Okki Nokki RCM-II Record Cleaning Machine 
Home Theater Accessories Accessories
Written by Andre Marc   
Monday, 05 December 2016

At the beginning of the year, a good friend called me over to his garage and surprised me with a gift of around 500 vintage vinyl records he had little patience to deal with. I gladly took them off his hands. When I got home and started sifting through the albums, I realized there were hundreds of original pressings of classic rock, jazz, blues, and classical titles. I was stoked. Except for one thing, I had long disposed of my last analog front end. Time to do some shopping, with affordable, low maintenance gear as a priority.

After taking suggestions from some industry pros, and I ended up with the new Rega Planar 3 for my main system, and the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC for my office. I also picked up some high-value phono stages from Lounge Audio, Graham Slee, and Lehmann.  I started to enjoy the sound of pure analog after more than a 25-year gap. The main issue I found annoying, no different than droves of other vinyl lovers, is surface noise, dust, and static. The records I was so generously given were well cared for, but still had the usual fingerprints, surface residue, and the occasional grimy spot.

I attempted various DIY cleaning methods, I am sure like just about everybody else with a record collection, but this generally led to frustration and haphazard methods and results. Soap and water? Check. Various internet recommended mixtures? Check. Carbon fiber brushes? Check. In the end what I ended up creating is nothing but a mess, and a not very clean record. After watching Youtube videos of people washing their records in the sink with dish detergent, I knew there had to be a better way.

Okki Nokki RCM-II Record Cleaning MachineI did initially invest in a Spin Clean, probably one of the least expensive, longest in production cleaning apparatus on the market. The Spin Clean costs around $90 and comes with a cleaning solution, the contraption itself, and drying cloths. While I found it worked, it was very labor intensive, and you are left to dry your records manually. The manufacturer also recommends washing at least 25-30 records at a time so as to economize the fluid.  While the Spin Clean does a pretty good job, the amount of work involved left me wanting something a bit more sophisticated.

In a meeting of opportunity and great timing, I was offered a review sample of the Okki Nokki RCM-II record cleaner and happily accepted. Okki Nokki is a firm based in the Netherlands, and the product is distributed in the USA by VANA Ltd and is available at numerous online stores and dealers for $499. The RCM-II comes packaged very professionally, with all the accessories you need to get started immediately.

Some of the features touted by the manufacturer include:

  • Cool running turntable motor allows for hours of use
  • Comes complete with record cleaning fluid  concentrate and goat hair brush.
  • Auto shut-off should the user forget to drain down reservoir.
  • Forward and reverse motor for 'scrubbing' action.
  • Vacuum tubes for 10" and 7" records available.
  • Quiet vacuum motor.
  • Available in Black or White finish


The unit is very well built and inspires confidence when you unbox it. It does not feel like a toy, like some other devices. There are sturdy feet to support the machine, and the fit-and-finish is solid. After a quick scan of the manual, dirty records await.


 

Set Up & Use

Setting up and using the Okki Nokki RCM-II from unpacking to plug in is a five-minute process. A good solid, stable surface is required, then simply plug in the power cord after a quick install of a few parts and you are ready to roll.  The process of cleaning could not be easier. The first step is to place your record on the platter, secure it with the supplied clamp, and apply the diluted cleaning fluid concentrate that comes with the unit. At this point, all that is needed is to be familiar with the three buttons that work the magic. Two buttons spin the platter clockwise and counterclockwise, and the other works the vacuum.  There is also a master power switch.

Okki Nokki RCM-II Record Cleaning MachineTo start cleaning, have the record spin one way while you use the supplied brush to gently get the cleaning fluid deep into the grooves, then spin it the other way for a thorough job. Once clean, use the vacuum for about three rotations to dry the record, again, in both directions, then simply repeat on side two. I was impressed with how dry the record was after the vacuum. The motor is clearly robust 

Does it make a difference in how records sound? Absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt. The before and after on numerous LPs was dramatic. Safely removing gunk, dust, and surface oils from your vinyl will allow the stylus to extract more information pressed onto the grooves. It is hardly a stretch to come to this conclusion. The trick is to clean your records without doing more harm than good, and with efficiency.

A couple of logistical notes.  First, the supplied goat hair brush is of high quality, so no need to look for alternatives. Although you can certainly use the brush of your choice. Secondly, the supplied fluid works really well, but you are free to use any formula you are happy with, the Okki Nokki RCM-II will do the rest. Lastly, be sure to never vacuum a dry record, as this can cause static build-up.

Conclusion

Okki Nokki RCM-II Record Cleaning MachineThe Okki Nokki RCM-II record cleaning machine is the best I have come across. It is not cheap at $499, but it beats my Spin Clean by a good margin overall. I also had the chance to compare it briefly to the Record Doctor V, which is a very good unit too. The Record Doctor V is $300 less than the Okki Nokki, but it comes up a bit short by comparison. First, the Okki Nokki spins both ways, and the I found it’s vacuum to do a better job at drying. You also get a nice record clamp and a better brush. You pay a premium for the Okki Nokki RCM-II but I feel it is justified based on the what I note above.

Records on both my turntables sounded clearly better after a thorough cleaning on the Okki Nokki RCM-II. Sure, it can’t remove scratches or permanent anomalies, but nothing can. The RCM-II is an investment in your listening enjoyment.  For me, no matter how good the music is an LP, surface noise, pops, and static are deal killers. There was nothing I really did not like about the Okki Nokki and I would recommend it for an improved vinyl listening experience.


Specifications


Okki Nokki RCM-II Record Cleaning Machine: $499

US Distributor: https://vanaltd.com/


Review System 1


Server: Bryston BDP-2
DAC: Bryston BDA-3
Tape Deck: Revox A77
Turntable: Rega Planar 3
Phono Preamp: Lounge Audio LCR MKIII, Lehmann Cube SE
Preamp: Aric Audio Unlimited
Amplifier: Audio Research VS55, Simaudio 760A
Speaker:  Bryston Mini T
Cables:, Wireworld, iFi, Transparent, Black Rhodium
Accessories: Symposium Rollerblocks and Svelte Shelves, Shakti Stone, Bryston BIT-15, Salamander rack

Review System 2


Music Server: Sonore microRendu
Turntable: Project Debut Carbon DC
Phono Preamp: Graham Slee SE
Preamp: Aric Audio Expression
DAC/Streamer: Simaudio 280D
Power Amplifier: Onkyo M5000R
Speaker: Magnepan MMG, Spendor S35R
Cables: Wireworld
Accessories: Cable Pro Noisetrapper, iFi iPower, Audience aR6






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