The man who saves your vinyl

Nov 27, 2011, 11:05 IST | Sowmya Rajaram

The city's best known vinyl warrior now offers a service that'll whip your old LP into brand-new shape, along with a host of other fascinating products and services that'll make you fall in love with the turntable again

Talking to Sushil Anand about audio is a bit like attending school -- only this class has a genial-yet-passionate man talking about the superior sound of vinyl records in an air conditioned space that hosts the likes of Julio Iglesias and Donna Summers, cheek by jowl with Led Zeppelin and The Doors in a cocoon far removed from the noisy chaos that is Mahim Causeway.

Anand, pictured here at the store. His latest offering, the Clear Audio
machine, restores old vinyl records to their former glory in a matter of
minutes. Pic/ Satyajit Desai

A self-confessed audiophile, Anand, who talks at length about the death of audio with the coming of the colour TV, has long been known as the city's vinyl Samurai for collecting and promoting the sale of vinyl records. But his latest offering, a magical record cleaning service, goes one step ahead, restoring old vinyl records to their former glory in a matter of minutes.

"It's a fairly simple process," he had said to us over the phone. When we arrived at Nova Audion though, we discovered that 'simple' certainly didn't mean boring. Fascinated, we watched as Donna Summer's crackling voice was taken, in a matter of minutes, from dull to distempered, with the application of an alcohol-based cleaning liquid, and a vacuum pump that sucks out any dirt, dust, muck and fungus that may have gathered on to your old LPs.

At close to Rs 70,000, this Clear Audio machine of German make is certainly not cheap. "But it works like magic, else we wouldn't have made the effort," says Anand, and we have to agree, as he plays back Summers' sonorous voice, free of crackling, to prove his point.

Mumbai's humidity isn'the only enemy of your LPs, however. A miniscule particle of grime or the smallest of fungal growths on the needle of the turntable can also wreak havoc with your records. Which is why, Anand's other offering, the State Stylus Cleaner (Rs 1,850), is no less important, or intriguing.

A little smaller than the average compact, and filled with a clear gel, the stylus cleaner package leaves your turntable needle spanking new. "All you have to do is pop in the needle for a few seconds, and the gel glues all the dirt onto itself, cleaning your needle," explains Anand. "If you really listen to music, not just hear it, products like these are a lifetime investment."

We also loved the Media Box (Rs 23,800), an unassuming device that makes lowly MP3 format tunes played from SD cards and pen drives sound like they're being performed in an acoustically treated studio.

Next up on his agenda is the formation of a vinyl listening club, a community of enthusiasts who will meet once a month, probably at the store, to listen to LPs. With the resurgence of vinyls among the younger generation, Anand is keen to keep the niche community of vinyl lovers alive.

"A lot of people think vinyl is nothing but nostalgia, but that's not true. I've had customers who have listened to CDs for years, tell me that now that they've heard vinyl, they are unable to go back to CDs," he smiles.

At: Nova Audion, 3 Fairlands, 314 L J Road, near Sitladevi Road Junction, Mahim (W)
Call: 24318586
For: Rs 60 per record, including a new inner sleeve

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