Analog maintenance

I know there are a few posts on this one, but I had a specific question. Here's my ritual:

* clean my LPs using a VPI 16.5;
* periodically wipe the surfaces of the TNT and 16.5
* platters, as well as the 16.5's vacuum tube with three
* dedicated sponges moistened with distilled water;
* use Extreme Phono's Solid Stylus Cleaner on my cartridge before each listening session;
* use LAST stylus cleaner between LP sides

I do not do anything re: LP static or cartridge demag. Should I? If yes, any suggestions?

Kiss the cartridge before using it :-)
You could also use sacrificial records to sit on the turntable platter and on the VPI platter to act as a dust cover. I do that with my turntable because the non-hinged dust cover for the table is too much trouble to use as intended (currently being used as a VERY expensive rag bucket). My dustcover record is a Charlie Rich album someone gave to me that I have never once played. So the funny thing is that if I had to accurately report what record is most often on my table, I would have to say it was that Charlie Rich album.

Although I have never had a problem, I don't use solvent type cleaners as frequently as you do because of concern on what that might do to the glue that is used to hold the stylus in place. I use both the Last cleaner and stylus treatment, but not on every side. I will lightly brush off dust whenever that accumulates.

I also treat my records with LAST record preservative, but, I know, that is a controversial subject.
Never thought of that. My wife is already jealous enough, though, and that might put her over the edge. :->

I use the Last Stylus cleaner only about once in 10 record plays. I want to touch the stylus as few times as I can. I find that it takes at least that long for plastic to build up on the needle and ultimately, each time you touch the stylus, you are putting pressure on the cantilever and the "o" ring holding the cantilever in position. If I actually have dust on the stylus, which should be seldom since you are using the VPI RCM, I use a Benz-Micro dust brush to remove it. As your mother wisely advised you in your teens, touch your needle only when necessary.
Look at ebay for AT-637
That's a - discontinued - stylus cleaner, best ever made.
Lot's of great advice. Thanks. I will wean myself down on the LAST and use it about every 10 albums or so.

For some reason, I do collect a bit of dust during LP playback. I put a pristine LP on the TT and when I pick it up after playing, there is a bit of dust on the stylus. I can remove that easily.

Anyone else using the Extreme Phono's Solid Stylus Cleaner? It is a very viscous gel that you dip the stylus into and then remove the stylus immediately. Not only does the gel clean the stylus, but also "grabs" any dust or particles.

One more bit of advice. After using a solvent type cleaner on your stylus, wait just a bit before actually playing the record to allow the cleaner some time to evaporate and any glue that might be softened to harden up again.

The Lyra people recommend waiting at least 10 seconds after using their cleaner before playing a record.
If you are picking up groove dust after using the VPI, it may be coming from old inner sleeves. I recommend you buy rice paper sleeves and change out the old sleeve after cleaning your record. Also, I like multi step cleaning systems like Lloyd Walker's Prelude System. It's a bit more time consuming, but once cleaned, it will be a long time before you will have to do it again. You will get improved sonics and cleaner grooves. I used the solid stylus cleaner you are using years ago under a different brand name. It is supoose to last forever and it is suppose to be cleanable. I found it lost its tack after one cleaning and was of no use thereafter.
I follow a similar path as you, though for my final step I do use a static eliminator device, the Walker Audio Talisman. I also will second Elinor's advise of switching to the rice paper sleeves.

John, I forgot to mention that I use the Walker Talisman as well. I think the perceived effectiveness of it will depend upon the resolution of the sytem in which it is used.
Good suggestion to go right from your record cleaning machine into a new rice paper sleeve.

I think you should seriously consider using Magic Eraser to clean your stylus instead of the gel goop. There are many reasons why.
1)dirt gets transferred to the gel, so over time you are dipping into a dirtier "cleaner".
2)Depending on shape of your cantilever, gel can get deposited there and buildup.
3)Magic Eraser safely cleans your stylus much more effectively, and you can see & hear the difference(plus it is so cheap, it's almost free).
I switched from the gel goop to Magic Eraser a few years ago, and couldn't be happier w/it. Same results for many hear. Search the archives for details.

One other thing I use that's kinda neat is the AcousTech giant-sized carbon fibre brush(w/grounding wire). It quickly allows me to remove the stray dog hair, etc. from LP with one swipe. I do this last after using a Walker Talisman. Cheers,
I second the Magic Eraser. Much better results than I used to get with the Last liquid-type cleaners. I follow it with the Onzo gel to remove any lost fibers from the ME as Doug Deacon recommends. I usually check the cleanliness with a 10X loupe and the stylus and cantilever look like the day I bought the cartridge. I follow that with a zap from the Milty3 anti-static gun in the dry NE winters. I now only use my VPI 16.5 once and store the clean LP in a rice-paper sleeve.
Thanks. I do place all LPs after they are cleaned on the VPI 16.5 in a brand new rice paper sleeve - I bought a bunch. If the stock sleeve is just a sleeve of paper, I disgard it.

The dust appears on hte LP surface (and therefore the stylus) after I play the LP - it must be from the area of the basement in which I listen. If I merely place the LP in a rice sleeve after cleaning with the VPI 16.5, it never energes dusty.

Plenty to think about re: the gel cleaner I am using. I plan to explore this and the Walker Talisman (if only I could swing the Walker Procesnium :-)


I used to have a dusty room, and I solved it by getting a Honeywell air cleaner, which I run whenever no one is in the listening room. Like this:

It works wonders to get dust out of your room and away from your LPs, and I got the idea here in another thread. Cheers,