Test: AT607 stylus cleaning fluid.

Standard intro and disclaimer
High resolution digital recordings of hifi system upgrades can be used for subsequent comparison to provide a more reliable method of assessment than trying to apply and assess the update at the same time. Other benefits are the possibility of external validation of conclusions, and letting others hear the kind of changes that are possible for a given level of effort or expenditure.
It should be understood that no assessments are being made with regard to the relative performance of analogue vs high-resolution digital.To avoid any copyright issues I’m restricting my recordings to 1 minute for vocal work, and 2 minutes for classical. My test recordings are as follows.Female vocal, easy listening
Cold cold heart – Norah Jones, Album: “come away with me”
I’m alright – Madeleine Peyroux, Album “Half the perfect world”

Male vocal, country
Pay me my money down – Bruce Springsteen, Album “The Seeger Sessions”

Classical
Schubert Symphony no.5 in B flat major, D 485, Album “Frans Schubert, Symphonien Nos. 5&6, The chamber Orchestra of Europe with Claudio Abbado”.

Test purpose
Test whether AT607 stylus cleaning fluid provides a discernible benefit, and whether it should be considered value for money.

The system under test was a Timestep EVO turntable / SME IV / AT33EV / Luxman E200.

Test preparation
The phono stage was warmed up for an hour and cartridge warmed up by playing one side of a record.
Recordings have been captured as 24bit, 96kHz WAV files using a SoundBlaster X-fi PCMCIA soundcard and a Dell Inspiron laptop.

Test 1: Clean the stylus carefully with the supplied brush and make the recordings listed above.

Test 2: Clean the stylus with the supplied brush followed by AT607 stylus cleaning fluid and repeat the recordings listed above.

Results
Caveat: these are high resolution recordings taken from a high performance audio system, and are intended for download. The differences are unlikely to be fully appreciated through the embedded player and typical computer speakers.

Test 1

Cold cold heart – test1
I’m alright – test1
Pay me my money down – test1
Schubert D485 – test1

Test 2

Cold cold heart – test2
I’m alright – test2
Pay me my money down – test2
Schubert D485 – test2

Conclusion
All the recordings sounded clearly different after the stylus was cleaned with the AT607 fluid. More detail was evident right across the frequency range: more air and definition in the treble, cleaner, tighter bass and more ambient details could be heard.

AT607 is readily available on the web, typically in the £10-£14 range. I got mine from Sound Hifi who were very good value at £9, with free postage if you buy two.

I think this makes AT607 stylus cleaning fluid a very worthwhile investment.

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