The Features have deflected enough false starts and dead-ends to kill most groups. Absorbed in full, it’s quite the litany of misfortune: at least two unreleased full-length albums to close out the ’90s; a pair of fruitless label dalliances; the departure of three band members. It’s oddly fitting, then, that the Features’ new LP is a self-titled affair. And apparently they’re also late-bloomers, given the measurable bump in song quality and musicianship that propels The Features (Serpents & Snakes/BMG). With its four members now well into their 30s, the band sounds like it’s just now coming into its own. Singer/guitarist Matthew Pelham, keyboardist Mark Bond, bassist Roger Dabbs and drummer Rollum Haas will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new Features feature.
Pellham: If you have always heard about how great records sound and thought about the idea of starting a record collection of your own, I think it’s important to keep in mind for a record to sound good, you will need a decent system to play it on.
You can easily go to Urban Outfitters and buy a $170 portable turntable, but there is very a good chance you will be disappointed by the sound of your $25 dollar record on this type of system. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when a portable turntable is useful, like when traveling. But the truth is, by investing a little more money you can dramatically improve the sound of your records.
I recommend buying a used amp/receiver (make sure it has a phono input), a pair of used speakers and a turntable. I think $250-$350 is a realistic amount to consider when purchasing a starter stereo.
Fortunately, our parents and grandparents owned this type of equipment, so there may be a great system packed away in your attic. If not, one can usually be found at a nearby yard sale, Goodwill or on Craigslist. Local record stores are also a good place to check. Many of them are now selling used audio equipment.
Start out with what you can afford and if you ever long for more, upgrade your components when you feel it’s necessary.