The Mule

How Often Does Everyone Clean their Stylus?

40 posts in this topic

Hello all... I'm by no means new to turntables. I had one back in the 70s and 80s when I was in school. Just recently got back into the whole thing (so glad that I did). I have a Music Hall MMF-2.2 turntable and have been loving it (except for having to lift the platter off to switch between 33 and 45 rpm, which is annoying). Anyhow, I've been using my old Dishwasher brush to clean records, and cleaning pretty much every time I play something. Just today out of nowhere, one of my records was spinning and the stylus skipped halfway across the record. I figured there may have been some detritus on the disc that I missed, but on close inspection, couldn't really see anything. Took a look at the stylus though and saw that it had some lint and other shmutz on it, so I cleaned it and the record now seems to be playing ok. I had just cleaned the stylus yesterday, so I was surprised. I remember cleaning the stylus very rarely back in the day... Now, it's true the records I'm playing now are mostly old ones I get off eBay and Discogs. Could it be that the old grime from these records, caked into the grooves, is just gunking up my stylus rapidly? How often does everyone here clean their stylus? Should I consider doing a deep clean on my records?

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A lot of people like the zero dust cleaner.  I want to grab one, but they're pricey at $30+.

 

https://www.amazon.com/ZERODUST-ONZOW-STYLUS-TIP-CLEANER/dp/B00ERPWAK2

 

although I heard the material is similar to moon gels which are used for drum head dampening and cost less than $10.

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00GXNZP80/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1486089546&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=moongel&dpPl=1&dpID=41Vv%2BF6JTEL&ref=plSrch

 

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How often you need to clean your stylus is directly linked to how clean your records are and how often you clean them as you're finding out.

If you're buying and playing a lot of 2nd hand records you might want to invest in some form of wet and preferably vacuum cleaner then you won't need to clean your stylus anywhere near as much.

You'll probably also find that the stylus on your old player was conical and the new one elliptical or at least a better angled conical so it's going deeper in the grooves and digging up all the crap down there, this also has an effect on stylus life so I'd bear that in mind as well.

curator likes this

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I've been using cleaning paper sheets for the last year or so. I was skeptical at first, but it does a great job and goes easy on the stylus.  I had some bad experiences with wet stylus cleaning. Definitely check the manufacturers instructions before trying that. 

 

http://www.decibelhifi.com.au/linn-green-stylus-cleaning-paper-sheet/

 

I had no idea these things were kinda expensive.. Got a couple of them for free from my local hifi-shop.

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Will look into the sheets as well - thanks... So I went ahead and removed the stylus from the cartridge just to have a better look and wow, it was really dirty. So I gave it another cleaning (with the method I've been using - fluid and an Ortofon stylus brush). I also hit it with a little compressed air. I then snapped a few pics of it before replacing it. In doing lots of reading on the net, I've become worried that perhaps in my cleaning I became a bit overly exuberant and bent the cantilever a bit. Could you folks take a look at these pics and let me know what you think? It's very difficult to get good pics going through the loupe, but these are the best I could manage.

 

 IMG_0414.jpg   IMG_0411.jpg   IMG_0410.jpg   IMG_0409.jpg

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yanquiuxo:  I am using one of the original Discwasher brushes, which I've heard are quite a bit better than the newer ones... But yes, that is essentially the method I am using. I'm happy to switch to something better if you have suggestions. :) 

Edited by The Mule

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13 minutes ago, allenh said:

That looks absolutely fine but it is easier to clean the stylus in situ with the method you are using.

Cool, that's a relief. And yes, I usually clean it while in place, but was very careful doing it free hand!

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54 minutes ago, The Mule said:

yanquiuxo:  I am using one of the original Discwasher brushes, which I've heard are quite a bit better than the newer ones... But yes, that is essentially the method I am using. I'm happy to switch to something better if you have suggestions. :) 

Ah, those are actually somewhat decent. I used one of those when I was starting out, it worked well on very old and dirty records (probably G+ condition or worse) but on records that were in fairly decent shape, or newer records I found no result until switching a vacuum cleaning solution. I use the record doctor V now, which isn't even great in the realm of RCMs, but it is a definite step up from something like the discwasher. 

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I use the Moongel to clean my stylus before every listening session, It works just like the Zerodust and gets your stylus totally clean without messing with brushes or fluids. And you get 4 or 5 pads in a pack which will last you a very long time. 

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On 2/3/2017 at 7:32 AM, yanquiuxo said:

Image result for discwasher 

 

If you are using this particular RCA discwasher to clean your records, I would recommend to find a different option.  The corduroy material is absolutely terrible at removing any dirt or debris 

Can you recommend a better discwasher? I was looking at some carbon fiber brushes, would that be preferable? 

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On 2/7/2017 at 3:23 PM, foreverold said:

Can you recommend a better discwasher? I was looking at some carbon fiber brushes, would that be preferable? 

 

On 2/13/2017 at 4:24 PM, The Mule said:

I'd like to know this too. What do folks think is the best hand held disc cleaning brush? I'm liking the old Discwasher alright, but I imagine there may be better options. Anyone?

 

Carbon fiber brushes should have their place in any record collector's routine, but it should not be the one and only thing one uses to clean records. Like Freki mentioned, a carbon brush is really only going to move surface level dust and debris and not get in the grooves to clean or have an effect on the point at which the stylus makes contact with the vinyl... I use my carbon brush only before dropping the needle on an already properly cleaned album to get whatever dust has fallen on the record in between the sleeve and the platter.

 

The best way would be a proper wet cleaning option... I can personally recommend the record doctor V for the money for something entry-level.. there's a thread on here if you search for it that has plenty of other recommendations as well. The older style discwashers are better than nothing but still will leave you with dirt and chemical on your record without a proper way to get that off (vacuum) it will have a sonic effect on your playback

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Great - thank you. This is just what I needed. I suspected that the Discwasher brush was not really pulling enough grime out. Most of my records are new/newish, but for the old used ones I've picked up, I realize they need a deeper cleaning. So I'll pick up a carbon fiber brush for every time use, and invest in something like the Record Doctor V for the more thorough cleanings. I see the Nitty Gritty gets a lot of praise. I'll search for the thread that you mention. Thanks again.

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"New" doesn't mean clean. Not only do the records have residual chemicals from manufacturing but they also collect fibers and dust from the paper sleeves and inserts. (Edges of freshly-cut paper products produce a lot.)

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8 minutes ago, Freki said:

"New" doesn't mean clean. Not only do the records have residual chemicals from manufacturing but they also collect fibers and dust from the paper sleeves and inserts. (Edges of freshly-cut paper products produce a lot.)

Understood! :) Heading out this evening to pick up a proper record cleaner. 

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I went with the Okki Nokki, and so far I'm digging it. I've run through about 2/3 of the liter of solution I made from the concentrate supplied with the machine, and am wondering if the consensus would be to replace it with more of the same, or if there's a brand of cleaning solution folks here prefer. Or is the DIY route a viable option? Some combo of distilled/RODI water, isopropyl alcohol and dish detergent? I should probably just dig around with the search function, but if anyone wants to humor me in this thread, I'd certainly appreciate it. :) 

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