AOM Logo October 1997

Nitty Gritty CD Master
Just Good Clean Fun

Anthony Kershaw

When the compact disc was first introduced, the "perfect sound forever" crowd claimed nothing could harm them. So much for truth in advertising! Slowly, products were introduced to help keep the shiny discs looking new and to save them from the damage caused by the implied immunity to destruction! Nitty Gritty, the established company that helps me keep all my vinyl discs clean, have recently introduced a cleaning system for compact discs that claims "to do it all".

The Nitty Gritty CD Master includes a simulated oak base (10½ by 7½), 2 ounces of "Pure CD" cleaning fluid (enough to clean 500 CDs), and an applicator/buffing tool. The system looks and feels substantial. My old CD cleaning system, while effective, did tend to threaten muscle injury - the torque required during the rotations was hard on both fingers and wrists. The Nitty Gritty buffing tool is easy on the muscles and cleans so well, you may be surprised at all the minor imperfections found lying under the gunk!

Use of the product is quick and simple - placement and retrieval of the disc is a snap, and the fluid is easily dispensed. Simply place the CD on the spindle in the center of the routed circular hollow, apply the liquid and run the buffing tool around the diameter several times. Voila - a sparkling clean disc. The buffing tool counter-rotates so it can track the CD in the recommended manner. The opaque liquid does an excellent job in cleaning (the instructions suggest cleaning both sides), and the buffing pad keeps valuable bits from harms' way.

Nitty Gritty say the fluid will restore optical purity on discs with minor scratches and abrasions. Again, the fluid lived up to its manufacturer's claims. My copy of The Planets (London 417 533-2 - MSO/Dutoit) - a favourite demo disc and rendered unplayable by carelessness - was transformed. After a good scrub, the abrasions remained, but they no longer affected the sound. It now tracks like a dream. Smiles all around.

At no time does the manufacturer claim, whether through magic, snake oil, psychic ability, or what have you, that the system will help improve a compact disc's sound. This is definitely not a sound enhancement system and behaves only as advertised. I have heard some "keeners" in the audio industry suggest that this product may improve the sound. For help in sound enhancement, one must buy whizzing machines or glowing mats! To my ears, and on my system, the cleaner just gave a good feeling that the CD was clean - no improvement in sound was noted.

Nitty Gritty have come up with a better mousetrap. The system works like a dream. It is well documented and easy to use, looks quite cool and, although more expensive than some other effective cleaners on the market, has enough fluid to clean 500 CDs. Recommended.

CD Master CD Cleaning System
Manufactured by Nitty Gritty Record Care Products, Inc., 4650 Arrow Hwy., Suite #F4, Montclair, CA., 91763
Phone: (909) 625-5525

Price: US$ 53.95

Source of review sample: Manufacturer loan
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