Showing posts with label Zenith. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Zenith. Show all posts

Friday, March 04, 2016

Dropping the needle on another show

Music, the way it used to was and, more and more, still be.

I have records, and I'm not afraid to play them. Now, that's the answer to the $64,000 Question.

I imagine you'd be surprised to know exactly how much of the music on 3 Chords & the Truth comes to you in the the old-school manner, off of old LPs, 45s and even 78s. Welllllllll. . . .

I'd have to say most, actually.

BESIDES, old Zenith "Cobra-Matic" record changers are just so cool. As are old LP jackets. 

I think that about covers it until later, when we'll drop another episode of the Big Show onto the platter and see how it plays.

That is all.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Sounds just right. Not perfect, right

OK, there are better record changers out there than this 1956-vintage Zenith.

To be overly truthful, it's really a rebranded Voice of Music 1200-series unit with a "Cobra" tone arm stuck on it. There are even better changers of this vintage out there, if you're willing to pay up.

But to me, this sounds absolutely right. Just enough rumble, a wee bit of hum . . . it sounds like youth. My youth. It sounds like a console stereo in the living room, with the grown-ups playing their music on it.

You can almost smell the hot vacuum tubes burning off a thin coating of dust . . . even when your amp in 2016 is quite solid state. If you're over 50, you KNOW that smell, and you know it well enough to smell it in your mind's nose.

No, sometimes with the right album, you don't want sound that's perfect. You want sound that's right.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Then again, perhaps not

When Facebook's targeted advertising turns unintentionally really, really funny.

Mein Gott! Somebody maken ze Zenith go gesphincto!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Simply '70s: Because I'm a geek

Because I'm a geek, here's a look inside a radio station.

In Detroit.

In 1970.

Because I'm a geek, I miss stuff like radio in Detroit in 1970. And because I'm old, I remember radio in 1970 pretty well.

ALSO because I'm a geek, I liked it when television news featured, uh . . . news.

And because I'm a geek, I liked it when you could distinguish, back in 1970, the network news from the network soaps.

AND BECAUSE I'm a really big geek, I like to watch stuff like this on

Some people see a guy getting all worked up over an old cassette recorder, and their weirdo alarm goes off. Geek that I am, I'm thinking "Why does this guy have all the fun and not me?"

It's not an old, never-unboxed radio-cassette deck. It's a time capsule from 1970 -- and you get to play with it because it was built much better than anything you'll find in 2011.

Now, if it could pull in radio stations from 1970, you really might have something there.

Says the geek.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

My magic box . . . in search of magic

You want to hear some heavy metal?

Try going back to the fall of 1935. You'll find some heavy metal nestled inside the art-deco wooden case of the Zenith 5-S-29.

This heavy metal, though, was made to fill a room with dance-band remote broadcasts. With soap operas and farm reports. With news, and with exotic broadcasts from across the sea.

Today, an iPod will give you music. Yesterday, this old Zenith filled your house with magic.

I know. I sound like a broken record (another lost metaphor only fossils like me get). But if you ask me -- and you didn't . . . tough -- one of the tragedies of our age is the absence of magic.

Where is the magic in an iPod? Where is the magic in YouTube? Sure, YouTube is a great tool . . . and, in some cases, a forum for all manner of tools.

And sure, You Tube can offer up stuff you never could have imagined -- or perhaps imagined that you'd never see again.

But it's not magic.

Kind of like the iPod, a zillion websites, Facebook, Twitter and whatever they'll think of next. All useful. All interesting. All with the potential to while away countless hours.

But magic? No, not magic.

MAGIC IS a multicolored dial glowing in the dark. Magic is the five tubes inside an old Zenith tombstone radio casting a backlight glow, silhouetting the angles and curves of a wood-veneer case.

Magic is the rich sound of a six-inch speaker fed by heavy metal and hot filaments.

Magic is the smell of ozone wafting through the room

Magic is sitting by yourself, listing to mellifluous voices on distinguished radio stations in distant cities, each with its own distinctive "sound." Each beaming the life of a far away place, a distinct local culture into the ionosphere and then back to earth, into a long-wire aerial, through the circuitry and out the cone speaker of a 1936 model-year Zenith radio set.

Made in the U.S.A.

Sitting in a darkened room. Singing into your ear and speaking to your soul.

Your soul -- where the magic lies.

Messages from the souls of men and women of the mellifluous voices in far-away cities speaking into microphones and putting turntable needles into the grooves of discs filled with music. Wonderful music.

Once, there was music in the air. Once, real people played it. Once, real radio stations communicated to "radio neighbors."

Once, magic ruled the air. Once, magic came to you on a Zenith "long distance" radio.

Once. Once there be magic. Now . . . "T'aint so, McGee."

Now, my old Zenith searches for ethereal magic in the still of the night. It searches in vain.