My name is David King. My Vinyl Adventure started in 1968 with the then ubiquitous Garrard SP25 II. It was coupled with a Decca Deram cartridge feeding a Tripletone 15w valve amplifier driving a pair of home made Paraline horn loudspeakers designed by Rex Baldock. I remember it sounded pretty impressive to me at the time.
Since then my vinyl system has gone through many iterations, including a Dual 1219, a Fons CQ30 with SME 3009 II arm to a Garrard 401 with SME 3009II. The Garrard 401 had to go because in those days (c.1972) I could not stop it rumbling. Now of course, a good stand and a sound plinth and all is sweetness and light – rumble gone. In those days it was more difficult. Not many people understood how to cure the problem. My deck was mounted in the SME 2000 plinth system which I heard described recently as making a very good planter!
In the mid 1980’s I invested in a Linn Sondek LP12 with Ittock II Tonearm. I loved this deck and used it for 21 years. In 2006 I had an opportunity to buy a new SME Model 10 with a Series IV arm at a really good price which I couldn’t resist. It was a really nice bit of kit, and in my view the prettiest deck that SME make. However I was curious to try one of SME’s more elaborate decks with a full suspension system (designed after ARA saw a bridge over the M25 in Surrey) and so I bought the new Model 20/3A
The present vinyl setup still includes the SME Model 20/3 with Series V tonearm with a Denon DL S1 low output moving coil cartridge, feeding a Music First Audio Classic SUT, a Music First Classic 632 MM phono stage, an Music First Baby Reference V2 Preamp. The power amplification is a Yaqin MC100B or Quad Elite Mono Power Amps driving Tannoy Westminster Royal HE loudspeakers. I am lucky enough to have my own dedicated listening room which is an absolute delight – 4500 cubic feet of heaven.
I love vinyl records not just for their superb sound but also because they are lovely things to handle. Much of my musical knowledge (such as it is!) was gained from reading the sleeve notes on LP sleeves. In the heyday of vinyl sleeve notes on classical records tended to be written largely by very well regarded music critics. The artwork on the sleeves is also of a very high quality. My listening consists of classical, jazz and popular music from the 50’s and 60’s in particular. Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald are perennial favourites. I like to collect early stereo recording from Capitol, HMV, Columbia and have a penchant for quirky things such as Flanders & Swann. One record dealer was heard to tell me that I was the only person in Northampton who would have bought a particular record (I think it was a 1958 Decca live recording of dance music from the ballroom of the Grosvenor House Hotel in Park lane ) My wife thinks that I am stark staring mad and she had 43 years to find out so she should know!
As I write this little epistle I am listening to a superb Speakers Corner re-issue of the 1964 RCA recording of Henry Mancini’s music the film The Pink Panther supplied by your good selves at the recent Whittlebury show.
I really enjoy rooting out interesting and sometimes rare recordings from charity shops and car boot sales and I run a record re-homing service for friends of great period recordings (a very sad fellow!) I like to keep a foot in the real world by going to frequent live concerts. I find this very helpful because it is too easy to delude ones self about the quality of what is coming out of the speakers!