Armed and Ready

A couple of friends came over this weekend to listen to records, and I’m happy to report that we experienced no trouble at all. No static, no distortion, no woman, no cry. Record after record, beer after beer, the Rega sounded just fine. I do believe my days of vinyl misery are over. But just in case the static monster decides to come round again, I also picked up a can of StaticGuard ($4 at DuaneReade). Before the dudes came over, I sprayed the stuff on the rug in front of my system, as well as on the curtains behind the system. The smell wasn’t so bad and the dry mist evaporated quickly. My apartment has never been so static-free.

For an extra measure of confidence (because this whole static thing has been a bit traumatizing), I also purchased a Ringmat from MusicDirect. Mikey Fremer suggested it, and MusicDirect’s Josh Bizar says it works great, not only preventing static and dust from building up on records, but also reducing resonance while improving dynamics and resolution. In his review of the Music Hall MMF 7, Mikey found that replacing the ‘table’s felt mat with a Ringmat resulted in greater midbass control and tonal neutrality. Sam Tellig says the Ringmat is the only mat that matters. I say it even looks kind of awesome. I am psyched.

So, to recap, I bought a humidifier, prayed really hard, shot my cartridge with the Milty Zerostat, sprayed the place with StaticGuard, and ordered a Ringmat. While all that was going on, I also sent an e-mail to Roy Hall and Leland Leard of Music Hall, distributors of the Milty products. I wanted to find out if they had had any experience with using the Zerostat on cartridges. Leland, my audiophile doppelganger, wrote back:

Hi Stephen,
Roy says, “The problem is your piece of shit Rega. Use a real turntable, like a Music Hall, and you won’t have this problem.”

I say, like Windex, a shot of the Zerostat will cure all that ails. Bed sores, acne, H1N1, erectile dysfunction. Bob Dole should get onto this.

The Zerostat does work to destat cartridges. One cautionary note, use it with the power switched off, lest you hear a loud “pop,” through the system. Of course, the Zerostat works wonders on LPs and if you haven’t tried it, dramatically improves the sound of CDs. CDs develop an enormous internal electrostatic charge as they are whirring around in a warm sealed environment at 200—500rpm. A shot of the Zerostat zaps out the static. And tired of those pesky coffee grounds sticking to the side of your grinder’s plastic basket? Grind, then shoot. You’ll be amazed.

The outer box of the Zerostat may caution about use on pets, humans, and small rodents but I’ve used it to great success on all of these. Small rodents: the neighbor’s incessantly yippie Chihuahua used to drive me mad. Three shots to the nose (Chihuahuas aren’t the smartest) and the dog no longer barks in my presence. If I happen across it in the hallway and it’s barking, I need only point my index finger and raise my thumb (Dirty Harry-style) and dog goes silent. The dog’s owner is amazed by my power and thinks I’m some sort of dog whisperer. Hey, I might be whispering but I’m also packing heat.

Likewise, if you’re looking to add a little spice in the bedroom, enter the Zerostat, an ideal sex toy.

Be mindful where you point that thang,

Music Hall should come up with a special holster so that audiophiles can take their Milty with them wherever they go. Leland says to keep an eye out for the ultra-discreet Derringer-designed ladies model, available in hot pink and due out this fall, just in time for the holidays.

Needless to say, I’m extremely happy with the Milty Zerostat and I will definitely try using it on my compact discs as well as on my…other things. One hundred dollars may seem like a lot of money to a young music enthusiast who’s just getting into vinyl playback. One hundred dollars can buy a lot of records, can buy a new phono cartridge, can buy ten six-packs of Dale’s Pale Ale, etcetera. But the Milty Zerostat is blue and shaped like a gun and is good for at least 10,000 squeeze cycles and pretty much saved my life. Viewed in that light, it’s a screaming bargain. Highly recommended!

(Highly recommended? Can I say that? Sure I can. I deserve it after all this bullshit.)

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Doctor Science's picture

BTW, Milty's claim that the Zerostat is a laboratory tool is no lie. Actual research labs with seriously expensive instruments use 'em.

Stu Gatz's picture

There are medications that you can take for OCD. You needn't suffer in silence.

GEORGE's picture

Well if Mickey says a mat matters, it has to be so. The Zerostat used to be so much cheaper. $100 insane. It used to be RED

Cihangir's picture

Chihuahua experiment really made my day. LOL. I wish I would be able to order it internationally. If it hangs in the custom I would either end up a life in a prison or pay a real premium to clear it up from the custom (if I am lucky and custom officer is smart enough). It looks too much like a gun

Stephen Mejias's picture

Well if Mickey says a mat matters, it has to be so.I'm shocked that you even make an attempt to read what I write, but let me help you out a little bit: Sam said the Ringmat was the only mat that mattered. Mikey said that it provided greater midbass control and tonal neutrality. And to address the point I think you're trying to make, I'll say this: I greatly appreciate Michael Fremer's advice and experience. If Michael suggests something, I will at least give it serious thought and I may very well take his word for it. When you say something, however, I just shake my head and wonder why you bother. The Zerostat used to be so much cheaper. $100 insane. You must mean five years ago when it sold for $75. Bread used to be cheaper, too.It used to be REDYou mean like a Ferrari?! Oh, boy.

Trey's picture

I have often thought of purchasing a Ringmat for my Rega, but was worried that it would change the vta. Have you tried yours Stephen? Are you happy with it? Also, I have been thinking of trading in my Grado cartridge for the Exact, which is the opposite move that you were encouraged to make!

Stephen Mejias's picture

Hey Trey. My Ringmat just arrived today. I'm anxious to take it home and try it out! I'll post an entry about it soon. What turntable/tonearm do you have? Everyone I've talked to agrees that my Rega P3-24 could use a cartridge upgrade, the Elys being far outclassed by the Exact. If you read Mikey's review of the P3-24, you'll see that he really favors the Exact.

Chris's picture

I, too, have a Rega P3-24, and I've noticed that the sound gets a little "staticky" during loud passages. I've noticed it more with the Denon dl-103 than I did with the Elys, but I swapped the Elys out before it got really cold and dry around here. I never considered it could be static, but I'm definitely going to look into a Zerostat if it helps. I'm curious if the Ringmat will make a difference, too.

John Atkinson's picture

The Zerostat I bought in 1976 (and still have) is white. I think it costs the English equivalent of $20.

Stephen Mejias's picture

The Zerostat I bought in 1976 (and still have) is white.Vintage! Jeez, I want to collect them all.

Buddha's picture

Stephen, so sorry to hear about the "no woman" part, but I'm happy you "no cry."

Now, let's find out the real bottom line....what did Art Dudley have to say about the mat?

Stephen Mejias's picture

Aw, Buddha, you always get straight to the heart of the matter. Art Dudley says the Ringmat is a communist piece of shit.
;)Just kidding, world!

Trey's picture

Hey Stephen, I have an older P3, but I had the 24 type motor put in it. And I have the $300 grado cartridge, the second I had used in the turntable. I am intrigued by the Exact for numerous reasons, but one of them is how easy it is to install. I would just have to take out the vta spacers I have used for the Grado and screw three screws. Or I could step up to the $600 Grado. But before I did either, I really want to hear about the ringmat! Happy listening!

Barry Diament's picture

Sorry but that is cruel and it is cowardly.If I saw you using that thing on a dog, I'd come to the dog's aid.Shame on you Stephen.

Barry Diament's picture

Hi Stephen,My apologies.After a more careful reading, it see it is Roy that needs the three shots of Zerostat to the nose.

Stephen Mejias's picture

Hi Barry.
It was just a joke, and it was Leland -- not Roy -- who made it. No worries.

Barry Diament's picture

Mea culpa.Not Roy either.Leland.

Barry Diament's picture

Thank you Stephen.Was it a joke?If so, then he's only guilty of poor taste.(Folks who abuse or joke about abusing small animals are not my cup of tea.)Best,Barry

Dismord's picture

" No static, no distortion, no woman, no cry. Record after record, beer after beer...." and you wonder why you can't attract women?

Robert Deutsch's picture

I have a Ringmat and a Zerostat (white, about $20 when I bought it many years ago). I would not think of using the Zerostat on small canines--maybe large audiophiles, if they yak too much. However, the Zerostat has a use in the kitchen. If you grate chocolate, you may find that much of it sticks to the grater because of static electricity. Zapping the grater with the Zerostat results in the grated bits of chocolate being released. (You may have to tap the grater gently.) I've also read that it does a similar trick with burr coffee grinders.

buddha's picture

Dismord! Stephen is a veritable chick MAGNET. And I do not mean static electricity, I mean MAGNET. One year at CES he had both the women in the building figthing over which one had to sit next to him!


Lionel's picture

For those people for whom $100 for a record mat is out of budget, poke around on eBay. You can often find OEM or generic versions of record mats, carbon fiber brushes, etc., at much cheaper prices. (You can even score an industrial-grade demagnetizer for about $1700 less than Furutech's...) I think I paid $20 for my mat, which is one of those feltish mats with carbon fiber threads intertwined, and it works just fine. (That would have been about 10 quid when I bought it in 2006 or so) The fact that I have hardwood floors in my listening room probably helps with the static, too, but whatever.(I also scored a perfectly good jeweler's loupe on eBay for about $10. I'm sure one with perfect optics, swiss-made lens, etc. would have been much more, but since all I'm doing with it is looking for obvious problems on a stylus, not setting/recutting diamonds, it works just fine for my purposes.)eBay is your friend if you're an audio cheapskate and know what you're looking for. I'm sure Sam T. would agree.

johndevore's picture

I had a red one from the 80's when Discwasher was marketing the Zerostat. I remember it costing a little over $20. I need to rummage around to see if I can find it, it must be collectable by now...

Stephen Mejias's picture

I was on eBay yesterday, eyeing those old-school Discwasher/Zerostat combos. They look awesome! All packed together in a tidy block of wood. Prices ranged from $20-$100.

Eric Shook's picture

This was a great post. I can't believe I read all of the thread of comments, as by the end of that I wanted my five mins back.

Nick's picture

Not so sure trying the Zerostat on a dog sets a good precedent.

Stephen Mejias's picture

What about squirrels? Anybody got anything against me using this thing on squirrels? Because spring is right around the corner and the squirrels in Jersey City are notorious vinyl lovers. They're probably digging into my apartment as I type.

Sherwood's picture

What a pain in the arse!

bob D. Stuckiez's picture

I use a taser gun on my Moody Blues lps.

stu Gatz's picture

I'm sure the part about "no woman" is accurate.

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