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A REAL Marlowe Exclusive: MAXELL BLU-RAY LASER CLEANER

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Old 08-17-2009, 10:15 PM   #1  
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Default A REAL Marlowe Exclusive: MAXELL BLU-RAY LASER CLEANER



Okay. Those of you who know me on this site already understand my tendency to support laser lens cleaners and their "attempts" to wipe free any "debris" or "dirt" that may have been left behind on an optical disc player's laser mechanism -- the topic was discussed ad nauseum in a different section of the forum some time ago. It is never recommended to use such devices, from what I gained in that thread, and the danger to possibly scratching the lens itself or otherwise causing a laceration to the reading mechanism seems to increase twofold in doing so. However, I have been using an Allsop "DVD CarbonEdge Pro" DVD laser lens cleaner in my Panasonic DMP-BD10A since the day I first thought it needed some "servicing" and haven't had a problem with it "scratching" or "damaging" any reading mechanism in the deck (as far as I know) -- furthermore, the disc comes with a plethora of easy-to-follow test sequences for verifying personal settings on your home theater (and some video tests for setting brightness and color which I don't use) and allows me to really make sure everything is running right in the system and that all speakers are properly balanced for my room, after I do a complete diagnostic by checking the receiver levels and player/display settings.

Well, enter 2009, when I finally got my paws on what Maxell calls their "Blu-ray Laser Lens Cleaner" with "Exclusive Wind Funnel Technology" for cleaning BD players...I had heard about this product for some time, and it admittingly piqued my interest. According to the press and marketing materials, here was a product that would only not scratch your delicate lens, but would also be so remarkable it wouldn't touch anything in the deck -- it blows out a discharge "wind" of sorts to blow any residue in the area away from vital parts of the playback system. We discussed such a product in that aforementioned thread I detailed earlier, but the Maxell kind of got lost in the heap of the discussion; looking around on other forums, it seems Maxell is the only manufacturer offering such a "cleaning" system exclusively for BD players, including Playstation and gaming boxes. Does the Maxell marketing hoopla serve any side dish of truth to what this product can do? I cracked open the disc last night to find out...

First of all, the instructions on the box claim that when you put the disc in, you should initially select a language that's suitable -- but that's not possible, because when you load the disc, it automatically goes right to the cleaning process with some piercing "test tone" emanating from your speakers while a hideously fake French female accent announces what's happening. As graphics of the disc spin around on screen and emulate the cleaning process of this disc (with air and such entering the lens area), the process finally ends and you are then returned to a main menu, which is about as boring as Jenna Jameson with no breasts; before I go into what else was "wrong" with this disc, let me express my biggest disappointment: Maxell's laser cleaner ships and stores in an actual Blu-ray case, complete with blue plastic and all, suggesting that like calibration systems such as DVE'S HD Basics, the video itself is going to be in 1080 high def -- this disc wasn't. Amazingly so, the graphics, menus and playback interaction plays back at standard DVD resolution, based on the way my Panasonic player threw up its menus (not to mention you can simply tell this was not high definition). That was really disappointing; I understand this is meant just for cleaning purposes, but people can keep their DVD laser lens cleaners for standard DVD video (such as my Allsop disc).

Getting beyond that, the system claimed my lens was now "clean," and the main menu then opens up. Here, there are a series of speaker verification tests including polarity checks and such, but the droning nonsense of the female narration and somewhat inaccurate instructions and confusing routines seemed to make this disc a waste. At one point the narration asks you to fade your speakers to front and then to rear, as if it were a car stereo, but I never heard this from any 5.1 channel diagnostic disc I have run. If you don't follow these instructions, the music tests played back don't sound at all accurate, and make your system sound as if it's completely mis-tuned and not dialed in at all. The tests on my Allsop DVD laser cleaner were much more detailed in terms of speaker checks, test tones and varying sweeps of frequencies. Before I ejected the disc, I ran the cleaner one last time; it seemed to be the most entertaining portion of the experience.

The audio tracks are all over the place for the testing; when the cleaning is taking place, it seems to run in a two channel output, while at other times, my receiver indicated a true Dolby Digital 5.1 stream. The Allsop disc I mentioned runs in Dolby Digital 5.1 the entire time it's operating in the system, and a TrueHD mix accompanies the HD Basics Blu-ray calibration disc. There also seemed to be just two languages to choose from -- Japanese and English.

Additionally, there are music selections to choose from in order to "show off" your speakers while graphics accompany the tunes on screen; in the end, for the 11 or so dollars you can buy this for on Amazon, it's not the most money you'll part with during this economic nightmare -- but to be honest, I was expecting more from this product. If it does what it says -- that is, blow some "wind" to dislodge and blow out some gunk from the lens area -- I suppose it was worth the purchase. But the entire overall experience is more satisfying with my Allsop cleaner. Still, I can't help but remember that the manual for my Panasonic 'BD10A encourages no usage of any "lens cleaners" on this unit...

This now introduces a plethora of varying questions to ponder:

What are the benefits of such "laser lens cleaners" especially in the high def age?

If one is using a Blu-ray player for DVD playback as well, as I am, will using a DVD lens cleaner disc simply clean the laser just for the DVD playback performance?

Do Blu-ray players share a common laser to play both types of media, so that one laser is being "cleaned" by one of these discs?

At any rate, thank you for letting me sharing my experiences with the Maxell Blu-ray Disc Laser Lens Cleaner.
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Old 08-19-2009, 05:37 AM   #2  
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Why would a laser get dirty in the first place? Unless you're shoving things in it? I could understand with top loading systems as theres plenty of scope for dust and other things to drop onto them. For the most part though, tray loading eliminates that and the PS3 has the slot load drive, unless you're feeding the thing filthy discs with more dust than an abandoned library surely these are a bit irrelivant?
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Old 08-19-2009, 06:18 AM   #3  
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I don't know about anyone else but it's just looks like more snake oil to me.....
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Old 08-19-2009, 09:56 AM   #4  
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Originally Posted by tcarcio View Post
I don't know about anyone else but it's just looks like more snake oil to me.....
That is all I can make out of it. I would sure be willing for someone with greater technical knowledge to explain to me how it can do anything. Home audio video has more snake oil products and salesman than any other business I can think of.

Chris
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Old 08-19-2009, 02:44 PM   #5  
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I remember using the dvd maxwell disc a while back. it worked pretty well for me. I was able to find the bluray disc at frys for 14.99. I picked it up. I used it.. seem to work fine for me.

Jacob
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Old 08-19-2009, 03:50 PM   #6  
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I remember using the dvd maxwell disc a while back. it worked pretty well for me. I was able to find the bluray disc at frys for 14.99. I picked it up. I used it.. seem to work fine for me.

Jacob
What did it do? If you believe it removed dust or other particles from the lens, where did the particles go? Why wouldn't a standard spinning Blu-ray disc or DVD do the same thing? I understand the claim might be that the cleaning disc surface is different and the spinning cleaning disc creates more air but I am not believing that it could actually do anything that wouldn't happen anyway.

Chris
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Old 08-19-2009, 09:01 PM   #7  
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I've got a bridge for sale...
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Old 08-19-2009, 10:12 PM   #8  
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Being digital data being picked up by that laser lens, the only way this or any other "lens cleaner" could help is IF you have reading errors since they all have error correction. It CANNOT improve the PQ at all.

So if you have a drive that cannot read discs, then you try such a product but if you do not have any errors reading the discs you put into the player, then leave well enough alone rather than waste money and/or damage the lens so then they DO end up having disc reading errors is/when you scratch the lens trying to clean it.

It sounds like this particular product will not scratch the lens and hurt it, but it does fall into the "wasting money" category IF you do not have disc reading errors.
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Old 08-19-2009, 11:33 PM   #9  
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Originally Posted by rubystone1111 View Post
I remember using the dvd maxwell disc a while back. it worked pretty well for me. I was able to find the bluray disc at frys for 14.99. I picked it up. I used it.. seem to work fine for me.

Jacob
Yes, Jake, I too would be curious to hear what the disc did for you in that it "worked fine;" what exactly do you mean by that?
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Old 08-19-2009, 11:36 PM   #10  
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Being digital data being picked up by that laser lens, the only way this or any other "lens cleaner" could help is IF you have reading errors since they all have error correction. It CANNOT improve the PQ at all.

So if you have a drive that cannot read discs, then you try such a product but if you do not have any errors reading the discs you put into the player, then leave well enough alone rather than waste money and/or damage the lens so then they DO end up having disc reading errors is/when you scratch the lens trying to clean it.

It sounds like this particular product will not scratch the lens and hurt it, but it does fall into the "wasting money" category IF you do not have disc reading errors.
...but isn't it true that perhaps SOMETHING can get "caught" so to speak on the lens mechanism, some dirt, dust or debris just from surrounding electronics inside the player's case? Wouldn't something designed to "blow off" this "residual gunk" be beneficial at least to get it off the lens? And if something like this IS there, COULDN'T it possibly affect playback quality -- if a layer of dirt or dust accumulates on the laser, it can't be good for it...furthermore, wouldn't it then lead to playback errors beyond what you mention, such as skipping, freezing, digitally macroblocking?
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Old 08-20-2009, 01:02 AM   #11  
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...but isn't it true that perhaps SOMETHING can get "caught" so to speak on the lens mechanism, some dirt, dust or debris just from surrounding electronics inside the player's case? Wouldn't something designed to "blow off" this "residual gunk" be beneficial at least to get it off the lens? And if something like this IS there, COULDN'T it possibly affect playback quality -- if a layer of dirt or dust accumulates on the laser, it can't be good for it...furthermore, wouldn't it then lead to playback errors beyond what you mention, such as skipping, freezing, digitally macroblocking?
In a word NO.

If you are NOT seeing pixel break up (not to be confused with the need for a firmware update with BD which can cause this also) and the discs can be read then you do not have a problem, so you shouldn't be trying to fix something that isn't broken because you MAY break it in the process.

In fact. By "blowing things around" inside of the player you could actually be putting things on the lens that were not there before since the disc does not remove the debris 9like with a vacuum), but just moves it around. Where it moves dust could be to sit on the lens and then cause problems that were not there before.

There is a reason why the saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix" is so popular.
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Old 08-20-2009, 09:59 AM   #12  
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I think if you play alot of discs.. the lens can get a bit dirty at times. this is suppose to help. that is the impression that I get.

for me. it helped a bit on the sound.. which I really don't understand why. I had to turn of the volume a bit more then usual.. but then after the disc I could keep it at a better level volume. that is the impression that I get.
who knows.

Jacob
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Old 08-20-2009, 11:06 AM   #13  
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Originally Posted by rubystone1111 View Post
I think if you play alot of discs.. the lens can get a bit dirty at times. this is suppose to help. that is the impression that I get.

for me. it helped a bit on the sound.. which I really don't understand why. I had to turn of the volume a bit more then usual.. but then after the disc I could keep it at a better level volume. that is the impression that I get.
who knows.

Jacob
No offense, but I think that is the placebo effect you heard. Unless you had audio dropouts from incomplete data because of a dirty lens, it would be impossible for the sound to get "better".

This is not analog tape, etc where actually data could be missed. It is simply zeros & ones and there is error correction if some of those digits cannot be read. So unless you had audio drop outs it is very likely a placebo effect.
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Old 08-20-2009, 07:32 PM   #14  
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I never said that I was expert about this disc..
worked fine.

Jacob
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Old 08-21-2009, 01:27 AM   #15  
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In fact. By "blowing things around" inside of the player you could actually be putting things on the lens that were not there before since the disc does not remove the debris 9like with a vacuum), but just moves it around. Where it moves dust could be to sit on the lens and then cause problems that were not there before.
Oh, this I highly doubt, but it's just my opinion.
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