Mike, many of us here use the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser as our preferred stylus cleaner. I no longer use anything else but a dry brush following use of teh Magic Eraser.
I'll second Rushton's method.
I third the ME, and seem to recall it was Doug Deacon who introduced us all to it? I prefer to follow the ME with a 'dunk' or two in the ONZO Zero-dust to remove debris. I used to use a dry camel hair brush afterward (before the ONZO came out), but if I can't see where the bristles are going, it makes me a little nervous. I suppose it depends on how 'naked' the cartridge is ;-)
I recently posted something about avoiding liquid stylus cleaners for the reasons you mentioned; but I forgot to include liquid stylus 'conditioners' (StyLast) for the same reasons. Noise is always on the record, not the stylus!
If a new/mint record has been cleaned of any mold release, yet still plays noisy, try an enzyme cleaner like Bugtussel. If that doesn't help, then it may be a mint record all right, but so old that the volatile resins and oils in the vinyl have literally evaporated. Under a microscope, such a record has a surface that looks like the cracks in a dry riverbed. Last Record Preservative will replenish the lost volatile substances (and this is the ONLY time I would use it.) The Last won't repair these microscopic cracks, but will cause the vinyl to swell, closing them up, and reducing the surface noise considerably.
Wow, it's been nearly 5 years since I first wrote about the Magic Eraser for stylus cleaning. Time flies! Here's the original thread
Only one thing has changed from that original recommendation: stylus cleaning should be done after every side, not every few sides. Jonathon Carr of Lyra set me straight on that. It's necessary to prevent buildup of microscopic PVC particles removed from the vinyl by heat and friction. Used correctly, the ME + a dry brush prevent buildup without the risk of chemicals or liquids, while costing virtually nothing.
Here's a link to the wikipedia article on the ME
which many people find helpful in understanding how it works.
Rushton, Dan_Ed, Nsgarch and hundreds (thousands?) of other vinyl-philes continue to use and recommend it. They and I maintain cartridges costing $3K and up with this simple technique.
I'm another big believer in the Magic Eraser. I've been using it since I first read about it 1-1/2 years ago. I have a removable headshell and an 8x photographic loupe magnifier, and it was easy to see all the gunk and fuzz that had accumulated, and how effectively the ME takes it off.
It also showed how essential it is to brush off the ME dust after cleaning, because the ME leaves little abrasive white flecks all over the stylus and cantilever. I use one of the brushes that came with one of my cartridges and the magnifier verified that it brushes this residue right off.
The ME is such an effective DRY stylus cleaner that I can't help chuckling at all the expensive--especially liquid-based--audiophile stylus cleaners out there.
Buy a 2-pack of Magic Erasers and cut one into 1/2" x 2" x 1" prisms. Hand 'em out to your friends at your next Audiophile Society meeting.
I Sixth the ME for stylus cleaning. Nothing comes close at any price.
Yes, Mr.Clean Magic Eraser , a soft brush including a magnifying glass and Mag Lite at time's for thorough inspection's after heavy use.
And while I have the opportunity.
I would like to past along a Thank You to Dougdeacon and Nsgarch for all their "hard work and contributions" over the year's here in the discussion section.
I've been a ME covert as well, but I do wonder? I wonder what the real worth is of LAST Stylast?
I used to use this on a Cartridge now gone, never noted any detriment, never had failures of stylus leaving the cantilever, but let's say if one applied Stylast before every side of LP. Will it remain long enough to proove a benefit? Believe me, I'm all for seeing a Stylus last eveen a few hours longer than it might have without it.
The question is, what are the pros, and cons? In other words, willthe microscopic coating of Stylast smear the best available sonics, and will it offer any better longevity to a Stylus? I appears to me, there might be these two trade-offs. Mark
Yes, magic eraser for me too. Cheap and effective. I use 1"x1/4"x1/8" strips. Back to front then lightly on the sides. These pieces are flexible enough that it's hard to apply too much pressure but can still hear the slight gritty sound as it scrapes crud off the stylus. Camel hair brush then to remove any potential abrasive fibers. I would never have come up with this on my own. Thanks Doug Deacon.
Mark, it's been years since I read any of the Last literature, but I seem to recall the Stylast was pitched as a product that was compatible with records already treated with Last Record Preservative (I don't remember what their logic was, but profit is always a good guess ;-)
Diamond styli are laser-polished now, so it would be impossible to guild that lily! And I do recall someone (with a jaundiced eye even yellower than mine!) saying that even if the stuff worked, it would be gone from where the stylus contacts the record, after half a revolution . . . . .
I remember when Doug started the ME revolution. He even sent out free samples to a bunch of us, and I've been a convert ever since.
Deacon deserves induction into the "Tweaker's Hall of Fame" for the ME.
Woah up, there! For the sake of domestic tranquility let's give Doug the well deserved credit for having the smarts to not let Paul get away! So let's induct Paul and give Doug an asterisk. :-)