New Flux HiFi Ultrasonic sylus cleaner

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Rolltide, Sep 9, 2015.

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  1. Rolltide

    Rolltide Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Vallejo, CA
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 10, 2015
    jupiterboy likes this.
  2. VinylSoul

    VinylSoul Forum Resident

    Lake Erie
    Ortofon marketed an ultrasonic stylus cleaner at least 30yrs ago. I have a new one in a box somewhere think I paid 5 or 10$. Probably a review out there some where.
  3. quicksilverbudie likes this.
  4. Clevo Rock

    Clevo Rock Well-Known Member

    Cleveland, Ohio
    I got one of these 2 weeks ago. I was a Magic Eraser/stylus brush user for the longest time. The Flux HiFi works incredibly well. It made a HUGE difference. Worth every penny.
  5. For those who've experienced it, how's it compare with an Onzow (which I've been quite happy with, but aren't we all wired to spend more money if we're part of this hobby)?
  6. Rolltide

    Rolltide Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Vallejo, CA
    Could you describe how it works? Does the stylus actually make contact with anything, or is it just cleaned with magic laser beams, etc?
    costerdock, timztunz and Sailfree like this.
  7. Clevo Rock

    Clevo Rock Well-Known Member

    Cleveland, Ohio
    Set the unit on the platter. Put a drop of the fluid that comes with it on the round pad and turn it on. Set the tonearm down so the stylus sits on the pad. Wait 15 sec and lift the tonearm off. The pad vibrates at a certain frequency (ultrasonic man!) and cleans the stylus.
    Seriously...I thought my Denon 102 was on its way to retirement. After one round on the Flux it sounded like new again. I have an RCM and am meticulous with my record/stylus care. The Flux totally surprised me. I wasn't expecting the night and day difference. Samething with my 10x5...huge improvement after 1 use.
    Rolltide likes this.
  8. patrickd

    patrickd Forum Resident

    Austin TX USA
    I believe Audio Technica also produced one of these in the late 1980s or so....I bought one at the time and have it somewhere....seemed to work fine but can't recall the liquid bit. Not sure of the cost of it at the time, probably enough to feel like $150 in today's money and don't know why I stopped using it either but rely on the Magic Eraser and Zerodust these days. Flux is an interesting name...makes me think of degaussing.
    James Glennon likes this.
  9. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    San Jose, CA
    Cool device.
  10. thegage

    thegage Forum Currency Nerd

  11. JackJD

    JackJD All I Want is the Truth...

    I think I'm going to wait for the capacitor...


  12. Just got one and had a scary experience the second time I used it. Forgot to turn the volume on the amp down. Ouch!

    Luckily everything seems ok.

    Not sure I can tell a difference in sound from my multi-step anal retentive process, but this should save some time. Just need to get used to a new workflow.

    Has anyone used a microscope to get a real before and after?
    The FRiNgE likes this.
  13. The FRiNgE

    The FRiNgE Forum Resident

    I can not think of a safer, more effective way to clean a stylus although I have never tried an ultrasonic device. I am in the dark ages of stylus cleaning with a Signet stylus brush, some alcohol (yes alcohol and have never had a stylus fall off) 45/45 degree strokes back to front, to clean the sides, front and back. This takes practice and a "feel" for the brush on the stylus.
  14. I used this a few times, but have stopped. I felt like the music after using the Flux HiFi sounded really bad.

    I can't say if it's this cleaning method in general or if this device perhaps isn't suited to a cartridge like mine (Koetsu Blue Lace stone body). Perhaps the vibrations or the "sonic" feature is creating some sort of energy that's being stored by some part of the cartridge, but the music just wasn't sounding right to me.

    I'll probably give it a few more tries, but anyone else experiencing anything like this?
  15. The FRiNgE

    The FRiNgE Forum Resident

    Brian, I wouldn't subject the Koetsu to the ultrasonic stylus cleaner after that experience. I have learned and confirmed time after time, my acoustic memory is a very reliable reference. I am not inferring the ears are measurement tools, nor does any person have perfect acoustic memory, but these reliable for me. There is always placebo to consider too. I think in your experience, it wasn't that you "thought" the music sounded bad, it really did sound bad.

    I'd rely on your memory of the cartridge before cleaning and what you heard after.

    There may be a potential problem with the coil laminations (if they are laminated, and/or disturbing the coil layers in some way. Alsl there is the stone to consider, and any glue that could come loose.

    I am not sold on ultrasonic cleaning. This method is highly effective for jewelry and cleaning records, however they are immersed in fluid. Ultrasonic cleaning in air may be very different, and subjecting parts, and glue to an inordinate level of energy outside the range they can tolerate.

    I commented above that ultrasonic is perhaps the safest method to clean a stylus. This is true only for no physical contact with the stylus, no clumsy hands to cause damage. Anyone reasonable steady with the hands can clean a stylus manually.

    Another thought on this, The stylus encounters just about every kind of contamination imaginable, waxy mold release, EOC (embedded organic compounds from insects) natural resins in the air deposited in the groove, kitchen grease from cooking a steak, diesel exhaust fumes through an open window, etc, etc, which collect on the stylus as a mix of gluey crud. Even the cleanest record is subject to contamination, and it only takes one soft particle to adhere to the stylus + dry dust which turns to sludge. This soft sludge is easily removed with solvent and manually brushing the stylus. I have my doubts an ultrasonic cleaner can remove soft sludge effectively.

    Most users will notice an improvement (except in your instance with the Koetsu) so it is assumed the ultrasonic method works (and it does work to some degree)
    However I am still with the tried and true method or removing crud from a stylus. Most users do not have a magnifier for inspecting the stylus. A jeweler's eye piece is a valuable tool, as you'd be surprised to see just how dirty a stylus can become after tracking a clean record groove for 20 minutes. Some may think this is excessive, to just clean the stylus, (skip the magnifier) and just enjoy the music. Personally, I like to know my styli are clean.
    Brian Gupton likes this.
  16. Baron Von Talbot

    Baron Von Talbot Well-Known Member

    The ultrasonic erasers from way back had a problem with the LED used to transmitt the ultrasonic vibration from what my dealer explained to me. That was the reason the technique was abonded a few decades ago. With todays LED's it is safer to create that vibration. So the idea may be old but these items are new constructions esp. together with that gel/fluid. From the microscope shots I have seen the cleaning is amazing.
    It may be a good idea not to use the FLUX every time you play a record and of course I'd be extra carefulwith naked styli and ultra valuable carts from japanese swords
    Best contact the cart maker or distribution and ask if they are tested to work with the FLUX. It still seems to be a cool alternative to manual brushing and using styli cleaners, alcohol, Zero Dusters etc.
    These may as well destroy your stylus by accident or using too much pressure . You cannot clean a stylus manual like the FLUX does, at least not within 15 seconds !
  17. DaleH

    DaleH Forum Resident

    This falls under the category of "be careful what you ask for". The first image is after only one side. This was probably a clean record with some groove damage. The contact points (VDH stylus) are in the circled area to the left and right. The detritus looks like clear fibers under the microscope and are probably vinyl scrapings.

    After a few swipes of a dry brush.[​IMG]
    Same but from the leading surface. [​IMG]
    After a few swipes with my signet electronic brush dampened with alcohol.

    This was a clean record. I have seen stubborn gunk buildup (nicotine?) after one play that had to be scraped off with a piece of peg-wood. I didn't try the electronic brush at the time but it may not have done the job on that gunk. The gunk made the other records I played sound noisy and worn.

    The idea that the LED is damaging the needle in any way is ridiculous. The LED puts out virtually no heat. The signet sounds like it vibrates in the upper midrange, not ultrasonic. I leave the volume up so I can hear its affect. If too much pressure is applied it sounds much worse. Even the tracking weight may be too much in this regard. The idea is to have the fibers of the pad scrub the diamond not to move it with the full vibration of the device.
    Baron Von Talbot likes this.
  18. Linto

    Linto Mayor of Simpleton

    I still have my AT-637 - am I the only one a little surprised
    at the high price of this?
    It's basically an electric toothbrush, without the toothbrush
    isn't it?

    I think Magic Eraser does a better job, but I normally use both anyway,
    but always dry, never any fluid.

    Last edited: Oct 6, 2015
  19. patrickd

    patrickd Forum Resident

    Austin TX USA
    Ah, that's the one I have somewhere.....I'll have to dig it out and give it a try. I never heard of them damaging anything, except your ears if you left the volume up while cleaning, but Bryan's experience with recent product is cautionary. Can't remember why I stopped using it but sort of got into the Magic Eraser and Onzow a few years back. Did this thing require liquid? I can't remember (bought it in early 90s I think).
  20. Raylinds

    Raylinds Martinis, music and glowing tubes

    I don't like the idea of subjecting something as fragile as a MC cart to vibrations. I know they vibrate when doing their job but this just seems like it would ass excessive wear. It may be perfectly okay, but I think it may be overkill.
  21. I'd recommend extreme caution with this device.

    I've had it for several months and used it a dozen times at least. Half the time it is fine, but the other half... Oh, boy. Sound is REALLY distorted. Almost scratchy sounding with lots of "shhhhhhh" sounds. High frequencies are unbearable.

    I used it last night (7 seconds as suggested) before playing the sealed copy of "Wildflowers" I just acquired. I was about to cry thinking my copy was just terrible. But played it again today and it was fine.

    My guess is that the HiFi Flux vibrations put excessive energy into the cartridge that can have undesirable effects, especially on the high frequencies.

    If you're going to use this device, I'd recommend using it at the end of a listening session only since the cartridge does seem to bounce back after awhile.

    Note, it may be that certain styles of carts are more suceptible to this than others. Mine is a EMT JSD. Different styles may not be effected, but I don't ever like missing listening sessions and I've missed at least 6 due to this thing.
  22. Thanks for the "heads-up" on this. I believe I will stick with my Onzow Zerodust for now. I would be interested (just out of curiosity) to know exactly why this is happening????
  23. Rolltide

    Rolltide Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Vallejo, CA
    Thanks for the feedback. In my opinion, the "cleaning" space of analog is about paying more money for more convenience, which I'm willing to do provided there aren't tradeoffs. As the whole purpose of a fancier stylus cleaner is to make you less nervous about using it, I guess I'll cross this off my list.
  24. James Glennon

    James Glennon Forum Resident

    Dublin, Ireland
    Yeah, I bought an Audio Technica as well, and it came with a small bottle of fluid! Still works perfectly. Here's a video of one...

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