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Buddha
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Vinyl myths/legends/facts...

Aloha,

A recent LP based discussion reminded me of some of the LP facts/myth discussions in the hobby, so I thought I'd ask about some:

Fact, or fiction?

1) Some people claim that there is terrifically high heat generated at the contact point between a stylus and the LP's vinyl groove. This heat can actually deform the LP groove, and the LP then requires 24 hours to 'recover,' and should not be played again in that amount of time.

2) Stylast Fluid. Can a liquid product adhere to a stylus and remain in place between a stylus and the groove it is playing? If so, for how long can it adhere and withstand the rigors of its environment?

I'll stop so as other people can mention their own favorites, too!

Jan Vigne
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Re: Vinyl myths/legends/facts...

Favorite what?

You don't think the friction of the stylus in the groove produces heat? You don't believe someone can manufacture a lunbricant that withstands heat?

And you forgot to mention the ZeroStat you linked to in the other thread. I can't see anything coming from the gun so how do I know it's not snake oil?

So many myths, so many fools.

judicata
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Re: Vinyl myths/legends/facts...

Well, there is definitely friction, and friction produces heat. But, waiting 24 hours? No way. The specific heat capacity of vinyl (combined with the mass of a record) cannot be such that it takes that long for something to cool down in normal circumstances. The vinyl is probably near room temperature at least within a few minutes. Once vinyl is completely cool, it is also hard, and any damage that was going to happen has happened.

No idea about the liquid stuff.

Jan - what are you saying?

linden518
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Re: Vinyl myths/legends/facts...

I only give an LP twenty four hours to cool off if it's a James Brown record. Hit me!

One fact/myth that I'd rather have someone else corrobroate or debunk is how using a specific brand of dental floss as belt improves the sound dramatically. I think I was recommended Oral B, waxed. I don't care. I'm not introducing a dental floss in my audio chain, dude.

Buddha
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Re: Vinyl myths/legends/facts...


Quote:
Favorite what?

You don't think the friction of the stylus in the groove produces heat? You don't believe someone can manufacture a lunbricant that withstands heat?

And you forgot to mention the ZeroStat you linked to in the other thread. I can't see anything coming from the gun so how do I know it's not snake oil?

So many myths, so many fools.

Easy there, Jan.

I'll put you down in the 'fact' category for Stylast.

How about record temps and vinyl recovery?

As to the liquid lubricant abilities of Stylast, I ask because:

1) Temps for people who say stylus/groove temperature is a big deal state 900-1200 degrees celsius. That's, like, way hot, Farenheit!

If that temp was real, Stylast would have to remain unchanged at quadruple 'broil!' I can

Jan Vigne
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Re: Vinyl myths/legends/facts...

I can tell you the discs I used for demo material got played over and over several times in an average day. Quite often they didn't get five minutes for the vinyl to cool. I can compare those discs today to the copies I have at home for my personal use and the demo material is almost always noticeably worse for the wear. I treated my demo material well, I had to, but wear is a matter of fact.

I don't believe anyone ever suggested that playing an album once or twice in a short time period would do irreparable damage - as a matter of fact I seem to remember an answer to such a question that explicitly stated it takes multiple plays to do noticeable damage - but damage does occur and will only become more noticeable if you consistently play a disc over and over as I did with my demo material. How many times is this an issue for the average listener?

I imagine if you contact some other old geezers who worked during the days when vinyl was the norm, you would find much the same answer from them.

Consider that one of the most effective groove cleaners is the stylus. Just look at the gunk it retrieves from a clean record!

Then, why don't we look at this topic from the other way around. Take the stylus' position in the matter. Hard diamond, not too easy to damage but it gets worn down over time by vinyl. How's that happen? Anyone know the temperature and pressure it would require to wear/damage a diamond?

In a reprint from Stereophile, Vol 1, No.7, J. G. Holt discussed information provided by two engineers for Philco Corp., Lew Brown and John Koval that dealt with wear at the stylus/groove interface. In the article that followed Brown and Koval cited acceleration as high as 3,000 g's at maximum stylus deflection. They also stated, "Vinylite has a certain amount of elasticity, which allows it to yield slightly to pressure without incurring a permanent dent. If too much pressure is applied, the elastic limit of the vinyl will be exceeded and the groove will take on a permanent dent." Their discussion focusses heavily on the "dynamic compliance" of a stylus assembly.

I can't easily find any information that substantiates the figures Buddha has provided for tracking force or tempteraure. (Though I can find an article on modifying a Rabco ST4 tonearm , converting your rim drive table to belt drive and how to wind your own moving coil step up transformer.) However, keeping with Brown and Koval's discusion of "dynamic compliance" in a cartridge assembly, I would have to suggest that the extremely high numbers cited for both are; 1) possibly incorrect, and 2) extremes arrived at under the most dynamic conditions possible given the recording medium's limitations, in other words, the numbers reflect a "worst case" scenario. Surely not all recordings - or any in my collection - have dynamic passages that would exert maximum pressure on the stylus over the entire course of the disc. Take into account the highest recording level and the highest tracking force combined with the lowest compliance cartridge and these might be numbers that reflect the instantaneous factors a stylus must face - just as the 3,000 g's is not a typical playing condition.

Wouldn't any dicussion of wear on the record groove require a certain amount of attention be paid to the various formulas for vinyl that have been used over the decades? Does a 1970's DynaGroove wear faster and with fewer plays than a 2008 200 gram pressing?

I know this subject intrigues you, Buddha, I've seen the other threads you've started on this topic. But you would appear to be taking the extreme case for wear and using this as a jumping off point for your concern.

mrlowry
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Re: Vinyl myths/legends/facts...

Personally I've always wondered how a diamond (the hardest substance known to man) stylus can be worn out by vinyl (a very soft substance.) I've seen the wear under power microscopes so I know it's real. Could the culprit be the awesome forces and temperatures mentioned? For the grove these forces and temperatures are fractions of a second. For the stylus tip they are 20 or so continuous minutes with a brief break before the next round.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Vinyl myths/legends/facts...


Quote:
For the stylus tip they are 20 or so continuous minutes with a brief break before the next round.

Worse if you fall asleep - or pass out. Unless you're using that old Garrard changer.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Vinyl myths/legends/facts...

I did forget to mention the excellerated forces and temperatures that would be found in an off center disc and a warped disc - which pretty much all discs are. These would surely contribute to the numbers Buddha cites but I'm not convinced these are numbers that reflect the actual conditions found in playing "Weird Al Yankovich's Greatest Hit".

Buddha
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Re: Vinyl myths/legends/facts...


Quote:
Personally I've always wondered how a diamond (the hardest substance known to man) stylus can be worn out by vinyl (a very soft substance.) I've seen the wear under power microscopes so I know it's real. Could the culprit be the awesome forces and temperatures mentioned? For the grove these forces and temperatures are fractions of a second. For the stylus tip they are 20 or so continuous minutes with a brief break before the next round.

I buy all of that!

You know, Last Record Treatment seems to make sense, and there are people with years of use who can A/B treated and untreated LP's with good results.

Treating the record makes sense to me, although I still wonder about a stylus plowing through the treatment and leaving a wake behind it. I've 'Lasted' some LP's and never saw a bead of fluid build up in front of the stylus. very interesting stuff. Last Record Treatment goes in my 'real' pile.

The idea of Last is great, I can get my brain around the stylus meeting a constant supply of very thin lubrication. Like a boat, I can even picture a 'fore wake' and an 'aft wake' as the fluid is approached and left behind.

It's the fluid on the stylus thing that makes me wonder.

Can you picture how Stylast would work as described?

How about some more myths...

3) No need to clean LP's, the stylus will shove the dirt aside.

Yikes.

4) You should rotate records that have not been played for a while to prevent the vinyl from getting thicker at the bottom.

5) Carbon Black is necessary for vinyl, because it is an effective heat conductor and takes the heat generated by playback and disseminates it over a larger vinyl area. Clear vinyl lacks this ability to conduct heat away, and will suffer heat damage/wear more quickly that a black record.

6) A 200gm LP, all other things considered, will be superior to a 180gm or lower LP. What do you think the point of diminishing returns would be?

(Not trying to promote any of the ideas. Just stuff that people have 'pundited' on me, and it makes me wonder what is the 'truth.' As if we can establish that in Hi Fi!)

judicata
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Re: Vinyl myths/legends/facts...

I think this is an interesting topic. I'm in for examining some of these claims. Most of my responses are based on limited knowledge or pure educated conjecture, so feel free to counter-point. I'm not saying this is gospel:

Diamond Tips. Diamonds aren't indestructible, and they come in different types. Also, I'm not familiar with the construction of a diamond stylus. Is solid diamond the only thing contacting the record? Is it really the diamond itself that is wearing out? (I'm genuinely asking - I really don't know). I've always wondered how a diamond doesn't tear the hell out of a record on the first play. My fingernail does more damage. But I guess it has to do with pressure, shape, and size.

Cleaning. The "no cleaning" claim is actually made by Rega in their manuals (I have one). My vote is "partly TRUE." If a record is generally cared for, the dust particles that most noticable affect play (clicks/pops) seem to be pushed aside by the stylus. I believe Rega that much. But, for used records, I've heard undeniable improvements after cleaning. Just spray a little sugary soda on a record and don't clean it, then clean it. Duh it'll sound better clean.

Rotating. My vote is "MYTH" on rotating records, unless you're storing them in a very warm furnace or out in the sun (then maybe, I dunno). If your vinyl is becoming liquid-like enough to collect on one end of the record, the collection of the vinyl is the least of your worries. If a single drop-like quantity of vinyl moves at any point in the record, then things must be happening to really screw up the grooves. In other words, a much smaller quantity of vinyl would need to move to melt across a groove. I could also add that I've never observed this effect in looking at many thousands of used records, but I can't say I've checked every single one for uniform thickness. And if I did find one off, I wouldn't know if it was from this effect or manufacture. So, I won't cite observation.

200gram vinyl. I can see how "thicker is better" has at least surface appeal. First, why does it sound better? Is it more durable? What if we took it to an extreme, and had a record also be a platter, so we had a 1" thick record? Maybe it is the resonance or something. I've heard some people say 200gram is harder to press so more mistakes are made. I've heard others say that 200gram records are pressed more carefully and therefore sound better -- not because of the inherent nature of the vinyl, but the production. I'm going to have to go with "no clue" on this one.

On most of the other topics, I can't even claim enough knowledge to speculate.

mrlowry
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Re: Vinyl myths/legends/facts...

The rotating records could very well be partially true. For example if you measure the thickness of old glass (several hundred years) it is thicker at the bottom than at the top because even though it looks solid it is in some ways still a liquid and is very slowly flowing downwards because of gravity. The difference in thickness between the top and bottom continues to change as more time elapses. When I first heard that I was fascinated, but from my understanding it is a fairly well documented phenomena.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Vinyl myths/legends/facts...


Quote:
It's the fluid on the stylus thing that makes me wonder.
Can you picture how Stylast would work as described?

Just like your car's lubricant, Stylast eventually wears down and breaks down. You have to re-apply Stylast every time you clean the stylus.


Quote:
3) No need to clean LP's, the stylus will shove the dirt aside.

That would depend on several things. First, what is the condition of the disc? If it's new vinyl, then "cleaning" it can cause more of a mess than just playing it. If it's old vinyl, you could really cause a problem if you don't clean the surface correctly.

People suffer from the "if a little is good, then a lot must be better" syndrome. One of the biggest problems with Discwasher was the inability of the user to apply just enough fluid to allow the brush to absorb all of the stuff on the disc and not leave a lot of wet vinyl. The Discwasher fluid was, apparently, good enough to lift some of the crud from the groove but, if the brush couldn't pick up the fluid and suspended dirt off the disc surface, you just spread dirt around the disc and made a slurry of crap the stylus then tracked through. In this case it's better to not "clean" the disc if all you do is make the disc more filthy.

If the stylus has a profile that doesn't get down in the groove, say, a conical stylus or a bargain basement 2X7 mil elliptical stylus, the stylus won't be tracking through the area of the groove where the major contamninants from the pressing process have settled. It will ride the top of the groove where big chunks of dirt reside, big enough the stylus can push them out of the way. This is one reason a better cartridge/tonearm will often sound better when you play old records, it's touching vinyl that has never been played before. Line profile styli tend to have more problems with dirty records because they touch more vinyl.

So the question becomes whether you do a lousy job cleaning your records or a good job cleaning your records. I've seen people clean records with a vacuum cleaning machine but only use enough cleaning solution to draw a thin line across the radius of the disc. This is the equivalent of the Discwasher system where all you do is make enough of a mess to make more of a mess. Clean the disc thoroughly and remove the fluid that holds the contaminants and you'll hear a major improvement in your sound quality. Make a mess and you've wasted your time and the stuff you spilled all over the LP.

Bottom line, the stuff that's big enough for you to see, the stylus can push aside 'cause it's way bigger than the footprint of any stylus.


Quote:
4) You should rotate records that have not been played for a while to prevent the vinyl from getting thicker at the bottom.

Yeah, but that's only if you haven't played that record in about 25 years. Tito Puente and Les Paul get played more often than that.


Quote:
5) Carbon Black is necessary for vinyl, because it is an effective heat conductor and takes the heat generated by playback and disseminates it over a larger vinyl area. Clear vinyl lacks this ability to conduct heat away, and will suffer heat damage/wear more quickly that a black record.

Just asking, why do you think records are black?


Quote:
6) A 200gm LP, all other things considered, will be superior to a 180gm or lower LP. What do you think the point of diminishing returns would be?

Obviously the quality of the recording, mix, master, pressing. etc, are all more important than the thickness of the final disc. Given equals in all other respects, the thicker the LP, the less bleed-through there will be from side to side and therefore, the mastering engineer can cut a deeper, wider groove with more information, deeper bass response and broader dynamics. Ever play a floppy 1970's DynaGroove and hear the other side playing through? Bad joo-joo, man, bad joo-joo.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Vinyl myths/legends/facts...


Quote:
Diamond Tips. Diamonds aren't indestructible, and they come in different types. Also, I'm not familiar with the construction of a diamond stylus. Is solid diamond the only thing contacting the record? Is it really the diamond itself that is wearing out? (I'm genuinely asking - I really don't know). I've always wondered how a diamond doesn't tear the hell out of a record on the first play. My fingernail does more damage. But I guess it has to do with pressure, shape, and size.

Yes, diamond is the only thing touching vinyl if the stylus is a diamond. There are nude mounted and bonded styli. The nude mount is a solitary diamond that is shaped and pressed into a fitting (hole) in the end of the cantilever. This offers the lowest effective tip mass and supposedly the fastest response time due to the lower "effective" mass. The bonded stylus is a diamond chip that is glued into a shank of metal and the shank is then pressed into the end of the cantilever. In either case, the diamond is what touches the groove.

How the diamond rides in the groove is a matter of size and effective mass but mostly it is a function of the stylus shape and degree of polish. The compliance of the cantilever assembly has a lot to do with record wear. Actually, tracking a cartridge too lightly tends to cause more damage than tracking at a heavier force within the limits of the cartridge specs. A lot has to do with the tonearm in this case.

dbowker
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Re: Vinyl myths/legends/facts...

I can't see heat being a problem, if it even exists for more than a second or two. Think about it- it's contacting a continuously variable place in the grooves the whole time! Then, you have the rest of the record, plus the platter to dissipate the heat. The stylus is being surrounded by air which would also take away heat. As for the 24 hours- crazy silly. They don't wait 24 hours after the record comes hot off the stamping press for Pete's sake, and I gather that's about as hot as that lp is ever going to get.

I don't exactly get the Stylast thing either. the stylus is diamond! Yeah- that stuff that's the hardest mineral on the planet. Can cut other rock, steel etc? How could a coating of liquid- any liquid--- make it last longer?

I'm all ears if there is some links to how it all works...

bertdw
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Re: Vinyl myths/legends/facts...

From what I recall when I started using the Last products years ago, using Stylast on the stylus in combination with Last on the record reduces friction even more than using Last alone. Reduce friction, reduce wear. Even diamonds wear, and wear out.

Buddha
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Re: Vinyl myths/legends/facts...

"Just asking, why do you think records are black?"

I was taught back in the day that they were made black to hide imperfections in the vinyl.

We were also told that one of the ingredients in a new LP was ground up old LP's; which might make for a slightly unsightly product without the opaque coloring. Hence, "virgin vinyl" came to denote LP's that were made with 'un-recycled' material.

The last thing I recall being told about carbon black was that it made the vinyl "more durable," which raises the question of the carbon black also contributing in some positive way to the playability/lifespan of an LP.

I think in the last 20 years with the advent of new LP's pretty much being an audiophile product, the question should be, why are they still black?

It will be interesting to see how the formulation changes as we maybe enter the era of clear LP's.

One of the original selling points of the original MFSL's was that they also used a finer type of carbon black. Did you ever see any of their demos at the CES where they backlit their LP's vs. those of 'the other leading brands?'

The black color has a neat history.

It would be interesting to see if Michael Hobson had to change the underlying vinyl formulation when he started making his Clarity Vinyl pressings!

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Re: Vinyl myths/legends/facts...

"It will be interesting to see how the formulation changes as we maybe enter the era of clear LP's."

That's a great point- It'd be great if someone had the money and time to do some R&D and find out if you could make an all around superior LP out of something NOT vinyl at all. Plastics, like most industries has made huge advances in the last 30 years, let alone 75 years since vinyl was the adopted material of records. Of course, a big problem could be that all the current tooling and processes are all gear towards vinyl. A company would REALLY want to get into it---We can dream though...

As far as 180 gram stuff- I always though it was flatness and resonance dissipation (probably heat too) that was why they were better. 200 gram? Don't know as I am unwilling to pay that much for any record.

BTW: I just got the LP version of Cold Play's X&Y album, which aside from incredible packaging detail, it's on 2 180 gram LPs that sound VASTLY better than the CD version. It may be an entirely different mastering than the CD, as the dynamic range is much better (they are famous for being extremely compressed and LOUD in their CDs) and the entire tonal range is opened up and more natural sounding. A must buy for even the casual fan.

I got it off the Amazon Vinyl store, which I try and use because their prices are usually better and I figure my "vinyl" vote may go farther when it's with a mainstream vendor.

judicata
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Re: Vinyl myths/legends/facts...

I can see how a replaceable liquid can reduce friction (thus reducing heat and wear). I think Jan already analogized with car engines - metal is really, really durable stuff, and we coat it with a viscous liquid to make it last longer (in the case of motors, just to make them last more than a few minutes).

I have that Coldplay release as well, and was very pleased. As for Amazon, I've had to return several records to them for being terribly scratched. In three different cases (separate shipments) I've had a deep, deep, gouge near the outside of the record. Terrifying to hear. On the positive side, they send me the replacement record immediately with fast shipping (not media mail), and I send the other one back (no return shipping) within a few weeks.

linden518
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Re: Vinyl myths/legends/facts...

I submit that it's a myth that vinyl can make Coldplay sound like they're actually making good music.

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Quote:
I submit that it's a myth that vinyl can make Coldplay sound like they're actually making good music.

Hey!! Let's not have any music snobbery here!

I don't think they are God's Gift or anything, but they do make some decent rock tunes to chill to. And anyone who snagged Gwyneth Paltrow for his wife obviously knows something more than you or I ever will, heheh.

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Re: Vinyl myths/legends/facts...


Quote:

Quote:
I submit that it's a myth that vinyl can make Coldplay sound like they're actually making good music.

Hey!! Let's not have any music snobbery here!

I don't think they are God's Gift or anything, but they do make some decent rock tunes to chill to. And anyone who snagged Gwyneth Paltrow for his wife obviously knows something more than you or I ever will, heheh.

Perhaps...but have you been watching PBS? She's running around all over Europe with a chef that looks like the comic store owner on The Simpsons. BTW, just the name "Matchbox 20" makes me cringe, but I watched them do a concert on tv and they were actually good! And could play their instruments.

linden518
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Re: Vinyl myths/legends/facts...


Quote:

Quote:
I submit that it's a myth that vinyl can make Coldplay sound like they're actually making good music.

Hey!! Let's not have any music snobbery here!

I don't think they are God's Gift or anything, but they do make some decent rock tunes to chill to. And anyone who snagged Gwyneth Paltrow for his wife obviously knows something more than you or I ever will, heheh.


LOL, I was trying to just goad you & judicata on. It just sucks that you guys have enough sense of humor and are both too well-balanced for my ploys to work. Curse you both.

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Re: Vinyl myths/legends/facts...

So now that someone has come "out" and admitted to owning Coldplay vinyl....I will join in.
I purchased Viva La Vida influenced by the free CD which I knew would go down well with my teenage daughter (for ripping purposes).
I was disappointed. The bass seems totally overloaded and I am wondering if this is my system or if it's a Coldplay trait.
"Life in Technicolor" has a thundering bass and the bass track on "Lost" is smeared, loose and muddied.
Spoilt the album for me.
Anyone else find this?
Is it really my system? No other music does this.

dbowker
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Re: Vinyl myths/legends/facts...

Ha- funny stuff from all. Like the "outed" Coldplay line. Yeah- that album has a few pretty overblown songs as far as bass and mixing. But just try the CD version and it's even worse. Sometimes a better medium can't help misguided mixing. I read that they were sort of going for that effect though, so who knows? Perhaps a case of not knowing when to back off.

X&Y has a better mix in my opinion. Really nice open sound and well defined sound stage and imaging. The vinyl version anyway. The CD version is pretty clogged up.

judicata
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Re: Vinyl myths/legends/facts...

Agreed that X&Y sounds better, but I think Viva la Vida is the better album. Eno did some good things there. The drums are more prominent and, without the drive, some of the mediocre songs would be just awful. That said, sometimes the bass is overpowering (their typical fans like that, I guess), but a track or two sounded just plain distorted to me (same on CD).

Sorry this thread kind of got off track, but I have a question about the liquid/friction issue: I've heard some people argue that LAST (and maybe some other products) leave a film that affects the music. I can visualize how this could happen - taken to an extreme, a thick goop could cover the grooves and diminish the sound. But, does a very thin film do the same thing? Since people swear by it, I doubt that, if it does, it is at all audible.

mrlowry
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Re: Vinyl myths/legends/facts...

Michael Fremer states that MOST of the stylus and record treatments he has tried over time begin to flake and when that happens create move noise. The LAST products he singles out for praise saying that he has never had that experience with their products and he has been using them for 20 to 30 years.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Vinyl myths/legends/facts...

I've used Stylast for about twenty years. The same bottle for most of that time. I never trusted Last itself but can't say I've ever heard any problems from the stylus treatment.

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