Reference: Recommended Vinyl Accessories

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Reference: Recommended Vinyl Accessories
« on: 7 Jan 2003, 04:13 pm »
I would like to start a thread with this circle's compilation of recommended vinyl accesories for getting the most out of your vinyl.  Much discussion will insue in other threads about tables, platters, motors, arms and carts but I don't want to overlook the things that help you get the most out of your gear and vinyl.

I would like to compile a list of accesories that you all feel that every vinylphile should have along with a few highly recommended brands or specific products.  We should probably split this up into two (or more categories), such as, e.g.

#1 Vinyl care and treatment products/accesories

#2 Hardware care & accessories; including cart care products, alignment tools, strobes, etc.

So please add your comments, recommendations and feedback for what you feel every vinyl lover should have. Just like a starting woodworker or machinist must start to compile the necessary tools, we vinylphiles must compile the appropriate tools for getting the most out of our hobby.  Also, add comments on what you feel is highly recommended if not necessary.  

And for ease of organization please add whether it belongs in category #1 or #2 or whether we need another category or further breakdown.  

If I get a lot of response, feedback and participation on this thread I might add a sticky to it so that our list will be easily found and referenced.



Reference: Recommended Vinyl Accessories
« Reply #1 on: 7 Jan 2003, 05:44 pm »
Well, here's a list of links to websites that allows you to print alignment tools (hence free;) )">
Strobe Disk DOS program">Phono Cartridge alignment template">Another free protractor

As for stuff you have to buy..  
1.  Bubble level (2-3 bucks a piece at Home Depot)
2.  Shure Stylus Force Guage(available at
3.  LAST #4 Stylus Cleaner(also available at

As for vinyl care, I'm a little unsure of what would be the best since I haven't tried any of the products out.  I did try the Last Power Cleaner but for 30 bucks for 1/2 fluid ounce (ouch!) and didn't find it to clean dirty records well (as to expected since all you did was scrub the liquid on the vinyl and somehow thats supposed to miraculously lift all the dirt particles trapped inside the grooves).

I do have a few candidates though..."> The Spin-Clean Record washing system, seems to do a good job wet cleaning from what I gather over at">The record doctor the cheapest vacuum system I found by far.  Also seems to do well for the ppl over at

Anyone have experience with either of these two products?


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Disk Doctor brushes and cleaner
« Reply #2 on: 7 Jan 2003, 08:07 pm »
I would recommend adding the Disk Doctor cleaning process before something like a Vacuum based cleaner.  It is a set of brushes and cleaner that is used by a number of archives and is highly rated by all the rags.

I just got mine and though it is expensive, I can see the quart of cleaner I got lasting for hundreds of records.

The cleaning process is mainly a brushing/rinsing one.  The vacuum just helps in drying/removing dirt.  I think I could live without a vacuum based machine....



Reference: Recommended Vinyl Accessories
« Reply #3 on: 7 Jan 2003, 09:07 pm »
I bought a KAB record cleaner.  You turn it by hand and provide your own vacuum cleaner.  It was $130 bucks which is dirt cheap by most standards, but once you see it in person you'll say: :?  Hey, it works fine, but surely this is a DIY project.  Inside there's a crevice tool attachment with a piece of styrofoam on it held in place with Liquid Nails or something.  I bet a crafty person could cobble something up very similar for a few bucks.  

Whatever you do, don't hook it up to a Data Vac vacuum cleaner.  This is the worst piece of junk I've ever used.  This vacuum cleaner is so weak you have to pick up the dust and THROW it down the hose.  Makes a lot of noise and gets hot too.  In the record cleaning application it takes about 50 spins before the record is dry.  Sheesh!


Reference: Recommended Vinyl Accessories
« Reply #4 on: 7 Jan 2003, 09:28 pm » has a lot of info, in case some here haven't seen it.


Reference: Recommended Vinyl Accessories
« Reply #5 on: 8 Jan 2003, 05:00 am »
Second the reccomendations on the Shure stylus gauge and the Last stylus cleaner. I have not used any of the printable alignment tools but can say that the DB Protractor (audioadvisor has them) works very well for setting overhang and cartridge alignment.

Also, for those times when you don't wish or need to do a full blown cleaning a good record brush is nice to have. I use the Hunt EDA carbon fiber brush. I'm not sure how it compares to some of the others but it seems to work just fine. I keep a roll of 2" wide masking tape with the brush. Works wonders for getting the dust off the brush and is dirt cheap.



Reference: Recommended Vinyl Accessories
« Reply #6 on: 8 Jan 2003, 02:33 pm »
#1The Disc Doctor record cleaner is a must.

#1 stylus cleaner:
    I was using the Disc Doctor stylus cleaner, but just bought the extremephono solid state cleaner and it works great.

#1 I use the Hunt EDA dry brush before every play.

#2  Isolation feet or spikes offer a cheap and significant tweak.


Reference: Recommended Vinyl Accessories
« Reply #7 on: 8 Jan 2003, 02:39 pm »
Thanks guys keep them coming.  Maybe I should start some polls over time with whether we feel that, say, a cart demagnetizer is a neccessary product and have discussion about it.  We could overtime go through a list of things and then compile the final list of what we feel is and is not necessary for the great enjoyment.

FWIW, I picked up a VPI HW16.5 lightly used on audiogon.  I have heard both good and bad about the Disc Doctor record cleaner.  My dealer is a big fan of their brushes and their liquid but thinks the owner is full of it and that vacuuming is still needed. He argues a pretty convincing arguement.  He is also a pretty smart guy, a fellow U of Chicago alumn (chemistry).


Reference: Recommended Vinyl Accessories
« Reply #8 on: 9 Jan 2003, 05:06 pm »
HFNRR test record.  Also, the Shure era IV trackability test record (long out of print, but pops up in shops and on ebay now and again for a few dollars) if fun to play with.

nature boy

Reference: Recommended Vinyl Accessories
« Reply #9 on: 9 Jan 2003, 06:32 pm »

I second or third the following:

Disc Doctor Record cleaner and brushes
Hunt/EDA dry brush
Shure stylus gauge

Best thing I have found so far is proper isolation of a turntable, separate from other equipment.  My solution, an IKEA Lack end table with spiked
legs.  Provided a noticable improvement over placing TT on a rack with
other equipment, better isolation from vibration and noise.



Reference: Recommended Vinyl Accessories
« Reply #10 on: 10 Jan 2003, 04:43 am »
Slick 50 or Marvel Mystery Oil for spindle bearing.  Dropped noise nevel for me on Thorens.  Stylast, bubble level (can't underestimate level surface for playing records), carbon fiber brush (good old Rat Shack), Record Doctor fluid.  

I've used the VPI vac cleaner - it's great - really makes records sing, don't own it cause I don't listen to enough licorice anymore and want one less 'box' in my room.  Ideal would be to find a dealer who'll rent by the record..I used to have a dealer in NY that rented for $0.25 a pop and I cleaned 100 or so years ago.  I bought a buch of gear from him and sent friends, so it was a near giveaway for him, I think.


Vinyl Playback Accessories
« Reply #11 on: 13 Jan 2003, 09:21 am »
Here's my list - ie. the things which I've accumulated for improving vinyl playback over the last 30 years ... I've tried to put them in order of importance (in my opinion, anyway):

1.  A vacuum cleaning machine - I have a basic, hand turned Model 2.0 Nitty Gritty.  Nowadays, you have to buy second-hand LPs, as well as new, so a wetcleaning/vacuum dry system is essential !!  As well as removing (well, reducing!) pops and clicks, it prolongs the life of your stylus - it's the dirt which is the major wear factor on the diamond tip.

2.  To go with this (actually I do this before Nitty Grittying) - Permastat anti-static spray and buffing pad.  If you don't antistatic the LP first, I've found the cleaning fluid does not spread as easily into the grooves.  It's a once-off treatment ... I still play LPs I bought over 25 years ago and I've only ever had to anti-static them once!

3.  A brush to give the LP side a 'once-over' before and after each play.  I use the Discwasher D3 pad.

4.  A cartridge protractor, to get the stylus correctly located in the headshell (for those of us that don't have tangential arms).  There are lots around but the ever helpful Steve Rochlin supplies a free one from his <> website.

The best set of tools for cartridge and arm setup comes from Wally Malewicz - go see him at <>.

5.  A stylus cleaning device - I use an Ortofon ultra-sonic stylus cleaner (battery operated).

6.  A bubble level - the best one I know of is made by Mana (the English stand people).  This is a cylinder of aluminium with a hole in the underneath for the turntable spindle.  It weighs as much as an LP, so it loads the turntable suspension properly (important for sprung suspensions like the LP12).

7.  A stylus guage, to measure the down-force of the stylus.  The Shure guage is still available from many places and doesn't cost much.  Or, if you can afford expensive toys, buy one of the super-accurate, digital guages (US$300!!).  Or, if you know some elementary mechanical principles and can use tools ... make yourself a guage out of pieces of perspex and buy some laboratory weights.

8.  A Test Record, which can help you get your bias set right - as well as lots of other things!!  The HFNRR disc is very useful but there's been many others produced over the past 35 years.  The 2 Cardas 'Sweep' records are good too.

9.  Anti-static 'rice-paper' (they're not, really!) inner sleeves - like MoFi used to use.  You can still buy these from various places.

10.  A turntable accoustic isolation device.  If you've got the cash, buy a Vibraplane.  If you haven't, you can go to <> and build yourself a DIY equivalent ... well, almost equivalent!!

Happy listening!



Vinyl Playback Accessories
« Reply #12 on: 13 Jan 2003, 09:33 am »
Sorry - I forgot one!!"

11.  Cartridge demagnetiser.  I own a Sumiko 'Flux Buster'.  I'm in two minds as to whether their use is good or bad as I've read dissenting opinions.  Surely if it's good for one MC cartridge it must be good for them all??  All I can say, for my Benz Ruby 2, it certainly hasn't killed it but I'm not too sure whether I can hear any diffeence after I've flux-busted!  (Maybe I should add accessory #12 ... cotton buds to clean my ears out!!)

However, I believe you should NOT use a flux buster on a MM cartridge?

Any comments out there??



bubble levels
« Reply #13 on: 24 Aug 2003, 08:37 pm »
i prefer just a small standard carpenter level.  i level the tt in the left to right plane and then the front to back plane.  

the round bubble levels are sooooo dificult to figure.  

other items used
ratshack carbon fiber brush
vpi record wash brush for sink washing.
a fine mist sprayer to moisturize my watts preener
discwasher brush
discwasher sc2 stylus brush
sota reflex clamp
toysRus tt isolation tweek mod (search on vinyl asylum)

enuf for now

Bob A (SD)

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Reference: Recommended Vinyl Accessories
« Reply #14 on: 25 Aug 2003, 12:53 am »
From my knothole, the basics:

1.  Disc Doctor vinyl cleaning system
2.  Nagaoka CL-152 roller cleaner
3.  Orsonic AV series headshells
4.  ExtremePhono donut turntable mat
5.  ExtremePhono stylus cleaner
6.  Shure tracking force gauge
7.  KAB record clamp w/detachable bubble level
8.  Audioquest anti-static brush

Retired my Discwasher brush when I had a friend pick up the Nagaoka in Japan... the thing is incredible.  Too bad they're not marketed in the States.  Retired the SC2 when I got the Extremephone glop -:)

Bob A


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Reference: Recommended Vinyl Accessories
« Reply #15 on: 27 Oct 2003, 05:40 pm »
Here's some :

1.  A strobe light and disc - well, speed check is mandatory in our opinion (unless one can't control/change the turntable's speed).  One can use just the strobe disc, but the strobe light really makes everything clearer and easier.

2.  The Cartridge Man Digital Tracking Force Gauge - not exactly a basic tool, but an evolution :)  Sure, the Shure gauge is great and is absolutely essentially basic, but once one starts using this digital gauge, it's difficult to go back to the Shure, paranoid even to use it.

3.  A round toothpick - necessary when changing cartridges.  As cartridge pins are not standard, some may be bigger than other brands', the toothpick should help ensure one doesn't break the pins when trying to tighten these to fit another cartridge which has smaller diameter pins.

4.  A flashlight - well, helps save one's eyesight :) for setting up cartridges, or even cleaning them ...

5.  A strong magnifying glass, preferably those used by jewelers, at least 20x strength ... for checking cartridge cleanliness usually

6.  A good lip brush - great for wet or dry cleaning cartridges - like this ->^F1_Accessories^F2_Acc_BrushAccessories^F3_Acc_Bru_Brushes&vname=name&


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Reference: Recommended Vinyl Accessories
« Reply #16 on: 28 Oct 2003, 04:24 am »
as someone had already mentioned about getting a SOTA record clamp, you should consider getting 'a' record clamp, as you will hear a difference...


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Reference: Recommended Vinyl Accessories
« Reply #17 on: 28 Oct 2003, 01:04 pm »
Keith Monks record sweeper.

Brad V

Reference: Recommended Vinyl Accessories
« Reply #18 on: 28 Oct 2003, 03:42 pm »
I recently purchased a 10X lighted magnifying glass. It's really small and only cost around $10.00 on the Internet. It really helps, when trying to get the needle extremely clean.


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Reference: Recommended Vinyl Accessories
« Reply #19 on: 22 Nov 2003, 07:24 pm »
I would recommend the Lift or the Lifter to save your stylus as a very nice piece to add to your enjoyment.