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Voyages In Record Collecting - Equipment Upgrade!

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Location: Forest Park
United States

#11 | Posted: 02/10/2018 17:50 | Post subject: Reply with quote
Jimmy Dread wrote:

Colour Green by Sibylle Baier

Big thanks to LittleM for this - I'm sure he wasn't the first person to talk about this album, but it was certainly through him mentioning Colour Green on a thread somewhere that I discovered it. Unbelievable that this sat around gathering dust until the 21st century, bearing in mind that it was recorded in the early 70s and had only been circulated around family members on CDs as gifts. Sparse and raw - it's mostly just Sibylle on guitar and vox - it belongs to the same lineage as Vashti Bunyan's Just Another Diamond Day (in fact "Forget About" could easily fit on it and you wouldn't know any different), Anne Briggs' The Time Has Come and, albeit a little less so, Nico's Chelsea Girl and Bridget St. John's Ask Me No Questions. Now I adore all these LPs (and luckily enough own copies of them all to spin), but as with the first two in the above list there's a charming rustic innocence about Colour Green, as if you'd been transported back to an English village in the early 20th century and bumped into the farmer's daughter sitting on a wooden bench outside a church lynch gate, fresh from spending her day milking the cow and taking the weight off her feet before she returns to the farm to gather in the mushrooms. I can imagine listening to this album whilst walking through a cornfield and it feeling strangely apt and uplifting, that is until the owner chases you off his land with a shotgun. Until then, revel in the stark beauty, because this is simply divine listening.

Cheers Mike!

KEEP/DITCH? KEEP, without question.

Loved that writeup, Jim! And totally agree. Was listening to that album a lot this past summer along with Vashti.
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Location: CDMX

#12 | Posted: 02/10/2018 18:24 | Post subject: Reply with quote
Jimmy Dread wrote:

Nice catch with Fishmans, that's a gem. Jealous of the rest as well... still don't have Pinkerton or Only Built 4 Cuban Linx in my collection Sad

Delroy Wilson comp's a cool choice too. Haven't been able to figure out my favourite album by him yet.
The Strange, The Obscure, The Great
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Jimmy Dread

Location: 555 Dub Street
United Kingdom

#13 | Posted: 02/23/2019 18:15 | Post subject: Reply with quote
So it's been a while since I posted in this diary, which I originally set up to share some of my hauls. However there comes a time when you look at your collection (now 1300+ LPs strong) and think "it's about time I got some kit to make the most of it".

I've been after a new TT for a while. My wife bought me the Audio Technica LP-120 for my birthday in 2014, and in all fairness it's done me proud - built like a tank, plenty of functionality, etc, etc. But the sound always seemed to be lacking just that little something. It was always my intention to go up a notch when I could afford to, and without two unwanted events in my life over the last couple of months (redundancy, death of my dear ol' Nan) I never would have had the confidence to splurge. However finding a job straight away has meant I've got a decent pay-off (was there for 11 years), and coupled with a inheritance I can now afford to get the setup I'd always aspired to own.

As a 3rd generation bass player/music junkie (Grandad was an electronics whizz and I've still got his old Pioneer PL-12D-II boxed in the garage, Uncle was a bass player until his amp blew up and cost him hearing in his left ear a la Pete Townsend) I've always had an ear for an upgrade, and I remember back when I was gigging trading my Peavey Bass amp for a Trace Elliott and being blown away. You read reviews (either in print or on-line) and try to remember that sound perception to one person is totally different to someone else, an individuality which also dictates what after shave I think the wife might like me to wear (Old Spice isn't on the menu). To that end, the first thing I would suggest to anyone who's looking to swap out their kit is to DEMO IT FIRST. I'll come onto this in a bit more detail in a subsequent post (you'll see why), but I'd tried a couple of decks recently and there was only one that suited both my ears and budget - the Rega Planar 3.

British built and now in its 5th generation, I've been eyeing one up ever since hearing one in a record shop a couple of years back and thinking it looked and sounded like the dog's bollocks. There's obviously a number of variables to consider (your amp being the main one), but for my record room and wallet it was by far and away the best. I stalled a little bit thinking about what cartridge to stick on it (it comes with Rega's own pre-mounted Elys2 which various forums and such say isn't all that) but I liked what I heard and figured I could always swap it out later if needed.

Once I'd found a Rega stockist and took some of my own records to demo (my original of Talk Talk's Laughing Stock to see how it handled the quiet passages, a Teenage Fanclub LP and A Love Supreme) my mind was made up. I picked it up earlier today, hooked it up and am currently into my first listening session with it. I'm paranoid I'll fuck something up given my clumsiness/man hands, so I'm exercising more care with a piece of audio equipment than I think I ever have. First up was...

Your Queen Is A Reptile by Sons Of Kemet

Discogs contributors seem to be of the opinion that the pressing of this is somewhat naff. Well, the record is dished and the B-side label isn't stuck on straight, but aside from that it sounds pukka. But stick it on the P3 and it's different league. After a bit of tweaking with the amp settings (I tend to favour things a little on the warm side) it really made what is supposedly something of a dud pressing leap out of the speakers.

Then moving onto an old favourite...

Music Has The Right To Children by Boards Of Canada

I bought this repress from Bleep a couple of years ago (in fact seem to remember JoD telling me it was available again) and since then I've had nothing but problems with it. When I first took it out the sleeve back then it was awash with noise and crackle, but over the years I've cleaned it up the best I could to get it sounding less like a bowl of Rice Krispies. Having a new deck doesn't take the surface noise away (in fact in certain places it only serves to highlight it), but oh boy - the tracks with rich bass sound heavenly, "Roygbiv" is a different level (so much tighter and full than whatever the LP120 could get out of it), and all-in-all if I could clean these records a little better it'd all be immense.

So, in summary - if you're looking to get some new kit:

1. Set yourself a reasonable budget and stick to it
2. Find a good hi-fi shop/dealer and demo the stuff first - don't get it on-line (regardless of how good the offer might be) until you've heard it, ideally in a similar environment to where you'll be listening. Better still if you've got a friend ask to borrow their stuff and try it out at home first before committing.
3. When demoing, make sure you use source material you know back-to-front so you can gauge if there's any improvement, and if so how much
4. Regardless of how good your new toys are, you can't polish a turd. If your record's duff a new TT won't do much to improve it, and in actual fact will only accentuate any flaws (groove damage, dirt and crud, etc.)

Anyway, with the TT now sorted it's onto phase two of my upgrade programme. I've already made in-roads with this, but more to follow when I've got everything set up and tested.
'Reggae' & t'ing
Folk 'n Stuff
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