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“Firstly, I must tell you that I have no commercial interest, financial or otherwise, in this product. Also, up until 5 weeks ago, I had never met the company’s principal, Stephen, nor indeed anyone associated with him and/or his company.
My story is probably not dissimilar to many other people’s in my age bracket. I started buying LP’s in the late 1960’s (in UK) and continued doing so here through till about the mid/late 70’s. I then transitioned to tapes, and then to CD’s and latterly to streaming and recording in mp3, flac etc.I decided 5 months ago that I would ditch the CD’s but would resurrect the vinyl, which had not been touched for 35+ years!
I bought a new deck and started playing them. The quality of playback was naturally variable. Some were beyond salvage with horrific scratches and gouges which were testament to party nights sadly long forgotten. Most others though were popping and crackling and had “hissing” and had foxing mould or damp spore type marks on them. I spent a lot of time researching products/methods which may “improve” my quality of play-back. Stephen’s VRC System stood out beyond the others to me.
Firstly, just listen to his ‘before’ and ‘after’ clips on his web site. Secondly, his explanations about the pitfalls of some solutions for removing what he calls “slurry” and contaminants etc made very good sense to me.
I took my first batch of 35 records to Stephen around 5 weeks ago. He demonstrated the restoration process and played me some music which, acoustically, was stunning. Four days later I was replaying mine at home. The difference/transformation was (and still is) astounding, wondrous. I am no longer distracted by background sounds and crackles and interference…..I can listen properly to the music. I can enjoy it. I can concentrate on it and appreciate the tones/music/instruments. It is just remarkable.
I chose not to buy the DIY product kit (yes…..I am a slothful man). Instead I have now made four visits to The Blue Mountains and have had about 90 or more LP’s treated. I could not be happier! Stephen (directly and via his web-site) has really educated me about vinyl. I now understand why, when at our first meeting I said “record cleaning”, that he recoiled a bit. His solution is vinyl restoration!
I cannot speak too highly of the product he has developed. It just transforms the medium to a level where every nuance of the original recording/pressing is allowed through.”
David, 71 of Sydney NSW
We have just yesterday finished our first group of 10 albums using ESP Restore and the results are AMAZING especially given that these albums were all produced in the late 70s have been stored in a plastic crate in a cupboard for 30 yrs and having originally been played in our late teens/early 20s when unfortunately they would not have been paid the due care they deserved we are astounded by the results……..The VRC product is so easy to use and the visual improvements are evident as soon as you peel the product off. Having played them all we are extremely pleased it’s eliminated the popping and static and sound quality is like new……we have probably 1 dud so far which I’ll own up to as mine Silk Degrees by Boz Scaggs but it was played to death and the surface shows serious signs of neglect but even it is playable again!
Maree G, Umina, NSW
You might be interested to learn what happened when I used VRC Easy Spread n’ Peel a second time on an old favourite, ‘The Great Big Band Hits Of The 40s’ by Brian May and The ABC Showband, as this record had always had snap, crackle and pops that previous methods had not removed. Bear in mind this LP is 40 years old and I’d tried everything to improve it. After allowing ESP to dry slowly the noise is gone, the depth of field has improved, channel separation has improved and the clarity is stunning. It’s a miracle!!”
Peter F, Adelaide
Not surprisingly after so many years in static slumber, all of these unplayed gems – rock, punk, collector-worthy classical and 1980s to early 2000s post-punk alternative music – were DOA utterly unplayable. I’m talking organism-rich eco-systems and evolving species inhabiting grooves. Darwin’s case studies. Densely-spread mould forests immovably adhered, firmly in situ, to rip apart the hardest diamond stylus. Jet-powered ultrasonic machines need not apply… Stuck muck, crud crust.
Enter The Vinyl Record Cleaning Company’s (VRC) ESP system. Not the power-of-the-mind-to move-objects or read thoughts but a possible solution to my filthy mind… oh, sorry, grubby LPs. ESP stands for Easy Spread & Peel and, as I found, is an undeniably effective way of making unplayable vinyl playable again. And as part of a regimented maintenance program, there’s a possible added bonus in terms of an upscale in sonic performance (more on that later).
What a revelation! These are records that would have torn shreds off any stylus, guaranteed, and would have sounded like snap, crackle and pop via a megawatt P.A. system while sending your tweeters into paralysis. Yet, post-ESP, I had quiet beautiful music with no more artefacts than are normally expected with good surface quality in vinyl playback. Astonishing!
Ed Kramer, Editor, SoundStage Australia
The Vinyl Record Cleaning System is an Australian development, and a decidedly non-traditional approach. There’s fluid, but no water. You can do a little brushing and working in of the fluid if you like, but that’s not really how to use it. Here’s how it works: you apply an amber fluid—no, not that amber fluid—over the groove area of the album. Then you let it dry. It forms a thin film, thinner I’d hazard, than Glad Wrap.
With the messiest records, the results were huge. Take a movie sound track album I picked up called Exodus. The sample in Graph 1 above is a ten second section from the middle of the title track. There are all manner of loud clicks as this section plays. After a turn through the VRCS, it retained some small clicks (and there were still some big ones elsewhere on the record), but most were eliminated. Don’t take my word for it. Look at the waveform images and play the sound files using the links.
Another was Leonard Bernstein conducting Holst’s, ‘The Planets’. Play the sample shown in Graph 3 and you’ll see that it’s totally unlistenable. After a treatment with VCRS it is only about a tenth as unlistenable. Even in the high modulation section at the start, the clicks and noises are powering through in the original. VCRS tames them.
Stephen Dawson, Aust HiFi – review
The VRC is different. Okay, it appears fussy and complex and when you read the instruction booklet it only seems more so, but it turns out that using it is a great deal simpler and quicker than you’d think. In extreme cases, when a record has been spilled upon, dropped in the dirt or bought at a garage sale from someone who beat it up, one application should get rid of everything.
Love your Vinyl Record Cleaning System; best system I've used in 40 years.
VRC is a revelation. If you love the sound of vinyl, VRC is for you. I started using it on old records that were "stored" under Mum's house for 30+ years. I now have several vintage LPs that sound as fresh or (given that I have better gear now than then!) perhaps even better than they did originally. I now use it on all new vinyl I buy, even high-end 180gm/deluxe remasters. You'd be surprised how much manufacturing debris comes off even quality pressings. Before you even play the record, you can see the difference in the shine coming off the grooves. Cannot recommend highly enough..
Stephen Wigney, Sydney, Australia
I used ESP on 6 records the other day! Was fantastic. Really gets the grit out.
Dan C, First Move Digital, Melbourne
Without doubt, "audibly" the best record cleaning system I have ever used, not only second hand records benefit from VRC, brand new remastered 180g vinyl sound is improved!
Gregg Jones, Facebook, Nov 2018
I am enjoying my records at a new level again. Great cleaning system, really makes a difference to my favourite records.
Andrew Howden, Facebook, Nov 2018