KL Audio Record Cleaning Machine vs Audio Desk Systeme

rockitman

Member Sponsor
Sep 20, 2011
7,116
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235
Northern NY
#1
I recently received the KL Audio ultrasonic record cleaning machine. I have owned the Audio Desk for about 1.5 years, so I have a lot of experience with that machine. First the KL. It arrived packaged very well with high density poly urethane foam to suspend the unit inside the box to better protect it from shipping abuse. Setup was rather straightforward. Unlike the ADS which is very simple to add water to, the KL requires a steady hand to funnel the water in the unit. It cannot be simply poured into the slot as there are electronics that cannot get wet. This was my only gripe with the machine. The funnel is far too small and it is very easy to over flow, so it's a slow process filling the machine with water. The issue could easily be resolved with a larger volume funnel, although that may provide for a packaging engineering issue due to it's larger size. A small quibble. Once the water is added, you are ready to plug it in and turn it on. One note of caution, before filling the water tank, make sure the valve on the bottom right side on the unit is turned all the way to the right (closed) otherwise you will have water on the table as I found out.

The unit starts to clean the record automatically when inserted into the tank. There is no button press required. Do make sure the toggle switch is in the desired position prior to inserting a record. The options are dry only or wash/ dry. You also need to select how long to wash and how long to dry. Once set to your desired setting, there are no button presses required to clean...truly automatic. Let's talk about the sound. The KL is considerably louder than the ADS in clean mode. I liken the sound to that of Dr. frankensteins lab jump starting a corpse.;) there is an electrical arching sound which is from the ultrasonic transducers. I think this is a good thing as it means there's significant ultrasonic action occurring. You can barely hear the far weaker ADS transducer. What you do hear is the swishing of the rollers in the water tank. The drying sound is similar in level and sound for both units. The ability to do a dry only cycle after the first wash/dry cycle is done is a nice option with the KL. After you complete the first wash/dry cycle, simply flicking the toggle switch to dry only initiates another dry cycle without removing and reinserting the record. The days of water droplets being left on the record are gone with the KL Audio machine.

I have only washed a few records so far and they were records originally cleaned by the ADS. My initial impressions is that the KL cleans deeper and better than the ads. The records cleaned so far have become even quieter with the latest clean via KL. I will share more impressions on the sound as I get more experience, but it seems to me I am hearing even deeper into the music once the record gets the KL treatment.

Reliability...it's too early to tell, but I have high hopes for long term reliability with the KL. There are far fewer moving parts (record gripping rollers) and the build quality is like a tank. I personally have had issue with the ADS breaking down. One time was the actuating arms for the rollers failed to release the record during the dry cycle and more recently, complete failure of the ultrasonic transducers. It is once again in for repair (still under warranty) and going back to Germany. Once repaired, I will probably put it up on the 4 sale block. I will share more impressions once I get more KL Audio cleaning experience under my belt.
 

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
Sep 6, 2010
5,461
40
265
Seattle, WA
www.genesisloudspeakers.com
#2
Nice review, Christian. It's as heavy as your AFO :)

I did suggest a bigger funnel to the Klaudio designer, but he cautioned against it. The size of the funnel is to ensure that you don't flood the electronics. The supplied funnel feeds as quickly as the cleaning tank can drain so that the tank doesn't overflow. Why not feed directly into the storage tank? The new water also flushes any leftover particulate matter from the cleaning tank into the reservoir. Then this is cleared out the next time the reservoir is drained.

They seem to have thought of everything. I told him that he needs to put the above in the owner's manual.

If you're coming to CES, bring your records dirty and you can clean them in my room.
 

rockitman

Member Sponsor
Sep 20, 2011
7,116
360
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Northern NY
#3
Nice review, Christian. It's as heavy as your AFO :)

I did suggest a bigger funnel to the Klaudio designer, but he cautioned against it. The size of the funnel is to ensure that you don't flood the electronics. The supplied funnel feeds as quickly as the cleaning tank can drain so that the tank doesn't overflow. Why not feed directly into the storage tank? The new water also flushes any leftover particulate matter from the cleaning tank into the reservoir. Then this is cleared out the next time the reservoir is drained.

They seem to have thought of everything. I told him that he needs to put the above in the owner's manual.

If you're coming to CES, bring your records dirty and you can clean them in my room.
Thanks Gary for the funnel explanation. That makes sense. It is only a minor inconvenience anyway.
 
Last edited:

Klaudio

New Member
Jul 16, 2013
18
0
0
www.klaudio.com
#4
Thanks, Christian! As Gary mentioned, a larger funnel may cause the wash basin to overfill if air doesn't escape the reservoir quickly enough. This is something we're rethinking in the future, but for now, it's dependent on how the priming pump supplies water to the basin during the cleaning cycle.

Instead of a funnel, Mike Lavigne suggested a garden watering can with a thin, long spout. I think this sounds ideal, since you don't need to worry about keeping your hand steady, and it shouldn't allow the wash basin to be filled too quickly.

Tim
 
Aug 31, 2010
216
5
163
#6
Highly recommended. My Audio Desk is now gathering dust in the garage!

I have been using it since a few months and the results are consistent in the quality of clean.

Can live with the little funnel.

It's great that you can access the water tank chamber with your hand to give it a good clean and wipe out if required.

For me it's the consistency of performance from the Klaudio that wins over the ADS. Too many issues with the latter.
 

XV-1

Well-Known Member
May 24, 2010
2,090
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540
Sydney
#7
I hate reading these threads. I have been resisting up til now. :)

Thankfully I have never bought the audiodeske, due to the reliability issues that have been seen all over the world. Yes, I realise lots of owners have had no problems, which frankly makes things worse as consistency of manufacture could be seen as the root cause.

The KL cleaner seems to tick all the boxes, especially with only distilled water required and I have not heard of any reliability issues as yet.

Are there any downsides in using the KL outside of cost and size of funnel ?
 

Johnny Vinyl

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
May 16, 2010
8,571
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Calgary, AB
#9

MylesBAstor

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2010
11,223
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New York City
#10
I hate reading these threads. I have been resisting up til now. :)

Thankfully I have never bought the audiodeske, due to the reliability issues that have been seen all over the world. Yes, I realise lots of owners have had no problems, which frankly makes things worse as consistency of manufacture could be seen as the root cause.

The KL cleaner seems to tick all the boxes, especially with only distilled water required and I have not heard of any reliability issues as yet.

Are there any downsides in using the KL outside of cost and size of funnel ?
If you have cats, they hate the sound of the cleaning cycle :)
 

XV-1

Well-Known Member
May 24, 2010
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Sydney
#12
Dec 1, 2013
66
0
0
Sydney, Aus
#13
I'm with you Shane - the AD does a great job but I'm keen to move onto the KLA - seems a better long term bet.

Still - the AD is no slouch, and I never have had a problem with mine.
 

Stump

Well-Known Member
Jul 15, 2012
133
49
110
#14
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I have done about 80 LPs with the KLaudio.I like the small funnel as it stops you from over filling the machine.Be aware if the machine takes longer to start the clean process and makes a gargle noise it is running low on water.I guess it looses some water in the drying process.Still waiting for the adaptor for cleaning 10-7 inch records.For me to play a record without the KLaudio treatment just "Feels Dirty":cool:
Stump
 

Stump

Well-Known Member
Jul 15, 2012
133
49
110
#16
I have not compared the AD but have read the drying process sounds the same.I also have had a Nitty Gritty for a few years and noise is never a issue for me.So long as the machine does its job!
Stump
 

Johnny Vinyl

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
May 16, 2010
8,571
12
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Calgary, AB
#17
Why is noise a concern? It's not like you're listening at the same time...well, at least I don't. YMMV
 
Dec 1, 2013
66
0
0
Sydney, Aus
#18
Why is noise a concern? It's not like you're listening at the same time...well, at least I don't. YMMV
I have the AD running in the laundry which is adjacent to the living room where my hi fi is - it's not uncommon for me to be cleaning a disk while I am spinning another....I can just hear the AD, but it isn't a big deal..
 

Johnny Vinyl

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
May 16, 2010
8,571
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Calgary, AB
#19
I have the AD running in the laundry which is adjacent to the living room where my hi fi is - it's not uncommon for me to be cleaning a disk while I am spinning another....I can just hear the AD, but it isn't a big deal..
My Nitty Gritty is in the same room, hence the no music......If I do a cleaning session then I might have some flac files playing, but no vinyl.
 
Dec 1, 2013
66
0
0
Sydney, Aus
#20
Oh yes - the AD in the same room makes a dreadful racket - fortunately my place has a laundry that is well insulated :)
 

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