Cartridge Maintenance

You may clean your stylus tip in 2 ways, dry brush, or wet clean with a solution.

Wet clean is much more effective. The build up can be wiped away easily after applying the solution. However not every cartridge manufacturer recommends wet clean, some even warn you that doing this may cause damage to the cartridge.

My experience is no matter how carefully you do wet clean, in time you would notice a build up at the stylus which is actually left over of the solution itself. And moisture is always an enemy to the mechanical parts of the cartridge.

How about dry clean ?

Sure it is much safer but dry brush is sometimes helpless with sticky build up. Watching the diamond with a magnifying glass you often see some black tar hanging on the diamond surface.

Anyway I give up wet clean entirely after switching to the new Ortofon Jubliee. Using the Loricraft machine to clean my LPs the build up is much less but it is still an issue. Dry brush can only do so much and it is never perfect.

Technology is on our side. With the advent of new synthetic material there comes a perfect cleaning agent.

The material, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, is a micro fibre product used for household cleaning. The idea first originated in the Audiogon Forum. Read the link below for information of the new material involved and why there is a build up of dark tar on the diamond tip:

Discussion of Magic Eraser at Audiogon Forum

Web page information of Magic Eraser can be found at:

Magic Eraser Page

The following page gives a 200X microscopic view of a stylus cleaned by Magic Eraser:

Microscopic View of Stylus cleaned by Magic Eraser

Take a view of the Magic Eraser itself:

Magnified view of Magic Eraser

Worth a try I told myself. But the product Magic Eraser is not available locally. I have to ship a packet home by airmail via my friend's help.

Magic Eraser is very managable,

  Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, comes in a package of four white blocks.
  First I cut a longitudinal shape.. But this block does not render good control on cleaning the stylus tip.
  Take out some toothpicks, cut into 2 halves.

Use a cutter to cut some cubes of 10 x 6 x 2mm. Apply some Pattex adhesive to the toothpick and then stick it to the cube.

  The finished product. Very controllable and very effective.
  Other weapons in cartridge cleaning:

From left, it is a painter brush, size "0". This is excellent in cleaning the body and some unreachable corner of the cartridge.

Next is the dense carbon fibre brush comes with the packing of the Jubliee cartridge. Good but no longer used.

Third one is a favourite. It comes with the Denon 103R cartridge. Very soft and very good in getting rid of dust settled on the stylus tip.

You should switch on the gear, connect it to the phono section, raise the volume to normal listening level before cleaning the cartridge. The speaker gives you instant warning signal when you are too rude with the stylus tip!

Now I clean my stylus tip before and after playing a LP. We always wish to have music created by a clean diamond tip walking through dustless groove wall.

Dream comes true.

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