Listen­ing to my grandad’s stereo (but not his record collec­tion)

Published Categorised as Life in General, Music, Retro Stuff 5 Comments on Listen­ing to my grandad’s stereo (but not his record collec­tion)

record player

I recently received my grandad’s stereo. He’s 89 and has moved into an old people’s home, and said he didn’t need it any more. He was an elec­tric­al engin­eer for Philips, so his choice of appli­ances can usually be relied on. I was expect­ing some­thing from the 70s, but then it turned out he’d actu­ally bought this one 3-4 years ago. I don’t know why he felt the need to buy a whole new stereo to listen to his 10 Shir­ley Bassey records. He once gave me a tape with Itali­an lessons on one side, and Shir­ley Bassey songs on the other. I guess he felt it was about time I took up both of those things.

There were some 70s speak­ers with tweed fronts though (under the desk, can’t be bothered to crawl under there to take a picture). I already had the wooden ones pictured, which have always been miss­ing the grille thing, so now I’m enjoy­ing quad­ro­phon­ic sound. Also, I can make tapes for people off vinyl and the computer now. Let me know if you want one.
When I first set it up, it soun­ded terrible. I thought it was a speak­er wire issue, so I spent ages faff­ing unscrewing/​screwing the wires into the termin­als, swap­ping them, re-strip­ping the ends of the wire etc. I even­tu­ally consul­ted the manu­al, and it talked about adjust­ing the posi­tion of the weight at the end of the record play­er arm. I went, “huh? what weight?” and real­ised it was in a plastic bag with the remote for some reas­on. Once it was on in the correct spot, everything soun­ded great.

I didn’t get to go to any Record Store Day stuff this year, because I was at work. I’m always at work at the moment it seems. From the end of May it won’t be so bad. I still really miss Magic Discs in Gilling­ham. There’s noth­ing like having a second-hand record shop where you go in, and the owners have been surprise reserving stuff for you because they know what you like. I’ll write about the place some day, prob­ably for a split zine about Medway me & Tukru were plan­ning on making some time.

There is some­thing a bit bunker or ship’s cabin like about my room here. Since I moved last week I’ve been listen­ing to the Boards of Canada non-stop. I think the shape of the room and the hexagons on the bed-spread have been subtly influ­en­cing me. Prob­ably also influ­enced by read­ing about how they’d been slip­ping singles into Rough Trade unnoticed. I was imagin­ing a fake magazine for bunker enthu­si­asts the other day. I’ll draw the covers soon in my wobbly way and colour them in badly with mark­ers. It had reviews of concrete and tinned food, and a free dvd of Threads for all read­ers.


Before that I had this 70s Sony amp that I got in the recyc­ling centre at Brighton for £10. The record play­er is a bit crap, but it soun­ded pretty ok through the amp. The tape connect­or at the back was dodgy though, so I couldn’t tape things without a lot of stat­ic. Last summer it finally gave up the ghost. I found a repair guy who special­ised in these things, but the repair cost was around £250, which didn’t seem worth it. Since then the record play­er was connec­ted to some computer speak­ers, which was really, really unsat­is­fact­ory. Having good sound qual­ity again is really, really nice.


The hexagons. They are every­where.

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  1. I had a Fish­er amp from the 70's and Lafay­ette speak­ers from the late 60's…the amp was solid state but, I haven't had anything that's come close since.

    Of all the records I had, Elec­tric Warri­or (and I had to put a Quarter on the needle to play through a warp) had the best sound. It almost make the windows pulsate.

    When we find a new house…the turntable is coming back out.

    I've been think­ing a lot about my Grandaddy and his favor­ite music since George Jones died.

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