Routine Static Reduction Tip

 

Static electricity is bad for the performance of your stereo system. It just is. Depending on where you live, the amount of static electricity that builds up over a very short period of time, on and around your system, can be significant.  Synthectic based carpets or rugs, AC outlets, transformers, cables, CD's, LP's, you name it, all attract and hold a static charge.  You can significantly reduce that static charge by wiping down your entire system with a cloth treated to specifically eliminate a static charge.  A basic example of this would be the Endust for Electronics moistened cloths, available at most supermarkets for about $8 for 70 wipes.  A more specialized treatment would be the Nordost ECO 3X spray, which is about $40.  With this product, you supply your own microfiber cloth to spray and wipe down the system with.  In practice, I think it's a wash which is less expensive in the long run, but in my experience, the ECO 3X is considerably more effective. With either, thoroughly wipe every inch of cabling, all over each component, the component rack (including under each component), all around the tonearm (don't break that cartridge!), the bottom surface of your turntable, external power supplies, speaker cabinets, every AC plug and receptical, and if a light switch is attached to the system, there too.  Do it every two weeks or berfore any "serous" listening session.  It's easy and it works.

Stylus Cleaning Tip

The pressure applied by the very small stylus contact points onto the LP is tremendous.  The stylus is very hard material, the LP, by comparison is not.  A stylus tracing a record groove will always run into some sort of debris. Due to the high pressure, the temperture of the stylus can build up and get pretty high.  This is especially true with a poorly aligned and optimized phono cartridge.  Depending on the nature of the debris, some of it can get adhered to the stylus surface with high heat, making it very difficult to remove.  I always recommend using two methods of cleaning to keep your phono cartridge's stylus clean and free from anything that will impede it smoothly tracing the groove.  General cleaning with a small brush, polymer bubble, or sonic cleaner works great for general use.  But, periodic cleaning with a solvent type cleaner is also recommended.  Only a solvent type cleaner can "melt" off the stubborn heat adhered gunk that will get deposited onto the stylus.  I've looked at hundreds of styli under a microscope to see how well different cleaning methods actually get the stylus looking pristine.  Only those fluids that are specifically designed for stylus cleaning seem to do the job consistenely well.  Also, they have been designed to NOT do any harm to the delicate elastomer in the suspension system of the cartridge.  When using these fluids, I've found that holding the moistened brush on the stylus for about 30 seconds to bath the gunk in solvent, is highly effective.  

 

There is also a stylus treatment that is a preventative rather than a cleaner.  Lyra makes a product called SPT, a surfactant that is applied to the stylus before you play a record, which reduces friction and temperature of the stylus in the groove.  I think it does a very good job in making it easier for the stylus to "see" more of the record groove.  This MAY be evidenced by the fact that at the end of the record side, there is a small amount of debris around (not adhered to) the stylus, even when playing an extremely clean LP. It appears to me that the stylus is getting into areas of the record surface that maybe it was previously moving over due to friction induced mistracking, and pushing dirt up and out of the groove. Regardless, it seems to slow the process of debris getting stubornly adhered to the stylus, and when used, the record is quieter and the music sounds better.  All good stuff!

Tips