The Talking Machine Forum — For All Antique Phonographs & Recordings

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 Post subject: New here: Looking for help with Victrola J1-50
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:12 am 
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Victor Jr
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:54 am
Posts: 4
Hi, I am a new member.
I recently had a moment of madness at a car boot-type sale near me and bought a Victrola J1-50 (I only got my first vinyl record player in November!). Now I'm looking for some advice about how to get it up and running properly.
The main problem is that when I try to play the one record I have (which is in horrible condition, it came with the machine), I can only play the last 10 seconds or so of it, if I put the needle down anywhere on the outside edge it grinds to a halt pretty quickly (this is with 25-30 turns of the handle). I also don't have any new needles (yet) so have had to do the dreaded practice of re-using an old one. I'm not too fussed about damaging this one record, but could that create extra drag which would stop it playing?
Also the "tone arm" (is that what it's called on these old machines?) is pretty "floppy". Perhaps that's putting extra weight on the record too.
I also found this page which shows a cork "gasket", that may have crumbled away on my machine:
https://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/chitoseame28/67997439.html
I haven't taken it apart yet, though the penetrating oil should have good and worked it's way into the screws by now. I've also pretty much bathed the speed controller assembly in penetrating oil (after removing it from the machine), but it's still stuck. It seems to push a lever down so I might have to improvise in future.
Anyway, does it sound like I might have a weak / ungreased spring? I've seen Youtube videos about replacing them and it seems a pretty involved and daunting process, especially as I don't have a workshop of any kind (though I know of one that might be a sort of "open access" one people can use). Or would a new tone-arm gasket and/or more winding (I don't want to damage the spring if it is okay!) get it working? I'm also going to order some new medium tone needles and get a better-condition record or two, too (the one I have may even be an electrical recording).


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 Post subject: Re: New here: Looking for help with Victrola J1-50
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:58 am 
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Victor O
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Joined: Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:52 am
Posts: 94
Location: St. Albans, UK
Hi Mike, and welcome to the forum. The Victrola J1-50 is a table model but I'm not sure how close it is to its European counterparts like the HMV 104 or 130. The tonearm may be similar but not quite the same. It's more unusual for Victor machines like this to turn up on this side of the Atlantic so someone in the 'Machines' section may be able to help you with specific problems associated with this machine. Changing or cleaning a spring is a daunting task!

There seems to be a lot of Internet info on this machine in Japanese. Perhaps it was a popular model there? Maybe made for export to Japan? I'm curious as to how it would sound compared to the HMV 130. The J1-50 'appears' to be orthophonic but unlike the 130 has a wooden horn.

Best of luck, Jamie


Last edited by jamiegramo on Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:30 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: New here: Looking for help with Victrola J1-50
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:15 am 
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Victor Jr
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:54 am
Posts: 4
I'll take and upload some pictures tomorrow, yeah it's a table model, not in brilliant condition (the material at the front is shredded. Thinking of replacing it with some "sack" type material, nothing like the original but I think the colours will contrast nicely.
It also has a brake to hold the turntable in position, presumably while you wind it, but the mechanism appears to have a part missing. To apply the brake you have to lift off the whole turntable and push it into position. Still, I suppose I can't really experiment with it further until I get some Ebay'ed needles delivered and hunt up a better record. The sale I got it at has loads of records from all eras, but it's only on the 21st and 22nd of each month.


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 Post subject: Re: New here: Looking for help with Victrola J1-50
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:17 am 
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Victor III
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F. Depero, "Grammofono", 1923.
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:19 am
Posts: 771
Location: Italy
If you really live in Europe (which isn't clear) I suggest that first of all you purchase an assortment of new needles by user soundgen on this board.

If you want to repair these machines yourself it's important that you first read a book about them in order to get accustomed to their mechanical parts and the terminology. Usually Reiss' The Compleat Talking Machine is a good starting point.

The pictures I've seen of this machine on internet are of a tabletop machine with an aluminium diaphragm but with an internal wooden horn that is very very far from being orthophonic.


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 Post subject: Re: New here: Looking for help with Victrola J1-50
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:24 am 
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Victor IV
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2016 7:12 pm
Posts: 1407
The J1-50 was built by the Japanese Victor Corporation (JVC), which was a business partner with the USA-based Victor Talking Machine Company. The company was founded in 1927.

The J1-50 is basically a low-end table model from about 1933-1935, and, as such, was designed to play electrically recorded 78s.

There are a few Youtube videos that show the J1-50 in action, such as --

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_OsaS3FJqw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7D7L6ttYj0

-- both of which sound like they could stand to have the sound-box (reproducer) overhauled.

I'd suspect your model will also need to have the sound box rebuilt, if it has not been done before. That, coupled with using a worn needle on a worn record, will definitely slow the turntable down. Steel needles should never be used to play more than one side of one record--two sides at best--before discarding and replacing.

A "floppy tonearm" could also cause problems, but if it moves without resistance back and forth, it should not slow the record down.

As for the cork gasket shown on the page, that was used to seal the horn connection, to prevent air leakage, from what I can tell. In order to provide as much mid-range and upper-bass as possible, the entire tone chamber, from sound box to the horn's mouth, should be air-tight. As noted, though, the horn's design was not the greatest.

I look forward to seeing photos of the one you bought.

OrthoFan


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 Post subject: Re: New here: Looking for help with Victrola J1-50
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:36 am 
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Victor O
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Joined: Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:52 am
Posts: 94
Location: St. Albans, UK
[quote="OrthoFan"]The J1-50 was built by the Japanese Victor Corporation (JVC), which was a business partner with the USA-based Victor Talking Machine Company. The company was founded in 1927.

Ahh! Thanks OrthoFan, that solves the mystery of the Japanese connection.


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 Post subject: Re: New here: Looking for help with Victrola J1-50
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2019 12:26 am 
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Victor Jr
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:54 am
Posts: 4
Quote:
If you really live in Europe (which isn't clear)

Ah, I live in Japan. I've seen needles on Ebay, but I'm trying to find somewhere that sells them "closer to home". There's a shop I know of with a bunch of Victrolas, old radios etc, but they don't have any (nice selection of rusty and insanely overpriced tins for them, though).
Quote:
'd suspect your model will also need to have the sound box rebuilt, if it has not been done before.

I imagine this will be the case, it doesn't look in particularly good condition. I have seen parts to do it on Ebay, as well. I guess I'll be doing some ordering in the near future.
I was waiting for a sunny day to get some pictures, but it keeps raining. Oh well, here they are.


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 Post subject: Re: New here: Looking for help with Victrola J1-50
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2019 11:35 am 
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Victor IV
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2016 7:12 pm
Posts: 1407
felneymike wrote:
Ah, I live in Japan. I've seen needles on Ebay, but I'm trying to find somewhere that sells them "closer to home".


I know that there are a number of antique gramophone & phonograph enthusiasts in Japan--and quite a number have posted videos of their machines on YouTube--so your best bet might be to contact fellow collectors in your area to find out where they source their needles, parts, repairs, etc.. Along this line, have you ever visited the Kanazawa Phonograph Museum? If not, that might be a good starting place.

https://www.kanazawastation.com/kanazaw ... ph-museum/

Your J1-50, by the way, looks to be in good, restore-able condition. The sound box (reproducer) shows no signs of swelling or cracking, so you're very fortunate there. Probably a good cleaning and overhaul is all it needs.


OrthoFan


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