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 Post subject: Show Me Your Berliner Disc!
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 1:53 am 
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Victor II
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Since we have several threads going right now about Berliners, I thought I'd add to the madness. :twisted:

If you have one (or more) of these discs, feel free to post a picture and/or info about it.

I've always been fascinated by these little records, especially considering the fact that they are the first disc records made. I bought one off of ebay just to be able to say I have one... got it cheap for only about $40 a few years back.


"His Little Wife Was With Him All The Time"
Sung by S.H. Dudley
Berliner 429 (with the letter "J" printed below the number... not sure what that means)
I believe this one dates to approximately 1899.

This features Dudley with piano accompaniment. Its strange how the piano was an instrument that was avoided to a great extent on later acoustic discs, but it was a staple on Berliners.

Image


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 Post subject: Re: Show Me Your Berliner Disc!
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 4:26 am 
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Victor VI
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Edison Records - Close your eyes and see if the artist does not actually seem to be before you.
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I'd love to post some pictures but my Berliners are back in Minnesota. I have been reluctant to play them back on a period phonograph and was wondering what would be the optimium stylus size and speed? I think they normally ran quite slow, 60rpm? Would a 3.5 mil stylus be the best option?


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 Post subject: Re: Show Me Your Berliner Disc!
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 4:29 am 
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Victor VI
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Edison Records - Close your eyes and see if the artist does not actually seem to be before you.
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Another question, has anyone ever heard a Berliner that sounded "good". I have a few early brown wax that sound pretty good but have never heard a comparable berliner disc. Is it because all that survive are so worn or is that just "as good as it ever was"?


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 Post subject: Re: Show Me Your Berliner Disc!
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 4:51 am 
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Victor IV
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gramophoneshane wrote:
My early 7" G&T sounds far better than any of my Berliners.

Shane,

Out of curiosity—what year was this 7" G&T pressed?

— MordEth

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 Post subject: Re: Show Me Your Berliner Disc!
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 5:17 am 
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Victor VI
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Edison Records - Close your eyes and see if the artist does not actually seem to be before you.
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I've also got some early 7" johnson-victor discs, I suppose from 1901 or a bit later. They sound much better than berliners. I think Shane may be right that only the quality of the last berliners could compete with the cylinders of the day but I could be wrong.


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 Post subject: Re: Show Me Your Berliner Disc!
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 5:34 am 
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Victor IV
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Valecnik wrote:
I think they normally ran quite slow, 60rpm? Would a 3.5 mil stylus be the best option?

To quote Sean in another Berliner thread:

OrthoSean wrote:
Berliners usually play at ~68-70 RPM...

Unfortunately, I’ve no clue about the stylus—hopefully he can point you in the right direction later today, or perhaps one of our other transfer experts will.

It’s still way too early on the other side of the Atlantic. ;)

— MordEth

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 Post subject: Re: Show Me Your Berliner Disc!
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 7:26 am 
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Victor III
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Well, to my personal opinion, Berliner discs are far beyond the average sound quality of a period cylinder record, although their surface speed is up to twice as fast as the one of a standard cylinder.
Berliners do also lack of certain clarity and even speed, something that can be easily heard with piano parts.

Nevertheless, that primitive recording technique is what I do find somewhat fascinating with them.

Here's my little stock of Berliner discs:

Image
September 1899

Image
January 1899

Image
If anyone can help to date this? It does not appear in any discography I could find.

Image
April 1898

Image
unknown, but likely 1898-99

Image
August 1900


Most of them play quite nicely, I'll post them later.


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 Post subject: Re: Show Me Your Berliner Disc!
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 7:41 am 
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Victor VI
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Edison Records - Close your eyes and see if the artist does not actually seem to be before you.
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Looking forward to your posts. How did you get such good pictures of the labels? Did you use a scanner?

Here is my stock of berliners, sorry I don't have individual pics or even a list of titles. I'd really like a few more to fill out the box but 7 inch victors will have to do. Nobody will notice and they are not nearly as expensive. :)


Attachments:
000Berliner09_edited.jpg
000Berliner09_edited.jpg [ 187.81 KiB | Viewed 1602 times ]
000Berliner08_edited.jpg
000Berliner08_edited.jpg [ 142.19 KiB | Viewed 1605 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Show Me Your Berliner Disc!
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:33 am 
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Victor II
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I'd love to see the labels of all those records!

My lone Berliner:

Image

'Spaghetti polka', Felix Jardella, Berliner 345, recorded April 1898.

Funny thing, this disc was item number 1 in the first Nauction I participated in, about 10 years ago, hence the first thing I'd bid on. Bid $100 on it IIRC, and got it for about $93.

I sense that piano accompaniment held sway for so long as it took the recording people a fair amount of time to work out a good balance of orchestra and singers. Budgetary considerations may have been a factor, as they knew singer-with-piano recorded well, and bands recorded well by themselves, but what if they tried recording a singer or singers with an orchestra, and everything was a reject? Quite a lot of money they'd have lost paying all those people for their services, only to have a set of discs they could never recoup the investment from via record sales.

I wonder what the writing at about the 3 o'clock position is? I saw something similar on others' records in this thread. On mine it looks nearly like '73 /2' and I wonder if it referred to turntable speed. Meaning, I wonder if it means they thought they were recording at 73 ½ rpm? In this transfer I had my turntable running at 74 rpm at the start, but just over halfway through I began slowing down the turntable trying to keep the music in key. By the end it was down to roughly 69 rpm.


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 Post subject: Re: Show Me Your Berliner Disc!
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:50 am 
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Victor Monarch Special
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Berliner records are a particular interest of mine. There are about 75 of them here, so I cannot post all the labels, but there are a few interesting ones which I'll dig out tonight and post.

George P.


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