Some time ago, my brother lent me a spare turntable he had hanging around (a Project) so that we could play Mr. Bsag's collection of vinyl and my rather smaller stash. However, we soon found out that at some point during its long storage, the turntable platter itself had developed a huge warp. This was so severe that it would scrape on the base of the turntable on each revolution, causing some problems with speed stability. Not to mention the fact that the warp resulted in warbling, wowing sound. I did manage to put my warped records out of phase with the warps in the platter to give an approximately level surface, but that didn't work with flat records. Quite how a very heavy, solid cast-iron platter ended up getting warped, we couldn't imagine, but there it was. We reckoned that our chances of unwarping it were negligible.
Still, all was not lost: in my hi-fi-mad family, there are practically always spare bits of kit hanging around in lofts or other storage spaces. My Dad happened to have an Acoustic Research EB101 turntable in his loft, which my Mum was only too happy to have removed from the loft, so I took that home from my visit this weekend.
I set it up yesterday after a bit of faffing around, so we are enjoying the sweet, analogue sound of vinyl again. The first problem was that my Dad had forgotten that he'd left a custom power plug on it (which fitted in a multi-socket he used to use), but that was an easy fix by swapping over the plug from the old turntable. The second snag was that the stylus didn't actually reach the surface of the record. You don't have to be a hi-fi buff to realise that you're not going to end up with any music if the needle doesn't touch the record. The problem was that the rest for the arm wasn't properly height adjusted so that even when fully lowered, it didn't release the arm. I had to call Dad to ask if there was some secret shipping screw which needed to be released, but in the end I found a little grub screw which did the job. I also couldn't find the recommended downforce weight for the cartridge which was included (a Glanz), so I just swapped over the Ortofon OM10 I had on on the Project turntable.
The new (to me) turntable sounds pretty good. I listened to a album of Mr. Bsag's that I hadn't heard before -- 'Psychedelic Shack' by The Temptations. It's a terrific album, and absolutely the right thing to listen to on vinyl. I think I'm going to have to hit the second-hand vinyl shops again...