A little steel wool, a little spit, and a nickel to tape to the headshell when the ruby needle starts mistracking.
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Only as much as the user wants. I USED to wash LPs. No more. Now I just use a standard vacuum cleaner witha brush att. To suck the dust off. Then sometimes I use a carbon fiber brush. I use Stylast and THEN brush the stylus before play. I use a counter to see how many plays i have for real on the stylus. (All those phoney "only 50 hours" sales pitches..)
I buy used LPs pretty exclusively, so I buy inner sleeves. And I like the heavy 5 mil outer poly sleeves too. So I blow money on sleeves and stuff I do not need but like.
If I hade to give up everything but three things: I would keep: Vacuum cleaner, Stylast, carbon fiber brush.
Add on one: new Inner sleeves
These are my 'extras'
PS I always have a tube of meguiars Scratch X to clean up LP covers. Just a tiny daub on a paper towel gets the grime off. So it is another extra but not a 'real' one.
Cartridge Demagnitizer - no
Zerostat gun - well maybe only if necessary
Wet vacuum cleaning machine - ESSENTIAL (had a nitty gritty for decades, now use a VPI 16) after wet vacuuming usually there is no static and no need for the anti-static gun
Walker magnet thingy (forgot the name) - very helpful, does work and does make a slight difference
Stylus cleaner - ESSENTIAL but I don't use it on every play, if the record is wet vac. cleaned before each play the stylus stays pretty clean
MFSL plastic sleeves - the best, after a new or used record is thoughly wet vac. cleaned, replace with one of these sleeves
After your cartridge is properly set up by a dealer that really knows analog, OR if you REALLY know what you're doing and do this yourself, then YES it is essential to get the platter level so YES on the level.
did that help?
Last time I tried a 'penny' on the headshell I was 15 years old using my dad's Garrard gear driven table LOL
What do vinyl players "need" to do? Only whatever each one finds useful for the level and kind of replay they're seeking.
I know what I do and why I do it, but it would be impertinent to suggest that because I do a thing anyone else "needs" to. My musical tastes, sonic sensitivities, system, budget and proclivity for tweaking surely differ from yours - or anyone's. (Of course you and I understand that my way is best and everyone else's is wrong, but we wouldn't say so!)
If you're looking for examples of "here's what I do", why not check out the Record Playing Rituals thread . It's been stickied at the top of this forum for nine years to capture exactly that sort of thing.
Why do we keep asking questions to which there are no answers? This is like
asking "what is essential to the maintenance of my body?" For some
of us, it's miles of running every day, weightlifting three times a week, yoga
every night, and a strict healthy diet. For other, it's barbeque, beer, and reefer
Dear Ssayeed: First than all IMHO the main target on why we own an analog audio system is to enjoy music and this means heard/hear music as many hours we can.
I say this because many times the music/software is a " slave " of hardware " care ".
Ones you make the cartridge/tonearm set up and fine tunning you only want to have your LP's in pristine/clean condition and the cartridge stylus in that same condition too and enjoy the music.
Time to time check the cartridge set up to be sure is right on target and that's all.
Try to enjoy the music listening music and not " playing " with the hardware.
The time is the only element where we don't have control so don't waist it if you really love music and want to hear music.
Regards and enjoy the music,