How late a record would you play on a Orthophonic Victrola?

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marcapra
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How late a record would you play on a Orthophonic Victrola?

Post by marcapra »

I recently bought a bunch of classical 78s in albums from the 20s to 40s. I also recently bought an Audio Technica LP120 because it had a 78 speed and the appropriate 78 3 mil cartridge. It does a pretty good job of playing clean 78s. I just played the stupendous Also Sprach Zarathustra by Strauss. It was the 1935 Victor recording by Koussevitsky and the Boston Symphony. In your opinion, is this too late a recording to play on an Othrophonic type acoustic machine? I haven't tried it yet, but will and report my findings.

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Re: How late a record would you play on a Orthophonic Victro

Post by gramophone-georg »

marcapra wrote:I recently bought a bunch of classical 78s in albums from the 20s to 40s. I also recently bought an Audio Technica LP120 because it had a 78 speed and the appropriate 78 3 mil cartridge. It does a pretty good job of playing clean 78s. I just played the stupendous Also Sprach Zarathustra by Strauss. It was the 1935 Victor recording by Koussevitsky and the Boston Symphony. In your opinion, is this too late a recording to play on an Othrophonic type acoustic machine? I haven't tried it yet, but will and report my findings.
Not in my experience. In fact, I've played records pressed as late as 1947 on windups. Don't forget- portable windups were made as late as the 1950s in some parts of the world. Vinyl is always a 'no', though.

If you're worried, there are always fibre needles.
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Re: How late a record would you play on a Orthophonic Victro

Post by marcapra »

I agree there a many later 78s that can play on an Orthophonic machine, such as my Victrola 8-9, or a Credenza, or a Viva Tonal. I tried playing the Strauss records on the Viva Tonal 800 and the Victrola 8-9, and they just couldn't handle the Zarathustra opening. Remember this is the music from 2001, A Space Odyssey! The pounding of the drums was just a whisper on them. I also tried to play a Benny Goodman big band record, Sugarfoot Stomp, and the volume level on it was overwhelming on an acoustic machine. Glad I bought the Audio Technica LP120 and 78 cartridge. They play fine on it.

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Re: How late a record would you play on a Orthophonic Victro

Post by 52089 »

marcapra wrote:I agree there a many later 78s that can play on an Orthophonic machine, such as my Victrola 8-9, or a Credenza, or a Viva Tonal. I tried playing the Strauss records on the Viva Tonal 800 and the Victrola 8-9, and they just couldn't handle the Zarathustra opening. Remember this is the music from 2001, A Space Odyssey! The pounding of the drums was just a whisper on them. I also tried to play a Benny Goodman big band record, Sugarfoot Stomp, and the volume level on it was overwhelming on an acoustic machine. Glad I bought the Audio Technica LP120 and 78 cartridge. They play fine on it.
Try some of the Goodman small group recordings on Victor and Columbia. They are amazing on Orthophonics.

I regularly play red Columbias from the early 50s on my Orthophonic machines using soft tone needles with no issues. For anything that late you really need soft tone or very soft tone. Fiber and cactus are also good but they will wear out very quickly.

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Re: How late a record would you play on a Orthophonic Victro

Post by gramophone-georg »

marcapra wrote:I agree there a many later 78s that can play on an Orthophonic machine, such as my Victrola 8-9, or a Credenza, or a Viva Tonal. I tried playing the Strauss records on the Viva Tonal 800 and the Victrola 8-9, and they just couldn't handle the Zarathustra opening. Remember this is the music from 2001, A Space Odyssey! The pounding of the drums was just a whisper on them. I also tried to play a Benny Goodman big band record, Sugarfoot Stomp, and the volume level on it was overwhelming on an acoustic machine. Glad I bought the Audio Technica LP120 and 78 cartridge. They play fine on it.
Hmmm. I regularly play 1940s big band sides on my 10-50 and 10-35 with soft tone Tungs Tone needles and no issues. Could it be a reproducer/ isolator issue?
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Re: How late a record would you play on a Orthophonic Victro

Post by marcapra »

I even tried to play the Zarathustra records with my Edison C-2 electronic radio phono and it couldn't handle it. Ironically, I could play Stravinsky's Rite of Spring 1940 Columbia recording on the C-2. But in the article that comes with the Strauss records from 1935, Victor does say the opening Sunrise section of the piece is the loudest, most difficult to record music they have ever tried to put on record.

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Re: How late a record would you play on a Orthophonic Victro

Post by gramophone-georg »

marcapra wrote:I even tried to play the Zarathustra records with my Edison C-2 electronic radio phono and it couldn't handle it. Ironically, I could play Stravinsky's Rite of Spring 1940 Columbia recording on the C-2. But in the article that comes with the Strauss records from 1935, Victor does say the opening Sunrise section of the piece is the loudest, most difficult to record music they have ever tried to put on record.
I recently had the magnetic pickup on my 331 Duo overhauled and tuned- it navigates loud records more confidently now with less distortion, and Chromium needles seem to last twice as long. Those pickups need maintenance also.
I will have to see if I have that Strauss set around somewhere and try it out.
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Re: How late a record would you play on a Orthophonic Victro

Post by marcapra »

I tried playing some of my Capitol 78s from the late 40s and early 50s with my modern stereo setup. I was immediately struck that what I was hearing was HI-FI sound on popular 78s. Stunningly deep bass on some of the records I was playing and excellent detailed treble! I'll have to try some of those Les Paul Mary Ford records next. The Capitol record that really impressed me for hi-fi sound was from 1947, Capitol 428 Bloop-Bleep by Alvino Rey.

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Re: How late a record would you play on a Orthophonic Victro

Post by Wolfe »

marcapra wrote: Les Paul Mary Ford records
I'm a Fool To Care is a nice 78 rpm for sound quality. Others, like The Carioca sound a bit overmodulated / distorted on 78 compared to CD transfers. I have the Les Paul Legend & Legacy CD box set, which I think Les Paul oversaw.

Capitol 78's have one drawback in that they can be on the noisy side. Capitol was recording on 16" 33 ⅓ transcriptions in the 1940's. before tape. CD transfers from those, like in the Capitol Collectors Series, sound very good.
Last edited by Wolfe on Tue Nov 03, 2020 5:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How late a record would you play on a Orthophonic Victro

Post by gramophoneshane »

I play pretty much any 78rpm on my HMV 202, which I imagine a Vic Ortho would give similar results.
Most of my discs are Australian pressings though, so they are probably pressed a little more with acoustic playback in mind than American discs.
Most labels seem to handle a steel needle very well right into the mid 50's, but after that many brands tend to wear fairly quickly on a wind up machine to various degrees.

While I haven't played this disc very often on the 202, I've played it maybe half a dozen times without any visible signs of wear.
It's a South African MGM from 1961 of Conway Twitty.

https://youtu.be/R-x317LiUkQ

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