Domestic Harmony: Chapter 1, Jamie Buys Paul a New Phono Cartridge

A Series By Steve Graham

As anyone who follows the Vinyl Café on CBC will know, host Stuart McLean is undergoing cancer treatment.

All the best for a speedy recovery, Stuart. I hope you don’t mind me poaching in your territory.


Jamie Buys Paul a New Phono Cartridge

(With apologies to Stuart McLean)


“You’re home late,” exclaimed Jamie as Paul walked through the door.

“I just stopped at the news stand,” said Paul. “The new Audiomania is out, the semi-annual ‘Great Gear’ issue.”

“That’s not one of those magazines on the top shelf with the shield in front of it, is it?”

“Hah, hah,” said Paul. “No it’s an audiophile magazine dedicated to great sound.”

“Oh, right,” continued Jamie. “Ever since you picked up that old Technot record player at the yard sale down the street a few weeks ago that’s all you can think about.”

Part1 Technics

“It’s a Technics turntable,” replied Paul with mock hurt. “It was a good buy and in great shape. Old Doctor Brown said it was the top of the line when he bought it. He doesn’t have room for a stereo and his LP’s, in the seniors building he’s moving into. I was talking to his son Pat at the sale. He has a great Hifi rig and was able to digitize all his Dad’s LPs at a high bit rate. He’s given his Dad a new tablet with lots of memory and the app to run it that brings up the album art and can look like a spinning LP while playing. Pat also bought his Dad a cool USB DAC and top of the line computer speakers with high-velocity folded ribbon tweeters.”

Jamie looked bored, “Sometimes the stuff you say just sounds like, “Hifi rig, something something something, spinning USB something something something, ribbon ferocity, something, something.”

“Just like the garden center,” replied Paul smiling. “You tell me the names of the flowers and shrubs, and it all just sounds like plant something something something to me.”

They both looked at each other and laughed.

“When’s supper?” inquired Paul. “This overtime every day makes me ravenous by the time I get home an hour late, and it doesn’t help that I have to go in an hour earlier too.”

“When will it end?” asked Jamie. “The kids and I don’t see much of you.”

“Don’t you mean the kid,” said Paul. “We only have Heather home now with James in Vancouver and Elizabeth at McMaster.”

“Heather still likes to see you in the morning before she goes off to her early lectures, you two catch up on the Leafs, the Jays or the Raps.”

“Yeah, but I’m usually up and out before Heather comes down. But to answer your question, there are a lot of repairs since the new line started up. They said this could continue until Christmas, but I got my holiday request in early and I’m guaranteed an extra day either side of our anniversary weekend,” said Paul with a slight smirk.

Jamie recognized the smirk and gave Paul a coy look, “Where are you taking me, big spender? A girl wants to be spoiled.”

“No expense spared,” replied Paul. “Just name your drive-thru.”

He ducked in time to dodge the dish cloth but it landed with a splat on the Audiomania. Paul jumped and had a quick look, but only the test of the $100,000 speaker was wet so he didn’t make a fuss. He wasn’t even going to bother reading that review anyway.

“So why did you get the magazine?” inquired Jamie. “You’ve got your turntable something something, what now?”

“It probably needs a new cartridge, Stuart down at Stuart’s Stereo says the stylus looks OK but the suspen…,” Paul looked up to see the blank look Jamie was giving him and just said, “Something something.”

Jamie grinned, “Wash-up, dinner’s in five minutes.”


Part1 Anna

Later that night, Paul and Jamie were in bed reading. Jamie had the latest Tana French novel, Paul was still reading the Audiomania.

“Listen to this,” exclaimed Paul, “the Ortofon Anna from Denmark is eighty-nine, ninety-five!”

“Anna Ortofon?” queried Jamie. “Wasn’t she that Danish super model that was in the Chris Isaak video years ago?”

“Very funny,” Paul continued. “It’s kind of like the new something something that Stuart says I need.”

“Eighty-nine, ninety-five sounds like a lot,” said Jamie. “I remember my Dad buying new needles for our old GE record player. I think he paid about five bucks.”

“No kidding,” sighed Paul. “Some of the prices are just crazy.”


In the next instalment: Jamie meets Anna



Please note: The photographs of the commercial products seen above are not to be construed as an endorsement of these products by myself or WoS. Nor am I saying they are unworthy of audiophile consideration.

Neither I nor WoS receive compensation of any sort for using these pictures. They are just pictures of cool gear that happened to catch my eye and support the story. I have not heard music played through most of the equipment pictured in this series, but I’m open to a test drive if anyone is willing.


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2 Comments on Domestic Harmony: Chapter 1, Jamie Buys Paul a New Phono Cartridge

  1. Great story. Wonder who these people are

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