The Wonders of Technology

Mrs Gabb bought me a Soundlogik USB turntable for my birthday – £22.50 from The Factory Shop. I was prepared to be disappointed. However, it digitises old records as well as I’ve ever heard them play. Indeed, a capture of The Nelson Mass from 1979 sounds about as good as the CD version, allowing, of course, for surface noise. If I fiddle about with changing the needle, it will also do 78rpm records. I think we’ve now reached the point where cheapo stuff is about as good as the more expensive. I will, in due course, upload some of the captures.


Here is a digitisation of Porgi Amor – mono, 1958, Karajan/VPO, Schwartzkopf:

And here is a stereo recording from 1960 of Bruno Walter conducting the 3rd Movement of Mahler’s Symphony No 1 in D:,%20ohne%20zu%20schleppen.mp3

5 responses to “The Wonders of Technology

  1. John Kersey tells me the Mozart is from 1950. I should have guessed that from the boxy sound. It’s a lovely performance. The older I grow, the more I like Karajan.

  2. I think I’ll have to get one of those. We have hundreds of viyl things here, and a new stylus for the “better” Pioneer turntable costs more that that device you talk about.

    • The Factory Shop does a 10-20 per cent price drop between 5-7pm on many days. I bought the Mozart/Karajan/Schwartzkopf for 25p. The charity shops are packed with jewels of this nature. I digitised the 1979 recording of Haydn’s Nelson Mass just to see what the machine could do. But there is no need for doing more of that – recordings that new do sound better on CD. But, once you get to older recordings from the 1950s-60s, do it yourself digitisation sometimes gives better results than the homogenised AAD stuff put out by EMI et al.

      When I was picking through the Red Cross record bins the other day, I came across what I recall is a nice Decca/D’Oyley Carte Pinafore. Having seen what can be done, I think I’ll wander back round there and buy the double set for 99p.

  3. Concerned Briton

    I have to say I am surprised at the quality of recording you cite. Maybe it is something to do with the audio software cleaning it up, or because there is some direct audio from the tone-arm, instead of what they used to be like on the old Hi-Fis from the 80’s.

    The experience I have had from those old plastic style tone arms and plastic turntables usually resulted in tinny recordings and a generally hollow sound to it, noting every bang and knock going on in the room like it was a channel for reverberation.

    I have long since bought professional turntables (as I used to be a home DJ in the mid 90’s, as in mixing together ‘house music’) and would never go back to cheaper turntables.

    However, it is interesting to hear your report of this cheaper module, as my parents still have some old vinyl’s and even some 78’s which were inherited from their parents. It may be of interest to them. I would have been wary of getting something like that, but you seem to have had a good experience.

    Seeing as I now have mine, (the now ageing Stanton STR8-100 direct-drive turntables with the regulation Stanton 500 cartridges, which all still work great), I will be sticking with them.

    They too play 78rpm and have a digital audio out. But of course, they are many times more expensive than the one you have.

    I think that if you have good results from the player and does what you need, you (or rather Mrs Gabb) have snagged a bargain. 78rpm playing is pretty rare these days too, so it is a bonus to have that chance.

    I should probably get around to recording my collection into the computer……

    …… in fact, I made a start a few years ago but have let it slide for years because the prospect of recording over 7,000 12″ Singles and a hundred or so albums just seems too daunting!

    I remember there being some test done a few years ago, where some turntable designer separated the platter and the tone arm onto different bases and used some kind of new design needle tip. The result of the recording was superior to that of CD’s at the time. More warmth to it.

    These days it is all downloads I suppose. I still buy vinyl, even though it is harder and harder to find new releases on the format. I hardly ever download anything though. It must be an age-thing or a collectors thing. I need to ‘have it’ in a physical format otherwise it just isn’t the same somehow.

    • I had about 100 LPs when I bought my first CD player in 1988. It was an immediate epiphany. I dumped my unsaleable vinyl into the nearest charity shop. It’s only now, with a greater appeciation of older styles of performance, and the aggressive digitisation of the recording companies, that I’m willing to look again at vinyl.

      If you listen to the slow movement of Mahler 1, you’ll hear that I’ve turned up the bass, which gets rid of the slight tinniness of the original scan