Santa Claus included in His shipment of goodies this lovely, simple and inexpensive new toy - and I gather my friend Len Wallis had a hand in this this...
But between my own travels, visitors from overseas and...work, I have not had a chance to try this wonderful addition to my hifi kingdom.
We are experiencing a very strong storm here in Sydney, really the tail of a cyclone hitting the Coast 6 hours drive north, so it is a good time to set it up (a breeze...sic) and clean a few records and take the time to listen to the results.
First cab off the rank is "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme" by Simon and Garfunkel, a 1969 CBS record pressed in Holland and purchased in Paris for 49.00 francs, which was quite a sum at the time) which has seen many needles and turntables over the years (Dual 1219, Clement for a few nights, ERA 455, Rega Planar 3 since 194, and more recently Rega P1 branded NAD. BTW, as my daughter is in Paris for six months, I have pinched the glass platter of her (my old...) Planar 3 and installed it in the P1 which brings a significant improvement to the overall sound.
Back to cleaning, after three spins clockwise and three counterclockwise and a good dry with the special doth provided, it has to be said that most of the surface noise is gone, and it brings clarity to the whole affair. For sure, there is still audible noise in the groove in between songs, indicating that the brushes are not doing a great job in the depth of the groove, but gently clean the upper part of it satisfactorily to bring back the music to a very low level of noise free enjoyment.
Next I tried my original 1968 US pressing of the "White Album" from the Beatles bought in Mexico City at the time. This record has been abused at parties, on portable plasticky japanese player a la Teppaz, then on the same turntables as mentioned before. It is so damaged that I bought the 30th anniversary pressing which is still in pristine condition. However the 1968 pressing is still quite not there after the cleaning, as the needle collects a nice little fluff of dirt after the second side of the record finished playing. I think I will have to try a second clean another day and maybe keep it as a collector item, rather than a playable pleasure...I will let you know.
(That's 25 years ago, mon Dieu...)
Having said that, this Spin-Clean costs less than one hundred dollar and will restore most of your precious "galettes" to a listenable condition. To get something more efficient would cost about ten times more with a Clearaudio machine that would probably be my next choice up. But frankly, I rather spend the price difference on more records! Let me have your own cleaning stories...
Bergmann Tangential Arm Turntables - Magne
There is no question in my mind, this is THE turntable, the one I would trade my wine collection for, if I had one worth that sort of money...
It is a beautiful (Danish...) object, timelessly elegant and minimalist, and the design principles behind it are flawless.
For me, it is a modern version of Pierre Clement's latest product with a hint of Braun aesthetic, the inspiration behind all John Ive designs at Apple.
At 12000$, it is certainly more affordable than even a second hand Clement contraption, if you can find one ! Not quite a bargain, but still accessible. and this is their entry level!
A Uni friend of mine was having a party in Poitiers - a mere 300kms away...- and asked me if I could produce the hardware for the sound sytem. He would organise the software, and provide us with travel money, accomodation and cost to build/rent the hardware. It was going to be a huge affair in a large reverberant hall at the Uni in Poitiers.
I can't remember what amplification I got my hands on, but I can remember visiting the factory of Pierre Clement, and imploring them for a "loan" of their new tangential arm turntable, and guess what, they agreed!
Now that I think about it, I believe they also loaned me a Shlumberger Broadcast amp destined to the ORTF. For more info on this product check this excellent website (time to sharpen your French...)http://www.audiofolia.com/clement.php
Most readers would know that Sclumberger gobbled up Pierre Clement soon after
I suppose it is a case of "follow your passion" and it will take you anywhere...
The next step (and time wise, it was the first one) was to build 20 identical speakers. I had in mind that if I could make these speakers in raw MDF, I could them finish them to any finish and sell them afterwards. Some ended up lacquered in white, or black or red. (remember, we were in 1972/73...)
They were designed to be a cube of 30cm when fitted with a grille (always black) on top to hide the tweeter.
Equipment was a full range 17cm from SIARE, and a TW8 from Audax of Elipson's fame- aluminium dome, apparently good up to 40khz. The filter was a simple 2.2uF capacitor for an 8KHz cut-off frequency. The tweeter was time aligned to the main driver.
So, here I am with a very expensive turntable and amp (probably six months of my salary at the time...) 20 speakers (sans tweeter to save space and risk of destruction) , the GF of the time, all to be fitted into a Peugeot 205 Convertible, and torrential rain in a 6 hour drive (no freeway past the outskirts of Paris then)
We arrive in a fairly angry/exhausted mood to discover that accomodation was going to be a very bare student room, and too late for dinner.
We managed to get a good breakfast the next morning and by mid afternoon, we set up the whole system, and it worked fine all night and the fact this was all in mono did not bother any of the dancers.
We dismantled after the party, packed everything in the car and managed a good night sleep before driving back to Paris the next day.
I ended up selling all these speakers, including a few pairs to a vinyl pressing factory that used them as monitors in their QA department, because of their amazing image and detailing.
I am afraid I don't have any photo of this early design. If you happen to have one, or think you have, get in touch, please!
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.