Lyra Kleos: tracking force/VTA/azimuth questions

I just bought a Lyra Kleos and I'm mounting it on a VPI JMW 12.7 (HRX turntable). I've done a bit of research, including Jonathan Carr's many posts here), so I know VTF is critical. I've done a trial set up to Lyra specs, and it doesn't sound right - piano in particular is distorted as if the cartridge is approaching break-up. I suspect the way I've set VTF. VPI recommends measuring VTF at the level of the record, which is impossible with the electronic scale I currently use - I simply put it on the platter and took readings, after first calibrating the scale, of course, and left it at 1.75 g. VPI says that simply measuring tracking force that way will under-represent actual VTF at the level of the record by a substantial amount because of the height of the gauge over the platter. Could that be the source of the problem I'm hearing? With other carts, I've done a couple of tests that seem to verify VPI's advice, so I plan to carefully measure the plinth to platter-top height, remove the platter, and build a temporary platform lower by exactly the thickness of the scale's pan. I'll put the scale on that, and then set VTF to Lyra's specs. This will result in VTF at the level of the record measuring correctly, when I put the scale on the mock-up platter, but NOT when I just slap the scale on the platter - it will measure higher. So my question is: does anyone see any potential problems flowing from my use of this process? I plan first to set VTA slightly tail high to approximate the magic 92 degrees SRA that seems to be the consensus of opinion these days.

Also, I'd like a bit of advice on using a fozgometer to measure azimuth. In my trial set up, I've never been able to get exactly the same readings left vs. right channel with the Foz; the best is a two-division difference, right higher in level than the left. I also get a one division reading, rather than zero, on the channel balance test, with both channel lights very faintly lit. Could this be a function of insufficient tracking force, or is there something else at play?

Thanks to any and all who might feel the spirit to respond (hopefully including you, Mr. Carr).
Why not just make a weighing step with enough drop-down to put the stylus at record height when the scale & step are sitting on the platter? Let's you measure at the right height and, if you make it the right weight, it will put your scale near it's midpoint of weighing capacity, which is where load cells are most accurate. I made one by folding a piece of copper strip. Cost me $0.50 from a hobby shop and 2 minutes of time.

Beyond all that, adjust your VTF by listening, not by what some scale says. Scales only get you in the ballpark. Your ears will tell you when it's right. Changes smaller than .01g are audible on my rig so a scale's useless anyway. The only time mine comes out is when I'm changing cartridges.

There is no "magic" SRA that can be pre-set. Every LP was cut at a different angle. Unless you know that angle (nobody does) the only way to set it is by listening.

Azimuth is important and in theory there IS one perfect setting. I set it by ear also but a measuring device like the Foz is also valid. Diffence between channel output level is not what you should be measuring however, azimuth doesn't affect that. What you should be measuring (and striving to reduce/balance) is crosstalk.

The sonic effects you described are much more likely affected by VTF than by SRA or azimuth. Spend a LOT of time playing with SMALL changes in VTF. Try this exercise:

- set A/S to zero
- choose a passage that's difficult-to-track cleanly (hard hit piano, solo horn, solo soprano... especially on inner grooves)
- play, reduce VTF by .05g, play again
- repeat until you hear mistracking (actual breakup, fuzziness, faint crackling... with A/S at zero you may hear it in the R channel first)
- increase VTF by .01g and play again
- repeat until the mistracking sounds diminish or disappear
- continue replaying adding.01g to VTF each time and listen for two things: speed, pace,HF clarity and low level detail vs. weight and punchiness of bass
- the cart will have a VTF window where these two opposites are optimized, that's where you should play it; the window may be wide or narrow (on my ZYX UNIverse it's exquisitely narrow, actually less than .01g wide)
- the window will move(probably lower) as the cart ages and will fluctuate with the weather and other factors; I've had my window move by .015g just because I stopped for dinnner for two hours, giving the cart a chance to cool down a bit.

Err... have fun!

P. S. If JC weighs in believe him, not me. :)

Hey guys. I own a Classic. If you check my threads, I also exerienced setup nightmares with a number of carties. I ultimately settled on a DV 20X2 and a VPI Zephyr. Whenever I switch them out, e.g., for a retip, I can do the set up of the other in my sleep.

My point is that at least with the DV and Zephyr, the set up is easy and adjustments not that super critical. Maybe a call to Mike at VPI would be in order.

I appreciate that careful adjustments may make an otherwise compatible carty sound better in "tweak" increments, but to go from mistracking to "singing" with tiny tweaks just doesn't sound right. As I said, I'd give Mike a call.

Good luck.
I have the classic 3 and use the VTA tower to get the correct height for VTF calibration. Set VTA tower for the record. For my electronic scale 5 revolutions on the VTA Tower CCW increasing pivot height results in same geometry with my scale as the record. I use a very accurate ruler to determine that I needed the 5 revolutions. Just to give you an idea. If I set my VTF using my scale on the platter without adding those 5 revolutions then a 1.95 gram setting will really be 1.78 grams on the record. Just figure the difference in height between your record and scale in terms of VTA tower rotations and you are set.
I use a MyWeigh digial scale that's nearly half an inch thick. To set VTF at the record surface, I made a little jig by hacksawing a 2-in. and a 5-in. piece from a plastic ruler, drilling a hole at one end of each piece, and connecting them in an L-shape with the shorter piece standing off from the longer piece by the thickness of the scale. It's easy to do with a nylon bolt, washers, and nuts. I used plastic and nylon because they're light and free from any magnetic interaction with the cartridge. The jig is rigid and adjustable and only costs a buck or two. Then just place it on the scale so the short piece of the L hangs off the record at its level; place a counterweight atop the other end to keep it from lifting off the scale when the cartridge is lowered; tare its weight to zero; and drop the needle onto the little plastic platform. go from mistracking to "singing" with tiny tweaks just doesn't sound right."
I've no experience with the Kleos, 20X2 or Zephyr, but I assure you that with many cartridges the difference between mistracking and singing is indeed just a tweak or two away. Many cartridges (though certainly not all) play best quite close to their mistracking point. The way to optimize such cartridges is to find that point and tweak from there. Not sure why that "doesn't sound right" where you are, but I assure you it sounds just fine here! ;)

Make a weighing step as Doug suggested.
I made one similar to Wally Malewicz's with a small plastic ruler and a nylon bolt/nuts so that it can be finely adjusted. Others have used a piece of folded credit card.
Wallyscale copy

I'd be surprised if your VTF was anywhere close if you're using a scale on top of the platter. With my previous Graham 1.5T I could get changes of tenths of a gram when adjusting VTF! This is a known issue with stable balance unipivots.
I previously owned the Kleos and still have the Atlas and the Titan i. I am no expert but I hope to share my experience. If your results differ, we can learn together. There are many different strategies amoung audiogoners so try to see what get you the best sound.

From my experience with the Kleos using various arms (unipivot and gimbal bearing), some degree of antiskate is needed to bring out the best in the Kleos. The optimal VTF setting is within the factory recommend VTF using some antiskate. If I set VTF without any antiskate, I would arrive at slightly heavier VTF to counter the problems with missing tracking. This would result in suboptimal alignment of the coil and reduce the maximal performance achievable. The primary purpose of proper VTF is to alignment the coil precisely. Remember that changing the VTA setting will change the VTF and changing the VTF will modify the SRA with the same VTA setting. Proper SRA reduce distortion and VTA is the dial that you use to adjust SRA. In a sense, it is like solving a equation with two varibles that are interdependent. A good way to start is keep VTF constant, say 1.8g at record level, then change VTA up and down to find the proper SRA. As you are changing VTA, you will need to confirm VTF and may need to adjust counterweight to keep VTF constant at 1.8g. After that, repeat the same exercise with VTF at 1.75g, 1.7g etc. see what setting you ultimately prefer. This would land you a VTF that is slightly higher than optimal if antiskate is not compensated for.

Next set antiskate so both channels are tracking equally well. If listening to orchestra, the violon section should be playing as well as the cello/heavy strings section. If too little antiskate, the heavier strings lose focus and you cannot hear the sublties in play style, the boundary interactions within the acoustic space. If too much antiskate, the damage would be done to the violin sections. If you listen to vocals, the voice would be pulled left if too little antiskate and pulled to the right if too much antiskate. The centering of the voice is also affected by proper azimuth setting which is a potential pitfall. Best to listen for other clues like boundary interactions within the recording. In vocals, if the singer is centered, the boundary interaction of her voice should be apparent on both sides. If antiksate is off by large amount, tracking distortion would obscure the spatial clues present in the recording in the particular channel. Another way is to use a very difficult to track musical passage and having mistracking happen at both channels at the same time.

My understanding of skating force is limited but I know that it varies along the record surface. Tends to be least on the outside and most at the inside. However, it does not increase linearly towards center. It is modified by friction betw stylus and groove ( which is dependent upon speed of the rotation, shape of contact point of the stylus, VTF) and tracking error. Someone worked out a formula at vinyl engine if you are interested. A happy compromise is key here.

With the antiskate set, repeat the exercise with the VTF and VTA. Hopefully this yield the best sound.

Using fozgometer is OK but I feel this is a rather expensive device for its limited function. A PAA3 spectral analyzer can measure crosstalk more precisely and have many other useful functions. The lyra carts generally have great quality control, probably best I have had. My Kleos had better than 30db separation in both channels. The maximal channel separation you can achieve can be impaired by poor alignment. In the unipivots that I have tried: graham and centroid; the antiskate also modified the optimal azimuth setting slightly. Proper antiskate maximize channel separation.

As you alread know, the actual VTF tends to be lower than the VTF measured with the meter on the platter. I put a record on the platter and put the meter on a stack of cd/cd cases so the meter is leveled with record surface. Do your measurement there for a closer approximation. ( The actual VTF will be varying across the record surface as the record increase in thickness towards the center).

There are so many compromises one need to make during setup. I am amazed that vinyl stills sound better than digital for me.

good luck
Hi Glai and hopefully (JCarr),

I have a Kleos and would like some help with the azimuth. I too use a fozgometer and my Kleos is registering 22db seperation in both channels. That is the highest it will go. I am fairly sure that the azimuth is near spot on, as I can see the stylus (using a 200x microscope) sitting perpendicular to the record surface. I use the fozgometer to fine tune the azimuth, then use my ear to fine fine (that would be double fine) tune the azimuth. So, I wonder why am I getting only 22db of seperation vs. your 30db.

Regarding anti-skate, I wholey subscribe to using your ear to set anti-skate. The correct anti-skate can make a world of difference. The technique described by Glai is correct. Try to use a record with choral music that spans full left to right. The voices in both channels must be equally vibrant with proper hall/room acoustics (reverb) in both channels.

Please let me know your thoughts on the azimuth question.

I run my Lenco idler wheel with a lyra kleos and origin live illustrious arm with no antiskate and sounds great and no skipping. The illustrious has a
Weird antiskate so did not set it up.

I recently upgraded the platter and now my spindle
can handle a record clamp so ordering a Michell clamp.
Perhaps use of a clamp also helps with mis-tracking albeit
not hearing any.
I emailed customer service for Lyra USA: below is response

Dear Michael,

Bottom line is whichever way sounds best to you, that's the way it should be.  As for anti-skate, it's there to counteract the force of the arm being dragged towards the middle of the record and to compensate for the stylus "hugging" the right hand groove wall.  If you're sitting in the sweet spot and whatever information (such as vocals, usually) that's supposed to be in the center of the image is in the center of the image, then everything's fine.  Leave it as is.  If it sounds as though the balance control has been tweaked ever so slightly towards the right speaker, then maybe a touch of anti-skate is required.

Best regards,

Alasdair Patrick - Customer Service

22db channel separation is quite compromised. I would check the following.

1. Alignment: Poor alignment would reduce channel separation due to suboptimal contact betw stylus and groove. If you have the template, try different curves; stevenson, lofgren, baerwald and see if any improvement.

2. Avoid using a warped test record.

3. Use the proper equation: 20 * log v1/v2

All my lyras have >30db in ch. sep..


Thanks for the advice. I re-did the overhang and zenith adjustments. They were out of alignment. This improved the Azimuth from 22db to 25db. 3db improvement is noteworthy.

I will continue to adjust to maximize performance. That said, I am getting wonderful sound as it is out of the Kleos. I actually like this cartridge better than the original Titan I used to have.

I am getting wonderful sound as it is out of the Kleos. I
actually like this cartridge better than the original Titan I used to have.

Yes, the Kleos is a wonderful cartridge for average analog Systems which are
pretty simple in all components. Makes life pretty easy, it does not change
performance very much, no matter in what position it is mounted.It is a very
good cartridge for the majority of the current reissues which have a lot of
groove noise, tics, pops, based on its very limited high frequency ability.
Listening to such reissues with the Titan i is simply a pain, you hear all the
faults in the pressing process and incompetence from the Mastering guys...but
the better that one is, the Titan i will follow, it has no limit. In a way, a very
remarkable cartridge, but also a very demanding one. I bought Titan i twice.

When taking the channel separation measurement, use 1 Khz notch filter to discount the noise generated at other frequencies ( vibration from table, motor and footfall.) These will falsely decrease the maximum channel separation achieved. However, these value are instructive on the demands on low background noise and resonance control.

It should be >25db, once the separation is lost at the source. You are not getting any back even with monoblock preamps and amps.

The anitskate setting also changes the ch sep on my unipivot arms.

Glad you manage to improve the setting. The better alignment should also yield better sound thru less distortion.

Be patient and good luck.


I love the rim drive video. Be sure to share more.

The titan i is more demanding but more rewarding as well.

Not everyone is hardcore.
Sorry Kleos is a great cartridge even with my pricey dartzeel phono et al
I like as much as my vaunted Ortofon MCA-90.

My idea of a great cartridge is one that makes music experience great even for less well recorded records. if a Titan I is so fussy than far from a ringing endorsement. Kleos sounds great with everything so perhaps it's
More Musical albeit less revealing.
From Raidoheadokplayer's correspondence with Lyra USA:

"If it sounds as though the balance control has been tweaked ever so slightly towards the right speaker, then maybe a touch of anti-skate is required."

Is the above statement correct?
I thought if there is more sound on the right speaker, that means anti-skate has been set too high, because now the stylus is hugging the right outer wall more than the left inner wall.

I am no expert in this...
Please keep an open mind on VTA Zach...
The "magic 92 degrees" may not be obtainable from a positive VTA? Many samples of cartridge (not just Lyras) require a distinct "tail down" attitude. If I'm quoting JC correctly from the most recent 92d inspired discussions, Ogura only manufacture to a tolerance of +/-2 degrees. This suggests wide possible variation in the final VTA but in practice the cart's optimum may not be very far away from horizontal? (My Delos is within -0.5mm of neutral VTA depending on ambient temperature i.e. "tail down")

You will undoubtedly hear many recommendations that listening is the only sure way to hit the target, and this is the best advice.
Once you divine those settings I'm certain it will prove to be the cartridge you hoped it would be.
Best regards and good luck...
Zachteich, I have been obsessing over the same issues, and have resorted to taking photomicrographs of the needle on the record and analysing angles, and have managed to get advice from several analogue guru's, for which I am extremely grateful. By the way I have a Delos and an Atlas, unfortunately not the Kleos
My summary is 1. It's all too hard!
2. These cartridges need precise tracking force, just adjusting VTA or adding a platter mat changes the sound a lot by altering tracking force, need to reset after each adjustment.
3. Both are a little better with the arm tail down, less surface noise, less edge, better balance to the sound. (and what a sound!) From my photographs to achieve a SRA of 92 degrees, I would need the arm lowered from parallel by about 15mm!!, so I think my photos are wrong, or I have one at the limit of the manufacturing tolerance. Listening gives me the setting of about 2-3 mm tail down.(11" arm)
4. Anti skate... I listened to people saying it's not important until the second last Cannon on the 1812 sent my cartridge skating across the record, now I believe it needs to be set correctly!!

In the end it's all fun, and I suspect everyone will advise you to listen and make adjustments until it sounds right to you. I think that's where I'm up to now... but what a journey, who knows what I might believe next week!
Forgot about VTA infirmation readed. VTA is not critical in this kind of distortions, bias adjust or azimuth adjust have, at this time, more relevance.

Put the VTF at the maximum value permitted by Lyra and with Hifinews test lp or adjust + Lp try to get the same distortion from both channels. Once you get it you have the bias right.
Fozgometer is a good component to get the azimuth properly but all the Lyras I have seen usually has this value right with a proper VTA. If you start to play with strange VTA parameters lookin for the perfect SRA maybe you will brake your cartridge.

If the problem persist you should contact Jonathan
If you believe the 92 degree angle for VTA as pushed by the audio press. I have a very simple way to get you close to this angle.
I use a ruled 3 by 5 index card.

Set the anti skating to zero and get out an old LP.

PLace the stylus carefully on the STATIONARY record away from any raised record edge. Place the card with the lines parallel to the tone arm on the spindle side and mark the position of the tonearm so you can see the mark when you look at the card from the non spindle side'

Remove the card.
Draw a horizontal line where you marked the card (the lines on the card help). Make this line a convenient length say 4 inches. Now at the end of the line (closest to the arm pivot) draw a vertical line of 0.1397 inches (for a 4 inch line). Draw a second line from the starting point of the 4 inch line to the top of the 0.1397 inch line.( 0.1397 is 2.23/16 inches)

This new line is exactly 2 degrees to the horizontal one. Place the card back on the record and adjust the back of the arm till you can see that the arm and new line are parallel.

Hope this helps

You can do small adjustments on the arm height by ear but this will bring you very close
Stops, It's 92 degrees for SRA not VTA. SRA (stylus rake angle) is what needs to be adjusted for. Your method is not going to work for SRA because styli are not all mounted exactly the same angle on all cantilevers. Another variable is the suspension will sag a different amount between samples as well.

It is the angle made by the stylus axis to the record. Is that more clear?
You will get closer using my method.

I have assumed that the playing weight has already been adjusted prior to this.

Believe me it works VERY well on my Rega arm and is a lot better than setting the arm at some arbitrary height and guessing at what the "correct" sound should be
I have a Kleos and would like some help with the azimuth. I too use a fozgometer and my Kleos is registering 22db seperation in both channels. That is the highest it will go. I am fairly sure that the azimuth is near spot on, as I can see the stylus (using a 200x microscope) sitting perpendicular to the record surface. I use the fozgometer to fine tune the azimuth, then use my ear to fine fine (that would be double fine) tune the azimuth. So, I wonder why am I getting only 22db of seperation vs. your 30db.
I think the Fosgometer does not measure the channel separation, just the volume in dB. It should just be the same in both channels. My Lyra measures around 24dB on the Analogue Productions test lp, and well over 30 on the Feickert Test lp. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that is all it does.
I noticed while doing the measurement using the analogue test record that I was picking up surface noise that threw the measurement. I estimated this by getting a reading between the test tracks. Ideally you should subtract this from your minimum reading.This will much improve the separation of course.

I did however have to shim my cartridge (Benz Glider SM) to get both readings in the un-driven channel lower and reasonably matched. My Rega arm has no azimuth adjustment but I have added a VTA adjustment to it.

The improvement I got was quite staggering. I had thought I was already there....
Hope this helps.
Dinster, the Fosgometer measures channel levels and crosstalk. The Feickert software also measures phase, and adjusting azimuth to achieve minimum phase error correlates much better with what we hear.
Fozgometer measurements are channel separation and balance while Adjust+ software crosstalk phase. I prefer the first one because the signal goes directly from the cartridge avoiding the phono preamp. Don't forget all phono preamps add crosstalk phase to the final measurement.
With a centre of gravity below and forward of the pivot point the force measured at the stylus will increase as you raise the front of the arm. Optimising my cartridge tracking force on my unipivot by ear if I weight the result on my electronic balance I get 2.42g but in my old Rega arm it use to run at 1.95g
Zachteich, I have a VPI Super Scoutmaster with 10.5i tonearm and Lyra Titan-i cartridge. I had been using the $80 made in China scales marketed as a cartridge scale, and then tried an Ortofon scale, which I sent back as it was not very accurate and only goes to tenths of a gram. I bit the bullet and paid $399 for the Cartridge Man digital scale and found that the 1.72 gram tracking force I thought I had when using the $80 scale was actually around 1.65 grams. The Cartridge Man scale is the thickness of a 200 gram record. I readjusted the VTF to 1.75 grams and the difference and improvement in musical performance was not subtle.
Too expensive BUT different results. I just bought the Fozgometer and a digital microscope to get properly calibrated azimuth and SRA and sonic results are amazing.

Forget anti-skate....there's no right way to adjust for will sound better without it....anti-skate acts to constrict the stylus...acts as damping that you don't need.
Stringreen ... take this anecdote with a grain of salt.

When the Soundsmith VPI Zephyr was my primary cartridge, Peter Ledermann routinely checked the it and replaced worn stylii on a period basis. On a few occassions, Peter reported back that the stylus wear pattern was uneven, which suggested that I needed a smidge of AS.

Not having any instruments, I put just one donut about 3/4 the way down the AS device, which as you probably know is a teeny-tiny amount of counter weight. Seems like the stylus wear issue corrected itself. Does the music sound better. Haven't a clue ... don't think so.

I suppose the epilogue to the tale is that I've since upgraded the Zephyr to the Lyra Kleos. Andy Chong Kim of the Needle Clinic recently looked it over and reported back that stylus wear is even.

Go figure.
Bif....I personally believe if you track it a bit heavier, stylus wear would be the same....anyway....I like the sound of no anti skate.
Stringreen: One of the evaluation systems at Audioquest (our US distributor) consists of a VPI Classic 3 turntable with a 3D tonearm on it. Phono stage is an Audio Research Reference 2 SE, speakers are Vandersteen 7s. Our results on this turntable (as well as others) run counter to yours, with sonics and tracking performance demonstrably superior with an appropriate amount of anti-skating engaged.

Your suggestion to increase tracking force is also not correct - tracking our current cartridges outside of the recommended 0.1g range (+/-0.05g) almost always leads to poorer sonics.

If you think about it, to the cartridge, inappropriate anti-skating is the same thing as inappropriate tracking force, only applied horizontally rather than vertically.

hope this helps
jonathan carr (Kleos designer)
I totally agree with Jonathan, I know the sound of my Lyra Skala cartridge
as good as him ;-D and I can assure you bias force is absolutely important
to get the best sound for this cartridge, but of course for any cartridge I
have had in the past from Denon/Benz Micro/Clearaudio.....

At this time I am amazing how this Skala is well made. SRA angle is really
near to the neutral VTA position of my tonearm (microscopic test) and
Azimuth was compensated properly thanks to the Fozgometer, a really
useful tool. Some anticlock wise movement.

Please, begin the music!!!!
Jonathan ... I have a VPI Classic 3 tone arm and base. The wand is the original stainless steel version. As I said above, I use one donut about 3/4 the way down the AS shaft. I realize the 3D arm is a different beast. Nevertheless, would you pleae share how much AS the Audioquest Classic uses -- if you know?

Bruce: I'll have to send Joe at Audioquest a query. Right now he has an Etna on the 3D rather than a stylus, but the stylus profile is the same for both cartridges. The New Angle suspension, designed to equalize the compliance in all directions when tracking force is applied (and precisely align the coils to the magnets), is also present on both cartridges. So the overall trend (for various adjustments) should be similar (barring any differences between your tonearm and the 3D).

BTW, you really should be putting your recording cleaning machine into heavy use. Lack of doing so, is a key reason why Andy Kim was able to "improve" the sound of your Kleos. If you would get into the habit of using your RCM to get the LP grooves as clean as possible, and our SPT to clean off whatever gunk gets onto the stylus, the stylus will always be sparkling clean.

kind regards, jonathan
Oops! Right now Joe has an Etna on his 3D tonearm rather than a Kleos - and the Etna retains its own stylus (LOL).

My fingers must have been thinking of the album cover from Pink Floyd's Umma Gumma, or more recently, Pressure and Time by Rival Son (a band that is recommended listening if you like Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, David Coverdale or The Black Keys).

peace, jonathan carr
Ok .. ok. I'll get off my butt and use the dumb VPI 16.5 RCM. I'll call Audioquest and order the cleaning fluid too.
One question about the cleaning fluid from Lyra. How much often is recomendable? Is necessary to switch off the phono preamp?

I have had this cartridge from 2 years ago amd I think is time to clean a little bit...'s not laziness m8. Music should be about listening and not turning the process into a domestic chore. All is not lost. You could take the "lazy route", as I did, and either buy from a supplier who automatically cleans all his pre-owned stock with a Keith Monks (new sleeves included in the price) or arrange for such a dealer to do them "in batch" for you. That way the regime reduces to the odd stylus wipe when required.

I was a Linn user for 25 years and their original philosophy was "Don't clean records, let the stylus do it for you", so rightly or wrongly I followed the advice for decades. Most of those (120g) 40 yr old LPs are, today, still super-quiet and sound extraordinarily good, so outwardly, little to no harm seems to have been done. (Perhaps different stylus profiles play different micro-contact areas of the groove) - rather like buying 2nd hand LPs, lightly scuffed, that had probably been "thrashed" and instead finding it to be a super-quiet breathtaking example of the pressing. :)
This type of experience is in stark contrast to a recent classical demo at a dealers in which they used brand new 180/200g vinyl, cleaned on the VPI 16.5 - or the next model up - to within an inch of its life (4 times per LP!) and they were unlistenable!!!! Massive clicks every few seconds!! The offending records were replaced with new copies and again meticulously cleaned with exactly the same result(!)
It's an experience I'd like to forget but will stay with me forever. (All the while I was thinking I could be listening to some of my cheap, noise-free second hand pressings :(
No reflection on the dealers - they're good guys and no fools. Sometimes I feel this 200g stuff is overkill. I'm no chemist but surely more volume means more MRA???? It can only emerge from 2 surfaces.
This doesn't mean I don't buy new vinyl...but the thought of finding pressings like the ones above scares me. ;)
Thanks Moonglum ... I feel somewhat vindicated. Having said that, it is my practice to wipe every record before play with a carbon fiber brush which does a nice job of picking up loose dust. I also use a gentle carbon fiber stylus brush to lift dust off the stylus before each play. On occassion, I am impressed when the stylus brush picks up a little puff of dust that I can see.

Jonathan Carr's suggestion about picking up Lyra stylus cleaning fluid is certainly a "can do" because it's not an OCD-PITA to use. If record cleaning wasn't such a PITA, I might be inclined to jump on it. My thought is to keep an eye out for a reasonably priced ultrasonic gizmo that will also dry the record. At the present time, I am simply not inclined to spend thousands of dollars on a RCM.
*********02-28-14: Pojuojuo
One question about the cleaning fluid from Lyra. How much often is recomendable? Is necessary to switch off the phono preamp?

I have had this cartridge from 2 years ago amd I think is time to clean a little bit...***********

I have used the Lyra SPT to clean my styli for several years with fantastic results. According to JCarr, it is a detergent/water solution, so no alcohol or other solvents that could dissolve the adhesive attaching the stylus tip to the cantilever.

The included brush is the best I have seen to apply the fluid to the stylus without accidentally slopping it onto the cantilever. You want to avoid getting this or any fluid on the cantilever shaft as the fluid can migrate up into the cartridge body through "capillary action".

Depending on how much gunk has built up on your stylus, repeated brushings with SPT may be needed to get it completely "ungunked". I would recommend removing the cartridge to do such a thorough cleaning. BE CAREFUL!

Re: frequency of use, I use the SPT about every 20 hours or so of play time, giving the stylus a gentle dip in a VP DustBuster before playing each side.

I once tried using the SPT before each side (giving it over 10 seconds to dry prior to play per the instructions) and found that it caused an excessive amount of goo-type buildup on the stylus (all LPs were previously cleaned with the Walker Audio Prelude fluids on a VPI 16.5 RCM), so I opted to use the VP DustBuster between sides and just a periodic thorough brushing with the SPT.

*******************03-01-14: Moonglum
This type of experience is in stark contrast to a recent classical demo at a dealers in which they used brand new 180/200g vinyl, cleaned on the VPI 16.5 - or the next model up - to within an inch of its life (4 times per LP!) and they were unlistenable!!!! Massive clicks every few seconds!! The offending records were replaced with new copies and again meticulously cleaned with exactly the same result(!) ***********

It is likely that the clicks you heard after cleaning were caused by static buildup during the cleaning process. I have found this to be an issue myself, but a zap of each side with a Zerostat after cleaning is an effective solution to removing the static buildup from the cleaning process.

As for letting the stylus clean the dirty grooves, it will certainly do that. However, you will hear this cleaning action while listening (bummer) and this practice is bound to significantly increase the rate of stylus wear IMO (huge bummer).

Certainly you are free to do as you please. Your records and your styli after all. So, please, no flames!:^)

Dave..good point about the static buildup - I'll pass that on to them but I'm sure they thought of it. I'm a long time Zerostat user myself (currently on No.5).
It's one procedure I don't skip on when handling discs. The regime of keeping LPs static free seems to have worked well in preserving records during those "non-cleaning" years. ;)
As the old saying goes, "If it ain't broke (i.e. you can't see or hear any contamination problem after 200 plays) why fix it?"
I know that the accounts of my early life are likely to horrify the Purist but knowledge wasn't as advanced then as it is now. For me it's now a grand experiment to test those old record's uncleaned longevity. :)
Just to add insult to injury they were always played without the lid on ;)

When it comes to saying how essential cleaning is, hindsight is the perfect tool. :)