Love Letter To A New Turntable
Author: Bruce Jenkins Date Posted:10 December 2018
There’s a special thrill in buying a new record. The anticipation as you walk through the front door with your latest acquisition tucked under your arm… removing the plastic shrink-wrap—carefully slicing or gleefully ripping, according to taste—then studying the cover for the first time. Is it a gatefold sleeve? What’s inside? Perhaps there are inserts tucked in with the vinyl—lyric sheet, photo booklet, facsimile birth certificate of the artist… it’s a journey of discovery even before you place the LP on the turntable (Carefully. The fragility of records is part of their charm).
That thrill is magnified a hundredfold when you purchase a new turntable. Perhaps the old one packed up, or was an entry-point purchase to test whether you wanted to go down the analogue path, or a hand-me-down from an Uncle who’d gone digital at the turn of the century. No matter. You’ve decided records are wonderful. Organic. Cool. And you want to get the best from your collection. Your hobby. Your investment.
So there it is, sitting on a carefully dusted surface, connected to the amp, ready to go. It is almost scary. A substantial chunk of hard-earned savings has been handed over in exchange for the best piece of audio kit you’ve ever owned. The greatest fear is that it will be underwhelming; a bit meh. You really are slightly nervous, but also hopeful. This is a good turntable. Excellent reviews, solid reputation, an outstanding Ortofon cartridge and stylus to gently extract the music from those grooves and send it, rich in detail and fidelity, through your system and towards your waiting ears.
What to play for the inaugural spin? Which record should have the honour of the maiden voyage? This is almost harder than deciding to buy the turntable. But then it comes to you, a classic that you recently purchased to replace the battered old Australian pressing picked up last year at a garage sale. A classic of rock, and a classic of audio engineering. A classic cover, legendary inserts (posters and stickers). In fact, just an all round freakin’ classic.
Ears, I give you Pink Floyd Dark Side Of The Moon. The 2016 re-master, a beautiful job (so everyone says)…
Needle drop. Holding your breath.
The heartbeat slowly builds… Ahhh
Later, you tell someone—anyone who’ll listen—what an amazing trip you’ve just had. Hearing things you had no idea were even on the record, enjoying subtleties of sound that blew away all uncertainty. This is music that moves the soul, refreshed and renewed by the stunning combination of classy equipment and a pristine pressing. And here’s the big payoff. Because you sprang for a really good turntable, you’re going to be enjoying this for years and years.
Bruce Jenkins © 2018