This behemoth, bought on hire purchase some time in 1977 or 1978 for the princely sum of £130, plus interest, spread over three years (!), was purchased from a furniture shop (no, really) and bore the name Amstrad. Now, Sugar's company is rightly credited with popularising the home personal computer and I've no doubt with other innovations, although none spring to mind. However, their so-called hi-fi systems were another kettle of fish entirely. The one I bought was at the lower end of their already budget range and consisted of....
A turntable from space!..
|LPs 32 & 7/12 rpm, singles 44 & 5/8 rpm....sometimes...with the wind behind it.|
This little beauty while looking fab, was powered via what appeared to be an elastic band looped round the base of the three-pronged platter and then over the motor spindle. In the picture you can see the band but the spindle is hidden from view. Sounds fine in theory, but due to the poor quality of the band (or worse, it could have been the motor) the speed of rotation that resulted was, shall we say, variable. Occasionally hitting the right speed but usually running slightly slow, this had a weird effect on the sound produced, as you may imagine!
By the way, although this is not a pic of my old record deck, long since binned, I too added a Dust Bug, the object at the back of the pic whose job it was to rest on the LP and remove dust while the record played. This probably did not help with the speed fluctuations!
And now, introducing...a really ugly amplifier!..
|Note the tasteful Fablon finish..|
I was soon disappointed with this box of tricks, and wired the turntable through my old valve radio instead. It may have been mono, but the sound produced was much clearer and more importantly at a parent (and sister) annoying level.
I suppose beggars could not be choosers, but I wished at the time I had done more research before taking my first journey into the wonderful and frightening world of hi-fi. If any of you have similar tales of woe, or indeed triumph, I'd be honoured to read them.