LAST Record-Preservation Treatment Manufacturer's Comment

Manufacturer's Comment

Editor: Thank you for the opportunity to review your article, re: LAST, prior to publication. You are very kind to allow me such an opportunity. I do not blame anyone for being "fuddled" by thermodynamic concepts. I personally had a great deal of difficulty in learning the little I know about the general subject. And, although I have taught chemical thermodynamics a number of times, it is still difficult for me to do so and extremely difficult for students of either physics or chemistry to grasp the concepts on a deep, basic level. I consider the concepts of quantum mechanics to be much more easily understood than those of thermodynamics—and quantum mechanics concepts are NOT easy.

Some research has been done by various investigators on what I had called the tearing and gouging wear mode. Discwasher published some of this in a seminar about two years ago and attributed this wear to vertical tracking angle misalignment. They definitely showed that such wear could be induced by VTA misalignment. There are SEM photographs in the AES Journal in several papers written during the late 1960s that also show such wear.

The region on the record where tearing and gouging occurs is always in a strongly modulated groove. My interpretation is that this is due to stick-slip phenomenon (friction) where the stylus slams into the groove wall, sticks to it, and then bounces off of it.

I would like to clear up a point about our SEM research. The pictorial damage which I call conchoidal fracture had been observed before. There is a classic paper by Coots and Woodward in the 1960s that shows such damage. Fortunately, I had not seen these photos or the paper prior to my research or I would not have questioned the mechanism for such damage. My major contribution in this research was to question established dogma and to see a physically reasonable mechanism as the cause of the damage.

The Holst record referred to is an Angel recording.

There is one technical error in the edition of "The LAST Word" you have. Since returning from CES in Las Vegas, I have run across typical surface free energies for classes of material similar to diamond. I had not been able to locate measured data on diamond so I had estimated its surface free energy. That estimation, I now know, was incorrect, and I am retracting that argument. The improvement in sound then appears to be the result of reduction of friction (better traceability) caused by LAST lowering the surface free energy of the vinyl. Frankly, the friction reduction is so large, that I am surprised. If there is a radical dampening of the shock wave as you suggest, I do not understand what the mechanism is. You are right, there is still a mystery.

About the rest of the article, I have no comments except that we here at LAST are so pleased that you are pleased with it.—Edward Catalano, President
The LAST Factory

Absolutely the LAST Word, from June 1982 (Vol.5 No.4)

As a footnote to our lengthy report in Vol.5 No.3 on LAST record preservative treatment, we are publishing with permission—thank you, Peter—some spectrum-analysis curves made by International Audio Review (footnote 1), which show that the audible benefits of LAST are most definitely measurable. See, skeptics: we audiophiles often do hear things that exist.

Footnote 1: International Audio Review is published by Peter Moncrieff, 408 Mason Road, Vista, CA 92084. Web:
The LAST Factory
2011 Research Drive
Livermore, CA 94550-3803
(925) 449-9449

Allen Fant's picture

Interesting- LA.
is there a similar product for CD ?

corrective_unconscious's picture

Sure, there are these green magic markers....

leok's picture

After using Last 2 (record-preservation treatment) I find the amount of anti-skate force required to maintain right-left stylus force balance is significantly reduced. Anti-skate on my Graham 1.5 is set to almost minimum. Without the Last treatment, mid-range anti-skate was required. I interpret this as indication of reduced stylus/record friction.

I also find record sound improves as described in the above article.