With vinyl record sales reaching an 18-year high at the end of 2014, it seems that not all music consumers favour the digital download or the various streaming options now on offer to them.

In fact, at the end of 2014 Pink Floyd’s The Endless River became the fastest-selling vinyl release since 1997.

Whether this can be put down to nostalgia, of wanting to experience that ‘warmth’ that only vinyl can offer, or whether it be down to hipsters collecting records for their cover artwork as well as for the music; or perhaps it is everyone’s dads who are responsible for keeping the music form going.

One thing’s for certain, it is not the endangered species we were led to believe it was just five years ago.

Since the recent resurgence in popularity, the Official Chart Company told the BBC it would be launching a weekly vinyl chart.

So how can the people keeping this music format going ensure that they take the best care of their record collection? Shure has a solution.

Often mistaken for a mere brush, the M97xE is more than it appears.

So what is the Shure M97xE Dynamic Stabiliser (AKA the Brush) used for?

As a phono cartridge designed specifically for audiophile hi-fi, the Shure M97xE features the option to engage a specialist dynamic stabiliser when the blue Shure banner is unclipped from the main cartridge body.

You could be forgiven for thinking this was simply a brush for cleaning dust and dirt from records; however, the stabiliser is capable of more than performing a sweeping function that cleans the record groove of dust and dirt.

Helping To Play Warped Records

Most vinyl records have some degree of warping, from subtle to severe.

When playing a warped record, the M97xE dynamic stabiliser maintains a uniform distance between the cartridge and the record, keeping the stylus in the record groove and reduces tone arm low-frequency resonances that can bounce the stylus out of the groove.

Creating A Static-Free Zone

Over 10,000 conductive carbon fibres in the stabiliser brush help to neutralise static charges on the record surface and conduct them to the ground.

This action reportedly eliminates static attraction between the cartridge and the record that can cause small changes in tracking force.

Additionally, audible clicks and pops are reduced and dust accumulation is minimised.

Protecting Against Damage

The M97xE has a side-guard stylus protection system to limit stylus damage if the cartridge accidentally slides across a record.

The protection system responds to side thrusts on the stylus by momentarily forcing the stylus upward and preventing it from bending sideways.

Finally, clumsy fingered users will appreciate the stabiliser’s shock absorption characteristics.

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