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 Post subject: Total quality contrast
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2020 12:20 am 
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Victor Jr
Long live the “King of Jazz”
Joined: Thu Sep 03, 2020 3:41 pm
Posts: 7
I have only two Victrolas, both new to me. One is an early VV-IX, a tabletop acoustic, and the other a 4-7, a compact Orthophonic. Both have been gone over and have professionally overhauled reproducers, the IX has an Exhibition and the 4-7 a standard pot metal Orthophonic (5A?).

Playing the same Scroll Victor record, which is one of my favorites (VE 21855, Glad Rag Doll, Nat Shilkret), with new medium needles on both, yields quite different results, both unsatisfactory. The acoustic machine provides great, clear vocals and crisp highs, and is quite loud, but almost non-existent bass. As an amateur tuba player, that doesn’t work for me. Playing the same record on the 4-7 yields a very pleasant bass and full range, but the vocals and other midrange are muddy. There was also an occasional buzz on certain loud notes (resonance?)

I have not inspected the horn on the Orthophonic. Perhaps it leaks, has cracks, is not mounted well, not sealed, something. Could this be an issue? I understand the horn on the 4-7 is all wood. Is this affecting the clarity?

Sound reproduction is my priority. Is it too much to expect recognizable bass and clean vocals/highs out of this machine? If so, where should I be looking for the flaw in this one? If this unit is not capable of rendering a better sound, what machine might get me better sound quality?

Thanks in advance.


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 Post subject: Re: Total quality contrast
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2020 12:27 am 
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Victor VI
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 12:55 am
Posts: 3121
Location: Eugene/ Springfield Oregon USA
Sealing the horn and treating it with a wood softener will definitely improve things on the 4-7. Talk to Wyatt Markus (MicaMonster) on here to get that reproducer gone through and tip top. I think if you do those two things you'll be quite pleased.

On the tabletop, consider picking up a Victrola or HMV No. 4 soundbox and have Wyatt go through it as well. That machine will never be a subwoofer, but the No. 4 is a straight swap and will open up the range as far as it can be opened.
"He who dies with the most shellac wins"- some nutty record geek


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 Post subject: Re: Total quality contrast
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2020 12:45 am 
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Victor Jr
Long live the “King of Jazz”
Joined: Thu Sep 03, 2020 3:41 pm
Posts: 7
Wyatt did the reproducer.

Softening the wood seems counter productive. Wouldn’t that actually muffle the sound? Most units’ horn are at least partially cast iron, I would think to enhance crispness.

BTW, the head should read Tonal, not Total....


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 Post subject: Re: Total quality contrast
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:29 am 
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Victor VI
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 12:55 am
Posts: 3121
Location: Eugene/ Springfield Oregon USA
2002too wrote:
Wyatt did the reproducer.

Softening the wood seems counter productive. Wouldn’t that actually muffle the sound? Most units’ horn are at least partially cast iron, I would think to enhance crispness.

BTW, the head should read Tonal, not Total....


I suggested sending the repro off because it shouldn't be buzzing. Contact Wyatt about and see if he has any ideas.

Softening is basically the glycerin treatment that's recommended to reverse the aging of the wood. I've had really great improvements by sealing the horn and treating it. Here's what I use:
https://www.veneersupplies.com/products ... ioner.html

It stinks, so don't do it in the house. Garage is better. After about 24 hours the smell dissipates. I did this to my Viva Tonal 810, Victor Credenza, and 10-50 with superb results.
"He who dies with the most shellac wins"- some nutty record geek


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 Post subject: Re: Total quality contrast
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:34 am 
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Victor VI
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2009 3:08 pm
Posts: 3282
Location: Harrison Township, MI
You shouldn't be hearing muddy tones or buzzing. Get back with Wyatt. I'm certain he will want to have another look at your reproducer. He is a perfectionist and will want it to be "right" even more than you do.

I have found that good bass, with muddy vocals, are usually the result of loose bearings at the needle bar fulcrum. This only is what I've found to be the case with my reproducers. Your issue may be something different and may not even be in the reproducer. Start with Wyatt.

- Is the joint in your tonearm U-tube adjusted to only allow movement of the u-tube, with no additional play? And, has that joint been greased? Buzzing may occur there if the joint is loose and dry.

- If your remove the tonearm base, there should be a felt ring around the bottom of that base that fits into a pocket at the entrance to the horn. That felt ring should be generously coated with grease, to aid the felt ring in sealing the joint between the tonearm and the horn.

- Removing the back panel of your cabinet, (assuming that can be done with a 4-7), you'll likely see a pot metal coupling that attaches just beneath the tonearm mount. That coupling then attaches to the horn neck. The coupling is very often warped and distorted, as pot metal is want to do. Since it must be air-tight to work properly, and since attempting to do anything with it will likely cause it to crumble, most folks simply smear silicone sealant around it, at the seams and at the obvious spots where leakage may occur.

Besides a good reproducer, I have found that attention to the above 3 things have made the greatest improvements in my Orthophonics.


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 Post subject: Re: Total quality contrast
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2020 1:14 pm 
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Victor V
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Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 12:01 pm
Posts: 2478
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania
Your tabletop IX will never give much bass, because of the small horn, among other factors. A properly adjusted Exhibition will give you as much bass from that machine as you can expect, IMO. On my floor model XI, for example, this sound box gives satisfactory bass, but my set-up is no match for an Orthophonic machine in that department!

Years ago, I heard a Paul Whiteman recording (wish I could remember which one) played on a Credenza, and it sounded like a tuba concerto, there was such prominent bass.


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 Post subject: Re: Tonal quality contrast
PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2020 2:11 pm 
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Victor Jr
Long live the “King of Jazz”
Joined: Thu Sep 03, 2020 3:41 pm
Posts: 7
The back doesn’t come off a 4-7, and the cloth grill hides the horn behind. And the only way to open it from the front to inspect it is to take the doors off. It has those little inset top and bottom mounted hinges that look a little tricky to remove without damage. At some point I know I should, just to be sure.

The tone arm on this unit removes with the motor board. I used a piece cut from a sheet of cork gasket material like is used for making certain auto gaskets for a seal between the motor board and the horn, and when I pulled the board to do a case repair I could see an impression of the tone arm base. So I think I have a good seal there.

I made a couple of sound files to send to Wyatt which I hope will help him to help me work out the bugs.

BTW, I bought a very pretty 5B soundbox off ebay which when it gets here will give me something with which to compare. Itwill be a while, though, as it is coming from Singapore.

I very much appreciate all the input.


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 Post subject: Re: Total quality contrast
PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2020 3:25 pm 
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Victor III
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floating down stream ...
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:52 pm
Posts: 782
Location: Made it, Ma ! Top of the world !
I can't help with your questions - but I love 'Glad Rag Doll' and have four or five different versions on 78.

Fantastic song !
Sun turnin' 'round with graceful motion
We're setting off with soft explosion


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 Post subject: Re: Total quality contrast
PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2020 4:48 pm 
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Victor III
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Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2016 2:41 pm
Posts: 553
Here are a couple of threads about my 4-7 and sealing the horn:

https://forum.talkingmachine.info/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=31627&start=10

https://forum.talkingmachine.info/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=31215
A talking machine might be the closest you'll get to a time machine.


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