Buying a turntable and collecting records is like an investment. Not only are they expensive, but some records are simply hard to replace. The needle translates the grooves carved in your vinyl into a faint electrical signal. Then it is transformed into audio signals that are sent to your receivers and released into the speakers. Learning how to clean turntable needles will be essential in protecting these investments of yours.
Here are some tips and hacks on maintaining your needle working in its best condition. This article will discuss what happens when you do not clean your stylus, clean it, and how often you need to do so.
Why Do You Need To Keep Your Turntable Needle Clean
Whether you use a turntable for a living or using it just out of a hobby, keeping your needle clean helps you get the best sound quality from your records. Here’s why you need to know how to clean turntable needle:
- Dust and debris build-up can cause static sound on the record. The dirt gets in the way of contact between the needle and the record affecting the sound quality produced.
- A needle with dirt build-up is more likely to slip out of the groove than a clean one. These slips can cause scratches and smudges on the vinyl, which can damage your records in the long run. If this keeps happening, your record may even be rendered unusable.
- Dirt can also wear down the needle itself and force you to replace it sooner than when you clean it.
- Contaminants can also transfer from record to record if you don’t clean it regularly. As the needle runs across the record’s groove, it melts instantly, and then it hardens. You have to be sure that it is clean before you play your records.
Ways On How To Clean Turntable Needle
Here are different ways how to clean turntable needles. Here are some ways I recommend:
- By using a stylus brush
The most usual method of cleaning a turntable needle is to use a brush designed for this purpose. This fiber brush developed explicitly for the purpose is both cheap and efficient. Carefully slide the brush across the needle from the back to front, separating the debris from the needle without damaging it.
- By using a gel cleaner
Some argue that the use of a gel cleanser is a method that yields less damage compared to using a brush. To use this cleaner, all you need to do is gently dip the needle into the gel repeatedly until it is spotless. With the gel, you won’t have to use a hard-bristled brush on the stylus.
- By using a magic sponge
The magic sponge works similarly with the gel cleanser. Gently wipe the stylus with the sponge until you removed all debris and residue. Always make sure you use the sponge’s dry side, free from any cleaning products or chemicals. Or better yet, you can dedicate a sponge for the exclusive use of cleaning your turntable needle. Some liquid cleaners may be useful, but some chemicals can wear down the stylus due to harsh chemicals.
How Often Should You Clean Turntable Needle
There are many different opinions out there on how often you should clean your turntable needle. To prolong your player and recorder’s good condition, cleaning it more often is better than less. Cleaning your records after every use is recommended to keep your needles from dirt build-up. If you’re a heavy user or a professional DJ, cleaning the stylus at least once a week is advised. If you’re a casual user, every other week would be fine. Learn more about turntable here.
In the end, a regularly cleaned needle will help you save money in the long run. It allows you to listen to the best sound quality your records offer and will keep you from damaging them. I hope this article was able to answer your question about how to clean turntable needles. A few seconds spent on cleaning the needle can help you keep your records for a lifetime.