..by Anura Guruge
It is the featured, cover item in the latest issue of the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog. I never did understand why we are on their distribution list since we are way outside their demographics. This is a catalog for the rich. Not last Christmas, but the Christmas before, I kind of felt guilty that I keep on getting the catalog so I ordered one of their cheaper offerings — a supposedly foldable, portable, crank-powered slot-car racing kit. The kids like slot cars, but they tend to destroy the track. The promise of this kit was that the track neatly folded back into a case so that it would not be lying around to be stepped on. Here, I found a picture.
It was fun, especially being able to adjust the speed of the cars by how fast you cranked — but the track sure did not fold back, neatly, into the case as promised. I would have get it. But, Deanna was having none of it. As far as she was concerned it did not do what it was supposed to do. In general she, being American, takes care of returns. I have never really mastered the whole notion and always feel bad if I have to return something. I think that is my British upbringing. I gather Hammacher Schlemmer was outstanding and gave us a full refund — including the shipping. I am impressed.
Now this $28,000 gizmo is a counterbalanced turntable for vinyl records — the World’s only counterbalanced turntable. Wow. The counter-rotating platters, like duo-props on a boat, eliminate sonic aberrations. I am not sure I buy all of that. Long, long time ago, before I had any kids and had at least three rather healthy sources of income, I used to dabble in high-end British hi-fi equipment, such as Naim.
Naim amplifiers, then and now, only have ONE knob — that for volume. You don’t adjust anything else because you would only be messing around with near-perfection. I used to use a Linn Sondek LP12 as my turntable, which also featured a suspended turntable.
The Lin, 30 years ago, cost a few thousand. I see that they are now selling for about $12,000. So that is still less than 1/2 the price. I bet you could not tell the sound difference between a Lin and the $28K turntable — none of our hearing, despite what we think, is that good. One of these days I really should round this post off by talking of the exquisite Linn Isobarik Speakers.