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 Post subject: Edison Buzz in vocal records?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2009 8:44 pm 
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Victor IV
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 8:44 pm
Posts: 1507
As some of you know I dabbled a bit in trying to create an edison diaphragm most of last winter. I have not done much with it but decided to play around some again now that winter is wearing on and I have another reproducer that needs attention.

What is making me wonder the results some of you may be getting is this. I picked up a copy of a Marie Rappold singing Cavatine from Queen of Sheba. I have another copy of this record. Both are like new. Both display distortion on high notes using any of the diaphragms, old or new that I have. Several other opera vocalist, usually worse on the soprano records, also tend to buzz through high passages. I don't know if every diaphragm I own is faulty? It makes it hard to tell what your doing trying to make one as well. In fact today I played a piano record that did great compared to the old diaphragm, but neither will play successfully the vocalist on some records. I know some of you are opera fans and have collections on Edison. Do you have diaphragms that play totally clear though all records? Or is there a built in distortion on some of them?

Larry


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 Post subject: Re: Edison Buzz in vocal records?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2009 4:02 pm 
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Victor IV
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 4:43 pm
Posts: 1177
Location: Toronto, Ontario
When I'm testing a reproducer I always play an electric dance side and then one one of the last acoustics : the ones where they were going for all the volume they could. If this passes without a rattle the acoustic vocals should be okay. But I will say it only takes one or two plays with a bad stylus to add a buzz even though the wear doesn't really show.
I think that some of the pressings weren't always as marvellous as the company mystique would have it. I've got some Anna Case vocals where the stampers were very tired and the general sound is really rather sub standard.
With an original diaphragm the " button" has to be well sealed with shellac or you will get a buzz, in my experience. Likewise, the diaphragm has to not be deformed in any way: you know how they get crinkly over time and need to be flattened out again.
And finally, a Lab Model horn will smooth out the odd rattle. The longer air column loads the diaphragm for a superior sound.

Jim


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 Post subject: Re: Edison Buzz in vocal records?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 5:25 am 
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Victor III
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Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 6:07 am
Posts: 965
Larry,
Some of the Edison records do lack of proper recording quality, especially the classical black labelled discs can be attached to several problems, including buzzing. Same thing with the early pre-1928 electrics where some of them have severe distortion. To be sure that a it's not the reproducer's configuration I would play them electrically.
I still like your created diaphragm very much, it works quite well with all major record types.

Norman


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 Post subject: Re: Edison Buzz in vocal records?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 9:53 am 
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Victor IV
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 8:44 pm
Posts: 1507
Norman,

Great to hear that your still enjoying the diaphragm I sent you. I have over time found it wanting in some ways, mild buzzing in pop pieces and then this vocal issue. Recently I decided to make a yet untried fix. I have begun to grind, more or less, away some of the vinyl which was overly thick and the compliance of the material I thought was perhaps the issue. I am experimenting currently with that idea using various amounts removed and leaving the center thicker as the edison. Additions of the cork material are also ongoing to see what the effects are. At this point I have something with even sharper clearness which is a good thing while seemingly not loosing any depth, But there are those occasional records where the current design will still not perform as it should such as the Prelude in C Sharp Minor on the Organ. It seems to overtax it badly in places in one design and close to that in another. If I could solve that I would almost think it was very fine, but so far the elusive perfect eludes me. If I get it flawless I will certainly let you and others know.

I will still wonder on those darn records though as to wether its the record or the diaphragm.

Larry


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 Post subject: Re: Edison Buzz in vocal records?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 11:21 am 
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Victor II
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 11:57 pm
Posts: 431
Location: greater bubbaville
Without having multiple reproducers to try on a given problematic record, maybe a modern turntable set-up for vertical reproduction would tell the tale?


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 Post subject: Re: Edison Buzz in vocal records?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 12:07 pm 
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Victor IV
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 8:44 pm
Posts: 1507
Your probably right but I don't have anything other than a standard turntable and I don't think it will work on that. Well now that I think about it its a drop changer and the record won't navigate the off set. I have four reproducers but several are out of service due to what can only be faulty new needles, but that is another story sadly.


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 Post subject: Re: Edison Buzz in vocal records?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 5:20 pm 
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Victor Jr
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Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:02 pm
Posts: 46
Larry, I too have tested and now use one of your DD diaphragms. You may remember that I wondered if humitidy affected the sound. In New England we have very low humidity in the winter and very high humidity in the summer. I believe your diaphragm is less susceptible to changes in humidity. I give it a BIG THUMBS UP!

Not all 'off-the-shelf' gaskets are the same thickness. Have you tried different thickness gaskets? Maybe it's the super secret link string that you use. ;) I'll bet there has been a lot of chatter about what is the best material from cereal box cardboard to beer can aluminum. I strongly recommend you bring your experiment to market. Consider offering a two-piece package. Go for it.


PhonoJack


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 Post subject: Re: Edison Buzz in vocal records?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 9:44 pm 
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Victor IV
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 8:44 pm
Posts: 1507
PhonoJack,

Gee I didn't realize that anyone was still using those out there. Its good to know that some have proven to work well enough to hold up under various conditions. I sort of thought I was detecting a rather aggravating high end buzz in the one or two I had here yet. In fact I am pretty sure of it. I blamed it on the overall thickness being too ridged. When Wyatt stopped by we played it and he felt too that although the mid range was improved the high end suffered some. Which I couldn't argue with. It makes one appreciate how well Edisons must have worked when new. I have so far found it to be impossible to make every type of record play to the standard I would like so far. I really rather gave up on it when several people got them and were less than happy it seemed. Of course I couldn't be there to hear it or determine if the records were a factor, or even the needle for that matter, but it just shows how difficult providing something with so many variables might prove to be.

I recently got some very nice records and even my original diaphragms were leaving me unhappy with all types of music. So I decided to try a new approach using the same material and experimenting with some slightly different ways of putting them together. The result most likely is some better than I had earlier, but perfecting the method and getting it to work every time is not simple. Besides I know that if you actually charged the kind of time it takes to put it together and test it people are not interested it seems. And then there are other issues like the "Linkage" you mentioned which some were unhappy with. I have still found it to be the best thing for ease of use, but I have had problems with them coming undone and having to remake a new one, I wouldn't want that to be a common occurrence either if I were selling them.

Thanks for the encouragement.

Larry


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 Post subject: Re: Edison Buzz in vocal records?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2009 12:31 am 
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Victor IV
Contact me for TMF tech support.
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 2:01 pm
Posts: 1077
Location: Boston, MA
Larry,

While I have not gotten to listen to the results of your handiwork as extensively as other members of this board, John did play the same record for me with both one of your creations and an original, and I remember being very impressed with your work.

One thing I was wondering, though—is there documentation stating how it was done originally (e.g. an article, etc.), or are you limited to trial and error? (For example, in true Edison fashion, have you learned 100 ways not to make a diaphragm?)

I think history has proven that if you keep trying long enough, you’ll perfect it. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Edison Buzz in vocal records?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2009 9:01 am 
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Victor IV
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 4:43 pm
Posts: 1177
Location: Toronto, Ontario
I think the diaphragms you're making are quite good indeed. I did a bit of tinkering with the one you sent. I filed down the edges of the of diaphragm in order to give it a bit more flexibility ( compliance?) and I was pleased with the result. I have one of the other reproduction diaphragms that are offered for sale and yours is by far the best. It doesn't match my best original but it's way ahead of the average original DD diaphragm that one hears. Your diapragm tends, as you mention, to attenuate the higher frequencies. Have you tried adding a " button" like the originals? I was thinking of trying to carve one out of something or other and adding it to the diapragm.
And Norman is quite right: some of the early electricals are distorted...and then again the very last ones when , I understand, they were dubbing the DD master from a lateral disc. This of course was in the last month or two of production.

Jim


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