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View Full Version : What's your favourite stylus cleaner?



Marco
13-05-2008, 19:07
It's a bit of an anal subject, I know, :eyebrows: but I've been through loads of different kinds, and most recently I've been using the Audio Technica AT-607 stuff in the bottle with the little brush, which seemed to do the job ok.

However I recently ordered some Record Research Lab stuff from Cool Gales shown here:

http://www.coolgales.com/store/cart.php?target=product&product_id=162&category_id=39

And when used it seems to quite noticeably improve sound quality. I guess it must clean better and leave less of a deposit on the stylus. The effect is not massive but there is definitely more detail and clarity in the sound after use compared to other types I've had.

So what kinds of stylus cleaners do others use, and have you found it to noticeably improve sound quality?

Marco.

Mike
13-05-2008, 19:15
Audio Technica AT-637.

Best thing in the world for this job. Don't care what anyone else thinks either! :ner:

Just like this one: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/audio-technica-AT-637-turntable-stylus-cleaner_W0QQitemZ180240550937QQihZ008QQcategoryZ48 648QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

griffo104
14-05-2008, 07:53
I use either an Onzow Zerodust or the rather nice and very effective brush I got with the Lyra Dorian.

I avoid using any fluids after hearing a few horror stories of them going up the cantilever and causing damage to the rubbers and other workings in the cart itself.

I have battery operated Audio Technic vibrating cleaner but I bought that more of the fact I wanted one and it was a good price rather than to use it :)

snapper
14-05-2008, 08:34
Audio Technica AT-637.

Best thing in the world for this job. Don't care what anyone else thinks either! :ner:

Just like this one: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/audio-technica-AT-637-turntable-stylus-cleaner_W0QQitemZ180240550937QQihZ008QQcategoryZ48 648QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem



Snap.

Been using one for over twenty years.

I don't use fluids,have heard from too many people they can damage the cart.

The Grand Wazoo
14-05-2008, 12:39
I've got an AT electronic cleaner, but I'm buggered if I can find it since the last house move - it's in one of those boxes, but which? I've got a carbon fibre brush for quick use but before each listening session I use one or both of the following.

I read a lot about the trick with the Magic Eraser. I was a bit wary about the ME because of stories of it being so aggressive it removed styli from cantilevers if not used correctly. It's made of melamine foam. I bought one anyway - about 3 quid for 2 which is more than you would ever need in your lifetime - even if you were the curator of the National Stylus Museum!

Seems to work well, but I'm still very, very careful. I cut a small square out & glued it onto a 2p piece. Wedge the platter to stop it turning, put it on the platter & lower the stylus into the ME, then straight up again. Use the lift/lower mech so there's no sideways movement at all because this is how people have lost their stylus. I only use it for heavy duty work - every now & then I get one of those fine hairs/fibres stuck on there with gunk & a quick brush or the Sticky Hands alone just will not shift it. So I give it a dip into the ME then a quick fondle with the sticky hands!!

As for the Sticky Hands:
Works the same way as the 30 Zerodust - but I got 24 of them for under a fiver! You have to keep it in an airtight container or it will dry out. Works really well. Once again you dip the stylus in with the lift/lower mech.

The URL's below are not necessarily where I got my bits & bobs from but are purely to let folks see what I'm talking about.

Magic Eraser: http://www.lakeland.co.uk/product.aspx/!9009

Sticky Hands: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Wholesale-Lot-Mini-Sticky-Hands-Favors-Carnival-Prizes_W0QQitemZ220234960801QQihZ012QQcategoryZ263 92QQrdZ1QQssPageNameZWD2VQQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp 1638Q2em122

Best of all though, is of course the record cleaning machine - if the records are clean then so's the stylus for the most part. Since I bought my Moth RCM, I'm cleaning the stylus less & less, but I haven't got even a fifth of the way through cleaning them all yet.

Mike Reed
21-05-2008, 18:37
TGW Bet Lakeland never thought of that function! Interesting idea, though; would have cost a small fortune if marketed by a hifi company.

I've been using an AT 637 for yonks, both wet and dry. However, a few months ago I became aware of the necessity to remove my Lyra Helikon and give it a good manual go with isopropryl as the build-up on the stylus had rendered it invisible under a hand-held x 60 microscope.

Shows that even this revered cleaning device is not foolproof. Or maybe there were other factors at work. I also have a record-cleaning machine.

Yes, I've heard the stories of cleaning fluid or alcohol travelling up the cantilever, but believe that may be more prevalent in hollow tubed cantilevers. Certainly I've not experienced any degradation as a result; in fact, that thorough clean transformed the sound of my Helikon.

pure sound
23-05-2008, 12:43
I was told by a cartridge manufacturer never to use an alcohol based liquid for cleaning the stylus.

Simply because the diamond is fixed into the cantilever with glue that the alcohol will soften.

nortonl
07-06-2008, 09:24
I've used these types:

The AT637 vibrator - which is good for fluff and dust but no good for vinyl deposits/grease.

AT607 fluid which is great for vinyl deposits/grease but I'm also a bit wary of using on expensive cartridges though I have done this and never knowingly had problems.

Zerodust - a semi-solid sticky gel that the stylus sinks into. It deals with all types of dirt but probably less effectively than the above methods.

Linn sandpaper. This never seemed right so I stopped years ago.

DAVEDWACK
08-06-2008, 20:59
I've had a AT637 for over 20 years but hardly touched it for the last 19!

I've got a few brushes, those you get when you buy a cartridge...I do a scrape back to front now and again. I've at the moment got 3 record decks which get fairly regular use.....I don't seem to get dirty stylii....dunno what's up with me.....perhaps i need therapy of some sort:lolsign: Any offers of help gratefully accepted.

Cheers......Dave

barnz
12-06-2008, 04:44
I've had the battery-powered vibrating brush for almost 20 years. Just changed the battery for the first time!!!

The only other thing that touches my stylus (NO FLUIDS!) is Silly Putty. Yes, seriously.
My boss from the first hifi shop I ever worked in had done a lot of experimenting with old styli that were traded in by customers - doing all kinds of crazy things to them and then examining them under the microscope (it was a requirement to have one back in the day - we're talking about 25 years ago). One day on the bench, he had a woofer that had been melted by some hammerhead. The rubber surround had become a goopy mess. Just for fun he took a dead cart and stuck the stylus in the sticky goop. He then stuck it under the microscope, expecting to see some black, tarry yuckum.

Instead he saw a clean, shining, stylus that looked cleaner than he was used to seeing new styli.

I don't remember how this stepped from melted speaker surround glop to Silly-Putty, but everybody whose been through that shop has been using this method for years, and while it's always seemed like a logical chance, nobody has yet had a stylus ripped from the cantilever by doing this.

Cotlake
19-07-2008, 20:36
Just returned here after a few months away. Things have improved :)

For years I have used the AT637 always wet (no extreme fluid) with absolutely no problems and after 20 secs, stylus is always perfectly clean. I'm dubious about silly putty/bluetak etc but that's just my un-evidenced opinion.

Of course, the real secret is a good record cleaner. I use a reasonably priced Okki Nokki and since having that I've found attention to stylus cleaning is a rare event.

Marco
21-07-2008, 13:00
Hi Greg

Welcome back and thanks for your comments :)


Of course, the real secret is a good record cleaner. I use a reasonably priced Okki Nokki and since having that I've found attention to stylus cleaning is a rare event.


That is absolutely correct. 'Source first' and all that!

Marco.

RobHolt
21-07-2008, 23:02
Blow the dust off between sides,

Dab of isopropyl on a short bristled Dynavector brush every few albums.

30 seconds on a vibrating AT637 pad one a week.

All approximate and I often forget and discover an Axminster being woven on the end of stylus.

combwork
22-07-2008, 00:55
Linn sandpaper. This never seemed right so I stopped years ago.

Back in the 1960's, there was a storm over a record with comedy sleeve notes that included the advice that to improve playing quality, the record should be cleaned with fine emery paper. :doh:

Yomanze
02-08-2008, 16:44
I use a JML Magic Eraser :smoking:

Works very well!

KMair
10-08-2008, 02:04
I have used the Record Research stylus cleaner regularly for 2 years and it does improve sound. Am also convinced that it adds tremendous life to your stylus.

niklasthedolphin
10-08-2008, 10:51
I use no fluid on my stylus.
many of them being "snake oil" and some of them even damaging the stylus attatchment to the fan.

Carbonfiber brush with the hairs stuck tight together does it excellent.

Sometimes (when I don't have bad breath :-) I use my tongue.

My records get the grease desolving hand wash with a mixture of as hot water as my hands can endure, some pure isopropylalcohol and some non-perfumed dishwashingsoap/detergent. I use a wounded natural hair washing-up brush.
the saop is the rinse aid that makes sure no calcium or other minerals stay in the rills.

Sometimes i centrifuge the LP's dry with drilling machine.

I have a device to protect the labels.

Next step is to clean LP's in ultrasound bath.

"dolph"

thrunobulaxx
10-08-2008, 15:35
Being a vinyl obsessive person i have several methods.

Most used is my AT 637 inspired vibrating razor with the foam full of tiny hooks pad instead of a blade, (7.99):)

For heavy build up i use the clearaudio brush with a wee drop of fluid, the AT imposter keeps on top of after that.

Glad to see another who is not afraid to use the kitchen sink, :eyebrows:

http://i209.photobucket.com/albums/bb43/thrunobulaxx/DSC02056.jpg

Cotlake
10-08-2008, 19:21
My records get the grease desolving hand wash with a mixture of as hot water as my hands can endure, some pure isopropylalcohol and some non-perfumed dishwashingsoap/detergent. I use a wounded natural hair washing-up brush.
the saop is the rinse aid that makes sure no calcium or other minerals stay in the rills.
"dolph"

Hmmm, well having experimented with various methods of record cleaning I would say your method is about the best example of how not to do it! Sorry, that's my personal view.

In contrast I 100% agree with your aspiration towards ultrasonic cleaning. Surely this is the way to go. I have experience of using ultrasonic cleaners on the components from SCUBA breathing valves subject to the corrosive effect of salt water and without doubt it is the ultimate cleaning method. A while ago someone developing such an LP cleaner visited the WD site but we've heard nothing since.

thrunobulaxx
11-08-2008, 08:30
I have to admit that the "water as hot as my hands can stand" shocked me, thats how we used to turn old 78`s into ashtrays.
Before i had a DIY RCM i had put S/H records from charity shops etc into TEPID soapy water and used a brush and a good rinse with distilled water, being carefull to dry the label before putting the LP in a plate rack to dry.

niklasthedolphin
11-08-2008, 11:21
Hmmm, well having experimented with various methods of record cleaning I would say your method is about the best example of how not to do it! Sorry, that's my personal view.

In contrast I 100% agree with your aspiration towards ultrasonic cleaning. Surely this is the way to go. I have experience of using ultrasonic cleaners on the components from SCUBA breathing valves subject to the corrosive effect of salt water and without doubt it is the ultimate cleaning method. A while ago someone developing such an LP cleaner visited the WD site but we've heard nothing since.

And may I ask what, about "my method" as I have been using for + 30 years with splendid results, you find wrong?

"dolph"

niklasthedolphin
11-08-2008, 11:27
I have to admit that the "water as hot as my hands can stand" shocked me, thats how we used to turn old 78`s into ashtrays.
Before i had a DIY RCM i had put S/H records from charity shops etc into TEPID soapy water and used a brush and a good rinse with distilled water, being carefull to dry the label before putting the LP in a plate rack to dry.

I'm a non-smoker and don't need ashtrays.
I guess that "as hot as my hands can stand" means somewhere between 40 and 50 degrees celsius.

As I mentioned, I have a device that ensures labels not to get wet when the LP is co mpletely soaked in water.

Distilled water might be a good idea in many countries.

In Denmark we are lucky to have the purest drinking water comming from the taps.
The soap will ensure that no minerals/calcium remains in the grooves............just as you did in film developing with a great result.

"dolph"

Sid and Coke
21-08-2008, 13:36
I use an AT 637 vibrating thingy.
I sometimes use a couple of drops of IPA on the pad.
In the instruction manual for the Shure V15VxMR cartridge, which was their top of the range cart for quite some time, and one which i owned until quite recently, they recommend to use a few drops of IPA to clean the stylus tip.....

I also use the long bristled nylon 'swishy' brush that comes supplied with all Denon cartridges, it is great for removing the odd stray hair , or bit of fluff that might get onto the stylus.

I also use asmall clearaudio carbon fibre bristled brush.

I once bought a s/h turnatble off e-by that came with a Goldring 1012Gx cart fitted. The seller said that the cartrdige was worn out , however just before removing it i thought i'd give it a clean, even though i couldn't actually see the diamond at the end.

I tried all of the available methods that i had at hand and still the stylus tip looked blunt and worn out. I then had one last try with some 'Last' stylus cleaning fluid. I applied the fluid , let it soak in for a few minutes than was both amazed and pleasantly surprised to find that a great big clump of dust/dirt/debris that had been hiding the diamond came off in one big lump, revealing a perfectly sharp and pointy crystal clear diamond behind.

Basically the reason why i got the TT so cheaply was because the seller couldn't be arsed to replace the stylus- when all it needed was a bit of TLC.
My records are maintaind in an almost forensically clean condition, and my stylus gets cleaned regularly too, so i doubt that i'll ever actually need the Last fluid again, but if you do have a perticualy shitty stylus give it a try.

I use a small 20x magnifying viewer to inspect the stylus 'in use' and also have a kid computer microscope that i can connect to my computer to view new styli and take pictures just before i sell them on after i've finished with them.

a few pictures: http://imageevent.com/sidandcoke/upcloseandpersonal

Marco
21-08-2008, 20:24
Hi Tim,

How's it going? I hope all is well.

What Denon cartridge are you using these days - is it still the 103? Or do you switch between it and the 304?

Marco.

Sid and Coke
23-08-2008, 23:41
Hi Tim,

How's it going? I hope all is well.

What Denon cartridge are you using these days - is it still the 103? Or do you switch between it and the 304?

Marco.

Hi Marco, all fine, cheers.

Still happily using the 304, i now only keep one cart on the go, seems silly having a spare tucked away in a drawer doing nothing. . I'm not sure that my set up is optimal for the 304 as the physical characteristics of this cart are comletely different to a 103 , but it seems to work OK. ( I'm still using my custom made 5g headshell weight - on my Akito 2B ). pic 1 (http://photos.imageevent.com/sidandcoke/upcloseandpersonal/websize/DL304%20top.jpg), pic 2 (http://photos.imageevent.com/sidandcoke/upcloseandpersonal/websize/DL304%20side.jpg)
I should probably be using a light weight arm.. but hey I'm increasingly finding as the years go by that you can't always trust what is written down, often by so-called experts...

shuggz
25-09-2008, 07:20
I've had a AT637 for over 20 years but hardly touched it for the last 19!

I've got a few brushes, those you get when you buy a cartridge...I do a scrape back to front now and again. I've at the moment got 3 record decks which get fairly regular use.....I don't seem to get dirty stylii....dunno what's up with me.....perhaps i need therapy of some sort:lolsign: Any offers of help gratefully accepted.

Cheers......Dave

You could sell it to me :eyebrows: knowing you've helped someone else would be immensely therapeutical

Mike
25-09-2008, 19:41
You could sell it to me :eyebrows: knowing you've helped someone else would be immensely therapeutical

I'd best not mention how much I've seen some of these things go for on ebay then! :eyebrows:

thrunobulaxx
28-09-2008, 07:59
I'd best not mention how much I've seen some of these things go for on ebay then! :eyebrows:

from between 60 and 85 quid, i watch them, get a gillette vibrating razor,stick a bit of foam with the tiny hooks on the end and you have a cleaner that operates at the same 300htz frequency, does the job just as well and costs less than a tenner.
I kid you not:) you can even spray it black and hide the gillette logo.:eyebrows:

Mike
28-09-2008, 10:09
from between 60 and 85 quid,

Sounds about right. :mental:

I payed 15 or so for mine. Brand new! :)