I used to use LAST, and I think I still have a bottle somewhere. I also used Soundguard, both with good results. But I can't ever remember either making my records sound better. I think the application does help with static, but applying any liquid would as well. Maybe I will revisit LAST and try it on a few records. I stopped using it when I read a report in Audio Magazine decades ago on stylus pressure and record wear, basically that if you're tracking under 6 grams record wear is insignificant. Now 30+ years later I concur completely with that.
I can't comment on record wear. But as I understand it, it's not the age of records that really matter but a number of plays. I also read somewhere that it is not a good idea to play one record twice within about 24 hours, someone said that records need time to 'get some rest' and provided kind of scientific explanation for that. I cannot comment on that either. There are records that I play quite often, though not more than once a day, so I treated them with the LAST. Sound improvement was a pleasant bonus, but again it was quite subtle, just as subtle as when I put one half-inch Walker resonance control disc on the maple block next to the turntable motor and also when I put another Walker disc on top of the Nakamichi deck. Small improvements accumulate and at some point may become one sigificant improvement comparable to upraging a component.
I was one of the first dealers in the country to sell LAST at the retail level. I sold hundreds and hundreds of bottles and never had any complaints.
I have used it for well over 30 years now and SWEAR by it. A record never touches my tables/arms/cartridges without first having LAST applied.
I have read, (and I’m sure we will get many negative comments here), about all of the "supposed" "bad" things that LAST does. I have NEVER had any problems or concerns or really anything but positive results and I have used it on thousands of LPs.
I have records that were LASTED 35 years ago that sound and look perfect to this day.
IMHO, LAST in one of the best things we can do for our records to preserve them.
+1 mofimadness! I started with LAST back when the dealer I worked for started offering it in 1982. Never looked back. Unmatched for their preservative and I've had excellent success with the cleaners. That's what I call happy listening!
Hmmm, I have two unopened bottles from1984, and one partial from 83. Whats the chances of this still being good?
Slim I would suspect. Need to go online and see who carries it. Honestly, I wasn't aware that A-T was still making it.
I like Needle Doctor. The price is $50 for a bottle that will be enough to treat about 60-70 records,
Also, Walter Davis, the LAST man behind it is very friendly and knoweledgeable. You can buy this stuff directly from the LAST.
He also makes two solutions to preserve tape heads and tapes and swears by them. You might be interested in this too.
Norman....A-T, (I am assuming you mean Audio Technica?) doesn’t/didn’t ever make this. The LAST FACTORY does.http://thelastfactory.com/
The LAST preservative will evaporate quite quickly if you don’t cap it tightly. I wonder if yours is still good. Maybe send Walter Davies an email and ask. I would be interested in knowing also. email@example.com
inna & mofimadness,
I read your post and went to grab the bottle. Ha! It's not LAST, it's LIFESAVER by Audio Texhnica! I feel silly. Anyway I apparently have no experience with LAST, just Soundguard by Ball and LIFESAVER by Audio Technica.
Still, had good luck with both. Now I will order a bottle of LAST. Certainly worth a try, and I am very interestes in something that would reduce head wear on decks. Thanks guys!
"Yes, LAST Head Treatment is safe and effective as a head cleaner. This is actually accomplished during the application of the treatment to the tape heads. However, under conditions wherein excretions from the surface of compromised magnetic tape have established a hard, resistive, ridge (or coating) on the leading edge of the heads or guides, a stronger acting solvent such as Isopropyl Alcohol may be needed to dissolve and remove the offending material.
Head Treatment may also be used on pinch rollers, if used sparingly. The goal is to clean and maintain the flexible surface of the pinch roller without providing any excess that might be transferred to the capstan, thereby compromising its task.
LAST Tape Preservative is unconditionally safe for use on magnetic tape. I have treated my own seven and ten inch reels of tape for more than twenty five years. There is an operational caveat which relates to the amount of atmospheric moisture that has been absorbed by the tape's oxide layer. At the point wherein 20% of the oxide has been compromised by moisture, the polyester binder/matrix in which the magnetic particles are suspended, can begin to catastrophically break down. When this happens, large sections of magnetic oxide and binder separate from the plastic tape and can peel away and become lost information! Excessive amounts of oxide shedding onto the heads and guides is an indication that the tape carries a significant moisture content.
Some operations attempt to repair this condition by "Baking" the tape in an oven. We feel that this can lead to huge mechanical stresses on the tape and support reel as the tape first expands under heating, then contracts during the cool down phase. Our approach is to place the (potentially) problem tapes into a vacuum chamber and evacuate to a very high vacuum. In so doing, the moisture diffuses to the edge of the tape and is evacuated by the vacuum pump. With a High Vacuum pump this process can take several days before the tape is essentially moisture free. Once an end point has been reached, the tape(s) are brought back to standard air pressure and then treated with Tape Preservative. The Preservative prevents the uptake of new moisture, so that the tape remain viable for decades after. We have several customers, who lacking access to vacuum chamber/pump facilities, place their tapes into plastic, sealable containers with silica gel desiccant to achieve suitably dry tapes (ready for application of the Tape Preservative). This approach can take a couple of weeks to reach an end point.
Thank you for your questions. They required a thoughtful answer that became rather wordy. I hope the foregoing is helpful.
The LAST Factory"
That's what Walter said when I asked him couple of questions. He sounds very convincing to me.
I just received a shipment of four Discogs LP's that the previous owner had treated with LAST and I was knocked out at the apparent increase in S/N and clarity. I'm considering becoming a convert.
A VPI cleaning, LAST treatment and MoFi sleeves for every LP, since 1981. Stylast stylus treatment before every listening session. Even the vinyls that were used daily for demos at my shoppe, still play sweetly as day one.
+1 rodman. Anyone disparaging Last Record Preservative is, sorry, mistaken. A lot of research went into it's development, and Walter Davies is to be congratulated, and thanked, for doing so.
I remember starting using LAST in 1983. Also believe I have a bottle from that period. DO remember thinking it made an improvement however haven’t use any in some time..
Just dove into a bottle of Last Record Preservative and...I'm convinced. I do have some questions that I've not seen definitively answered...I think I'll reach out to Walter and if I get a response, I'll post it here.
So I sent the Last Factory the following questions about a week ago. I haven't received a response (not a judgement, just a statement of fact). However, in the past week, I've treated (probably) 150+ records, and have thoughts on my own questions.
Just received my 8 oz. order of Last Record Preservative, and, overall, I'm loving what it does to my vinyl (ordered through Amazon). I do have a few questions that I've not seen definitively answered anywhere. They are all a bit interrelated.
1. I understand the vinyl should be as clean as possible before applying Last Record Preservative (my vinyl, at a minimum, have run through a 5-minute cycle in a Klaudio ultrasonic record cleaning machine - perhaps even an enzyme-based scrubbing before the ultrasonic process).
I also understand that Last Record Preservative will not "lock in" contaminants, but will get underneath the contaminants to create a molecular bond with the vinyl (correct me if I'm wrong).
Does Last Record Preservative help loosen those remaining stubborn contaminants? I'm assuming those that have reported more "gunk" on their stylus after an application of Last Record Preservative are actually seeing their stylus remove some of those stubborn contaminants (and not the Last Record Preservative itself). Is there a benefit to re-cleaning a record treated with Last Record Preservative - particularly with an ultrasonic cleaner?
I believe that, yes, those that report more "gunk" on their stylus after using LAST Record Preservative are NOT scraping off the LAST Record Preservative, but contaminants their record cleaning process (or lack thereof) have not removed. As stated above, I employ a relatively rigorous process to clean my records BEFORE applying LAST Record Preservative, and have not accumulated any more "gunk" on my stylus - even after spinning several dozen sides between stylus cleanings.
Would a treated record benefit from (another) ultrasonic cleaning? Possibly. Probably. But I haven't done any testing on an uncleaned record that's been treated.
2. It's mentioned on your website that Last Record Preservative "has an extreme affinity for vinyl, and once in place, is very difficult to remove" and "for standard record cleaning solutions used in either in manual or vacuum machine operation, the integrity of the treatment is not compromised."
How would one remove Last Record Preservative form vinyl? Would an ultrasonic record cleaning machine compromise the integrity of the treatment? In what situations would a 2nd treatment of Last Record Preservative be beneficial? Is there any situation where a 2nd treatment of Last Record Preservative would be detrimental?
I don't think you really can remove LAST Record Preservative from a treated record. Once it has bonded, I think it's pretty much bonded. This is pure conjecture, and we really need a reply from the LAST Factory to confirm. I have run a few records through my ultrasonic cleaner after treatment, and while I didn't experience significant improvement (as my records were clean before the additional ultrasonic cleaning), the LAST Record Preservative seem to not be affected.
I think a 2nd treatment of LAST Record Preservative is only necessary if the first treatment was not applied with sufficient coverage. From my experience so far, I don't think a 2nd treatment would be detrimental. However, provided the first treatment was sufficient, I don't think a 2nd treatment would be beneficial, either.
3. As I mentioned in my opening, overall I'm extremely happy with the effect of Last Record Preservative. The noise floor seems to drop significantly (and I think I'm conservatively describing the effect). However, I detect a softening of the extreme highs. What am I hearing? Is this the "almost 10-dB reduction in high-frequency IM distortion as measured on a test record"?
Yes, I did experience some "softening" of the extreme highs on treated records. However, what I believe I was hearing is the "almost 10-dB reduction in high-frequency IM distortion as measured on a test record" (per the LAST Factory website). This distortion reduction is documented in a Stereophile review of LAST Record Preservative
I believe this "softening" is actually due to a sub-optimal SRA / VTA (historically masked by high-frequency IM distortion). A bit more "tail-up" and not only did those extreme highs return, but imagining snapped into place in a way I did not experience with untreated records.
Bottom line, I'm not only a LAST Record Preservative convert, I'm now a LAST Record Preservative evangelist. They should call this stuff "magic in a bottle". I love what it does. It makes the lead-in grove dead silent. Somehow, it minimizes some of the pops and clicks throughout the record. I don't hear any negatives. If it does what it claims it does - protect the record from repeated plays - that's just gravy. It like what it's doing *today*.
Is this stuff for everyone? Nope. Probably not. We audiophiles abhor any "distortion" in our system, but secretly, we love distortion (when it pleases us) - whether it's vacuum tubes, significant feedback (or lack thereof) in solid-state designs, the impact of cables, our choices in speakers, time-domain effects of digital filters, or the high-frequency IM distortion in inherent in vinyl playback. IMHO, LAST Record Preservative takes you one step closer to the truth. But the question remains...Can you handle the truth?
No coatings for my records. Good luck with it.
Great write-up nrenter. Rockitman, Last Record Preservative is NOT a coating. It is a chemical binder, locking the PVC molecules together, to prevent the LP's vinyl from fracturing due to the friction, pressure, and heat created by the stylus riding in the groove. Last leaves no residue (the liquid carrier evaporates), is not removed from the vinyl by the stylus, and therefore cannot accumulate on the stylus. There is nothing to accumulate---it's not a coating.
I experimented with treating the LAST treated records second time. Didn't hear anything different. Cleaned the records after that, again no difference. I agree that on some records the noise floor is somewhat down and there may be fewer pops and clicks on some. Less high frequency distortion? Maybe. Definitely not more. Great stuff.
Last record preservative works, if that's what you want. It bonds to the vinyl and reduces nasty friction. It also tends to make it brighter and give the music a certain sheen. Caveat, apply to pristine record, or....
inna: "Didn't hear anything different". You're not supposed to! Last Record Preservative was designed to, as the name says, preserve LP's, to prevent their deterioration with every play. Not to make LP's sound better, but to prevent them from sounding worse. It keeps LP's sounding no worse with each play by preventing the vinyl from fracturing due to the friction, pressure, and heat created at the stylus/vinyl interface.
inna said that there was no audible difference after a 2nd application of LAST Record Preservative.
And, yes, LAST Record Preservative is designed to prevent deterioration. However, I stand behind my claim that it makes records sound better today.
I applied it to both pristine and not pristine records, the result was the same. Very different music and pressings. Acoustic, electric, vocal. From McLaughlin's Shakti to Dead Can Dance to Miles' Bitches Brew and Pangaea to Mahavishnu Orchestra to flamenco singing. So maybe results do depend on the recording, the pressing and preferences. For my taste I heard nothing negative.
By the way, I also tried LAST tape head preservative. Same outcome. The difference is that for best results you have to apply it before each play. I usually do it every other play. It also cleans the head. It appears that the tape moves a little smoother.
Seems only appropriate to give a shout out to playing LPs wet. Using that little red Audio Technica roller brush that keeps the water nice and smooth in front of the approaching stylus. No more pops and clicks, no more groove noise, no more teacher's dirty looks.
Last is absorbed into the vinyl, and is not a coating!
Last reduces record wear, and keeps records sounding great, if you care for your records properly.
I used to use LAST and the wet playing technique simultaneously. It’s really the only way to fly. Much more silence between the notes. You’ll think you died and went to heaven.
no goats no glory
I got a note from Walter (he's been a bit underwater lately). In addition to the 3 sets of questions noted above, I actually asked him a 4th question as well: "Would you mind if I shared your responses on the AudioGon forum?" Here are the responses I received...
#1 Gunk on the stylus after treating a record with Record Preservative. In our experience, this is almost always occurs because the original cleaning operation was unable to completely remove the residues left in place at the completion of the record pressing process.
There is however, an additional component to the perceived problem. The clamping pressure of the record presses run to the thousands of p./s.i. After the press (and the still captive record) have been cooled and chilled, the press is opened. But, there is still a pressure gradient within the body of the record. And within the vinyl plastic there can be microscopic cavities with the release agent and internal lubricant still under pressure within the now cool record. Those compounds (with the plastic) make up a small puck of semi-molten vinyl that begins life in the center of the press which under high heat, and very high pressure, subsequently flows out to the edge of the press completely filling the mold cavity. A record can be thoroughly and completely cleaned, but after awhile, some of the release/lubricant can diffuse to the surface and ending up as a ball of gunk on what was assumed to be a "Clean" record.
A record cleaned using Ultra Sonic cleaning is probably as clean as is possible to achieve. It probably is not very helpful to re-clean using U.S. Though you could experiment to determine if there is an audible difference.
2. We have not heard any adverse experiences where listeners have used U.S. to clean treated records. However, the machines are still relatively new for much data to have been collected. My own experience is that a good U.S. machine will meticulously clean a record surface but doesn't affect the bond between the record surface and the Preservation Treatment. But I have only had chance to clean a couple of treated records.
3. I fully believe that you are hearing and responding to the reduction in I.M. Distortion brought about by use of the Preservative. I and many other have experienced the same.
4. I am very happy to have my replies posted. We welcome the opportunity to present our views and experience to those who love their recorded music.
Thank you for asking such insightful and probing questions. I am personally gratified that music lovers still care so deeply about their music listening experience.
What are some of the bad myths that have been spread about LAST?
As his response displays, Walter is a great, great guy. I bought my first high end system from him when he had a retail Hi-Fi shop in Livermore, CA, one of the first on the West Coast. Last Record Preservative is a fantastic product, a real gift to LP owners.
And when I asked him if it would make sense to use this on records that I don't play for purely preservational purpose, he was not quite sure but said that it might not make economical sense. I said I don't care about the cost since I only have couple of hundred.
He is really great to talk to and to deal with.