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Aura Turntable redux – Skipper Wise

The Aura turntable was designed by New Zealander, Dave Whittaker and was manufactured in NZ and Australia over a period of 20 years from the mid 1980s.

This beautiful example of the Aura, is still in use in California at the home of Skipper Wise – musician, recording artist and co-founder of Blue Microphones.

Skipper’s interesting story about his Aura TT tells us also about the affable and gracious man that Dave Whittaker was:  Continue reading

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Hayes Carll + Lindi Ortega + The Cactus Blossoms

Three of the headline acts at the week-long ‘Southern Fork Americana Festival’ in Auckland, New Zealand, 7-16 October.

Hayes Carll is a Grammy-nominated Texan songwriter and  Lindi Ortega originally hails from Toronto, but both have ‘paid their dues’ for well over a decade and have a handful of albums each.

On the other hand, young siblings The Cactus Blossoms have just issued their first album Continue reading

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Terminator tonearm (Pt III) – stop the chatter (updated)

The Terminator linear tracking tonearm combines an air-bearing with a (twin) ‘uni-pivot’ bearing.

Uni-pivot bearings need to be stabilised in order to handle the energy generated by a pick-up cartridge.

In this case, twin pivot points were in metal-to-metal contact with the arm-slider ‘V-brackets’ and some instability or ‘bearing rattle’ can be audible at times. Continue reading

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Stax Records – Memphis

Most people interested in popular music, and soul music in particular, will have heard of Stax.  And of Memphis, Tennessee, USA.

Stax Records (originally Satellite Records), was created in 1957 by two ‘white’ siblings, Jim Stewart and his sister Estelle Axton – hence the name ST-AX.

Stax soon relocated their studio to an old movie theatre in a ‘black’ neighbourhood in South Memphis – at the time (1961), Memphis was still completely racially segregated. Continue reading

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Bargain bin – Rega RB202 tonearm

This guy costs US$395 / £198 – not a small sum, but in hi-fi terms, a bargain I’d suggest.

The current Rega tonearms are descendants of the original legendary RB250/300 tonearms introduced in 1983.  They still sound excellent.  And importantly I think, sound a lot like real music.

I owned (and enjoyed) a Linn Sondek with Ittok tonearm from the same period, for over 10 years, but I don’t remember the Ittok sounding this much fun! Continue reading

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Linda Ronstadt – Canciones

To celebrate Linda Ronstadt’s birthday today, I had to spin some old favourites.

These days, Linda cannot sing because of Parkinson’s Disease.  However she has given us over 30 albums of music to enjoy.

Canciones de mi Padre – I love this album (from 1987), together with Mas Canciones  (1991). Both albums contain her renditions of traditional Mexican classics and ‘ranchera’ folk songs from her family heritage. Continue reading