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Pilrem
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Record cleaning.

I have owned a VPI HW 16.5 RCM and now I own a Pro-Ject RCM. Both machines work good and produce good results. 2 years ago I attended an event at Ultra Fidelis in Milwaukee where Perfect Vinyl Forever's owner was on hand to demonstrate his record cleaning process. Impressive. The next week I took about 20 of my favorite records, all of which have been carefully cleaned by me on my RCM, to Ultra Fidelis to have the PVF super clean them. I was wondering what the improvement level could be, if any.

The results were that these records, that I thought were clean, now sounded better after the PVF cleaning. Not just a slightly noticeable incremental increase, but a jump to another level. If you are into vinyl and want to hear what is missing, I recommend PVF. Nice improvement in sound quality for little money. I tried to paste in a link but if it doesn't work, google them if you would like. They are located in Wauwatosa, WI. 

Perfect Vinyl Forever

 

 

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Thanks @Pilrem for the post. I’ve joined the forum to answer any questions the community may have regarding the optimization of records, regardless if it pertains to our cleaning services or not. We’ve led the industry in researching all facets of record care and how to extract more musical information from the groove of a record. We are happy to share what we’ve discovered.

If you haven’t used our services recently, we’ve released our new Archival 3.0 process in December of 2020. It truly breaks new ground in retrieving more musical information  from any vinyl record pressed since 1948.

Both @Richard Vandersteen and @Brad O have PVF Archival 3.0 treated copies of their reference setup album. They both speak favorably about the improvements in all facets of musical reproduction - spatial cues, detail, transients, decay, purity, noise reduction, etc.

-Steve Evans | Founder | Perfect Vinyl Forever

Vandy 3aSignatures, VLR-CTs. Only Vandersteens will ever be used at PVF.

www.perfectvinylforever.com

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I saw Pilrem‘s post late last night and was intrigued. (I had never seen PVF mentioned on any of the sites and I’ve been reading them for years.) I read through the PVF website and thought, why not, I’m gonna give it a whirl. So I placed an order for an Archival process 16 LP mailer. Looking forward to selecting the first 16 lps from the stacks and hearing the results.

John

Edited by jkmcc
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I'm not sure of your proprietary methods, but Jon raved about it to me also.  I had built an ultrasonic cleaner a few years ago when I was able to use vinyl still.  That alone worked wonders for all albums.  I know you do a few more thanks than a simple cleaning, so I'm sure that it's well worth it, especially for important albums.  Can't wait to hear everyone's feedback.  Thanks for posting.

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I have used Steve's services and can attest to the quality.  One note of caution; ultrasonic is widely accepted as the best method to clean records.  Reducing pops / clicks and improving the sound are the goals.  While it does a great job at both, be wary of expecting the former to be completely eliminated.  Some record noise comes from debris embedded in the grooves, which Steve's process will remove; but, some is also due to either damage or pressing defects.  

My copy of Sticky Fingers was never a dead quiet record, and it certainly is not the best recording quality.  While the PVF process did remove some of the noise, it also now sounds clearer and more transparent.  Highly recommended

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@Steve Edwards you raise a subtle but significant point. Records will never be completely void of surface noise. Surprisingly, it isn't the primary focus of PVF's outcomes. Enhancing the sonic presentation of the music when sourced from vinyl is the primary goal. Surface noise reduction is a close, yet secondary priority.

This starts to describe the benefits of our new Archival 3.0 process. We added to our industry leading ultrasonic technology with a four step pre-clean process. We first soak the records for 10 minutes in a cleaning solution designed for sonically enhancing the record by removing more manufacturing residue than possible with physical cleaning techniques alone. We rinse in ultra pure water then soak the records again for 10 minutes in a solution designed to reduce nearly all surface noise caused by contaminants on the record. After another rinse in ultra pure water then the records are ultrasonically cleaned, ultrasonically rinsed, dried in our triple filtered dryer and placed in top quality archival inner sleeves.

Even after 60 minutes of cleaning, records will not be completely silent. However your copy of that album will sound as good as it possibly can. 

If you want to learn more about our two service levels, use this link - https://www.perfectvinylforever.com/services

If you want to learn A LOT MORE - use this link - https://www.perfectvinylforever.com/journal/archival30

I'm happy to answer any record care questions you may have.

-SE

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I received my shipping box from PVF today, packed the 16 LPs into it and dropped it off at the post office. I have to say the box and its contents is a well considered production. Since this is the internet, I have included a few photos to give you an idea. Of course the box includes inner sleeves for the records and a return postage paid mailing label, but the four pieces of packing tape cut to the box’s size is a very nice touch.

Here is the list of LPs I’ve shipped off. Looking forward to listening to them again in a couple of weeks.

Alfred Brendel - Beethoven Piano Sonatas - Philips 1975
Budapest String Quartet - Beethoven Quartet 14, op131 - Columbia 1949 or early ‘50s I think
Oistrakh/Mitropoulos - Shostakovich Violin Concert op99 - Columbia 1956

John Coltrane - Impressions - this may be an Impulse re-issue from the ‘70s
Miles Davis - In a Silent Way - I think this may be an original release from 1969
Blossom Dearie - Blossom Dearie - Japanese mono re-issue
Herbie Hancock - My Point of View - new Blue Note Tone Poet re-issue
Sam Rivers - Contours -  new Blue Note Tone Poet re-issue

David Bowie - Station to Station - original release
Cat Power - The Greatest - original release
Brian Eno - Another Green World - original release
Jimi Hendrix - Axis Bold As Love - original stereo release
Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks - Last Train to Hicksville - original release
Hot Tuna - Hot Tuna - original release
John Lennon - Plastic Ono Band - original release
Rolling Stones - Their Satanic Majesties Request - The 3D cover indicates mono NP2, and I thought it was a mono lp original release - that’s why I included it. However its label indicates stereo NPS2, but I didn’t notice that until it was packed away in the box - I had taken a photo of that record since it was the first one in the box. Frankly I don’t play this record often. I do have another stereo re-issue of it. And now that I think about it, I wonder if the original mono lp was so thrashed that years ago I may have swapped it with a playable version, and held onto the cool cover. (Not exactly the Beatles butcher cover, but cool nevertheless.) Hmm. Well, I’ll try to figure that out in a couple of weeks.

John

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I’m sure like many of us, I have found as I have gotten older that I want to dive as deeply into other kinds of music as I dove into rock ‘n’ roll when I was a kid. As a matter fact, it occurred to me along the way that my way in to classical music was through the second movement of Beethoven’s seventh Symphony. In my humble opinion, not only is Beethoven the great god of western music he’s also the original godfather of rock ‘n’ roll.  I just know that if he had had access to an electric guitar and an amplifier and feedback, he would’ve put them to use!

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Classical is one genre I haven’t quite yet wrapped my arms around.  I own a fair share, purchased mostly from reviews that praised the recording quality, as well as the music.  Maybe because, as a child, I associated that music with uppity, high society folks, and we sure wasn’t one of ‘em!  Possibly, that notion still resides in the depth of my subconscious.  I have not given up, but I usually get bored with it. 

My tastes do venture well beyond rock n roll, but Beethoven with an electric guitar, amplifier and feedback?  I’m in!  .................  can we get Vinnie Colaiuta on the skins?

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@jkmcc Thank you for placing an order with Perfect Vinyl Forever. We await the arrival of your records.

Our general recommendation for those trying our services for the first time is to choose records in varying levels of condition. Out of 16 records, choose four challenged records with surface noise issues, choose four perfect records that you couldn't imagine being any better, then choose the final eight records that is comprised of music you know very well.

When using this strategy, after evaluative listening, you'll have a very good baseline of understanding of what PVF's cleaning processes can do to improve the sound of records and more importantly, what we can't do.

Thank you,

-Steve

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Thanks Steve, that's pretty much what I did with my order. Between the 65 or 70 year old classical lps that were my mothers and a handful of records from my misspent youth, I've presented you with some challenges. And, I'll be interested to hear how those Tone Poet releases can sound any better than they already do.

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On 2/13/2021 at 8:52 AM, Steve Edwards said:

Classical is one genre I haven’t quite yet wrapped my arms around . . .  I have not given up, but I usually get bored with it.

Steve E, I'd suggest Beethoven's 7th. That's how I found my way in. 40 minutes. Great tunes. Don't worry about the recording or the conductor; Beethoven is the genius here. Rock on, John

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  • 3 weeks later...

I received my cleaned LPs from PVF last weekend and have spent the time since listening to them as I've had to opportunity. My Sunday is coming to a close and I have to get up very early tomorrow, so I'll keep this brief.

I used their Archival process for the 16 LPs I sent.

Steve is correct that thrashed records will not be fully revived by this process. I doubt any process can save a record that's been misused over it's life; Their Satanic Majesties, a 70 year old CBS Masterworks, but, it was interesting to hear that the sonics beneath the noise were improved.

Great sounding records, like the two Blue Note Tone Poet issues that I sent, continue to sound great, even spectacular.

But I'd say the real eye openers are the standard LPs that have been collected and listened to and loved over the years that have been cared for and have always sounded fine; in my case, for example, Coltrane's Impressions, Lennon's Plastic Ono Band, Last Train to Hicksville, and several others, these records now sound fantastic. When I dropped the needle on India, the first track of Impressions, I thought, Wow! I've never heard it sound like this before. For my money, this appears to be PVF's wheelhouse; turning normal records into records that can sound akin to carefully remastered re-issues.

Is there still a little normal lp noise to be heard on these records? Yes. Records are still records and I doubt will ever be completely noise free, but the improvement in the overall sonics from this process is compelling. I've ordered a 16lp refill to do another round.

Best, John

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John, my experience mirrored yours to a tee.  While the reduction in surface noise was slight, the improvement in sonics (as you say, on standard LPs) was immediately noticeable.  One standout for me was Fleetwood Mac - Heroes Are Hard To Find.  My copy had been cleaned once on my Nitty Gritty and again on my VPI Cyclone.  When I got it back from PVF, it sounded better than ever.

I'm also compiling another list for my next shipment.  

Play on

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Thanks for the feedback @jkmcc! I was worried about how you'd review "Satanic Majesties" - it had substantial visible surface damage. But your comment regarding how you could hear the sound improve through the surface noise was spot on. If the record didn't have the extent of wear as that copy, many find some unlistenable albums become enjoyable again, despite the surface noise. We describe it as "elevating the music above the remaining surface noise".

Regarding the Tone Poets - yes, even very good sounding albums will sound significantly better. It becomes very noticeable when you can compare the PVF record to a new pressing. Actually, I'll let Mr. Tone Poet himself Joe Harley describe the difference - "It was quickly apparent to me that the PVF Archival 3.0 process had some notable advantages over my previously ultrasonically cleaned copies. Overall focus was better, the entire presentation having a more tactile and "real" sound. Dynamic contrast is another area where improvements over my previous cleaning method were noted. The entire listening experience was simply more immersive and enjoyable." One of the records he evaluated was his McCoy Tyner "Tender Moments", a record where he has heard the master tapes. To baseline the improvements of the Archival 3.0 process against the master tape and to earn the comments he shared is a high point is PVF's evolution.

@Steve Edwards I can't recall when the last time you've heard the results of our cleaning service. I'm pretty certain you haven't heard Archival 3.0 yet. I'm very glad you are happy with our previous efforts. I think you'll be very impressed with your next batch.

Thank you,

Steve "Will Clean Records for Kentos" Evans, Perfect Vinyl Forever LLC.

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  • 5 months later...
Since many new customers find out about our services from this thread, I thought it may be useful to provide periodic updates.
 
We joined Danny Kaey on his new YouTube channel SonicFlare for the first extended video interview shot within the main processing room at PVF. You can see the equipment and process brought to life for the first time (and see the madman behind all this PVF stuff). We have a series of deep-dive discussions regarding all topics of record optimization and care, so please subscribe to his channel for notifications of new episodes. Besides, despite his devotion to Wilson loudspeakers, Danny is a fresh voice with great perspectives on everything required to emotionally stir one’s soul with reproduced music.
 
 
Thanks everyone! Enjoy your music wholeheartedly!
 
-Steve Evans | Founder | Perfect Vinyl Forever
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