Metal "whiskers" on cartridge body

I checked my stylus/cartridge yesterday, the stylus looked great. However, I noticed metal "whiskers" attached to the front of the cartridge body (an ESCCO modified Zu Denon 103R).

I have no idea where these came from, the cartridge is always stored in a clean wooden box, by itself, when not in use.

Is a there a safe way to remove them? They don't seem inclined to go anywhere, but I'd rather they not be there.

I welcome your thoughts.

128x128Ag insider logo xs@2xislandmandan
do you clean the tip with say Clearaudio tip cleaner or Oznow? I would use air can to blow these off ...but please be careful! sometimes I had some black residue also on the body and the "ribber" seal which I got out with tiny painters brush...but again be careful as these things are very delicate...
The metal is attracted by the strong magnets in the cartridge. As to how they get there, it beats me. Since record pressing is a purely mechanical process not carried out in a clean-room, it's possible there's always a bit of metal residue from the plant floating around in the inner sleeve, jacket, etc... I usually brush them off gently using a small artist's paintbrush.
Hi Dan - my "guess" is they came from possibly your (modded?) cartridge itself, and what is floating around in your room. Have you been soldering around your gear again? :^)

When I had a Benz Micro MC3 retipped by Soundsmith I inquired into getting the nude version done. They advised against this due to the floating metallic (debris) environment that a cartridge lives in.

I've seen these on quite a few cartridges. It's not clear to me that such "whiskers" are actually metal, though their orientations certainly appear to result from the magnet field of the cartridge.

A research project with spectroscopic analysis is clearly in order. Any takers?
It's not clear to me that such "whiskers" are actually metal

Interesting - lets get a quick answer on this one.

Dan, pull one of the whiskers off, walk over to your fridge and place it near the fridge magnet holding the picture of you with the trophy bass. Does it stick ?
If you have old records, that's likely to be debris in the grooves that is dislodged by the stylus.
We had a customer that pulled some 'whiskers' off of his cartridge... After that the cartridge never made another sound. After that he never did that again.
Intriquing so I did some digging.
Lyra Clavis from Stereophile.

The Lyra Da Capo uses a "Ceralloy" composite
cantilever. Ceralloy is a metal reinforced with ceramic
"whiskers," which Carr tells me are stronger than carbon

Maybe Jcarr will come on here. A pic would be great Dan
but a call to the people that did the work should be made
if you are concerned. Don't go pulling anything just
This modified Denon is "the cats meow". It's up there with the best carts I've heard. I thought about trying to blow them off with compressed air, but thought better of it, with concerns of blowing a small piece of ferrite metal somewhere it shouldn't be, and ruining my best cartridge.

By the way, I don't have a cat, I'm wondering how a cat could have anything to do with the metal on my cartridge.

The cantilever is white saphire, and non-magnetic. After thinking on this last night, I may try using a bit of masking tape to try to remove the "whiskers", very carefully, of course.

I don't think it'll be possible to make a picture, I used a 10x loupe and strong LED lighting to see this, my old Sony digital camera isn't capable of this level of resolution.

Thanks all, I'll let you know how it all shakes out.
I pondered this same question,eventually I thought perhaps the filings came from the threaded spindle of my Oracle.
Psag's idea sound like a likely source of the whiskers. I haven't tried anything yet, I'm enjoying too much music to take the time to address "shaving" my cartridge.

Doug, I do play RCA "Shaded Dog" records from time to time, but unless Nipper is "The Dog of Steel", it's perhaps an unlikely source.

Although it's possible he picked up some metallic shavings from that early horn he was looking into. Some of them were made of metal.


-- Al