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 Post subject: Early Pathé records - Questions.
PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2020 2:21 pm 
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Victor III
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I have a Pathé record which plays from the centre, at 90 rpm and (I think) needs a special 'needle' - a 'Sapphire' (I think it is called).

1. So I can't play it using steel needles ?

2. If not, can I use a mono stylus on a modern turntable ?
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 Post subject: Re: Early Pathé records - Questions.
PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2020 2:37 pm 
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Victor III
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A Pathé record...with care will live to speak to your grandchildren when they are as old as you are
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poodling around wrote:
I have a Pathé record which plays from the centre, at 90 rpm and (I think) needs a special 'needle' - a 'Sapphire' (I think it is called).

1. So I can't play it using steel needles ?

2. If not, can I use a mono stylus on a modern turntable ?


No, no, no--do NOT NOT NOT play it with a steel needle! One playing with a steel needle, and your Pathé is toast.

You can play it with a modern setup, but you'll need the cartridge wired for vertical cut; Pathé records are indeed "mono," in the sense of single-channel sound, but it is modulated vertically, whereas a modern "mono" setting reads laterally. In other words, the grooves of a "mono" record wiggle side to side, whereas the Pathé groove wiggles up and down. For a Pathé, the only sound to be had in the lateral orientation is noise.

To set yourself up for vertical cut, you'll need to swap the right signal and right ground leads of your cartridge. Then when you set your preamp to mono, you'll get a vertical signal.

Even then, you'll probably have trouble tracking the Pathé unless you get a custom large-sized stylus.

Some articles I've written that you may find helpful:

https://www.tnt-audio.com/vintage/mono-a-mono_e.html (vertical vs. lateral cut)
https://www.tnt-audio.com/vintage/stylii_e.html (styli, with a photo showing the comparison between a Pathé sapphire ball and a modern LP stylus)
https://www.tnt-audio.com/vintage/stylii2_e.html (steel and other replaceable needles)


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 Post subject: Re: Early Pathé records - Questions.
PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2020 2:46 pm 
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Victor III
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floating down stream ...
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:52 pm
Posts: 746
Location: Made it, Ma ! Top of the world !
drh wrote:
poodling around wrote:
I have a Pathé record which plays from the centre, at 90 rpm and (I think) needs a special 'needle' - a 'Sapphire' (I think it is called).

1. So I can't play it using steel needles ?

2. If not, can I use a mono stylus on a modern turntable ?


No, no, no--do NOT NOT NOT play it with a steel needle! One playing with a steel needle, and your Pathé is toast.

You can play it with a modern setup, but you'll need the cartridge wired for vertical cut; Pathé records are indeed "mono," in the sense of single-channel sound, but it is modulated vertically, whereas a modern "mono" setting reads laterally. In other words, the grooves of a "mono" record wiggle side to side, whereas the Pathé groove wiggles up and down. For a Pathé, the only sound to be had in the lateral orientation is noise.

To set yourself up for vertical cut, you'll need to swap the right signal and right ground leads of your cartridge. Then when you set your preamp to mono, you'll get a vertical signal.

Even then, you'll probably have trouble tracking the Pathé unless you get a custom large-sized stylus.

Some articles I've written that you may find helpful:

https://www.tnt-audio.com/vintage/mono-a-mono_e.html (vertical vs. lateral cut)
https://www.tnt-audio.com/vintage/stylii_e.html (styli, with a photo showing the comparison between a Pathé sapphire ball and a modern LP stylus)
https://www.tnt-audio.com/vintage/stylii2_e.html (steel and other replaceable needles)


Fantastic ! Thank you very much drh !
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We're setting off with soft explosion


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 Post subject: Re: Early Pathé records - Questions.
PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2020 5:20 pm 
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Victor V
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Seeing as they are shellac I don't think you could "toast" a vertical cut Pathé by playing it with a steel needle. If the needle skated across the grooves you could be left with a big scratch though. :(

Some other vertical shellac disc brands of the day were intended for a steel needle with a vertical oriented reproducer. Those records have a groove type that is appropriate for a needle, not wide, shallow grooves like a Pathé.

Moot points since the salient part of the original question has already been addressed. Not much to add to it.


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 Post subject: Re: Early Pathé records - Questions.
PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2020 5:32 pm 
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Victor III
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A Pathé record...with care will live to speak to your grandchildren when they are as old as you are
Joined: Tue May 27, 2014 12:24 pm
Posts: 626
Location: Silver Spring, MD
Wolfe wrote:
Seeing as they are shellac I don't think you could "toast" a vertical cut Pathé by playing it with a steel needle. If the needle skated across the grooves you could be left with a big scratch though. :( ...


Oh, take it from me (and don't ask how I know :oops: ), those broad, shallow Pathé grooves do not tolerate application of "sharp, pointed metal needles, which cut and rip the record" (to quote the Pathé demonstration record).


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 Post subject: Re: Early Pathé records - Questions.
PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 4:34 am 
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Victor III
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Well, you may not literally toast them at once but a steel needle will likely severe stress and wear to the groove. Shellac is only a part of a whole compound and Pathé verticals should have very little to none abrasive agents in it, thus unsuitable for steel needles.

From my personal experience, tracking is always quite tricky as these groove had almost no grip. This is not so much due the groove being shallow but rather its particular shape, which is almost identical to that of a 2-minute cylinder. It has a round bottom versus the usual V-shape of a lateral cut. That's what makes the tracking difference.

But using a smaller stylus with Pathés can actually be quite beneficial. I had very good results even with a 3 mil stylus, much less surface noise and better detail than with a bigger one. What is required to make this working is an increased tracking force. So, you will have to use a pickup that allows at least 5g or more. A cheap ceramic cartridge would work quite well as these can easily withstand high tracking forces.


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 Post subject: Re: Early Pathé records - Questions.
PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 4:51 am 
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Victor V
Joined: Mon May 13, 2013 2:04 pm
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Edison Diamond discs play electrically well with a stereo cartridge but Pathé discs don't seem to produce any sound why is this ?


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 Post subject: Re: Early Pathé records - Questions.
PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 1:51 pm 
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Victor III
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If it's just a Pathé that really produces no sound whatsoever I'd be questioning the record.

I just grabbed a Pathé center start and put on my turntable. The file shows the output only with flat eq, pitched to 90rpm and with a decent low-pass filter applied, nothing else and played with a regular 3 mil diamond at 5g. No obvious tracking problems here.

Attachment:
20201013.jpg
20201013.jpg [ 71.36 KiB | Viewed 233 times ]


Attachments:
pathe_center_start_flat_lowpass.mp3 [572.59 KiB]
Downloaded 19 times
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 Post subject: Re: Early Pathé records - Questions.
PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 2:05 pm 
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Victor V
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WDC wrote:
Pathé verticals should have very little to none abrasive agents in it, thus unsuitable for steel needles.


This I have heard.

soundgen wrote:
Edison Diamond discs play electrically well with a stereo cartridge but Pathé discs don't seem to produce any sound why is this ?


Haven't had that problem when using a cart wired for vertical playback. I've usually just used a cheap conical "DJ" style stylus for Pathés. But I've also had success with the Shure N78S stylus, because of it's compliant nature, it's seems to ride the groove of a Pathé pretty well. It's about the only thing I use the N78S for anymore.


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 Post subject: Re: Early Pathé records - Questions.
PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 2:39 pm 
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Victor V
Joined: Mon May 13, 2013 2:04 pm
Posts: 2329
WDC wrote:
If it's just a Pathé that really produces no sound whatsoever I'd be questioning the record.

I just grabbed a Pathé center start and put on my turntable. The file shows the output only with flat eq, pitched to 90rpm and with a decent low-pass filter applied, nothing else and played with a regular 3 mil diamond at 5g. No obvious tracking problems here.

Attachment:
20201013.jpg



How does that 3 mil compare to a standard microgroove diamond stylus of conical (spherical) form has a radius of 25μm (0.001")? Which works on a Diamond disc bu doesn't seem to produce sound on a Pathé ?


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