It is a sad day here at the Scorp household. We are staring at a wall of beautiful vinyl gems and are not listening to them. Our turntable is an Audio-Technica AT‑LP60‑USB. Sure, it’s entry level but it has been a great turntable. We have kind of outgrown it but we can’t really afford a new one. Plus, we’re holding out hope about finding a new house with a “listening room” where we can customize a new audio setup or “audio suite” to reflect our vinyl listening habits. But, as any reader of this blog’s Sunday (or heck most other days) edition or viewer of my personal Instagram feed knows, we listen to a shload of records.
The turntable was a gift from The BCPF four Christmases ago. The needle on this thing is original, so it has gotten a good bit of wear and tear. We’re over 1200 albums and we’ve listened to about 70% of them, many of them more than once. Again, a shload of listening. We’ve noticed over the last little bit that many of our older records (meaning mostly older than me) have started getting really distorted and distant when we play them, especially in certain tonal registers. New records don’t sound as pristine as they used to, either.
It sounded like the records needed cleaning. Well, again, if you read this blog, I do a lot to clean my records, either with the washing system I have or by using the solution that I make with a painter’s edging tool and microfiber cloth. I took the record one record we were listening to off the platter and cleaned it, again, but it still sounded distorted and distant. So, not that.
I considered it may be the speakers. Perhaps I had blown one? I mean, my hearing isn’t the best anymore and I have to turn it up to hear them. I switched to another input and had Alexa play the same record I was listening to on my Amazon Echo Dot. The music sounded perfectly clear. So, not that (thankfully).
New records, as I said, don’t sound as pristine but they do sound better, so I’m pretty sure it’s not wiring. That just leaves the needle in our minds. Luckily, the cartridge can be changed on the AT‑LP60‑USB and Amazon carries the replacement for under $18. It is Christmas season and we risked getting it with any kind of expediency, but according to Amazon, we should have it tomorrow. That would be great. And, hopefully, that will be what fixes it. But, today, vacation is going to be [mostly] record free. I don’t want to have a dull needle eating into my records. I know, technically, every time you listen you’re basically damaging the record, but I’d rather do it while hearing it as cleanly as possible instead of destroying it.
So, here’s hoping that delivery is right on time because we purchased a few “rekkids” yesterday that we haven’t gotten a chance to listen to, yet. And, tomorrow is, in fact, Saturday and that is our traditional “listening day.” I may freak out if we don’t get to do our “thang.” I’m kidding about that, but I won’t be happy about it.
Until tomorrow, happy listening (if you can)…
“I miss the experience of walking into a record store and find old stuff without expecting to.” – Mark Hoppus