“Making adjustments to your system to release previously unheard excellence needn’t break the bank,” says Hi-Fi Choice. DS Audio’s ST-50 stylus cleaner is among the magazine’s top six picks for maximising audio performance.
Japanese DS Audio is best known for breaking new ground with its optical phono cartridges, borrowing technology developed in various scientific, industrial and medical applications. Here, the company has again drawn on proven know-how and materials, but this time the source of inspiration is the ‘cleanroom’.
Cleanrooms are microparticle-free rooms that are used in various fields, such as pharmaceutical and medical environments, food technology and various electronics applications. The ST-50’s cleaning pad is made from a transparent urethane resin that was specially developed for semi-conductor engineering cleanrooms. In the same way that it prevents dust from contaminating the cleanroom by absorbing micro-level dust particles, it effortlessly removes particles of dust and dirt from the stylus tip.
“There is a notable reduction in surface noise and interference, and a small but useful gain in fine details that you can clearly hear in the supporting instrumentation.”
“The fact that you are able to repeatedly wash and reuse the urethane ensures that even at this relatively high asking price (£75), this is a great value system addition.”
The ST-50 is designed for use with all types of cartridge and stylus – from optical cartridges to MC and MM. Compared with the use of brushes and solvents, it is effortless and safe to use, with no undue force being being applied to the stylus tip. You simply remove the cover, place the ST-50 on the turntable platter and gently lower the arm to touch the stylus onto the gel pad. Lift and lower the arm two or three times (taking care not to rotate the platter during cleaning).
Check out Hi-Fi Choice’s full list of top six accessory picks in the May 2019 issue.