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No.67 December 2009

Last month’s lead article was split in two parts – one concentrated on specific “accessories” for audio, tubes manufactured by the company EAT, and the second part announced the Audio Show 2009, which was on November 7th and 8th. This time, I will talk about another accessory – coverage of the former you’ll find somewhere in this issue.


Judging from your emails sent to, tubes are not treated as audiophiles/music lovers as add-ons. Similar to cabling, are for many people the same audio components amplifiers or loudspeakers. I will not object, because the name “accessory” is a general name, assigned to a product at a given time, but I cannot get rid of the feeling, that tubes are something additional. But the mentioned test showed, that such tests are essential to learn what we have, and where we are heading.

Now this month I would like to talk about a similar product, which, in my opinion, is something to have, something every serious vinyl lover should not get around. I am thinking about a vinyl washing machine.
For a long time I thought it was absolutely clear: if somebody owns a turntable of at least medium class, then he does have it already, or at least is planning to buy something, that will allow him to keep his beloved vinyl in good condition. A few emails, a few conversations with my friends vinyl lovers, and I had to change my opinion: almost no one of my interlocutors consider the machine as an integral part of the system. And this is weird. This is the reason, that when the portal turned to me with the proposition to test such a product, I just fixed the dates and peacefully waited for it to arrive, wanting to describe something that is within reach of any turntable user.

Why is this machine so important? – People do listen without it, just using a brush to clean the record from dust, or electrostatic fluid, right? Yes, that is true, but it comes – please do not get angry at me – from the lack of knowledge and experience. Or laziness. The grooves on a LP are deep, and have such irregular shape – those mechanically cut shapes carry the sound recording – and they are uneven. There is no chance, that a hand brush, even a wet one, would clean all the dust. And the dust is “seen” by the cartridge as a normal signal. The biggest benefit of washing machines like the presented Okki Nokki RCM is their ability to reach every part of the disc. It minimizes the clicks, but finally it is not even about that. Clicks, sporadic or appearing more often, are the daily bread of every vinyl lover, and in time, he develops a kind of “filter”, which does not allow those distortions to influence the reception of music. The washing machine does help with that, but this is not its biggest asset. The most important thing is, that in a washed disc, the “blackness” from which music appears, the noise of the disc diminishes to such an extent, that much more information becomes audible, information being part of the original music.

And even such a simple, not to say “primitive” construction, like Okki Nokki, allows to achieve splendid effects. The model RCM is almost identical to the model Cadence (sometimes they are used interchangeably). This is a half-automatic machine, with a platter, to which we mount the LP, a suction arm, which removes the fluid, placed earlier on the disc, and two buttons, which operate the motor and pump. The washing process is simple: first we dilute the electrostatic fluid. We receive two bottles with the machine, which are enough for 1 liter of diluted fluid. On the platter we place a soft pad, then the disc, and we bolt it tight. Then we switch the motor switch to position ‘I’ – the platter starts to slowly move clockwise. We apply some fluid – it can be done best with a syringe or the bottle the concentrated fluid came in – and we spread it with a wide brush, supplied with the washer. The fluid should cover the disc with an even layer. We should avoid wetting the middle label, as it can be irreversibly damaged! When done, we have to activate the second switch, and then we know, if our wife can accept this contraption, because this switch, labeled ‘vacuum’ turns on a pump, with a very loud, big motor. It is so loud, as if it would be taken directly from a tank… I could only use it, when everybody left our home. But this is also one of the reasons, this machine is so cheap… Anyway, after turning on the pump, we place the metal arm with velour elements above the disc, and let it “suck in” to it. The arm is mounted on a spring, and stays sucked to the disc only by underpressure. After one or two revolutions – we have to decide when the disc is dry – we switch off ‘vacuum’. It is important not to stop the disc from rotating when the pump is turned on! After turning the pump off the suction arm elevates by itself. Then we change the rotation direction by switching the motor to ‘0’ and then ‘II’. And we start the whole process from the beginning. And then one side of the LP is done.

The Okki Nokki RCM does what it was meant to do splendidly – it cleans them very well, regardless the fact, that it is only a half-automatic device, as simple as a can be. Its disadvantage is being really loud. And that is it. We should remember, that its platter should be clean – unfortunately, there is no dust cover. Well, this is a second flaw. But it is the final one. Please try to clean some discs in a shop and then listen to them – it is incredible, how big the change will be! Please do also remember, to put the washed disc into an envelope from rice paper (Japan) or special antistatic one (Ortofon, Mobile Fielity, etc), and not the original plastic or paper one. The washer was supplied by, which prepared a separate page for this product – – there is also an video guide on it. On we will also find wasing accessories, envelopes and also LPs.

Wojciech Pacuła

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