Q: The CD player in my new car can import music to its hard drive to create an onboard music collection. I love that feature, but about 20 of my favorite old CDs are scratched pretty badly, causing skips when I import them. Is there any way to remove the scratches?
A: My favorite disc scratch remover is the SkipDr from Digital Innovations (digitalinnovations.com). It comes in a manual version for $19.99 and a motorized version for $39.99. The SkipDr uses a mildly abrasive spinning wheel and a special fluid to remove scratches as it resurfaces the discs. Just spray fluid on the playing surface of the disc, put it in the SkipDr and turn the crank (manual) or switch it on (motorized.) After two rotations you remove the disc, buff it with the included cloth and the process is complete.
I've used the SkipDr for years, and it has never let me down. The disc turns relatively slowly in relation to how much you turn the crank, so if you have a lot of discs to do at once you should consider the motorized version.
Note: The SkipDr works on DVDs, too, but it is not compatible with Blu-ray Discs, which have a scratch-resistant coating. If you have scratched Blu-ray Discs, there is a special Blu-ray SkipDr for $40.
It's time to upgrade
Q: I have a $125 Nagaoka MP110 cartridge, which you recommended years ago, that I use with my old Hitachi turntable. It needs to be replaced. Do you think the LP Gear the Vessel A3SE would be better for me?
A: Definitely. If I had to quantify it, I would say the Vessel A3SE (lpgear.com) is five times better than the MP110. The MP110 is still a good cartridge — it is just that the A3SE is a spectacular cartridge, and it actually costs less! I've started to receive reader feedback on the Vessel A3SE, and so far everyone is as excited as I have been.
Last week I wrote about the Sony SS-CS5 core bookshelf speakers. These high-performance bookshelf speakers were available for $109 a pair, marked down from $219, when I submitted the column. Two days later, the price on Amazon and at Best Buy was raised back to $219 a pair. Sony held the line at $109 for a brief time before matching the others. I don't know the reason behind the fluctuations in price, but I am deeply disappointed. The SS-CS5 is the kind of recommendation that brings me the most satisfaction: an affordable product capable of bringing tremendous enjoyment far beyond expectations.
My advice now is to hold off buying the speakers and wait to see if the price drops again. I don't believe the $219 price is sustainable because it was the quality you got for the low price that made them notable. Once you move past $200, there are better speakers available. I will be keeping an eye on the price, and if — when — it drops again, I'll post a notice on my website.
Send questions to Don Lindich at email@example.com. Get recommendations and read past columns at soundadvicenews.com.