The Vinyl Anachronist
by Marc Phillips
Part XXVI: Heroes of the Analog Revolution
(May 2001)

In fact, when I wrote my year-end column, 2000: Year Of Compromise, I thought about an "Assclown of the Year" section. I mean, these people were really getting to me. You go on about this stuff for a while, you tell everyone that you think LP's sound better than CD's, and a lot of people e-mail you to tell you that they agree. All seems right as rain in the universe, and then you get clobbered. Some dork pops out of the woodwork and slobbers, "Isn't the phrase 'Vinyl Anachronist' redundant?"

But I think back to my college days, and I remember, thanks to a minor in Psychology, that positive reinforcement always works better than a opening a big can of you-know-what. So instead of writing a somewhat dour installment entitled, "Enemies of the Analog Revolution," I will concentrate on those patron saints of the big black discs, those blessed souls who have risen up and taken the charge of bringing musical ecstasy to the homes of millions. They are... sniff... true heroes.

Judy Spotheim-Koreneef

Sure: I'm going to lionize some Dutch woman whose turntables look more like modern sculptures than record players, and start at $19,000 to boot. But Ms. Spotheim's creations are exciting because, from a purely artistic standpoint, they perfectly meld form and function to an uncommon extent. Undeniably beautiful, complex, and awe-inspiring, SpJ turntables also manage to make music sound incredibly lifelike. Owning one of these handmade masterpieces should foster the kind of pride in ownership you might enjoy with an Aston-Martin Volante or a mint, sealed copy of the butcher-baby version of the Beatles' Yesterday and Today.

If you want to see what an SpJ La Luce or an SpJ CS Centoventi 'table looks like, check out As amazing as these plexiglas machines appear, those photos really don't do them justice. If you put one of these things in a room full of naked women I'd... well... I'd, uh... let's just say I'd walk out of that room with a serious case of whiplash. When I attended the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas last year, the SpJ 'table on display in the Cardas room was THE talk of the show. "What was that turntable?" people asked in hushed yet ecstatic tones. "Did you see it?" "How much do you think it costs?" "Who cares! I want one!"

I don't want to come right out and say how unusual it is for a women to design such things, because it isn't unusual. But very few women are involved in the hi-fi world. Very few women buy high-end audio, and even fewer call themselves "audiophiles." I have a theory that this is because women listen to music for its content (what it means), while men listen to music for its sonics (what it sounds like). So it's refreshing to see a woman come along and inject this much excitement in the world of analog. After reading an recent interview of her, I also find it refreshing that Ms. Spotheim is not some ethereal, snobbish aesthete. She is, in fact, a very real, warm, and down-to-earth person who seems genuinely surprised her designs are embraced the way they are. The photos accompanying the interview, in fact, showed her barefoot, in blue jeans, playing with a cat in her garden.

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