Everyone who buys records in markets and record shops or second hand shops knows how important it is to clean the records. Even brand new records need cleaning. This may seem over the top as the new records appear to be clean. However, they only appear to be clean. If you look at the surface of the records under a microscope you can see tiny dust particles as well as a smeary-fatty layer. The dust particles are easily removed with the well known mixture of 70% distilled water (somewhat better than this, but more expensive and harder to attain if you do not work in a hospital: Ampuwa) and 30% Isopropanol (100% pure) and a drop of dish wash liquid. The smeary-fatty layer cannot, however, be removed with this mixture. This layer is a seperating agent produced during the production. I was ensured in many discussions that this can be removed with Ethanol. The disadvantage: Ethanol is flammable and it must be applied several times to remove the seperating agent completely.
The swiss company Audiotop has produced a series of cleaning detergents for hifi purposes. This company has been producing these industrial cleaning detergents for a long time and therefore has the necessary know how. The products are not just random mixtures of fluids, they are cleaning detergents that have been optimized for their specific purpose.
I myself have experienced the amazing cleaning effect of Vinyl1. All the dirt including the seperating agents are removed in a single cleaning session. The price of 110 Euro for a liter is rather pricy but this is made up for by the fact that the same result would need repeated cleaning with Ethanol which costs 180 Euro for a liter.
How audible is the result? After cleaning with the usual methods everything sounds more precise and calm and the low frequencies are fuller, the middle frequencies are smoother and the high frequencies subtler and a better overall listening quality is created containing more details and information than before. But cleaned with Vinyl1 the same thing happens once again. I never thought that it could be possible, but it really is like this: the previously cleaned record (with a normal detergent) sounds as if it had not before been washed. I have to admit that the quality of improvement is also related to the quality of the system. However, there is an undeniable improvement when cleaned with Vinyl1 which is instantly audible.
A further improvement with a higher resolution and vitality is possible by using Vinyl2. This relaxes the surface of the record. The surface deformations caused by seperating agents, water and alcohol are reduced and the diamond glides more easily in the record groove. This is, according to Audiotop, accomplished by a gas in the carrier substance which reduces the deformation of the record surface.
At this point there a few critical words to be said. I have had alot to do with chemistry and physics in the past and I think this explanation is not very feasable. A deteriorated gas is not capable of reducing deformations of such a stable material such a vinyl. After consulting with two chemists they agreed with this. It is much more likely that the deterioration of the gas causes the vinyl to cool down whereby the surface becomes more resistant to the movements of the stylus. Therefore even the finest groove modulations can be sensed. The company "Last" created such a fluid years ago and in my school time I heard the suggestion of putting the record in the refrigerator before listening to it.*
The treatment with Vinyl2 does not achieve such an obvious improvement as after cleaning with Vinyl1. Cleaning with Vinyl1 is a must. Vinyl2 costs 87 Euro and this is in my opinion not cheap, however, for those who want to get everything there is out of their record and have a system which can accomplish this: Vinyl2 is the answer. And that has never come cheap in the high end scene.
Audiotop presents Vinyl1 and Vinyl2, two products which work harmoniously together and are the best cleaning fluids that are attainable for treating LP's. Vinyl1 is expensive but it's worth it!