Vibrating stylus cleaners are not a new concept, but the Flux Hifi Sonic stylus operates at a lower frequency to older types, which, say the company, makes it perfectly safe to use on your precious cartridge. 

I got this funky little unit passed to me at Munich last year but if truth be known it has sat on the side of the Hifi rack up until a couple of months ago when I finally plucked up the courage to give it a whirl on the Gold Note Tuscany Red cartridge. Why the hesitation? Well, liquids that have big Achtung/Caution stickers on their bottle and five grand cartridges make for a worrying combination. Add into the mix a small vibrating pad that I envisaged shaking the cantilever lose and you can see why I might be a tad worried. The Flux Hifi Sonic is not a new concept, there have been vibrating stylus cleaners around for years, but the manufacturers say that it operated at a lower frequency to the older models and as such said to be much safer and more effective.

The Flux Hifi Sonic is a battery operated (2 AAAs included) teardrop shaped affair that has an on off button, a little pad (the vibrating part) and a light so you can see your stylus getting the treatment. Whilst it’s not going to win any front covers the little unit looks nice enough and is well made – in Germany no less. Underneath you have a couple of knobbly pads to stop it moving about and other than the aforementioned bottle of liquid, that is your lot.

The instructions tell you to place a drop of liquid on the pad (which is made of PE fibres and moves in a 3D motion) and carefully lower your stylus into the drop ensuring your platter doesn’t move about. Press the button, let it do its stuff for fifteen seconds and that’s it.

Between records I’d been using a DustBuster which gets most of the visible gunk off the stylus, but after a fifteen second clean with this the stylus was visibly cleaner, even to the naked eye. Sound-wise there is less surface noise and a feeling you are getting more information out of the grooves with a slightly more dynamic sound to when the stylus had been cleaned using my previous go-to method. That said, many will prefer the quicker, simpler and relatively effective DustBuster. 

Given that it comes with a three-year guarantee and is from a reputable company, I have not worried about my cantilever or stylus dropping off since taking the leap of faith – there’d be harsh words if it ever did.

The unit costs £115 with extra fluid coming in at £29, though you get a lot of drops in the little bottle provided.

Overall this is a good, effective and speedy stylus cleaning method that does go a little deeper than the DustBuster and is less hassle than using brushes and less worrying than the magic eraser method. On the downside it is a considerable investment, but one that I think is worth it.

Stuart Smith 

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