Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Music demands some effort from the listener

'Music demands ... some preparation, some effort... It demands as much effort on the listener's part as the other two corners of the triangle, this holy triangle of composer, performer and listener' ~ Benjamin Britten, Aspen Award acceptance speech
That is my SME IIIS/Audio-Technica AT-F3/III/Thorens TD125 record deck being serviced on the kitchen table today. Readers who know their SME arms - is there anyone else left who knows their SME arms? - will observe that the counterbalance weight assembly has been dismantled. After four decades the lead weights had started to oxidise badly and shed toxic white powder; so they had to cleaned and varnished to stop further corrosion. Audiophiles will also spot the exquisite Technics stylus balance gauge from the 1970s. The elderly patient recovered fully from surgery, and an original pressing (ASD 3645) of Muti's 1978 Philadelphia Pictures from an Exhibition blazes out in all its analogue glory as I write. You may not need to clean the counterbalance weights on MP3s, but they will never challenge a high-end analogue replay system for sheer musicality. Memories of those Philadelphia sessions here, and of the brouhaha over the album cover here.

No review samples used in this post. But if someone wants to send me a sample of the £23,000 SME 30/12 turntable I won't object. Any copyrighted material is included as "fair use" for critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Also on Facebook and Twitter.

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