Hi, I've never demagnetized a cartridge in over 35 years and haven't experienced anything that would lead me to believe I needed to. I don't have a clue as to whether such a device is needed or if it's another dose of snake oil. Then again, maybe I've been missing something. My gut says it's just so much BS. Let us know what your experience is.
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I use a Kisiki de mag on my Koetsu Rosewood, just as I did with my (previous) Benz Ruby 2.
Moving coil cartridges do not require treatment as frequently as moving magnet designs. No more than 20 seconds of de magnetism every two to three months is sufficient.
As to requiring demagnetizing more frequently after having done it once?
There is a change in the tonal balance, dynamics and staging of a Benz and Koetsu immediately after demagnetizing. This is followed by several days of waiting for the cartridge to break in or "settle" to best sound again.
Perhaps your friend does not like waiting through this interim period and prefers the sound of his cartridge having been recently de magnetized. This may prompt him to continually repeat the process.
When I had a Benz Ruby 2, there was a time when I got caught up in the frequent demagnetizing. The high frequencies are soft and diffuse immediately after treatment and as with all settling in periods, the sound immediately after that is not as comfortable. Waiting a bit longer will net you sound as it was when new and fully broken in.
YES, but "Waiting a bit longer will net you sound as it was when new and fully broken in" seems to imply that demagging makes the sound "worse" for a while, but that it returns to "broken in" quality with some time. So, what's the point?
It stills seems to me that the statement, "waiting for the cartridge to break in or 'settle' to best sound again," with AGAIN being the operative word, is hardly a great recommendation.
I have never used this procedure, so I can't speak to it. But were I thinking about trying it, there is nothing here that would convince me.
RIVES...about your last sentence: you said "I can't prove this next statement."
I'm not trying to be difficult or beligerent...just trying to get more information!
Cpdunn99, I will go out on a limb and speak for others who may have meant to infer that the "rebreakin" consists of a few LP sides of play, not on the order of a few dozen hours as might be the case with a new pickup. But, hey, if you are happy with the Goldring and find no need to demag, just enjoy. Why worry? :-)
Cpdunn, if you are concerned with momentary loss of performance in order to reach a goal of excellent performance after a short break in period, I suggest you not clean interconnects, speaker wires or ever shut down any of your gear.
There is no free ride with this, same as the rest of life in general. I don't see what the problem is. Do a little work, suffer with slightly poorer sound for a very short while, reward is significantly better sound for the next few months. What's to think about?
Lugnut, you might look for something used. Mine was built by Kisiki and is labeled Audioquest. It is at least 14 years old and still going strong. Another (used) demag would be the Sumiko FluxBuster. I used one long ago and remember being pleased with it as well.
Among new, current production units are: Aesthetix, Audio Physic, Gryphon and Benz. Perhaps Audiogon members can list others I am unaware of.
Demagnetization is not a new idea. Today it is considered important enough to phono performance that it is being employed into the original circuitry of the new Aesthetix and Boulder phono preamps.
Lugnut: Benz unit is great and not very expensive. Cpdunn99: I'm a physicist and critical of even my own claims. When I tell someone it's the absolute truth--it pretty much is--but I rarely say this. I can hear a difference. I'm convinced for myself that it does work. However, I have not done a definitive proof that I could publish and give absolute results to others--that's why I said I can't prove my last statement--I can't (or haven't). Like many tweaks or other small changes in this hobby it's getting that last 1% out. In some cases there is a logical physical proof as to why you got another 1% out and in others there really isn't. If you go into the solid state physics of demagnetization there is little or no proof that it should do any good. The amount of charge that can build up on a coil will maximize very quickly and then disappate, so why would a demag process have any effect beyond about 1 second? So far I have yet to find an explaination that is very convincing, but so far my ears have told me it's worth the time and effort (and in my setup it is effort).
Also, in defense of Albert (although he needs none) the time after break in is the optimum performance of a cartridge. After that it is degrading, being able to bring it back to that optimum point--well what better could you ask for. I only wish I could do this for some wine that has passed it's peak.
To all who have answered thanks very much. I appreciate both points of view. I plan on trying it but recognize that this is not something that is likely to lend itself to any sort of a/b comparison. Since it will take several days for the cartridge to settle in again it will be impossible to remember what it sounded like prior but I will give it a go, and for what its worth leave my impressions. If possible I will do so with a few friends. One final question is do you hook it up through your phono cable or directly to the arm output. Again thanks a lot this has been a lot of help
Rives: thanks for the further elaboration. I appreciate it very much. I'm a victim, in some sense, of (like you) being in the sciences. I want data! As you state, however, some phenomena are inexplicable. The other aspect of science is curiosity. Were I not interested in, or curious about, these demag claims, I wouldn't have bothered posting. Thus, the explanations, experiences, and above all, patience, of everyone is greatly appreciated and is what makes audiogon so special.
Gary: I have to go through the cable, as it is a din connector. That's probably best anyway. The other thing I recommend is that you rest the needle on a record (not spinning) when you demag. This puts the coil (assuming MC) in the center and theoretically should do a better job. This is something that phsycially makes sense to me, but I have to confess--I can't tell any difference sonically from when I used to demag with the cartridge up and not touching anything.
The Benz MC demagnetiser made by Aesthetix. seems to
do a decent enough job but I am slightly nervous about using it since reading Van de Hul's comments. He advises against.It does appear to make the cartridge sound a little worse for a
while so perhaps the answer is not to use it too often,
ignoring the manufacturer's suggestion of weekly treatment.
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"): http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Hills/4133/know.html
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. Here is a link to Van den Hul's Phono FAQ where it says something similar: Can I improve the sound by so-called “demagnetization” of my phono cartridge?
Just my $0.02
I think there will likely be conflicting comments on this but would make a few points having begun this thread. First, I have noticed quite a bit of improvement in my cartridge since using the demagnetizer. The sound muddies a bit for a few lps and is then quite a bit more focused but very natural. Second, I don't use it weekly but probably every few months as part of regular turntable maintennance. Third, I wonder about the damage it can do to a mc cartridge given that the manufacturer of my cartridge recommends it (though you could say cynically that way they sell more). Fourth, of all the people I have talked to that have used them none have noted any problems. Finally, if I'm not mistaken a number of very high end phono stages, I believe the boulder and the rhea, include demagnetizers. I doubt they would include something that would worsen the sound in their opinion. Having said that if you have worries don't use it just enjoy your music.