It was my birthday on Friday. I’d already got a couple of presents early: a
wonderful tough & waterproof watch for when my grandfather’s very fragile
one isn’t suitable, and a fabulous lab-flask-to-be-used-as-a-decanter inspired
by this post. But then
on the actual day I got a wonderful surprise: a turntable!
I’ve had a few of my favourite records lying around for years now, but haven’t
been able to play them for lack of a turntable. Now I have one plugged in, I’m
rediscovering stuff which even today is unavailable on CD. And the sound is
a wonderfully refreshing change. I’m not saying it’s better, but the first record
I put on (which happened to be the first to reach: there was no real choice
involved) was this
one from Oscar Peterson and Dizzy Gillespie, and you could just sink back
into the music, like Matisse’s famous armchair, in a way that you just can’t
with a CD or an MP3. I was hooked all over again.
For I was one of the very last people to give up on vinyl and move to CD. All
through university I would seek out the increasingly small number of record
shops which still sold LPs, and would play them on a hi-fi system which was
much better than any university student really ought to have. I can’t say how
excited I am to be able to rediscover the few I have here, and maybe bring a
bunch more over from England in the coming months.
One thing, though: putting the turntable together – or, more to the point,
putting the cartridge together – was decidedly fiddly and non-trivial.
I think I managed OK, but the needle seems to have a tendency to slide around
the disc when it nears the end of a side – it’s fine for all tracks but
the last, but then the counterweight system seems to lose traction when the
needle’s close to the center of the disc. Any idea why this might be or how
I can fix it?