All About Vinyl

A radio station used to be built around its record collection. In Paul Rumsey's broadcast days he used to get vinyl from the record companies for free hoping that he and likewise other DJ's would play the record on the air to give the band/musician publicity.  Paul personally amassed a huge collection of vinyl some of it never played, rare coloured vinyl etc.  He made the poor decision to sell the lot for $6.00 before relocating back to the UK. Worst decision he could have made. Fast forward to the current vinyl craze Paul has built up a large collection of vinyl records from all genres thanks to a kind donation from a friend of the station and also albums he has personally purchased from his local store Slipped Discs Records in Steyning. The collection continues to grow and is used in both live broadcasts and on the ALT-X FM roadshow specialising in 70's,80's and 90's music. 

Check Out our ALT-X FM Music Catalogue

So why vinyl? Vinyl records have experienced a resurgence in popularity for several compelling reasons. First and foremost, vinyl offers a warm and authentic analog sound that many audiophiles and music enthusiasts find superior to digital formats. The tactile experience of handling records, with their large album artwork and physical grooves, adds a unique and nostalgic element to music consumption. Vinyl also has a timeless quality, allowing listeners to connect with the music in a more intimate way. Additionally, vinyl records often come with bonus content like lyric sheets and inserts, enhancing the overall experience. The resurgence of vinyl can also be attributed to its collectibility, as limited-edition and vintage records hold significant value. All these factors combine to make vinyl records a cherished medium for music enthusiasts seeking a richer and more immersive listening experience.

The ALT-X FM Radio vinyl collection includes new and vintage vinyl and also consists of 12-inch singles effectively extended mixes, mainly disco-centric. The station also has an expanding collection of 7-inch singles. It is fun revisiting the very same releases Paul played both on radio and in the clubs back in the day. 

Some of the vinyl needs a good clean and for that Paul uses a large automobile microfibre towel (get them from Halfords) lays the vinyl on it and then finds a suitable tin can to cover the printed centre area so as not to damage it with the cleaning solution. He then uses SPINCARE 200ml (8oz) cleaning fluid sprays the vinyl and lets it sit for a while. He then simply uses another microfibre cloth to wipe the dirt away (anti-clockwise) and then the record is filed away. Cleaning before use is a standard record cleaning brush.

The equipment ALT-X FM uses are Citronic record turntables which is a robust and cheaper answer to the Technics SL-1200. The Citronic turntables incorporate features and technology to enhance performance and convenience. Our Citronic models are built for durability, with features like high-torque direct drive motors and adjustable pitch controls. Citronic record turntables offer the precision and reliability required for a seamless broadcast and our live performances.

Our turntables are fitted with high-end Stanton cartridges and elliptical needles. In the world of vinyl records and analog audio, the choice of a needle can significantly impact your music-listening experience. While regular spherical needles are functional, elliptical needles offer a range of benefits, including enhanced sound quality, reduced record wear, improved tracking, versatility, and the ability to upgrade existing setups. If you're passionate about music and want to enjoy your vinyl collection to the fullest, consider making the switch to an elliptical needle – your ears will thank you for it!

Amplification for the vinyl is done through a number of different vintage amplifiers purchased through
ebay and donated by a friend of the station. The same goes for the speakers which range from studio-size speakers to full-sized professional DJ speakers. There are also a variety of mixers, and microphones in use but thats not anything to do with the vinyl. The one mixer that takes pride of place in Studio 2 (Meadow Mist Studio) is a Fostex 350 which has 6 VU's, something Paul is crazy about. The unit arrived damaged by the courier but Paul has slowly repaired it and it is again functioning after a good cleaning. 

The Fostex 350 is a true gem among audio equipment, revered by audiophiles and music producers alike for its unparalleled sound quality. Unlike the new mass-produced mixers flooding the market, the Fostex 350 offers a sound experience that transcends the ordinary. Its audio output is nothing short of extraordinary, delivering a rich, warm, and immersive sonic experience that modern mixers often struggle to replicate.

What truly sets the Fostex 350 apart, however, is its remarkable durability. These older mixers have withstood the test of time, showcasing a build quality that seems to defy the passage of years. It's a testament to their engineering excellence that these vintage mixers continue to function flawlessly even after four decades of use. This longevity speaks volumes about the meticulous craftsmanship and robust materials employed in their construction.

Picture this: you're in a studio, surrounded by sleek, modern equipment, but it's the Fostex 350 that grabs your attention. Its robust metal chassis, tactile knobs, and classic VU meters exude a timeless charm that modern devices often lack. As you begin to mix and manipulate audio with this vintage masterpiece, you'll notice how it imparts a unique character to the sound – a character that simply cannot be replicated by its contemporary counterparts.

Moreover, the Fostex 350 is a nod to a bygone era, an era when audio equipment was designed to last, built with pride, and revered as an instrument in its own right. As you twiddle the knobs and slide faders on this vintage mixer, you can't help but appreciate the craftsmanship and attention to detail that went into its creation.

In a world dominated by mass production and disposable electronics, the Fostex 350 stands as a symbol of enduring quality and sonic brilliance. Its appeal goes beyond nostalgia; it's a testament to the enduring pursuit of audio excellence. So, while new mixers may come and go, the Fostex 350 remains a beloved relic, a testament to the notion that some things truly do get better with age, delivering a sound experience that is both timeless and irreplaceable.

Vinyl Archeology At Slipped Discs Records

Vinyl archeology at SlippedDiscs Records is like embarking on a thrilling treasure hunt for music enthusiasts and collectors alike. As you step into the store, you're greeted by rows upon rows of meticulously organized vinyl records, each one a potential treasure trove waiting to be discovered. The thrill of thumbing through stacks of old classics and hidden gems is akin to unearthing buried artifacts of sonic history. With each flip of a record sleeve, you never know what musical gem you might stumble upon. It's a journey where the unexpected discovery of a forgotten masterpiece or a beloved classic can send shivers down your spine or akin to a child excitedly anticipating opening presents on Christmas morning. Exploring the racks at SlippedDiscs is an adventure, a quest to uncover musical history, and a testament to the timeless allure of old records. ALT-X FM owner Paul Rumsey enjoys the experience of reconnecting with vinyl that he used to play on radio or in the clubs.

Paul's story is a testament to the enduring power of music and the profound way it weaves into the tapestry of our lives. A U2 fan from way back, Paul's connection to "The Joshua Tree" album runs deep. His journey with this iconic masterpiece began in the early '80s when he kick-started his US broadcasting career in the dramatic high desert Joshua Tree (where he lived), California locale. It was nothing short of serendipitous that in 1987, U2, his all-time favourite band, released an album bearing the very name of the place where his American broadcasting adventure began.

Paul's heart resonates deeply with the tracks on this album, particularly those on Side A, and the profound "In God's Country" from Side B. However, "With Or Without You" holds a special, bittersweet significance for him. In 1992, when his father succumbed to cancer, the song took on a deeper, more poignant meaning, serving as a poignant reminder of love and loss.

Recently, Paul stumbled upon an original vinyl copy of "The Joshua Tree." Despite the crackles that time had etched into its surface, he found that listening to it was a profoundly personal and nostalgic experience. To him, the vinyl sounded better than any modern streaming station could ever capture.

In August 2023, Paul and his family embarked on a journey to California. During their visit, he couldn't resist making a pilgrimage to his very first radio station (see below), now transformed into a country music format. A tidal wave of cherished memories washed over him. This heartwarming experience perfectly encapsulates the essence of the show "Finding Memories" and ALT-X FM Radio's broader mission, the incredible ability of music to serve as a time machine, effortlessly transporting us to both to the joyous and bittersweet moments of our past. Join us as we celebrate the profound impact of music and its unique ability to evoke memories, both beautiful and challenging. 🎵📻 #FindingMemories #MusicJourney #VinylLove #MemoriesInMusic

Now that's a record library. Paul getting very excited (cretinous expression again) among the vinyl treasures on Radio Caroline, Ross Revenge, during his 2022 visit. This was just one section of their collection. ALT-X FM has some catching up to do.  It was a fab day spending a day on his old alma mater of radio. Too many good memories. His US broadcast career got launched by working with Radio Caroline. A lot to be grateful for.