$1000 Worth of Sound for $100: Refurbishing a Vintage Turntable

The following article by Ed Kobesky is re-printed by permission of Audio Discourse (with a big thank you to Mr. Dave Clark).

Analog is a smarter bet than ever for audiophiles on a budget. Excellent turntables are available from Pro-Ject and Music Hall for around $300, although that may still represent a big investment for those who want to experiment with analog before making a high-dollar commitment. Another low-cost possibility is to refurbish the classic turntable that is lying dormant in your attic or waiting for you in a neighbor’s yard sale or on eBay. Dust it off and start playing records! Turntables from the 1970s and 80s can equal or exceed the sound quality offered by today’s entry-level models. If properly set up, some may even approach the quality of $1000 CD players!

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An Interview With Gordon Sauck

A pioneer in the vintage audio business tells why the older gear is better.

What’s innovative about Vancouver, BC’s Innovative Audio isn’t the products it sells, but the products it refuses to sell. Instead of offering brand-new, state-of-the-art products, Innovative Audio focuses exclusively on vintage audio gear.

It wasn’t always this way. Innovative Audio started out selling new home theater gear, but founder Gordon Sauck soon realized his customers were more interested in the classic used gear on the back shelf than they were in the complicated new products in the front of the store. Sauck took the bold move of eliminating all the new gear from his store, moving to a new and larger location, and specializing entirely in vintage audio. In a few short years the store grew from a modest-sized retail outlet to the largest vintage audio facility in Canada.

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Ebay Do’s And Dont’s

Special thanks Paul Gill, and to guest eBay author, Joanna Gurnitsky, for this list. This is part of the Become a Power eBayer reference series. This article is written with permission from the author.

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How To Buy Vintage Audio

Alright, before you begin you should know that this is NOT your simple 4 paragraph ‘buyers guide’ so often seen everywhere else. This article contains reams of information and is very, very looong. If you wish, you can simply skip to certain areas but I strongly recommend reading this article in it’s entirety at least once.

So where do you start? Easy. If you are simply starting out in the audio hobby there is a massive market to explore with garage sales, flea markets, swap meets, thrift stores etc. Sometimes simply asking your friends or relatives if there is some stuff in their attic or garage they wouldn’t mind letting go of can yield surprising results! There are no rules at this level about what to buy as long as it works, and there is no smoke coming from it when it is playing, and it should not smell like the bathroom Grandpa just left. If you can buy an entire ‘system’ for around 50 bucks including speakers, welcome to the hobby.

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Record Care and Cleaning

Believe it or not, even stored records will still accumulate dust, and when that happens, you’ll have to clean your records before playing them.

To clean vinyl (LP’s): Use a solution up to 20% isopropyl alcohol (one part isopropyl alcohol to four parts water), and gently wipe the record in a spiral motion, using a soft cloth, from the center out to the edge. Pat it dry with a clean, anti-static cloth. A fine camel hair paint brush can remove visible dust particles.

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Innovative Audio Cassette Deck Shootout: Take 2

Vintage Cassette Deck Death Match: Can decades-old decks survive modern computer-based measurements?

Any time you do a comparison test with audio products, someone’s bound to get mad. When you do it with vintage audio products, it’s worse. With new stuff, few people own the products yet. With vintage stuff, lots of people do.

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How Much Power Do You Really Need?

A lot of audiophiles think you’re better off with just 8 or 10 watts rather than 100. Are they right? Let’s listen and find out!

In the 21st century, we’ve gotten used to having everything we want. We demand to hear any tune ever recorded right now. We insist on studio-quality sound everywhere, even when we’re on a wilderness hike. But it wasn’t always this way. Audio used to be challenging. Back in the days of tubes, and even the early days of transistors, power was precious.

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An Inside Look: Where It All Began

Innovative Audio/Visual Solutions (IAVS) has been in business providing exceptional service to clients since 2000. But to get a better understanding on the development, we need to go back quite a few years ago…

Around 1989-1990, Gordon Sauck (that’s me) started experimenting with stereo set-ups that were slightly different to what people up to that point were used to. Not radical things mind you, but simply showing people ways of getting various sound sources through their systems. This included VCR’s, (beta and VHS), musical keyboards and a host of other fun things. In today’s world this sounds like child’s play but this was some cutting edge stuff back then. I specifically chose this as the official starting point because this was the time I started to put into works the dream I had as a kid.

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Murphy’s (Audio) Laws

I.1 – All warranty and guarantee clauses become void upon payment of invoice

I.2 – Dimensions will always be expressed in the least usable terms. Velocity, for example, will be expresses in furlongs per fortnight

I.3 – Identical units tested under identical conditions will not be identical in the field

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Innovative Audio Cassette Deck ‘Shootout’

A quick introduction… It should be clearly noted with regards to this ‘shoot-out’ that certain factors were simply un-avoidable. The first being that each deck was used, had one or more owners/users before being in the possession with the current owners, and that the actual amount of hours on the heads are almost impossible to determine. In essence, absolute ‘perfect’ results would be impossible to produce but we certainly took the extra steps by insuring that each deck had been given attention to detail and was working to the best of its ability at the time of the shoot out. The only exception to this was the Aiwa, as it was believed that there may have been a mis-alignment during this event.

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