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The Beatnik’s Two Favorite Purchases in 2012

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Jack Roberts Beatnik's Journey

After rereading my December column, “The Beatnik’s Favorite Things in 2012”, I noticed I did not mention my two favorite purchases last year. Well, it wouldn’t be right not to mention them, especially since I reviewed one of them. I’ll just list them in alphabetical order.

The first is my Atocha Design Record Cabinet.

I should start by saying that, strictly speaking, it was not a purchase, but a Father’s Day/Anniversary combo gift from my wife. It is surely an extravagance, but one I surely appreciate. My unit cost $4,900. As you can see in the picture; mine is a six drawer, cherry model, and it holds between 500 and 600 LPs.

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The Atocha Design Record Cabinet is the almost perfect combination of form and function. That is, it’s beautiful to look at and the most convenient way to look through your LPs. It’s impeccable construction and timeless modern aesthetic is made to last through the years. It  is a completely hand-crafted piece of furniture by a master cabinetmaker in the U.S.A., using high-quality sustainable materials and hardware. Atocha Design is “Greenguard” indoor air quality compliant. Their cabinets are made from sustainably harvested wood, and are formaldehyde- and lead-free.

It’s so handcrafted that they pick out the lumber only after you order yours. They hand finish it and the hardware is custom made. The sustainable wood options include American Walnut, American Oak, American Maple, and American Cherry. Hardware choice are vintage brass and brushed nickel finishes. I choose the vintage brass for mine. The cabinet is heavy enough to not even tip if you open all the top drawers, and speaking of drawers I have never seen such wonderful soft-touch gliding drawers. (Atocha strongly recommends its customers to use extreme caution in the name of safety. -Pub.) They ship it to you white glove, wrapped in furniture blankets and hand delivered and set where you want it in your house, regardless of how many stairs you have.

The Atocha Design allows you to store your LPs the way they used to be in record stores. It gives you complete access to the LPs by simply thumbing through them. Every record is sorted upright and face-forward, letting you savor the tactile experience of looking at album covers, reading liner notes and “feeling” records at your fingertips. If you’re like me, you love flipping through stacks of records and soaking up the artwork, and seeing LPs you haven’t thought about listening to in a long time.

That’s why I chose the 500 plus LPs I put in the cabinet with two criteria. First, it had to be LPs I would enjoy, and at least half of them be LPs that I often forget to listen to for long periods of time. This has really increased the number of LPs I listen to and thus my enjoyment of music. I want to thank founder and Creative Director Jennifer Levin of Atocha Design and my wife for one of the best presents I have ever received.

My other favorite purchase of last year can also be seen in the picture. It was the Clearaudio Double Matrix Professional Record Cleaning System. I have recently reviewed this wonderful product so I won’t repeat the review. Still, let me share how I concluded the review by saying, “I guess I could try to stretch out this review, but why? It’s very simple: This is the fastest, quietest, and best cleaning RCM I know of. If you can afford it you won’t regret buying it.”

I have recently gone back to using a Benz Micro TR with their new Micro-line cartridge and the Soundsmith Strain-Gauge cartridge with its Nude “Optimized Contour” Contact Line stylus. With both, a clean record is so important to really enjoying the music. The Double Matrix allows me to clean both sides of a LP in about 40 seconds, making a clean LP a breeze to have.

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