I’ve had an old record player kicking around for around 9 years now. Good grief, that’s a long time.
I bought it back when I lived in South Yarra, which was somewhat less spiffy than you’d give it credit for. It’ s no fun living somewhere stuffed with hipsters and expensive homes when you’re so broke you have to throw all your clothes onto your bed at night to keep warm. There was no heater and no insulation in the rather fetching 1920’s apartment building on the corner of Caroline Street. I’d always wanted to live somewhere with a name, but didn’t realise it would translate to “Fucking Freezing”.
The record player is a no-name affair, perhaps from the mid 80’s with built in radio receiver and speakers, and with an audio out with — surprisingly — a pre-amp so you can hear the sound if you plug in external speakers.
A pre-amp is not something you do before taking drugs. By the way.
I thought it was broken though. Every time I tried external speakers (even powered ones) it would just pump sound through the internal speakers. This was vexing and I wondered if there was any point in repairing it. However, for reasons as-yet unknown, the pre-amp and the external plugs actually do work, but only if you’re playing a record.
The radio is actually quite useful. It’s one of these long affairs and means I can actually label where favourite stations are (3RRR and ABC Radio National). While it’s stupidly easy to podcast, I don’t mind just tuning in and seeing what’s on.
The external speakers, by the way, are the Harmon Kardon soundsticks, I think version 2. PC speakers that sound reasonable are fine by me. I’m certainly not going to get into any arguments about the relative merits of speakers because, frankly, I’m no expert on digital versus analog, warm sound versus cool, valves versus transistors, wood versus anything else or indeed, the removal of skulls from backsides. I’m working on the assumption that different recordings of music on different mediums are, logically, different.
So what’s the point?
Well, for a start, there are some recordings only available on LP. Take the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy cast album (which is, like all things H2G2, completely different to the radio play, TV, tape recordings, CD recordings, etc. etc). There’s also the feeling that I’m living in a town where if you don’t have even the most silly record collection, you’re letting the side down. Finally, I thought it might be interesting to assemble a set of records which were, well, interesting.
So, I’ll be reviewing purchases perhaps once every few weeks and will add them here. As we’re talking about audio, I might even run the record in the background and do a podcast. We’ll see how that goes?