Victory! Vinyl LPs live!

Comments on my blog yesterday, about whether I should keep my collection of vinyl LPs, leaned in favor of keeping it with an outlier voice from Pátzcuaro grumbling that I should toss it.

Stew and three of our highly-trained dogs
looking under the stereo cabinet to
assess the nature of the problem. 

Vox populi won and Stew and I today spent the better part of three hours digging through a nest of wires in the stereo cabinet, dusting, checking, rechecking—even reading instruction manuals—trying to figure out what went where.

Before lunch we had all the wires reconnected and the components working—the bulky Harmon-Kardon amplifier, the Nakamichi CD player, even the four cheapo outdoor Radio Shack speakers.

Everything whistled along except the fancy-schmanzy turntable, which generated a bad hum plus a terrible scratching sound whenever the needle landed on the record.

We were ready to order a replacement needle-cartridge assembly, which on Amazon sells for $80 and is described as sort of a relic you ought to be grateful to find, even though the turntable is only about ten years old. That’s how fast sound reproduction technology has evolved.

“Ground control, the stereo situation looks hopeless.”

 I also thought of taking the turntable to a stereo repair shop in Querétaro, the most advanced city near us short of Mexico City. But I feared I would only find a tattooed nineteen year old with numerous body piercings who would politely look at me and ask, “What does this thing do?”

Except that in my experience, whether it’s cars, motorcycles or refrigerators, Mexicans have a preternatural knack for fixing things even when they have no idea what they’re doing, which is often.

But just when I was ready to give up, Stew came into the office and yelled: “I fixed it!!”

The answer appeared at the top of page five of the turntable manual, which indicated that under the rubber mat on which you place the records you would find a switch for “phono out” and “line out”. Flipping it to “phono out” solved the problem and everything now is working for the first time in years. (Picture below)

We are not sure what the magic switch does or how it got switched to the wrong setting.

While going through the records I found some real oldies I’d forgotten. One in particular I might mail to Felipe Zapata to help him break through gloomy fog that sometimes envelops Pátzcuaro.

It’s a 1965 recording of Joan Baez singing anti-Vietnam War songs.

Does anyone have his address?


The turntable, up and running. 

8 thoughts on “Victory! Vinyl LPs live!

  1. You're a funny guy. As for the stereo, looking good.When I brought my wife here from Mexico City over 15 years back, she came with lots of old records. They sit in a cabinet in the living room, never played. We have a turntable too. Never used. Oh, well.


  2. Felipe: It may be time to look through those records and pick out the ones you like. It might give you some clues regarding the state of your mind. Sort of like therapy, and probably just as useful.


  3. I love the photo of the dogs laid out on the floor w/ Stew, it captures much of what is great of life and love and Joan Baez album: you and felipe – Diamonds and rust.Dana Jennings


  4. Dogs are always there, no matter what the project is. Outside in particular they will all sit around you in circle to keep an eye on the weeding. Joan Baez is still performing. I saw her on PBS a while back, her crystalline voice still there. Some of her old LPs I don't think ever made it to CDs.Thanks.Al


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s