Previously on Audio Appraisal, I reviewed the Spin Clean Record Washer system – a simple manual record cleaning machine let down by the cleaning fluid. The provided fluid collected on the records, failing to evaporate fully and eventually collecting on the stylus. This resulted in a significant reduction in sound quality, static build up on the records themselves, and excessive wear and dirt build up on the stylus.
I quickly returned that machine – however, that left me with a problem. I had cleaned several batches of albums with the spin clean, and its fluid was now stuck in the record grooves, rendering those albums unplayable. And I still had hundreds of records in my collection that required a good cleaning to sound their best. Being unable to afford the astronomical cost of a decent vacuum record cleaning machine, I began researching other manual cleaning options. And so it was that i came across the Knosti Disco Antistat.
At around £40 from most UK retailers, the Antistat is half the price of the Spin Clean system. However, the principle is similar. The record is rotated in a trough of cleaning fluid between a pair of thick brushes. The provided record clamp not only protects the record label, but also provides a means to rotate the record in a perfect circular motion within the fluid. The clamp also includes a centre adapter for 45 records which are missing their centres.
The records are then placed on the provided drying rack – a plastic rack not unlike a dish rack, designed to hold 8 records. If you have a lot of records to clean, you may wish to pick up a second rack – as in its standard configuration, the Antistat machine allows you to clean only 8 records per batch. The drying rack slots neatly into the underside of the main unit, making the machine extremely portable and easy to store.
Supplied with the Antistat is a 1 Litre bottle of reusable cleaning fluid. A plastic filter allows you to pour the fluid back into the bottle after use, so it can be used to clean several batches of records. Knosti claim that the fluid dries within the space of 7 minutes – user reviews suggest that this is extremely optimistic. It’s important before playback that your records be 100% dry – so the more time they spend in the drying rack, the better.
It’s important to note that I opted not to use the supplied fluid to clean my LPs, as I had previously read reports of it leaving a residue on the records similar to that left by the Spin Clean. Instead, I opted for a simple approach – using only distilled water to effectively rinse off the LPs that had previously been cleaned. Logic suggests that the thick brushes will be enough to dislodge any dirt from the grooves, and I was more than happy with the extended drying time that pure distilled water will require. That said – I do intend to experiment with various fluid formulae to see what works best, as pure distilled water takes an inordinate amount of time to dry fully.
Usage of this machine couldn’t be simpler. The trough is filled with your chosen fluid up to the top of the brushes. Next, a dirty record is screwed between the 2 halves of the record clamp. Protruding from the outer sides of the clamp are 2 pegs, which sit in slots atop the Knosti machine. The vinyl is then rotated by hand – I recommend 3 turns one way, then 3 the other to insure fluid coats the entirety of the record.
Once the record is removed from the machine and the stray drips have been shaken off, the clamp must be removed. The clamp is fairly tight, as the removable part tends to get stuck on its peg. Once removed, the record is carefully placed in the drying rack, and left to dry.
Once you’ve finished with the machine, it’s important to dispose of the fluid. If you’re using a reusable fluid, use the included filter to return it to its container and then proceed to clean the machine – if not, simply empty the machine out. I tend to leave the machine filled for 3 or 4 batches of records before replacing the fluid – but this depends entirely on how dirty your records are. Cleaning the machine is as simple as rinsing it out – there appears to be no way to remove the brushes, so it’s best to let it air dry before replacing it in its box.
Results using this machine have been extremely positive. Records previously cleaned by the Spin Clean have come out shining, with all of the Spin Clean fluid successfully removed. Records sound quiet and clear, with excellent extension in the high frequencies and exceptionally low surface noise.
Static prevention isn’t a strong point of pure distilled water – and that’s been an issue here. However, a combination of an anti-static gun and new poly-lined anti-static sleeves have effectively resolved that issue.
In terms of time – cleaning a batch of 8 records takes no more than 15 minutes. Drying takes a number of hours (which is to be expected using only distilled water) – but the results are more than worth it.
Knosti’s Disco Antistat is a simple, effective manual cleaning machine that does an admirable job cleaning your vinyl. It’s great fun to use, the results are extremely rewarding, and all for only £40? It’s an absolute no-brainer.