Review: Disc Doctor Miracle Record Cleaner Turntable

Category: Analog

Having used the Record Research Lab (RRL) record wash for the past several years with the Disc Doctor wet brushes in combo I have in general terms been pleased with there cleaning performance. Several weeks ago I decided to give the Disc Doctors Miracle Record Cleaner a try with the distilled water rinse using my VPI 16.5 record cleaning machine with two separate tube assemblies, one for the wash cycle and one for the rinse cycle as recommended by the instructions for use of vacuum cleaning machines. I tried the very time consuming manual two step cleaning system a few times but to be honest I found the VPI 16.5 machine with the disc doctor cleaning fluid to be more effective because more of the fluid is removed with much greater ease, speed and effectiveness with the vacuum system of the VPI machine than with the manual hand wash and dry system.

How does a Disc Doctor cleaned record sound compared to the (RRL) cleaned record?
I was not sure what to expect on my first listen with the Disc Doctor system and I was open to the possibility that I wasted $80 for the cleaner and extra tube assembly but to my delight my worse fears were not realized. To my surprise I was able to tell immediately the difference between the two on my Basis Debut Vacuum and Vector tonearm combo. First thing I noticed was how the DD cleaned record had a slightly more laid back presentation (compared the the RSL) with a very quiet background and reduced noise level. I then noticed the music played with a bit more authority, musical impact and accuracy to my ears. It's hard to describe in words but I will try. In comparison the Record Research Labs product leaves a somewhat brighter and etched aftertaste compared the Disc Doctor. Another way of putting it the DD record was more subdued in playback compared the the RRL but I was able to hear more into the music with greater detail, more body and most importantly a greater since of naturalness on playback. It became very obvious to me after hours of listening I was hearing more of what was in the groves of the record with a quieter background. I have concluded the residue left on the RRL product has a negative sonic impact resulting in somewhat bright highs and reduced transparency and body compared to the very strong Disc Doctor cleaning fluid with distilled water rinse.

In Conclusion: What I have learned from listening is that it's critically important to remove all residue from the record groves and although more time consuming the Disc Doctor cleaning system does that with the rinse cycle of the process. After cleaning some 40-50 discs now I can say I will never go back to the one step RRL record cleaner except for some fast dusty cleans prior the the DD treatment. The quieter background, lack of glare and greater resolving power of a Disc Doctor clean exceeded by expections for this product and I can now never look back.

Associated gear
Basis Dubut Vaccum Table, Basis Vector Tonearm, Miyabi Cartridge, Hovland Preamp, Convergent Audio JL2 Amp
Sounds like a genuine product, I'll give it a try! How much for a bottle and where can I obtain some?
I fully agree with the review. I have used both RRL and DD and must say that my preference is DD. I feel DD cleans better since it has a better surfactant than RRL. With RRL the liquid just beads on the record surface. It has always worried me how this stuff could clean properly.
Yours is a complete reversal of my findings.

A recent visitor to my music group brought a Classic Records RCA repress that he had cleaned with his VPI machine and Disc Doctor fluid. We had been playing my LP's (which are all cleaned with RR fluid) for about an hour when he ask if I would play a selection from his record. This record exhibited more background noise than any selection of the evening.

One point of your review on which we (appear) to agree. The Disc Doctor fluid results in a recessed and darker presentation. In addition, the DD fluid delivers less resolution, sparkle and extension in high frequencies when compared to my Record Research cleaned LP's.

Having experienced this myself with Disc Doctor, I ask permission to reclean his record. I used my VPI machine and applied Record Research Deep Clean, followed by Record Research Vinyl wash. We then played the same selection as before.

There were six people listening that evening and the results were so obvious that the count was six to zero in favor of the Record Research. Quieter background, lower distortion and extended bandwidth.

Based on comments on this thread, this must be a system thing, those who like the darker sound or the clearer sound. The good thing about Record Research is that I does require rinsing. The reason the Disc Doctor spreads around the LP so well is because it DOES contain surfactants that are difficult to rinse and why it benefits from a water wash afterward.

If you rinsed it enough to remove ALL traces, you might get sound similar to what is achieved with the Record Research (two solution) combo.
Albert your experience is interesting but it does differ from my listning results. I did not find the RRL cleaned record quieter or clearer. When done properly with 2 seperate tube assemblies so the distilled water will not get contaminated with the Disc Doctor fluid my records are very quiet and removed the RRL glair I noticed in the review. I don't feel the sound of the DD is darker rather more revealing espically with musical nusances. The overall presentation was in my view more accurate to the recording, at least on my playback system. If the DD record is not cleaned properly and all of the residue removed (most important) there will be excess noise from the strong cleaner left in the groves of the record. Since you did not personally do the Disc Doctor cleaning yourself you are relying on the person that brought over the RCA record that is was done correctly. In any event the RRL cleaning fluid is still good and I was happy with it for a number of years but as previously mentoned in my view the Disc Doctor gives superior results. John