Jonathan Valin articulates that there are three types of audiophiles: 1) those who are interested in the absolute sound, 2) those who are interested...
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Once you acquire a turntable, you’ll find yourself perusing vinyl equipment and media websites taking in the seemingly infinite number of turntable and record accessories. You can’t help it. It started off innocently enough for me. I put my first disc on the turntable, turned on the motor, and realized I didn’t have a brush to sweep away dust. After I played both sides, it was off to the web to do some research and find the best brush. It comes as no surprise that there are many to choose from. I ended up selecting the AudioQuest carbon fiber anti-static brush. For $20, it seemed like just the ticket. I’ve been happy with it. Yet coming from nearly 30 years of listening to digital playback, I am still not de-sensitized to the occasional pop and tick. I’m working on it, but I’m not quite there yet.
I was talking to Jonathan Scull about reviewing the Furutech ADL GT40 USB DAC and phono stage when he asked me about my vinyl rig and how I was enjoying listening to records again. I mentioned in passing my sensitivity to pops and ticks. He suggested that I try the Furutech DeStat II in addition to the GT40, and in a few days they both arrived at my door. I’ll post my review of the GT40 in a few weeks, but let’s first take a look at the DeStat II.
The DeStat II is roughly 5” in diameter, with a flanged area for the combination power button and indicator light. It is about 2” inches thick, with three tall, rubber-tipped feet adding another inch to its height. It is made of silver-colored, matte-finished plastic, and is lightweight. I have small hands and had no problem securely grasping the sides of the unit from the top, palm down. There is a jack on the side for the wall-wart AC adapter and charger, with an additional small LED next to it that glows orange when charging and green when fully charged. The indicator light on top glows green both when charging and when fully charged and unplugged. It glows orange when pressed, and back to green when the fan stops. A slide switch on the bottom selects the length of time the unit is on – 10 seconds, 20 seconds, or continuously until the button is pushed again.
The DeStat II is easy to use; You simply push the button and hold it 4”-6” above whatever you are treating – LP, disc, cartridge, etc. The fan spins for the allotted time, disbursing a balance of positive and negative ions and gently blowing dust away. That’s all there is to it. To test its effectiveness, I went through my usual routine of putting a record on the turntable, turning on the motor, and sweeping off the dust with my antistatic brush. I then played the record noting any ticks and pops. I then repeated the process using the DeStat II before sweeping off the dust. Sometimes I heard fewer ticks and pops. Sometimes there was no change. I did not hear any change in the sound itself. I think its effectiveness can be directly correlated with the humidity in your room. It was more effective on dry days. I found that treating CDs with the DeStat II made no discernable difference, at least in my system.
The Furutech DeStat II works as advertised with respect to LPs. If you live in a low-humidity environment and/or your listening room is carpeted, you probably have or will create static electricity on and around your records and turntable. The DeStat II will temporarily eliminate it. Once eliminated, dust will not cling to your records, and that which is not blown off by the DeStat II’s fan, can be swept off with a brush. I found that it removed the occasion tick and pop, which I attribute to dust removal rather that eliminating the static charge per se.
I do have several reservations. If you live in an environment with normal humidity, you may not have a static electricity problem, in which case you may not need the DeStat II. An anti-static brush may well meet your needs. The battery does not hold a charge very long, so I recommend leaving it plugged in when not in use. Finally, the DeStat II costs $450. If it cost $99, or even $199, it would receive my unqualified recommendation. At $450, I think it is vastly over-priced, particularly given it plastic construction. If you decide to buy one, make sure you have a return privilege. You also may want to try a less expensive alternative, like an anti-static brush or the Zerostat, first. It’s not audiophile approved, but you might even give an ionic hair dryer a try. All that being said, if you have perpetual static electricity problem, to paraphrase Princess Leia, the DeStat II may be your only hope. It which case, it is priceless.
- Frank Berryman
Analog Source: VPI Scout; Dynavector 20X2; Musical Surroundings Phonomena II
Digital Source: Windows 7 music server with ESI Juli@ soundcard
Preamplifier: Meridian G68ADV; Benchmark DAC1 HDR
Power Amplifier: Meridian 557
Loudspeakers: Meridian DSP5500s; Living Sounds Audio LSA.5
Cables: Digital: Meridian; Analog and Speaker: Audience Conductor ‘e’; Power: Volex/Marinco
Headphones: Etymotic ER-4S
Accessories: GIK acoustic treatments, Target HR speaker stands, dedicated 20 amp circuit