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Good turntable for playing 78s?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by bjlefebvre, Dec 29, 2021.

  1. bjlefebvre

    bjlefebvre Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Washington DC-ish
    So the next audio project I'm mulling would be to set up my office system to play 78rpm records - mainly old blues and jazz. I currently have a Thorens 318 there, which I really like but sadly doesn't have a 78rpm option. It connects to a Lounge MkIII phono pre, then a Decware EL84 amp into a pair of DIY Wild Burro speakers.

    Ideally, I'd like a turntable that has a 78rpm option along with a tonearm with swappable headshells so I could use one for a 78 cartridge and another for my current Empire MM cart for regular old 33s/45s. Any advice on which turntables might offer that flexibility? If all that is too tricky, I might just buy an old Dual 1229 and Ortofon 78 cartridge.
     
    ILovethebassclarinet likes this.
  2. vinylkid58

    vinylkid58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Victoria, B.C.
  3. bjlefebvre

    bjlefebvre Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Washington DC-ish
    Thanks. I just saw on another forum the Technics deal. That might be just the ticket. I also read about Stanton 500 cartridges being good for this, and given that you can switch their stylus for either 78s for 33s/45s, that might do the trick. I'll read up that old thread.
     
  4. scotto

    scotto Forum Resident

    Good call on the Dual. I got a refurbished Dual 1229 for 78s and original monos with an extra sled for the headshell so I can switch between 78 and mono carts with minimal tweaking (I use Grados).
     
  5. McLover

    McLover Senior Member

    Location:
    Athens, Tennessee
    Technics SL-1200 Mk 7 would be a nice choice for 3 speed use. Duals are fine for 78 RPM duty (the 1229 is a good choice, I use a 1019 for 78 RPM use with a Shure M 55 cartridge and stylus options.)
     
  6. Macezeke

    Macezeke Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    It's probably not on your radar, but you might want to take a look at the recently released Music Hall Stealth turntable. It offers the kind of flexibility you're looking for out of the box with 33/45/78 electronic speed control and the ability to change cartridges via standard 1/2" headshells.
     
    Rick58 likes this.
  7. drh

    drh Talking Machine

    I've written a series of articles about 78 turntables; rather than reinvent a bunch of idler wheels, here's a link to the first, which has a link to the second, etc., etc.

    [TNT-Audio Vintage column] On an Overgrown Pathé - [English]

    To summarize very briefly, you'll want to consider which features you need for the types of records you plan to play. "78" takes in a lot of territory over a span of about 5 decades, and records from different periods make different demands. At the most basic, before 1930 or so "78s" rarely actually ran at 78! I hope this helps a bit in sorting out what you want and need.
     
  8. doctor fuse

    doctor fuse Forum Resident

    An idler sounds about right. How about a heavy platter Lenco, L70, L75 or L78? Build a big ply/mdf CLD plinth, and mount an audiophile tonearm on the plinth, and use the stock arm for 78s and mono LPs.
     
    McLover likes this.
  9. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    Technics SP-15.
     
    McLover and bjlefebvre like this.
  10. The FRiNgE

    The FRiNgE Forum Resident

    For 78 RPM play, I have noticed a lot of Garrard turntables on my YT adventures!
    The Garrard RC-80 or RC-88 or Type-A are very affordable options.
    These have stackable spindles and single play.. the single play a bit hard to find. A spare stackable can be cut, rounded and polished for singe play.

    Another comes to mind, the Dual 1009. Now that's a nice one!! It has a heavy 10 inch platter, idler drive and a shorter arm... perfect for playing 78's. This may seem counter-intuitive, but the shorter arm has less tracking error at the inner circle of a 78.... a better arm for playing 78's (and 45's) as compared to the longer arm on a Dual 1229, which is the "all around" better choice for LP's.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2021
    lazydawg58 and bjlefebvre like this.
  11. bjlefebvre

    bjlefebvre Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Washington DC-ish
    Thanks. Do you have any idea what it means that "78rpm is supported" on the Mk7? I know with the Mk2 and Mk5 that KAB can rig it to play 78rpm, but curious if the "is supported" thing means there's a switch or some other home DIY way to get that speed.
     
  12. McLover

    McLover Senior Member

    Location:
    Athens, Tennessee
    Press the 33 1/3 and 45 RPM buttons together, and you get 78 RPM on modern Technics DD turntables. No KAB conversion necessary (which is for SL-1200 Mk II only).
     
    Rick58, Big Blue, tin ears and 4 others like this.
  13. BrentB

    BrentB Urban Angler

    Location:
    Midwestern US
    An old Elac Miracord is another good idler drive and good for 78 RPM.
     
    McLover, The FRiNgE and mjcmt like this.
  14. tumbleweed

    tumbleweed Kozmik Kowboy

    Location:
    Colorado foothills
    Another vote for Miracord. Excellent tables, and less fussy than old Duals. Only caveat is that cartridge-swapping isn't all that fun.

    The 50H is top of the heap, with its Papst motor, but even the lesser models are worth considering. I think the 770 also has that motor.
     
  15. Aftermath

    Aftermath Senior Member

    Having a pitch control in addition to 78 rpm speed support would seem like the best option, so something like the Technics SL1200 Mk7 or GR might be a good bet for the OP depending on what his budget is.
     
  16. rfs

    rfs Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lansing, MI USA
    Will an SL-1200 M3D do this too ? I have one in storage.
     
  17. vinylkid58

    vinylkid58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Victoria, B.C.
    Doesn't work on mine.

    jeff
     
  18. drh

    drh Talking Machine

    It's critical if you intend to play records made before around 1930 and even for occasional issues after that. For acoustically recorded disks, you'll want quite a lot, much more than the 3% or so on Dual and Garrard tables, for instance. Look for a range of 60 to 100--IF you plan to delve into the earlier disks that require it. If you plan to play only, say, big band or early rock 'n' roll records or classical sets from the '30s and '40s, on the other hand, such a wide range would be overkill.

    For example, acoustic and early electric Victors usually play at around 75 to 76, but last year I encountered one from 1913 about which I made this note: "Score pitch is D. At 75 RPM, the performance would be up a full step to E. At 72, up a half step at E-Flat. At 69, about on pitch at D. To my ear, E-Flat is correct." Another acoustic recording from actually a bit later, a set this time, came in at 84 RPM. An early electric set (1927) that I transferred a while back ran, for the most part, at 82, but one side was at 84. And so it goes.
     
  19. rfs

    rfs Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lansing, MI USA
    Thanks!
     
  20. Oelewapper

    Oelewapper Plays vinyl instead of installing it on the floor.

    Just get a Technics SL-1200MK4, SL-1200MK7, SL-1200GR or SL-1200G those do 3 speeds and have a removable headshell.
    The pitchfader can be useful for 78s that aren’t cut exactly at the right speed.
     
    Robert C, Big Blue, tin ears and 2 others like this.
  21. JohnO

    JohnO Senior Member

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    What is your budget for the turntable, and for the cartridge/stylus? You will also need another preamp, or a way to adjust for the EQ used on 78s before 1955. The Lounge is great but not meant for pre-RIAA 78s and LPs.
     
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  22. bjlefebvre

    bjlefebvre Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Washington DC-ish
    Thanks all. I'm leaning toward a Technics. Once I get back home from the holiday I'll measure how much shelf space I have available - if the Technics fits I'll probably focus on finding one used. If it's too big, I might shoot for a Dual. I'll probably shoot for a Stanton 500 with various stylii.

    How important is it to get a phono pre that doesn't hold to the the RIAA curve? If I just use the Lounge, would that make the music sound too blah?
     
    Aftermath likes this.
  23. Oelewapper

    Oelewapper Plays vinyl instead of installing it on the floor.

    It means you’ll need to flip a little DIP switch under the platter to enable 78rpm.
    Once enabled, 78 is selected by pressing 33 and 45 buttons simultaneously.
    Only the MK4 has a separate 78 button.
     
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  24. JohnO

    JohnO Senior Member

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Very roughly, the RIAA playback curve includes a strong high end rolloff, down 12 db at 10 kHz compared to 1 kHz. Pre-1955 78s were not cut with RIAA EQ for that playback rolloff, and when played through RIAA they sound bassy and boomy. They shouldn't and don't need to with proper EQ.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2021
    Big Blue likes this.
  25. McLover

    McLover Senior Member

    Location:
    Athens, Tennessee
    No, two speeds only. (and no KAB conversion for 78 RPM). Technics SL-1200 Mk 4 (rare Japan only model) was the only older SL-1200 model which offered native 78 RPM capability.
     
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