Renovation & Design

Vintage stereos are guaranteed to rock the room

Mustard has been resurrecting old record players

Photos by Laurie Mustard / Winnipeg Free Press

This vintage stereo even features an 8-track player — but it needs professional help.

Mustard was delighted to learn Roy Wood had devoted an album to him.

If you didn’t grow up playing 78, 45, 33 1/3 records on a turtable, you missed the beat.

I’ve long heard that the sound coming off of vinyl is superior to digital files and compact discs. I didn’t really know if that was true — and honestly didn’t care.

But a recent experience (as within the last week) got me curious enough to check into it. I brought home an old circa-1960s stereo/console radio/record player, put a Linda Ronstadt greatest hits album on the turntable, and just couldn’t get enough of it. It was like sitting front row at a live concert hall performance.

Next up was Judy Live at Carnegie Hall (Judy Garland, double album set), also spectacular, then A Guess Who album.

So the reason I’m writing about this is to give you a heads-up regarding an absolute treasure you may have in your home, the main use for it these days being to hold up a lamp and stack stuff on.

I’m also hoping to create a bit of awareness about these superb sound machines to prevent a few of them from being hauled off to the dump when it’s estate empty-the-house time.

The quality of the sound that comes out of them is out of this world.

I mean, I’m a believer, and if it’s really true, why? Professor Google directed me to to an article titled: Is the sound on vinyl records better than on CDs or DVDs?

They say vinyl wins, and I’ll try and give you the short reason why. The answer lies in the difference between analog and digital recordings. A digital recording takes snapshots of the analog signal at a certain rate, the problem being a digital recording is not capturing the complete sound wave.

A vinyl record, however, has a groove carved into it that mirrors the original sound’s waveform. This means no information is lost. The output of a record player is analog, so the waveforms from a vinyl recording can be much more accurate, and that can be heard in the richness of the sound.

There are pro’s and con’s for both systems of course, but I’m in total agreement that the sound is better.

So bottom line, find out for yourself by plugging that old stereo in, find your least scratched record, and give it a spin. I think you’ll find the depth of sound, the quality, brings back some really fond memories.

So does this mean I’m going to be hauling them home by the score (I actually have two) like I did with all the pianos and pump organs I rescued and am still trying to rehome? (I don’t think I really thought that through).


Now the challenge we face is that they don’t all work the way they’re supposed to (old age frailties) so we need someone who does housecalls to do a physical on them to see if they’re worth saving. A chap recently told me to give Advance a call, they might have someone who does that, but otherwise, if you have any names to suggest, please e-mail them to me via the address below, and if a tech I can trust surfaces I’ll to pass that along to you.

The stereo I just got works perfectly. The one I got a while ago, very high end in its day, worked great until one day it didn’t. I turned it on, it made a loud five second hum, and died right there before me. That one needs a house call.

Trust me if you’ve got one, plug it in. If it works, you’ll be pumping out tunes all weekend. Janis? A little Bobby McGee please. Volume up. Let’s rock!

Comments and column ideas welcome.


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