Vinylcare aThis is a good idea. Good in that it’s simple, obvious and fills a growing hole in the market.

As well as making turntables Austrian company Pro-Ject also makes a full range of ancillary products for taking care of both turntables and vinyl records, and they are all available through Pro-Ject’s Australian agent, Interdyn. Interdyn is also the agent for Ortofon, one of the biggest manufacturers of cartridges and styli in the world, and that’s why the Pro-Ject range of turntables here are mostly supplied with Ortofon cartridges, along with the opportunity to upgrade to better ones.

So now the folk at Interdyn have gathered together some of these ancillary things and packaged them as a vinyl care kit. Good idea. So good you ask yourself why they didn’t think of it years ago.

Probably the most useful thing in the box is the anti-static carbon fibre brush to get dust and grit off the record’s surface prior to playing. Most enthusiasts use something much like this prior to every play. And there’s a stylus cleaning brush also made with fine carbon fibre bristles to brush away anything the stylus may have picked up in its journey across the record’s surface.

Vinylcare bFor more determined dirt there’s a container of gloop called Groove Grit Remover. You press it into the affected area ands then peel it off to bring the grit with it.

If you’re a person who likes mucking about with different cartridges, or you buy a turntable without a fitted cartridge, you’ll need an alignment tool to ensure the cartridge is positioned exactly where it should be along the arm. It’s nothing but a piece of cardboard with complex looking scales on it but when you need it, it’s critical.

On the same tack, the package also includes a very fine screwdriver made specifically for the screws holding the cartridge in place.

There are all sorts of cartridge force gauges on the market. There are electronic ones, there are delicate scales with a range of counterweights, and there’s this one, a simple device that cradles the stylus and tells you the amount of downforce that’s acting on it. If you don’t trust the little counterweight wheel at the back of the arm get a cartridge force gauge.

One of the handiest things in the package is a 360-degree spirit level. Turntables have to be exactly flat to perform best, there should be no tilt in any direction. With a normal spirit level this can be difficult to detect; you must place the level on the turntable and turn it for a full rotation while noting if there’s any tilt anywhere in its travel. But this one is a gentle cone with the bubble at the top. Put it over the spindle and there you are.

Vinylcare dVibration is the enemy of turntables; if you’ve ever used one in a room with an old wooden floor you’ll know this. The final inclusion is four shock absorbing pads to place at each corner of the turntable’s base to soak up as many shakes and rattles as possible before they reach the stylus.

Personally I would have included a strobe, a simple device that tells you if the speed of your turntable is correct or incorrect, otherwise the pack is comprehensive and presents good value for $149.

If you buy records at garage sales you may also want a proper record cleaner so your stylus is not at risk from the nasties that may have collected on badly treated discs. The same importer sells a beauty, the Spin Clean, also $149.

First published December 2018.

 

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