Pangea Audio makes a lot of “I didn’t know I needed that” products. They provide a dizzying array of cables, AV racks, speaker stands, and more. Luckily, they also make Vincent Audio (more on that in future reviews) and the Record Doctor VI record cleaning system (MSRP $299.95).
The purpose of the Record Doctor VI is to make your vinyl records sound new again. A cleaning brush only does so much, and manually cleaning each record is time consuming and inconsistent. The Record Doctor VI is the “sweet spot” product (and price) that is intended to clean your record in the best way possible, without charging you the price premium of a fully automated system. As many audio-minded folks know, a dirty record can absolutely ruin your listening experience. It also contaminates your cartridge which again reduces performance and sound quality. The source of your music is just as important (if not more) than the output of your system. A brush may get some dust off the top of your record, but what about the grime and tiny particles lining the walls of the record grooves? Now that we know why it’s important to have a clean record, let’s talk about what makes the Record Doctor VI special.
Updates and Build Quality
The Record Doctor VI is a marvelous little thing. This unassuming “black box” with a power switch on top is actually quite a nice looking system. The gloss black finish is absolutely flawless, and blends seamlessly with the machined aluminum top plate. The aluminum plate is used because it helps reduce noise compared to the Record Doctor V, dissipates heat better, increases strength, and makes fluid cleanup easier.
In addition to the upgraded hardware, Pangea Audio also provides you with a compact cleaning brush packed with 260,000 bristles. It’s much better than my $30 Audio Quest brush when it comes to density, and does an excellent job of dispersing the cleaning solution. Speaking of, there is a 4oz bottle of cleaning solution included in the box with the Record Doctor VI. This should be good enough for about 100 records. If you need more, Pangea Audio sells replacement bottles ranging in size from 8oz to 32oz, for $14.95 to $29.95 respectively. I think the price is fair enough to not warrant searching around for different solutions. This cleaning solution worked so well in removing finger prints and grime that I personally wouldn’t bother chancing it with a different product.
The Record Doctor VI works in a very straightforward fashion. Simply place a dirty record on the foam-topped base plate, then place the record turner on top over the record label. Apply a single line of cleaning solution from the center outwards, then use the brush to spread the solution evenly over the record as you rotate it with the record turner. Once you have spread the solution out to your satisfaction, remove the turner and flip the record over. Place the record turner back on and turn on the vacuum via the power switch. Rotate your record slowly (roughly 2-3 full rotations) until the vacuum has completely cleaned and dried the record. From there, turn the system off and remove the record. It is now time to marvel at how glorious your once dreary looking vinyl looks!
The process is straightforward enough that it’s easy to master after only a couple record cleanings. The vacuum system is almost as loud as a traditional vacuum cleaner, so this isn’t something you would use when a baby is asleep nearby. Luckily, the Record Doctor VI benefits from structural and design improvements over the V, so the operating noise is quieter than the outgoing model.
Final Thoughts on Performance
The final result of a perfectly clean record is amazing. I’ve demo’d this product and process to several friends and family members, and was surprised by how many “oohs and aahs” I received. The record showcases a brilliant deep black that I can’t often recall seeing when I first unwrapped them. Visually, it really is a game changer, and nothing like my cleaning attempts in the past.
So now that we know the records look incredible, how do they sound? Nearly flawless. After demoing a couple records I decided to clean my cartridge needle and pair it with a freshly cleaned record. The combination was finally the result I was looking for. A perfectly analog sound without an imperfection taking me out of the moment and ruining my experience. Ultimately, that’s the goal of audio and music. The closer you can get to the experience the artist was intending to produce, the better. Sure good speakers and amps are a critical part of that, but so is your source. Having a nearly flawless vinyl to accompany your amazing home audio setup is the icing on a delicious cake, and the Record Doctor VI delivers immensely on that front.
I think the MRSP price of $299.95 may seem steep to some customers new to this space, but when you consider how critical this part is to your experience, the price is easily justified. The Record Doctor VI is so good for the money that I can’t imagine spending more for another option when the results are this good.
You can purchase the Record Doctor VI directly through their site here:
Or through Amazon here: