There's nothing more annoying than having your favorite song skip right during that awesome solo, or excellent chorus. I'm sure you know what I mean, we've all been there at one time or another in our lives. Driving down the road or just jamming away or worse yet, your trying to learn that song for a gig and every time you play the disc it skips. Now what are you going to do? You can't learn a song if you can't hear it, right? You have few options and even less time. You can go out and buy the disc again, you can get someone to lend you a copy, or you can try to fix the scratch. The problem with finding a replacement is that you may not be able to find it. I myself have many extremely rare or hard to find albums in my collection, which make this option near impossible. I have quite a few albums from local bands whom I have seen in concert over the years which absolutely cannot be replaced. This is what brought me to the Memorex OptiFix Pro.
All The Dirt:
The unit sells for about $25 and looks very similar to a portable CD player. The kit includes one pair of "cleaning wheels", and one pair of "repairing wheels", it also includes a 9-volt power supply and two containers of solution, one for the "repairing wheels" which comes in a tube about two and a half inches in length and probably holds about two heaping table spoons of solution, and the cleaning solution which is held in a small pump-spray bottle measuring up about the same as the repair tube. All of these items are held inside of a plastic case with a hinged lid. The case itself is labeled "Accessory Kit" and has three sections with dividers, to make storage easy. Lastly, you have the unit itself.
Now I'll get to the functionality issues in a moment, I just want to take a few minutes to explain the construction and design. It is modeled to look like your average portable CD player, though it is somewhat on the bulky side being more than an inch thick. The unit is not at all heavy. It is constructed from plastic and seems quite durable. There are three buttons on the control panel and a tiny red L.E.D. placed under the center button. Both functions are run from separate buttons located on the left and right of the control panel, cleaning on the left and repairing on the right with the open button in the center. On the back side of the unit you will find the 9-volt power supply input.
When you press the open button, the door pops up just like any other top loading CD device. upon inspection you will notice on either side of the tray the mechanism which holds the accessory wheels. The left side is labeled "Dry" while the right is labeled "Wet", this is to help you in placing the wheels with the solution. The instructions are neatly printed on the back of the box and is shown in four simple steps. 1. insert desired pads, 2. Add 2 drops of repair solution to the "wet" pad/to clean use cleaning solution on bottom of disc, 3. insert disc, 4. Press appropriate button
The packaging states the many different types of CD media it is able to clean and repair. It works on CD-Rom, DVD, PS2 Games, and just about everything else on CD.
Put To The Test:
Now I can sit here and give information about the specs and accessories all day but I'm sure there aren't many who care about the aesthetics and inner workings of something like this so long as it does the job, and that is probably the question on your mind. Does it work? If so, how well? I'll answer these questions and more in the next few paragraphs but first I want to take you through the process of using this device.
I have prepared the wheels with the repair solution. I am actually attempting to repair a CD at this very moment. The CD in particular appears to have been laying around for quite some time. It is covered in thin scratches the majority of which all run in the same direction. The CD is now inside the unit and the door has been shut. With the press of a button our experiment is underway. After two minutes of vibrating and humming it finally stops, I remove the disc and examine the results. Hmm... could it be? Is it possible? Could this really be happening? To my surprise nothing has changed. The scratches are still there and have not changed even the slightest. Does the CD still skip? You Bet your bottom dollar it does. Well thats one claim which doesn't hold up to the test. I know your all thinking it's just one test and the CD was probably scratched beyond repair but I assure you I have conducted this test more than once under a few different circumstances all returning the same results, none.
Now we need to test out its cleaning ability. I have already prepared the unit leaving only the task of pressing the button. For this test I am using a brand new CD-R which I have smudged partially with my fingers and marked in red permanent marker (for the purpose of this test). Now it is time to test, I have just pressed the button and after waiting about 45 seconds the unit stops. Being that this is a brand new disc I am sure there were no scratches prior to the test it now has very fine swirl marks covering the entire disc. It removed most of the permanent marker and the finger smudges though. So it does clean but at what cost.
So There You Have It:
It's up to you whether or not you want to purchase a product that makes claims it doesn't live up to. I cannot in good conscience direct somebody to buy this device. It hasn't destroyed any of my discs yet but it has caused similar swirl marks during other cleanings, and the repair function is worthless in my opinion giving very little results if any. I have yet to remove a CD from this thing that has been repaired and plays properly without skipping. If your looking for a device to repair your scratched CD's you should probably just walk right on by this product. Save your money and find one that really works. I'm sure there are better ones out there that live up to their claims.
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