What a joy

Sunday March 9, 2008

It’s quite clear that Graham has caught the hi-fi bug again.  When audio CD and digital radio came along it all slipped away and I confess that I heaved a quiet sigh of relief.  I like listening to good quality music on hi-fi.  So does Graham but in addition he likes the hi-fi for its own sake.

And talking about it.  Endlessly.  In great technical detail.  And, since I was most often the only one around, I was his captive audience, and somewhat reluctant with it.  This time round, though, we have the Internet and he has signed up with a number of vintage hi-fi discussion groups, and spends much of his free time discussing esoteric hi-fi issues with them.  Happy as a pig in swill, as they almost say.

So, recent weeks have seen the arrival of ‘new’ vinyl LPs along with sundry bits of connectors and cables and such to get our ‘new’ living room system up to speed for playing LPs.  And, most recently of all, the arrival of a ‘new’ Thorens TD126 Mk III record deck and, separately, a ‘new’ SME 3009 Mk II unimproved version tone arm.  They are destined to replace the old Thorens TD166 Mk II/Lynn LVX BasikPlus tone arm we stored away when we stop using vinyl years back.

Don’t worry if you can’t follow the technical stuff–I’m repeating it verbatim, and can keep up only because I was an enthusiast myself, back in the days of Noah.

So, anyway, after much research and discussion, yesterday was the day he decided to start putting all the new bits together.  The deck was easy enough but the arm took almost six hours to assemble, balance and fine tune.  I observed with some reverent admiration, not only for his quiet application to a fiddlesome task but also in remembrance of the time when we all had to do the same kind of thing.  Nowadays it comes in a cardboard box from Japan or some such place and all you need do is unpack it and plug it in.

It wasn’t always like that.

Hey ho.  The long and short of it is that we now have a new member of our hi-fi family and the old one is to be cast aside and auctioned off on eBay.  There’s still some tidying and cleaning work to be done but the thing works, and it produces sound quality as close to heaven as you can get.

All good stuff.  The real long and short of it was that we didn’t get our dinner until almost midnight yesterday, we both slept poorly, and Dolly, having slept happily right through both the works and the night, is much amused to witness her two tame monkey-faces moping about the house in an exhausted and defenceless condition.

“We don’t have to go out anywhere today, do we?” I asked in an advanced state of whine.

“No.  If the weather forecast is to be believed we don’t have to go out until Wednesday.”

“Oh?  What are they saying about the weather, then?”

“Something about a great gale.”

“Oh.  What a joy.”

Old gramophone for old

15 responses to “What a joy

  1. goodness, I seem to be first!

    Good morning!

    Heh! Good morning, Marty, and well done!

  2. Ah, bless the other online enthusiasts. I had forgotten all about the weighting, balancing and fine tuning of the arm, but it came rushing back with a feeling of “gulp, here we go again.”

    Here’s wishing both of you much pleasure from the results.

    He’s been playing vinyl Super Tramp this morning, Wendy. Just right for breakfast!

  3. That picture would qualify as technology porn in some circles, John. It’s gorgeous!

  4. Oh yes. It really is gorgeous! And proves my point that us old ‘uns still have the power! 😀

  5. Oh how I love 45’s.I got rid of my juke box and now I feel the urge to replace as they just don’t sound the same anymore.
    We on the south coast are battening down the hatches as we are expecting flooding and 80 mile an hour winds.I am so glad that I moved back from the beach!Having said that I am still only yards from it now.

  6. You know it, John. Superior function and aesthetics in one package. 😀

    It truly pains me that “they don’t make ’em like they used to”. I’m willing to bet that the tone arm from Japan, that needs no adjustment, is also very difficult or impossible to fix if it breaks down.

  7. Andrew Duffin

    That should be in a museum, that should.

    But I bet it sounds wonderful.

    John, what’s your vote – valves or transistors?

    Just wondering…

    It does sound wonderful, Andrew. As for my vote: For sound/musicality, valves. For convenience and practicality, transistors.

  8. There is no way I can participate in the techno-babble about hi-fi equipment as some readers here can do, but having said that, I have a turntable and have a great collection of 33.3 rpm albums from back in the day that I haul out now and again to play. Not quite so convenient as a CD, but some of those old pieces just aren’t around any more, and I do love an old song.

  9. My “other half” has a lovely Technics Direct Drive Player Systems SL 1200, circa 1975 (aprox) He recently purchased a new stylus for it and it sounds delightful playing his vintage record collection. The one you lads have is beautiful! Nice to see there are still audiophyles out there!

  10. I have quute a lot of ‘vinyl’ still and I do have one of this players that everone here is selling now and it works quite well. Plays 78’s, 45’s and 33’s besides tape decks and cd’s. I have some old HMV 78’s that I brought from England when we came here years ago and I have never parted with them.
    Sounds like the player you have, John, is top class……

  11. Heh I must point out this post to daughter some day. She thinks my having a record player is so antique. Still have lots of records too, of which she will say you can get that on cd’s. I doubt Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanian’s are on cd.

    Don’t know about on CD, Bonnie, but you can find Fred and the Pennsylvanians on YouTube! Try this one for size!

  12. Hi-fi enthusiasts remind me of wine buffs. For those with a sufficiently discerning ear or palate, only the best will do. Personally, I’m grateful that I have neither. Life is so much simpler, and cheaper, if you’re satisfied with a glass of supermarket plonk and a bog-standard CD player.

    I hear what you say, Chris! I’ll not do a ‘me too’ but I think I’d rather spend my dosh on a wine upgrade than some bit of esoteric hifi. I’ve issued fair warning today that, once we’ve moved and settled, I’m going to find myself an old gramophone and rebuild my collection of 78s. The Stokowski Brahms 1st symphony I used to have in an album of 12-inch 78s would knock the socks off of a legless man.

  13. Excellent plan, John. I inherited a tall, cabinet-type Victrola from my grandparents that I must get into working order. I have some 78s of Mozart that I want to check out. Arturro Toscanini and the NBC Symphony Orchestra!

  14. Can’t beat a good set of valves and some fine vinyl. Beats the pants off CDs and most transistors.

  15. Hi-fi is back for the young ones, too. My son owns a small record company, and he’s really “into” music. He laid down some serious cash for state-of-the art turntables and the rest of the gear.

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