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 Post subject: HMV 5 soundbox versions
PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:09 pm 
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Victor O
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Posts: 62
Can somebody enlighten me of the differences in the HMV 5 family of soundboxes. 5 vs 5A vs 5B
Thanks
Denes


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 Post subject: Re: HMV 5 soundbox versions
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 11:05 pm 
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Victor II
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Posts: 442
Location: USA
The HMV No. 5 is the same style as the Victor Orthophonic with magnetized ball bearings, etc.

The 5a and 5b are very similar to each other, the main difference being the pattern stamped into the diaphragm. Most people find the performance of the 5a and 5b to be about the same; some feel the 5a is slightly better. That could be due to the condition and adjustment of the units compared.

Avoid the No 16. It's a cheap and nasty thing.
Best regards ... AZ*


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 Post subject: Re: HMV 5 soundbox versions
PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 2:57 am 
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Victor II
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:37 pm
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The HMV no. 5 was very short lived, because of serious problems with the pot metal back and was replaced within months with the much improved 5A, that tends to be stable up to the current day. AFIAK the 5B only was used for the portable model 102, I've never seen any other model with it. A gramophone with a no 16 reproducer should be avoided at all cost. It simply cannot be rebuilt.


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 Post subject: Re: HMV 5 soundbox versions
PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 3:37 pm 
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Victor II
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2011 1:13 pm
Posts: 248
I'm not sure if the HMV #5 sound box was discontinued primarily because of pot metal problems, unless there were some manufacturing difficulties. The pot metal issues, based on what I've heard and read, really didn't surface until several years--in some cases decades--after the sound boxes, and other components, were manufactured.

According to David Cooper's "The Perfect Portable Gramophone" there were problems associated with "buzz" and noise emitted from the sound boxes. (One wonders if they were playing these instruments "whilst" the lid was open?)

I used to own an early HMV #5 reproducer which I bought to replace a crumbling Orthophonic sound box, and it was in perfect condition and played beautifully--with the lid closed, of course. Unfortunately, I sold it, along with a Consolette, about 15 years ago, not realizing its rarity. :cry:

DS


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 Post subject: Re: HMV 5 soundbox versions
PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 6:06 pm 
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Victor O
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Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2012 9:36 pm
Posts: 62
After a long net search all I found is that the difference between A and B is the pattern on the aluminum diaphragm. The A having a tangential and the B having a radial pattern.
I ordered a HMV5A from a bloke in the UK. when it comes I will compare ti with my 5B and report back. :geek:


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 Post subject: Re: HMV 5 soundbox versions
PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 8:56 pm 
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Victor III
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If I'm not mistaken the 5/5a/5b finish can be chrome, nickel, silver oxide or gold plated.


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 Post subject: Re: HMV 5 soundbox versions
PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 9:32 pm 
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Victor II
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:37 pm
Posts: 405
As far as I know, the no. 5 had serious pot metal problems, causing it to be very brittle from the start. It could crack simply be removing it from the arm. The 5a also had a pot metal back, but used a different, far more stable mix. My chrome 5a was in perfect non-restored condition even after 75 years of use.


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 Post subject: Re: HMV 5 soundbox versions
PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 9:39 pm 
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Victor II
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2011 1:13 pm
Posts: 248
syncopeter wrote:
As far as I know, the no. 5 had serious pot metal problems, causing it to be very brittle from the start. It could crack simply be removing it from the arm. The 5a also had a pot metal back, but used a different, far more stable mix. My chrome 5a was in perfect non-restored condition even after 75 years of use.


Thanks, I hadn't heard/read about that. As I noted, the one I had was in almost new-looking condition, and very solid, but perhaps it was one of the few that was done right.

A fellow hobbyist I used to know once speculated that the re-designed version of the Orthophonic (#5) sound box, which used the same needle bar assembly & similar back plate as used on the HMV & Victor #4, was adopted for cost-cutting measures, so that the only royalty that had to be paid was for the diaphragm, itself. I've never found anything to substantiate this claim.

DS


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 Post subject: Re: HMV 5 soundbox versions
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 4:43 am 
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Victor II
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:37 pm
Posts: 405
David,

I don't think it was a cost cutting measure, after all both the no. 4 and Orthophonic/no. 5 soundboxes were introduced roughly at the same time, so why use two different backs? Apart from the different membranes, the only other difference was the bore size. The Orthophonic was meant for electrically recorded discs, the no. 4 was as they say in today's speak 'backward compatible'. I like them both, the no. 5 has a wider frequency range and is quite loud. the no. 4 is more forgiving for worn records and sounds just that little bit sweeter.
My German Electrola model 106 portable is the best of both worlds in my eyes. It is essentially an HMV model 101 with a model 102 arm, using a wide bore version of the no. 4 soundbox. When I bought it, it still had the original grease and played beautifully. I had it serviced by the best technician here in Holland and he was flabbergasted about its condition. It must have seen little use, because there was no wear whatsoever. The grease still was as fluid as when it was new, the rubber gaskets were in perfect condition and cosmetically it was 95%, the only problems being a small scratch on the metal motor board and a dried out leather handle. He told me, that he had never seen an HMV or Electrola portable in better condition and he had serviced or rebuilt over a thousand of them. Electrola kept using the no. 4 soundbox for all its acoustic gramophones well into the later 1930s until the discontinued acoustic models.
The no. 5(A/B) was used until 1958, when EMI finally discontinued wind-up gramophones. The little suitcase model 102 must be the gramophone that had the longest production range, 27 years, without major changes. The only big change was early in its life, when the complex and error prone start/stop mechanism was replaced by a far simpler system. There was a short period when the strapped for cash EMI corporation used a no. 16 reproducer, which sounded reasonably well, but was virtually unreparable, being 'sealed for life'. Unfortunately 'life' for these soundboxes was only a few years.


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 Post subject: Re: HMV 5 soundbox versions
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 6:03 am 
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Victor V
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:21 pm
Posts: 2510
Retrograde wrote:
If I'm not mistaken the 5/5a/5b finish can be chrome, nickel, silver oxide or gold plated.


The 5a was available in all those finishes, and I assume the No.5 was too (except in chrome), as they were used on the early production Re-entrant models, but the 5b's were only made in chrome & nickel from what I've seen.
The few deluxe red leather 102's with gold plating I've come across either had a No.16 or 5a soundbox, but I suppose there's a possibility that a few gold 5b's are out there.
I strongly doubt you'd ever find a silver oxide 5b though.


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