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Tips for, or experience with, a Pro-ject VC-S2 (or similar RCM)?


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Got my new S2-ALU up and running yesterday, I've run 4 or 5 records through it and made some learnings already, so I thought I would ask for any tips in regard to using this RCM.  Appreciate there are long threads on RCMs elsewhere, so happy for pointers to those, but they are a long read, much of it covering other RCMs.

I've already learnt that vacuuming in both direction makes a significant difference for this device, and have some other specific questions (as well as happily accepting others experience!):

  • the felt pads on the vacuum tube are in contact with the record, so seem critical. How often do people change those?  Any problems with grit sticking etc.?
  • the goat hair brush is also in contact and will pick up dirt with the cleaning solution, what do people do about that? Also, it gets wet fairly quick. Does that matter?  Too many records at once or too much cleaning solution or just the way it is?
  • the lower platter is not perfectly flat and I haven't managed to adjust the screw that holds to make it so. Spindle seems vertical, anyone else find this? Solution?  Doesn't seem to really matter as the vacuum sucks the record to it despite the wobble anyway.

I know there are better machines out there, but they can be 4x the price or more (which I cannot justify) and my first experience with this one and some old dirty records is very positive, so I'm pretty happy so far. I keep expecting noise and crackles in specific places that no longer exist!

Edited by Solanum
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You post an interesting topic. I too will be interested in the replies to this thread. Albeit, I'm not sure it is in the right area of the forum??

I recently demoed a Ultra Sonic Kirmuss RCM. Very interesting results vs. my old VPI 16.5 ( vacuum machine). The Kirmuss was definitely better in getting the LP cleaner ( and therefore quieter), although I did NOT use the 'Kirmuss' method. ( a long winded and time consuming process). US cleaning is IMO definitely superior to vacuuming, only problem is the cost of the available machines. The Kirmuss was ultimately discounted, as it does have an issue with slot coding of the records, potentially leading to vinyl damage! 

The VC-S2 is certainly way more pocket book friendly.

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27 minutes ago, Daveyf said:

The Kirmuss was ultimately discounted, as it does have an issue with slot coding of the records, potentially leading to vinyl damage! 

Could you explain this? I have a Kirmuss RCM.

Sorry for the hijack. I'll keep it brief.

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Sorry, should read loading…not coding. I had a couple of issues with the record slipping off the guide and rotating at an angle, leading to some damage. This was luckily not on any valuable vinyl, but still a factor that would lead me to my conclusion 

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3 hours ago, Daveyf said:

Sorry, should read loading…not coding. I had a couple of issues with the record slipping off the guide and rotating at an angle, leading to some damage. This was luckily not on any valuable vinyl, but still a factor that would lead me to my conclusion 

Thank you. A google search for "Slot Coding" taught me more about slot machines than I needed to know. Hijack over. :D

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9 hours ago, Daveyf said:

You post an interesting topic. I too will be interested in the replies to this thread. Albeit, I'm not sure it is in the right area of the forum??

Yeah, I thought about the wider forum and it could be moved there I guess, but there have been other RCM threads here and the Linn nook is my community, I'm scared of the big wide hifi world out there! 😁

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  • Solanum changed the title to Tips for, or experience with, a Pro-ject VC-S2 (or similar RCM)?

I use an Okki Nokki but as far  as I'm aware the principles are very similar. A clean work flow is essential. To your questions first:

1  On the ON The felt pads are sticky backed and replaceable. The "Moth" ones available on ebay fit. I don't know if the Project ones  are the same. I do 50 records before replacement.

2  The brush supplied with the ON is rubbish and I suspect the Project one to be of similar quality. Brushes are very important  - I've tried many, settled on the Keith Monks. It's expensive but it works.

3  This could be a Project specific issue. On the ON the suction in effect lifts the disk off the platter to the arm anyway so not an issue (we are talking a microscopic lift).

General points for use with these types of machines:

a  Cut out a disk from thin polymer sheet nd use it as a mat for the platter. Mark one side 'dirty' and keep this side face up. Clean Record side A first with the 'mat' in place and then remove the mat before cleaning side B. If you don't do this then you will always be placing a cleaned side onto a dirty platter. When batch cleaning  - do all the side As and then all the Bs.

b  Get some 20ml artist bottles (squeeze ones)  that you can use to transfer fluid from bulk to the record surface.

c  I've found a rinse step essential. I use purified water - Halfords Battery Water is sufficient. Use a cleaning brush and a rinsing brush  - not just one brush!

d  On the ON the arm is prone to leaving a drip at the end of the suction run. The way to avoid this is to run for a side and a half, lift, wipe the slot with suction running and then run for another side and a half. It will be drip free every time!

e  Fluids are an endless point of discussion. I use 50:50 Bioethanol:Water and add 5 drips of Ilfotol per litre of mix. My Bioethanol is high content - over 98%.

f  Never use fluid twice!!!!!

g  Drying rack:  I use an Ikea Dish Rack. I find that a side is dry within 10 minutes.

h  Clean Sleeves  - a new one every time

i  Anti Static:  I treat all records to a dose of the antistatic gun before sleeving them

j  Do not try to batch process too many records in one go. I find that 15 records takes approximately 2 hours (4 mins a side on the actual machine) the rest is set up , break down etc.

Finally, accept that this is like painting a large road bridge - if you ever do get to the end then it will be time to start again! (I'm always about half way through the collection)!!

I'm a microbiologist with a background in contamination control. I've also done a lot of wet darkroom printing. Record Cleaning uses exactly the same principles. The above is not a guarantee, just a guide - it's more guide to the mind set that is necessary!

Enjoy - it is worth it!

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29 minutes ago, Dasher said:

Cut out a disk from thin polymer sheet nd use it as a mat for the platter. Mark one side 'dirty' and keep this side face up. Clean Record side A first with the 'mat' in place and then remove the mat before cleaning side B. If you don't do this then you will always be placing a cleaned side onto a dirty platter

Took me a minute to understand why you did this, until I compared the ON to the Pro-Ject and realised the ON actually does have a full size platter, whereas the VCS just has a label sized platter.

’troll

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Wow, thanks for that @Dasher, lots to consider.

I have been wondering about a rinse, tried it, but not enough times to decide yet. I have deionised water at work (better than shop bought demin I expect) so can use that for diluting cleaning agent and rinse.

Your b is handy, been wondering what to get. Your a & d not problems with this unit luckily. 

Don't worry, I don't expect to ever get through my whole collection! 

As a microbiologist, do you do it all in a laminar flow? 😉

Thanks again! 

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53 minutes ago, Moomintroll said:

Took me a minute to understand why you did this, until I compared the ON to the Pro-Ject and realised the ON actually does have a full size platter, whereas the VCS just has a label sized platter.

Ah! Wasn't aware of this - yes, that is the reason.

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1 hour ago, Solanum said:

Wow, thanks for that @Dasher, lots to consider.

I have been wondering about a rinse, tried it, but not enough times to decide yet. I have deionised water at work (better than shop bought demin I expect) so can use that for diluting cleaning agent and rinse.

Your b is handy, been wondering what to get. Your a & d not problems with this unit luckily. 

Don't worry, I don't expect to ever get through my whole collection! 

As a microbiologist, do you do it all in a laminar flow? 😉

Thanks again! 

The Halfords stuff is deionised. To be honest I have small steam locomotives and have invested in a (cheap) still - so I use double distilled for everything. The rinse step I found to be essential (and yes, I was hoping to get away without it)!

Funny you should mention Laminar flow - I did actually consider it! What I do have though is linear air flow (kitchen extractor) - This is necessary when using ethanol for a couple of hours - but I do try to keep air driven particles to a minimum, yes.

It is possible to get overly anal about the whole process (and I probably do) but at the end one is trying to remove crud and then get it away without recontamination. If you think in those terms then the process will work. I should have added above that I batch process and when doing so I try to do all 'new' records in one batch, all charity stuff records batched, etc. - so that I keep the more contaminated stuff away from the 'expected to be relatively clean' stuff.

Edited by Dasher
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Has someone already said, get it absolutely level?

for applying the fluid I use a spray gun, I found over time i have got better at covering the whole surface with very little of the mix. So the fluid goes further.  But getting a covering on the whole disk is quicker.

The point aBout batches was useful to me, the more I did the better rhythm I got when I did it.

Edited by callen24returns
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