Record Preservatives . . . The Pros and CONS

Michael Davitt

VIP/Donor
Nov 3, 2020
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at LAST. . . poor Yorick! I knew him, well ! A fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy.
Where be your gibes now? your gambols? your songs?
Your flashes of merriment that were wont to set the Turntable on a roar ?


The question of the hour : What say ye about these Record Preservatives ?

Last Record Preservative, Gruv Glide, GEM Dandy GroOove Lube LP Elixir of Life, Sound Guard Record Preservative . . .

Though recommendations for LP preservation differ among professionals, the majority are in agreement on the basics:
records need to be kept clean, stored in such a way to prevent distortion, and maintained in a stable, climate-controlled environment, ditch the paper inner sleeves for static free, non scratching, anti contamination inner sleeves etc.
Also recommended is the maintenance of a turntable, including regular inspection of the weight, tracking, alignment and condition of the stylus.


In addition, there has been an emergence of a type of product to "preserve" the life of the vinyl record. These products adhere to the
conclusion that playing a record is a "contact sport" therefore the mere act of playback . . the shuttling of a diamond across a soft
vinyl disc will degrade it each spin.

From my youthful experience . . the million plays of my Michael Jackson's "Beat It" on my little Crosley ~ when held up to the light, it let the sun shine through . . . but I digress.

The theoretical efficacy proposed by these manufacturers is that the use of these products will mitigate the wear and prolong the life of your musical library and extend stylus life.

They expound upon the trickle down science gained from NASA research, that their tincture bonds at the molecular level on vinyl which creates a slippery groove, the stylus can then safely peruse. Thus it keeps the record surface from disintegrating from the shockwave made by the stylus playing the record. Claims vary, but reduction of static build up on the record surface may be included.

Declarations :

"How does the preservative work, from a chemistry standpoint?

An amalgam of polyvinyl chloride and polyvinyl acetate is used for manufacturing records. These are relatively long chain molecules. Under sufficient magnification, they resemble a pile of “Lincoln Logs”. As such, there are numerous small voids, pits, and crevasses. The active components used in LAST Record Preservative have (1) a strong affinity for vinyl, and (2) a very small size compared to the vinyl molecules. The Preservative enters and “locks into” these voids, thereby acting as a permanent shock-absorber for the vinyl. The benefits of longer life, lower distortion, and noise floor are all brought about by the characteristics of affinity for vinyl coupled with the tiny size of the Preservative molecules."
~ LAST Products

"GroOove Lube's proprietary formula greatly reduces friction between the stylus and the record surface, improving sound quality and vastly extending the life of both record and stylus. Simply listen to one of your favorite records, then treat it with GroOove Lube and hear the difference for yourself. To prove the preservation and anti-wear qualities of GroOove Lube we purchased a used LP from a Goodwill store, cleaned it thoroughly, and treated it with GroOove Lube. The LP endured over 500 plays with no degradation in sound quality, additional surface noise, or apparent stylus wear. Note that this is not a cleaning fluid; you should clean your record thoroughly before treating. Each kit contains GroOove Lube, a misting spray cap, and two buffing pads."
~ GroOove Lube


"The Magical potion
Now, I turn my attention to the accompanying GroOove Lube. Given the claim that the effect of treating a record is “stunning”, what would it do for my records? I applied it as per the instructions to a very familiar disc that was newly washed. Would it sound different to the many times I've previously heard it untreated? Yes indeed! Greater vitality is how I feel describes the music emanating from the playing of a newly washed and lubed record. This seems miraculous and wasn't really anticipated to be so startlingly discernible.
After just a few weeks with these great tools at my disposal, it's too early to know the long term effects of GroOove Lube, but I liken it to Sound Guard record preservative, a similar product that was promoted by a British hifi magazine in the early 1980s (HiFi Sound, I think).
This was derived from lubrication technology developed by Ball Corporation for NASA, and worked by lubricating the vinyl and thus reducing stylus wear and static charge on the groove surface. I applied that to quite a few of my records in 1981 (I wrote the date on the sleeves), simply spraying it onto the surface of each record and then buffing it lightly. These records remain some of the shiniest, quietest, and crispest sounding in my collection, and for the large part having never been washed or retreated."
~ TNT-Audio - online HiFi review


I have tried some of these products and the most amazing thing I noticed was a white build up on my needle and a distinct removal of high frequencies and extension.


What is Your Experience ?




 
Last edited:

Michael Davitt

VIP/Donor
Nov 3, 2020
327
236
140
A long time ago I treated about 150 records. About 5 years later I needed to replace them all because the high frequencies went missing In action.
So it is not JUST me. I only did about 6 Lps. Thank you for your comment, I appreciate your time sir. I did this with some un - listenable records and then they became slightly un-listenable after. I never listen to them now.
 
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mtemur

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Mar 26, 2019
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I can say that gruv glide works perfectly but you need to apply very tiny amount on the pad otherwise result is unsatisfactory. Another important point is to use it only on cleaned records.
 

Neil.Antin

Well-Known Member
Jul 9, 2021
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FWIW:

Here is the patent for the Last products; 1499067499117143667-05389281 (storage.googleapis.com). The record preservative is a fluorocarbon oil dissolved in a fluorocarbon solvent.

This is the Ball Corp Sound-Guard product HiFi-Stereo-Review-1976-03-OCR-Page-0037.pdf (worldradiohistory.com) and Sound Guard - NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) which is not the same as the Last product. The Vac-Kote appears to be a blend of a fluorocarbon & hydrocarbon. However, I draw your attention to the film thickness of 0.000005", which is = 0.13 microns.

Both products use a lubricant that has a very low vapor pressure - very high boiling point so essentially, they do not evaporate; and by their nature they have very low surface tension, with similar viscosity so the concept is probably to fill in the inherent surface roughness of the record which is very low to begin to provide some lubrication to further reduce friction.

Sounds good, but when you consider how it needs to be applied to get a uniform film thickness, some problems have to develop. How do you get a uniform film thickness on the upper ~70% of the groove where the stylus rides, which are vertical at a 45deg angle? With the lubricant carrier being a low surface tension, low boiling solvent, if you fill the groove, and the solvent evaporates, the lubricant will tend to concentrate in the remaining solvent so a non-uniform film thickness is likely and that can lead to the results some have had - loss of high frequency detail and residue.

Otherwise, the RCA record composition that was detailed in this patent 1498409551006799538-03960790 (storage.googleapis.com) was verified by RCA using microscopic and audible testing to show no wear after 100 plays with a Shibata type stylus at 1.5 gm VTF. However, conical at 4.5 gm VTF did trench the groove; but did not produce debris.

So, what @tima says - "I'm not inclined to add anything between the stylus and the vinyl groove." is good advice.
 

Michael Davitt

VIP/Donor
Nov 3, 2020
327
236
140
FWIW:

Here is the patent for the Last products; 1499067499117143667-05389281 (storage.googleapis.com). The record preservative is a fluorocarbon oil dissolved in a fluorocarbon solvent.

This is the Ball Corp Sound-Guard product HiFi-Stereo-Review-1976-03-OCR-Page-0037.pdf (worldradiohistory.com) and Sound Guard - NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) which is not the same as the Last product. The Vac-Kote appears to be a blend of a fluorocarbon & hydrocarbon. However, I draw your attention to the film thickness of 0.000005", which is = 0.13 microns.

Both products use a lubricant that has a very low vapor pressure - very high boiling point so essentially, they do not evaporate; and by their nature they have very low surface tension, with similar viscosity so the concept is probably to fill in the inherent surface roughness of the record which is very low to begin to provide some lubrication to further reduce friction.

Sounds good, but when you consider how it needs to be applied to get a uniform film thickness, some problems have to develop. How do you get a uniform film thickness on the upper ~70% of the groove where the stylus rides, which are vertical at a 45deg angle? With the lubricant carrier being a low surface tension, low boiling solvent, if you fill the groove, and the solvent evaporates, the lubricant will tend to concentrate in the remaining solvent so a non-uniform film thickness is likely and that can lead to the results some have had - loss of high frequency detail and residue.

Otherwise, the RCA record composition that was detailed in this patent 1498409551006799538-03960790 (storage.googleapis.com) was verified by RCA using microscopic and audible testing to show no wear after 100 plays with a Shibata type stylus at 1.5 gm VTF. However, conical at 4.5 gm VTF did trench the groove; but did not produce debris.

So, what @tima says - "I'm not inclined to add anything between the stylus and the vinyl groove." is good advice.
Thank you for your thoughtful comments . Kudos !
 

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