In the second part of Hi-Fi Plus’ round-up of some of the latest and greatest products for vinyl enthusiasts to “preen, clean, set-up and adjust their LPs and turntables,” Andrew Harrison discovers the joy of an anti-magnetic spin thanks to these two handy gadgets.
“In these pages is your next great vinyl accessory that can and will bring out the best in your turntable,” writes Harrison.
But there were, he admits, two of them he didn’t expect to make the final cut – yet here they are!
Furutech DeMag α (Alpha)
“The scientist in me long wanted to consign it to the woowoo step. Remove the magnetism… from a vinyl record?” But Harrison is also a serious journalist and reviewer, so he duly tested the product with care, albeit with the expectation of having to “replace column inches when it disappointed.”
The conclusion? Column inches intact, and “a bonkers record accessory that strangely makes your records sound better.”
“The end result was almost universally a removal of ‘haze’ that you’d swear wasn’t even there beforehand anyway; but its subsequent lifting was quite evident… The most immediate benefit was to the midrange, and in particular the vocals.”
Responding to the question of how a vinyl (i.e. plastic) LP can be magnetized, Furutech explains that the culprit is actually the pigment added to the plastic during the manufacturing process. This pigment contains small amounts of ferrous material which become magnetized as a record spins. The resulting magnetic field has in fact been measured by Tokyo’s Nanotechnology Center, as has the effect of subjecting it to the Furutech DeMag – revealing a clear drop.
And Harrison isn’t alone in being swayed by the results.
“It only took one LP subjected to the DeMag to convert me from skepticism to conviction,” said The Absolute Sound, while Analog Planet’s Michael Fremer “repeatedly demonstrated record demagnetization to skeptics” and concluded that “everyone hears it.”
Aesthetix ABCD-1 MC Demagnetizer
Again, Harrison started out in doubt. “Adding to the list of things you might not think would be affected by unwanted magnetism, let alone would be receptive to demagging, is the humble moving-coil pickup.”
By definition, magnets are involved, so one might imagine that demagnetizing a cartridge “would deprive it of its purpose”.
On the contrary. “Periodically demagnetizing a moving coil cartridge removes the ‘veils’ which creep up as you enjoy your record collection,” says Aesthetix, creators of this first American designed and manufactured cartridge demagnetizer. “Today’s best moving coil phono cartridges use very strong magnets such as neodymium and samarium cobalt. When the moving coil absorbs some of the magnets’ charge, the sound becomes murky and less defined. This is because the magnetized coil does not generate as great a variation as it moves within the magnetic field of the phono cartridge.”
The ABCD-1 neutralizes the unwanted magnetic charge of the moving coil, restoring full performance in a matter of minutes. Once a week, simply plug in your turntable leads to the ABCD-1, then activate the gently ramped, up-and-down cycle of the ultra-pure demagnetizing signal.
“On reconnecting the turntable and playing an LP, you’re likely to hear a cleaner, more transparent soundstage with a little more twinkle through the treble,” writes Harrison, once again swayed by ‘the proof of the pudding’ (sonically speaking!).
Discover more track down your nearest dealer at www.aesthetix.net
Read Andrew Harrison’s complete round-up of sound-enhancing accessories in the March 2020 issue of Hi-Fi Plus