The Talking Machine Forum — For All Antique Phonographs & Recordings

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 Post subject: Intro
PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 5:08 am 
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Victor Jr
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"Every fight is a food fight when you're a cannibal." - Dimitri Martin
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:45 am
Posts: 19
Hello all!

As a matter of introduction. I'm new to the antique phonograph bug. My primary interest is in the acoustic variety. I don't have much interest in the electric ones for one good reason - I know nothing of electronics. For that matter, I don't have much space to work on acoustic ones either, I have to depend on repair people. But perhaps that will change as I learn more.

My story so far - I own one machine, cabinet model Avalon. My intent is not to amass a collection of acoustic phonographs. My preference is for functional antiques. All I really want is one good functioning machine with good sound quality and good eye appeal.

Heres a photo and some YouTube links. The type of music I most like are vocalists like the lady in "My Old Kentucky Home", or if I can find any Alice Nielsen records, and vintage jazz from the 20s-30s. I've found that the local thrifts have lots of 78s, found some good "keepers" and some interesting odd-ball ones, like a vintage Dragnet parody. Today I got a good haul from a seller on Craigslist. That was my best buy so far, she had 112 jazz 78s she sold me for $20. I think that makes around 200 total. I picked up 300 needles today and have 300 more coming via mail. I'll be giving the phonograph a work-out as I go through the record collection sorting the "keepers" from the junk.

Image

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRh1O7wd2s4[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Gmwex3oD4M[/youtube]


Last edited by Brinybay on Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Intro
PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 8:30 am 
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Victor Jr
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 3:35 am
Posts: 23
Location: Brisbane Australia
Thats nice thanks for sharing, I want to find something like that.


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 Post subject: Re: Intro
PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 1:17 pm 
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Victor V
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:21 pm
Posts: 2761
Location: Biggenden, Queensland, Australia
Your Avalon has a very nice cabinet design. I especially like the art nouveau faux grille on the volume doors. It really sets the machine off.
I watched your youtube videos, and it appears you have the speed control set too fast. If my count was accurate, it seems the turntable is rotating at around 90rpm instead of 78 so you might want to back that off a little :)
The easiest way to check the speed is to print out a 78 stroboscope. These should be easily found online- there may even be one here in the tech/tips section of the board?
Or you can do it the old fashioned way, by placing a thin strip of paper between a record & the turntable, allowing a couple cm's to hang over the edge. You set the turntable going, place your finger on the motor board close to the turntable, and count how many times the paper hits your finger in 60 secs. When you count 78 times in one minute, then the speed is correct.
It sounds like you might be getting a rattle (blasting)from the soundbox/reproducer. This is usually a sign that the soundbox needs an overhaul with new rubber gaskets. If this has been done, it could need adjustments made to the needle bar pivots, although the problem may not be so bad once the speed is corrected. (Or it may not be the machine at all but the mic in the camera?)
One last thing- winding the machine.
I'm not sure how other collectors feel about this, but personally I prefer to release the turntable brake before winding the main spring.
Most original instruction books tell you to wind the machine fully before releasing the brake, but I've always felt there's a greater chance of the spring breaking now that the motor & spring/s are 90 or 100 years old. I think by releasing the brake first, you're not building up all that power in the same way as when the motor is stationary. I could be wrong though lol.


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 Post subject: Re: Intro
PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:28 pm 
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Victor Jr
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"Every fight is a food fight when you're a cannibal." - Dimitri Martin
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:45 am
Posts: 19
Some more info on this machine. I just paid a lump of money to have the reproducer and motor overhauled, including new springs, but from what I'm getting back here and in pm, it sounds like they did not do a very good job. The reproducer arm was fixed at one time before I got it, there's some obvious weld marks on it. I don't know enough about them to determine if that's affecting the sound quality, but the repair guy said whoever made the previous repair did a good job, just not a real pretty one.

Image Image Image Image Image Image Image


Last edited by Brinybay on Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Intro
PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:42 pm 
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Victor V
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Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 12:01 pm
Posts: 2385
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania
I thought your machine sounded real good on the Freddy Martin selection (I did not listen to "Kentucky"). I did notice some slight shattering/distortion very briefly in certain passages. Did you lower the lid while playing the record? Sometimes the sound box diaphragm will pump out some roughness, and lowering the lid will help to mask that to the listener. Then again, as has been suggested, it may also be an artifact introduced by your recording setup. If you're still not happy, perhaps your repair guy should stand behind his work and perform further adjustments for you.


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 Post subject: Re: Intro
PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:51 pm 
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Victor Jr
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"Every fight is a food fight when you're a cannibal." - Dimitri Martin
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:45 am
Posts: 19
The sounds are as you hear them, it's not the camera. I'm using soft tone needles only, they seem to produce enough volume to suit me (1 side per needle only). What I've learned so far: I was aware of the difference between the acoustic and electric recordings from information I've found on the web, but I don't know how to tell the date of manufacture on them, if there is one. The records I have vary widely as far as quality. There are some that sound horrible, others that have no distortion at all.

I've heard of wooden needles, does anybody use them?


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 Post subject: Re: Intro
PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 5:04 pm 
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Victor V
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:21 pm
Posts: 2761
Location: Biggenden, Queensland, Australia
I can see from the picture of the soundbox that the problem is the rubber gaskets. I dont know what they used, but it sure doesn't look like the proper rubber tubing that should be used :)
It appears to be a soundbox made by Jewel.


Attachments:
Avalonreproducer003.jpg
Avalonreproducer003.jpg [ 91.88 KiB | Viewed 1911 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Intro
PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 5:19 pm 
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Victor IV
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"Did you ever stop to think that pleasure is a duty?" (Victor sales pamphlet)
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 5:19 pm
Posts: 1462
The wooden needles you ask about are actually made of bamboo. They work best on pristine disks whose grooves haven't been roughened with countless plays with steel needles. The volume is a bit lower, and the higher frequencies along with surface noise are reduced, but I find that welcome most of the time. New old stock, along with needle trimmers, can be found on Ebay. You can also make your own, with a little patience and practice!
I agree that the gasket rebuild looks a bit odd.
Bob
"Comparison is the thief of joy" Theodore Roosevelt


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 Post subject: Re: Intro
PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 5:32 pm 
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Victor V
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Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 7:52 pm
Posts: 2501
Brinybay wrote:
The repair guy said whoever made the previous repair did a good job, just not a real pretty one.



No reason why it shouldn't be 'good' and 'pretty' IMO. It's not a lawn mower engine we're talking about.

I agree that the gasket job looks terrible, and may be contributing to the less than ideal sound.


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 Post subject: Re: Intro
PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 6:09 pm 
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Victor V
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:21 pm
Posts: 2761
Location: Biggenden, Queensland, Australia
Here's a picture of my Jewel soundbox. Mine has a fibrous diaphagm, and a dual needle mount designed for use with both steel & jewel tipped needles.
Your soundbox body & needle bar pivot mount look the same.


Attachments:
jewel 014.JPG
jewel 014.JPG [ 180.46 KiB | Viewed 1894 times ]
jewel 002.JPG
jewel 002.JPG [ 361.25 KiB | Viewed 1894 times ]
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