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Gramophones, Phonographs, Victrolas....

Discussion in 'Radio' started by moustache, Nov 20, 2006.

  1. moustache

    moustache Practically Family

    Do any of you still use a gramophone?? PLay 78's ??
    Or ,if not,maybe play cd reissues of music from the 1930's and 40's?

    I have a Harris Portaphone hand crank gramophone in almost mint condition.
    Hopefully i will have a photo of it soon.
    I still play the occasional 78's with a real thorn needle.Favourite 78's are of Mischa Elman and some short violin pieces and also a few 1903 Caruso records.

  2. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

    Yup. I have a small collection. :)
  3. Lauren

    Lauren Distinguished Service Award

    I have a Victor 50 Victrola. It's my pride and joy- I just love it! I play 78s about bi-weekly- there's a guy near me who sells many at his antique store so I can go purchase needles from him :) There's nothing like old records!
  4. moustache

    moustache Practically Family


    You are a lucky person. I have hundreds of cd's with classical from 1889 to 1940 but the 78 collection is sparse. I simply don't have a lot of room in my 1 bedroom apt.

    I still enjoy the sound from those 78's though.

  5. I've got eight milk crates full of 78s in the back of my closet, most of them dance band stuff dating from the late twenties/early thirties. I also salvaged the remains of the 1940s-50s 78 library of a radio station where I worked when it was tossed into the dumpster one night.

    I play them for the most part on the same turntable I use for transferring radio transcriptions -- but I've also got a Victor RE 57 radio-phono combination that I can use from time to time.

    And, I've still got a few of the kiddie 78s I had when I was a wee lass -- those little plastic ones that were the last bastion of 78rpm in the US.
  6. Lauren

    Lauren Distinguished Service Award

    Ooohhh... LizzieMaine, the early dance songs are my favorite! How wonderful to have so many records!

    And many thanks, Moustache :) I don't have a lot of records, but enough to fill my little victrola stand- most of which were gifts from people cleaning out their folk's stuff from when I was just a kid into old stuff :D
  7. Close to 3,000 78s here, along with 1000+ CD reissues. 90% of the music I listen to is from 1925-45, probably 2/3 of that from 1930-36.

    Like LizzieMaine, I too salvaged a station library, in this case the 1950s vintage SESAC 16" discs owned by WOI-TV in Ames, Iowa, where my dad worked as a student.

    I play the groove biscuits on a 78rpm.com "Whiteman Model" turntable. I also have a Sears Silvertone wind-up portable (hornless '30s model), but the tonearm joints are loose and the reproducer is shot. I'd like to get it refurbed one of these days.
  8. birdiepie

    birdiepie New in Town

    My fiance and I casually collect 78 rpm records. He has a Victor Orthophonic Victrola (I've never heard records sound better on anything else!) but usually play our records on a smaller electric (but still antique!) record player due to it's lighter tone arm (thereby reducing wear to the record).

    I don't play my records all too often due to the magic of technology and CD re-issues!
  9. max the cat

    max the cat Familiar Face


    there is nothing like the sound of 78 in good condition on an Orthophonic Victrola-yes thorn needles are great if the record isnt worn-if the reproducer has been restored and there are no leaks in the tone chamber the fidelity is amazing-this is high end audio,just from another era.
    I enjoy hot dance, jazz and classical from the inter war years- the orthophonic credenza in its acoustical mode is the machine of choice for the first generation of Orthophonic recordings '25 -until mid 28, roughly, some changes in recording technology follow - although most 78's sound good on a credenza. -My workhorse is a small Consolette Orthophonic from 28, the horn small enough that acoustic records sound nice as well.
    Cd reissues are now plentiful and well remastered-so I have kept78s down to a manageable level-it was great fun when thrifting /junking/ yielded the occasional treasure in those pre ebay years-especially when the selection had never been reissued-now all I need is time and space to reactivate the Edison Diamond Disc and credenza. I used to do experiments for a well known sound box restoration expert(now deceased) and notate on staff paper which notes were audible, & which range predominated. I know nothing of reproduction on a period record player with electrical reproduction- after 1930-which I assume Lizzie's RE 57 is- Lizzie can you post a picture?? 30's 40's discs must sound wonderful on this machine-although I am certain most people in the depression years were actually playing swing era recordings on 1915-25 victrolas bought second hand-I am sure very few had the latest playback equipment.
  10. In the still of the night

    I own some 78s which I purchased from friends in 1982, and a few acquired fer nuttin' in the years since then, but none of my current record players play 78s. :( I'm looking to remedy that situation, though. I don't care much for CDs but must suffer through them occasionally to listen to some music.
  11. max the cat

    max the cat Familiar Face


    Begin-I think there is a great jazz clarinetist in Rochester by the name of Peter Ferran-(yes he could play Begin the Beguine)
    tossup on turntables if you want to go vintage or hi tech modern turntables which play 78s and quite well, amazing actually. On the cheap are the portable suitcase gramophones probably made well into the 50;s- addendum-
    I dont see all the fuss about record wear from steel needle if one is playing a 78 which sold well and near mint copies can still be had. If however I had the only known copy of an alternate take of an already rare 78 I would probably be concerned with preservation.and have it transferred to cd. I wonder sometimes if people are worshipping an object and missing the music contained therin.

  12. Small world, isn't it

    If it's the Peter Ferran who teaches at Rochester Institute of Technology, where I modeled and appeared in many student and faculty films, well. I didn't know he played clarinet. Maybe my cardboard box record player has a 78 flipper after all, will check tomorrow.
  13. jspott

    jspott New in Town

    New crosley record players

    does anyone on the lounge have a new crosley record player? I am looking at one of their higher end console models and would interested to hear a review from someone who has used one.
  14. max the cat

    max the cat Familiar Face

    very small world

    yes one and the same-we played together a lot years ago and toured a bit too. - that answers question of mine-I knew he taught/lived there but nothing more-I used to try and get him talking about Brecht on set breaks!! neat that you got to do film-at RIT

  15. moustache

    moustache Practically Family


    My sentiments exactly! Many whom adore classical from the 1895-1940 range have no problem with scratch and hiss/pops.It is the music underneath that noise i'm concerned about.An example would be Oscar Fried's Mahler 2 from 1922.Noisy transfers on Pearl and Naxos.But a delightful rendition of a spectacular composition.
    The digital age has spoiled many.

  16. Try looking on that famous online auction site for a old Califone "schoolhouse" phonograph, they tend to reproduce 78's quite well.
    I have an old Califone that I use, and it's built like a tank.

    Califone still makes new "schoolhouse" phonographs too.


  17. Avoid Crosley repros

    I've been given one as a gift and other as a corporate freebee. They look cool, but the components are mucho cheapo and don't work well or last long.

    The radio/CD table model I had would not hold a signal for more than half an hour, and the CD player stopped tracking entirely after about a year of use.

    The 3-speed phono threw its belt about every other time I turned it on. Also, despite the 78 speed, there's no 78 stylus, and of course no substitute for one.
  18. max the cat

    max the cat Familiar Face


    I wish the Pearl transfers had been better-but many were early in the digital remastering age--I remember some great classical transfers by Ward Marston-he the John RT Davies of classical transfers-but for all that, hearing these early recordings would override any petty objection.Both (the late) Davies and Marston didnt attempt to improve and digitize but I think respected(when they were worthy) the work of the original engineer-not to mention correct speed.-
    just a thought- a 1922 recording of Mahler could have easily involved musicians (and or conductor) who played under or at least witnessed Mahler
    1st hand.--
  19. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

    Let's See Your Phonographs!

    Though you might see the term "Victrola" applied to any old record player, it only properly applies to only one type of record-playing machine: that made by the Victor Talking Machine Company of Camden, New Jersey (later swallowed by the Radio Corporation of America to become RCA-Victor). Not only that, but "Victrola" was Victor's trade name for the machines with the horn inside the cabinet only (more generic: gramaphone). With the horn outside the machine, it's a Victor Talking Machine, or also gramaphone.
    Just to add to the confusion...
    An acoustic (non-electric) record playing machine from:
    Victor is called a gramaphone.
    Columbia is called a Graphophone (outside horn) or Graphonola (inside horn).
    Edison is called a Phonograph (all models) or Diamond Disc (inside horn disc players - those "thick" records).

    "Phonograph" is the original and probably most generic term. It means "Sound Picture." Note that I am using the terms in use in the USA.

    Why all the different names? In the early 20th century, the patent battles were long, expensive and very heated. Each maker had their own unique stamp on the trade (in the early years). Edison was Inventor of the machine. Victor was one of the first with a disc, and the "lateral groove" recording method, as well as the patented Tapered Tone Arm.
    Then there were the immense number of also-rans and copycats.

    Some of us are lucky enough to have some of these machines in our collections. Here's hoping you'll post pictures and stories about them, and SHOW US YOUR PHONOGRAPHS!

    (my apologies for the roughness of the initial posts. They are moved from other threads - ed)
  20. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

    Originally seen in other threads:

    Lauren's super nice VV50 (and her comments):

    A "picnic model" from the early 20's.

    There she is on the grass at the QM last year (photo by Rigby Reardon)
    And with Vanessa and Chorusgirl as models (photo by Matt Deckard)
    Which I'm guessing that's a typo and they mean WWII since WWI was before the release date ;)

    Mine is the later model with the crank on the side. I never knew about the leaf spring trick... I'll have to play with it when I get home.

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