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I learned when I was fifteen that a show, a live show, has to have an opening, a middle, and an ending. If you know that, your shows will sound like the highlights of an average show all the way through - Miles Davis

Author Topic: Turntable for 33 and 78  (Read 5347 times)

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Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: Turntable for 33 and 78
« Reply #30 on: August 13, 2013, 01:49:16 AM »
The comments above from Glenn Jones are very interesting. Years ago, I visited a friend who had started collecting 78s. Most of the ones he could locate and/or afford were of minor interest. However, he had one by Bukka White and it was an amazing experience listening to it. Although he only had a cheap turntable that would play 78s (he found it on a rubbish tip!), the sound was incredible. Mymind quickly filtered out the surface noise and I started to hear the actual ambience of the room - it's as if I were sitting next to Bukka. Of course in those days, the recording was committed directly to disc with no mixing, tweaking, etc.

For the record, I still buy vinyl now (and not just country blues). I believe you do have to have a decent turntable and hi-fi system to really appreciate vinyl. However, I am more interested in the music than the medium, so also buy CDs and still listen to some of the large drawer full of cassettes I have. I gave up on the reel-to-reel machine a while ago though.
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

Offline misterjones

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Re: Turntable for 33 and 78
« Reply #31 on: August 13, 2013, 11:55:50 AM »
I had a similar experience with a Miles Davis Prestige 78 from 1951.  The sound blew me away.  I didn't think that was possible for a 78.  My digital version sounded scrawny by comparison. 

I also have a Tommy McClennan 78 that has similarly excellent sound.   The snapping guitar strings is exceptionally vibrant.

I cannot help but think there is vinyl reproduction that can achieve that effect, as well.

Offline Stuart

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Re: Turntable for 33 and 78
« Reply #32 on: August 13, 2013, 04:34:42 PM »
I've talked to a few of people over the years who knew about the technology and seemed to think there was a "shorter distance" (in electronic terms) between the artist and the medium that the music was recorded on re: the earlier recordings, and that this, along with the physical length of the track on a 78,  accounted in part for the quality. Another fellow who repaired and restored older (but not ancient), high end equipment remarked that although we live in a digital age, it's still an analog world and that something gets lost in all the intermediate steps.

Of course, I have no way of knowing whether all or any of the above is true (me being your basic pedestrian knuckle-dragging listener), but it is food for thought.

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: Turntable for 33 and 78
« Reply #33 on: August 14, 2013, 02:23:17 AM »
As I understand it, when they make a 78 or microgroove record, everything goes into the grooves and there is no loss of information. In the case of CDs, certain frequencies are clipped and in the case of downloads even more information is lost.

When I hear kids listening to tinny "music" on their mobile phones, I sometimes wonder if they will eventually be paying good money to listen to no information, i.e. silence - which could be a good thing.
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

Offline bnemerov

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Re: Turntable for 33 and 78
« Reply #34 on: August 14, 2013, 07:41:15 AM »
More than a decade's experience at an archive's audio restoration lab taught me quite a bit:

78 rpm discs are capable of excellent sound---the high speed (i.e. 78 revolutions per minute) allows the sonic "information" to be laid out without "crowding." This is analogous to higher tape speeds (i.e. 30 ips vs. 15 ips) giving better sound---or, in the digital world, higher sample rates and word-length.

In some cases 78s---like blue label Deccas from the 1930s---sound much better than LPs. High quality manufacturing is part of the reason but the real heroes are the engineers who were essentially making a direct-to-disc recording and were masters of mic placement and acoustic space.

Of course this is in an ideal world; quality manufacturer, optimum recording situation, pristine copy to play---no way is a ragged-out Paramount gonna sound very good. Listen to a clean depression-era Decca if you can...wow!

best,
bruce
« Last Edit: August 14, 2013, 09:13:11 AM by bnemerov »

Offline Stuart

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Re: Turntable for 33 and 78
« Reply #35 on: August 14, 2013, 08:30:45 AM »
Thanks, Bruce. It more or less confirms what I was told.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Turntable for 33 and 78
« Reply #36 on: August 16, 2013, 06:37:03 PM »
Merged the old and new threads. Anyone have that Audio Technica? It's a bit pricey in Canada but it seems to be well-liked and lotsa features. Not that I plan on playing anything backwards.

Offline misterjones

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Re: Turntable for 33 and 78
« Reply #37 on: September 25, 2013, 11:55:36 AM »
Reviewing this very helpful thread (again) and focusing on the Technica (again).  I have to stop buying LPs and buy a turntable.  Talk about putting the cart before the horse.  Question for anyone (especially those who own or are familiar with the Techinica).  What would I need to buy cartirdge-wise to play my LPs and 78s?  Any suggestions?  It seems as though I should upgrade a bit on what Technica provides for LPs and I imagine those 78 slabs need something special, as well.

Offline misterjones

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Re: Turntable for 33 and 78
« Reply #38 on: September 26, 2013, 10:40:15 AM »
Eagerly awaiting responses to the above.  My assumptions so far based on my initial investigation:

(1) the turntable (as do many) includes a needle that fits into a cartridge that mounts in a headshell which attaches to the tonearm
(2) if I want to upgrade this transducer mechanism (or adapt it for 78 play) I will need a new cartridge (which willl include a needle)
(3) I cannot just buy a new needle to insert into the cartridge that comes with the turntable (or can I?)
(4) I will not need to buy a new headshell
(5) the turntable in question has a "standard mount" (as opposed to a p-mount), which means I will have to attach the headshell wires to the new cartridge

Is the above correct?  Will I have to do (5) every time I switch to the 78 cartridge?  What a pain that would be!  Is there a simpler way to switch back and forth between LP and 78 play?  Is the solution to buy another headshell for the 78 cartridge (on the assumption it is MUCH easier to change headshells that cartridges)?
« Last Edit: September 26, 2013, 10:49:34 AM by misterjones »

Offline bnemerov

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Re: Turntable for 33 and 78
« Reply #39 on: September 26, 2013, 11:25:55 AM »
misterjones,
in answer to your questions:
1) yes

2) not necessarily---the key is the cartridge; in most of them (Shure, Audio Technica, Grado etc.--the Stanton 500 is my favorite) the stylus (what you are calling the "needle") slides right out of the cartridge and can be relaced by any other stylus with the same size and profile (some are round; some are diamond shaped) shaft Fortunately most shafts are standardized for the type of cartridge your player uses. Check with the dealer.

3) Wrong--as said above with proper planning all you should need to do to play 78s is slide out the microgoove (read LP) stylus (which is a 1.0 mil diameter) and replace it with a stylus suitable for 78s (2.7 mil size is a good fit for most 78s)
Real audiophiles have a range of stylii from 2.0 mil to 3.5 mil in a variety of profiles to maximize sound quality from various 78s. An early Brunswick might like a different stylus than a late Decca. As for profiles: You don't want to get into that....just get a 2.7mil Truncated Elliptical or a 2.7mil Conical stylus that will interchange with the microgroove stylus that comes with your cartridge and turntable.

4) No

5) Yes I guess [but doesn't the turntable come with a cartridge already installed?] If you do need to install the cartridge, you only need to do it once.

I've found the owner of KAB Acoustics to be helpful, honest and a good source for 78 stylii.

good luck
bruce
(former audio specialist at The Center for Popular Music)

Offline misterjones

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Re: Turntable for 33 and 78
« Reply #40 on: September 26, 2013, 12:02:33 PM »
Thanks.  Much appreciated.

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Turntable for 33 and 78
« Reply #41 on: September 26, 2013, 12:13:41 PM »
Many inexpensive mid 60's to 70's Gerrard turntables had a 78 setting. They are largely despised by audiophiles but if you stick a $30. Grado cartridge on one they don't sound terrible.
For around $3-350. you can pick up an actual old 78 wind up player which when I again have room for such things will be my choice for playing 78's. I believe in original instruments, especially in surgery. :P
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
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Offline misterjones

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Re: Turntable for 33 and 78
« Reply #42 on: September 26, 2013, 12:31:17 PM »
Again, much appreciated.  I note that the way styli, cartridges and headshells are marketed at Amazon implies that each stylus needs its own cartridge (and possibly even headshell, to boot).  But reading the comments for replacement styli shows you can just pop a different stylus into a cartridge.  For example, it appears as though I could buy a Shure N78S Needle and a Shure M97xE cartridge (with stylus) and just swap out the stylus to go from LP to 78 (or vice versa).  I don't think - though I'll have to look into it further - that I can simply slip the Shure N78S or Shure M97xE styli into the cartridge that comes with the Technica turntable.

I agree about "original instruments" and someday when I have the room I'd like to get cranking.

Offline nobocaster

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Re: Turntable for 33 and 78
« Reply #43 on: September 26, 2013, 12:51:12 PM »
I mostly use an old "Newcomb" record player.  Similar to "Califone", it's a pretty common suitcase style turntable with built in speaker.  78, 45, 33, and 16 rpm!  These were used in schools all over the country.  Mine has tubes, some are solid state.  It has a flippable stylus for LP or 78.  New cartridges are available online for about $30.  The 78 stylus on mine is "3 mil" which is pretty wide and gets a great sound out of many records. 

  I also have a old crank-up cabinet, "The Pooley" and it's a joy to listen to, but I generally just play older acoustically recorded 78's on it.  I definitely don't put anything I'm too attached to on there, as I imagine that heavy steel reproducer is fairly rough on old shellac.

Offline misterjones

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Re: Turntable for 33 and 78
« Reply #44 on: September 26, 2013, 12:58:49 PM »
I have a Califone.  Do such players provide better sound for 78s than a modern turntable with a 78 cartridge/stylus?

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