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 Post subject: Clear information on EMG Gramophones?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2011 3:22 pm 
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Victor III
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:54 am
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Location: The BRONX / Yankee Stadium
I am trying to look up a good web reference for EMG gramophones, but I only seem to find other forums with long chains of arguments between collectors/dealers in the UK. Can anyone point me to a clear body of information? Does one exist? Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Clear information on EMG Gramophones?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2011 4:48 pm 
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Victor III
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 8:00 am
Posts: 999
USlakeside wrote:
I am trying to look up a good web reference for EMG gramophones, but I only seem to find other forums with long chains of arguments between collectors/dealers in the UK. Can anyone point me to a clear body of information? Does one exist? Thanks!

Many of these very late acoustic machines went to Asia. It is certainly interesting what the purchasers wrote on the internet but you cannot read it.

You should get Francis James' The EMG Story (Old Bakehouse Publications). I don't know it, but at least one of our members found it worth the purchase: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=4895


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 Post subject: Re: Clear information on EMG Gramophones?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:17 pm 
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Victor V
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:21 pm
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Location: Biggenden, Queensland, Australia
USlakeside wrote:
Does one exist? Thanks!


Apart from the book Starkton recommended...no.
If you want even better information that the book provides, then contact Steve who posts here & on the UK board. He's as close as you'll find to an expert on the EMG & Expert machines.
Just bare in mind that these are handmade gramophones, and no two examples are exactly the same, so if you're looking for strict information like the Victor site that says from June 1931 to Sept 1933 they this cabinet, that tonearm, and this soundbox, you aren't going to find it.


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 Post subject: Re: Clear information on EMG Gramophones?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 4:00 am 
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Victor II
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:37 pm
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EMG gramophones were only made to order and were adjusted tonally to the room they were meant to play in. So unless you're willing to pay an enormous lot of $$ or want to have something to show off, any well restored Credenza will sound just as well for a fraction of the price.
An EMG is like a vintage Bentley: a great machine, but it needs a lot of patience to get it working perfectly. And even then is isn't that much better than a run-of-the-mill Victrola. A friend of mine had one and we compared it with his HMV model 163 (the smallest true re-entrant model). There was hardly any difference. A Credenza has a much bigger horn than the 163, so with a rebuilt soundbox should easily outperform that 163.
Leave the EMG's to the Asians and the Brits who really can make them sing and keep to your own great machines, like the big Brunswicks, Columbias and other early true orthophonics.


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 Post subject: Re: Clear information on EMG Gramophones?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 4:56 am 
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Victor IV
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Quote:
EMG gramophones were only made to order and were adjusted tonally to the room they were meant to play in. So unless you're willing to pay an enormous lot of $$ or want to have something to show off, any well restored Credenza will sound just as well for a fraction of the price.
An EMG is like a vintage Bentley: a great machine, but it needs a lot of patience to get it working perfectly. And even then is isn't that much better than a run-of-the-mill Victrola. A friend of mine had one and we compared it with his HMV model 163 (the smallest true re-entrant model). There was hardly any difference. A Credenza has a much bigger horn than the 163, so with a rebuilt soundbox should easily outperform that 163.
Leave the EMG's to the Asians and the Brits who really can make them sing and keep to your own great machines, like the big Brunswicks, Columbias and other early true orthophonics.


Thanks first of all to Gramophoneshane for the confidence vote; I'm not sure I deserve that much credit as the authority on EMG but yes, I have had some experience with them now and I own the biggest model Expert Senior which is comparable to an EMG 10B. Like GShane, I also own the HMV 202, the largest re-entrant horn domestic machine made or sold anywhere in the world so comparisons between the two are easy to do.

However, I must take issue with the above statement quoted which is, to be quite frank (no pun intended here), utter nonsense! I agree that EMG's and Expert's are quite costly: a good 10B or Expert Senior will probably set a UK buyer back around £4500 today. A top notch example can fetch £5000-6000 without much fuss but if you want the best, you have to pay for it. And the best, they are, that is not a matter of much dispute. To compare an EMG/Expert to a Credenza is simply laughable. EMG's etc were hand-made and produced in numbers equating to less than 0.01% of the output of standard Victor models! A Credenza IS better than an HMV 163 but only after all the horn joints have been glued and sealed up. The HMV has a welded zinc horn that simply doesn't leak to begin with. However, the larger model HMV's are significantly better sound than the 163 but even these can't hold a candle to a large EMG or Expert.

With that said it's hard to understand what must be wrong with any EMG that won't sound better than a Credenza! Was the horn conduit stuffed with pingpong balls or was the soundbox missing it's diaphragm? Did it have a horn connected at all? :lol: :monkey:

As for the comment about setting up, well, let me be the one to bust open the myth that EMG's and their owners belong to some kind of mysterious cult which only fellow members can share the secrets of tuning to. Anyone who can adjust and rebuild a conventional soundbox, can sort out an EMG one. As for other setting up issues, there aren't any! I'm not a technical person by nature but I've never had any problem getting ANY EMG or Expert to reproduce records substantially better than my 202.


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 Post subject: Re: Clear information on EMG Gramophones?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 5:24 am 
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Victor V
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:21 pm
Posts: 2794
Location: Biggenden, Queensland, Australia
Steve wrote:
With that said it's hard to understand what must be wrong with any EMG that won't sound better than a Credenza! Was the horn conduit stuffed with pingpong balls or was the soundbox missing it's diaphragm? Did it have a horn connected at all? :lol: :monkey:



I was kind of wondering the same thing :?


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 Post subject: Re: Clear information on EMG Gramophones?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 7:30 am 
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Victor II
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:37 pm
Posts: 405
Guys,
I only tried to de-mystify the EMG legend. I would love to have one myself, but if I had to choose between spending so much money on one and a good orthophonic or re-entrant plus loads of records the choice would be clear. And that apart from the fact that a well set-up EMG is so loud that it will trip any burglar alarm. It will easily reach 98dB with a medium tone needle and much more without blasting with a loud tone one.
Just go over to the British forum and view some of the youtube videos of the major poster there. He's done some outdoor experiments with one of the first Wilson horns and it was still quite clearly audible at 500 yards.
An EMG is a great machine, no doubt about that, but for day to day usage a simple orthophonic like a 4-4 or even a small vivatonal or HMV 101 or 102 is a much better choice. Good quality, easy to handle and most importantly, if something goes wrong, relatively cheap to repair.


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 Post subject: Re: Clear information on EMG Gramophones?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 11:59 am 
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Victor VI
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syncopeter wrote:
Guys,
I only tried to de-mystify the EMG legend. I would love to have one myself, but if I had to choose between spending so much money on one and a good orthophonic or re-entrant plus loads of records the choice would be clear. And that apart from the fact that a well set-up EMG is so loud that it will trip any burglar alarm. ... a simple orthophonic like a 4-4 or even a small vivatonal or HMV 101 or 102 is a much better choice. Good quality, easy to handle and most importantly, if something goes wrong, relatively cheap to repair.


Not to mention that the "simple orthophonic like a 4-4 or even a small vivatonal or HMV 101 or 102" is to me at least much more pleasing to the eye.


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 Post subject: Re: Clear information on EMG Gramophones?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 12:12 pm 
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Victor III
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:54 am
Posts: 548
Location: The BRONX / Yankee Stadium
So what I am gathering is that EMG's are unique, but they do have identification numbers. But each machine may have its own quirks? They are also sought after mainly for their sound quality over anything else. I agree they aren'y as attractive as some horn machines, but they certainly are bizarre, which is a good quality for a phonograph too. I am also gathering they are hard to find because they have been bought up by collectors, many in Asian countries.

It's interesting that horns were designed for specific spaces. It reflects the sensitivity that is usually devoted to recording studios.

Anyone stateside (and beyond of course!) have examples in their collections they can post?


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 Post subject: Re: Clear information on EMG Gramophones?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 8:10 am 
I was stationed in Britian while in the forces back in 1984 to 1986. Having collected phonographs for over 40 years I must comment on EMG machines. I acquired an EMG Mark IX back in 1984 and have compared the EMG to both a Credenza and Orthophonic 10-50 changer and the EMG wins hands down. My Mark IX was not the top model but clearly has more clarity and range than the Orthophonics provide. I acquired the book on EMG several years ago when it was in print, and it had alot of useful information. I also talked to several collectors in the U.K that provided me with some usueful information. For example, if you take the turntable off there is a number. The number represents the order in which it was manufactured. From what I have been told only around 2500 or so machines in all styles were manufactured by EMG. They truly are wonderful machines and I was happy to find one back then when they were more available. Just an American Collectors view point.


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