Not a single record I own will get LAST put on it, short of a few used records I purchased with this stuff already applied. With record detail information as micro fine as it is in a groove why would you want to slather over it with a coating of anything? I have records that are more than fifty years old and have seen much play and the fidelity in them still shines though every time I spin them. My advice is invest in a good record cleaning machine, use it, and leave the magic potions aside. Cheers!
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I totally agree with the above.
Also, it's important to make sure you never are using a worn out needle - that will trash your records.
Tracking force matters.
I used to use stylast and it did not seem to extend the life of the needle at all, contrary to their claim that it can do so 'up to ten times' as long.
The guys at musical surroundings - last time I heard - don't recommend stylast any more. The whole premise seems fishy anyway: how long could the stuff really stay on the needle given what's going on down there? I suspect the stylast is toast before the end of the first track - but what do I know...
I do not use it as a regimen. I have used it and I have records to which it has been applied by others. Of those to which it has been applied, some have received the application as many as 30 years ago and have been played MANY, MANY times. If it were going to do any damage, it would have done so by now. I do not think there is any question as to whether it is safe to use. It is. Whether it "preserves" the vinyl such that it will sound BETTER after repeated plays, say, 20 years down the road, I don't know for sure. I have LP's that have been treated with LAST that sound perfect after more than a hundred plays. I have records that have NOT been treated that sound great after more than a hundred plays. I have never tried putting it on one and not the other of the same LP and then playing them both for ten years to compare the difference. If anyone has THAT type of testing information, please share.
I do not use STYLAST but, instead, I use Record Research Labs #9. I've examined styli under the microscope before and after using this stuff and it works GREAT. OTOH, you have to be careful with respect to liquid stylus cleaners. Check with your cart manufacturer to be sure you are not dealing with a cantilever that might serve as a wick to suck up the liquid into the cartridge innards. Too, one has to be careful with "dry" cleaners and the ones where you lower the stylus down and lift up to, "VIOLA", remove gunk. Ask a few cartridge distributors and they will tell you that using such cleaners is the leading cause for cartridges to return for cantilever repair (next to cleaning women accidents, that is). :-)
4yanx experience mirrors my own.
I used to use LAST record cleaner and preservative back in the '80s for most of my records. (I probably used it for 5 or 6 years, and put it on at least a hundred records or so.) In the '90s I switched over to CDs (like most of us I imagine), and did not get back to my vinyl collection until 3 or 4 years ago when I bought a new TT and phono preamp. When I have played those records with the LAST preservative, I have found that they still sound great.
I now use a RCM, (Nitty Gritty 1.0) so I have not found the need to utilize the LAST products. However, based upon my past experience with them, I can recommend them if you don't have a RCM. (Personally, I think a RCM (even a cheap one) is the best alternative to cleaning your records. But if money is a concern, the LAST products are pretty good. If you do get a RCM, the RRL Super Vinyl Wash is very good, and I highly recommend it.)
As far as Stylast, I tried it, but did not really feel it did much. So I too now use RRL #9 as a stylus cleaner, and feel it does a good job. (I actually put the liquid on the brush, rather than on the stylus, in order to minimize the amount of liquid that goes onto the cantilever.)
My two cents worth.
One caveat to my earlier post. I am NOT saying that anyone who has concerns and does not want to place LAST on their vinyl is wrong. In fact, if one is not comfortable with WHATEVER product is out there and they have doubts as to whether they want to risk it on their vinyl, I say err on the side of caution. Lord knows there are umpteen products out there that are lauded as great which have had little or no testing - save what profits might be realized through their sale.
It is my OPINION, however, that the LAST product is perfectly safe.
I have been using LAST on my LP's for more than 30 years, and have been very satisfied with its performance. Some of my LP's have been played many times over the years, and there is no detectable deterioration of either the vinyl surfaces or the quality of sound reproduction. I admit that I also clean my LP's frequently on a Nitty Gritty machine (using my own homebrew cleaning fluid), which contributes to the LP's remaining in top condition, but I am convinced that LAST does what it promises (and the Library of Congress apparently also agrees, as it uses LAST for archival preservation of its sound recordings).
Some of the A-gon members (4yanx, Joe Trelli, etc) that have bought LP's from my collection can attest to the fact that my LAST-treated LP's have remained in virtually mint condition.
Ultimately, it's a judgement call if you want to use LAST. Opinions range from it being un-advisable, to being an OK option, to being an excellent way to protect your LP's. I can only attest to my own experience: LAST has worked well for me.
On the subject of stylus cleaners: back in the 1980's, I stopped using liquid cleaners on the stylus/cantilever assembly, and only recently resumed its use. I am presently using LP #9, and it seems to work well (although I can't tell for sure if it's the liquid, or the additional use of a stylus cleaning brush).
What no one will argue with is the necessity, and effectiveness, of keeping your LP's really clean with a good record cleaning machine (even the inexpensive models do a fine job if you use them properly).
I will not use a record without it. Have used it steadily for close to 30 years. I used to use it on everything except my "fine" recordings such as direct to discs, telarcs, mo fi's, uhqrs, etc. In the interval the mo-fi's have some occasional ticks. The "normal" vinyl that is last treated has held up better. I now use LAST on every record I purchase.
I love Stylast also and use it and LAST stylus cleaner. Every play. Never an issue with build up, etc.
Last products are great.
It just sounds a little "fishy" as was coined earlier. If someone chooses to us this stuff and believes in it, great! I don't, that's all. I do not have empirical study with (same) records treated and not treated with this stuff so I can't honestly say that one sounds better now or in time to come, than the other. What I can say is that for me, common sense lends to not putting a coating (of anything) over something of such fine detail and nuance because it can only lessen the detail to the cartridge. That IMHO is a fact and my record collection has been hard earned and is worth far more than all my equipment as I have previously mentioned, so it gets the respect it deserves. For me record collecting is my life long passion and I cant afford the possible mistake. LOL and Happy Listening!
LAST is not a substitute or replacement for an RCM or record cleaning, and I don't believe the LAST people suggest it is intended to be. Record cleaning and using LAST serve two different purposes.
LAST is not a cleaner. Nor its use like coating ('slathering') your record with vaseline, some how interfering with the passage of the stylus through the groove. Purportedly it works at the molecular level by hardening/strengthening the vinyl so that it lasts (get it?) longer. (cf. LastFactory )
Over the past 25 years, records I've treated with LAST have held up very well, clean easier and tend to stay clean longer. I hear no sonic degradation from records treated with LAST, if anything, just the opposite.
I also use the Stylast stylus treatment as long as my cartridge does not have a hollow cantilever. I'm convinced it extends stylus life.
...in my system, YMMV, yada yada, etc.
If you research vinyl you will find out that it degrades. This degradation can be slowed by the apllication of solutions which contain lead. I'm assuming that the preservative contains lead and stabilizes the vinyl. I have used it on my most played albums only after a complete cleaning to good effect.
These arguments are common when faced with product testimonials rather than a) scientific explanation by the supplier and b) independent laboratory testing. The contents of the LAST preservative may be common so that LAST does not want to give away a trade secret by divulging them. On the other hand, that does not prevent them from having an independent laboratory test their product. In the mean time anecdotal arguments are of limited value. Does anybody feel like buying two of the same record, treating one with LAST and then subjecting the results to blind audio testing? That would be interesting.
LAST definitely works. It does what they advertise by (to make a long story short) transforming the surface molecules of the lp from vinyl into Teflon. And it DOES NOT leave ANY residue on the LP. It becomes a gas almost instantly at room temp and pressure.
But as I posted in a recent thread, there are other issues which remain unresoved. Here's a copy of that post:
I still use it on lp's that I expect to play a lot, say 8 or 10 times a year. But I'm very careful with it, and only apply it while outside the house - for reasons stated below. As far as a sonic signature - I don't hear any difference that could not be attributed to an overactive imagination.
However, the effect I would worry about is your health. I don't know the EXACT formulation - but I know that LAST is basically a "Flourinated Hydrocarbon" such as PFOS or PFOA which the LAST guys originally sourced from 3M. 3M shut down production in 2002 over health liability concerns, but some other chemical manufacturers have taken over. It's contact basically turns the top few molecules of the LP surface into Teflon, which to oversimplify - is created by exposing Nylon (which includes viNYL) to a Fluorinated Hydrocarbon gas. Your new Teflon record is much slipperier and heat resistant then before, so it doesn't wear out. However:
Here's a quote from this website: www.ewg.org/reports/pfcworld/e...
"The U.S. EPA peremptorily forced one member of this family off the market in 2000: PFOS, the active ingredient used for decades in the original formulation of 3Ms popular Scotchgard stain and water repellent. Shortly thereafter, 3M also stopped manufacture of a related perfluorochemical, called PFOA, that is now under intense regulatory pressure at EPA. 3M formerly sold PFOA to DuPont, which has used PFOA for half a century in the manufacture of Teflon. (DuPont now makes the chemical itself at a new facility in North Carolina.)"
Here's a quote from the EPA:
"PFOS accumulates to a high degree in humans and animals. It has an estimated half-life of 4 years in humans. It thus appears to combine persistence, bioaccumulation, and toxicity properties to an extraordinary degree."
- May 16, 2000. Phaseout of PFOS. Charles Auer, USEPA, Director, Chemical Control Division Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT)
Hope I'm not depressing anyone - my knowledge of this is incomplete, so it might be nice if someone from the Last Factory would clarify the risks. But I'm worried that a full disclosure may not quite be in their interests.
I did an Internet search to find a MSDS sheet for LAST preservative, but no luck so far. If I find the info, I'll make another post. In the meantime, here are two threads about LAST that may be of interest:
Hey - you guys gotta learn how to check out the U.S. Patent Office - it can provide hours of aimless enjoyment and piles of useless information. For example here's a link to Last's Record Cleaner, Stylus cleaner, and Record Preservative patents:
The Preservative stuff is down toward the bottom of the page. In case you can't get the link to work, here's a reprint of that area:
"Compositions for preserving records comprise about 0.05% to about 0.2% by volume perfluoropolyether having an average molecular weight of about 2,000 to about 6,000, such as Fomblin.RTM. Y25, and a perfluoroalkane carrier."
"record preservative compositions comprise a perfluoropolyether in a perfluoroalkane carrier. The perfluoropolyether is preferably a perfluoro(polyoxyethylene-polyoxymethylene) block polymer or a perfluoro(polyoxypropylene-polyoxymethylene) block polymer, having an average molecular weight of about 3,000 g/mol. Presently preferred perfluoropolyethers include Fomblin.RTM. Y25, Fomblin.RTM. Z03, and the like, preferably Fomblin.RTM. Y25/6. The carrier is generally a perfluoroalkane or mixture of perfluoroalkanes. Suitable carriers include perfluoropentane, perfluorohexane, perfluoroheptane, perfluorooctane, and the like. Presently preferred compositions contain from about 0.05% to about 0.2% Fomblin.RTM. Y25/6, about 0.25% to about 1.0% Fluorinert.RTM. FC40 (a perfluoroalkane), and the remainder perfluorohexane (PF5060, 3M Co.). The composition is prepared by dissolving the perfluoropolyether into Fluorinert.RTM. FC40, and then dissolving the mixture into the perfluorohexane. The composition is filtered through a 0.2 .mu.m filter, and is bottled in glass."
Whew - I wouldn't try mixing this stuff up at home! Looking at this, though, it is not exactly as I had been told - but this patent was from 14 years ago and my info was from about 6 years ago - and it's probably been changed again since. The ORIGINAL version appears to be more of a Teflon surface lubricant than a Vinyl Teflon-izer.
Perhaps we have a real chemist on Audiogon who could expand our understanding.
I began using LAST back in 1990, and would like to add my experience with the product to this thread. Several reports of bona fide experience providing over 30 years of time-proven evidence can safely conclude LAST does not harm to your LPs. It's a valid and understandable position to be cautious about products that can have impact on precious LPs, but I'm pleased to say this is not a snake oil product. I use a VPI RCM, and yes, an RCM is highly recommended, but LAST Preservative is NOT the same thing. Neither is a substitute for each other. An RCM cannot do what LAST Preservative does. I applied LAST to a beloved classical import that only had 1-2 plays on it, applying LAST Cleaner first, then the Preservative. Another LP was an RCA Dynagroove from 1963 that was played frequently on a Motorola tube console. Even today, these LP's exhibit a quietness different than any other LPs that have not been preserved. I have duplicates (and more in some cases) of both LPs and the appropriate metaphor that comes to mind is likened to 10 1/2 in reels running at 30ips. The sound is every bit as articulate as when first played, yet the surface area sounds like highly polished glass (frictionless). Anyone who has not experienced LAST first-hand should reserve expressing presumption to the contrary of genuine verification. It isn't fair to the product or to the people who are interested in what the reality of LAST's affects genuinely are. Though you're entitled to feel any apprehension, it isn't responsible to recommend anyone should stay away from it. Seldom do people have the benefit of time to prove the worth of a product's long term affects, especially a controversial application many are aware of but looking for feedback to help them understand what they're dealing with, so empirically proven testimony that can be shared is invaluable. No longer is the question "Do you believe?", as it isn't a matter of does it really work. It's genuine, it's pricey, but it is everything the manufacturer and reviewers have said it is; and it continues to provide unique value that will serve after most of us are long gone.
I recently ordered Disc Doctor 2-step Miracle Cleaner. My procedure is to do a pre-clean on the VPI (VPI fluid is sufficient since it's just a pre-clean) > Disc Doctor thorough clean for safe removal of any/all contaminants > LAST Preservative. Ony those LPs that are truly quiet (frequent moments of silent/quiet passages) are generally chosen. IMO, these are the ones I feel are deserving enough to fully exploit the benefits of LAST and are treated with it. For what my opinion is worth, if I had an unopened MF UHQR, I wouldn't dream of not doing exactly what I described, LAST included. For me, it would be a rediculous proposition not to. I've just purchased an unopened RCA LSP-2620 (Marty Gold Soundpower). It's the same as the 1963 version I referred to LASTing back in 1990. A friend and I are looking forward to commemorate its' opening with this procedure, accompanied by a 24/192 transfer for an archive and DVD-A/CD source. It goes without saying we'll be doing this over a couple Crown Royals :-)
I use it on noisy albums only. I clean the record first then apply it. I wait a few days then apply again, wait a few more days then play the record. It seems to minimize the surface noise and pops. It has saved more than a few albums from the trash. BUT if the album sounded great to begin with I would not use it.
The chemist who invented LAST insisted that his product was not a coating. He said that it bonded with or reacted chemically with the vinyl (I don't remember which, the conversation I had with him occured over a quarter century ago) to reduce the friction it imparted to the stylus. He also said that LAST could only be removed with a nasty industrial solvent unavailable to consumers. On the other hand, Disc Doctor auteur Duane Goldman claims that his cleaner can remove LAST. For what its worth, Michael Fremer has used LAST for decades and told me that he hears no ill effects from it.
Everyone here who simply posts a negative (or a positive) without indicating whether or not that have actual experience with the product is, at best, adding nothing to the conversation. Jaybo and Ebm, I'm talking to you. If you have an actual, honest to God reason for not liking LAST, please say so.
And Mmakshak, there are dozens of pressings for every Stones album, and most sound different. Sometimes significantly different. That's why there are websites dedicated to the differences between pressings. You bought a record, the title of which you can't even remember, that was already treated, so you have no way of knowing anything about the effects of LAST on this particular copy. Period.
I agree that a RCM should be the first thing a vinyl lover buys, but I find that the combo of my RCM and LAST gives me very quiet records that stay very quiet no matter how often I play them, with subsequent cleaning done only with an Audioquest brush. Cleaning records is boring and time consuming, so once is enough for me.
This is all strictly my experience and opinion, but I'm pretty that I'm right.
I have been using LAST products since I first learned of them in the mid-1980's. Yes, I believe that they offer a modest improvement in overall smoothness and sonics. I don't re-play the same records often enough to comment on the preservative value, however. I do know that I don't notice and degradation of sound in my favorites. First, I clean the LP with my Nitty Gritty, then apply the LAST Preservative, and finally use a dust-free rice-paper sleeve. This was the prescription 30 years ago, and I still use it today. I also use the StyLast on every side of LP, and I apply the LAST Stylus Cleaning Fluid every record or two, usually followed by the stiff stylus brush. I and my friends have used this product on all our LPs without ill effects. I could spend the rest of my life searching and never replace my LP collection---- that's how much I trust the product. My friends with irreplaceable collections feel similarly.