суббота, 10 августа 2013 г.

Stereophile - список рекомендованных компонентов 2013. Проигрыватели, тонармы, картриджи и др. Часть 4.

Class B

Goldring Legacy: $1295
The low-output (0.25mV) Legacy is a moving-coil design with a lightweight, low-resonance magnesium body and a low-mass, fine-line Vital stylus. Mounted in MF's Graham Phantom 2 tonearm, the Legacy was a superb and quiet tracker capable of delivering loads of detail. Though it lacked the midrange richness of more expensive cartridges, the Legacy managed to sound smooth and relaxed, never etched or analytical. Requires a great deal of attention in setup to achieve the best results, and must be used with a high-quality phono preamp or step-up transformer, advised MF. Goldring recommends a resistive load of 100 ohms and a tracking force of 1.75gm. (Vol.33 No.11)
Lyra Kleos: $2995
Billed as a replacement for Lyra's classic Helikon, the moving-coil Kleos uses an Ogura boron cantilever fitted with a low-mass line-contact stylus, and includes Lyra's New Angle alignment system. Compared to the Helikon, the Kleos had a warmer sound, with greater delicacy and detail. While it lacked the resolution and dynamics of Lyra's Titan, something that just keeps it from Class A, the Kleos combined a neutral tonal balance with airy highs, a rich midrange, well-controlled lows, a wide soundstage, and solid, three-dimensional images. "Highly recommended, and without reservation," said MF. (Vol.34 No.1)
Lyra Delos: $1650
The Delos, machined from a solid billet of aluminum, has a Namiki MicroRidge line-contact stylus and a solid-boron cantilever. Like other Lyras, the Delos uses a yokeless, neodymium-disc direct-magnet system, and its generator is integral to its body for better mechanical grounding and energy transfer. The Delos managed the attack and detail of Lyra's Helikon while adding a richer, meatier sustain; and while it lacked the depth and weight of more expensive cartridges, the Delos offered an uncolored, transparent midrange. "Lyra's new Delos is a high-value cartridge," concluded MF. (Vol.33 No.8)
Miyajima Labs Premium BE Mono: $1260 $$$
With its ebony body and pure-diamond conical stylus, the Premium Be Mono weighs 10.8gm, has a recommended tracking force of 3.5gm and an internal impedance of 6 ohms, and outputs 0.9mV. It produced "big, pure, meaty, midband mono physicality, and remarkable depth of soundstage," said MF, who feels Class A would be a more accurate rating. "The Premium BE Mono is my favorite mono cartridge at any price." The Premium Mono BE sounded "chunky, colorful, forceful, and fun," said AD, who recommends Class B (High Value). Also available as part of Robyatt Audio's Ultimate Mono Record Playing System ($3000), with the Robyatt Audio Mono transformer and Tektron Italia Mono phono preamp. (Vol.33 No.11, Vol.35 No.6 Read Review Online)
Miyajima Labs Premium Mono: $1050 ✩
The Premium Mono monophonic cartridge uses Noriyuki Miyajima's "cross-ring method," whereby the cantilever's fulcrum is centered precisely within the former on which the coil is wound. Recommended downforce is 3.5gm. In addition to its "near-total rejection of surface noise," the Premium Mono provided a forceful sound with "fine impact" and an "excellent sense of scale," said AD. "A staggering good value, but for special systems only." (Vol.32 No.8 Read Review Online)
Ortofon 2M Black: $719 ✩
Partnered with the budget-priced Audio-Technica AT-PEQ3 phono preamp, the "ridiculously good" Ortofon 2M Black produced a bright, open sound with "surprising heft and slam." Because its Shibata stylus is sensitive to rake angle, the 2M Black should be used only with tonearms that permit adjustment of VTA and SRA, Mikey advised. (Vol.32 No.12)
Transfiguration Axia: $2450
Transfiguration's entry-level cartridge is housed in a resonance-controlled body of machined aluminum. It has a boron cantilever, an Ogura diamond stylus, a specified output of 0.4mV, and a recommended tracking force of 2.0gm. Compared to Transfiguration's far more expensive Orpheus L, the Axia lacked spatial and textural complexity, harmonic resolution, and frequency extension, but produced clean, precise attacks and solid, well-focused images. "The Transfiguration Axia is easy to recommend at its price," said MF. Current production uses a heavier gauge of wire on coil with fewer windings. (Vol.34 No.5)
Zu Audio DL-103: $439 $$$ ✩
Zu improves on Denon's original design by trading the DL-103's plastic body for one built of 6061 "aircraft" aluminum and then binding the magnet, base, and pole piece with a ferrous-based epoxy. This consistently colorful-, well-textured–, engaging-sounding cartridge built on the Denon's sense of impact while taming its forward presentation. AD: "The Zu doesn’t just slay giants: It rips their beating heart from their chests, shows it to them, finishes them off, then chases their souls and drags them down to hell. Recommended." (Vol.30 Nos.10 & 12 Read Review Online)
Class C

Denon DL-103: $229.99 $$$ ✩
In production since 1962, the DL-103 is a "resolutely old-fashioned" cartridge with a two-piece plastic body. It uses a two-piece aluminum cantilever to drive a cross-shaped armature wound with several turns of fine-gauge copper magnet wire. Its square-shank nude diamond stylus is ground to a spherical tip. Though the Denon offered excellent bass depth and impact with an overall exciting and "pleasantly forward" presentation, its high-frequency response peak made bright recordings sound "a bit more forward than ideal." Nonetheless, AD deemed it "a superb cartridge and a remarkable buy." Compared to Denon's new DL-A100 100th Anniversary moving-coil phono cartridge, AD's old DL-103 was tubbier in the bass, but just as dynamic and dramatic. Performance with the stock spherical stylus tip squeaks into low Class B, he adds, saying that "apart from various Miyajimas and the always-recommendable Miyabi 47, it's hard for me to think of another standard (non-pickup-head) type of cartridge that has this much impact and drama. (Vol.3 No.9, Vol.30 Nos.10 & 12, Vol.34 No.12 Read Review Online)
Dynavector DV 10X5: $450 $$$
Besides subtle changes in magnet material and coil-winding techniques, the latest iteration of Dynavector's classic moving-coil design has threaded mounting holes for simple installation and alignment. It weighs 7.3gm, has an output of 2.5mV, and uses an elliptical stylus tip and aluminum cantilever. Recommended load impedance is anything greater than 1000 ohms; recommended tracking force is 1.8–2.2gm. Thanks to the Dynavector's clarity, immediacy, and presence, "music was consistently more dramatic and involving, while never sounding unnecessarily harsh, aggressive, or forward," said SM. One of ST's favorite cartridges. AD: "This colorful, well-balanced, chunky-sounding cartridge played music extremely well, with a bonus of very fine stereo imaging....More money can buy more drama, impact, scale, and transparency....But the Dynavector 10X5 should give you most of what I think you need at a bargain price." (Vol.26 No.10 Read Review Online; Vol.35 No.11 Read Review Online)
Nagaoka MP-500: $599
The MP-500 has a samarium-cobalt magnet, a permalloy shield casing, a SuperFineline line-contact stylus, and a low-mass boron cantilever. When used with the Thorens TD 309 turntable, the Nagaoka had a slightly forward, somewhat cool overall sound, but outclassed the TD 309's stock Audio-Technica AT95E in terms of image solidity, detail resolution, and bass extension, said MF. (Vol.34 No.2)
Rega Elys 2: $295 $$$
See the RP3 entry in "Turntables." Subtract $95 when purchased with that turntable. (Vol.31 No.7, Vol.34 No.12 Read Review Online)
Class D

Audio-Technica AT95E: $74
When used with the Thorens TD 309 turntable, the Audio-Technica AT95E produced large, exuberant images, but lacked the solidity, detail resolution, macrodynamics, and bass extension of the more expensive Nagaoka MP-500, said MF. (Vol.34 No.2)

Phono Accessories & Record Cleaners

AcousTech The Big Record Brush: $36.95 ✩
This large-handled brush has soft bristles of both natural hairs and conductive synthetic fibers, and makes dusting LPs nearly foolproof. The 5.5"-wide bristle area easily spans the width of any LP's grooved area. Version with ground wire ($46.95) does "a pretty effective job of dissipating static electricity," Mikey said. (Vol.31 No.9)
Allnic Audio SpeedNic: $399
The SpeedNic is a strobing platter-speed checker for 33.33, 45, and 78rpm discs. It uses a gooseneck LED lamp powered by three C batteries and a metal disc that doubles as a record weight. Expensive, but works as advertised, said MF. (Vol.34 No.12)
Audio Additives digital stylus-force gauge: $79.99
The Audio Additives comes in a nice black box and includes two AAA batteries and a 5gm calibration weight. It has an easy-to-read touchscreen display, a nonmagnetic case, and accurately measures a cartridge's vertical tracking force down to 0.001gm. Precise and a pleasure to use, said SM. (Vol.35 No.11 Read Review Online)
Audio Desk System Vinyl Cleaner: $3995
The fully-automatic Audio Desk uses ultrasound and cavitation to clean records, much as an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner does for jewels. The entire cleaning and drying process is completely silent and takes about six minutes. A 20ml bottle of Audio Desk's alcohol-free, biodegradable concentrate ($14.95) will clean at least 50 records, and the microfiber cleaning barrels ($99.95 each) are good for 500 to 1000 cleaning cycles. "The Audio Desk Systeme was the most effective, easy-to-use record-cleaning machine I've ever tried," said MF. He bought the review sample. (Vol.35 No.6)
Audio Intelligent record-cleaning fluids ✩
MF: "The AI fluids are reasonably priced, easy to apply and (especially) to spread, clean extremely well, and leave no audible residue." "Simple, effective, and distributed by kind people," said SM. Prices are for 16-oz bottles: Enzymatic Formula, $25; alcohol-free Premium Archivist Formula, $25; Super Cleaning Formula with research-grade isopropanol, $25; Ultra-Pure Water (claimed to be 50 times purer than distilled water), $16. Distributed by Missouri-based Osage Audio Products, LLC. (Vol.30 No.12, Vol.35 No.4 Read Review Online)
Benz/Aesthetix MC Demagnetizer: $199 ✩
Battery-powered, reasonably priced, seems to do the job as well as any of them, decided MF. (Vol.25 No.7)
Clearaudio Outer Limit Turntable Ring: $1350 ✩
Heavy, stainless-steel ring acts as a speed-stabilizing flywheel, damps the record, and flattens outer-groove warps. However, MF cautioned, its weight means that you can use it only with turntables with massive platters and/or very powerful motors. MF also noted that a centering template would be a happy addition to the package. The Outer Limit was "a pain to center." Nonetheless, it "blackened backgrounds, solidified images, and made them "pop" in three dimensions." (Vol.24 No.10)
DB Systems DBP-10 protractor: $49 ✩
Fiddly but accurate guide for setting cartridge tangency. JA's preferred alignment protractor. The DBP-10 can be used to gauge alignment accuracy at any point or points between 44 and 153mm from the record spindle. "A hell of a bargain," said AD. (Vol.33 No.6 Read Review Online)
DB Systems DBP-6MC resistive loading kit: $46 ✩
This resistive loading kit is based on a pair of flexible Y-adapters, each having two phono sockets at one end and a single phono plug at the other. It comes with five pairs of color-coded resistive plugs (10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 ohms), as well as a pair of empty plugs into which an alternate resistor value can be soldered. "An ancient but eminently useful thing to have," said AD. (Vol.32 No.8 Read Review Online)
Furutech DeMag record demagnetizer: $2715 ✩
"Who knew?!?" Like the Acoustic Revive RL-30 Mk.3, the DeMag removed glare and enriched the midband of edgy-sounding LPs. Users should make sure the Furutech's uncovered surface is clean before putting freshly scrubbed vinyl on it, warned MF. (Vol.29 No.10)
K-A-B SpeedStrobe Digital Phonograph Speed Readout: $109.95 ✩
Easy-to-use strobe disc simplifies precision adjustment of turntable speeds from 331/3 to all of the variations on "78." "It's just fantastic," effused J-10. "It looks cool, and it's a snap to perfectly set the speed." (Vol.19 No.2)
Keith Monks Audio Works Mk.VII Omni record-cleaning machine: $5995 ✩
The late Keith Monks's son, Jonathan, has taken over production of this venerable classic, moving manufacturing to a dedicated facility on the Isle of Wight and expanding the line to include new models, new platter mats, new cleaning brushes, and specially formulated cleaning fluids. With its solid idler-driven platter, refined cabinetry, and improved internal wiring, the new machine outclasses the old. After cleaning a record, AD noted clearer instrumental voices and greater low-level detail. The Omni was "so easy to use—so pleasant to use—that the prospect of cleaning LPs became a happy one." Price is for white finish; English oak adds $300. (Vol.32 No.5 Read Review Online)
Kerry Audio Design F2 Titanium tonearm counterweight: $129 ✩
Titanium replacement counterweight for Rega tonearms. Machined with three sets of thin contact rails that ride on the Rega arm's counterweight stub. The sonic improvement was "amazing," thought MF; he found the F2 gave better bass response, greater low-frequency extension and control, and an improved sense of overall weight and tonal richness. (Vol.26 No.5)
LAST Power Cleaner for LPs: $44/3/4-oz bottle, with applicators ✩
This small bottle of Freon-free cleaner is enough to treat 75 LPs. JE found just three drops sufficient to remove dirt, dust, and grime from garage-sale records, though he discovered that a subsequent wash with his VPI HW-17 was still required to reduce groove noise to acceptable levels. "A worthwhile companion to LAST's wonderful Record Preservative." (Vol.17 No.5)
LAST Record Preservative, with applicators: $50/2-oz bottle ✩
Significantly improves the sound of even new records, and is claimed to make them last longer. "I unhesitatingly recommend LAST Record Preservative," said Mikey, whose records sound as quiet now as they did when he first started using the treatment, over 25 years ago. AD is not a fan, however, though he does admit that LAST, if used correctly, does no harm. $148.50/8oz, $246/16oz. (Vol.5 No.3, Vol.30 No.10)
LAST STYLAST Stylus Treatment: $36/1/4-oz bottle ✩
Stylus treatment designed to reduce friction between groove and phono cartridge. Some manufacturers caution against it, claiming it migrates up the cantilever and attracts dust, thus clogging the armature. One reader suggests applying treatment to brush rather than stylus, which would reduce the possibility of over-applying. MF has found STYLAST effective, but expresses concern over possible cartridge damage. (Vol.18 No.12)
Lyra SPT: $50/5ml bottle ✩
Includes a small, wedge-shaped applicator with which MF brushed a drop of this fluid carefully, back to front, along the stylus. Don't get any on the cantilever, he warned, and wait 10 seconds before playing a record. Pricey fluid said to lubricate the stylus, to improve S/N ratio and trackability, and to last for one side's playing time. Mikey thinks he noted a slight sound-softening effect, but wouldn't bet the farm on it. (Vol.23 No.11)
Merrill G.E.M. Dandy Hydraulic Record Cleaner: $149 ✩
Designed to sit in a sink, the "rudimentary but ingenious" G.E.M. Dandy is an inexpensive manual record-cleaning rig that uses a proprietary cleaning solution comprising a degreasing detergent and an alcohol-based carrier, followed by a tap-water rinse. Made mostly of PVC tubing, the Dandy has a vertically mounted clamping mechanism that permits easy rotation of the secured LP. Also included are a faucet-coupling adaptor, a protractor, and a length of clear plastic tubing with a pressurized water nozzle. "Until you get the hang of it," Mikey warned, "the G.E.M. Dandy can make a mess." Despite his best efforts, water invariably seeped into the Dandy's protective cups to wet the outside edges of record labels. However, the Dandy proved "terrific" for cleaning water-damaged and crudded-up records, MF concluded. (Vol.31 No.9)
Milty Zerostat 3: $100 ✩
"The gold standard of static-discharge devices," the ZeroStat is a gun-shaped gadget with two heavy-duty piezo-electric crystals and a patented compression trigger. Slowly squeezing and releasing the trigger produces a neutral static condition, thus removing static cling from record surfaces. Said to be good for at least 10,000 squeeze cycles. SM uses the Zerostat religiously: "Wouldn’t want to live without it," he declares. (Vol.30 No.10, Vol.35 No.5 Read Review Online)
Mobile Fidelity Geo-Disc alignment tool: $49.99
The size and shape of an LP, with a spindle hole at its center and clear instructions printed right on its surface, MoFi's Geo-Disc is a simple and affordable cartridge-alignment tool. Using the Geo-Disc to install cartridges on the VPI Traveler and various Rega ’tables, SM easily and consistently achieved accurate alignment. Diehard analog hobbyists will still want the versatility of more complex tools, such as the DB Systems DBP-10, but "the Geo-Disc is the only alignment protractor most vinyl enthusiasts will ever need," said SM. (Vol.35 No.11 Read Review Online)
Musical Surroundings Fozgometer: $300
The Fozgometer allows its user to easily check phono cartridge channel separation and crosstalk. (It uses a log-ratio detector developed by Jim Fosgate for the steering-logic circuits of surround processors.) Housed in an aluminum case, it runs on a 9V alkaline battery and has an On/Off switch, left and right RCA input jacks, an analog signal meter, and three LEDs labeled Left, Center, and Right. "Well made, really easy to use, and accurate," said Mikey. "The Fozgometer gets my highest recommendation!" However, while the Fozgometer provides useful measurements for cartridges with similar channel-separation numbers, it can lead to unusual and undesirable results with cartridges that have high levels of interchannel crosstalk disparity, cautioned MF. (Vol.33 Nos.5 & 11)
Nitty Gritty 2.5Fi-XP LP cleaning machine: $1025
Nitty Gritty's latest record-cleaning machine adds the convenience of two separate fluid chambers and hand pumps for quicker, easier cleaning sessions, and has a new venting system that allows the machine's motor to run cooler for longer periods of time. Like other Nitty Gritty machines, the 2.5Fi-XP forgoes a platter in favor of a round, label-sized disc, making the Nitty Gritty more compact than most other record-cleaning machines. The 2.5Fi-XP managed to quickly and thoroughly clean and dry very dirty LPs. "Two wet thumbs up!" said Mikey. (Vol.34 No.5)
Nitty Gritty Mini Pro 2 record-cleaning machine: $1339 ✩
Nitty Gritty 2.5Fi Vacuum record-cleaning machine: $935 ✩
Nitty Gritty 1.5Fi record-cleaning machine: $859 ✩
The Mini Pro is a semiautomatic machine that cleans both disc sides simultaneously. The 1.5 is identical to the 2.5 but substitutes black-vinyl woodgrain for the latter's genuine oak side panels. Instead of a vacuuming "tonearm," as on the professional Keith Monks machine, the NG cleaner uses a vacuum slot, with the record cleaned by fixed, chassis-mounted "lips." Gunk-laden fluid is vacuumed off. Cleaning is efficient and as good as Nitty Gritty's Pro, at a significantly lower price, though it takes twice as long, cleaning each side of an LP in turn. Don't smear the schmutz from one record to another, MF warned; he suggests manual pre-cleaning of records for best results. While the vacuum-cleaning Nitty Gritty does a job on dusty albums nearly equivalent to that of the similarly priced VPI HW-16.5, CG felt that the VPI's hard-bristled brush did better with really dirty LPs than did NG's velvet one. He found the effect of both was to produce a less colored, more detailed midband sound from LPs, as well as provide the expected reduction in surface noise. (Vol.8 No.1, Mini Pro; Vol.7 No.5, Vol.8 No.1, Vol.23 No.6, 2.5Fi; Vol.17 No.5, 1.5Fi)
Octave Audio/Schopper modifications for Thorens TD 124 ✩
Replacement parts for vintage Thorens TD 124 turntables are manufactured in Switzerland by Schopper A.G. and sold in the US by Octave Audio. A new drive belt ($35), new rubber "mushrooms" for isolating the player from its plinth ($60/set of four), and a fresh bottle of Thorens oil ($25) got AD's turntable up and running. However, the biggest improvements to the 124's performance came from new rubber grommets for isolating the motor from its surroundings ($50/set of six) and Schopper's platter-bearing rebuild kit ($90), complete with new gasket, thrust plate, and bolts. The Schopper mods "created a record player that could compete with virtually anything I've heard in terms of treble openness and clarity, midrange detail, and bass extension," said Art. (Vol.31 No.5 Read Review Online)
Okki Nokki record cleaner: $599
Made in Germany by Audio Classics and newly imported into the US by Sumiko, the sleek, attractive Okki Nokki record cleaner is available in black or white, and comes with a 50ml squirt bottle of record-cleaning concentrate, a small goat-hair brush, and a 13"-long power cord. While its motor was extremely quiet and its vacuum extremely effective, the Okki Nokki was more difficult to use than the similarly priced VPI HW-16.5, and SM was disappointed by the Okki Nokki's too-small spindle and poorly threaded record clamp. Available accessories: RCD Dust Cover, $79; RCB Fluid Brush (wood) for dry cleaning, $15; RCB-G Fluid Brush (goat hair) for wet cleaning, $25; RCS Replacement Strip Brush Set for vacuum tube, $15; RCF Cleaning Fluid Concentrate (makes 1 liter), $12; RCT 12", 10", or 7" Aluminum vacuum tube, $50. Dust cover adds $50. (Vol.34 No.3 Read Review Online)
OMA slate turntable plinth: from $2000
These custom-made plinths for Thorens, Garrard, Rek-O-Kut, and Technics turntables are made by Oswald's Mill Audio from blue-gray slate from Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. Clean, handsome, and substantial, AD's review sample measured 24" wide by 21" deep by 2" thick, weighed about 80 lbs, and included a detachable and adjustable armboard. Used with Art's favorite Thorens TD-124, the OMA plinth provided greater bass extension and power, improved detail retrieval, and reduced noise. "Buying a superb plinth such as the OMA seems an easily made move of reasonable value," decided Art. (Vol.33 No.9 Read Review Online)
Onzow Zero Dust: $69 ✩
"A circular mound of semi-gelatinous goop in a box, onto which you gently lower your stylus," said MF. Use is simple: "After a few seconds, you lift the stylus, and it's as clean and residue-free as the proverbial whistle....Upside: no potentially dangerous brushing, and no fluids. Downside: if you like to leave your platter spinning, you'll have to stop it each time, or find another steady surface upon which to perform the operation." (Vol.25 No.3)
ORB phono accessories: $350–$480
The Sakura handheld static-discharge eliminator ($350) is a variant of the Furutech deStat SNH-2, and the SFM-2 stylus-force gauge ($480) and CRE-2 Cartridge Exciter ($399) are variants of similar products from Air Tight. While pricey, the ORB Phono Accessoriesare beautifully made and work well, said Mikey. Available directly from www.twinaudiovideo.com. (Vol.33 No.12)
Rega 2mm spacer: $39
This simple stainless-steel spacer allows owners of Rega tonearms to adjust the height of their arms to accommodate non-Rega cartridges. Fidgety but worth the hassle, says SM. With the spacer in place and Dynavector's DV 10X5 moving-coil cartridge mounted on his Rega P3-24, SM heard improved clarity, impact, immediacy, and soundstage depth. (Vol.35 No.11 Read Review Online)
Rek-O-Kut Stylus Force Gauge: $26 ✩
The Rek-O-Kut Stylus Force Gauge is a big, easy-to-use balance beam that comes with a total of 5.75gm in plastic weights, for use in various combinations. For cartridges designed to play at downforces of 3.5gm or more, the Rek-O-Kut is "a good, cheap solution," said AD. (Vol.32 No.2 Read Review Online)
Shun Mook record clamp: $2800 ✩
The best record weight J-10 has used on his Forsell turntable, "bar none." Michael Fremer agrees "I'm sorry to say that everything positive I've ever read about it is absolutely true." Ridiculously expensive, however. "This thing's lame," snorts BD. MF admits the opposite: "It produced a richness, clarity, three-dimensionality, natural liveliness, and harmonic rightness that must be heard to be appreciated." (Vol.17 No.2, Vol.28 No.10)
Shure SFG-2 stylus-force gauge: $40
Shure's classic balance-beam stylus-force gauge is simple to use and accurately measures a cartridge's vertical tracking force between 0.5 and 3.0gm. At less than half the price of the Audio Additives, the Shure is a great little tool, but the AA is easier to use, more precise, and provides an extra measure of comfort, said SM. (Vol.35 No.11 Read Review Online)
Soundsmith EZ-Mount screws: $29.95
Soundsmith's sets of knurled screws, designed to fit most brands of tapped cartridge, made installing cartridges much easier, said Mikey. Each set includes pairs of 10mm-long screws made of four different materials—nylon (1.04gm/pair), aluminum (2.06gm/pair), stainless steel (5.80gm/pair), and brass (6.24gm/pair)—so that users can easily match a tonearm's effective mass to a cartridge's compliance. (Vol.33 No.12)
Spin Clean Record Washing System: $79.95 $$$
Package includes a plastic vat, two brushes, two rollers, a 4-oz bottle of concentrated cleaning fluid, and washable drying cloths. Three sets of slots allow cleaning of 7", 10", and 12" records. Two velvet-like brushes clean both sides of a record simultaneously as the user rotates the record within the appropriate slot. Though "not nearly as convenient or as efficacious as a vacuum cleaning system," the Spin Clean Record Washing System "got the job done," said Mikey. Spin Clean claims a single vat of fluid can clean up to 50 records, but MF suggests refreshing the vat more often. A 16-oz bottle of fluid costs $20; a package of five drying cloths costs $10. (Vol.33 No.2)
Sutherland Timeline: $400 ✩
The Timeline is a device for testing a turntable's accuracy of speed. Housed in a solid disc of aluminum and Delrin that fits over the platter spindle, the Timeline uses eight laser-projected timing marks with a claimed accuracy within two parts per million. "Unless your wall has hash marks, there's a bit of subjectivity involved, and at $400 the Timeline isn’t cheap," said MF. "Indispensable," said BD, who used the Timeline to measure, set, and monitor the speeds of his Spiral Groove SG-2 and VPI HR-X turntables. (Vol.33 Nos.3 & 12 Read Review Online)
The Disc Doctor's Miracle Record Cleaner: $27.00/pint plus $7.15 S&H ✩
The Disc Doctor's Stylus Cleaner: $28.00/17ml plus $3.50 S&H
Chemist Duane Goldman, the Disc Doctor, claims that his Stylus Cleaner—a mixture of sub-micron filtered water and separately sub-micron filtered +99.5% 1-propanol alcohol—leaves no residue on the stylus or cantilever. Comes with a stiff brush for the first wet cleaning of the stylus. After that, the good Doctor recommends a natural-bristle artist's brush that's been cut down at an angle or been given a crew cut, as Mikey put it. Quart of fluid, $40.75/$8.65 S&H; half gallon, $64.75/$10.00 S&H; size A for LP brushes, $44.95/pair/$4.25 S&H; size B for 45s, $31.95/pair; replacement pads for brushes, $16.50/4; QuickWash solution, quart, $27; half gallon, $44.25. (Vol.20 No.3, Vol.23 No.11, Vol.24 No.7)
TTWeights Audio RCM (Record Cleaning Machine) clamp: $64.95 ✩
Beautifully crafted clamp specifically intended for VPI record-cleaning machines. (Vol.32 No.5)
Vinyl Flat LP Flattener: $99.95
Made in the US, the Vinyl Flat uses pressure, heat, and time to repair warped and dished LPs. The basic package contains two Groovy Rings (LP-sized sheets of black plastic), two heavy metal plates, a few pieces of hardware, a nice storage case, and a table of heating times and cooling cycles. The optional Groovy Pouch ($59.95) is a soft, specially made enclosure that uses carbon-fiber heating elements to surround the Vinyl Flat with gentle, even heat. Using his oven or the Groovy Pouch, SM was able to successfully flatten even severely warped and dished LPs, but cautions: "Be sure that your oven's temperature is properly calibrated before baking your precious LPs." Add $69.95 for pouch. (Vol.35 Nos.4 & 5 Read Review Online)
VPI HW-27 Typhoon record-cleaning machine: $2200 ✩
The Typhoon is smaller, quieter, and more attractive than earlier VPI record-cleaning machines, "with the look and feel of a turntable." Its vacuum pump, twice as powerful as that used in the HW-17, proved capable of drying an LP in a single rapid revolution. "The Typhoon is a clean, efficient record-cleaning machine that's almost fun to use," said MF. (Vol.30 No.5)
VPI HW-17 record-cleaning machine: $1300 ✩
VPI HW-16.5 record-cleaning machine: $600 ✩
Clearly an industrial-quality machine of reassuring quality, the VPI "17 cleans one side at a time, semiautomatically, and is slower than the Nitty Gritty. "Best I've used," says LA. Latest version has a heavier-duty vacuum system. The '16.5 is a manually operated version with a noisier motor. Adjusts automatically to thickness of record; gets hot quickly. Of the HW-17F, MF says, "Fast, convenient, beautifully constructed, and can be used indefinitely without overheating. The fan version of the 17 is well worth the extra money for those post–garage-sale/record-convention analog orgies when only cleaning the whole pile will do." "The 17F is probably the best record-cleaning machine available," MF concluded; "a true workhorse." (Vol.8 No.1, Vol.19 No.6, Vol.23 No.6, HW-17F; Vol.5 Nos.7 & 9, original HW-16; Vol.17 No.5, Vol.19 No.6, HW-16.5)
VPI VTA adjuster for Rega tonearm: $150 ✩
"Seems to maintain the desired rigidity while allowing for about a full inch of vertical adjustability. It's nicely machined from aluminum and has a sturdy mounting collar." Its only downside, reported MF, is that it won't fit into a standard Rega opening. Drill it out yourself or send your armboard to VPI. (Vol.23 No.6)
Wally Phono Tools ✩
Makes cartridge installation in these do-it-yourself days, fast, easy, and ultra-reliable, says MF. Custom laser-cut WallyTractor is indispensable. Other tools for VTA, antiskating, and azimuth are merely supremely useful. "My job has been 100 times easier since Wally came on the scene," sums up the Analog Guru. A new WallyTractor is now available for tonearms whose effective length is unknown or that have a limited range of cartridge adjustment. AD found its tracking-angle alignment guides easy to use and interpret. (Vol.25 No.5, Vol.28 No.12; Vol.30 No.10)
WallyTools WallyTractor Universal protractor: $250 ✩
Wally Malewicz's new universal protractor is precision-cut to his specs and has 13 laser-cut arcs to accommodate tonearms from over a dozen different manufacturers. "I love using the WallyTractor," said MF. "When I'm finished, I know the stylus is where it belongs anywhere in its travel across the record surface." (Vol.30 No.10)

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