Wet cleaned the stylus of my Ortofon Cadenza for the first time. Purchased it new two years ago and never considered going beyond using a stylus brush. A friend recommended wet cleaning it and WOW, what a difference it made. If I wet-clean the stylus on a daily basis can I expect to get the same WOW same reaction. What about cleaning the stylus on hourly basis. How about between side A and B:) Any recommendations on an effective and safe stylus cleaner.
Well as nearly everything analog 'it depends'. In the first place it depends from the question if the stylus needs cleaning. One need to look at the stylus with a magnifying glass to discovere the truth. In the second place the fear against wet cleaning should apply for the styli which are glued in the cantilever. The fear is based on the assumption that fluid may disolve the glue. But many cantilevers are made from aluminum (alloy) in which the stylus can be pressure fitted. That is to say without any glue. This is, alas, not the case by the so called 'exotic cantievers' (boron, sapphireberyllium,etc). But we have no idea what kind of glue (or cement) is used in our exotic cantilevers. Such info from the producers would be much more useful than the usual specs. In many cases there is no substitute for wet cleaning. Look at your stylus with a magnifying glass to see for yourself.
Magic Eraser comes in a cardboard box and it looks like a small white brick of styrofoam. Put the M.E. in a position where you can safely drop the tonearm and cartridge onto the M.E. in a vertical motion. Do not go side to side or you might damage the stylus, etc... Use the 'Original Magic Eraser' only and keep it dry at all times. Two or three drops should be sufficient. I'm not certain that I'm correct on this but what I've read is that wet cleaning your stylus could potentially loosen the adhesive that is holding the diamond. Anyhow, Original Magic Eraser is the real deal!
Yeah, I always find it interesting when manufacturers generate myths about their products in an effort to increase sales. A few years ago, BMW began including oil changes throughout the warranty period. Coincidentally, oil change intervals jumped to 12-15K miles. I'd hate to be the second owner of a BMW where the scheduled maintenance was followed. Hmmmn, what does that have to do with cleaning a stylus?
FWIW Soundsmith strongly discourage use of fluids except in emergencies. Edited from their document- "The DRY soft brush is good, but far better is to use some "fun tak"... just before or after every play [and they go into the blu-tak method]...
"Using this method [with] every record should eliminate the need to wet clean ever. "Only wet clean when the dry clean doesn't work."
My car keeps track of the oil...I don't know if its mileage, time, or if it really analyzes the oil...anyway, a large indicator lights up that says...change oil. It came on about a year after I got the car at my mileage of a bit less then 10,000.
Search Magic Eraser in the forums. Doug Deacon does a great job of explaining it. It may sound crazy but it's no joke. It's all I've been using for years. I don't do the stylus drop. I use thinly cut strips essentially as a mini stylus brush. It's the micro abrasive nature of the product that makes it effective. You shouldn't need liquid at all if used consistently.
I've been using STYLAST, since 1981, without the first negative experience. Used between every three discs(played both sides) Nothing but excellent sound and remarkable stylus longevity. Keeping your records immaculate, goes a long way to preserving your stylus, as well.
I have used all four methods- wet, dry, Stylast and Magic Eraser. I think the wet brush and then applying Stylast sounds the best. I have looked at the stylus under a microscope and seen that a wet brush is much more effective than a dry brush for removing dust. If the stylus has grunge build-up, then the magic eraser works the best for cleaning it off.
Auto oil changes? Really? We are going to discuss this here? Plenty of forums on that topic based on no real data. Just follow the recommendation in your owners manual or change it more often if you like- it's your money. As for me, I change my engine oil more often than recommended. Hey, it's my money. I feel better doing that. It definitely keeps the internals of the engine cleaner.
Ditto for my Discwasher stylus cleaner. I've also got an Audio Technica AT637 Ultrasonic Stylus Cleaner, that's been in the box, since the 80's. Both were obviated, by the STYLAST and it's cleaning brush.
First, some cartridge manufacturers will void their warranty if liquid cleaning is used. Be aware of the provisions of YOUR cartridge's warranty before you do it.
Nandric's post above was spot on with regard to one risk. If a stylus is attached with glue, and if we don't know the composition of said glue, no one can say whether any particular liquid solvent is safe or a disaster in the works. Additionally, the elastomers used in some cartridge suspensions may be weakened by volatile organic compounds present in some liquid cleaners.
Elizabeth's blithe spirit notwithstanding, I'm personally aware of three instances where liquid cleaners apparently weakened the stylus/cantilever bond, leading to a lost stylus.
I disagree with Nandric's final statement that, "In many cases there is no substitute for wet cleaning. Look at your stylus with a magnifying glass to see for yourself." I have, with dozens of cartridges. A stylus that's properly maintained with the Magic Eraser method is as clean as new. Liquid cleaning will not make it any cleaner.
As you've seen, many people use and get good results from the Magic Eraser method I first publicized ten years ago (wow! time flies). I still do.
The "how-to" questions are all addressed in the original post linked by jmcgrogan2 above.
How often to clean? JCarr (Lyra cartridge designer) educated me on this soon after that post. His statement was that, even if an LP is perfectly clean, stray vinyl particles are loosened from the sidewalls with every play. Heat and pressure at the stylus/groove interface can bond these to the stylus. To prevent a gradual buildup that discolors the stylus and (worse) smothers the sound, JCarr recommended cleaning the stylus AFTER EVERY SIDE.
The ME, used as suggested, safely removes/prevents this buildup. I've been using it for 11 years on cartridges that retail up to $10K with nothing but positive results.
I've also rehabilitated a fair number of supposedly "worn out" cartridges sent to me for inspection, simply by cleaning their styli properly. In only one case did the ME fail to remove all the built up gunk. That one was so covered in burnished-on gunk that I resorted to a strip of ultrafine sandpaper, as Linn used to provide with their cartridges. In all other cases, and certainly with regular use, the ME and a brush or goo dip to remove stray particles is all that's required.
Dear Doug, I re-read your original post, and I was reminded why I've never had the courage to try Magic Eraser. You say many times, "be careful" and the stylus can "snag". That's enough to prevent me from trying it; I am the klutz who will NOT be careful and who WILL snag the stylus with disastrous results. Your method includes actually using the ME in a brushing motion, albeit BTF, as you abbreviate it. However, some other ME users recommend using the ME as a stationary pad set down under the stylus; they then lower the stylus gently on to the pad using the cue-ing device, up and down a few times. This sounds much safer for inattentive persons like me. What do you think of this latter method? Anyone?
I've been using Stylast #4, it seems all my life. Then the supplied brush, BTF.
"However, some other ME users recommend using the ME as a stationary pad set down under the stylus; they then lower the stylus gently on to the pad using the cue-ing device, up and down a few times. This sounds much safer for inattentive persons like me. What do you think of this latter method?"
I use this method, because it sounded safer. The only thing here is the ME, being so lightweight, tended to lift up when lifting stylus off. To prevent this, I cut horizontal slit in the side, and slid in a quarter. Now it doesn't do this. Please note, my square is like 3/4" thick, so there is a good thickness of ME between quarter and stylus.
When I say that I use a wet brush, I do not mean a totally soaked brush that will submerge the stylus, canteliver and coils in moisture. I put one drop of distilled water onto a dense stylus brush. That drop gets absorbed into the bristles. It is very effective in killing static charge and pulling dust off of the stylus. A dry brush just pushes the dust around.
I also use the cueing device to drop my stylus onto the magic eraser. I would not try holding the ME in my hand. Too much coffee in my system to try that.
I told a friend who works in a used record store about the ME so he used it on his four year old stylus that had never, ever been cleaned. A week later he was telling nearly every customer in the store about the ME. Had this product been meant for the audiophile industry, it would cost ten times more than what it actually does.
Nandric, R U serious? What kind of wet cleaning we're talking about? Do you really think that stylus is going to be dipped in cleaning solution? a tiny bitsy drop applied to the tip of the stylus that dries out instantly... still donno what's wrong with that.
No one mentions LYRA SPT. I used it for years. There's something about it that actually made the records sound better vs ME to my ears. I recently switched to EMT from a Helikon and Delos and EMT recommends just a brush so that's what I do now.
Very good question, which Fjn04 addressed nicely. Others do the same or similar for just the reason you noted, including my ex (who first discovered/gleaned/invented this use for the ME).
DIYAudio folks prefer to use a penny. Audiogoners tend to use a quarter. Private audio club members use gold doubloons. It all works!
Steady fingers, caution and good closeup vision are required for the ME-on-a-toothpick method. I have those, but for any who don't, dipping into a (stabilized) chunk of ME cleans nearly as well... and better than dipping into little vats of goo, a blob of Silly Putty or dry brushing alone.
Nandric's cautionary post was reasonable, for the reason I explained in mine. No qualified chemist would opine that this is safe without knowing details of the chemical makeup of the cleaner, stylus glue and elastomers in the cartridge. IOW, you're just guessing.
You run an audio store. Do you recommend wet stylus cleaning to your customers? If so, do you at least warn them that this may void the warranty from some cartridge manufacturers? You owe them that information, regardless of your opinion as to its safety.
Dhcod- I also use an EMT, great cartridges BTW. I discontinued use of the Onzow, based on recommendation! So now 90% of the time I use a dry brush. The other 10% of the time is either ME or wet brush. The latter with just one drop of Disc Doctor. When Cleaning my Dynavector, I use ME more often, and and still dry/wet brush. So yes, as Doug mentioned, do check with specific manufacturer.
Personally I do wet stylus cleaning only in case if gets contaminated so can't clean it dry. Otherwise I'm too lazy to open the bottle, drop on the brush and never had any kind of thought about it being not a good idea after all.
Czarivey, Tonywincs described the way I (also) use the wet cleaning method. Thanks Tonywincs! The most of my MM carts I bought on ebay. The styli are often 'glued' in record particles which can't be removed by M.E. A really good brush is essential. But there is no need to be obssesed with cleaning.I am surprised to see that nearly nobody checks the stylus before the cleaning. Those are sensitive objects while the risk to destroy the cantilever and/or stylus is not imaginary. One need to remove the headshell from time to time and inspect the stylus carefully and than decide how to clean. There are no a priori truths. I need to add that the most of my MM carts have aluminum cantilevers with pressure fitted styli. There is no glue to worry about.
Consider what is going on at the stylus and cantilever level. The crud build up is basically just dirt, bits of vinyl (hopefully not much vinyl) and some chemical residue. What is needed to clean it is just some mild detergent solution and a light physical scrub.
I've used a stylus cleaner kit I was given with a Lyra Clavis da Capo and also the Disc Doctor stylus cleaning kit brush and liquid. Both clean the stylus and cantilever quite adequately.
IMO, it is necessary to use a wet brush to actually loosen and remove the build-up on the cantilever and stylus. A Magic Eraser might work OK for the stylus, but there is a minimal benefit for the cantilever. In my opinion.
Wet clean your stylus only when truly necessary. Wet clean your LPs on a vacuum RCM and you will hardly ever need to clean your stylus. Sounds better and it will save you having the tip falling off as the glue bond weakens with repeated cleaning.
After some initial skepticism, largely born out of klutz-koncern I use the ME for 80% of all stylus cleanings - and to be sure that includes after every side. The other 20% I do with a squared-off sable artist brush.
With the arm locked in its rest, I raise the ME up to the stylus while looking at it through a lighted magnifier. I do not drag or move the ME, finding the contact alone does the job.
Fwiw, I use a 10X loupe mounted on a little stand that sits fixed in position next to where the cartridge lands in its rest. All I do is turn my head and peep through the loupe - the simplicity makes it all the easier to check after each play.
The loupe also acts as the side guide for raising the small cube of ME up to clean the stylus. Keeps it steady and the action methodical. As always, ymmv.
NOOOO!!! Don't lock the arm. Let it run free on the cue. By locking it then cleaning it, you're placing too much pressure / VTF on the suspension and cantilever. It would never see that much pressure during play and could be damaged.
What who deed is intersting but deed anyone lost his stylus because of wet cleaning? Or , to put it otherise, what about those who lost their stylus (simply fall off from the cantilver) while never used the wet cleaning method? To prove eny assumed causal relation the cause and the effect should be mentioned as individual events such that one caused the other. Well I can speak only for myself. I never lost any stylus nor I ever destroyed any cantilever or stylus in 40 years that I am in this hobby.
well, i use my shelter 501(not mk2) since "middle ages" probably having near 12,000 hours on it and tip is fine and dandy. i only use liquid if i can't get rid of visible contamination with dry cleaning using trivial and known last stylus brush and last stylus cleaner. the flask with last stylus cleaner is also over 12 years of age and still there's plenty for another god knows how many years. i guess it's not milk and won't spoil over decades.
I use the zerodust before each wet cleaning to keep the junk out of the bottle of stylus cleaner. Audiotop is the best fluid I've ever tried, but too expensive to contaminate. Magic Eraser at the end of every session. I don't like to use it too many times as you can tear the stylus off if you get careless. IMO, zerodust is safer.
One thing Peter Ledermann points out is that ROH containing stylus cleaning fluids can chill/freeze the glue bonding the stylus to the cantilever and cause damage. You also don't know if you're really cleaning all of the stylus with a liquid cleaner. I haven't had any issues with liquid cleaners but IIRC spectral did years ago with their cartridge. Personally I use the Onzow, ME and Clearaudio SC fluid. :)