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Linn Owners

"Time to Put Away The Onzow ZeroDust?"

extremeride22

Wammer Plus
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Nov 17, 2021
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Toronto
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Fortunately for me I’ve never used any sort of cleaning solution or machine. I’ve always resorted to using a good antistatic record brush over the years, my latest is from Audioquest don’t have any issues with it  and I just follow the guidelines. Having said that, I do not have a top of the line turntable but I’m happy with the outcome of its performance as well my approach to cleaning. I don’t want to be screwing around with cleaning my records with solutions and all that other stuff. I just want to enjoy the music which as mentioned I achieve by doing what I do. I’m sure a lot of you are cringing at the thought but this is me and I’m happy that’s all that matters. 

 

arm

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Nov 8, 2018
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AKA
Anthony
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I used zero dust until two years ago when my dealer upgrade my deck, he noticed how gummed up my cart was and cleaned it and handed over some green paper and made me swear I wouldn’t use zero dust anymore. 

 
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ThomasOK

LP12 Whisperer, Lejonklou importer
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Oct 19, 2018
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Thomas O'Keefe
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A couple of notes here.  The owner of the store I work at, Overture Audio in Ann Arbor, MI, discovered Silly Putty at least a few decades ago, long before Zerodust and others.  He reasoned that some putty type of material would grab the little particles off the diamond that we see under our high powered Wild Heerbrugg lighted stereo microscope that brushes don't completely remove.  So he tried all kinds of things from modeling clay to caulking putty to Silly Putty and others.  Of everything he tried Silly Putty left no residue and resulted in a gleaming stylus.  I put this on a few forums a number of years ago and quite a few people have used it in various places.  

One customer who had used Silly Putty tried Zerodust and brought it into us saying Silly Putty worked better.  We never spent any real time trying the Zerodust.  A while after I posted about the Silly Putty I read someone suggesting Bergeon Rodico 6033 watch putty so I bought some but thought it wasn't any better than Silly Putty.  Then while I was looking for the Rodico online I bumped into a watchmaker's forum where the question had been asked of what to use to remove fingerprints from crystals.  The questioner had tried Rodico, both types (this is where I found there was a 7033 in grey rather than 6033 green) and wasn't happy with the results.  One of the members said the best thing for that was Rub Off, a dark blue putty I think originates in Germany.  With this new information I decided to duplicate the tests the owner had done decades back.  So I bought some Rub Off and some Rodico 7033 and put them up against Rodico 6033 and Silly Putty.  Silly Putty definitely left very little residue and easily less than either Rodico (which were about the same) but the Rub Off was even a bit better.  

So my suggestion has been Silly Putty works just fine as long as you make sure you get the right one.  You have to stick with Original Silly Putty which is pinky orange.  The glow in the dark and other colored versions are different and are to be avoided.  But if you want the absolute cleanest stylus the Rub Off is a little better.  It is also a bit stiffer so you do have to be careful with it.

I have seen a number of styli with built up gunk around that stylus that is hard to remove.  Most of these are from people who don't clean their styli or who used some kind of liquid cleaner (obvious by a coating of some crystalline substance on the cantilever).  I haven't seen any like this from customers using Silly Putty.  The only thing that effectively removes it is Linn green paper.  In my stylus cleaning I regularly use Rub Off interspersed with occasional use of green paper.  Many customers do the same with Silly Putty and green paper.  I have an old Discwasher SC-2 stylus brush that I use to get off fluff balls.  It is also decent at getting gunk off but not as good as green paper.  Unfortunately they haven't been made for some time and they should never be used with the liquid that came with them.  But having tried a number of the other little stylus brushes I have found none of them even good at getting loose dust off.

Here's a link for the Rub Off:

https://www.esslinger.com/rub-off-compound-dark-blue/

 
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Andyt916

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Oct 27, 2020
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Andrew
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  1. No
You have to stick with Original Silly Putty which is pinky orange.  The glow in the dark and other colored versions are different and are to be avoided.  But if you want the absolute cleanest stylus the Rub Off is a little better.  It is also a bit stiffer so you do have to be careful with it.
Thanks @ThomasOK. I've used silly putty for some years and been happy, but never realised there were different compounds. I got my sister to send some over from the USA some years back: I have one yellow and one blue pack (although the blue is in a very natty penguin-shaped container 🙂).

Re the Rub Off - here is a link for UK/European readers that I have found:  Rub-Off Cleaning Compound (cousinsuk.com)

 
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mskaye

mskaye
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Jul 8, 2019
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  1. No
I use the Onzow Zerodust everyday. Fortunately, the article is from Michael Fremer, so credibility is quite low. I just did a bit of an experiment. The Zerodust removed fuzz from the cantilever.
Please site specific instances that point to Fremer's "low credibility."  I'll give you that he may be full of himself, and sometimes his persona is borderline obnoxious. But what makes his opinions less "credible" than anyone else in the mainstream audiophile press?  Please elaborate with facts not opinions.  Like almost all the Stereophile staff writers, he's an extremely good WRITER for a consumer facing publication. He knows his stuff and has good taste in music and pressings.  I don't mind that he writes about the extremely expensive out of reach of most audiophile equipment. Magazine writing is aspirational in nature.  

 
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Daveyf

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Oct 12, 2018
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San Diego
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  1. No
Perhaps a more appropriate aspect of this discussion with regards to the deposits supposedly left by the Zerodust, would be to ask do they actually also impact the SQ? I have used Zerodust for years and with seemingly no ill effects, to the SQ or the stylus life. OTOH, I do know of folks who have damaged their cantilevers by using the Zerodust in the wrong manner. ( Generally by lifting the Zerodust to the cantilever and not by letting it slowly dip down onto the unit, as per the manufacturer's instructions). However, this new revelation that is now published by the guy ( Mr.Fremer) who was singing Zerodust's praises seems odd to me. To that, we are also made aware that the group who discovered this issue with the cleaner are now 'coincidentally' going to be releasing a mini microscope to check on exactly this kind of thing!  

Also, I would question whether the deposits in the photos are 100% attributable to Zerodust, as the group claims ( with little scientific evidence to back up it seems!) 

 
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Daveyf

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Oct 12, 2018
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Please site specific instances that point to Fremer's "low credibility."  I'll give you that he may be full of himself, and sometimes his persona is borderline obnoxious. But what makes his opinions less "credible" than anyone else in the mainstream audiophile press?  Please elaborate with facts not opinions.  Like almost all the Stereophile staff writers, he's an extremely good WRITER for a consumer facing publication. He knows his stuff and has good taste in music and pressings.  I don't mind that he writes about the extremely expensive out of reach of most audiophile equipment. Magazine writing is aspirational in nature.  
While I agree with you, I also have had first hand experience with Mr. Fremer and to say he can be 'borderline obnoxious' and 'full of himself' is an understatement! Fremer is convinced that he is the God of all things analog and the 'uber' audiophile of the whole world...and God help ANYBODY who disagrees!

 
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mskaye

mskaye
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Jul 8, 2019
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While I agree with you, I also have had first hand experience with Mr. Fremer and to say he can be 'borderline obnoxious' and 'full of himself' is an understatement! Fremer is convinced that he is the God of all things analog and the 'uber' audiophile of the whole world...and God help ANYBODY who disagrees!
I worked at a MAJOR magazine for 16 years.  He's an entertainer. He's not writing for a scientific journal. And a writer with longevity - never a bad thing.  Thin skinned?  Perhaps.  Suffer fools?  No and why should he?  Big ego?  Sure but that is not a crime.  Know it all?  Maybe but does he knows A LOT and he listens to a lot of equipment. He's not a snob and doesn't dismiss low priced equipment.  He's an expert and has found a niche for himself and he makes a nice living from it. More power to him.  He writes because he is genuinely excited about recorded music.  He doesn't rip people off.  He doesn't tell lies - ESPECIALLY lies that can have an injurious impact on one's physical well being.  

 
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AntA

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Aug 7, 2018
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Tony
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I use the Zero Dust and have never had a problem with it. Mind you I don't get a microscope to study it either. Before swapping to Zero Dust I used a Magic Eraser that seemed to be quite good and I would assume would not leave any sticky deposits on the stylus.

 

Elad Repooc

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Dec 23, 2020
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He's not a snob and doesn't dismiss low priced equipment.  He's an expert and has found a niche for himself and he makes a nice living from it. More power to him.  He writes because he is genuinely excited about recorded music.  He doesn't rip people off.  He doesn't tell lies - ESPECIALLY lies that can have an injurious impact on one's physical well being.  
While all of my own personal interactions with Fremer have always been pleasant, of course one hears stories...

That being said I read the article and looked at the photos and I'm not really sure what to think. It seems compelling enough for me to just be happy with having stuck to green paper all these years. 

Never tried silly putty though. I try to avoid touching the stylus or anywhere near it as much as possible, have had far too many expensive accidents.

 

mskaye

mskaye
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Jul 8, 2019
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While all of my own personal interactions with Fremer have always been pleasant, of course one hears stories...

That being said I read the article and looked at the photos and I'm not really sure what to think. It seems compelling enough for me to just be happy with having stuck to green paper all these years. 

Never tried silly putty though. I try to avoid touching the stylus or anywhere near it as much as possible, have had far too many expensive accidents.
I'm with you. Not really sure what to think.  I'll stay clear of the DS Audio cleaner for a while.  Most of my LPs are very clean -  I own a Nitty Gritty - and have the new Audioquest LP thing and a many little stylus brushes.  PS - making this post about Fremer was not my intent but another wigwam member's glib comment about credibility.   Fremer is probably the most passionate defender of the superiority of vinyl playback out there.  

 
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macfan

LP12 Newbie
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Feb 7, 2019
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  1. No
I as well have had some vey positive communications with Fremer over the years. When I decided to get back into vinyl on a lark, I asked him for some recommendations. He provided all sorts of valuable information. Of course I ignored it all and purchased an LP12 and happy with my choice. I agree sometimes the attitude comes off a but abrasive in both videos and writing. But I have also looked past that as found the information to always be credible. Some may interpret his interactions with vendors on video as disrespectful and I can see that at times. But at the end of the day I do feel he is a good source of information and value his writings and videos he has made over the years. 

Now the Onzow Zerodust is an interesting controversy. I had been using a DS Audio cleaner with my Krystal and at some point lost the right channel. Nothing I did brought it back including swapping out the pre-amp board on my SDSM. At the end of the day the cartridge was replaced, and I also put in the Karousel and Urika-II during the swap. Since then I have only used "green paper" and the issue did not come back. So for now no DS Audio cleaning for me. This was long before the discovery and details presented on the Zerodust. Is there anything wrong with these tools? Honestly, I do not know but taking a better safe than sorry stance. 

That being said what is interesting was the reaction from Fremer when a poster suggested they should have taken the "evidence" found and given Onzow the opportunity to comment or look into the findings themselves before writing the article. They may have but that was not cited in the text. The reaction was odd and had a whole lot of of "push back" which does give one pause. This issue - combined with resent spat with the owner of a record store called "The In Groove" (also as a YouTube channel) calls into question what to truly believe in these cases.

 
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Daveyf

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Oct 12, 2018
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The reaction you point out is fairly typical of MF. IF anyone questions him about anything he does or writes about, he immediately goes on the offense. I have personally witnessed him be completely uncouth with not only vendors but also members of the public who dared to question him about the most innocuous of issues. 

It would have been more than appropriate IMO to have consulted the makers of Onzow Zerodust before trashing their product on the web. Instead, we get to read ad hominem posts from MF and also a 'coincidental' follow up from Wally tools about they just happen to be in the exact process of releasing a stylus microscope to inspect for stylus issues. Very convenient and coincidental...

 
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