Throw Away Your Old AudioQuest Carbon Fiber Brush!

AudioQuest's carbon fiber brush, in production for thirty five years, has been the industry "standard" dry record brush. If you have the one pictured above, please throw it out or donate it to a really needy record collector.

You should replace it with AudioQuest's new carbon fiber brush pictured below.

Why? Company founder Bill Low eventually realized that the original brush, along with most others, doesn't provide a good electrical path between the fibers and the handle, which is the static electricity "ground" discharge point to your hand. We are the world. You are the ground. The original brush's handle has a print-protecting coating that inhibits the static-electricity's path to ground.

So AQ went back to the proverbial drawing board and re-designed the brush, which required new tooling for every part. The new brush has what the company calls "ideal conductivity" from the carbon fibers, through the brush's internal parts to the conductive gold contacts placed close to your fingers, which is where they need to be. You can see the gold strip in the photo.

The new brush is priced under $25 just like the old one.

As for how to use the brush (which is often mis-used), remember that if you press down to the point where the bristles flex, you have missed the point! Gently hold the brush so it barely contacts the record as it spins and then use a front-to-back "scooping" motion to lift away the dust. The rear-mounted set of bristles will pick up what the front ones miss. Repeat as necessary and then use the handle to clear dust from the bristles. Never use your oily fingers. Or your late ones.

Does it work better than the old brush? You have to axe?

Anton D's picture

Roy Gandy says the needle will simply push any debris out of the way and we should not use these things at all.


Michael Fremer's picture
Chemguy's picture

... and then your stylus becomes the scoop to pick up all that fluff off of the record. No thanks. Have used a record brush for 40 years and will continue to do so!

Lazer's picture

My God...that means we are getting older.

Dorian Workman's picture

Works great and never had static issues, AFAIK.

Michael Fremer's picture
I used to use one of those but I found the center pad would get grungy and couldn't be easily cleaned but it worked well and works well..
goernie20's picture

If cost was no object, what disc cleaner would you think is the best?

Eli47's picture

The Keith Monks record cleaning machine.

Dorian Workman's picture

Never had that problem, I scrape the center felt pad after every single use with the edge of the brush's metal cover (from memory I think the instructions said to do this).

peter1959's picture

grunge on the pad ? where is it from ? hopefully not your disks ??
I use 'White Magic King Eraser Block' to clean the center pad.

The hunt brush is brilliant, but, alas I have a static issue with heavy 180g disks, I hope the AQ brush, used in conjunction with the hunt will fix this

gMRfk6LMHn's picture

I have a Philips Carbon Fibre Brush (identical to the Audioquest) for as long as I can remember and it has an earth wire from the handle of the brush which you 'earth' to decrease static.

Just wondering is Audioquests 'idea' anything new!

James, Dublin, Ireland

Anton D's picture

I can remember a version of one of those types of brushes that came with a grounding wire!


Michael Fremer's picture
"Improved" more than "new" The grounding wire works for sure but kind of a pain..
Anton D's picture

Perhaps it's time to resurrect the Vac-O-Rec!

liguorid42's picture

Never did anything but line up the dust!

theroey's picture

Thanks for the info Michael!

OldschoolE's picture

I'm kidding around. I paid the same for my original Audioquest brush as pictured first in the article. Thanks for the heads up, I have added the improved brush to my next purchase list. I'm going to keep my old one though for my second system, it does the job it is designed to do.
The improved brush is supposed to be better at dispelling static electricity, but carbon fiber brushes are not really designed for that in my opinion. Although the little help they do offer in that area is welcome of course, bit for real riddance of static build up a thunderon brush or Zerostat gun (for a more expensive choice) do best. (I have both, but I've had very good results from the less expensive thunderon brush as well, by the way).
As for the HUNT style brush, I have that too and I like it for the same purpose as the carbon fiber. As far as getting grungy, a soft bristle tooth brush occasionally lightly run over the middle bit works to keep it cleaner and harms none the brush. Or you could just not play any grunge records from Seattle..ha ha ha. (Couldn't resist).


fetuso's picture

I've been using the In The Groove record cleaner. Works great and i have no static issues. I get about a year from eaxh roller. I may try this new AQ brush, though.

Cam08529's picture

Except it says:
Audioq ecord cleaner
Perhaps I have worn off the protective coating so my path to ground is OK.
Keep up the good work Michael
Jeff C

Stringreen's picture

I'm using a Hunt brush which is fine.

Ortofan's picture

... the Stanton CFB-1 carbon fiber brush, which can be had for $13?

gbougard's picture

I absolutely love your videos and on this strategically important aspect of record playing, we need a tutorial video showing the art of using this device. Your written description is fine, but leaves room for interpretation, whereas a video, with closeups and slow motion replays would eliminate any question.

Plus I'm sure you'd have a hilarious comment or two.

Thank you in advance

PAR's picture

That may be what AQ say. However if you have ever taken the old brush apart or had one come apart on you (after only 25 or so years of use, scandalous :-)) you will quickly see what the real problem was.

The earth path from the fibres exits the black plastic handle that lies under the metal cover via a small rounded metal point. It protrudes only by about 0.5mm as the penetration through the handle also causes a low ridge of plastic material surrounding the hole like a crater rim.

The metal cover is then attached to the plastic handle by a couple of blobs of hot glue. However the blobs can be thicker than 0.5mm in depth hence the metal point doesn't actually meet the metal cover. Thus here is no effective path to earth.

Other than that the AQ brush has always been a terrific aid and I own and have owned a few of them . It is certainly better than many cheap rip off types that have very stiff carbon fibres which can mark discs ( check the "mirror" play out area).

Looking forward to the new type.

BillK's picture

Unfortunately, Amazon doesn't have them yet and the usual mail order audio stores charge at least $8 for shipping. :(

Anton D's picture

Let's say this is a 20 year product.

25 bucks = 1.00 per year = .27 cents (a quarter of a penny per day.)

Let's say you play four LP sides per day...about .07 cents per play...about a 16th of a penny.

Now, let's say you decide to spend it up and get one with 8 dollars shipping...33 bucks.

33 dollars = 1.32 dollars per year.

You cost per day skyrockets to .3 cents per day, or, about .075 cents per play at 4 LP sides per day. About 1/13th of a penny per play.

I bet this outlay would not impact your lifestyle!

That being said, I am happy with my old brush, but...the old package says, specifically: "Anti Static record Cleaner."

"Eliminates static charges."

If this is not the case and we have been lied to, perhaps we have a class action and could each get vast sums in damages.


BillK's picture

There are now several vendors offering this at Amazon with free shipping; go crazy (I already have mine. :-))

mrl1957's picture

Is the Record Doctor CFB (similar to the AQ, both sold by Audio Advisor) also on the fecal roster?

readargos's picture

If I recall correctly, Michael's second DVD, which addresses record cleaning, also shows the use of a carbon fiber brush.

I've been using a Hunt-style brush for 3-4 years without grunge buildup on the felt. Perhaps the pre-ultrasound cleaned records were dirtier than supposed?

jazz's picture

against this one:

Wimbo's picture

that up on to the label.

jazz's picture

if you tilt it a bit at the end it works.

And it is so much more efficient even if pulled tot he outer rim!

If you realize, that those fibers don't go into the grooves anyway, you see that it doesn't matter if it's pulled in or outwards.

Anton D's picture

I have never seen that!

I must have it!

Thank you for posting that!

Anton D's picture

I just sent them an email trying to order one here in the US.

Anton D's picture

I just ordered a couple of those Ursa Majors.

Ktracho's picture

I've been thinking of getting a replacement for my brush, and I was thinking of maybe getting a goat hair brush instead, as my current brush seems to actually add static electricity. Any thoughts?

RCZero's picture

I have this old model of the brush. I hold it by the plastic bristle guard when using it, because if I hold it by the metal label part, I get "pop pop pop pop pop..." through the speakers. I dont understand electricity...

zxciop123's picture

tubemate apk download for android 4.2.2 is a free downloader for youtube videos

Wimbo's picture

Brush should be held with narrow side facing the record,then gently moved across the record with little pressure,up on to the label then lifted up.
People forget there only two grooves on an LP.

jazz's picture

if the fibers would reach into the grooves, which they don't, if you think about it seriously.
A single fiber would. Thousands in a row not, they just clean on top of the surface.

Wimbo's picture

which is the main problem with Dirty Records. I can feel my brushes lock into the groove,which goes from outside/in.

jazz's picture

on the "lock into the groove" theory.

Just if you once use such a "multirow" brush, you realize that this is the main benefit independently of the brushing direction etc.

Wimbo's picture

Brush that sits on the side of your turntable. Turn Table on and watch brush follow the groove to the centre. Nuff said. If you can't understand it, bad luck. I'm finished.

jazz's picture

one reason is,

a brush sitting aside of the table, which moves with the grooves usually is rounded with quite few fibres touching the groove. They at least really go deep enough to be picked up by the grooves.
Imagine you could try this with thousand fibres aligned within a brosh we speak of. I thin even you wouldn't expect it to be picked up by the grooves so it moves inwards.
I say it would just be sitting on top of the grooves due to it's many fibres building a quite closed row without enabling single fibres to go deep enough.

the second reason is, even if the fibres would go into the grooves partly or fully, you'd move the brush much faster than necessary to follow the grooves. Means: you skip the brush with the dust constantly from one groove to the other, even when using it inwards. So the dust still would stay in the grooves, you would never reach that it's transported towards the label.
I even thing, that when the fibres would reach inside the grooves, the result of cleaning would be worse than it actually is, because then the dust pulled out of a short part of a groove segment would be placed somewhere else and cause more noise.
I think we have to realize we're mainly cleaning the surface above the grooves.

liguorid42's picture

"Turn Table on and watch brush follow the groove to the centre."

It used to be called the "Dust Bug". Remember that?

Wimbo's picture

Yeah mate.

Eli47's picture

Oh ye of little faith!
I saw electron microscope image of Decca carbon fiber brush bristles in the groove, and yes, several bristles were in the groove.., and they reached all the way down.., even more than your elliptical Shibata stylus.

Wimbo's picture

The Decca 2+2 even has a Arrow on the top showing which way to move it.

Dorian Workman's picture

This brush is available from Sears, of all places!

antonmb's picture

If you're wearing rubber soles, you're not grounded, right? So unless my basic science is failing me, there's no path to ground and the whole theory behind the brush goes out the window.

Wimbo's picture

I'm sure you two will have a nice time.

liguorid42's picture

Ground is relative. Your body has a much higher capacitance coefficient than a record, meaning the charge on a record effects its electric potential much more than it effects your body's, so charge flows into your body until the potentials equilibriate. Substitute the entire earth for your body and the effect of the record's charge on its potential is essentially zero. Given a conductive path, essentially all the excess charge on the record flows into the earth. Bottom line, it's probably a wash. If on your way to the turntable you rub your shod feet on the carpet and reach a potential substantially different from Earth's, different story (but then if you touch your grounded turntable it might hurt a little).

antonmb's picture

So I bought one, arrived today and I must say I'm a little disappointed in the flimsy construction compared to the original. The original had a sturdy metal cover, this one has a flimsy plastic thing that falls off half the time when you use it. Cleans ok though.

Glotz's picture

then I'm interested. i've been waiting for 3 months for this thing to drop to see if its worth it. I use all of the main brushes... the Hunt EDA 6 is the best IMO, but MF correctly stated that it grunges up over time. I use the Big Brush for quick dusting; it's just as easy and a bit quicker for fast swipes of dust missed the first time round. It also allows for getting around the spindle very quickly as well.

I don't think it matters what type or brand of fibers one uses- I think they all work well once one cleans the record with a wet machine initially. If not, then the firm brushes would work better, no question.

Again, I am most interested to see if the brush does contain static electricity. I think the Zerostats are super-expensive vs. the 80's pricing when I last purchased it, and I really do NOT want another accessory or additional accessory to clean or prep records every time I listen.

Dry brush cantilever, dry brush record, Stylast.. GO.

BB's picture

I live in Florida. What's "static"?

liguorid42's picture

I have an AQ brush pushing 35 years that I don't use and needs thrown away because the cleaning strip on the handle has undergone rubber rot and pieces crumble off onto the brush.

Typically I clean a record with an antistatic brush before each playing, and give a wet machine cleaning when first acquired and as needed. Lately I've been using the Hunt but I also have, I think, a Deccca branded brush similar to the AQ, that doesn't work as well as the Hunt. But maybe I'll try the new AQ, adding to my brush collection. Giving away to a poor collector is probably a good idea.

And, no, I never let my oily fingers touch the bristles, even when cleaning my records of Beethoven's oily string quartets.

Anton D's picture

I just received's the bomb.

Unarguably the top of the heap.

phung's picture

Thank so much, Have used a record brush for 40 years and will continue to do so!

Eli47's picture

My Decca record brush still looks and works just like it did in the mid 80's . And yes, it conducts perfectly well according to my DMM.
So, I am always smiling when I see imitations of the original, and I am grinning after reading this article.

Eli47's picture

To clean a record using a brush, as mentioned above, have the record spinning as you hold the brush lightly on the record, don't allow the bristles to bend. Next, hold the brush across the record grooves, so all or as many grooves are covered, then using a slow sweeping motion towards the inside label, push the brush inwards towards the label. Any dust not picked up, will be pushed towards the center of the record along with the groove. Do NOT use sweeping motion towards outside of the record, you will be spreading the dust, as you are working against the groove's direction.
If you can't do this, get a Schticky" .