Turntables – When did they lose their cool?

The not-so-recent resurgence of turntables, or as we love to say, “Vinyl”, has outlived my expectations. And more important is the fact that listeners are interested in the sound quality or warmth and are willing to play an entire LP (long play) side from one group.

The 1970’s is when I started playing vinyl, 45’s of course, because no one could afford a long play. First on a console Magnavox stereo with an auto-changer-styled record player which could play either 45’s or 33’s (LP) and could play pretty loud and not terrible sounding. Through the teenage years all my interest became focused on- 8 tracks and cassettes in stereo- Thank you Jackson Browne.

In college I had a system with some decent equipment; a Technics manual table with a Ortofon phono cartridge from the moving magnet family of mechanical vibration to the amp and to the ears. These bests-of years offered up things like Semi Automatic or even Fully Automatic turntables, which was the difference between a record player which would both start with a touch and end by returning tone arm to rest position- or not above the record. Many a phono stylus was damaged during these not so clever years, which were and mostly are still today replaceable- the stylus that is.

After College, it seemed that music and the people I met was good reason to stay in the business, so I began my career in audio/video at Audio Specialist which was located on 3rd Street and Camelback Road in Central Phoenix.  I worked during these glory years of JBL and KEF speakers, McIntosh and some other great sounding amps like the Crowns and Haflers.   Also, Denon, who was one of the medium-level premier builders of fine direct drive turntables.  These great turntables offered extremely low wow and flutter, and your choice of either MM moving magnet or MC moving coil phono cartridges. Hopefully your pre-amp or receiver had a MM/MC switch on it?

Bang & Olufsen of Denmark and other European countries built some very nice, mostly belt driven turntables. My affection for B&O turntables runs deep from the early tonearm models through the tangential trackers. Their overall sound, reliability and ease of use are in a medium top category of players. Proof of that is the value that nice units fetch on the open market.

It is a pleasure to hear from clients who want to play their LP’s and I am making it happen!