Posted on

Lowther Acousta Twin loudspeakers in restoration

This is a pair of Lowther Acousta Twin loudspeakers that have been knocking around the place for about 8 years now, probably longer. They came with a very large record collection. I heard them in situ very briefly with a radio connected, but at low volume. Didn’t think anything of them, until I decided to get them out and connected, during the 2020 Covid19 lockdown, to a very low-fi Sansui amp that I also had knocking around. I put a 1960’s Tubby Hayes LP on my turntable and boy was I surprised! They sounded fantastic, although one unit sounded way better than the other. Very extraordinary clean and clear mid-range, not so great in the lower range (before I connected them I was listening through Tannoy 15 inch monitor golds), but I was so stunned that I immediately thought the trade-off was well worth it.

On investigating and opening up the cabinets to examine the PM2 drive units, and also getting advice from Lowther (the company is still in operation) it became apparent that the foam surrounds had perished severely in one cabinet, and the units in the other cabinet were also on their way out. So I would need new foam surrounds. Unfortunately though, when the units got to the Lowther workshop I was informed that they don’t make those diaphragms any more so the units would have to be completely rebuilt, keeping only the original magnets. And then only by spending a little more I could get completely new units under the Lowther For Life Exchange Scheme, which I have opted for. I am told they will sound even better than the originals (the ones that sounded great even though they were on their last legs!). I cannot wait.

Here’s some history from the Lowther-voight museum:

“When the Lowther Acousta – Twin was introduced in 1959 it was claimed to be “the only design of its kind in the world”. It is a single cabinet comprising two separate horns, which can be used for monaural, monophonic and stereophonic reporoduction.

The cabinet was fitted with two PM6A drive units as standard, but when fitted with the superior PM7As it was marketed as the “Acousta Super-Twin”. PM2A drive units could be fitted with the use of a special mounting. The perspex top deflector and side wings can be adjusted to suit the placement of the speaker within the room.

The cabinet was available in a variety of finishes including walnut, sapele, oak, tola, teak and natural.

Original price: £30 (enclosure only), £67-16s (with PM6A’s) or £90 (with PM2A’s)

Height: 44 inches + deflector

Width: 18 inches

Depth: 17.5 inches

Weight: 60 lbs”

Posted on

Audio Technica Electronic Stylus Cleaner AT637

Lockdown Covid19 has given me the opportunity to rifle through the warehouse to hitherto unvisited and abandoned corners. I’ve now got a lovely Townsend record deck at home with scorpio arm that I found – and I vaguely remember buying it in Devon many years ago with a small record collection. My front room, hallway and dining room are now full of turntables that I have acquired with record collections – all need some kind of attention and I’m trying my best with them!

I have never owned a stylus cleaner – I normally use a brush sprayed with some isopropyl alcohol, but I was intrigued by this little device I found in my warehouse in a box filled with other interesting bits. I believe the Audio Technica Electronic Stylus Cleaner AT637 went out of production in the mid-nineties when CDs superseded the LP format in earnest, or as one rumour has it the original tooling for the devices broke and the powers that be decided not to repair them and cease the production.

It comes in a neat little box with a bottle of fluid and battery. I cleaned out the battery terminals which were showing a little signs of corrosion as the battery had been left in for god knows how long. It cleaned up nicely and when I inserted the battery it came to life instantly. A little light comes on so that you can see what you are doing when you are cleaning your stylus. Basically you just turn it on and gently drop your stylus onto the fine brush pad that is vibrating at high speed, and the advice is that if your stylus is heavily dirty then to use the stylus cleaning fluid, but it is not essential.

As I am writing I am having vague memories of where and who I got this from. I bought a collection of LPs from a man, and as I was packing up he handed me the Audio Technica Electronic Stylus Cleaner AT637 with a glint in his eye. “This is great” he said, “You can’t get them anymore.” I remember chuckling on my way out, it seemed like such an elaborate and costly device for something you can do by improvising with a record brush and some isopropyl. However, as I have been tinkering at home with all the equipment that needs tweaking I have a new admiration for things designed for specific tasks…so now, devices like these get a thumbs up from me!

Posted on

10 cool solutions for vinyl record storage

Sooner or later, if you are becoming a vinyl buyer, or progressing towards vinyl fanatic status, the problem of where to put it all will become a serious headache, a vinyl record storage headache! Now in my many years as a classical vinyl LP record dealer I have seen many novel solutions. The most bizarre was in a duck house in the middle of an enormous pond. I have seen many solutions to vinyl storage that really are not solutions at all, merely stop gaps!

If your records collection is only 50 or so then here is a beautiful idea, especially if you are an avid clothes shopper too.


 

storage2This is a DIY solution but you can always acquire something ready made from the 60’s from your local junk shop or flea-market. I would suggest an out of town junk shop / house clearance establishment as they just want a quick turnover and they are likely to be cheap. Here’s an example of the type of thing you can get for not a lot for a small collection of records, or maybe just as a display idea, after all vinyl is cool.
storage9This one is a Stanton vinyl record storage cabinet custom finished on the inside in red.
storage8There are various modern versions of these classic designs coming on the market now, re-interpreted for the 21st century.
storage11Or you could go for the rough and ready look with vintage wine crates atop an old table.
storage5Now we seem to getting to that place where vinyl storage mean extra furniture. In the golden age of vinyl there were many pieces of furniture on the market for housing vinyl collections - I still see them on a weekly basis when making my rounds to private houses to buy records. Here are a few:
storage3If you have more records that you want to display this way there are quite a few vintage solutions that you could try to acquire or remake in your own way.
storage12And for those with truly no hope there may be no option other than to give whole walls over to the addiction. I have seen them in MDF, but solid wood generally looks and feels better.
Storage6storage7
storage4
storage7
storage10

Posted on

Erica Morini

Erica Morini violin

Erica Morini short biography and select discography

Erica (or Erika) Morini (1904-1995) was born in Vienna and had her first tutelage from her father, who was a professional teacher who ran his own music school in Vienna. She made her first recording for the Victor Talking Machine Company in 1921. The Strad obituary recorded her as “most bewitching woman violinist of this century.”

Someone, somewhere, has her Davidoff Stradivarius; it was stolen from her apartment shortly before her death and has never been recovered.

Select discography

Westminster XWN 18087 Erica Morini Plays Volume 1

Westminster XWN 18594 Tartini Devil’s Trill Sonata, with Leon Pommers, Piano

Westminster XWN 18600 Brahms Violin Concerto conducted by Rodzinski / LSO.

Columbia SAX 2579 Bach / Vivaldi Double Concertos with Nathan Milstein

Deutsche Grammophon SLPM 138 044 Glazunov / Bruch Violin Concertos conducted by Fricsay / Berlin RSO

blogb1 blogb2

Posted on

David Oistrakh EMI Columbia Mono Discography

David Oistrakh mono LPs on columbia record label
David Oistrakh mono LPs on the UK Columbia label.
33CX 1194 Beethoven Violin Concerto conducted by Ehrling / Stokholm Festival Orchestra

33CX 1201 Franck / Szymanowski Violin Sonatas with Vladimir Yampolski

33CX 1246 Lalo Symphonie Espagnole conducted by Martinon / Philharmonia Orchestra

33CX 1303 Khatchaturian Violin Concerto conducted by Khatchaturain / Philharmonia Orchestra

33CX 1415 Tartini “Devil’s Trill” Sonata / Mozart Sonata In B Flat Major K.454 – with Vladimir Yampolsy, piano

33CX 1466 Encores with Vladimi Yampolski

33CX 1487 Brahms Double Concerto with Pierre Fournier, conducted by Galliera / Philharmonia Orchestra

33CX 1660 Mozart Violin Concerto No.3 / Prokofiev Violin Concerto conducted by Galliera / Philharmonia Orchestra

33CX 1672 Beethoven Violin Concerto conducted by Cluytens / French National Radio Orchestra

33CX 1765 Brahms Violin Concerto conducted by Otto Klemperer / French National Radio Orchestra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags
Classical LPs wanted
33CX
Columbia EMI LPs
Violinist
David Oistrakh
Vladimir Yampolsky
Encores
Violin Concertos
Devil’s Trill

Posted on

Cult Violinist: Johanna Martzy

Johanna Martzy

Johanna Martzy – A short biography and EMI Columbia Discography

Johanna Martzy (1924-1979) was an acclaimed Hugarian violinist who was tutoured by the great Jenö Hubay (who predicted she would become one of the greats) before studying at the Budapest Academy of Music at the ripe old age of 10 years! She made her debut in Budapest when she was 13, and graduated from the Academy in 1942.In 1947 she won first prize in the Geneva competition, the Concours International d’Exécution Musicale, toured widely both in Europe and in the USA quickly building her reputation as a soloist and chamber ensemble player.

She passed away from cancer in 1979 at the age of only 54. She recorded relatively little by the standards of other great violinists such as the long-lived Heifetz, and the last decades of her life she made virtually no recordings. However, due to the efforts of certain tireless enthusiasts of her work, many of her broadcast recordings have been issued posthumously in modern LP pressings of audiphile quality and on CD.

She began her EMI Columbia recording career in 1954, but after the 8 recordings listed below she ceased recording for Columbia in 1956, legend (or gossip) having it that she spurned the advances of the producer Walter Legge and thus things at EMI became difficult, or at least embarrassing. Sadly these recording were deleted from the catalogue after only a few years and were never reissued by Columbia.

blogd1

Johanna Martzy original recordings on the EMI Columbia Label.
33cCX 286 Bach Sonatas and Partitas Volume 1
33CX 1287 Bach Sonatas and Partitas Volume 2
33CX 1288 Bach Sonatas and Partitas Volume 3

174a98_5ed3ebd845284291af6fbefe3e8d1aa3

33CX 1165 Brahms Violin Concerto – Philharmonia Orchestra / Paul Kletzki
33CX 1359 Sonatinas For Violin And Piano – No. 1 In D Major, D.384 – No. 2 In A Minor, D.385 – with Jean Antionetti, piano
33CX 1372 Schubert Rondeau Brillant In B Minor, D.895 (Op. 70 / Fantaisie In C Major, D.934 (Op. 159) – with Jean Antoinetti, piano
33CX 1399 Schubert Sonatina No. 3 In G Minor / Sonata In A Major D. 574 – with Jean Antoinetti,