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  • TAS: Kirmuss Audio KA-RC-1 Ultimate Ultrasonic Vinyl Restoration System

    Kirmuss Audio KA-RC-1 Ultimate Ultrasonic Vinyl Restoration System
    - It Works With Time and Patience

    Equipment report
    by Andre Jennings

    "During AXPONA 2018, I was introduced to Kirmuss Audio’s KA-RC-1 Ultimate Ultrasonic Vinyl Restoration System. The $970 KA-RC-1 system incorporates ultrasonic cleaning in a more involved “vinyl-restoration” process, which Kirmuss Audio has developed. The restoration process is the subject of this review."

    The TAS Equipment Report is now online here: http://www.theabsolutesound.com/arti...ration-system/

    If you can devote the time and energy needed to get the best of this restoration process, you should seek out a demo and give the KA-RC-1 vinyl restoration system a try. It works, if you have the time and patience to use it properly.
    Last edited by Dre_J; 12-14-2020, 08:30 PM.
    **************************************************
    Every day is a good day to play analog.
    - 12" 33-1/3 RPM or 45 RPM vinyl
    - 10.5" 15ips or 30ips tape
    **************************************************
    Every day is a good day for live music.
    **************************************************

  • #2
    I bought the Upscale Audio version of the Kirmuss machine and it does a very fine job of cleaning LPs. I also currently own the VPI MW-1 vacuum cleaner and a cheap NItty Gritty type marhine that I use to clean brushes. The Kirmuss does a superior job of cleaning LPs to all other machines I have tried.

    The Upscale Audio version of the Kirmuss comes with three 12" slots for cleaning up to 3 LPs at a time plus one 7 inch slot for a 45 RPM single at the same time as the three LPs.

    Using the ultrasonic cleaner isn't something to do while you are listening. It requires that you spend some time with the machine and your LPs to thoroughly clean the LPs.

    I cleaned a Warner/Pioneer copy of Queen's first LP and after 7 passes I thought it was clean. I played that LP and the stylus still cleaned gunk from the grooves. There was a lump of a white substance built up on the stylus after playing one side.

    There was something in the grooves that only the ultrasonic cleaner could soften. I cleaned that LP with my MW-1 very carefully. It will take further passes with the Kirmuss to clean up that LP but the results are a very quiet LP and better low level resolution.

    It is an education on what is in our LP grooves. No matter how clean you think your LPs are, there is a chance that if you don't ultrasonically clean the LP you will leave something behind. It would be interesting to see what is in there with a high power microscope.

    I am still learning and trying different combinations of vacuum and ultrasonic cleaning to find what works best. It will be an interesting ride.

    Ed
    Life is analog...digital is just samples thereof
    https://www.edsstuff.org

    Analog: Walnut VPI Prime TT, HRX Pulley + 3 Belt Drive + ADS, Dual Pivot Assy, Tru Lift, HW-40 Feet
    Analog 2: Ortofon Windfeld Ti + Bob's Devices VPI Sky 30 Stepup + Liberty Audio B2B-1, Stereo Squares Dust Cover, Wayne's Audio Peripheral Ring
    Analog Care: VPI MW-1, Kirmuss KA-RC-1, Record Doctor V, Hunt EDA VI Brush, AQ Brush, Discwasher Record Care Kit
    Digital: TASCAM UH-7000 USB Interface, Pioneer Elite DV-47Ai Universal Disc Player, NAD C448 Internet Radio/Streamer
    Digital 2: Digital Audio Workstation (Toshiba P75-A7200 w/MS Windows 10, 24GB RAM, 1.5 TB Crucial MX300 SSD Internal Storage, Intel i7-4700MQ Processor)

    Amp: Rogue RP-9 Line Preamp, Schiit Loki Tone Ctrls, Parasound A21 Power Amp
    Speakers: Magnepan MMC2, REL T9/i Subwoofer
    Headphones: Stax SR L700 MkII + Woo Audio GES, Focal Clear + Schiit Lyr 2, Stax Lambda Pro + SRM1 Mk II
    Wires: Kimber Hero ICs, Kimber 8TC Speaker Cables, AQ Leopard Phono IC, Pangea Silver USB Cables, StraightWire Expressivo ICs
    Power: Furman Elite 15 PFi

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks Andre for a really thorough review. Think it took me as long to read as it probably did for you to clean one of the records. 😉 It’s just too bad the Kirmuss machine will be reserved for your few special LPs. Doesn’t seem like something a record store could use.

      I am curious about the white substance though. Once encountered something that with this LAST like record cleaning solution made in Canada years ago. Could these albums been treated with LAST?

      I’ve also occasionally encountered some white substance gunking up using stylus the KL Audio (mainly with the Atlas cartridge). Is the machine removing a mold release compound or maybe record plasticizer somehow!
      Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
      Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
      ________________________________________

      -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
      -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
      -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
      -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
      -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
      -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
      -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
      -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
      -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
      -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by EdAInWestOC View Post
        I bought the Upscale Audio version of the Kirmuss machine and it does a very fine job of cleaning LPs. I also currently own the VPI MW-1 vacuum cleaner and a cheap NItty Gritty type marhine that I use to clean brushes. The Kirmuss does a superior job of cleaning LPs to all other machines I have tried.

        The Upscale Audio version of the Kirmuss comes with three 12" slots for cleaning up to 3 LPs at a time plus one 7 inch slot for a 45 RPM single at the same time as the three LPs.

        Using the ultrasonic cleaner isn't something to do while you are listening. It requires that you spend some time with the machine and your LPs to thoroughly clean the LPs.

        I cleaned a Warner/Pioneer copy of Queen's first LP and after 7 passes I thought it was clean. I played that LP and the stylus still cleaned gunk from the grooves. There was a lump of a white substance built up on the stylus after playing one side.

        There was something in the grooves that only the ultrasonic cleaner could soften. I cleaned that LP with my MW-1 very carefully. It will take further passes with the Kirmuss to clean up that LP but the results are a very quiet LP and better low level resolution.

        It is an education on what is in our LP grooves. No matter how clean you think your LPs are, there is a chance that if you don't ultrasonically clean the LP you will leave something behind. It would be interesting to see what is in there with a high power microscope.

        I am still learning and trying different combinations of vacuum and ultrasonic cleaning to find what works best. It will be an interesting ride.

        Ed
        Hi Ed,

        Are you using Kirmuss' latest restoration "procedure" or are you just using the machine and trying different combinations as mentioned in the last sentance?

        Dre

        **************************************************
        Every day is a good day to play analog.
        - 12" 33-1/3 RPM or 45 RPM vinyl
        - 10.5" 15ips or 30ips tape
        **************************************************
        Every day is a good day for live music.
        **************************************************

        Comment


        • EdAInWestOC
          EdAInWestOC commented
          Editing a comment
          Dre,
          I was using the Kirmuss procedure but I also started experimenting with combining the ultrasonic cleaner with my VPI MW-1. I ordered 3 extra pickup tube assemblies (not just the clear tubes, the whole assembly so it will be easy to change out the tubes) and a few platter mats to use in the MW-1. The idea is to employ the vacuum cleaner to do what it does best with the ultrasonic cleaner.

          The final step where you dry the LP with the opticians cloth seems a bit backwards to me. If I had a very clean vacuum machine available, the final step might be improved. Or at least that's the theory.

          I also ordered a number of opticians cloths.

          I have noted the weakness where lots of gunk builds up on the pickup tube felt pads on the MW-1. If that was kept very clean, would it be better than trying to drying the LP manually with cloths that can also push around dirt?

          Maybe there is an advantage to employing both types of cleaners to do what they do best.

          Ed

        • Dre_J
          Dre_J commented
          Editing a comment
          Ed, Thanks for the clarification.

        • kensell21
          kensell21 commented
          Editing a comment
          @EdAlnWestOC I use a ultrasonic machine and I dry/vacuum off with a Loricraft.. But I’m interested in Kirmuss method.. I do find the drying off with a cloth a bit of a backwards step

      • #5
        Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post
        Thanks Andre for a really thorough review. Think it took me as long to read as it probably did for you to clean one of the records. 😉 It’s just too bad the Kirmuss machine will be reserved for your few special LPs. Doesn’t seem like something a record store could use.

        I am curious about the white substance though. Once encountered something that with this LAST like record cleaning solution made in Canada years ago. Could these albums been treated with LAST?

        I’ve also occasionally encountered some white substance gunking up using stylus the KL Audio (mainly with the Atlas cartridge). Is the machine removing a mold release compound or maybe record plasticizer somehow!
        Hi Myles,

        With used LPs, anything is possible. It is unlikely we would know how (or if) an LP was cleaned. In the case of LAST, sometimes there is a sticker on the label that gives a clue. In this case with the Mahler LPs, there was no indication. Since that was the case, I don’t know how the LP was cleaned in the past or if it was treated with LAST.

        I can say that I have other LPs that were treated with LAST and never saw any residue pulled from the grooves by the stylus. So, if that’s any indication, LAST by itself may be an unlikely reason for the residue.

        After a lot of testing and investigation, the issue I identified is/was based on the second shorter interval cleaning procedure needing a longer final ultrasonic cycle.

        On the TAS website where the report is online, a person in the comment section below the review asked me if I thought the residue was from the anti-bacterial/anti-static solution. Below is my response to that question:

        That is a possibility.

        In the report, I mentioned frequently checking the Kirmuss website for manual and process updates. My reason for suggesting this was the rapid changes over the past two years of the cleaning process Kirmuss refines and uses. With the addition of the two-minute cycles, I observed the issue with the residue.

        In my testing and evaluation, I identified the way to remove this issue (in my case) was to lengthen the final rinse cycle of the two-minute process to five-minutes after one is sure the process is followed and there is no toothpaste-like material in the cleaning/restoration process as defined in the instructions. Making this adjustment allowed the removal of the issue I noticed with the two-minute process.

        I believe the final rinse needed to be longer in the two-minute restoration cycle.

        While not shown in the posting of this review, in TAS issue 304 (where the report is in print) on page 113 of the manufacturer comments, Kirmuss Audio mentioned acknowledging my observation and say they have adjusted the process to recommend a final five-minute rinse regardless of the cleaning cycle chosen.



        Dre
        **************************************************
        Every day is a good day to play analog.
        - 12" 33-1/3 RPM or 45 RPM vinyl
        - 10.5" 15ips or 30ips tape
        **************************************************
        Every day is a good day for live music.
        **************************************************

        Comment


        • #6
          Originally posted by Dre_J View Post

          Hi Myles,

          With used LPs, anything is possible. It is unlikely we would know how (or if) an LP was cleaned. In the case of LAST, sometimes there is a sticker on the label that gives a clue. In this case with the Mahler LPs, there was no indication. Since that was the case, I don’t know how the LP was cleaned in the past or if it was treated with LAST.

          I can say that I have other LPs that were treated with LAST and never saw any residue pulled from the grooves by the stylus. So, if that’s any indication, LAST by itself may be an unlikely reason for the residue.

          After a lot of testing and investigation, the issue I identified is/was based on the second shorter interval cleaning procedure needing a longer final ultrasonic cycle.

          On the TAS website where the report is online, a person in the comment section below the review asked me if I thought the residue was from the anti-bacterial/anti-static solution. Below is my response to that question:

          That is a possibility.

          In the report, I mentioned frequently checking the Kirmuss website for manual and process updates. My reason for suggesting this was the rapid changes over the past two years of the cleaning process Kirmuss refines and uses. With the addition of the two-minute cycles, I observed the issue with the residue.

          In my testing and evaluation, I identified the way to remove this issue (in my case) was to lengthen the final rinse cycle of the two-minute process to five-minutes after one is sure the process is followed and there is no toothpaste-like material in the cleaning/restoration process as defined in the instructions. Making this adjustment allowed the removal of the issue I noticed with the two-minute process.

          I believe the final rinse needed to be longer in the two-minute restoration cycle.

          While not shown in the posting of this review, in TAS issue 304 (where the report is in print) on page 113 of the manufacturer comments, Kirmuss Audio mentioned acknowledging my observation and say they have adjusted the process to recommend a final five-minute rinse regardless of the cleaning cycle chosen.



          Dre
          Thanks Andre!
          Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
          Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
          ________________________________________

          -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
          -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
          -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
          -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
          -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
          -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
          -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
          -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
          -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
          -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

          Comment


          • #7
            Dre,
            I have come up with a cleaning routine that I think might work.
            1. Start with a vacuum cleaning using MoFi Super Record Wash
              1. Before starting ensure that the pickup tube felt strips are clean
              2. Clean by spraying with distilled water and vacuum off felt strips using Nitty Gritty type cleaning machine
              3. The first cleaning is necessary to remove any excess dirt, not wanted in ultrasonic cleaner bath
            2. Place LP in Kirmuss KA-RC-1 and give 1 - 5 minute cycle
            3. Ultrasonically clean using 3-5 minute cycles in Kirmuss KA-RC-1
              1. Step 2 is subject to revision following testing and will likely be revised based on experience
            4. Change the VPI MW-1 pickup tube (to a clean tube) and place clean mat on turntable
            5. Vacuum each side of the ultrasonically cleaned LP, changing pickup tube and platter mat when switching to alternate side
            The routine above requires at least 3 VPI MW-1 pickup tubes and 2 platter mats. Each time the MW-1 pickup tube is used, the felt strips should be sprayed with clean distilled water and vacuum cleaned. The vacuum cleaning can be done with any shop vac or Nitty Gritty type machine.

            I have an old Record Doctor vacuum cleaner, which is a Nitty Gritty type machine with a slot opening facing upward. This allows cleaning of the VPI pickup tubes and any brushes used in cleaning.

            If you have any concerns or pointers please let me know and I will incorporate any changes that prove helpful.

            Ed
            Life is analog...digital is just samples thereof
            https://www.edsstuff.org

            Analog: Walnut VPI Prime TT, HRX Pulley + 3 Belt Drive + ADS, Dual Pivot Assy, Tru Lift, HW-40 Feet
            Analog 2: Ortofon Windfeld Ti + Bob's Devices VPI Sky 30 Stepup + Liberty Audio B2B-1, Stereo Squares Dust Cover, Wayne's Audio Peripheral Ring
            Analog Care: VPI MW-1, Kirmuss KA-RC-1, Record Doctor V, Hunt EDA VI Brush, AQ Brush, Discwasher Record Care Kit
            Digital: TASCAM UH-7000 USB Interface, Pioneer Elite DV-47Ai Universal Disc Player, NAD C448 Internet Radio/Streamer
            Digital 2: Digital Audio Workstation (Toshiba P75-A7200 w/MS Windows 10, 24GB RAM, 1.5 TB Crucial MX300 SSD Internal Storage, Intel i7-4700MQ Processor)

            Amp: Rogue RP-9 Line Preamp, Schiit Loki Tone Ctrls, Parasound A21 Power Amp
            Speakers: Magnepan MMC2, REL T9/i Subwoofer
            Headphones: Stax SR L700 MkII + Woo Audio GES, Focal Clear + Schiit Lyr 2, Stax Lambda Pro + SRM1 Mk II
            Wires: Kimber Hero ICs, Kimber 8TC Speaker Cables, AQ Leopard Phono IC, Pangea Silver USB Cables, StraightWire Expressivo ICs
            Power: Furman Elite 15 PFi

            Comment


            • shawnwes
              shawnwes commented
              Editing a comment
              Pre-clean on a vacuum unit such as Okki-Nokki using your choice of cleaning elixir followed by ultrasonic cleaning then vacuum dried should about cover it generally.
              I could see the multi cleanings helping with a particularly dirty album, even a brand new one. I once had to clean a brand new album, Shelby Lynne's "Just a Little Lovin' ", 6 times to get all of the pressing grunge out of the grooves.

            • EdAInWestOC
              EdAInWestOC commented
              Editing a comment
              What I described above is a restoration routine. I am too lazy to do something like this each time I play a LP. That would take all the fun out of listening.

              When I pull an already cleaned LP off the shelf, I use the VPI MW-1 vacuum cleaner with MoFi Super Record Wash. Sometimes I'm even too lazy for that and if it was recently cleaned I used the Hunt brush and carefully brush it off. Follow up that with the Zerostat plus a blast of compressed air to remove any stray dust.

            • Steve Lefkowicz
              Steve Lefkowicz commented
              Editing a comment
              BTW, something like a Record Doctor, Nitty Gritty or the Pro-Ject VC-S, that doesn't use a platter, eliminates the need to change mats for each side. I can take a thoroughly soaked LP from the Spin Clean and dry or rewash/dry on the Pro-Ject no problem. Did that with a Record Doctor V before that too. The Spin Clean+Record Doctor makes for a very effective yet quite reasonably priced cleaning system.

          • #8
            Originally posted by EdAInWestOC View Post
            Dre,
            I have come up with a cleaning routine that I think might work.
            1. Start with a vacuum cleaning using MoFi Super Record Wash
              1. Before starting ensure that the pickup tube felt strips are clean
              2. Clean by spraying with distilled water and vacuum off felt strips using Nitty Gritty type cleaning machine
              3. The first cleaning is necessary to remove any excess dirt, not wanted in ultrasonic cleaner bath
            2. Place LP in Kirmuss KA-RC-1 and give 1 - 5 minute cycle
            3. Ultrasonically clean using 3-5 minute cycles in Kirmuss KA-RC-1
              1. Step 2 is subject to revision following testing and will likely be revised based on experience
            4. Change the VPI MW-1 pickup tube (to a clean tube) and place clean mat on turntable
            5. Vacuum each side of the ultrasonically cleaned LP, changing pickup tube and platter mat when switching to alternate side
            The routine above requires at least 3 VPI MW-1 pickup tubes and 2 platter mats. Each time the MW-1 pickup tube is used, the felt strips should be sprayed with clean distilled water and vacuum cleaned. The vacuum cleaning can be done with any shop vac or Nitty Gritty type machine.

            I have an old Record Doctor vacuum cleaner, which is a Nitty Gritty type machine with a slot opening facing upward. This allows cleaning of the VPI pickup tubes and any brushes used in cleaning.

            If you have any concerns or pointers please let me know and I will incorporate any changes that prove helpful.

            Ed
            Hi Ed,

            For clarity only: I'd like to mention that my TAS equipment report of the Kirmuss unit was based on and in-line with Kirmuss Audio's full procedure: including the system preparation, complete restoration process, and equipment cleanup. This process is recommended to be completed within one days' time so there is no fluid in the RCM overnight.

            With that said, I know there are (and will always be) individuals that use the RCM differently from Kirmuss Audio's official procedure. I'm sure Kirmuss audio doesn't agree with that practice. However, things happen.

            Looking at your personal process, it looks like you are using another machine in step 1 to do a pre-clean; which could be to remove excess dirt or loose items before doing the Kirmuss restoration process in step 2/3. (Ed, Are you using the full and most recent restoration procedure during the Kirmuss steps? If so, this would dictate how many cycles you would have to use based on visual feedback of the results as you work through the Kirmuss process steps instead of selecting 3 as the number.) In Step 4/5 it looks like you are deciding to forgo the microfiber cloth drying process in favor of using vacuum. (I think Kirmuss has a Q&A section on the website where he gives his thoughts on vacuum drying LPs vs. using his process. Note: I said these are his thoughts, not mine.)

            Dre
            **************************************************
            Every day is a good day to play analog.
            - 12" 33-1/3 RPM or 45 RPM vinyl
            - 10.5" 15ips or 30ips tape
            **************************************************
            Every day is a good day for live music.
            **************************************************

            Comment


            • EdAInWestOC
              EdAInWestOC commented
              Editing a comment
              The step 1 pre-cleaning using the VPI MW-1 seems like a good way to get rid of dirt that would otherwise contaminate the Kirmuss bath prematurely. At least that's the intention.

              The drying step is using the same VPI MW-1 with newly cleaned pickup tubes. It always seemed to me that the problem with all vacuum machines were the pickup tube felt strips getting dirty. I bought extra pickup tube assemblies that can be quickly changed. I also bought extra platter mats to eliminate any dirt being transferred from that surface.

              I doubt that the manual process of rubbing the LP with a optician's cloth is any better and could be less effective depending on the environment being worked in. I never cared for manually cleaning LPs because it seemed to have too many pitfalls as far as transferring dirt is concerned.

              That is why I bought the extra pickup tubes for the VPI machine, so I could keep those felt strips in pristine condition.

              NOTE: My prejudice against manually drying the LP is born out of many years of trying to properly clean LPs using manual processes.

              Ed

            • kensell21
              kensell21 commented
              Editing a comment
              Myles, I think I agree. As I mention earlier in a comment, I’m fortunate to have a Loricraft so I don’t have an issue with tubes.. I also elevate the vinyl off the platter slightly and then use a TT weight so I don’t have to change the mat.

            • Dre_J
              Dre_J commented
              Editing a comment
              Thanks Ed.

              I was asking if you had used the most recent full restoration procedure. Based on your response, I think the answer may be no. In any event, it appears you are finding a way to use the hardware to your personal preference.

              Dre
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