The Talking Machine Forum — For All Antique Phonographs & Recordings

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 Post subject: Newbie seeking Info
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:37 am 
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Victor Jr
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In the process of cleaning out old stuff, I found a trive of old records from, I believe, the 20's & 30's. Don't know who they had belonged to - probably parents (I am in my 70's, so we're talking old records) Some of the records are by Duke, Ella, etc. A couple of the labels are Aeolian, Columbia Gramophone. I also found my collection of 33's from the 60's - 70's.

Right now, I have no machine to play any of these on. Is there a machine that can play both?

I assume I need a different needle since the grooves are wider on the old records. are there any other reasons why this can, or cannot, be done?

THANK YOU.


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie seeking Info
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:50 am 
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Victor Monarch Special
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Who is John Galt?
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 6:08 pm
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Location: New York's Finger Lakes
It sounds like you're more interested in simply playing these records than collecting them, or collecting antique phonographs.

If this is the case, you'd be well served by picking up a 1960s-1980s Newcomb or Califone record player. There were widely used in schools, built like tanks, and can play 16,33, 45, and 78 rpm records with a flip of a switch and flipping over the cartridge. (New needles for these are still plentiful and cheap.)

These school record players can be found at yard sales, in second-hand stores such as Salvation Army, Goodwill, etc. or you can put an ad in your local Craigslist for one. Typically these go for less than $50.

Good luck!

George P.


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie seeking Info
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:43 am 
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Victor Jr
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Very helpful info - thank you. I see that Califone is still in business. I can find them even in retail stores, like Adorama. But for a couple hundred dollars.

I would prefer something taht would also look like a decent piece of furniture. Our house is Craftsman style - from the 20's, so a VIctrola style would work. I had intended to find a Victrola, but i can't play the 33's on that.


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie seeking Info
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:36 pm 
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Victor II
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Joined: Tue May 27, 2014 12:24 pm
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SRQLI wrote:
In the process of cleaning out old stuff, I found a trive of old records from, I believe, the 20's & 30's. Don't know who they had belonged to - probably parents (I am in my 70's, so we're talking old records) Some of the records are by Duke, Ella, etc. A couple of the labels are Aeolian, Columbia Gramophone. I also found my collection of 33's from the 60's - 70's.

Right now, I have no machine to play any of these on. Is there a machine that can play both?

I assume I need a different needle since the grooves are wider on the old records. are there any other reasons why this can, or cannot, be done?

THANK YOU.


Here's one idea: if you want that "old time sound" experience of playing the 78s as they would have been when new, right now there's a basic 1920s vintage Columbia tabletop wind-up phonograph for sale on the "Yankee Trader" segment of this very forum for $80. viewtopic.php?f=9&t=41942

I have no affiliation (or even acquaintance) with the seller, and I know nothing about the machine beyond what's in the advertisement, but it appears to be a functional player that would benefit from some basic maintenance; you might want to contact the seller and discuss it. It would be a very appropriate choice for the two records you pictured in your initial posting, both acoustically recorded disks (i.e., records made with a horn and diaphragm, not a microphone and electric cutter) dating to the 19-teens or early '20s. Not so much, perhaps, for Duke Ellington or Ella Fitzgerald, whose records were electrically inscribed much later. Hence, the Columbia machine would be a better choice if most of your records are like the ones pictured or on Victor credited to the Victor Talking Machine Company, less so if they're on labels like Decca, Columbia with a CBS logo, or RCA Victor.

Obviously, a wind-up won't play LPs. For those, you'll want some sort of modern turntable. If the Columbia suffices for your 78s, however, you have a much wider world of choices for LP playback.

A word of warning: you will see "nostalgia" styled modern players in places like Target bearing names like Crosley and Victrola, and many have a 78 speed in addition to 33 and 45. They all come from the same factory in China, and they all are pretty awful; no matter how attractive they may look, stay away from them.

If you don't want to buy an acoustic (wind-up type) machine, you'll need to get a modern turntable capable of playing both 78s and LPs, plus the necessary associated gear (at a minimum, a "78" stylus to supplement the LP stylus for the cartridge; an integrated amp, receiver, or preamp/power amp combination with "phono" input; and speakers). As a starting point, I wrote a series of articles you may find useful about various turntable choices that you may be able to find on the used market; the first, which sets forth some of the characteristics you might want, is here: https://www.tnt-audio.com/vintage/78_tu ... s_1_e.html These articles probably will tell you more than you need (or want) to know, but you can readily pick and choose from what's there as necessary.

One final thought: if I were doing the shopping, instead of one of the "school" type players, I'd look for one of the 1960s-early 1970s KLH compact stereos. They had a decent Garrard turntable with 78 speed, a similarly decent Pickering cartridge, two quite good speakers, and FM or AM-FM radio capability, and the amps built into them were clean and of good quality. One of those would be good enough to do justice to your LPs and electrically recorded 78s, although it would lack the speed adjustment desirable for acoustic ones. Watch your local Craigslist; around here, they turn up from time to time in the range of around $100 to $200. Make sure the turntable still runs, that the amp is still functional, and that the unit hasn't been shorn of its speakers, which were good enough that they often got pirated to go with other gear.


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