How often do you demagnitize your MC cartridge?

I have never owned a demagnitizer but a salesman brought one over once and did some cultish ritual over the cartridge, killed a chicken and when he was finished it sounded better!!!
Is this something I need to be doing regularly? Any advice?
In most cases it's not recommended. The cartridge normally must be magnetized. Even if you believe on such drastical improvements tend to do it not any often than twice per year no matter how often you play your records.
Don't ever do it with MM cartridge and keep it away from strong magnetic fields.
I've never done it.
Don"t ever do it!!!!!
It should only be done immediately after returning from alien abduction.
Do not do it. Cross-ground them and play them for 30 sec. It WILL accomplishe all clearly auditable benefits and you will be all set to go for another couple weeks.

Romy the Cat
YA! What he said,, it's very important to be done immediately, but that would be the only time necessary.
I demagnetize my Lyra Helikon, occasionally (every 6 months or so). The improvements are noticeable. It is also recommended by the manufacturer.

For those who have not tried it, how can you be so certain that it will have negative effects? I have demagnetized many MC cartridges over the years without any negative side effects.
G morris What do you use? how is that sweep LP any good?
you da man

I am using the Audioquest battery operated demagnetizer (it was about $70). I have not used the sweep LP, so I cannot provide any first hand information.
I'm a "newbie" to analog/turntables, but in my research so far, I have come across many who state that "burn-in" products, of which de-magnetizers are included, is just a marketing scam to make a small industry rich. Check out the "BURNING IN COMPONENTS" section of this web page (just over halfway down the page - might be easier to do a search [CTRL+F] for "magnet"):

I have also read somewhere (but I am unable to find my source) that using these de-magnetizers continues to weaken the magnetic field that the cartidges are capable of producing, causing even more damage (and loss of sound quality) over time.

Just my $0.02

Wes, you're completely right and you've chosen absolutely the right path to follow advices of engineers instead of marketeers as done by many "pro" audiophiles. I think bases of electronics are easily explainable to everyone in the public and they realy can help not to swallow crap very often offered by dealers.
It so happens that the manufacturers of the lyra cartridges are "engineers". They recommend demagnetizing of MC cartridges periodically. I do mine at most twice per year.

In any event, I am basing my statements on observations not "hear-say" as some would have it.

Marakanetz, since you are throwing stones: it might serve you well to look at your initial contribution to this thread. It is certainly not in keeping with what an "engineer" would write. Statement such as "The cartridge normally must be magnetized...." is trite at best.
YA Baby!! (said in a Austin Powers inflection of course)
"engineers" get paid to promote nonsence sometimes believe it or not or to promote their own product to demagnetize it in particular. they can fool ya with their knowlege and yo gonna believe as lambs sometimes to wolves instead of sheepherds...

i own helikon myself and benz m.09 as a back-up both of the cartridges adviced to be demagnetized...

did anyone try to find some vintage cartridge demagnetizer??
tape heads need to be demagnetized since they every time accept variable magnetic field from the tape what about cartridge???
Copper is not a magnetizable material. It cannot become magnetized. The coils in a cartridge are made of copper, usually very high purity. The magnetic action that acts on the copper coils is an inductive process that does not result in any "permanent" magnetization of the copper. It simply induces a current in the copper coils in an electromagnetic process like a generator. Copper is not a material that can become magnetized. Copper transformer windings don't become magnetized, copper speaker voice coils don't become magnetized, copper commutators in generators and alternators don't become magnetized, and copper coils in cartridges don't become magnetized.

Why would there be a need to de-magnetize something that is not magnetized in the first place? Now, maybe there is something else around the cartridge, like the screws or other hardware that can become magnetized, but not the coils.
Tom, you forgot to mention magnets that are present in both MC and MM cartridges otherwise there will be no emf i.e. electro-magnetic force.


Lyra Helikon manufacturers quote the following:

The Lyra Helikon uses a polepiece-less magnetic system. The signal coils operate in a magnetic field created directly by two powerful, precisely shaped disc magnets of nearly equal size, mounted fore and aft of the coil gap - in the simplest and purest manner possible.

I'd say proceed with your ehem... confidence of demagnetizing I guess these valuable magnets that is a part of cartridge's structure and continue to trust ehem... "engineers"(I guess from the Immedia distributor domain).
Marakanetz, yes of course there are magnets present in the cartridges. But they do not cause any permanent magnetization of the coils. They cause the coils to be energized by the movement in the field, and induce a current. But, when movement stops, the signal generation stops, and no magnetizing force is left residing in the coils, other than that which is created by the magnet's fields.

However, there is some possibility that there is some content of nickel or other magnetizable metal in some of the solder joints. That could become magnetized. However, I really think that is a low possibility, and would only comprise a negligable amount of material that could be magnetized extremely weakly, and is not in the vicinity of the main field anyway. I think that is not a real factor in this, but I mentioned it anyway.
That's right, you don't want to de-magnetize the magnets (or even attempt to do so)...this may be the exact issue that I eluded to from my research. In essence, continued attempts to de-magnetize the magnets would weaken the electromagnetic fields (or worse, change their characteristics) which would intern reduce the inducted current, etc., etc. causing all kinds of issues with the final signal information.

Thanks, Twl!

"A little knowledge is some times quite dangerous" so says the old adage. “Fellas”, we are taking about traces of residual magnetization in the coils. So called “pure Copper” coils may have traces of iron or other magnetic materials. After prolonged usage the trace molecules will align themselves into magnetic domains. The net effect is a perturbation of the magnetic field intensity created by the fixed magnets at the position of the coil (the resulting field is the vector sum of the field from the magnetic dipoles in the coil and the field from the fixed magnet). Demagnetization attempts to make the orientation of the dipoles random thus rendering the coil un-magnetized (the sum of the B field is zero, because the random orientation of the magnetic dipoles leads to cancellation.)

I agree that frequent demagnetization may be detrimental to the cartridge. However, I feel strongly, that many cartridges benefit from periodic demagnetization.
I'd say six nines is pretty pure copper.
a-little is enough to wage the gradient of random propagation of so-called residual magnetization and compare its effect to a global demagnitization of the whole cartridge along with permanent magnets. also there's always either 0+ or 0- and it cannot be always clear and pure zero.
It's the chicken that does it.
After reviewing the progress of this thread it's obvious that alien abductions must be on the increase, perhaps it correlates to a lousy economy, and so the great need for demagnetizing cartridges.
We haven't had a good shouting match in a while so I thought I'd resurrect this thread, which I followed when it was new but never contributed to due to zero experience at the time. That has changed.

Our sonics had become surprisingly less involving over the past month or so. Congested, dull, smarmy vocals, etc. Last week Paul even spun a CD for the first time in weeks and the durn thing almost sounded good. IOW, something was seriously wrong and all my tweaking couldn't fix it. I even borrowed Nrchy's chicken but things were still stinky.

Then the Cardas sweep LP showed up with the Wally Analog Shop that I own a share of. I've never de-magnified anything before, but it was here and I figured playing a few frequency sweeps couldn't hurt anything.

Holy M*%#@& of C&@^!!! The magic is back folks, big time. The jaw-dropping sonics we enjoyed from September to January have returned and, we think, have even been surpassed. Playing that record a couple of times sure un-stuck something. The improvements in transient speed, dynamics and clarity extend from the lowest bass to the highest highs. The naturalness of vocals is definitely better than it has ever been. Familiar records have that ability to astonish once again, and a few that had been tossed into the "sell me, I suck" pile have been saved. The toes are tappin'...

Re: the possible magnetization of copper coils. It is not clear to my partner that Cu coils are immune to being magnetized. Whether due to trace impurities or for other reasons the possibility exists. Paul has a Ph.D in metallurgy and 20 years as a mad scientist researching and developing Cu-based alloys for industry. Six 9's Cu is pretty good, but he's worked with purer copper than that and was still able to measure impurities and their effects.

Given the strength of the magnetic field inside an MC cartridge and the tiny mass of the moving end of the cantilever, even the slightest magnetization of that mass could impair its free movement. Those movements are amplified thousands of times before they reach the speaker cones, so any impairment at the pickup end might be audible. FWIW, that's what I think happened. OTOH, neither of us has figured out why playing a frequency sweep would de-gauss anything. Feel free to wade in!

We spun records almost daily for about 5 months before noticing the sonic sludge that the Cardas record seems to have removed. Based on that one data point it seems like 3-4 plays per year might be useful in our system. YMMV and FWIW etc.
Doug, the Cardas Sweep LP also claims to ultrasonically clean the sytlus. I knwo that you keep yours clean, but is there any evidence you can detect with respect to that claim?
I can't wait, I'm next! I'll follow up on Doug's experiences when I do it to mine!
What's the procedure for "cross grounding" the cartidge?
I can't really say whether that part of their claims has any merit. You know my stylus cleaning regimen as you said, and it's the most effective one I've tried. I didn't drag out my microscope, but there was no visible change under the 10x magnifier I use for alignment. The stylus was crystal clear both before and after. I guess it's possible some loose fluff inside the cartridge may have been shaken loose. (?)

Maybe I'll go back to the ExtremePhono goop while Wally wends his way around. By the time he gets back to me my stylus will look like nicotine teeth again and I could test Cardas's claim.

April fool! Not happenin'. That little white foam stylus cleaner is the best. Even a cartridge as crooked as mine deserves a clean stylus. :(

Wally is shipping today. I'll give you the tracking # when Airborne picks up.

How long have you been running your cartridge? We'd have heard less improvement if we'd Cardas'd ours before it had 5-6 months on it. Still, I doubt it can do any harm.

BTW, have a care with the gain control if you run the sweep on the Ayre CD. It starts at 5Hz and that really gets the woofers pumping. Excessive gain probably could do harm there.

I just unpacked everything, and am getting ready to go. I've been running the 103r since January, we'll see what happens.

Also, I am going to make copies of the CD for everybody and put them in the box for everybody!

The idea is to unplug your phono cable and (assuming RCA's) hold them together with the pin of each touching the ground of the other. Play a 60 sec frequency sweep or tone while holding them together.

I've never tried this myself. A search on VA will turn up several hits of people who have.