Fluteboy

Sound decision

9:46 pm : Thursday, 6 September 2018  |  , , , , ,


I have started to assemble an audio system once again. I have always taken my listening seriously, yet for the last near 20 years have done most of my listening on a PC or an MP3 player. Now is the time to get back to how I used to listen to my music - on proper audio separates.

In the mid 90's I went through a spell of homelessness. Actual rough sleeping, along with living in temporary accommodation. If the whole experience taught me anything, it taught me gratitude for every little shred or speck that I am given in life. Nothing in life is guaranteed, and you can lose the lot in a stroke.

Once back on my feet again and in suitable surroundings, I cobbled together a collection of second-hand audio equipment that was purchased from that buy/sell/exchange company that used to have numerous shops in London's Notting Hill. Cheap vinyl and cheap CD's were also plentiful. As a listener I was catered for in terms of hand-me-down goods. As my financial situation improved, I upgraded my audio equipment piece by piece, and assembled a thoroughly decent listening system - not to mention a comprehensive music collection.

Then in 2000, something happened. A certain guilt fell upon me. I looked at my audio system and 300+ CD's and thought to myself: "This is obscene. I came from the street with next to nothing, and some of the people I knew back then are still there, eking out a survival. I have amassed this lot at great expense, while there are f*ckers out there who cannot afford to eat or clothe themselves. This is not right. I can survive perfectly well with just my clock radio." Then began the process of selling what I had and imposing upon myself this voluntary poverty - rather like a Hare Krishna devotee taking their Vow of Poverty. I could not allow myself to have luxuries while others were suffering.

Since Hannah and I have been living together (for six years now), she has expressed desire for an audio system with a record deck included. I have never been against the idea, yet I have actively prevented her from going down the Crosley Cruiser route! While those cruddy suitcase turntables may not actively ruin your records - despite what some may tell you - they do however ruin your listening enjoyment. In a shop she spotted what looked like a Crosley on stilts and said: "That looks nice!" I replied: "As long as you don't play anything on it!"

For our system, I am seeking out the very components I was using up until 2000. I chose them with care and attention at the time, and know what to trust! We have the Denon PMA250SE amplifier and a Technics SL-PG580A CD player thus far, and other parts will be added in time. As the CD player itself is 20 years old it needs a new laser pickup, and I have ordered one at a cost of £11. The player itself is utterly trustworthy and sounds delicious, and thankfully almost every CD player released in the last 20 or so years uses the same standard-issue Philips laser transport. I will resurrect it, don't you worry!

Audio time now. Here is a mashup put together by myself. The backing track is from the genuine Massive Attack instrumental, which has been extended in places, and the vocal track of Robin S is out there to find on Youtube. Raise the key of the vocal by a semitone, get its tempo in sync with the music, balance the vocal with EQ, compression and careful use of reverb, and the result is actually worth listening to. I still find it hard to believe I actually put this together myself!

Massive Attack vs Robin S - Show Me Sympathy