Wednesday, 21 November 2012

DIY record cleaner: a spot of ingenuity

I was strolling at the Gurney Plaza in George Town and happened to pass by an audio shop when the Clearwater Smart Matrix Pro record cleaner caught my eye. This is one of those modern contraptions that some audiophiles use to clean their vinyl records. It consists of a turntable and an arm that acts to vacuum dirt particles after the machine is done with wet cleaning the record's surface.

Here is a clearer picture of the machine, taken from the What Hifi website:

Actually, I was more intrigued with its price. I had always believed that such vacuum-assisted record cleaners are pricey but I was not prepared for the little sticker I saw:

What, RM6,300 for this machine?? Jaw dropping. I staggered off. I had expected that perhaps with RM2,500, it was possible that a buyer could maybe still be able to get some change back. But the RM6,300 price tag was much beyond my expectation. Not that I wanted to buy a unit but I shall definitely stick to my own Do It Yourself record cleaner. It may require some elbow grease to use but definitely, it had cost me no more than RM300 to assemble.

The wooden lazy suzy rotating base was purchased from IKEA quite some time back. I liked it because it was silent. The round, inch-thick rubberwood chopping block was bought from my neighbourhood supermarket and then sandpapered down, the red non-slip mats were obtained from a car accessory shop and then cut to shape and the ribbed black rubber mat was cut to size from an old piece of discarded car rubber mat. And very recently, I had sawn off the end of an old ball-point pen to make the little plastic spindle. The whole set-up is quite sturdy. Rather proud of this, actually.

Here's a short video of how I actually use it but you will have to pardon the background noise especially when the overhead fan blew into the camera's microphone. Perhaps one day I shall remake the video. In the meantime, you can always turn down the volume on your computer.

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