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10-22-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree

Boston, MA.
Posts 42
Joined on 12-13-2007

Post #: 1
Post ID: 12039
Reply to: 12039
Mr. Kleen Stylus cleaner

I own a ZeroDust, an XtremePhono and some liquid stylus cleaners, but I don’t use them anymore. Why? Because none of them works as well as a product I bought at the supermarket for a few pennies. I've been using this product to maintain my cartridges since 2004. Their styli and cantilevers have never been cleaner.
So what is this piece of magic? It’s called the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (ME for short). You’ll find it in the household cleaning products aisle. Two dollars will buy enough ME to make hundreds of stylus cleaners, enough for many lifetimes.
Search the archives on Audiogon and Vinyl Asylum, you'll find hundreds of testimonials.
Jonathon Carr of Lyra explains that heat and friction from the stylus-vinyl interface leave a layer of vinyl molecules (and probably other contaminants) bonded to the stylus after each side. This layer must be removed or it will continue to accrue. At first this layer will only be visible under a strong (200x) microscope. As the buildup thickens with additional plays the stylus gradually turns cloudy, gray or yellow. The sonic degradation from this buildup is gradual but progressive. High frequencies slowly disappear, since the stylus can no longer trace the finest groove modulations. Micro-dynamics are slowly impaired and the sound goes dull. If the layer gets thick enough mistracking can actually occur.
Gels and goops will not remove this layer. They aren't aggressive enough. Liquids won't remove it unless they contain alcohol or other solvents that are dangerous to some cartridge suspensions and stylus/cantilever glues. What's needed is something that will physically abrade those vinyl molecules loose without doing damage.
Linn used to supply strips of very fine sandpaper. That works, but a properly used ME is more effective. Modern materials science has created a product that is compliant enough to clean all sides of a stylus, yet abrasive enough to remove even stubborn contaminants.
The ME is made up of very fine micro-fibers spun into an open mesh. It looks like a sponge to the naked eye, but it’s not. Viewed at 200x it looks like a wadded-up fishing net, a 3-D tangle of interwoven strands. This open, airy structure lets the ME flex around a stylus dipped into it, allowing the fibers to contact every surface.
An electron microscope view of the ME reveals that each individual strand has sharp, longitudinal ridges. These sharp ridges do the micro-scraping. We’re talking about nearly molecular levels, don’t go looking for these with your pocket magnifier!

Always dry brush with a stylus brush (back to front) before using the ME or any other stylus cleaner. There’s no point contaminating your stylus cleaner with loose fluff.
Use only the white portion of the ME. The blue portion contains detergents that could leave a residue.
Use the ME dry. Wetting the ME causes its open mesh to collapse into a denser bundle. That’s fine for scrubbing dried taco sauce off the stovetop, but a dense bundle won’t let a stylus penetrate into the ME to be rubbed by fibers on all sides.
There are two popular methods for actually using the ME. One is safer. The other cleans better. Get comfortable with the safer method before trying the better one but please note, the safer method alone may not be adequate over time.
Cut a small, thin piece of ME and glue it to a coin or other thin, heavy object. Place this on the platter and dip the stylus straight down into the ME and back up, using the cueing lever. Dip it several times.
NEVER move the stylus or the ME sideways, forward or backward. Those interwoven fibers are grabby and quite strong. Once the stylus is inside the ME, moving any direction but straight up and down could separate stylus from cantilever or break the cantilever.
After a few dips in the ME, dry brush the stylus again (back to front) to remove any loosened particles. Some people ZeroDust or XtremePhono at this stage, to be extra sure.
Slice off a small, thin wedge of ME and stick it on a toothpick. The pointy end of the wedge should be VERY thin. It should flex easily under the slightest pressure.
After dry-brushing, dunk the stylus into the ME a few times or bring the ME up to the stylus and back down, as in the safer method. Then use the thin end of the wedge to scrape along the cantilever and around all sides of the stylus. Finish with a dry brushing, ZeroDust or XtremePhono, as discussed above.
BE CAREFUL. Do not apply any force, the ME will do the work. If you see the cantilever deflect you’re pushing too hard.
Used regularly, this method will remove all traces of the vinyl buildup layer. I have styli with nearly 1,000 hours on them whose color and clarity are indistinguishable from new.

After every side, without fail.
That layer of vinyl molecules attracts more gunk with every play. Don’t let it get started and your stylus will always be at its best.
Every stylus cleaning method involves risk. The ME uses no chemicals or solvents, so the risks are limited to operator error. Pay attention at all times.
I do know of two ME-related disasters, both involving Lyra cartridges that lost their styli. In the same time period a third Lyra owner lost a stylus while cleaning with Lyra’s own (liquid) stylus cleaner. Conclude what you will. I’m inclined to think Lyra’s methods for affixing styli to cantilevers might need improvement. I’m unaware of ME-related problems with any other cartridges.
Of course, but the Magic Eraser combines sound scientific principles with the practical endorsement of hundreds of satisfied users. I wish I could sell them for $25 apiece!

"It's like an act of murder; you play with the intent to commit something"--Duke Ellington
10-23-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat

Boston, MA
Posts 9,911
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 2
Post ID: 12046
Reply to: 12039
An ode for alcohol.
I never used the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser nether for needles nor for home needs. Still, I wonder what is wrong with good old alcohol? I use alcohol, not after each side but once in a while and it appears to me that it does just fine.  You have to be juts very accurate with alcohol and clean just a tip of the cantilever as in some cartridges cantilever attached to coil with glue that alcohol can dilute. A good convenient access and strong light would help. Still I did not see anything that 100% alcohol can’s clean from needle (in US alcohol purity is measured not in percentage but in some kind of stupid Alcoholic Proof – completely idiotic system that BTW has different scale in different counties). Still, 100% alcohol is a pure beauty that cleans everything, including the problems with conscious, concern about unwanted pregnancy and troubles with inflations. Moreover, I’ve seen now 100% alcohol cures incorrect cartridge mounting. If your cartridge has mount in a given arm at wrong distance and has incorrect overhanging then just 30mL of 100% CnH2nOH internaly would cure all problems…

The Cat

"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
10-24-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree

Behind The Sun
Posts 235
Joined on 01-15-2009

Post #: 3
Post ID: 12050
Reply to: 12046
Alcohol is always a solution
Thanks for the good description how to use this Magic Eraser, haven't read about it before. Thanks for the friendly advice for alcohol which I did forget for many years.
My focus was on the very expensive cleaning fluids in these tiny bottles and I refused to use those (I use a discontinued Audio Technica AT-637 for cleaning)
drink&drive... ahem no, wrong, drink&listen ..or ...drink&write (reviews)...
no...wait...I am confused ....drink&sleep...
Anyway...I know some dealers who sell wine in their Audio store, I guess, Alcohol in combination with Audio is Standard.
I will try it, too.

Kind Regards
10-25-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat

Boston, MA
Posts 9,911
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 4
Post ID: 12054
Reply to: 12046
The “honest” grooves reading.
Actually, I usually try to use liquid alcohol cleaning as the last. It is not that I feel that it does damage but I do not buy all those Jonathon Carr’s stories about the “vinyl molecules” that left out on the needle. Sorry I am too intelligent to hear about the “vinyl molecules layer that will only be visible under a strong (200x) microscope”. I did inspected many needle under 200-400-800-1200 microscope and have seen how dirt get attached. There is nothing a-mechanical in the attached dirt and mechanical cleaning do just fine. I feel that liquid cleaning juts faster and it’s it.

About the alcohol. Clean alcohol evaporates clean, with no residue. Many cleaning mixture contain different chemicals to clean and to bleach and they all have also so called surface-active ingredients. I use it use them very actively in silver photography – to minimize the water tension and make water to evaporate from film evenly. Under the hood the surface-active ingredients are a soup or a very fine injection of fan into liquid. The surface-active ingredients do a lot of good but there is a catch in them. They apply oily fat on the record, similar to what LAST doe and many other “improvement” moistures. I have made many negative comments about it at my site. Yes, the needle, buttered up with surface-active ingredient do play less noisy and less read the surface but it also read each record less distinctively – making all records and all music to sound the same.

I understand that the discrimination of sound never was a bid subject for audio people but I feel that the ONLY a nude needle with no oiled groove might be considered as “honest” records reading.

The Cat

"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
10-25-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,367
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 5
Post ID: 12056
Reply to: 12054
Dry Gulch
Well, I thought, $2, why not give it a go?  In fact, if you like the stuff, $2 should set up you -  and all your friends -  for life!

Meanwhile, who really owns and routinely uses a 200X stereo microscope to check his styluses?  Not I.  I can say however that a thorough going-over with the "Magic Eraser" made for more aggressive yet cleaner tracking in my case.

FYI, up to now, for several years, I have only used the very dense carbon fiber brush supplied by Ortofon with my cartridge to clean the (Replicant) stylus with.  I have used liquid for this purpose, in the far-flung past, but not for a long time.  I worry about alcohol (or, whatever) wicking up the hollow Boron cantelever and messing something up.

Regarding "additives", I first heard the effects of "Last" many years ago, and I have studiously avoided any and all lubricants and/or "preservatives" ever since.  And I am just cynical enough to suspect that manufacturers of commercial record cleaning fluids are likely to add a little something to "distinguish" their product(s).

I recently read a list of "vinyl" record ingredients and it actually included a couple of "lubricants" that get mixed into the recipe to make the resultant material more "compliant" and "slick".

Again, I have my reasons to suspect that many beloved-by-audiophile cartridges are specifically aimed at "making an impression" with the new soft, "super-premium" vinyl.

Best regards,
Paul S
10-25-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat

Boston, MA
Posts 9,911
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 6
Post ID: 12057
Reply to: 12056
Do not forget about the demagnetizing.
Well, I use mostly the “Onzow Zerodust” or the “Solid-State Stylus Cleaner” and alike which are gelatinous gluey jelly into which I dip the needle. The keep is do not immerse it too deep into jell or it would builds up behind the needle and then you need alcohol of a chainsaw to remove it from there. The contemporary complex profiles needles are very aggressive dust collectors. In fact the demagnetizing of needles helps a lot with needled attractiveness to dust, not mention that it kills the stupid LP zippiness from the needles sound.

The Cat

"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
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