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Playing 78's question for Steve

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Pinknik, Apr 6, 2002.

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  1. Pinknik

    Pinknik Senior Member Thread Starter

    Hi, Steve. Just wondering if you play old 78's on old equipment, or do you use modern equipment to get the sound you describe? How might YOU transfer 78's to the modern CD to preserve that sound? Thanks.
  2. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host


    I use a Miracord Elac German table from the 1970's. Pretty average table, but it works for me.

    I don't do any transfers on it, just enjoy playing 78's.

    I would use the cutting lathe and SME arm to do any real dubbing to digital.

    I use a Shure M44 tip for most 78's. I also have an entire set of archive needles for matching groove size, but since I almost never do transfers, I don't use them.

    The art of dubbing a 78 is NOT to lose the body of the music in the "fixing" of the sound.

    Problem is, for most people, the surface noise is very disturbing, whereas I don't even hear it, or care about it.

    Also, I never lose much of the RIAA curve sound. Once it's off, there is too much midband for my taste.

    A very good vacuum tube phono stage is essential in listening to old records, IMO.

    I could write a book. ;)
  3. indy mike

    indy mike Forum Pest

    Please do!!! :)
  4. Richard Feirstein

    Richard Feirstein New Member

    Albany, NY
    I had an unce who had a large collection of larger (beyond 12 inch) 78 transcription radio distribution disks and 1000's of other 78's. He had a tube pre-amp run into a dynico power amp I built for him. That pre-amp had a number of different eq curves matched on the switch labels to different record venders. With the right curve selected and the matching stylus, some of those electric 78's sounded very good. Even Elvis! Since early stylus selections were crude and played at very heavy loads, grove wear was a real problem. Using a different stylus size and shape often got us onto a less worn place in the grove. Some of the last 78's were relatively quiet, but early 78's had rumble and wow you just had to ignore.
  5. lukpac

    lukpac Senior Member

    Milwaukee, WI
    Hmm...I know some restoration engineers actually play back 78s on older machines with huge horns, and simply put a mic (or two) in front of it. Apparently that can sound amazing...
  6. Richard Feirstein

    Richard Feirstein New Member

    Albany, NY
    Well, that is how acoustic 78's were intended to be played. Problem is that the both the acoustic pickup and the acoustic horn introduced significant "colortion" to the sound. That is what Soundstream was hired by RCA to try to address with some digital minipulation of the sound to eliminate some of that coloration. Some people report that the voices sounded more like the actual voices they remembered after going thorugh that process. I never heard the approach you describe and would love to see if it also sounded more natural than playing an acoustic 78 with an electronic cartridge. Same would be true I guess for the Edison Cylinders.
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