I’ve been preoccupied again this week and I thought I had better show you what has been keeping me busy.
As I said in my previous post, Mrs Darce is sunning herself in Turkey this week – and while the cat’s away….
I will quickly set the scene: filled with enthusiasm after a successful bit of digging at the weekend I decided to take a longer than usual lunch break on Monday and take a trip to another digging haunt. This place is basically a large shed full of second hand stuff sold by Joe Public with the ‘shed’ owners taking a commission. There aren’t many records there but you never know what you might find – for example this was where I found the George Freeman, Rufus, and Michael Franks albums I featured here earlier this year.
Anyway on this occasion I was initially disappointed because there ware hardly any records there – the smallest selection I have ever seen in fact. But next to where the records are stacked the shelves are taken up with radios, TVs, video recorders, and sometimes hi-fi equipment too. Well, on Monday there was some hi-fi equipment. Quite a lot of it, it was all together in one job lot, and I bought it!
I present, by way of a starter, Exhibit A (sorry flash didn't work too well on this one):
Denon TU-400L Tuner
Denon DCD-890 CD Player
Technics M17 Cassette Deck
Aiwa F770 Cassette Deck
There has been an FM aerial on our roof for years but somehow I never ever got round to buying a tuner. Of course now we have an excellent portable Pure DAB radio in the house so why would I want a tuner?
I have a perfectly good CD player so I don’t really need another one. Denon did have a good reputation back in the 80s though so maybe this one is better, but am I bothered?
I already have a cassette deck. Unfortunately it is too big to fit into the hi-fi cabinet (the cabinet was made to measure around my hi-fi kit of the time which included a smaller cassette deck – but that went bang and I couldn’t find a replacement that would fit). The Aiwa deck in the picture must predate my deck by about 10 years but it will fit in the hi-fi cabinet so that’s good. Then again I don’t know that I would ever play a cassette now (well maybe I can dig out some of old John Peel tapes).
Time for Exhibit B.
Dual 505-2 turntable
Denon PMA-300V amplifier
I already have a Dual 505 turntable, but this one is a Mark 2 and a slightly better model – nice solid wood plinth as opposed to the plastic one on my existing one. I think the Denon amp also offers a bit more than my existing Rotel amp specification wise, besides which the Rotel’s tone controls are becoming a bit temperamental. No startling improvements really but as you can see significant enough for these items to be already installed in the hi-fi cabinet.
So it seems I didn't really need any of this stuff. So why did I buy it all?
No, the Labi Siffre record was not included in the job lot, and is not the reason I bought all this stuff. It’s included in the picture primarily to give you an idea of the size of these speakers – they weigh 50lbs each! Also. Labi Siffre’s first LP was released in 1970, which I estimate is when these speakers were manufactured (possibly earlier). You are looking at a pair of B&W DM3s (here is some DM3 literature – I love this: “modest sized enclosure…. The elegant solid cabinet takes only a modest 2cu. ft. of room space”! How times have changed). And they are the reason I was drawn to this hi-fi job lot. As soon as I saw them I thought they were something special. I wanted to know how they sounded, and I thought I could maybe sell them on for a profit as I knew B&W (Bowers & Wilkins) are a well respected speaker manufacturer. Now I’ve done a bit more research I realise that these speakers were/are well revered in hi-fi circles, having a place in the pantheon of great British speaker design, so I am sure I could sell them on. But I have fallen in love with them and I want to keep them. They look great (in a retro way) – and, yes, they sound great!
In these days of Ipods and super miniaturisation all of this equipment has a distinctly vintage look – especially the speakers! – but it is all in perfect working order, testament to the build quality and to the previous owner who clearly looked after all of it very well. I felt a strong attraction to it as soon as I saw it and in buying it all (the whole lot cost £65) I’ve realised that I have a crossed a line and turned into a full blown nostalgia freak. I think there is no hope for me.
The problem is Mrs Darce will be back on Sunday and I know the first two things she will say when she claps eyes on this lot:
1 – “What have you bought all this junk for?”
2 – “Those speakers are horrible, you are not keeping them in this room!”
And so until Sunday at least I must listen to as much music as I can through my “job lot”, and think carefully about how to placate the Mrs!
I can’t leave you without some music so here is one of my finds from my successful digging trip last weekend. This is something Darryl Carter put out in 1972 in a brief sojourn away from Willie Mitchell’s Hi fold. Darryl was known more as a writer and producer than a singer. The year after this TTC release this song would also feature on O.V Wright's Memphis Unlimited album. It’s great, even though it’s a bit scratchy.
Darryl Carter – The Only Thing That Saved Me (Was The Love She Gave Me) (mp3) 1972
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