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Thus we have become the proud owners of a simple, very affordable turntable family. We used to be members of the club who fell for the Perfect Sound Forever myth of CD for a while (completely obtuse in hindsight) and whenever possible, swapped out our vinyl for acrylic. Only a small selection of saved vinyl ended up in the attic. Now this collection is growing again at a steady clip as we are encountering a paradigm shift. Second hand is no longer a no-no for us. With the discovery of outlets which not only offer a wide variety but also good physical quality of second-hand vinyl, our former disdain for used records has vanished. Spending an hour sorting through bin after bin of roughly catalogued records while enjoying a good Illy ristretto as we routinely do at Tune Up in Antwerp is a treat. Going home with the treasures carries that childhood feeling of anticipation to unpack. Only then it starts.

Most records are cleaned at the shop. Well, at least in Antwerp Carlo performs that job. A good cartridge/arm combination can deal with minor scratches without producing them overly loud. Admitted, a good additional cleaning on a Monk or Loricraft will make things better but one has to maintain a wish list.

Then a good wipe with a good brush like the Mobile Fidelity removes surface dust and the needle can be lowered into the groove. Great music is our share and of a completely different order than even the very same recording on CD. The liquidity is different and there seems to be less stress. Only very few CD sources are able to render digital truly smooth and natural. It is simply a different kind of beast but no bother, we like ‘em both for their different merits.

After not playing analog for quite a time when the last review loaner of Raven One left the building, we had forgotten about the Furutech DeMag as a vinyl enhancer. It languished over in the digital corner together with the EAC CD duplicating PC, the Nespa photon finisher and a stack of MAME gold CDRs. Once freed from its digital corner, the gray UFO was set to work with our latest software acquisitions.

One was the soundtrack of Frederico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita by Nino Rota which we bought for pure nostalgia. This RCA recording from 1961 sounded – well, old. The seductive picture on the cover of Anita Ekberg holding a kitten up high was in full contrast with the music the record provided. As entertainment it was fine and enjoyable but also old as though veiled by time. After a full spin, the heavy vinyl landed on the DeMag for a degaussing session. Both sides got treated and then it was back to the Thorens. What happened in less than a minute was that more than 38 years vanished to regain access to the fresh, crispy music lying underneath waiting up for grabs. While a few seconds on the degaussing platter work great for new records and as a maintenance protocol, a longer workout for vintage vinyl really makes a difference. Whatever the record collected over the years and stored in its black material, the Furutech eliminates it.