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Old 30th Apr 2021, 10:30 pm   #1
TRIALNERROR
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Default Alba 442 portable stereo

This has nothing to do with repairs or sales. I have simply wondered for decades what on earth happened back in 1972 when we first took delivery of our Alba 442 Portable Stereo Record Player. It seemed that some internal presentation recording started to play: two guys talking to each other about the machine. They were chatting and joking away. Me and my sister just gawped at it. On and on they went, and then one of them wrapped the whole thing up with "So, congratulations on your new purchase and we hope you have many years of enjoyment with your Alba 442 Portable Stereo Record Player." We never heard anything like that again and could never discover how on earth it was engineered. Perhaps there was a cheap plastic disc inside the machine which just played once? No idea, but it was quite freaky. And we did indeed have many years of use out of it. I would be very grateful for somebody to clear this up.
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Old 2nd May 2021, 7:15 am   #2
John10b
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Default Re: Alba 442 portable stereo

Welcome to the forum. Thatís interesting but unfortunately I cannot help as I have never come across one before.
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Old 2nd May 2021, 9:06 am   #3
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Default Re: Alba 442 portable stereo

Perhaps it was an introductory Flexidisc that came with the equipment? Your memory of 49 years ago may be playing tricks on you, l know mine does!
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Old 2nd May 2021, 9:23 pm   #4
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Default Re: Alba 442 portable stereo

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kentode View Post
Perhaps it was an introductory Flexidisc that came with the equipment? Your memory of 49 years ago may be playing tricks on you, l know mine does!
This would appear to be the logical explanation; it's just that neither myself nor my sister recall any such "flexidisc", let alone setting the stylus onto said putative flexidisc. The voice just seemed to come out of nowhere. It's one of those moments that entered the family folklore: the day the new record player spoke to us. But thanks for answering.
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Old 2nd May 2021, 9:48 pm   #5
Lancs Lad
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Default Re: Alba 442 portable stereo

Yes! Belated Welcome to UKVRRR. You've been a bit ignored so far, haven't you?

I bet those disembodied voices coming from the record player made you jump!

Did they start as soon you plugged it in? And did the sound come through the speakers, or from inside the cabinet?

This mystery is tempting me to buy one off Ebay, just so I can dismantle it and track down the two little men inside!

I'm really surprised you haven't had more replies by now.
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Old 3rd May 2021, 12:51 pm   #6
TRIALNERROR
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Default Re: Alba 442 portable stereo

Thanks for your interest. The voice started as soon as we turned it on, and it came through the record player speaker, sounding just like a radio. We hadn't even connected the other speaker. There was no flexidisc on the turntable just the pale grey rubber mat. I don't think we'd even unhooked the tone-arm. It really was very mysterious and my sister corroborates every detail. Several times as an inquisitive teenager I tried to poke around inside to see what had happened but found nothing. I did like the machine - in later years we would take it to parties and stuff. The idea was to be able to have stereo music wherever you went, which was kind of cool. But we never heard the voices again. Very mysterious. I guess I'll just have to settle for the flexidisc explanation, but it runs counter to every detail of the memory - and I don't remember any such disc lying around the house afterwards. So far as I can recall no such disc existed. If anybody can prove there normally was one, then I'll have to accept that as an explanation.
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Old 3rd May 2021, 2:05 pm   #7
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Default Re: Alba 442 portable stereo

Apologies if you feel l was doubting your memory.

Here's a picture of the Alba, is it possible that there is an IC with the message? I'm not sure when that sort of technology became available.
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Old 3rd May 2021, 9:42 pm   #8
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Default Re: Alba 442 portable stereo

I'm afraid I'm also going to throw doubt on this interesting little tale!
These players were pretty much as basic as they come, there's no way an IC with a voice sample would have been fitted in 1972! This was when computers powerful enough to do anything approaching speech synthesis took up an entire room (well almost), remember ?! And for a one-off? On a bargain basement Alba player? No chance.

Had such a one off playback recording existed, we would have had posts about it on here well before now. You can also bet Techmoan would have made a video about it!

I have a demonstration disc from a GEC music centre my dad bought in 1977. Perhaps the Alba had similar.
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Old 4th May 2021, 3:29 pm   #9
TonyDuell
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Default Re: Alba 442 portable stereo

Really silly suggestion :

Would it be possible to have a flexidisc-type groove cut in the inner part of the turntable mat. The deck linkages were fiddled with at the factory so that at the first switch-on the tone arm moves onto the mat and plays that recording. After shutting down it will not play without a normal disc being loaded, so you never get to hear it again.
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Old 4th May 2021, 4:37 pm   #10
TRIALNERROR
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Default Re: Alba 442 portable stereo

Thank you for your interest and suggestions everybody. I would love for somebody to track down a demonstration disc for this machine, if such a thing ever existed. If I play it and hear two blokes chatting about what a novelty a portable stereo rp can be, then I'll accept that as an answer: somehow we managed to play a disc without either of us operating the tonearm, or observing such a disc on the turntable, and with said disc just disappearing into thin air immediately afterwards. That's the most logical answer possible.
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