The sound man of Manheim: Vintage and high-end audio shop opens downtown

By on December 9, 2016

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Adriano Isernia has always loved music. He grew up around it; his uncle is a singer and all his siblings can sing and play instruments.

“I haven’t met an Italian that doesn’t sing or play,” said Isernia. “I have an opera singer in my family, all my siblings are musicians.”

It is no wonder why he opened The Turntable – Vintage Audio in Manheim on Dec. 1. With a crowd of about 20 people, Isernia opened the doors to what has been a lifetime of passion.

“Music has always been my hobby,” said Isernia. “I bought my first stereo when I was 16 and I never stopped. I’m always buying, selling, changing equipment.”

Three years ago he opened an internet business selling vintage music equipment, which he ran part time. Since then he has accumulated more than 200 pieces to outfit his shop.

“I started to collect so much that my wife said, ‘it’s either you or your stereo, but something needs to get out of the house,’” said Isernia, laughing.

Opening the store at 27 N. Main St. in Manheim was the next logical step in his obsession with stereo equipment, he explained. He brought in his collection of turntables, speakers, and tuners. The Turntable – Vintage Audio also has a stock of reel to reel tape players. The reason why he trades in vintage equipment is because he believes the sound quality is superior to today’s digital technology.

He is not alone. Collectors are looking to get better sound out of older equipment. Last year record sales topped $416 million, the highest level since 1988. According to Fortune magazine, sales of vinyl records are at a 28-year high. The money-centric magazine claims digital is “cleaner,” but the compression technology to create accommodating file sizes for computers and devices dulls the high and low output of the music. There’s even a National Record Store Day started in 2008, which has almost become a year-round phenomenon.

“There are tons of people who think like me, that believe the quality of the sound that was produced in the ‘70s and ‘80s has never been able to be reproduced,” said Isernia. “There’s no better sound. And with vinyl there is no CD, no MP3 you can play that will sound as good as a vinyl album.”

When it comes to his favorite turntables Isernia prefers the brands Marantz, Sony, Technics, and Pioneer. The Turntable – Vintage Audio offers a wide selection for all audiophiles ranging in cost from $40 to $5,000. His prized-and highest priced-offering is close to home for the Italian-American. Isernia carries a selection of Nightingale amplifiers, which are modern in innovation, but use tube technology found in older devices. Nightingale is an Italian company rivaling Bose and started as a professional and military telecommunications company in 1959.

“These are simply amazing; they have a design that is truly unique. They’re gorgeous,” said Isernia.

He considered opening day a success for his small, niche store. The most promising aspect is people willing to travel to see, and hear, what he is selling. The first two days brought local shoppers and those from Philadelphia and Hummelstown.

“When somebody loves this stuff they really do,” said Isernia. “I have a system here … it’s one of those systems that when you win the lottery that’s what you buy.”

As the former owner of Rosa Rosa Italian Restaurant in Lancaster, Isernia became well known around the Lancaster city music scene as he brought in acts from all over the world to perform. He transformed part of his restaurant into a late night jazz club, which regularly attracted regional and national acts.

Currently, the shop is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday and Friday; Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and “anytime by appointment.” A website is in the works and Isernia expects to go online in two or three weeks.

Michael C. Upton is a freelance writer specializing in arts and leisure. He welcomes comments at somepromcu@gmail.com and facebook.com/SomebodiesProductions.

 

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