A record brush? Yes, a record brush. Mind you, not just any sort of record brush. Put differently, my Kuzma XL DC is not just another turntable, much less a Crosby $99 Amazon special. See what I mean? Frankly, record brushes are a must have accessory for your LP playback process. Generally speaking, they have been around for just about as long as records have been around, gaining ever greater popularity in the 60s and 70s as vinyl playback was defacto mainstream, save for the FM or AM radio station you’d be listening to. Wise men long ago knew what they were doing. Simply put, a record brush is designed to do two things: remove surface dust and debris from the record and ideally, dissipate electrostatic charges from the record pre, post and during the cleaning process. Makes sense. What’s missing you ask? High-end audio wouldn’t be high-end audio if someone didn’t figure out how to take something that’s generally mass produced, mass manufactured and turn it into a bespoke, genuinely high-end, craftsman style artisanal product.
Enter Rangel Vasev and his bespoke shop, Ramar, located in Berlin, Germany. Long aspiring to audio-couture with his dream of assembling a vintage 70s style Japanese HiFi, he took to task. Dissatisfied with what was available to accessorize your record’s brushing needs, he set out to design a genuine, bespoke high-end record brush, focusing on the finest materials, build quality and execution not seen before. On point and example, each brush leaving Ramar’s shop is serialized. Wait, what? Serialized? Yes. With each brush sold, Rangel and team have created a complete and inherent value set vis-a-vis the customer. Should your brush ever need servicing, or replacement parts, Ramar can easily scoop up the manufacturing date and any ancillary information associated with the brush. Perhaps there was a supply side recall? Maybe a supplier has upgraded materials to offer? Or, baseline level, in ten years time, the owner can easily trace back any and all historic data points associated with that specific brush. Bespoke suit makers, shoe makers and the like have all long since adopted this level of granularity within their cultured environments. Smart move to elevate the analog accessories market to that level.
The two brushes I received - purchased outright, no freebie! - arrived in due time and save for the finish, Tina and Red are identical. Tina is made of solid walnut, the brush handle and case are machined from a solid block. Same goes for Red, except that it’s machined out of a solid block of cherry tree. Surfaces are oiled and hand rubbed, imparting a durable, long lasting finish that will only look better with time. Clever trick: the brush handle and case snap together via magnetic connection. Each time you use the brush, a satisfying “clack” accompanies the use and handling. Satisfying indeed. If you are into haptics, design and some such things, then surely, Shirley, you too will appreciate these finer things of the bespoke art meets applied sciences department. Clever trick, part deux, each brush also comes with a magnetically attached and Ramar built stylus tip brush. That comes in handy, more often than you know.
The brushes, six double rows of carbon fiber and two rows of goat hair, easily wipe and obliterate both dust and larger debris, as verified by yours truly. Grab the brush handle, apply across the record and voila, dust-be-gone. To boot, whatever record I cleaned that had remains of a static charge, also came away static free, mostly. There were a few stragglers that needed a KL Audio ultrasonic deep clean to remove the charge, alas, for the most part, the brush does the trick. As a used - lingua moderna, “pre-loved” - record collector, you naturally come across records that have not necessarily been loved much, or recently. A half century ago doesn’t count. Dust build up, debris, etc. is the norm. Sometimes better, sometimes worse. Off to the KL Audio they go as they arrive. Then, the playback process. Here, the Ramar brush adds that final touch, as if a Michelin chef was garnishing the last peppercorn on your medium-rare steak. In the past, with previous brushes, of the throw away variety, I never really bothered, it was more of a chore than a delight. The Ramar brush however, changes that game completely and now the experience of handling the brush adds yet a layer of sophistication and satisfaction to each record spun. Bonus: I feel that my records remain cleaner, static free longer.
So what of the price you ask. Sure, 282 Euros aren’t chump change. Frankly, neither are ever escalating record prices, both used and new. Perspective is the mother of all clarity. So I spend $125 on an Acoustic Sounds UHQR or $100 on the new Small Batch Craft Recordings. Go figure, twice spent, once shy. The Ramar brush seems to just fit into that bespoke, level ultimate connoisseur hobby. Heck, watch collectors spend ten times that on magnifying loupes and no one bats an eye. Kudos to Ramar for having re-invented the accessories game and releasing a much needed, much deserved high-end record brush, genuinely the first of its kind. A welcome addition to this hobby and I can’t wait to see what Ramar will cook up next. A+++++!!!
More information at https://ramar.berlin/