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 Post subject: New soundbox on an old gramophone
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:05 am 
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Victor Jr
Joined: Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:36 pm
Posts: 12
I really love classical music, but almost all classical recordings are electric and I really want to have a horn gramophone. I am mostly looking into buying a Columbia BI (sterling) from around 1906-1908 or a hmv from around the same period. What I have heard is that I can not play electric recorded 78's from 1925- on a gramophone from that period because it will destroy the reproducer. However is it somehow possible to change to another reproducer on an old horn gramophone that will be able to play electric recorded 78's without destroying the reproducer? Perhaps someone will make a custom one for that purpose?


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 Post subject: Re: New soundbox on an old gramophone
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:40 am 
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Victor V
His epigrams are all his own, the man's an epigramophone!
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Provided that an older soundbox has been properly maintained and adjusted, it should play early electrical recordings without damage, but it will not reproduce them to their full potential.

Some later soundboxes will fit earlier machines without modification. Many pre-1925 HMV machines, for example, were retrospectively fitted with the No.4 soundbox which was introduced to play the new electrical recordings.

Given a suitable soundbox, a good external horn machine will out perform most internal horn machines of pre-1925 design. Most of these are little more than table models with added record storage.

Finally, I cannot agree that "almost all classical recordings are electric". The golden age of singing has been wonderfully preserved by a wealth of acoustic recordings which form the basis of some of the greatest record collections.


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 Post subject: Re: New soundbox on an old gramophone
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 7:08 am 
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Victor Jr
Joined: Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:36 pm
Posts: 12
Alright, thanks for the fast answer!

So does this mean if I buy for an example HMV monarch or IV that I will be able to fit a No.4 soundbox without much of a problem and be able to listen to electric recordings the way they are supposed to do?

Is there any equivalent of this to the Columbi BI (sterling) gramophone? Or did only HMV offer this?

How will acoustic recordings sound with a newer soundbox? Better or worse than for an example Exhibition soundbox?

//Henrik


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 Post subject: Re: New soundbox on an old gramophone
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:30 pm 
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Victor III
Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2010 10:56 pm
Posts: 523
Henrik_M wrote:

How will acoustic recordings sound with a newer soundbox? Better or worse than for an example Exhibition soundbox?

//Henrik


The Victor/HMV horn machines have a style of sound-box fitting that permits easy change between sound-boxes. If you have one of these, it is no problem, or issue to have several sound boxes and change them depending on the type of music you are listening to. An Exhibition, No.2, or No. 4 should interchange with the flick of your wrist. I have adapted a Brunswick Panatrope Aluminum diaphragm model to one of mine, and it sounds great.

There was quite a little industry in selling sound-boxes to update earlier machines to play the "new" electric recordings.


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 Post subject: Re: New soundbox on an old gramophone
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 1:34 pm 
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Victor V
His epigrams are all his own, the man's an epigramophone!
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2011 1:21 pm
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Location: The Somerset Levels, UK.
Even the later HMV No.5a and 5b soundboxes can be adapted to fit the earlier tonearm by removing the rear coupling and substituting one from a No.4, as shown on the left of this picture from my collection :


Attachments:
HMV 5b 001.JPG
HMV 5b 001.JPG [ 1.26 MiB | Viewed 3098 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: New soundbox on an old gramophone
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 1:56 pm 
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Victor II
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Location: Canada
epigramophone wrote:

Finally, I cannot agree that "almost all classical recordings are electric". The golden age of singing has been wonderfully preserved by a wealth of acoustic recordings which form the basis of some of the greatest record collections.


I completely agree. Consider Caruso who only recorded acoustically. In fact, he died a year before the microphone was introduced to the recording studio, so all of his recordings were made by his singing into a horn. One can truly appreciate the power of his voice by hearing his recordings played on a well-restored acoustic reproducer.


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 Post subject: Re: New soundbox on an old gramophone
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 2:57 pm 
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Victor Jr
Joined: Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:36 pm
Posts: 12
Thanks a lot again everyone, this really helps me on my search for a gramophone.

However do someone know anything about columbia machines? Is just as easy to change to soundbox, or can you only have the soundbox the gramophone was sold with? I am mostly talking about the columbia BI (sterling.


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 Post subject: Re: New soundbox on an old gramophone
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 7:24 pm 
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Victor V
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2009 3:08 pm
Posts: 2239
Location: Harrison Township, MI
Henrik,

It would be easier to swap around reproducers on a Victor/HMV, than a Columbia.

Just to clear up something you mentioned in your original post, playing an electrically recorded record with any acoustic reproducer will not harm the reporducer in the least. It can however ruin the record.


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 Post subject: Re: New soundbox on an old gramophone
PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 12:27 am 
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Victor VI
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Location: Where there's "hamburger ALL OVER the highway"...
Henrik_M wrote:
Thanks a lot again everyone, this really helps me on my search for a gramophone.

However do someone know anything about columbia machines? Is just as easy to change to soundbox, or can you only have the soundbox the gramophone was sold with? I am mostly talking about the columbia BI (sterling.


It would depend on what reproducer the BI had originally. If it has the earlier "Analyzing" reproducer, you won't be able to switch it out because of the way it's attached to the tonearm. (That said, I find that my BI handles early electrics fairly well).

The later Columbia reproducers with the 'bayonet' tonearm might enable you to switch with another of the same make - say, swapping a "Concert Grand" with a #6, which has a larger diaphragm…


I doubt you would be able to fit a Viva-Tonal reproducer to a BI, unless you rigged up some sort of adapter.

Bill


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 Post subject: Re: New soundbox on an old gramophone
PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 1:59 am 
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Victor I
Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:15 pm
Posts: 190
Of course, another option would be to hunt down an HMV 32 gramophone. These were the last outside horn models produced by the Gramophone Co. in the late 1920s, and were specifically designed to play the more demanding electrically recorded records with greater fidelity than the older models.

(Double-click the video above or click this link to go to the video on YouTube.)



Joe


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