In The Groove Record Cleaner Review

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The In The Groove Record Cleaning Roller is a handy tool to have in your record cleaning arsenal.  I purchased one of these in 2010 from Music Direct and had O.K. results the first couple months, but then had some issues with residue being left behind.

The residue showed up after the third or fouth time I washed and dried the roller.  I I started to notice that there was a noticeable difference in sound quality after cleaning my LP’s.  They seemed to have lost a bit of their clarity.  After inspection under an LED light I could see a film or slight haze on over 75% of the records I had cleaned with the roller.

I put it aside for about 6 months before trying it again.   When I did I rinsed it of and dried it, then rolled it over a record I picked up for five bucks at an antique store.  It left an even worse amount of residue than it had in the past.  Needless to say it was tossed in the garbage immediately.

I recently saw an ad for the In The Groove Record Cleaner and wondered how in the world is this thing still around?  Was I the only one who had an issue with this?  It turns out I was not.  I checked reviews on Amazon to see if I could find some up to date info.

What I found out completely explained why I had such a horrible experience with the roller I purchased in 2010.  It turns out that SK productions the company of Stanley K. Taub has admitted that they screwed up.  The earlier version of their In the groove record cleaner was made too tacky.  After rinsing there was the chance that residue would be left on the record surface.

Mr. Taub claims that if you put lighter fluid on your LP’s that this will cure the problem.  My personal feeling on that suggestion is that it is just downright wrong.  I would never even dream of putting lighter fluid on a valuable Record.  I have found the only way I could partially remove the residue safely was to use a record cleaning machine.

SK Productions now says that they have corrected this problem by making the rollers less tacky.  They claim that they have not had any reports of residue from using their updated product.

I will be giving this cleaning gadget another chance.  I really did appreciate how well it picked up that pesky line of dust and debris that always seems to be present after  a cabon fiber brush cleaning.

It sounds like the best way to use the in the groove record cleaner is in conjuction with a carbon fiber brush and the Milty Zerostat.  I will be trying this metod and will update this post with my results in the near future.

I plan to clean the record while it is on the turntable with a carbon fiber brush.  I will then use the Milty to reduce static.   I will then do another pass with the carbon fiber brush before using the in the groove to pick up any stray dust.  It has been said the that record will become very charged with static after lifting it off the turntable after using the in the groove.  I plan to combat this by zapping it once again with the Milty before storage.

 Pros and Cons of the 2010 Version

Pros – Relatively cheap at around $20, Gets that annoying line of dust left after carbon fiber cleaning, It is washable and does keep it’s tackiness quite well for an extended period of time.

Cons – Leaves a film on records that is hard to remove, Roller can pop out of handle if even a little bit too much pressure is applied(This puts you at risk of gouging your records)

Testing of new version complete

After 1.5 months of testing the in the groove record cleaner I have decided to toss it.

There was less of a residue left on the record surface,  but the tackiness of the roller is never the same after the first cleaning.

After 2 months and 6 washings the roller has very little tackiness left.  I had this problem with the 2010 version as well.

  I personally am not going to shell out cash for replacement rollers if they can’t last at least a year.

It does do a great job of picking up what a carbon fiber brush does not, but I feel there is possibly still room for improvement in the life of the roller.

  If you only plan to use the in the groove record cleaner to pick up stray dust once in a while…great give it a try.   But take into account you may need to budget for roller replacements every 2-3months if you plan to use yours on a daily basis.

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2 thoughts on “In The Groove Record Cleaner Review

  1. You know you business, and I think your ideas are in high demand. I don’t buy vinyl because I play the music I buy. Vinyl as is any phonograph, a reductive substance. “the needle tears a hole”, and I stress over my music wearing out, little by little. Are there laser players for playing vinyl or even carbon, without reducing it? However it might be, I would recommend vinyl lovers to come to your site. Great graphics, easy to follow pages. Good products!

    1. Hello Sam, Thanks for taking the time to comment. There are laser players out there that are coming down in cost gradually. Last time I looked they were still welll over $3000, maybe even more.

      I personally use a cartridge and stylus(The Shure M97xe cartridge and N97xe Stylus)that only requires 1.25 grams of tracking pressure. It also has a small stabilizer brush that ever so slightly touches the record surface in front of the stylus reducing the tracking pressure to somewhere around .75 – 1.0 grams. It picks up any stray dust particles that the carbon fiber brush may have missed too. The stabilizer brush also helps the needle track better which reduces record wear significantly.

      I worried about my vinyl degrading over time to begin with as well(of course at this point I was using an all in one system with high tracking pressure) I made it my goal to find the best budget audiophile gear and cleaning methods to keep my vinyl in great condition.

      I have many records from the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s that still sound Near Mint or at least VG+. These are records I bought from collectors that have been using some of the same methods and products I describe and recommend here on my site. When I started collecting I asked the sellers on eBay and at flea markets etc… what worked best for them when caring for their valuable records. With the right care and equipment vinyl can be preserved for many, many years before there is any big change in sound quality.

      Thanks again for your comment, and take care.

      Eric

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