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Newport 2014: Klaudio gets fancy and quiet

DSC00080 hiresnewportlogoforwebIt looks like the ultrasonic record cleaner is here to stay, and Klaudio had a booth in the Hilton Marketplace to demonstrate some newfound flexibility for their $4000 machine. First up was a new auto-loader that will handle a five record batch. Pricing was fuzzy, but you can expect to double the price of the machine by adding this accessory. If you have deep pockets, a lot of records to clean, and the free time to giggle every time it swaps a record, this may be your toy.

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Klaudio has also improved usability for those of us with too many 7″ and 10″ records by providing adapters. They’re not for the faint of heart at $100 a pop, but the curse of small-scale production means that the price on these is higher than anyone would like. The functionality is great, though, with the adapters holding discs securely even while getting dunked by the autoloader.

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Klaudio’s new silencer box for their machine was much more exciting, though. If I had the money, I’d skip the changer and invest in this. The cleaner on its own is hellishly loud, combining the worst sounds of a vacuum cleaner, a cranky commuter jet, and a defective fluorescent bulb at the kind of volume you usually expect from a frat party. It will have your ears ringing within minutes. It’s the first machine I’ve run into that makes me think of my ancient VPI HW-17 as quiet. The box changes that.

It’s actively ventilated, heavily sound-proofed, and reduces the sound of the working machine to a level that can easily be drowned out by a stiff breeze. Pricing hasn’t been set yet — plan on four figures, not three — but I’d consider the silencer box a mandatory accessory.

Is it worth all that money? I fed my too-noisy, red vinyl travel copy of Basie’s Warm Breeze into the machine, closed the lid, and pulled out a dry LP that was definitely quieter than I expected. All of that without futzing around with brushes and fluids? I’m convinced. Expect me to place my order as soon as I hit the Lotto.

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