Tag Archives: stereo

October 23rd 1975

“Wired up stereo at college. Talked to Caitlin. In the evening Nig came round. Roxy on TOTP”

Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be…

Don’t you find it amazing that Roxy Music appearing on Top of the Pops commanded a diary entry?

But that’s what it was like back in ‘the old days’. An ‘event’. A new song was rarely accompanied by any kind of video media, but even when it was you had to wait weeks – sometimes months – to see it. Any performance on TV was seen once – when it was broadcast – and then all you could do was somehow wish you might see it again.

3 television channels – BBC’s 1 + 2 and ITV – and that was it. Top of the Pops was on once a week – Thursday nights – and even then viewers were given no advance warning about what acts or what songs might be featured. You had to guess who might be on, based on how your favourites fared on the charts the previous Sunday. If a single went down there was NO chance of seeing it again. At least not for a couple of decades and the advent of both the VCR and the ‘television repeats’ culture.

Kids today have it MADE! Not that I am jealous of what they have over what we had back in 1975. Not at all.

In other news it looks like practised my chatting-up techniques on Caitlin and displayed my wiring skillz to be fellow students.


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September 4th 1975

“Took my speakers in. Sounds like tweeter’s gone again”

Uh-oh… how will I hear the high notes on my Emerson, Lake & Palmer albums?

“In”… where exactly is “in”?

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March 17th 1975

“First committee meeting, Was put in charge of records – great!”

Uh-oh…. this could either turn out great…. or fantastic!

The coffee club ‘common room’ featured a small hi-fi on which students could play their music. It was my job to make sure everyone got a chance to hear and share their stuff, although I am sure I often favoured the material I liked?!

I was also in charge of sourcing, arranging, recommending and storing music that might get played at dance nights, or for any of our 6th form stage ‘spectaculars’

I think you could describe me as that proverbial pig… knee deep.

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March 10th 1975

“Got Pioneer PL12D”

It was a mere 18 months earlier when I bought my first proper hi-fi system, containing the Garrard SP25 MkII record deck.

Seems as if in the interim I had been eagerly reading all those hi-fi magazines I used to buy and had my head swayed by the reviews of this Pioneer PL12D? An upgrade was in order!

It really was a beautiful piece of kit. Counterbalance weight on the back of the arm, open-form headshell, anti-skipping adjustment, nice finish and easy to use.

I chose well. Very well indeed. I may well have worked through a handful of cartridges and/or styli, but this record deck lasted years, decades even, and was still in use right up until I sold my home and gave away many of its contents to friends before moving to the USA.

I’d be lying if I said I haven’t looked for another one on eBay to regain a little bit of my youth.

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January 27th 1975

“Sold Tims cartridge for him”

God this is frustrating sometimes.

Who to, and for how much? That’s all I ask of myself really.

I don’t think this was the first time I’d sold something like this, but who exactly were my customers? Maybe I was far more geeky about all this hi-fi stuff than my diary suggests? Maybe I spent a lot of time in the company of other ‘geeks’ swapping notes and comment about this piece of equipment or that hi-fi magazine?

I certainly don’t remember being anything but a teenager merely interested in hi-fi, so perhaps the truth is more along the lines of someone saying “I need to get a new cartridge” and me replying “Hey, I know someone selling theirs“?

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April 18th 1974

“Bought new cartridge. Ronette SM500/7”

Ooooooh, a bona fide EFA70’sTRO diary entry!

Not the most riveting thing though is it?

Basically I am telling my diary that I bought a new ‘needle’ for my Garrard record deck, presumably because I had a read a review of it somewhere and it promised auditory gains next time I listened to Fat Mattress?

I will use this entry to correct a previous error too. 

I was always under the impression that the first amp I bought for myself was that posh keyboard-style Alba amp I have spoken of  in glowing terms before.

NOT the case at all. The back of this 1974 diary tells me a different story and a quick google image search rendered my comments a lie. Instead of the Alba (was it my second amp?) my first was the below apparently ‘off-brand’ Albany House model. Is it now any wonder I ended up with a crappy one which my Dad had to take back?

Sorry, now back to album reviews….

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January 13th 1974

“Deck went extremely wrong – fixed it+ cured Rumble & scratchy sound”

Weirdly, I do remember this…

The deck started making every record played on it sound as if it had underlying african rhythms. Which is fine if you’re David Byrne, but no good if you’re a 16-year-old teenager listening to the Edgar Broughton Band or Tonto’s Expanding Headband.

I lifted up the rubber mat, removed the platter and discovered that a ‘u-clip’ had come free from one of the (I believe) two flywheels underneath. A few moments spent carefully trying to pry the thing back on gave me the necessary solution.

Scary what I CAN remember isn’t it?

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January 3rd 1974

“Physics revision in morning – Went to Southampton in Afternoon bought Dust Bug”

Another dust bug? I thought I bought one in November 1972?

It really was a weird contraption. A length of plastic with a small brush and furry roller which you moved to sit on the record before it started spinning. The brush moved dust from the record’s surface just before the stylus may have got clogged by it… at least that was the theory.

The weighted base was supposed to keep the arm in place but, as I remember it, this rarely occurred… so a user – me – was forced to repeatedly shift the base about so as to maintain the brush’s perfect trajectory across the vinyl’s grooves.

It all seems so incredibly complicated and fiddly now, and must surely have distracted me from my listening experience? That’s maybe more of a comment highlighting my grumbling ‘impatience’ with technology, which has naturally blossomed along with my age. I can’t be doing with “phaffing about” more than is necessary these days, preferring to find things which are designed to do their job properly rather than present me with a whole new set of challenges. I can’t say that a dust bug ever really fitted that bill.

Even if I did seem to buy them quite often.

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