If I have my records professionally cleaned, how often do I need to re-clean them?

That depends on how much care they receive post cleaning. If you follow our handling recommendations, you should not have to have the records professionally cleaned again.

If, over the course of their lives after cleaning, your records encounter situations in which they acquire contamination beyond that which our recommended handling protocol is designed to avoid, they may benefit from re-cleaning.  In the vast majority of cases, however, it is one and done.

What is your recommended record handling protocol?

To prolong your listening pleasure from a Perfect Vinyl Forever optimized record, some basic handling guidelines should be followed.

When handling records, do not touch the playing surface of the record. When carrying your record to record to your turntable, use two fingers on the underside center label and your thumb on the outer edge of the record. When placing the record on the turntable platter, use two hands on the outer edge of the record.

Do not blow dust off the surface of the record! You risk coating your records with saliva vapor and doing more harm than good. Also, don’t talk while carrying your records. Everyone spits a little while talking. Saliva is very viscous and sticky, and filled with organic materials, making it a difficult substance to remove. It will glue dust to the surface of the record, and it contains plenty of nutrients for mold and mildew to grow.

Buy a good carbon fiber record brush and use it every time before you play a record. It does a great job of removing surface dust and draining any static electricity that may have built up while handling the record. Use a light touch as so to not push the dust into the groove.

Return the album promptly to the high quality, anti-static inner sleeve right after playing.

How do I use your services?

There are multiple ways to use our services: local drop off and pick up with our partners, PVF by Mail (from our web site), or PVF by Mail on Amazon.

1. If you live in southeastern Wisconsin you can drop off your records directly at PFV or at Ultra Fidelis in Wauwatosa. We will contact you when your records are available for pickup.

2. If you live in the greater Chicagoland area, you can drop off your records at Quintessence Audio. We will contact you when your records are available for pickup.

3. You can contact us through our website for PVF by Mail services. We will send an invoice payable with PayPal. Please see our PVF by Mail article for more information.

4. You can use the convenience of Amazon to buy our PVF by Mail services. Search for “Perfect Vinyl Forever” (include quotes for better search results), select the quantity of records and services you’d like and we’ll take care of the rest.

Will your process eliminate all pops and clicks on my albums?

Unfortunately, no. Crackle, pops, clicks and other groove noise can be caused by a variety of things: pressing flaws, irreversible damage to the surface of the groove, scratches and embedded organic materials. Our PVF Archival process is the most thorough way to remove all organic and inorganic materials bound to the record surface. So, if the source of a pop or click is caused by organic materials, we will remove the cause of the noise. 

How will the sonic presentation of my albums change?

Perception of the sonics of music on recordings is a variable. The three primary contributors are your ability and experience as a listener, the intrinsic qualities of the recording and pressing, and the capability of the playback system.  Despite these variables, we have a high degree of confidence that you will experience considerable improvement in sound resulting from our processes.  We recommend reviewing our testimonial section to see how our customers describe the sonic benefits of PFV cleaning.

Do I need to clean new albums?

Yes, for two primary reasons: your records will sound noticeably better than uncleaned brand-new records and will last longer. 

Our cleaning solution contains “quats”, which is a nickname for “quaternary ammonium cations”. The quats in our cleaning solution provide many benefits to the sound quality and longevity of your records.

When your records have a static charge on the surface of the record it is a negative charge. Quats are positively charged and will neutralize the negative charges. For lasting anti-static properties, quats form a molecular layer on the surface of the record which is hygroscopic, meaning it retains water molecules. Water is a great conductor and prevents static from building up on the surface of the record.

Additionally, quats reduce frictional forces. The molecular layer of long carbon chains and water acts as a terrific stylus lubricant, without the downsides of traditional topical record conditioners which often add various lubricants that leave a film on records.

Every PVF process ultrasonically rinses each record with laboratory grade pure water. There is no residue left on the record unlike many topical record conditioners.

Do you clean records other than 12” vinyl records?

We can clean 7”, 10” and 12” vinyl records with the standard 9/32” center hole.

We can clean 7” 45 RPM records if a standard adapter is inserted in each record.

We can clean shellac 78 RPM records. However, we need at least 60 records to clean at a time. We use a specialized solution at different temperatures that is compatible with shellac records. Since we use 20 gallons of solutions at a time, we need a minimum number of records before we start a cleaning session specifically for shellac records.

Better than new, really? How and why?

Absolutely! As long as your records are not irreversibly damaged, once we remove all organic contaminants from the groove of your records, they will sound better than new.

Can we take a 60-year-old original Blue Note record that has had a world of "experience" and make it absolutely new again? No. Unfortunately we can't reverse groove damage; nobody can. We will remove noise that is caused by organic contaminants and improve the sonic presentation of the record. Ultimately, we take the remaining musical life that is left in that copy and make it sound as good as it possibly can sound. You will still hear valuable sonic improvements with fairly rough but still prized records, but to expect them to be free from groove noise crackle is not realistic.

Where "better than new" truly applies is for records that are new or in good condition. There is some debate on why this is. Most believe there is manufacturing residue, often referred to as mold release, that impedes the coupling of the stylus to groove. When we do back-to-back demonstrations of a new record, new record cleaned with vacuum RCM system and a PVF Ultra Deep cleaned record, the improvements are not subtle.

I'd like to try your services for the first time. However, I don't know which service to choose.

We recommend starting with our "U8A8" package. It includes Ultra Deep processing for eight records and Archival processing for eight records. Select four new records and four records in like-new condition for Ultra Deep cleaning. Select eight more records that are older and have been "cleaned" with a brush and fluid or have a film of dust and fingerprints. You should be familiar with the music on the albums.

This will give you a well-rounded, first hand experience of how each PVF process improves the playback of vinyl with a variety of pre-existing circumstances. Candidly, it will also demonstrate which noise artifacts remain after the record has been expertly cleaned.

With these insights, you can now make an informed decision on how you'd like to treat the rest of your collection.

Do you have questions that we haven’t addressed? Feel free to contact us. We are happy to answer any questions you may have.