Thursday, June 14, 2012

The family's first stereo

As a tot I remember playing a record player in the basement. I bought mainly singles but occasionally an album got played.Then suddenly my father decided to get a real stereo. I don't know if my father got a raise, my big brother got a scholarship, or the old man was ashamed when he realized his friends and neighbors had real stereos and color tv's. He went for quality too.  He had me go through the Consumer Reports and we picked out a Dual turntable, a Fisher amplifier and speakers. He bought them all in New York at a discount stereo store he had discovered. For the first six months the turntable was in the living room. Then it was moved to the basement. Apparently Mother did not want me sitting on her good furniture playing records.

The old man strung wires throughout the house, connecting the living room (the amplifier-tuner), a speaker in the kitchen, and the phonograph in the basement. He bought a second set of speakers for the basement (of lower quality than the ones in the living room), but not bad. When I wanted to play records I had to turn on the Fisher in the living room and then go dowstairs to the basement. If Mother was cooking in the kitchen she could flip off her switch so she didn't hear my rock and roll records. Later when I was finished, the radio went on (usually on WPAT-FM) and the switch in the kitchen was pulled.

In other words, my father was okay with buying one amplifier but wasn't about to spring for two. I guess he was an early progenitor of what is called networking.

One of the things about surviving your relatives is that stuff from your childhood comes back into your life. The turntable has returned to my life and will sit next to that ugly green tree lamp in my living room. It is of pretty good quality and you can fine tune the speed and play 78's. After a few beers the lamp sways to the music, just like when I was visiting home from school.

Editor's note: The turntable played singles and monophonic records well but after awhile I noticed the mixing on stereo recordings was off. I think it needs a new cartridge, since the plugs are lose. I also noticed that it skipped every time I walked by. Sad to say, the Technics is now back where it was and the Dual is now disconnected, another project I'll get to one day. Sometimes it's better to leave well enough alone.

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