Music oriented vacation [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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09-14-2009, 07:06 PM
Sometimes it is really good that people know you have a particular hobby. Though not equipment related, it really turned out great that someone knew I have a strong passion for music.

A year or two ago this friend bought the summer home on Lake Michigan of a family friend who died. This fellow had been an avid music collector for many years, but my friend had no idea what they really had on their hands.

A casual conversation a few months ago turned into an invitation to stay at this stunning almost 100 year old waterfront home and inventory the collection.

The depth of this collection was simply amazing. There were 12" shellac-aluminum discs from 1914 (Arthur Pryor's band), radio station transcription discs from the 1940s (the type that start at the inner label and play outward) and a collection of Leopold Stokowski that seemed endless. (The collection was perhaps two-thirds classical.)

I discovered amazing artists I'd never heard of (Winifred Atwell's 1953 recording of "Cross Hand Boogie") plus many recordings by legendary performers such as Enrico Caruso, early Heifetz, and even Rachmaninoff played by Rachmaninoff (Prelude in G minor)!

So, it never hurts to let people know what your interests are. You never know what may come of it. The only sad thing is I couldn't take the collection with me.

Mr Peabody
09-15-2009, 06:14 PM
That would be really interesting. I hope you got a chance to at least listen to some.

Are you keeping your personal vinyl that you digitalize?

09-16-2009, 04:00 AM
Got a bit of listening in. The system was an 1970s all-Fisher system, but was rather so-so. The "Fisher" turntable was a relabeled BSR for example, but it did has a 78 speed even though the cartridge did not have a proper needle for those disks.

I did bring home about a dozen records to convert to digital - mostly things I was completely unfamiliar with and would like to explore further. Those will have to be returned. Plus I also have a very nice list of the complete collection.

I generally keep my open reels and vinyl, though part of the vinyl collection did get lost in a move a couple of years back. I still haven't figured out what happened!

Mr Peabody
09-16-2009, 05:11 AM
I've known a few people like that who collect and love music but really don't care much about sound quality. One of my friends is in his 60's and tells me since being in the army his hearing of higher frequencies isn't that good and he listened to that music in mono growing up any way. He records a lot of vinyl to CD but he just gets rid of the album after that. I personally would do as you do and hang on to them because you never can tell what might happen. At least he does at least use a basic receiver.

I picked up an album at the music show last weekend and it ended up being 45 rpm. I'm not sure if it's a promo or what. There isn't anything on the cover to indicate why it's like that.

09-16-2009, 05:18 AM
Sounds like an "almost" perfect time. A better sound system of course would've helped. Perhaps you can "consult" him/her into investing a bit in some sound reproduction gear?

Da Worfster

Happy Camper
09-16-2009, 09:50 AM
This would be a nice, relaxing way to spend a few weeks. Of course I'd have a few turntables/ADCs running 24/7.

09-16-2009, 10:38 AM
I picked up an album at the music show last weekend and it ended up being 45 rpm.
I bump into those from time to time for singles and EPs. Just like higher speeds for open reel recording, they can give better high frequency response. Generally though, they are more of a novelty than a super record.

The sizes and speeds of records are compromises just like any other commercial product. One trades playing time, modulation levels, frequency response against each other. Once a "standard" is finally established in the market then everyone tries to work with it as best they can.

The history of record development is interesting. Columbia came out with the 33 LP in 1948 (in both 10" and 12" disks) and offered it as a royalty free standard. RCA Victor wanted their own, so came out with the 7" 45. The latter ended up pretty much aimed at teenagers. The 12" 33 ended up eventually winning as the market moved toward complete albums more than singles. (And today, with downloaded music, it is running the other way again.)

BTW, here's one of the albums from the collection. It was produced by Ray Sinatra, Frank's first cousin, around 1939.

09-16-2009, 12:04 PM
Wow, this story reminds me of a home/estate that went on sale in Orange, CA. The owner had passed away and the son wasn't interested in any of his father's things or the music collection. Besides, he apparently had lots of debts to pay off, so he was looking to sell the home with everything in it, including a 1060's oldsmobile, 40-50s era antique furniture and tons of memorabilia and antiques. At a good auction house, the separate items would be worth quite a bit, I'm sure.

Anyhow, the home also included a large collection of LPs, mostly musicals, war era entertainers, and classical. It also included several old radios, quite a bit of tube gear, a bit dusty, and also life-size McIntosh speakers and a Linn TT (sorry, but I forgot the model numbers). I was invited to a pre-sale of the house and they were playing records the whole time. There were probably 3-4K records there and the ones that they were playing were in excellent condition with just occasional pops.

Anyhow, it was busy and considering this was at the top of the market, I do think the house sold for quite a bit (certainly more than I could offer). But it was an interesting trip down memory lane. Apparently, it's pretty common now a days to sell a house with stuff in it, and I've seen quite a few TVs and entertainment systems included with the homes that are selling, although not much of it was as nice as what I saw in that house.