Time to Put Away The Onzow ZeroDust?

These latest microscope photos from WAM Engineering LLC (WallyTools) offer dramatic evidence that the Onzow Zerodust leaves a stubborn, difficult to remove residue on "clean" styli as well as on cantilevers. It's a troubling discovery.

This first photo shows an Onzow Zerodust "clean" stylus with a residue adhering to the stylus:

Here's the same stylus after an extensive and difficult cleaning process using a carefully applied bristle brush and a liquid stylus cleaner. Note there is still some residue:

Here is another ZeroDust before cleaning image.

And here's the same stylus after a laborious stiff bristle plus liquid cleaning. Note there remains stubborn residue

Equally troubling is that the residue also sticks to cantilevers

Here's that same cantilever after a very tricky cleaning

Here's a shot showing how far up a cantilever the material can adhere

There are other images showing similar residues left by both the Onzow and the even stickier DS Audio cleaning "pad". An analysis of the residue shows it is not silicone but rather a polymer of some sort. Further material analysis is forthcoming and will be reported here as soon as it's available. Meanwhile it's your choice whether or not to continue using either of these products but regardless, I'll be carefully brushing my styli that have been cleaned with either of these products using a stiff brush and a non solvent stylus cleaner (I'll use the Audio Intelligent, but Disc Doctor or other non cement dissolving fluids should be safe on Ortofon Replicant type styli and others).

Thanks to WAM Engineering's J.R. Boisclair for providing these images.

COMMENTS
asherrick's picture

I wonder if the similar Audio-Technica (AT617a) is also affected.

dconsmack's picture

My Audio-Technica AT617a does not do this. It's also not as "goopy" as the Onzow; I've had both, and I only use the Audio-Technica now. I've had it for about 3 years and had no issues. I clean with LAST liquid stylus cleaner once every month or two.

cundare's picture

First, thank you to J.R. and Mikey for this posting. It may be as important as the "zenith angle" piece from the same sources.

It's a bit pathetic to see the "confirmation bias" crowd twisting in the wind about J.R.'s findings. Seriously, "Fremer published this article a month before Xmas with malicious intent"?? The Dark Underbelly of free speech.

I've used many WallyTools products and services, and have discussed cartridge-related issues with J.R. at length this year. And I can't remember, in my 40 years of audiophilia, ever speaking with someone more knowledgeable about the subject.

If J.R., using his extraordinary measurement hardware, raises an alarm, I would take him seriously. The guy is intimately familiar with the scientific method, is not taken to hyperbole, applies intelligence and a meticulous methodology to his research efforts, and thinks before he types. As a retired engineer myself, I think it's foolish to jump all over his ass simply because one doesn't like the conclusions he draws from such strong evidence. To the best of my knowledge, nobody has tread this ground before; I'm sure J.R. realizes that his research is far from complete, but based on what he's discovered so far, his conclusions seem to me to be hard for a rational person to rebut.

Here's my question for MF & JR: I've long used an AudioQuest "ultrasonic" stylus cleaner. It's a plastic, battery-powered triangle with a little stylus brush that vibrates when you turn it on. I'm not confident that it does much of anything -- the brush is dry! Where's the cavitation?? -- but outside of the unlikely scenario in which it weakens the adhesive affixing the stylus to the cantilever, I don't think it's doing any harm. And maybe it does shake loose some types of detritus. I don't know.

In your opinion, guys, are "ultrasonic" stylus cleaners worth bothering with?

Hey, who remembers the Nagaoka (and similar) polymer-roller record cleaners that were audiophile favorites in the 1980s? I wonder if they also deposit a film. If so, I compromised a merde-load of albums (and maybe the styli that played them) back in the day.

Don ("cundare")

WallyTools - WAM Engineering LTD's picture

I appreciate your comments, Don.

Your question is a very good one about ultrasonic cleaners and their ability to remove this material that gets dislodged only after a great deal of abrasion. They might be the best option out there. How many different manufacturers make these that you know of? I've never tried one.

Jonti's picture

...will it still affect the groove ride? Or is this sheathing (for want of a better word!) actually part of the Onzow concept?

I'm also curious as to how, without fairly shoving the cartridge knee-deep into the Onzow bath, there is any contact between Onzow and cantilever to begin with.

I've been using an Onzow for the past few months (fortunately only on a cheap-as-chips DL103), but I've noticed that the stylus now picks up much less dust than it did before. I wonder if that's actually by virtue of the, ahem, prophylactic nature of the substance.

Michael Fremer's picture
When you lower the stylus onto the goop the cantilever inevitably takes a bath in it. I doubt the sheathing is part of the concept!
Jonti's picture

By pure luck I've been disregarding the manufacturer's advice to lower the cart into the bath, and have instead been very carefully raising the Onzow to the stylus so that it alone makes the lightest of contacts with the (as you say) "goop". Hardly an intuitive or user-friendly process, but at least this means my cantilever is still, erm, unsheathed.

swimming1's picture

I had one of these when they were the rage years ago.After a while , it just did not seem to work.The stylus always seemed to attract even more crap,so I stopped using it.Recently, I found the little ,cool, empty plastic box in a drawer.It made me recount it's use and I started to think, if the space age polymer attracted dust and crap,shouldn't it also be attracted to the surface of the needle in small amounts and after multiple uses it would build up on the surface and create the same issues it is trying to alleviate.Interesting... Cheers,Chet

RH's picture

Wow!

I've been using the DS Audio cleaning pad for a few years, which I really like.

But when my previous cartridge started distorting I bought a USB microscope to take a look and it was absolutley covered in a strange gunk. I had no idea what it was and it was virtually impossible to get off - certainly more dips on the DS pad didn't help. The only thing that cleaned a bunch of it off was an Ultra Sonic stylus cleaner. I had to replace the cartridge anyway, as it was near the end of it's life, but I've been using the DS cleaner on my new cartridge and this article makes me think I'll stop.

I've never used anything else to clean my stylus before. Is a brush with Audio Intelligent cleaner a good enough replacement for the DS Audio pad? Or does it make sense to keep using the pad but clean it with a brush/AI once in a while to (hopefully) keep the residue off?

rshak47's picture

on my Ortofon cartridges, together with the brush my Ortofons came with. I'll have to rethink the Onzow, but it would be interesting to hear comments/rebuttal from the makers of Onzow.

TooCooL4's picture

I use the DS Audio ST-50 and Hifi flux sonic cleaner.
I use the DS Audio ST-50 after both sides of an LP and the Hifi flux after each listening session.

I have never had any issue that I have notice and I intend in carrying on with my cleaning regime.

Tombby's picture

I’ve dropped my stylus on the Onzow gel after every play & was about to try the alternative drum gels. I thought the maker of Ortofon doesn’t recommend using liquid solvents? I’d love to hear of any other recommendations.

WATChad's picture

The evidence appears to be missing, unfortunately. Broken, linked images.

Michael Fremer's picture
You should be able to view
GaryS's picture

Peter Lederman of Sound-Smith has always recommended using rather inexpensive Blue Stik Adhesive Putty in the same manner as one would use the Onzow. Does contact with this alternative product also cause problems?

Duke86fan's picture

i do use a zerodust semi often (like every week or two of records if i listen to like 1 a day... all my LPs are clean so mostly safe) and one of my major issues is still that there is a problem of my hands.. my dads family has an issue with tremors so my hands are overly shaky and on something as important as a cantilever i would probably easily break the stylus with either a brush or moving a zero stat a bit too much. any tips to help with this (even though in the coming years i plan on upgrading from my uturn orbit to a project or mofi)?

bkinthebk's picture

Shouldn’t they (or their distributor) have a chance to respond? That would be proper etiquette for a journalist, no?

Michael Fremer's picture
But publishing a story like this need not wait for the response. Should there be one we will publish it.
cheyne.mcnab's picture

Haven’t people been using this product for years with great results? As troubling as the magnified images appear, does it actually matter or affect play? Surely if it did we would have heard about issues with the product, right? From what I’ve gathered the analog community has pretty much unanimously endorsed the Zerodust

Michael Fremer's picture
You are hearing about them now. Better late than never. At best the polymer "gunk" ends up embedded the record groove. That's not good. I don't believe anyone has looked this carefully. Don't shoot the messenger. This is a wake up call.
cheyne.mcnab's picture

Glad to know now. Thanks Michael :)

ab_ba's picture

After buying a Sound Smith cartridge and being warned against the Zerodust, I stopped using mine. At their recommendation, I mostly use blu-tak for visible lint, and once a week or so, the Audio Intelligent stylus cleaner, which I've been very happy with. When I'm playing clean records (also Audio Intelligent), I see little need for cleaning the stylus.

samman's picture

I had issues with the Zerodust as it aged, and it did begin to leave a residue on my needle. However, the DS audio seems to be a very different substance. Harder and sticker than Zerodust, not to mention only the tip of the diamond touches the material as its lowered onto the pad. As a precaution, I will periodically clean with my Last stylus cleaner and stiff brush.

Elubow's picture

It would have been nice if you contacted Zerodust before dropping this article. The only proof offered are a few photos from WAMM Engineering. We don’t know anything about that stylus, what other substances may have been used on it besides Zerodust or even the motives of WAMM in offering this to you. A pretty circumstantial case, I’d say. You seem to be doing the same thing you accuse Mike of from In The Groove- defaming a company, in this case Zerodust. (I expect to hear from your faithful defender, Analog Scott any minute.

Michael Fremer's picture
As I wrote, there are multiple images from multiple styli. WAM has no "motives" other than presenting what it's found while examining styli for other reasons. This is not "circumstantial"evidence. It is direct evidence. Nothing about presenting this has anything whatsoever to do with the In Groove dustup. This does not "defame" anyone. "Defaming" the company would be claiming it purposely produced this product to damage styli or that it continued producing the product knowing it causes these issues. Get a a grip.
Jonti's picture

This is my Denon DL-103 after 4 months of regular but careful Onzow ZeroDust application and no use of any other solutions/special brushes:

https://i.ibb.co/VJyKknQ/Before.jpg

Looks pretty clean to me.

I then dunked the cartridge into the Onzow bath and took another photo immediately thereafter:

https://i.ibb.co/1ZH9rVz/After.jpg

To my eye, there is no discernible difference and in both cases they cantilever and stylus are in fine fettle. This has put my mind at ease somewhat!

Michael Fremer's picture
are way overexposed, too low in resolution and ill-focused and don't tell you much of anything.
Jonti's picture

Obviously I’m using a low-res USB camera, but at least there’s no visible dust or dripping of noxious liquid. ;-)

Bill-B's picture

I'll have to say; have been a faithful user for years. Lyra with 2k+ hours was ck'd couple of years ago by reputable rebuilder. Nothing mentioned other than; some dust on coils & cart/stylus still in good condition. Currently have my Paua w/approx 1200hrs into Soundsmith for a ck up. Will be VERY curious what's said.

Garybegd's picture

The Zerodust has been a Stereofile recommended component. I'm guessing thousands of audiophiles use it and thousands of them have looked at their styluses with USB microscopes. It just seems strange that on one has noticed a problem until now. Mikey, I know you have looked at a lot of styluses. Why have you not noticed this until Wally's kid did?

Michael Fremer's picture
Is on another level of magnification and resolution compared to the USB microscope I use for SRA setting.
Elubow's picture

Ok, if you don’t like the word DEFAME, how about TARNISH or SULLY. Clearly, that could be the effect of your article. Word will spread and people will stop buying Zerodust. You will have tarnished the reputation of a reputable company without solid evidence. Yes, I looked at the photos. Do you really believe a substantive case could be made that continued use of Zerodust could be harmful to your stylus or simply ineffective just on the basis of these photos alone? Don’t you think other tests are indicated before you title a piece TIME TO PUT ZERODUST AWAY? And, yes, I saw the question mark, which does little to minimize the suggestion that this is an ineffective product, one, by the way, you formerly endorsed. Sorry, but several posted photos do not a case make.

What you could have done is sent these photos to Onzow first, asking them to do some verifiable testing and asking for a timely response. That would have been the responsible thing to do before writing an article suggesting that this product may not do what it purports to do.

Michael Fremer's picture
"Without solid evidence"? Are you kidding? The photos are solid evidence. Unless you think they are "doctored".
ckirmuss's picture

Indeed, JR has applied science in order to understand tracking and as a direct result has also been taking advantage of his $75,000 Leica digital microscope testing many styli, many sent into his Company for analysis, and using the scientific process, noted the issue at hand and shared this observations. Most revealing indeed. I am sure where readers can judge for themselves the cause and effect of anything found on a needle (or in a groove) by his shared discovery by looking at the images he provided. No story line needed, the images are clear. They speak for themselves. There is no defamation of anyone in my opinion. “If it has a bill, waddles, has feathers and quacks”, through observation, it is a duck, one would think.

Outside of this: as audiophiles, we all want to capture the breath of the music and artist. It starts with styli, cartridge, tone arm adjustment/alignment, etc., and goes down the line ultimately to the loudspeaker and our ears. It is not everyone that can afford the luxury of having a $75K digital microscope and to do such testing. This is not a USB microscope, you can see the imagery produced. A USB microscope cannot produce images of such clarity.

... His discovery was shared with the community with no malice I am sure.

....Just as we have measured and proven using a 3D Keyence VHX-7000 $170,000 microscope where there is in fact a "release agent" that comes out of the PVC mix and the biscuit as the biscuit is being pressed by the stamper forming a record. This in layman's terms appears as a "measured coating" on a record, and where in our evaluations, just like JR, images told all as to what processes may or may not remove this and see the once hidden detail of the pressing revealed for all to hear.

The bigger picture: Styli contact is everything. In our study as it relates to what is in the record’s groove: Once a coating is removed, the needle now discovers the previously "hidden detail" of the pressing.. Whether a coating or contaminant found on the needle, inside the groove or both, ultimately the end result counts. Proper needle contact with the pressed information equates to increased detail, imagery, breath, soundstage, timbre, "musicality" and where this is easily heard. It also may be measured by less expensive and more common equipment that some audiophiles may have in their system.

No matter: I too was amazed at the imagery produced by JR. It answers some questions we had as well.

While we too were called "disruptive”, and “scoffed at”, recently as it relates to our own discovery of the measured "release agent" on a record even with the 3D imagery that we too presented to audiophiles, we were vindicated by a lost document that Shure produced in the 70's at to their V15 cartridge and where they indeed mentioned the word "Pressing Oil" that they found in the groove and their attempts in removing it from the grooves.

JR has provided us with visual information and direct evidence that one can make their own deductions from.

Steelhead's picture

I got gifted one of these on one of my purchases.

I tried it but as I am long in the tooth and somehow channel Joe Cocker when I am around delicate cartridges I used it once and gave it away. Based on this article and reflection I am glad I did,

I am sticking with my tried and true LAST stylus cleaner and Stylast. Great products and have stood the test of time, at least in my experience.

azmoon's picture

Has there been warnings about this leaving residue also?

sunderwood's picture

Did WAM know or say anything about how old the zerodust is that caused this? The reason I ask is about the possibility that after a while the material starts breaking down due to age. I have been using one for a long time and this is concerning to say the least. At your recommendation I have ordered some audio intelligent fluid and will use that from now on in addition my flux hifi unit.

WallyTools - WAM Engineering LTD's picture

We are waiting on the results of infrared spectrometry on two of these products to understand what they are made from. All I know right now is that they are not silicone and have tons of plasticizer in them. Waiting on results of the base material. From that information, we may be able to determine whether UV exposure, time, heat, etc. increase the probability of the "gel cleaner" transferring its material to the stylus/cantilever assembly.

By way of interest, I just got done analyzing a cartridge with 8 hours on it. The owner had used Zerodust and I found the plasticized material clearly sticking to the cantilever - where it increases tip mass of the assembly, of course! The stylus did show some small signs of picking up the gel, but the cantilever was definitely getting a solid coating. Amazing amount of transfer after only 8 hours of use.

This stuff is VERY difficult to remove! You really have to work at it for a while.

DaveyF's picture

Over the years we have heard from numerous 'experts' in the analog field that there are all kinds of 'no no's' when it comes to stylus cleaning. I clearly remember those very same people telling everyone that the Last Stylus can migrate up the cantilever and cause problems. Then we heard that the same cleaner can damage the glue that is used to hold the stylus. We heard that US cleaning of the cantilever and stylus can damage the coils, we then heard that using BluTac is not recommended ( if I remember correctly it was due to the possibility of BluTac dislodging the cantilever assembly)...and on and on.
Now we hear that the Zerodust can leave a deposit on the stylus, which if one really looks carefully, could be from any number of various culprits...from the vinyl formulation, to the use of a cleaning brush leaving behind a CF strand, to residue left from the inner sleeve and on and on!

Maybe a better question would be to ask..and verify, IF a reduction in SQ is heard by any of thee 'deposits'...and then IF the answer is 'yes' to go about a more scientific process of 'cause and effect'...rather than assuming anything! Just IMHO.

WallyTools - WAM Engineering LTD's picture

When I see this material on the cantilever or stylus, I make a point to call the client immediately and ask how they clean the stylus. All but two have said they use a gel-cleaner of one sort or another. Of the two clients who said they did not use a gel-cleaner (yet the images clearly showed the same material on the stylus/cantilever assembly) they had purchased their cartridges used and didn't know what the previous owner used to clean the stylus with.

I don't see this material on all cartridges. When I do, the answers are very consistent: the owner uses gel cleaners.

WallyTools - WAM Engineering LTD's picture

We are very careful NOT to make claims we cannot support with evidence. There are many PLAUSIBLE declarations by audiophile manufacturers but exceedingly few offer proof to substantiate the claims. We have invested very heavily into lab equipment capable of providing the evidence we need to determine how best to improve the relationship between groove and cartridge.

It is always a risk that our analyses may be flawed or incomplete, but if we are faced with evidence that they are we will change our position when new data and evidence is revealed. It is this commitment to our own accountability that is driving us to submit several of our findings for peer review in professional journals in the coming months ahead. This commitment is why we are going through the expense of doing finite element analysis on how mis-aligned styli travel through grooves and why we are performing coefficient of friction tests that haven't been done since the 60's, etc.

It is right that you demand that we put proof forward and hold us accountable to our claims. With regards to the gel-cleaners, I think the evidence is pointing squarely at a problem - the full nature of which we do not yet understand. The infrared spectrometry we are doing should help out in that regard.

Anton D's picture

How long has this product been out?

Has anybody ever reported hearing an issue?

We've been caught pants down.

_

Can we get pics of a Stylast treated needle? They actually claim to stick to the needle. This being Hi Fi and all, I bet they don't and this stylus cleaner does!

-

I have only ever used a dry brush.

Maybe it's time for the good Professor Kirmuss to step in and get it right.

Old Audiophile's picture

HOLY CRAP, BATMAN! I bought an Onzow not long ago and started using it on a new cartridge. Music Direct says (or said) they used one at their place, along with periodic cleaning with their LP#9 cleaner. The attraction of the Onzow, for me, like many other vinyl spinners, I'm sure, especially us geezer types, was that you didn't have to trust not so rock-steady hands to a stylus brush. Also, can't say the reviews about liquid cleaners migrating up to the cantilever (and worse) and affecting the stylus bond instilled me with a great deal of confidence, either. I'm going to absolutely hate going back to a stylus brush & liquid cleaner and holding my breathe like a special ops sniper before squeezing off a round to clean my stylus! This conundrum cries out for a solution, a new invention!

"An analysis of the residue shows it is not silicone but rather a polymer of some sort." Like, maybe, Polyvinyl Chloride? Like, maybe, LP shavings? What's on a brand spanking new stylus that's never been cleaned before, after playing a clean LP? Now, we just gotta now what the goop is and what that stubborn residue is!

As always, thanks Mike!

OldschoolE's picture

Every few years a bunch of bad stuff comes out about a trusted product. In some cases it is warranted, in others it is not and nothing more than a marketing hit job.
In this case, it may be warranted. I have an Onzow purchased several years ago, however, for some reason I have only used it perhaps 4 or 5 times. I usually use a piece of plain Magic Eraser (Poorman's Onzow back in the day). I do not use a microscope to inspect my styli as I do not have time for that depth. I do inspect using a powerful magnifier.
I usually use either the peice of M.E. or a dry brush. My styli and cantilevers appear quite clean as I keep them that way.
I do not like LAST products for the very reason argued here and having most needles bonded to cantilevers I do not want to risk it with having the adhesive dissolved. (Phono cartridges are not cheap anymore). I do not use any fluid stylus cleaner.
I have not tried the AIVS Stylus fluid......yet. I do use their record cleaning fluids exclusively (I know how they are made and what is in them), for initial chemical treatment.
In conversations with JD in the past, I also believe he knows his stuff and what he is doing and I have no reason to question him yet if ever.
Based on this article and the attached information, I conclude that Magic Eraser is a better or safer choice as it a dry brush. I will look into the AIVS stylus cleaner.

OldschoolE's picture

I meant JR not JD - fat finger syndrome

jdhorn2's picture

I also use a ME. If I buy a TT with a used cart, I clean with Discwasher brush & just damped with liquid stylus cleaner and then dip into the ME. Used this for years with no seeming ill effect.

astolfo's picture

Conspiracy theorist will always be that, deny the undeniable despite of the scientific evidence.
COVID vaccines are a way for Bill Gates to inject a chip, the new COVID variant is a tool for the Democrats to cheat on the upcoming elections, the January 6th was a walk in a peaceful park, the world leading authority in viruses is equated to a Josef Mengele...
Granted I am not from the USA but still makes me wander what are some of you smoking on that side of the pond! It is clearly not pot :)

JR and Mike thank you for posting this article, very useful to most reasonable minds.
What liquid cleaner would you recommend? I keep my records very clean but still my styluses need to be cleaned every so often.

WallyTools - WAM Engineering LTD's picture

...I will say so.

On the question of what - or whether - to use a liquid stylus cleaner, I have no reason to put one over the other, principally since I don't know what is in them and doing infrared spectrometry on all of them is not in the cards for us.

I use wet cleaning for all incoming cartridges undergoing analysis and I wet clean my stylus every week or so. Why? For the not particularly convincing reason that having the moisture present on the brush SEEMS to do a better job of removing the debris. I base this upon what I see at 300x to 700x magnification using our lab scope.

Would distilled water be just as good? Maybe!

For those that are hesitant to use a wet cleaning because they don't know what is in the cleaning formulations, I suggest distilled water.

OldschoolE's picture

The only stylus cleaner I know of where I almost know what is in it is AIVS. I know what is in their record cleaning fluids (safest and most effective ones on the market). I did get to thinking though, the AIVS stylus cleaner has enzymes in it, while not a bad thing for record cleaning and not necessarily a solvent, still enzymes (at least in my basic chemistry learning) do like to eat. I don't know the structure of the adhesive used for bonded styli (usually an epoxy), but I wonder if over time an enzymatic cleaner would eventually work away enough to dis lodge the stylus?
I then had the thought of why not just use distilled water? Now that you mentioned it, it makes for a good idea, at least for me.

Arcamadeus's picture

Cleaning records is obvious, but how often should a needle be cleaned and is sticky stuff such as Blu-tac and liquids other than distilled water not taking a gamble with the expensive cartridge?

AdamL's picture

Would the concern or audible impact be less for a spherical or elliptical vs microline, shibata, etc?

recordrat's picture

I'm really wondering why this 'story' occurs just before Christmas and the beginning of the gift shopping war. There is always someone who want to sell his own products in the 'gift range of price' or wants to advertise himself with some kind of 'breaking news'. I doubt every picture of this crappy stylus has _alone_ to do with Onzow's product because of these catchy 'There are other images...' or *an analysis...' or 'Further...' Why is this 'story' official _before_ these additional pictures are shown and _before_ these analysis is made? And yes, they were on the moon!

miguelito's picture

Gels do chemically oxidize and break down. I am not shocked by what you’re showing here.

Lederman actually recommends using blu-tack. I thought it was crazy, but after trying it I think it makes a lot of sense. You push a little ball of blu-tack onto a quarter coin, then put the coin on the platter and carefully lower the stylus onto the putty. The stylus sinks into the blu-tack but that’s it. Pull the stylus up with the cueing lever, then move the coin a bit and lower it again. Can do this a couple of times. Really works.

Do make sure you never move the coin while the stylus is resting on the putty!!!

Varoshiotis's picture

I use London/Decca cartridges. John Wright who builds them recommends using once a month or so cleaning fluid for eyeglasses and placing a small drop on the diamond stylus, then after about 30 seconds wipe it off with a soft brush.
Jewellers use "jeweller's rouge" which is like hard plasticine or blue tac for cleaning their gems. I flattened a small quantity in the lid of a Kodak film can. I place it on the platter and gently lower the cartridge in it a couple of times. I don't have a digital microscope to see what is going on.

miguelito's picture

I prefer the coin base as there are no hard to see ridges to avoid touching with the stylus. Next time I accumulate gunk on the stylus I will try and take a USB microscope pic before and after.

miguelito's picture

I keep misspelling the name!

pelliott321's picture

I spent a long time chatting with JR at CAF 2021 and listened to one of his lectures. I have been an Analog guy since the late 1970s and he put the fear of G-d in me about cartridges, cantilevers, and styli. Why should we even bother? Is it time to switch to digital?

Stevereds's picture

Hi Stephen here from Soul to Sole Audio.... I am the New Zealand DS Audio Distributor and Aki has been made aware of the comments, regarding his ST-50 Stylus Cleaning Pads, that have been dragged into this conversation about Zerodust.

Here is the info he has posted:

"DS Audio designed and manufactures our ST-50 stylus cleaner for numerous good reasons. Before developing the ST-50, many people used a liquid-type cleaning brush with resulting problems such as compromising stylus adhesive and oxidation of metal parts. There were instances of customers damaging the stylus/cantilever using a small brush for the cleaning or impacting the cartridge suspension by brushing incorrectly.
This is why we developed the ST-50 pad-type stylus cleaner. It is mechanically safer and there is no chemical fluid that may damage the cartridge. The shape of the pad and its low profile allows you to cue down the stylus gently on the pad with no cantilever contact.

We specifically chose a lab grade of urethane gel that is ether based. The two basic formulations of urethane, ester and ether, have some important differences. Water attacks ester-based urethane, causing a significant reduction in physical properties. Ether urethanes exhibit far superior hydrolytic stability (water not reacting with another chemical), especially in humid environments. Ether-based materials also resist fungus growth better than ester-based materials."

kleinbje's picture

Thanks for contributing to this thread. I enjoyed reading the science behind the gel. Unfortunately you do not mention whether or not the St-50 will leave residue on my sylus and eventually deposited in my grooves. I love this type of cleaner as i like the "gratification" of seeing the dirt removed. Can you confirm no residue?

ncpd's picture

Michael,

I've been using the Onzow between LP sides to minimize liquid cleaner application based on concerns about stylus/cantilever damage from too much liquid usage.

I am going to try cleaning off my stylus and move to a liquid only model based on this article. Does a bristle brush like the one that comes with LP9 suffice, or did you use something more aggressive?

ncpd's picture

Michael,

I've been using the Onzow between LP sides to minimize liquid cleaner application based on concerns about stylus/cantilever damage from too much liquid usage.

I am going to try cleaning off my stylus and move to a liquid only model based on this article. Does a bristle brush like the one that comes with LP9 suffice, or did you use something more aggressive?

X