Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ripple Record Store Round-Up - The Sound Machine, Reading UK

I'm sure everyone has that one special place that can call it 'heaven', including myself. I've been to a lot of record shops within 60 mile distance (can't afford travelling too far... yet).  Bought quite some interesting albums outside Reading, where I live and I still enjoy going to London, Guildford or Henley and find obscure bargains, but the shop I can call heaven is actually in Reading. It's called The Sound Machine.

Located very close to the train station, only less than 5 minutes walk (24 Harris Arcade, Reading RG1 1DN), The Sound Machine offer a wide range of second-hand LPs, CDs and DVDs. Tour booklets, cassettes and music-related books can also be found. Although they mostly specialise in rock and pop, other genres can also be found such as jazz, soul, reggae and more, so everyone can find something for themselves. The stock also changed regularly, so a regular visit is necessary if you don't want to miss out something that might be on your wantlist.

I've started buying records since April 2011 and ever since my collection, as well as musical knowledge, has grown impressively big and I'm only 23. It is thanks to their cheap section, where I have found a lot of stuff I needed and never heard of before (and loved in the end). Being a huge heavy metal fan, a small cheap metal section makes this place a huge bonus and always dig through it and even when I go there not willing to buy anything I end up getting something anyway (addiction much?). The cheap sections are priced £3 each and 4 for £10. The condition may vary, but they always try to put out the best conditions possible. Personally, I don't mind a damaged sleeve, as long as the record is playable, it will find a place on the shelf. Also the CD section is quite big and the shop also get customers willing to buy CDs at price £3.99.

Of course it doesn't end with just bargains, there are other sections with priced up albums. A vast majority is £5 and £8, but there tend to be £10, £15, £20 and more depending on the album, pressing and condition (the third always is important). Despite this, the prices are not high at all. Compared to prices in London they tend to lower the prices and you definitely will not overpay. It is hard to say what is the best find from there, I've had so many of those I just can't remember. What I do remember is getting a German press of 'Counterparts' by Rush from 1993 from the cheap section together with a pile of other prog albums for £2.25 a piece. Later I found out they can go for hundreds of dollars! Another memory I can recall is finding a copy of American press of Nazareth's 'Hair of the Dog' for just £3, which is one of my life soundtracks. Also a holy grail copy of 'Dehumanizer' by Black Sabbath and signed copy of 'Power Supply' by Budgie will always remind me where it came from.

Of course digging through crates is not the only reason I go there. The staff is wonderful and always willing to help. Even if you don't manage to find anything, you can still be there for small chattering not necessarily about music, laughs guaranteed. Their music knowledge helped me to discover new bands (and persuaded me well to buy records), but also they learn new things from me, so there's a very good information being shared for the future. They will also help you find albums you're after and put on the side for you, very helpful to avoid spending too much on eBay/Discogs purchases.

It is a truly wonderful place, don't think there's one like this anywhere in the UK. Pop in and I'm sure you will find something for your taste.


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