WITH THE VINYL REVIVAL, THE PURCHASE OF THE ESSENTIAL CARE ACCESSORIES OF OUR RECORDER AND DISC HAPPENS. WE TRY THE NEW AFFORDABLE WASHING MACHINE OF PRO-JECT, WHICH PROMISES A FAST AND EFFICIENT CLEANING AND DRYING OF OUR DISCS.
The Pro-Ject certainly could not be missing from this segment of the vinyl market. Its range includes three disc washers, the classic hand brush, a disposable, soft needle and disc cleaner and two brush strokes on the end for permanent installation on the turntable and on-the-fly cleaning.
Of the three washers, two are plugged in and equipped with a liquid suction pump and motor for rotating the disc, while the third is fully manual and much cheaper. The relevant market is full of cleaning products in various combinations and in a wide range of prices.
There are, for example, affordable hand-held washing machines that are connected to our vacuum cleaner instead of their own pump, but they clean both sides at the same time and some very expensive ones even use ultrasound to dissolve the dirt that has settled over the years, deep in the grooves. our discs.
The main goal of all this is to reduce the excessive surface noise that can become annoying during reproduction, stimulating the resolution and dynamics. A critical point is the type of cleaning liquid, with the presence of alcohol in small quantities considered suspicious for causing damage to the vinyl.
Also, these liquids sometimes leave residues on the disc that can alter its tonal quality. Usually a few toys are enough to leave, sometimes we need to rinse them with distilled water to remove them. Even washing machines, that is, do not evade the laws of hi-fi, where many solutions “for good” may, in the end, work to the detriment of sound quality.
It all depends on how well something is designed and clearly the dishwashers are one of the most troublesome to perfect. The VC-E of our test is clearly well designed, to the standards of the larger VC-S2 Alu, however it started to be produced with a small construction foul that soon emerged in foreign forums.
It was fortunately something very simple, which resulted from the “shrinking” of the device from the full-size VC-S2 Alu to the almost half-size VC-E. These two washing machines are otherwise almost the same, with the larger model having a five-capacity tank and an aluminum club instead of plastic. What had happened;
The hole for ventilation and emptying of the tank “moved” from the large side to the lid of the smaller model, unfortunately under the vinyl to be cleaned, so water vapor from it could “contaminate” the side we just cleaned.
The solution was simple and is a simple plastic, transparent disc that goes under the vinyl and protects it. We found it in the package along with a goat bristle brush, 100ml Wash It cleaning liquid as well as an empty 500ml bottle with 12 grades (roughly 40ml each) to mix the cleaning liquid with distilled water.
The only thing is that there is no accuracy through a scale or dispenser in Wash It if you want to prepare small amounts of mixture, for large ones it is obviously OK.
The construction of the unit includes a chassis of aluminum and polyethylene sandwiches (4 mm polymer core with 0.4 mm aluminum outer and inner lining) and an impressive metal arm for absorption, with velvet strips for friction with the sliding disc .
The axis of rotation of the discs provides adjustable height, which is necessary if we want to clean thick, audiophile vinyls or some very thin ones, in order to maintain the optimal pressure between the disc and the suction arm.
Wash It cleanser is custom, non-toxic and non-flammable, does not contain alcohol and leaves no residue, according to the manufacturer. It is sold in various sizes, with the small 100ml that accompanies the VC-E covering about 135 discs (for a mixture of 6-8ml per side).
Mix it with distilled water in a ratio of 1:10 for the dirtiest vinyls and 1:20 for the standard ones or if we have heated it in the microwave (<40˚C) so it becomes more effective.
Place the disc on the shaft, fix it with the clamp that also keeps the label dry, spread the small amount on the side (better to divide in 4-5 areas) and start the motor, spreading the liquid and pressing vertically with the large brush to goes everywhere and deep.
Two complete rotations, one normal and one upside down, are enough for cleaning – of course it does not hurt to let it turn more times – so we stop it and let the liquid act for a few seconds. Then place the bracket on the disc (by design it has two lock positions at the level of the disc, one on the disc and one outside it, at other points of its path it is about 1 cm from the disc) and start the pump for to absorb fluids.
Again, two reverse rotations are enough, so we turn off the pump and, finally, leave some moments for the residues to evaporate completely. It is advisable to remove the arm just before the pump stops completely (before we can not because it pulls), to avoid the little moisture that would otherwise remain on the vinyl at the point of friction.
Wash It evaporates as easily as the mixture with distilled water so the level of the tank rises slightly with use. The ventilation hole must therefore be uncovered to prevent evaporation. From the same hole we obviously empty the 500ml tank but very sparsely.
In fact, in the VC-S2 Alu model with the 2.5 liter tank, Pro-Ject tells us that we will never have to empty it! We cleaned heavy vinyls without much dirt with noticeable gains in cleanliness, the transitions became more lively and the space between the instruments opened a little more. It was not day and night of course but obviously for anyone who knows his discography well.
Then we made it difficult to clean a vinyl of the 80’s that was full of “hrats-hrouts” and had a hazy and empty sound. It had never been cleaned, it was a vinyl that looked ugly in the light and standard brushes could do nothing about it. What a transformation!
Surface noise was reduced by 80-90%, the stage grew, the instruments “flew out” in three dimensions, acquired resolution, air and body, the dynamics came to life for good and the treble now shone from harmonics and wrote with great clarity their extent. Fortunately, we did not have any tonal alteration, which would manifest itself with more synthetic tones and unnatural gloss-pseudo-analysis in the transitional-like imitation of digital.
On the contrary, the timbre became more matte, colorful and “alive” as a sharpness, as if the vinyl was brand new and of good quality. In conclusion, the VC-E is a remarkable construction, efficient and ergonomic, which restores the lost resolution and dynamic range of our damaged vinyls and which, thanks to the properties of Wash It, fully respects the tonal properties and the organic tone of the medium .
The new vinyls are “digital” and the old ones are clogged with decades of dust! With the Pro-Ject VC-E record cleaner we can, easily and quickly, freshen up the look and of course the sound of our precious records.