Is the Last Record Preservative system a worthwhile investment?
I take great care in my record collection. 1. I have a manual record vacuum cleaning machine. I also use an enzyme cleaner on a few really dirty ones. 2. I replace all paper sleeves with plastic ones. 3. I use groove glide on only the records in really bad shape. Around 1 percent. 4. I use a record jacket to protect the covers. 5. I meticulously keep the stylus clean. 6. Use a brush everytime I play a record. My question being is; will the Last system actually improve the sonics even after all the care I put in to my collection? How much time is involved treating a record? How much per record does it cost if I buy the larger treatment kits? Id like to hear your experiences with this product. I have close to 3000 records. My analogy is like a great movie that I have never seen. Wow you just now saw that? Will I have an aha moment using the Last system like oh wow, I should have seen that movie years ago. Lol
Last Record Preservative creator Walter Davies claims no immediate benefit in the sound of treated LP's, but rather, as the name more than implies, the prevention of deterioration in their sound with multiple plays. At that I consider it very successful.
It takes only a minute or two to do both sides on an LP, far less time than a thorough cleaning. I've used Last since it was introduced in 1983.
I'm in favor of keeping LPs clean. Really, really clean, such as can be achieved using a good ultrasonic cleaner. Cleanliness is best the LP preservative, imo, and I don't see any need or advantage to then putting goop on a clean LP.
I very much agree with cleanliness cleeds (I own a VPI HW-17F, and am putting together a DIY USC), but Last is not "goop". It is a very thin liquid, which when applied to an LP bonds molecularly with the vinyl, preventing the fracturing of the vinyl's molecules. Last creator Walter Davies is not just a chemist, but a long-time audiophile, engineer, and hi-fi retailer. I bought my first big system (Magneplanar Tympani's bi-amped with ARC electronics) from Walter in 1973. He's a fantastic guy, and Last Record Preservative a great product!
If your hearing and system are good enough there is a very slight improvement in clarity. Good test. But yes, the LAST was not designed for that purpose, it's a bonus. Second treatment does not improve sound quality, at least I don't hear it. I use Okki Nokki cleaning machine in reverse to treat records with it, three revolutions.
"Last makes some very fine products. I just don't think the record preservative is one of them."
Do you have reason / experience you could share and explain that could validate the above statement especially after calling it "goop". Curious , I have heard very few grumblings, but never an explanation beyond opinion. I get why some don't want to put anything on a clean record , I didn't at first either. But that doesn't mean Last is bad or goop which requires explanation beyond just not wanting to use it as a reason to knock it . I understand why many would not put anything on a clean record other than a clean well adjusted stylus but that's a personal choice not a reason that Last is " goop" and doesn't do what it's designed to do.
I have used a loricraft to clean my records since the eighties myself. I clean every album new or used before I will play them. Back in the nineties when I was cleaning up on cheap vinyl prices, I bought a collection of about 300 rarer records off a guy who kept his records very clean and most all of them had the last treatment and the sticker applied to the labels they gave you. It certainly never made them sound better, but , they certainly don't play with the signs of wear that albums that get played as much as they have . I have treated many myself as well through the years also. So for my actual long term experience based opinion , I have seen zero negative reasons against and have 40 yr old heavily played records that don't play like they were played as much as i know they were. Being a preservative it's meant as a long term thing , anyone expecting instant gratification isn't going to find it . To each his own as they say.....
Every record I've bought used with a Last sticker on it sounded very quiet. It's pretty much a guarantee the record has been treated well. I believe it works but I have no direct experience other than that.
Yes, can be a touch quieter too with some pressings. I also suggest MA Recordings inner sleeves. And if you use tape deck treat the heads with LAST head treatment before each play. Not substitute for head cleaning of course but a complement. I do it and there is virtually no head wear after thousands of hours of play. I do use best tape and clean the playback head after every 15 hours of play.
The problem as I see it is this: anyone who applies Last to a record is (by definition) someone who cares for their records. In other words, that person is an audiophile and will likely be very careful about cleaning, etc. So, how can you separate that truism from the potential benefits of Last? Having noted that, I've used it for decades and I really can't tell if it helps or not
@rshak, Walter Davies states that because the Last chemicals bond to the vinyl molecules, any foreign matter in the groove will pushed off the surface of the groove (but will remain IN the groove), where it may be heard by the stylus as noise. The solution is to clean the LP well before applying Last.
As I said, the difference in sound quality is very small but it's nice to have it. Also, I didn't do it myself but you can try to clean the record again after applying LAST. I mean right away, because I re-clean records after about 10 or 15 plays. Yes, worth it - slightly less noise and of course better for stylus. My only reservation about the LAST could be if you intended to sell collectible records at some point. Some record collectors will not want it on the records. I once asked Walter Davis if he thought that treating records would prolong their life span in case the records were not played but just kept in archive. He said - Don't know.
you have reason / experience you could share and explain that could
validate the above statement ...
As I said,
I'm familiar with the product and think it's a cure in search of a disease.
I tried some long ago, probably in the early '80s, and didn't see any improvement. As you note, "it's
meant as a long term thing, anyone expecting instant gratification
isn't going to find it," so that's not an unlikely outcome. Since then, I bought an ultrasonic record cleaner and for the first time - even though I've had a Nitty-Gritty cleaner since they were first produced - I found the benefit of really clean, pristine LP playback. And at the same time, I have records that date back to the early '60s and they still play superbly - even without the benefit of any record "preservative." So I'm not sure what the point is of trying to preserve a vinyl product that with proper care already seems to be virtually immune from aging.
I get why some don't want to put anything on a clean record ... But that doesn't mean Last is bad ... I understand why many would not put anything on a clean
record other than a clean well adjusted stylus but that's a personal
choice not a reason that Last is " goop" and doesn't do what it's
designed to do.
I never said Last was bad or didn't do what it was designed to do and, in fact, praised some of their other products. I use Last stylus cleaner and it works very well. I have no issue at all with Last.
When Last Record Preservative first was introduced the sales rep visited our store and made a very convincing demonstration. He cleaned two new identical records and treated one with Last and left one untreated. Then the two records were put on two identical automatic turntables and left on repeat for non-stop play for a couple of days. Customers could come back at their convenience and listen to the two records. The treated record sounded new, the untreated record was very definitely noisy. A third record was compared too, and sounded very much like the original treated record. I have used Last ever since.
"I have 60 year old records, many with over 1000 playings, that sound absolutely fresh."
Of that I’m sure , and I bet your 60+++ ears and memory are just as fresh and accurate too.... (eyes rolling), snake oil actually was a fraud because the product had no snake oil in it , that was the crime, .... neither does the last..... More feel it works than those that just opine with little experience, I have about 8700 lps and many, many, over 60 years old too. I’ve noticed something others have over time , you can’t , as you’ve already dismissed it and it seems with nothing more than words... So can you explain why its just "snake oil" , instead of the chemicals Davies claims are used and how they work so we all can understand your claims vs his products ? Seriously waiting for one of the few to give supportive reason to the negative claims with some tangible explanation to support it. Its one thing to not believe something personally, its another thing to bash what you don’t believe with a few words and no lasting experience or reason that supports the negative claim . Bill Stevenson’s recollection of that sales guys demonstration showed it worked at abating surface noise that a 1000 plays on a untreated record rarely if ever lives to see zero noise that was’t there 60 years ago...even if you can’t hear it...those CD guys sure can.............
Still waiting for your reasoning , you made a claim , I simply asked you to give something more than negative words and insults, but you seem to be at a loss for an intelligent solution to communicate reason to understand what it is ...at least beyond the insults anyway ... but that’s something a keyboard helps the meek pretend with, that their bravado is real and consequence is a unicorn ...... Glad to see its working so well for you,..................
I wonder if the demonstration @billstevenson described put the records in question to more of a test than normal play. The data on vinyl recovery after play is scant. I don't use LAST, but there are plenty of records I've purchased over the years, some as part of collections, that were treated. I've had no issues with any of those. Since LAST has been around a while, before RCMs were in common use, was the practice to treat the record when new, before playing (or cleaning)? Most of the records I've been buying for the last several decades are not new. But, some new records that I do buy seem to need a play, even after cleaning, to settle in; whether that's the result of no dehorning or something else, such records tend to be quieter after an initial play. Perhaps that doesn't matter in the use of the LAST. Do those who use LAST apply it to used records or records that have been played?
Actually , its the weakest act to be simply be spreading a negative for the simple sake of it especially knowing you can’t back up your negative claims and being so transparent to use insults when challenged to simply supply even some experience or reasoning. A negative can be proven actually, sadly ,you just proved yourself to be just that , .....
One successful (allegedly) test is hardly proof of this product’s efficacy.
It’s no more relevant than any post written by has2be.
@wcfeil Then , as asked , please explain why your claim of snake oil supersedes all the other’s experience and demonstration(s) beyond just your insults or what seems to be nothing more than your empirical opinion... I’m waiting for it with all sincerity, if you have something to teach us , then explain it..if your just being argumentative, then own it. I gave my experiences with it, and had no negative comments or complaints because I never experienced anything but the same positive ones many many others have. You have done nothing , nothing but dismiss and insult and claim its snake oil that doesn’t do as it’s claimed to do ,that others do support it does. You should be able to effectively explain what you claimed here without insults at a minimum............Your actually acting more like a troll than someone who is informed to explain position....
This is a response to whart's questions: Clearly the demonstration I described constituted a severe test. Nobody is going to repeatedly play the same record over and over again in normal circumstances. The point of the demonstration was simply to prove that the stuff reduces record wear even in this extreme case. These days I buy new records and used records. Currently every record gets a first cleaning on my VPI HW17 RCM followed by the application of LAST on the record. I have experimented by not applying Last to a record first, and can report that records play more quietly after the Last Record treatment is applied. This is true for both new and used records. Obviously I like the stuff.
Blueanger, I never buy the 2 oz. bottle and never counted the number of records, but know how you can find the answer as to the number of records you can expect to treat per bottle. You can call Last and they will tell you or you can call a retailer like Music Direct. With each bottle a supply of applicators and sheets of sticky labels are supplied. Every record you treat gets a sticky label and it is uncanny how the number of labels always works out to be just enough to last through a bottle of the stuff. So it is a simple matter to count the number of sheets supplied with each bottle. There are 16 labels per sheet. The Last Factory can be reached at 925-449-9449 or www.thelastfactory.com. Or www.musicdirect.com
Thanks for the link to Larry Archibald's Stereophile review, has2be. I had seen those microscope pics of Last treated and untreated grooves, but it was years ago. Michael Fremer has also reviewed Last, and is an enthusiastic endorser. You know who else is? The snake oil suckers at The Library Of Congress, who were early adopters of Last Record Preservative. As my momma use to say about anything uttered, consider the source.
bdp24 - When I used Last, I first cleaned the records on a Nitty Gritty 2.5i. If I recall correctly, I also used a fluid named "First" which was a "pre-cleaner" and, I think, was made by the folks who made Last.
On Last-treated records, the surface noise I heard developed only some months later.
Who know the reason(s)? Maybe I got a bad batch? I own several thousand LPs and haven't run into this problem before or since. In any case, I now steer clear of Last.
@rshak, First was made by Nitty Gritty, but was discontinued because some chemical it contained was banned by the EPA. It was as you said, a heavy-duty pre-cleaner, made to remove mold release from new LP's before they were cleaned with regular cleaning fluid on their RCM's. My first (no pun intended ;-) RCM was a Nitty Gritty, but I found it lacking. I much prefer my VPI, but the newer Okki Nokki, Pro-Ject, and Clearaudio machines look really good too.
If a single application of Last is done to an LP, I can't see any reason that LP would develop noise months later. If anything, I would expect the opposite. Maybe it's the snake oil in the Last ;-) .
I used it as directed and it left a residue on my stylus (which caused audible distortion!) so I washed the record and the stylus and never used it again. Needles are way too fragile for messing with except for normal dusting- IMHO. My hands are just not steady enough unless I remove the arm and take the whole thing over to my desk with a strong light source. So I have an entire pint of this stuff if anyone wants it (with the applicators, too.) It did not harm the record, but my needle, if it's anything like yours, is almost invisible to the naked eye. Back in the good old days I could clean it off (gently) with my finger...
I swear by it. Have used it on many of my records since 1967 or so when it first came to my attention. First I clean the record using LAST cleaner, then apply the LAST solution. The results, particularly on new records, is to completely eliminate high-frequency grunge on dynamic passages, if any exists. I have records, including some used frequently as test records over the year, that still sound as new. FWIW, I also used LAST stylus preservative and my AC-2 is still going strong. Same principle as the record preservative. I'm not sure it is still sold.
I have noted that the LAST record preservative I bought most recently seems to evaporate more rapidly than back in the old days. May have been a formula change along the way.
I clean stylus with Lyra stylus cleaner before each play. I think, the smallest bottle of the LAST was enough for 50 or 60 records but I didn’t count, so it’s $1 per record or less, almost like nothing even for me.
Been using both LAST and STYLAST, since they hit the market. Bought my first VPI RCM, about the same time (a 16 and now I own a 16.5) . Never have seen the first sign, of anything gathering on a stylus. Never experienced the first problem, regarding my records. The ones bought back in the, "Golden Years" of vinyl, still sound excellent. Some were played repeatedly, every business day, for years, to demonstrate my systems. Always clean(ed) and treat(ed) them, before the first play. Just another happy camper!