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Patfig

Gramophone Records

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Are there any knowledgable folsk out there who know about playing old 78's?

I bought a job lot at an auction a while ago and in it is an old 78 that says it is a first pressing demo disc dont know who the artist is , it doesnt say. It says on the label it must be played using a training needle. I don't have a record player or a gramophone but I am keen to find a way to have a listen............ anyone any ideas where or how I can get it played?

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A friend used to show how you could hear it by using your fingernail rather than the needle.

I wouldn't recommend this.

I remember playing records as a kid by sticking a pin through a plastic cup and moving that through the groove. It seemed fun at the time, but I imagine my dad wasn't too impressed with what I was doing to his record collection.

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You will need an old fashioned turntable which goes around at that speed. The 78s need a different stylus to this moden "long playing" stuff. Also the equalisation is different for 78s, so maybe you need an old amplifier too. Couple that to some older speakers, and welcome to 1958.

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Are there any knowledgable folsk out there who know about playing old 78's?

I bought a job lot at an auction a while ago and in it is an old 78 that says it is a first pressing demo disc dont know who the artist is , it doesnt say. It says on the label it must be played using a training needle. I don't have a record player or a gramophone but I am keen to find a way to have a listen............ anyone any ideas where or how I can get it played?

Work hard in the arts or media and over decades become incredibly popular and famous. Then wait until you are invited to appear on Desert Island Discs. Then ask them to play your 78s for you.

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Buy one of these:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B015G8NVLK

The sound quality will be crap but then the sound quality on the record is likely pretty bad to start with.

Harumph! A gadget. Yes that will do the job, but it is under £40.

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Move to the Isle of Wight. They will be cutting edge there.

It is a charming and old fashioned place. I went there for a day out with a few chums in about 1990. We felt we needed to wear demob suits, as it looked like 1947.

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It is a charming and old fashioned place. I went there for a day out with a few chums in about 1990. We felt we needed to wear demob suits, as it looked like 1947.

They've moved on to zoot suits now.

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78s have a different groove profile - the groove is much wider than the LP and single standard. If you use a normal stylus the needle will bounce around the bottom of the groove and you'll get a horrible sound & lots of noise. 78 needles aren't too difficult to get, though. If you get an old player with a 78 setting then the standard needle might be double sided - one side for 33/45 and the other for 78.

If you use the wrong needle you'll eventually end up damaging the needle and the disks.

While you're at it, the tracking force for 78 is much higher than 33/45.

The equalisation is different for 78s compared with lp/45 (riaa) - I don't know how 'rotten' this will sound, but it won't sound right. Technically you could record the output into a computer and unequalise and then re-equalise to the correct setting - but note that there isn't one correct setting and it depends on the publisher.

You used to be able to get cut-off needles for cruddy old 78s - these only connect with the sides and so don't disturb dust right in the v of the groove. I don't know if these still exist.

Technically you could record at 45, unequalise,speed it up to 78 and then equalise correctly - but by that stage you might as well just try to find it on youtube...

I don't know about 'training needle', but technically some recordings were made directly on to vinyl (I imagine masters or one-offs). I've not seen one of these, but presumably they are much softer and will wear faster.

78s can sound okay - the horrible scratchy tinny sound is often just as much to do with playing using the wrong needle and riaa equalisation.

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"Find it on YouTube" would be my suggestion too.

You can get one of these in Sainsburys:

http://www.johnlewis.com/crosley-cruiser-turntable-with-three-speeds/p1907561

However I'm not sure that's going to play it for the reasons mentioned above.

I inherited my Dad's record collection last year which has some 78s and what I think are shellacs, real "antiques".

On the off-chance that what you have might be worth something e.g. rare you can look it up on the Discogs website.

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78s have a different groove profile - the groove is much wider than the LP and single standard. If you use a normal stylus the needle will bounce around the bottom of the groove and you'll get a horrible sound & lots of noise. 78 needles aren't too difficult to get, though. If you get an old player with a 78 setting then the standard needle might be double sided - one side for 33/45 and the other for 78.

If you use the wrong needle you'll eventually end up damaging the needle and the disks.

While you're at it, the tracking force for 78 is much higher than 33/45.

The equalisation is different for 78s compared with lp/45 (riaa) - I don't know how 'rotten' this will sound, but it won't sound right. Technically you could record the output into a computer and unequalise and then re-equalise to the correct setting - but note that there isn't one correct setting and it depends on the publisher.

You used to be able to get cut-off needles for cruddy old 78s - these only connect with the sides and so don't disturb dust right in the v of the groove. I don't know if these still exist.

Technically you could record at 45, unequalise,speed it up to 78 and then equalise correctly - but by that stage you might as well just try to find it on youtube...

I don't know about 'training needle', but technically some recordings were made directly on to vinyl (I imagine masters or one-offs). I've not seen one of these, but presumably they are much softer and will wear faster.

78s can sound okay - the horrible scratchy tinny sound is often just as much to do with playing using the wrong needle and riaa equalisation.

78 needles are easy to find, but they won't fit a modern cartridge of course. I vaguely remember you could get 78 styluses for cartidges, but I doubt tey are around now.

I think some cheap 78 'needles' were made from hawthorn in the early days!

Early recording was direct to master disc - the idea of 'EQ' was unheard of.

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Playing 78's on a modern (electric) turntable will quickly knacker the stylus.

Also converting to .MP3 is completely missing the point, using a wind up gramophone you have:

  • Zero amplifier distortion because there is no amplifier
  • Zero cross talk because its mono
  • Zero digital jitter or D/A or A/D errors because it is AAA all the way to the sound horn
  • Zero loss in cables because there arent any
  • Zero mains hum because there isnt any power.

Now obviously there are imperfections in 78's but you can't remove those by digitising the music, all you would be doing is adding a whole new realm of modern distortions on top.

The Gramophone Emporium has a lot of rarities
http://www.rare78s.com/
http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Gramophone-Emporium-rare-78-records/Other-/_i.html?_dmd=2&_fsub=1&_sid=1008772774&_trksid=p4634.c0.m322&_vc=1

Decent grampohones can get expensive, but I guess they arent making any more:

http://www.gramophones.uk.com/available_stock/gramophone_company_hmv_cock.html

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