Until a few weeks ago several imposing piles of LPs rested on shelves in my laundry room. I had accumulated them over several years, but could never bring myself to clean them all. Oh, I had occasionally fired up my Odyssey cleaner, but never really had the heart to clean more than a few. It was too laborious a task to excite my interest, even though it never stopped me from acquiring new LPs and from feeling vaguely guilty about not tackling the project of cleaning them all.
No longer. Since the $3995 Audio Desk LP ultrasonic cleaner arrived from UltraSystems, which imports the machine from Germany where it is manufactured by one Reiner Glass, my LP world has been upended. Gleaming, empty shelves have replaced the disorder that used to prevail, all thanks to this ingenious cleaning system.
The Audio Desk has three great merits. The first is that you don’t have to hover over it while it works. Plop the record in, push a button, and then walk away. The machine does it all for you, including cleaning both LP sides simultaneously in about five minutes. The second—and not inconsiderable—merit is that it gets LPs about as clean as possible, which translates into improved sound on every level. The third is that the Audio Desk’s air-drying system doesn’t leave your LP with a static charge to attract dust, as vacuum-based cleaners do.
How does it do this? Conventional machines rely on some combination of brushes, nozzles, and vacuum tubes to scrub and dry LPs. The problem is obvious: What happens when you go from LP number one to two, and so on? What happens, alas, is the transfer of residual dirt and grit from one LP to another.