In the wake of the AudioJumble – see my article in Issue 164 – there has been a palpable buzz about vintage gear, not least because of activity on social media. The AudioJumble’s organizers posted a few images, one of which caused excitement with a Copper reader living as far away from Tonbridge in England as San Francisco. It was the Made-In-England 1920s Western Electric horn and receiver which caught his eye, surely worthy of museum placement. Alas, the items ended up on eBay, selling for huge sums.
After the dust settles on the AudioJumble come the regrets. Why didn’t I snag that professionally-rebuilt Audio Research D115? What about that Scott FM tuner? I saw a couple of tonearms I wouldn’t have minded adding to my audio repertoire, and those as-new Leak Stereo 20s are impossible to forget. Then there were the massive 1970s Japanese receivers and integrated amps which are now back in fashion, a smattering of mint Luxman items, a couple of high-end cassette decks, a gorgeous top-of-the-range Sony reel-to-reel for £750/$940 and that table full of brand-new tubes.
When the next one rolls around in on October 2, and (fingers crossed) COVID retreats further back into our memories, I’m hoping most of the absent regulars return, as well as the foreign visitors – notably the vintage-hi-fi-oriented Italian contingent and a few hardy souls from the Pacific Rim. I saw a Polish enthusiast leaving with a two-wheeler trolley stacked with gear to take back with him – apparently the resale value on something like a 1980s Sansui amp makes it worth the effort.
As for me? I still have 550 open-reel tapes remaining to curate, and I expect to find at least another dozen duplicates among them to offer at the next fair – including a spare of the underrated Andy Williams knock-out, Get Together, in which he turns a handful of late-1960s rock classics like the title track into easy listening gems. I know I have at least one copy already cleaned up and fitted with leader and tail, so this one will be targeted at a good home.
Andy Williams?!? I’ve mentioned before that this open-reel tape lark has been changing my attitudes toward assorted artists of whom I’d previously been (foolishly and arrogantly) dismissive. You know the drill: filing John Denver, Mantovani, the Carpenters, Engelbert Humperdinck, the Chad Mitchell Trio, Jerry Vale, Ray Conniff, Percy Faith and far too many others filed under “Guilty Pleasures.” But, damn, if the Osmonds don’t swing behind Andy.
Yes, open-reel sound will do that to you.
Header image: Nice Revox G36 for £300/$375, one of a number of Revox decks at the event.