Hardware Reviews

Humminguru: a genuine vinyl reviver

Humminguru HG01 Ultrasonic vinyl record cleaner https://the-ear.net

Humminguru HG01 Ultrasonic vinyl record cleaner

Here is the first of an occasional series looking at some of the peripherals which can make having a home audio system even more of a joy. In this instance I’m taking a peek at the (now quite long-in-the-tooth) Humminguru HG01 record cleaner. Humminguru is a Hong Kong-based company with a small but perfectly-formed collection of products aimed squarely at the vinyl-lover wishing to maintain their collection in the very best condition possible, this originally crowd-funded kick-starter company has grown its portfolio of products slowly but carefully into the mature collection available today.

Aside from the ultrasonic record cleaner they have rather good protective outer (protects the LP cover) sleeves, antistatic inner sleeves, an intriguing S-Duo combination stylus cleaner and pressure gauge. Lastly, not perhaps for everyone, but useful 400gsm album jackets – go over the vinyl but inside the cover, where you can keep your own info about dates played, favourite tracks etc.

However, today’s foray into Humminguru’s products is focussed on the HG01 Ultrasonic record cleaning machine. This is a commendably compact device, superbly packaged, and which has the capability of cleaning quite the grubbiest of the LPs in your collection. In addition, adapters can be purchased which accommodate ten- and seven-inch records as well. Humminguru also have the Small Bottle – their own cleaner solution which you dilute massively and aids the cleaning process – which I strongly suggest you invest in for a reasonable £24. I didn’t try anything else, but to be honest, this stuff just works, and seems to be the ideal complement to the machine to do a really good job.

Humminguru HG01 Ultrasonic vinyl record cleaner https://the-ear.net

The unit itself is small enough to sit in your record rack. The detachable lid provides storage for the mains plug and power supply when it’s not in use. It’s lightweight, weighing in at around the 3kg mark, so it’s dead easy to pull out, pop on a convenient surface and clean records. The integral cleaning solution tank is a one-piece stainless steel unit and the measuring pot for water and cleaning solution (which sits underneath) also serves as the catch can for the used solution after cleaning. A quick wash out (it also has an integral filter) and you can refill the correct amount of solution for the next cleaning cycle (or, I guess, reuse if it doesn’t look too cloudy). The one-piece cleaning tank ensures manufacturing consistency and also improved closed-loop ultrasonic performance which produces more effective cleaning.

Humminguru have also thought to include a detachable and renewable air filter so that the air used during the drying process (twin drying fans) is clean and filtered, so not carrying any unwanted dust or other matter and sticking it back on the record.

The process

So far I have only attempted cleaning vinyl discs and haven’t asked Humminguru whether shellac 78s will come to any harm being cleaned in it. After all, their material content is far more granular than the vinyl LP, so some caution might need to be observed. Setting the unit up is dead easy. Remove from box, put required amount (very small) of cleaning fluid into measuring pot, add water, pour mixture into the top of the machine. Put receptacle into bottom of machine, ease disc to be cleaned into the slot and switch on. Make cup of tea and watch disc being cleaned.

Humminguru HG01 Ultrasonic vinyl record cleaner https://the-ear.net

The vinyl disc sits in two supporting rollers, so it’s gently retained vertically at two edge points, and then revolves. The liquid in the unit comes up close to but doesn’t actually wet the label. The cleaning liquid is ultrasonically agitated at 40khz, and I suppose like a soft brush at high speed (but using bubbles) agitates any debris or detritus out of the LP’s grooves. At least, that’s the best way I can think of how to describe the process. Nothing except cleaning fluid touches the vinyl itself during the cleaning process.

There are different times for cleaning available, and you can also select whether or not you want the cleaned LP dried afterwards. The filtered drying air is delivered via two integral fans, so drying time is relatively short, and free of debris thanks to a comprehensive air filter. If not, you can remove it and air dry it – it depends I guess, on how many you have to do, and whether you’re pressed for time.

The Humminguru has replaceable filters for both air and cleaning fluid, I asked its makers how often these need to be replaced and was told “Replace the water filter when it is visibly getting darker in colour. Even though the water filter is washable, it can experience wear and tear overtime. As for the washable air filter, it is recommended to clean the air filter every 30 days. However, for heavy users, it may be necessary to clean it more frequently. Replace the air filter when it becomes worn out.” These filters are reasonably priced at £14 plus shipping for a pack of 15 each of both types.

Humminguru HG01 Ultrasonic vinyl record cleaner https://the-ear.net

The challenge

A few years ago some of my record collection was sullied by a water leak in the storage unit. As a result some have acquired a soiled mouldy covering. If anything was going to test the Humminguru these were they. The first one I cleaned was a Decca Eclipse London Symphony by Vaughan Williams. It had lost its sheen, and was a dull greying colour. The surface felt powdery, and I was not about to bother my stylus with ploughing through all that stuff.

Initially I did a short clean – two minutes. However, after about a minute it was absolutely clear that the Humminguru HG01 does the business. Clearly the grooves were regaining their shine, the greyish hue was fast disappearing and it was starting to look like a record again. After the cleaning process (both sides are cleaned at once) I used the Humminguru drying process and then took a look.

To be honest, if I’d bought this record as new, and it looked like this I’d have been happy. OK; there were a couple of surface scratches, but they’d been there forever. The Humminguru HG01 doesn’t claim to repair any records, simply clean what’s there. I let it airdry for about twenty minutes just for good measure (though I later discovered that the Humminguru’s drying process is thorough enough that you really can play a record right after cleaning) then put it on my turntable.

I was really surprised. It really did sound good. Not just good, but actually very good. There was a little surface noise, but I’d expected far more, simply because of the length of time that grey fug had been sitting in and on the grooves. This was way more than just listenable.

Humminguru HG01 Ultrasonic vinyl record cleaner https://the-ear.net

The adjacent record in the sullied pile was another Vaughan Williams – Into the Unknown Region. This was in a similar poor state. In this instance I put it in for the five minute clean rather than just two. Wow. The additional time certainly made a difference. This was another Decca Eclipse pressing, similar vintage but now the background was inky quiet, and my memory of the few pops and clicks on it ‘before’ has been consigned to history. It seemed so much quieter than before, and the clarity of the recording was laid bare. As alluded earlier, had this been a new disc I would have been quite happy with it. The cleaning process really is that good.

There is an auto option, again two times available, which carries out both cleaning and drying seamlessly if you’re feeling really lazy, or you can also elect for drying only. The range of option is really wide and should cover all bases.

One more time

So I re-cleaned the first record. Now I also had that inky background, better instrumental separation, clearer top end and weightier bottom end than before. The other interesting thing was that the LP also sounded slightly louder than before. Whether some of that grubbiness was limiting the stylus’s excursions I can’t say, but even my wife commented that it seemed louder than after the initial two minute clean.

Humminguru HG01 Ultrasonic vinyl record cleaner https://the-ear.net

The only other test I could reasonably try was to take a new record, play it, then clean it and see whether there was any difference. I grabbed an sealed (reissue) copy of Sonny Rollins’ Way Out West with Ray Brown and Shelley Manne from 1957 from the rack. Not bad on an initial playing. A little noise in the background, and perhaps a little indistinct in some sections. But we are talking about quite an elderly recording. In some areas the detail of the percussion sounded a little indistinct, and the pluck of Brown’s strings also seemed a tad muted sometimes, and there was some evidence of vinyl ‘roar’ in really quiet passages. We are talking minor gripes here, not major failings. However you look at it, this is a superb performance and recording, so I’m being deliberately really picky – but then sometimes you have to.

After a ten-minute clean and dry not only did the vinyl sparkle but the replay did too. That vinyl roar was gone, the percussion much more clearly revealed for all to enjoy and (might be placebo effect) dynamics, particularly dynamic contrasts seemed more assured and greater and easier. Also, Rollins felt much more in command, but again there did seem to be a volume lift compared with the first playing. An SPL meter is necessary to confirm this absolutely, but I’m happy to run with my perception at this stage.

I tried a similar thing with some well-known and well played discs and they seemed to share the same performance enhancement. Background noise and the background generally seemed much quieter. Dynamics were handled far better and the overall presentation was far more open, with greater clarity.

Humminguru HG01 Ultrasonic vinyl record cleaner https://the-ear.net


It’s now very tempting to sit there day after day and clean all the discs in my collection. The Humminguru HG01 really does a commendable job. I had worried for some while about cleaning the ‘furry’ discs from the water incident. Now I know how, and although it will take some time, I can rely on the Humminguru HG01 to do the job well.

The other appealing thing about this machine is that it really is quiet. You’re certainly aware that it’s working, but the noise isn’t overly intrusive. As even the auto long setting is ten minutes max, it really isn’t a problem. The noisiest part is actually the gurgling when the washing bath is pumped empty prior to the drying fans kicking in.

To be honest, I really can’t fault it, and in terms of value for money, I struggle to think of another machine which does the job as well, in a non-contact way, so quietly and efficiently.

So, if you fancy investing in a simple machine which really does do the most amazing job of cleaning your record collection, look no further. I think I am at the point now where, having heard what the Humminguru HG01 can do, I might plan my listening rather more carefully and start to clean the discs in advance. After all, there’s absolutely nothing to be lost (except the rubbish stuck in the grooves) and everything to gain (including, probably, stylus life!). Recommended without reservation.

Caveat emptor

Research by industry veteran and vinyl enthusiast Dave Denyer indicates that multiple cleaning cycles with this and other lower frequency ultrasonic machines can damage vinyl. He advises a maximum of three cleaning cycles and to avoid strong cleaning fluid, 0.03 mg of Ilfotol per litre of distilled water being the recommendation. See his findings here.


Type: ultrasonic vinyl record cleaner with fan drying
Features: automatic settings, variable timing
Size HxWxD: 274 x 340 x 150mm
Weight: 3.1kg
Warranty: 1 year

Price when tested:
£311 plus £53 shipping plus import duties
Manufacturer Details:



vinyl record cleaner


Chris Beeching

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