All day, on vinyl, on a Dansette

IMGP3927People who know me would be surprised to learn that I’m a bit of a hi fi purist.  Actually, I’m a hi fi snob.  I won’t go into the history of my hi fi and my relationship with it because it’s about as boring as interminable discussions about cameras.  Suffice to say that I wouldn’t dream of playing any of my records on a Dansette or anything like a Dansette.  But the Dansette has become a hugely desirable item recently.  A Dansette Major, in good working order can command high prices on ebay.  As a design icon, it is redolent of teenage bedrooms of the 50’s and 60’s.  As a thing to listen to music on, it is a four-year old with a Kalashnikov.  The tracking weight on a modern turntable tone arm is between 1.5 and 2 grammes.  On a Dansette it’s about 8.  This is the reason so many of the records people bring in to sell me are so knackerd.  There is nothing rare about copies of Please Please Me, they were pressed up in millions.  What is rare are copies that were not trashed by being played on a Dansette.

IMGP3923And yet.  Yesterday I acquired a Dansette Major.  It’s in great condition and fully functioning at all speeds.  I played a few 78s on it and I was transported back to my teenage years in the late 1950’s.  Even though I was born in 1968.

IMGP3919So I’ve had a day of 50s and 60s LPs, 45s and 78s and I’m almost a convert.  I’m not about to replace my Thorens 160s with a Dansette Major but I’ll be a bit less of a snob in future.  Well, I’ll try.



5 thoughts on “All day, on vinyl, on a Dansette

  1. I have known these Dansettes converted to melodian cases by eccentric Burslem musicians./ grave digger……think got a couple of them plus 2? the very small plastic 4 players…maker , can’tbremember put was quality manufacturer..gave one away…must check t prices…electonnic/ mechanic sturdy enough if damp free storage,…can’t beat 78 wing up, HMV portables great…but I found they wouldn’t play Music from the Coleman Country Lp on Red House beer garden , Caverswall….beer garden says it all.

  2. Come to think of it , I still have the cylinders…Ted O’Sullivan threw an Edison Phonograph on the bonfire at Caverswall cause he ‘broke’ h spring! 1966 , the swinging sixties in rural North Staffordshire…still using. Edison hi fi!

  3. I’m certainly not a Hi-fi snob; however, I entirely agree with all your points. I wouldn’t bring a single item from my vinyl collection within a country mile of a Dansette.
    Were I to buy an item of this nature, it would have to be a Pye Black Box – looks good, sounds good (ish) and comes from a reputable manufacturer. Unfortunately it probably also tracks at the same ridiculously high figure as the Dansette.
    If I were looking for a ‘classic’ record player, a Garrard SP25 MKII in a teak veneer plinth would be my weapon of choice. Dynatron made a stunning example with a teak/perspex cover and fitted with an M75ED. However, I think I’ll stick with my modded SL-1210/SME V/ Music Maker 3.

  4. Yeah guys……..The FAR more expensive PYE Bk-Box had exactly the same BSR auto-changer with its ceramic “turnover” 5-8 gram pick-up cartridge

  5. However…….. The later 1964 PYE “Achoic” Box had a sophisticated, floating, stereo pick-up which was V, lo-mass & tracked around 3 grams…This wasn’t bad for an “Autochanger” aye !!
    I can tell you it sounded Great ! (It had a transistorised stereo amp with 6 Speakers)

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