The VRC Company - Stylus Tip Cleaner
The stylus is a very small artefact, its tip typically measuring about 25 µ (microns) or one thousandth of an inch in the old money. The groove opening itself measures 100µ tapering down to its base. Clearly the stylus will sit against the tapering groove slightly above the groove’s bottom.
The groove is V-shaped because that is the shape of the original cutting head used to create the first lacquer copy from the master recording. It is important to note that the playback stylus itself is deliberately not V-shaped and whilst today there are a number of stylus tip shapes all styluses have in common a rounded end; they deliberately do not reach the bottom of the groove.
The two microscopic points where the stylus contacts each side of the groove is where we see wear of the stylus occurring. Whilst the diamond stylus is infinitely harder than the vinyl of the record, it touches the groove walls only momentarily as it passes. Yet as the stylus itself is in constant contact it must inevitably experience wear.
As the stylus is worn away the (diamond) dust created is deposited in the groove, some on the walls, the rest at the base of the groove. Weiler’s study confirmed the most abrasive dust found in a vinyl record groove is, in fact, the dust from the abrading stylus. For the benefit of the records as well as the stylus it must be removed. By removing dust we reduce friction and therefore reduce wear, to both stylus and record. The stylus lasts longer, money is saved and records are protected.
Enter the Stylus Tip Cleaner!