This Product is Essential to Vinyl Playback

Affordable Ultrasonic

The Kirmuss record cleaner is a vital part of vinyl playback

 Kirmuss Record Cleaner - Upscale Audio Edition

Snap, crackle, pop is for breakfast cereal, not your copy of 'Breakfast in America.'

It's always funny when the mainstream press covers the "vinyl resurgence" and talks about how the "snap, crackle, and pop" of LPs is part of the attraction of this medium.

We're sure you shudder at that, knowing that except for the occasional tick on the lead-in grooves and very quiet sections, good vinyl playback is virtually noise-free.

However, many of you out there are new to records and may think the constant crackle of your recent crate find or the hissing of a brand-new LP is normal and "part of the experience." And sure, it might even be fun for a while, reminding you that you've left the squeaky-clean world of digital behind. In the long run, however, you've probably signed up to listen to music, not a medium, and noise is, by definition, not part of the signal you're there for.

This is where record cleaning comes in. Like power conditioning, it should be a part of any hi-fi enthusiast's noise-killing arsenal.

Fight Noise with Sound... Ultrasound

There are many ways to clean your records, ranging from diluted dish soap and a lint-free rag (not particularly effective) to vacuum devices (pretty effective) to the ultimate: ultrasonic deep-cleans by $4,000 machines. Somewhere in between lies Kirmuss: offering ultrasonic cleaning but not quite as plug-n-play as the top-end devices.

Even so, $1,200 for an ultrasonic cleaner is an absolute steal. Kirmuss has a multi-stage laborious procedure for a truly extreme deep clean. Still, Sean-Paul Williams, our analog specialist, says you can get great results running just the ultrasonic cycle.

Many customers have new vinyl and don't believe they need a cleaner. But as Sean-Paul says, "Even new records need to be cleaned!" The grooves may be contaminated with a mold release agent, paper particles from the sleeves, and even bits of vinyl left over from the cutting.

Sean-Paul, who performs the setups for many of the turntables that go through our door, says that having a record-cleaning station is essential if you're into vinyl and that Kirmuss is an excellent option for ultrasonic on a budget. "The Upscale Edition lets you clean three LPs at a time. I'd suggest doing a full clean the first time, and then you need just the occasional ultrasonic cleaning."

We have the Kirmuss in stock. What's the difference between the standard model everyone else sells and the Upscale Audio Edition? Ours comes with the upgraded record washer assembly that fits three LPs and one 45 RPM all at once, plus nine included accessories. The upgraded assembly retails for $350 all by itself!

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Time to Sing: Focal Offers 20% off on Aria

Focal Aria Sale

From February 1 to March 31, Focal will offer 20% off the Aria speaker range. We have them all in stock and ready to ship from the center speaker and the standmount through the three floorstanders.

Last week, we talked about the magnificent Focal Scala Utopia EVO, priced at a little over $50,000 a pair. Perhaps you don't have the budget to bring the entire opera house home but would love to be transported by at least an aria or two. Well, Focal has the perfect range for you.

Most of you know Focal Aria by now. The line has been around for a while and is an absolute demo-room favorite for customers and Upscale staff. We love how metal meets plant fiber giving you the perfect balance between sheen and texture, brilliance and warmth. The Al/Mg tweeter sings, the flax drivers deliver, and both the Prime Walnut and Black Piano Lacquer finishes bring French high fashion into your living room.

Don't be misled by the name or our operatic lead paragraph, though. Aria is not a genre-specific speaker. (In fact, when speakers are sold on the basis of genre, we have questions, a lot of questions.) Aria is just as comfortable and accomplished with Puccini, Puscifer, or Pizzicato Five. Flax drivers may be plant-based, but boy, do they put the meat on those musical bones!

The Flax Flex

Focal's Aria range begins with the Aria 906 (and the similar but 'sideways with another mid-woofer CC 900 center speaker). The 6.5" mid-woofer brings speed, accuracy, and the richness that comes from this totally custom driver.

Next, the floorstanders, the 926, 936, and 948. All three use 6.5 midrange drivers, and Aria 926 and Aria 936 have two and three 6.5" bass drivers, respectively. The Aria 948 has two 8.25" bass drivers, moving more air and going deeper for those larger rooms.

Aria comes in Prime Walnut and Black Piano Lacquer. We have the 906 only in Prime Walnut, but the others are available in both finishes. Remember, the discount is from Feb 1 to Mar 31.

Browse Focal Aria

Don't Forget, We're Open Again on Saturdays!

Upscale Audio Open Saturdays

The Upscale Audio store at 2058 Wright Avenue in La Verne is partying again on Saturdays from 9 to 5. We will be running with a smaller crew, and there are a couple of important things to note:

1) As with all other days, you'll need to call ahead and set up an appointment for a specific demo. If you decide to drop by, you won't be turned away, but your auditions will be limited to our headphone station and—only if the rooms are free—whatever systems we already have set up.

2) The warehouse will be closed, so if you need to pick up something, please call ahead, and we'll ensure we bring it over by Friday. If you buy something while you're here, it might be cheaper to ship it! After all, shipping is free above $49, and you'll save a little on La Verne city tax. Unless you live in La Verne...

Please call 909.931.9686 to make a demo appointment.

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