important and the Kirmuss is not as convenient to use as the others.
It would be interesting to know if any WBF members have any experience of using a Kirmuss before I finally decide but it may be that I will have to decide whether to perform that role or to go for a more established product.
Further thoughts from others would be very much appreciated.
 

XV-1

Active Member
May 24, 2010
1,598
15
38
Sydney
#9
No you dry it with a supplied high grade cloth.
His view is that fan drying deposits dust on the record..
Well that is total bollocks.
 
Oct 12, 2013
1,624
9
38
Essex UK
#10
You may well be right but that is their view.
They also take the view that the 120khzof the Degritter and others damages the record grooves. If that is the case I imagine the damage would be gradual, cumulative and not immediately audible but ultimately very serious.
 

DaveyF

Well-Known Member
Aug 1, 2010
5,875
56
48
La Jolla, Calif USA
#11
Well that is total bollocks.

+1000

At the LA show, that is exactly what I was told about having no ability to dry the LP...fan drying deposits dust on the record...
Such total bull that I turned around and told the rep that he needs to stop stating that bs as it was an insult to one’s intelligence. The reality is that company couldn’t figure out a way to make the machine dry and still make their expected profit..thank you very much.
A drying cloth...wow, talk about asking for trouble. Pathetic, IMO.
 
Likes: XV-1

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
6,510
108
63
E. England
#12
Barry, I've cleaned a couple of hundred lps w the Degritter.

I can say that there has been no audible deterioration of any kind.

I'm not planning to clean my records more than once.

I certainly got lucky picking up the machine for beta tester pricing, but I believe it'll retail for much less than the KL and just shades the AD.

All in all, I'm 100% happy w going Degritter, and there's no day to day evidence of the fears put fwd by this competitor.
 
Oct 12, 2013
1,624
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#13
Fortuitously I have been able to buy bonzo75's refurbished but unused Audiosystemedeck rcm that he put up for sale yesterday on the KL thread so will not be proceeding with the Kirmuss.
Whatever the merits or demerits of the Kirmuss the convenience of use of the AD at a similar price decided it.
 
Oct 12, 2013
1,624
9
38
Essex UK
#14
Barry, I've cleaned a couple of hundred lps w the Degritter.

I can say that there has been no audible deterioration of any kind.

I'm not planning to clean my records more than once.

I certainly got lucky picking up the machine for beta tester pricing, but I believe it'll retail for much less than the KL and just shades the AD.

All in all, I'm 100% happy w going Degritter, and there's no day to day evidence of the fears put fwd by this competitor.
Thanks Marc
Good to hear all well with your Degritter.
 
Oct 12, 2013
1,624
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Essex UK
#15
The January 2019 edition of Hi-Fi World has a review of the Kirmuss record cleaner which it rates as outstanding.
The reviewer compares its performance with the Audiodesk Pro cleaner and found it was more effective and concludes it is the best record cleaner on the market.
The review doesn't hide the fact that it is a long cleaning process with the Kirmuss but fails to make clear that it doesn't dry the records after cleaning which are in my view significant disadvantages.
 

Audiophile Bill

Well-Known Member
Mar 23, 2015
1,534
87
48
UK
#17
The January 2019 edition of Hi-Fi World has a review of the Kirmuss record cleaner which it rates as outstanding.
The reviewer compares its performance with the Audiodesk Pro cleaner and found it was more effective and concludes it is the best record cleaner on the market.
The review doesn't hide the fact that it is a long cleaning process with the Kirmuss but fails to make clear that it doesn't dry the records after cleaning which are in my view significant disadvantages.
Hey Barry,

I don’t disagree with the comment on the drying but I think this unit has its place especially at this price point. There are some useful features such as number of simulataneous LPs and of all different sizes together with flexibility on times rather than being locked into programmes like my Audio Desk. Also, and I can’t confirm this, it looks though it will be reliable based on simplicity of construction but of course we will need to wait for reports. Don’t forget you can buy a separate vacuum although I admit that not being fully automated is a disadvantage.
 
Oct 12, 2013
1,624
9
38
Essex UK
#18
Thanks Bill
Yes I agree it does have its place as an accompaniment to the other ultrasonic machines, particularly for discs that are very dirty, but I wouldn't want to be reliant on a Kirmuss by itself.
 

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
336
49
28
#19
Question is how much did the Kirmuss manufacturer have to pay to Hi-Fi world for the advertisement, er I mean review.
Like I said above, no drying means no buying...;)
Air drying works just as well as using a fan. It's all evaporation. Something as putting the record in a vnyl coated dish rack will do the trick. With a wetting agent in the cleaning solution, water normally sheets off the record easily, leaving a V-shaped wet area about 20% of the record surface. That will dry quickly, a fan is not that much quicker. The last thing you want to do is dry the record with a cloth.

The key to either type of drying (fan or air) is having a clean record. If there is dirt in the cleaner's tank, there will be dirt on the record when it dries, no matter how the air is moved. The trick is to filter the tank's solution while the record is cleaned.

Fwiw, you can make your own multi-record ultrasonic RCM for far less than the $3k+ price of a typical single-record desktop cleaner - and its easy to do.
 

Audiophile Bill

Well-Known Member
Mar 23, 2015
1,534
87
48
UK
#20
Air drying works just as well as using a fan. It's all evaporation. Something as putting the record in a vnyl coated dish rack will do the trick. With a wetting agent in the cleaning solution, water normally sheets off the record easily, leaving a V-shaped wet area about 20% of the record surface. That will dry quickly, a fan is not that much quicker. The last thing you want to do is dry the record with a cloth.

The key to either type of drying (fan or air) is having a clean record. If there is dirt in the cleaner's tank, there will be dirt on the record when it dries, no matter how the air is moved. The trick is to filter the tank's solution while the record is cleaned.

Fwiw, you can make your own multi-record ultrasonic RCM for far less than the $3k+ price of a typical single-record desktop cleaner - and its easy to do.
Hi Tima,

Please can you send me a link to any off the shelf products for rotating LPs of different sizes in ones chosen ultrasonic vat. I didn’t see one yet - just ones that rotate 12” discs.

Thx
 

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