The Dansette was the iPod of its time.

The whole teenager thing started with access to their own music on portable players. The Dansette was the iPod of its time. Portable and with a playlist capability.

Dansette Sentor

My first experience of these was spinning Ernie the fastest milkman in the West on the family machine. If I recall,it was blue and transistorized. I recently acquired the red valve version you see here. I won’t let my precious LPS near it,but I do own a box of singles which I am happy to subject to the crude ceramic cartridge and tracking weight measured in metric tonnes.

The true joy of these is the social ritual surrounding their correct use. Friends congregate in a teenage bedroom and spread their singles collections all over the floor and bed. A six record playlist must then be selected and carefully arranged on the spindle.the control is then moved to auto with a satisfying click. Now,eagerly waiting while the turntable comes up to speed and the first three records drop. The tone arm then lifts from its rest and moves over the record. It lowers far too quickly and lands with a thud which is deafening through the single valve amplifier and efficient paper speaker. Crackles and pops exudes for several seconds before unexpected music entertains. What happened to the first two records? This is of course part of the challenge. Only certain combinations of records will successfully stack and play in order. Others will slip on each other and not turn properly. This all adds to the fun and ritual, which also includes actually talking to your friends about the music!

Technically these things are hardly hi-fi, but that’s not the point. It’s all about the cultural significance and the impact on the music industry.