It depends on whether hou have a hollow tube cantilever (NO) or a solid cantilever (OK, if you want to). Go to the forum search and type in "stylus cleaning" in the search window. Then select either 'match exactly' or 'match all words' and click "search". You'll probably find everything you want to know -- it's a popular topic :~)
IMO, The best stylus cleaner costs $2.69 US for a lifetime supply. It's Mr Clean Magic Eraser. It looks like white styrofoam and you use it dry. Some users cut off a little cube and stick a toothpick in the cube. Others glue a cube to a coin and lower the arm lift into the cube. It's the best thing since sliced bread. Check stylus with a scope before and after. The stylus has never been cleaner. Go to AA and search Mr. Clean for rave reviews. I use it on my Clearaudio Virtuoso and Dynavector 10x5. It sounds too good to be true but it works great.
It's Mr Clean Magic Eraser.
Yes Sir thats the one for me.
Check it out, many are now using the Magic Eraser with great results!!
OK I'll try the Mr. Clean, but have any of you Mr. Clean users also used the Zerodust? It gets my stylus immaculate and it's a soft gel-like material. Why would Mr. Clean be a better choice?
Actually, I use both. I use the Mr. Clean first, then the Zero. I've found that once a week with the Mr. Clean, and every lp with the Zero keeps my stylus absolutely spotless. I use the Zero every play.
Aside from the weekly use of the Mr. Clean, I also use it immediately after playing any lp that sounds like crap, just in case the lp was not clean enough. Also any lp I have not personally cleaned. That thing will take ANY crap that builds up off.
Before we suggested the ever more popular Mr. Clean Magic Eraser we owned and used ZeroDust, ExtremePhono, RRL #9 liquid and even one of Twl's ex-Linnie matchbook strikers.
My experience is that the MCME cleans better than any of them, and it's safe for hollow cantilevers as Nsgarch mentioned.
Joe's suggestion of less frequent use makes sense if you're concerned about abrasion. But diamonds are pretty hard and a stylus sees thousands or millions of times more abrasion playing one side of an LP than it gets from a 1 second dip in MCME.
We used to use MCME only every tenth side or after a dirty side, like Joe. Then Jonathon Carr of Lyra explained to me that a stylus picks up a microscopic layer of melted vinyl particles on every play, even if the record is perfectly clean. The MCME is abrasive enough to remove this layer. ZeroDust, XtremePhono and liquid cleaners will not. I have verified this using a photographer friend's 200x microscope camera.
Therefore, this is what we do after EVERY side:
1. Dry brush stylus from B-to-F
2. Dip stylus once or twice in MCME (NEVER brush or scrape with it)
3. Dry brush again to remove any loosened particulates
Note: use only the white MCME, not the blue ones. The latter contain cleaning chemicals.
I was planning to use both Mr Clean and Zerodust - got a great deal on the Zerodust or I would just be using the Mr. Clean eraser.
Doug, et al - Like flharris, I would like to know what brand of stylus brush is recommended...
Any small, short-bristled brush will do. Relax, it's just a brush! ;-)
I used the corner of my CF record brush for nearly a year. That worked fine, though it's not quite as stiff as a "real" stylus brush.
Then these higher model ZYX's started showing up. They include a free stylus brush! Not bad for a few kilobucks, huh?
How about a small paint brush like artists and model builders use? Cut the handle down to a convenient length. Choose one with coarser bristles and trim them off short if necessary, so they have a little stiffness to them. Should cost you about $0.59.
Another vote for Mr. Clean and the coarse bristle artist brush with the handle cut down.
I have no experience with Zerodust, but have used the Extremephono. Got sick of the goo leaking out of the container and getting all over everything. Magic Eraser just plain does a better job.
Doug- Thanks for passing along the heads-up from the folks at Lyra. I'll start using Mr. Clean more often based on that info.
Thanks for the info on the using an artist's brush. Nice and cheap - the Last Stylus brush, which I was considering, is $20.
Bought a box of the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser "Duo" before reading Doug's note about chemicals contained therein. Checked the Mr. Clean website, and it appears the only difference between the Original model and the Duo is the absorbent blue layer. Will it be OK to use the white portion of the pad?
Yes, use the white portion only. Do not use the blue. Also, do not wet the white part, to clean the stylus you use it dry.
Haaaaa! I even found a link where you can have a free sample sent to you. Don't even have to go to the supermarket anymore, and no cash out of your pocket. This may be the most effective, cheapest tweak yet! It should be posted on Enjoy the Music.
Umm... Happy April 1 day :)
Enjoy the Music,
Steven R. Rochlin
Len Gregory The Cartridgeman (makes the fine Music Maker MM)
recommends cleaning with fluid judiciously to avoid drying out the internal mechanism, but with a dry brush before each play.
Yes, you should clean stylii, as well as the records.
Dry cleaning brushes: Any quality artist brush, natural fiber(read: sable). Mine is a .5" flat tip Grumbacher 6661. Used for general dusting, especially since the Clearaudio V. Wood loves to attract all manner of fuzzy crap on the bottom front.
For stylus cleaning brushes, I have the one that came with LAST. Also have a old Discwasher brush. Both these are high-density fiber count with a "flat-top" cut. Both are used with any manner of liquid cleaners on an infrequent basis. Dry use before each play. Wet use w/ Audio-Technica SK301 or LAST on an infrequent basis. As for RRL #9 or DD stylus cleaner? I haven't much doubt they're good, but @ $25/.5 oz? Then again, you don't use much of it.
The Mr Clean is currently costing $3.39 in my area. There is now a competitor, 3M Scotch Brite eraser pad at $1.99.
My first choice is the Signet SK305 electronic cleaner-
Sadly, long gone, once again thanks to Audio-Technica
is this mr clean eraser thing really just a hoax? it seems too silly to be true.
I use Doug's Magic Eraser, with a followup of LP#9, just to get the solvent from the Magic Eraser fully off the stylus, since it is a solvent that will not evaporate.
Works like a charm. BTW, Shasta, I've had LP#9 bottles that have lasted me 3 years, cleaning every side, with 2 to 3 hours of vinyl play per day.
What's that work out to? A little over $8 per year? Not bad in my humble opinion.
Jes45, If your Mr. Clean is leaving a solvent, then you may be using it incorrectly. Do not use it WET. It is supposed to be used DRY. It is not solvent that cleans the stylus but the dry micro-fibres that grab the diamond. After using the dry Mr. Clean, brush with a soft brush to remove any fibres that may have been left on the cartridge. Liquid stylus cleaners are not needed.
Thommas is 99.44% correct.
A dry, white MCME can in fact release solvents, but only at temperatures above its flash point.
If your Magic Eraser bursts into flames during stylus cleaning you may be rubbing too hard, and residual solvents shouldn't be your first concern.
Thanks to Doug / Paul for the MCME system.
I am currently using the MCME on each side followed by a brushing front to back and then a dip into the Zerodust.
I find that the Zerodust takes off even more black junk when used as a follow up after using the MCME. The whole process takes almost no time (pretty much the time that my table takes to get up to speed).
Thanks Doug, for your explanation. Can you share where you found the info, (solvents only released at flash point), etc.?
Thanks in advance,
I'll have to check out Mr. Clean. Right now, silly putty on a coin (Canadian Loonie)is working well for me.
I use the Paul and Doug World Famous MCME stylus brush, followed by soft artist's brush and/or the Onzow ZeroDust. I insert and glue a small, flat plastic handle into the MCME, making it easier to use. I include one with every order of the AI stuff. If anyone needs a P&D WF MCME stylus brush, just write me and I'll send you a couple.
One word about the ZeroDust. I paid $69 for mine. I have found that Silly Putty works 99% the same ... or as Doug might put it, 99.44% the same. If you find the Silly Putty is a little too tacky (as in sticky ... not as in lacking style), put it in the refrigerator. That will harden it ever so slightly. The refrigerator won't do much for the style part.
I hate to tell you, but Mehran (SoraSound) sells the Zero for about half that. Still costs more that the 99.44% effective Silly Putty though!