It’s pretty obvious which method is the clear winner. Of the three methods I’ve used for extended periods of time, the CleanerVinyl Pro is superior in nearly every way… except the noise level.
I never tried vacuum cleaning. My intention was to one day give it a shot when I upgraded from the Spin-Clean. But by the time I got around to affording one, ultrasonic cleaners were available at a similar price.
Someday I may try it, but I doubt it. As I mentioned in my review, it’s hard to imagine anything cleans a record better than a good ultrasonic bath. I may be wrong, but I’m not really in a hurry to find out.
Even though the CleanerVinyl Pro bested its predecessors, the other two methods produced quality results. Not unlike many things, the more money invested, the better the outcome.
I did notice that there were many records that were just hopeless. Nothing could have saved them from their inevitable fate of a trash dump or an art project. I’m not talking about records with skips and scratches. There’s no point in trying to clean records with such extensive damage. I’m talking about records that popped and clicked continuously or those that had an obscene amount of surface noise.
If the DIY method garnered no improvement, then neither did the Spin-Clean nor the CleanerVinyl Pro. This is true for many records that visually looked good. They may of had some paper scuffs and such, but nothing that portended of a piss poor listen. Records like this are frustrating, because they appear to have been taken care of relatively well. My suspicion is a bad stylus was used and the damage was done deep in the grooves, imperceptible to human eyes, but detected and broadcast by a diamond-tipped stylus. It’s a shame. Anytime music dies, the angels cry a little.
The good news is if the record could be cleaned, then each method did a better job than the one previously. You can start cleaning records using the DIY method. Any records that sound better after cleaning will probably continue improving sonically as you move up the cleaning food chain. If, however, a record does not improve after a cleaning, it probably won’t ever sound better… regardless of what method you use.
Really, my conclusion is simple: buy the one you can afford. You won’t be disappointed in any of the results. None of them resurrect dead records. They all give life to sickly ones.