I am in a lull as far as hifi hardware is concerned, so I thought to share some small items that will help us get better sound.

Everybody will agree that it is a good practice to clean all the contacts in your system periodically. Once or twice a year, I'll disconnect all my interconnects, loudspeaker cables and powercords, and give their connectors a good wipe. I also clean up the input/output terminals on the cdp, amps and loudspeakers at the same time. Cleaned contacts give better sound, especially in details and smoothness.

In my early hifi days, being cash-strapped, the choice solution was some isopropyl alcohol and a few cotton buds, both available from local pharmacies.

Then I found Kontakt, whose product is much more effective. Kontakt 61 is my favourite, it cleans off the grunge and when dry leaves a thin film to protect and lubricate the connectors, which is especially useful if you swap cables frequently. The protective film also keeps the gold plated connectors looking new and shiny over time.

Give the connector a light squirt from the can, wait a minute or two, wipe the residual away with a cotton bud. You'll be surprised by the amount of grunge that comes off, even from connectors that look clean and new enough to the naked eye. Leave to dry for a couple of minutes, a thin protective film will form on the connectors' surface, oily to the touch.

The only caveat from Kontakt is that this thin protective film may impede low voltages (<1v). This might be a concern for vinyl frontends, so you have to experiment. In my own experience, listening only to CDs, I could not hear any adverse effect from my CD player all the way to the speakers. And this is definitely not a concern for powercords.

Check out Kontakt 61's specs at http://www.farnell.com/datasheets/318247.pdf.

If your connectors are old, tarnished or corroded, you need a stronger solution. Look for Kontakt 60 and Kontakt WL. Kontakt 60 is a cleaning agent that dissolves corrosion products, and WL is used to rinse them off for best result. Kontakt 61 can then be applied to protect the cleaned contacts.

For routine cleaning, I find Kontakt 61 alone is sufficient.

Kontakt products can be found in some hardware/electrical parts stores. In KL, I get them from Jalan Pasar at RM18-RM22 a piece.

I have not compared Kontakt with any other specialist cleaning solutions for hifi, such as DeoxIT. So if you have any such experience it will be interesting to share with us.

Happy cleaning.


sam elliot said...

hifi kaki,

I have used many different brands of contact cleaners and contact enhancers,from the DIY stuff to the exotic ones and found that the one that I would consider the best is by KONTAK[without the t at the end].It is British made and truly the Rolls royce
of contact enhancer in everyway.

BUT the effect of those are nothing if you compare them to the effect of applying SILCLEAR contact enhancer by MAPLESHADE AUDIO.the effect of SILCEAR is nothing short of jaw dropping

fafafion said...

Here are the steps I follow:

1.I start with a contact CLEANER-normally deoxit- to remove any xidizations.

2.then I would apply a contact CONDITIONER-KONTAK,for my referance system;and deoxit gold for everything else.Yes,to my ear,KONTAK is superior to deoxit;but difficult to get.

3.Next,I would apply a contact ENHANCER-I use to use the Quicksilver brand,but yes like Mr Sam,I too has just tried the SILCLEAR and it was just increadible.Everybody should really try the SILCLEAR

4.I normally let the SILCLEAR dry close to the Acoustic rRevive Negative ion generators.

5.I recook a the cabes and cords on the audiodharma cable cooker.this again is a must step.

6.I've train my Maid to do all that every 3 months and she is quite good at it.

The results?SUPER transparent sytem,especially the high and the bass

max said...

I would exercise caution in using the industrial-grade contact cleaner because it could damage the plating surface.

stick with audiograde cleaner like deoxit

hifikaki said...

Hi all,

Thanks for your sharing.