for those of you too young to recall when music came on 12" vinyl platters, there's always been an art to coaxing the perfect sound out of your turntable. vibrations and electric cycle hums and any number of other sonic bogeymen lie in wait to rob your ears of that perfect experience, but hocus pocus, pocket change and dental floss all stand ready to aid you in your holy quest. (there's more, but we'll just start with those). yes, to be an audiophile, unless you have endless resources to throw money at the problem, and likely even if you do, you know you will, sooner or later, find yourself jury-rigging the setup to get the sound JUST RIGHT on that very special record. my special project for today has been to overcome the tricky challenge posed by a long album running time, with its consequent tightly-packed groove pattern that leaves precious little vinyl ridge to keep the needle on its course, when the only turntable i have lacks the tone arm balancing adjustment capabilities that could otherwise compete with the challenge. (such are not only extremely expensive, but also far too fragile to survive all the years since their heyday). my response? a small length of dental floss knotted around the tone arm on one side, with a small metal ring on the other, chosen carefully because one was a bit too heavy, and another not quite enough, and then trestled over a vertical CD case propped against the side of the unit so the whole rig can rise while the tone arm tracks inward on the record. (with two pennies balanced on the flat part of the tone arm directly over the cartridge for just the right weight to keep the whole rig on target). perfect.
digital-age don't-know-no-betters are possibly laughing by now, or at least standing by extremely confused, at how crazy this all sounds, but until the proverbial "they" can find a way to improve the sonic reproducion of tube amps and diamond stylii on vinyl platters, there will be people like me staying up late isolating the steadiest surface in their place, and closing that dust cover ever-so-carefully, so as to track that perfect track and get it as close to perfectly right as is perfectly humanly possible. the irony, of course, is that all this effort of mine is also going straight to sound-strangled mp3, but portability still retains its place in the hierarchy of sound, and a man has to find a way to feed his jones wherever he might be.
the good news is that the UK-mastered eponymous debut album, "treat her right", tracks like german-engineered silk on rails without any fooling around needed at all. (theres a reason those european import records came at an extremely large premium, both then and now). the dust cover is closed, and i'm currently rocking out to "you don't need money" as i return back to the work that i do that pays the bills.
if you've never heard treat her right on original vinyl, then i'd say you have something to which to look forward in your life. (c'mon over, anytime). and if you've never heard music reproduced this way at all, treat her right or otherwise, well, i'm not sure you're ever going to understand unless and until you do. it's really something.