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Hand Record Player

Saturday, 30 December 2006

I can’t remember when I first heard that they existed, but I could not really believe it was true. My excitement was pretty big when I actually found one a few years later. They really did exist! I am talking about Miniphones, as they are called in Holland, or “hand record players”.
The idea is amazing simple (although my description probably is not): a flexi record is attached to a piece of cardboard, that can be folded into a primitive resonance-box. At the edge of the cardboard there is a nail, that serves as a needle. When the needle is placed in the groove and you turn the flexi-record around with your finger, magic happens: sound!
The two Miniphones that I have, were both made as advertisements. One of is an ad for Akai Direct Drive Record Players, and I think this is one of the best ads ever. Because it is impossible to control the pitch when you play the record with your finger, you get an hilarious effect when you hear a guy talk about Direct Drive Record Players. Human voices survive this technique quite reasonable, but this technique does not work very well with music. As far as I know, there is never put any music on a Miniphone recording. But I only now of a handful of Miniphones to exist. I find this hard to grasp: this technique was introduced in the 70´s and according to an ad that I read from the company who produced them (*Boom-Ruygrok*), the production of these gadgets was cheap. So it seems more than likely that many companies had Miniphones made for advertisement purposes. Where have they all gone?

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