In my opinion, the use of liquid stylus cleaner needs to be done sparingly. I personally use the Magic Eraser, and then an Onzow Zerodust.
I inspect the stylus occsisionally, and if I notice any accumulation of detritus on the stylus, I then do a cleaning with Lyra liquid stylus cleaner.
Using this method, I've only had to use the liquid cleaner a couple of times a year. Just a few gentile wipes with the wet brush, from back to front, avoidng as well as possible contact with the cantilever, is all that is needed.
Any buildup of residue is a sign you are doing too much of a good thing. Your particular stylus cleaner may be fine, with only moderate use, by making other cleaning methods such as the Magic Eraser your first-line cleaning method.
Just use an artist's brush and clean from rear to front. You can cause damage with those liquid type cleaners. I ruined a very expensive cartridge years ago using a liquid cleaner,luckily the company replaced the cartridge free of charge. If it sounds okay now just leave well enough alone.
Anyone remember when Linn was recommending running the stylus over the striking surface od=f a pack of matches back to front?
I was an active proponent of Doug's famous ME for many years. Of late I am getting way superior results using the Lyra SPT liquids. An initial clean with the SPT and than after 3/4 minutes of playtime I use a newer version of the Lyra liquid and the results are stunning. It's almost as if the new gen Lyra liquid is a tone control device. I was fortunate to receive a sample when my Atlas returned from Lyra HQ.
....the best way to clean the stylus
The best quality way
That's with AT-637.
For those, who believe that spending more money is the only way to success, Air Tight copied it and offer it for 1k
The best cheap way
I've rehabilitated at least a dozen supposedly "worn out" cartridges with a proper stylus cleaning using Magic Eraser. All they needed was something abrasive enough to remove built up residue, followed by a dry brushing to remove loosened particles.
In only one case was the ME insufficient. That stylus had so much burnished-on crud that it needed a sliver of ultrafine sandpaper and slow, careful scrubbing to remove it. Sandpaper is not as crazy as it sounds. Linn provided sandpaper stylus cleaning slips with their cartridges for many years.
Haven't tried Sunnyboy's new Lyra liquid cleaner, so can't speak to how well it would remove baked on crud.
Thats right Doug....Linn said to use the striking portion of match books.
I don't think the Lyra liquids old or new would be ideal for removing baked crud. That would require something abrasive and the ME is excellent. I switched to the Lyra liquids at Jonathan Carr's suggestion and the results I am getting with the new generation SPT are amazing. It's almost like a tone control, cleans up any harshness in the upper frequencies.
IME a must do for any stylus cleaning regime is a good loupe and a LED torchlight. Periodic inspection/cleaning IMHO enhances cart life
Sunny- You mentioned newer formulations of SPT, but the Lyra website seems to offer only one SPT product- is that it (the latest formulation in what appears to be the same packaging)? I used this stuff when I had Lyra cartridges, but that was quite a while ago.
Agree you need to periodically inspect the stylus. Clean records also make a difference. :)
The packaging is the same. I got a sample of the new fluid when my Atlas was refurbished by Lyra. The instructions were to use the original SPT and than after a few minutes of playtime a reclean with the "new SPT". The results are stunning.
If the white detritus seems to be a build up of very small white dust and flakes it is worn vinyl - yes, from the record. If you magnify it, then watch a tiny drop of acetone when dripped on it, you'll see it melt together.
The vinyl comes up in little "rods" when you play a record, and without magnification, it looks like pretty fine dust without color. In such small pieces the vinyl is not opaque, you can really not see any pigment. This is the way any dyed material that is not super dense in dye appears when you get it thin enough.
In my experience heavily profiled stylus tips seem to pick up more vinyl dust and flakes. In any case, if you imagine the miles of groove that the stylus travels it is pretty amazing, and this represents a small amount of vinyl relative to that tracing distance.
Thanks for all the helpful advice gentlemen!
Need I clean the bottom of the cartridge (white buildup Kiddman states is vinyl dust from the record grooves) or just leave it be?
What type of magnifier are you using....I know my eyesight isn't good but I can hardly make out the stylus with 5.0 readers....I find it difficult to avoid the cantilever when cleaning with a dry stylus brush.
Does anyone use the long bristle brush included inside and built into the cap of the RRL or Mobile Fidelity LP#9 liquid stylus cleaner, to clean the stylus?
Brian- even a cheap jeweler's loupe should give you the magnification you need. You can buy one on Amazon. I'd keep any liquids away from the cantilever, cartridge underbody or suspension. If you have a dry brush, like a small painter's brush, see if you can't remove the dust from the cartridge housing using that; then use one of those stiffer stylus brushes (or ME, if you are inclined, but I'd dip, not scrape~ you should read up on using ME as a stylus cleaner before you deploy b/c it is basically a bunch of tiny fibers and you don't want to snag your stylus/cantilever in it and you still need to brush afterwards to remove any residue from the ME). I've gotten away from using liquid stylus cleaners and just use dry methods, but each to their own- Lyra obviously believes they are ok, and I used its stylus liquid when I ran their cartridges without a problem. I never used the RRL liquid- one concern I'd have is if the stylus is already dirty, whether applying a liquid to it would make it worse. I guess you should take a close look and try some dry cleaning first, in any case, no?
+1 to Whart's comments. Good post.
Man, do I have a tone of it right now, the result of months. I only clean it when the cart is out of the arm, sitting upside down, under bright light, with a tiny brush and toothpick with alcohol on it, very carefully!
I do not use usually use liquids on stylii, I do not use those sticky things, just the little stylus brushes with some alcohol if something on the stylus is stubborn. After 1000 hours the stylus still gleams under 400 power magnification, so my occasional brushes with the stylus brush, and very occasional use of alcohol on the short stiff brush (as opposed to dripping liquid on those longer applicator brushes) is sufficient. And safe!
I use liquid very sparingly..maybe once or twice a year. I use a combo of a traditional stylus brush, ME for serious cleaning. I use Onzow every record change(after two sides). If you keep up with regular cleaning, crud will not build up. I use liquid via a drop or two on a flat stylus brush and do my best to avoid the cantilever assembly the few times I use it throughout the year. A 10x loupe is useful for checking the cleanliness.
I use an 8x photography loupe. The magnification is just right for assessing how clean or gummed up the stylus is. When I first checked the stylus under the loupe I couldn't even see the stylus for all the gunk and fuzz that had *bonded* to it.
The stylus moving through the groove generates a lot of heat and fuses the resulting gunk to the diamond. A soft stylus brush can't dislodge this bonded sludge and fuzz. A cleaning liquid would have to be a strong solvent that could melt through and dislodge all of the gunk. I didn't want to deal with a solvent that strong and risk it wicking up the cantilever into the cartridge.
Enter the Magic Eraser, which I cut into individual 1"x2" cleaning blocks. I don't just dip the stylus into the Eraser block; I use it to brush the stylus from back to front, making sure I don't go front to back or side to side. Then I checked my progress with the 8x loupe.
It worked! The diamond shone through clean dn clear. The ME leaves some of its own white powder behind, so I whisk away the residual abrasive powder with a soft stylus brush.
I have been doing this for six years. I got five years out of my first AT150MLX stylus and am now a 1-1/2 years into my second. I clean the stylus after every 2-3 record sides. It provides easy and effective cleaning and I've had no damage to stylus, cantilever, or LP.