Monday, February 11, 2013

Sound System and a pile of History

[From Craig]  It seems it's time to liquidate our stereo system. I'm one of those weird people you may have heard of, who know that vinyl records sound better than CDs, provided you have good equipment. Though I have heard better sound than any vinyl from later recording systems like SACD and DVD-Audio.

In the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989, our previous system pitched forward in its rack onto its front, pretty much destroying all of the components. At that point I decided to assemble a really good system, with the help of a magazine called Stereophile.

Since most of the high-end components I wanted were beyond our means, I bought most of the them used. Still it was quite an extravagance, but for all the pleasure it has given us over the years, I have no regrets. 

But it's not feasible to tote such a heavy sound system around in an RV, so it must go somehow. Last Saturday (with considerable fear) I looked up San Jose's leading vinyl record shop, the Analog Room, from whom I had bought the last part (a good phono cartridge) about 15 years ago. It was a great relief to see that they were still in business at the same location! I spent more than an hour reminiscing about past high-end audio with the proprietor, and he said he is interested in the records and perhaps also the turntable and phono preamp. The other components will probably go on a web site called Audiogon.

For any of you who may care about such things, the list of our components is here.

Today I got some boxes and we transferred the over 800 records into them.

While doing this I saw several albums I had forgotten and just had to hear one more time. So tonight we're listening to records more than we have for a long time. After hearing Dylan's Bringing It All Back Home and Pictures at an Exhibition by Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony, Merikay turns to me and says "heck, let's just stay here and listen to music!"

Which of course we're not serious about, but tonight it's great fun while it lasts.

Stay tuned in the coming months for what happens to my collection of over 3000 science fiction books.

From Merikay: 

It seems that as I empty drawers and closets, every surface is accumulating things to sort or consider.

For years whenever there was an interesting event, Craig would save the newspaper. From the earthquake of 1989 to the day Bush declared "Mission Accomplished". Add to that a copy of a 1979 Sears catalogue and we have a fine pile of worthless history!


  1. It sounds like you've both made big steps in getting rid of your treasures. I had recently heard vinyl records were in demand...and we happen to have a few of them as well.

    It's hard to get rid of historical magazines. You sure don't want to trash anything valuable. Al has a collection of Life Magazines and we're wondering if they are worth anything.

    Good luck!

  2. I think you might be surprised how much you'll get for your vinyl records. I sold our much smaller collection to Half Price Books. The 80's albums were the most in demand. I sold the turntable and receiver on ebay and got some decent money for them. Good luck!

  3. It can be overwhelming. We'll be getting into some serious sorting in the next couple months when our daughter and son-in-law move out. They won't have quite as much space as they've become accustomed to.
    I still have my Yamaha CR1000 receiver that I bought in 1976. It's been relegated to my shop, but still works fine. It's a bit of a hulk compared to what's available today.

  4. It seems Craig was quite the collector. :)

  5. I think that fact that you already have your RV and have enjoyed several trips in it will help you to get rid of the collections. The freedom on the road you have enjoyed is better than having these "things".

  6. It was amazing to see the volume of stuff we "collected" but hadn't touched in years and years. It felt good to get it sold or given to others who would use them!

    Karen and Steve
    (Blog) RVing: This Country Is Our Big Backyard

  7. There is a collector in every family. John is our collector.

  8. I lost all my vinyl to an ex-husband, it was a bitter experience, but I never did try to rebuild the collection on vinyl. I agree, vinyl is usually better, but man, CD sure does make carting it around easier. Have you considered transferring it all over to CD? It'd be a Herculean effort, but it might be worth it, and it would certainly give you the chance to listen to it all again.

    I hope you get a good price for your treasures, and I hope whomever winds up with them also gets great joy from them.


  9. Nice collection of vinyl, always enjoyed the covers also, felt like you had something of your favorite artist when you made the purchase. Our best Valentine wishes to you both.

  10. Wow, that's a lot of albums & books! I hated it when I lost my collection of vinyl albums. I really should to to the library to see what I can recover by way of ripping CD's to the laptop.
    Wasn't it just plain fun back then? Life sure was less complicated.


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