RECORD DOCTOR VI - vacuum record cleaning machine
New model of No.1 selling RCM in Aust. - over 400 sold
Unbeatable value for vacuum record cleaning
Over the last five years we have sold over 400 of the Record Doctor V, making it by far the most popular vacuum record cleaning machine in Australia. We expect this new version to be just as popular.
It's the 20th anniversary of the Record Doctor machines in USA, and like its predecessors this updated version is a manually operated system featuring a vacuum motor, protective felt cleaning strips, precision bearings that help records spin freely, and an easy-to-drain storage tank for cleaning fluids.
The system includes several upgrades over past models, including a vacuum motor that runs “cooler and quieter,” a stain-resistant aluminum top, a larger turning knob that helps keep fluid off the LP label, and a new deep-cleaning brush for applying cleaning fluid to the surface of an LP.
A 125mL bottle of RxLP cleaning fluid is included which will clean about 25 LPs and a bottle of RxLP concentrate which makes up 3.8 litres of fluid is available for $44.00.
Now includes a Dust Cover.
Brian's Review of the RDV - March 2014
I am always looking for products that I think will provide outstanding value for my clients. This business has been running for more than 11 years and I was inspired to set up the website because I felt that there was a resurgence in interest in vinyl records and therefore people would be looking for related products, particularly cleaning products, because if there is one inescapable feature of vinyl records it is that they are notorious for their susceptibilty to dust and other crap.
So I started my website in 2002 selling the Disc Doctor cleaning system because in my research his products seemed to be the most highly regarded. Although the DD cleaning system is very effective, and hundreds of customers in Australia are achieving good results, it is laborious. Vacuum based cleaning machines speed up the process and more effectively remove the dirty cleaning fluid off the records, but until now have been too expensive for most vinyl enthusiasts. There are record cleaning devices, like Knosti and SpinClean, which give good results and enable batches of records to be cleaned more efficiently, but they still aren't as good as a record cleaning machine (RCM) which sucks the dirty fluid off the record leaving it nearly dry and ready to play. The main problem with RCMs is the price, our least expensive one for many years has been the Moth RCM2 at about $1200 or $900 if you assemble it from a kit.
There have been a few low cost vacuum RCMs available over the years, mostly in the USA. The KABUSA EV1 requires the use of an external vacuum cleaner and I have tried to import them but without success. The Nitty Gritty Model 1 does have a vacuum motor but the 240V version was a lot more expensive than the 120V version and by the time it was freighted to Australia was still over $700 - a lot too high for most vinyl enthusiasts with modest numbers of records to be cleaned.
I have always thought that there would be a good market in Australia for a RCM under $500 but could never find one I could sell. I have experimented over the years and made up a number of prototypes but never come up with a design that I was satisfied with. Meanwhile, in the USA, a product called Record Doctor has been selling for about 12 years at about US$300, but only available as 120V. Recently the company behind it introduced a new version, made in China, and selling for US$199. Named the Record Doctor V it is also available as a 240V version for the European market, and therefore Australia. Although freight from the USA is still a significant factor it is available to Decibel Hi Fi to retail in Australia at a breakthrough price of $297.
I order some samples and as soon as they arrived opened one up to inspect and try it out. I had already read many of the reviews online, and although most were positive there are a sprinkling of negative comments so I wanted to see for myself before offering them for sale. I wasn't expecting much. I have used Loricraft and Moth RCMs for many years so the idea of a manually turned machine did not inspire me. Secondly, that fact that it is cheap and from China had reservations mounting concerning effectiveness, build quality, and reliability. I unpacke one and set it up on my workbench. The 240V model has a European power plug so I quickly replaced that with a legal Australian one rather than use a travel adapter.
I read the instructions carefully - placed the "platter" on the spindle, placed an LP on top and dribbled some of the RxLP cleaning fluid onto the record. Then I rotated it carefully, it wobbled a bit, and used the supplied brush to spread the fluid. It need more fluid than the instruction photo indicated but that was probably because the brush was dry and soaked up most of the initial amount. Then I flipped it over and turned on the vacuum motor while rotating it slowly. The noise from the motor is loud, although not as loud as the Moth RCM2. I removed the record and inspected the cleaned side and was impressed at how clean and dry it looked. I cleaned the other side and took the record to the lounge to hear how it sounded. Once again I was impressed. The record originally had dust, fingerprints and generally looked grubby. Now it looked new. It played quietly, not perfectly but I have yet to hear a cleaned record which is perfectly quiet.
So, in my opinion this RDV machine works as claimed.
What about other considerations like build quality and reliability? Well it's not a Loricraft! The cabinet construction is like an inexpensive loudspeaker - thin MDF with vinyl coating, but precision cut and very neatly assembled. The suction slot has a synthetic felt-like covering which will wear out and need replacing (so do Moth, Nitty Gritty, VPI etc). The bearing for the record platter is minimal but seems adequate. The brush for applying the cleaning fluid is not as good as the Disc Doctor brush but does the job. Overall I thought the unit was reasonably constructed considering the price so I thought I would look inside. This was a bit of a surprise. The vacuum motor is huge, it seems to be the same size as in a Moth RCM2, no wonder it is noisy. The interior size is about as small as it could possibly be. That means comments I have read about these machines getting hot are true but that's not likely to worry customers who only use it for small batches of records. The interior construction is sound, with reinforcement blocks at important positions for strength.I was concerned that there might be a problem with sucked off fluid affecting the fibreboard base and panels but very cleverly the designers have used a double PVC tube arrangement to collect the fluid, and there's a plug which enables the collected fluid to be drained away.
This is a cheap, but not at all nasty, vacuum record cleaning machine. It's an RCM for people with modest requirements, say batches of 10 records at a time. I am impressed with its clever design, robust build quality, and particularly its effectiveness in cleaning records.
Performance: 7/10 Value for money: 9/10
Here's some comments from a recent purchaser ...
Hello Brian, Just thought I would let you know my experiences with the Record Doctor V cleaning machine which I used for the first time this evening.
I cleaned 5 LPs and boy oh boy, this unit does get hot so I have limited to 5 records every day or so. Anyway, I am amazed how good this thing cleans records, it really does work extremely well and one quite dirty mouldy record which is a Thelma Houston “I’ve Got The Music In Me” cleaned up perfectly. I am very impressed and this little machine is certainly worth it’s money. It is very noisy though so am using a set of earmuffs with it.
Thanks again Brian and I can certainly recommend this machine to anyone wanting to clean their records and keep them clean! I am then transferring the cleaned records into new LP sleeves so they do not become dirty again!
Best regards, Michael S.
Several people have asked regarding the cleaning of 45s. The main issue is that most of the suction slot needs to be covered when doing so. I have experimented and found that problem to be easily solved. I cut off a 6cm piece of standard garden hose, then slit it end to end and removed about a 1cm strip. This made a C shaped piece which clipped over the vacuum slot – it worked fine.
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