78 revolutions per minute

Discussion in 'Radio' started by Quigley Brown, Sep 14, 2004.

  1. Quigley Brown

    Quigley Brown Call Me a Cab

    Des Moines, Iowa
    Does anyone else like to buy the old 78 rpm records to play? Luckily I have an old turntable that can play them....what an authentic sound! It's just a pain to keep changing them after each song.
  2. Ah, I am lucky to have access to my mother's stand alone record player. I can stack ten records on it and it just keeps dropping them and playing them.
    I highly recommend finding one of these if you have the room.


  3. Wild Root

    Wild Root Gone Home

    Monrovia California.
    My my, it seems that we have a collector on our hands! I have over 300 78's and I love to play them on my late 40's portable. I agree that the sound is not the cleanest, but the best! I just get the goose bumbs when I hear one of my 78's.

    How meny do you have Quigley Brown?

    Dare I ask LOL

  4. happyfilmluvguy

    happyfilmluvguy Call Me a Cab

    I have one 78 album. "Benny Goodman's Sextet Session".

    I play my parent's and my records on their 70's or 80's turntable. Thankfully it plays 78's!

    I'd like to get a nice record player one day, though
  5. Fletch

    Fletch I'll Lock Up

    Probably 2500 groove biscuits here at Chez Fletch - at three per pound, that's nearly half a ton of musical fun. Nearly all date from between 1925 and '42. 90% are pop band and jazz items.

    I play them on a "Whiteman Model" turntable made on a Technics platform for Nauck's Vintage Records (www.78rpm.com). It also takes 16" radio transcriptions, which I have a big crate of (purloined from a 50s TV studio on the eve of being razed).

    Right now I'm in the midst of sorting out the whole mess of 'em by label and cat. no., the way they do at the big archives. Then they'll all get new gold kraft-paper sleeves!
  6. max the cat

    max the cat Familiar Face


    I have kind of narrowed 78's down to that which have not been reissued-although many obscure items are finally seeing the light of day on cd- and a handful of favorites-over the years played on a credenza, consolette and an Edison baby console-for quite a few years many lp reissues were terrible-think of the Milestone lp's of early 20's jazz!) birth of small indies, transfers by John RT Davies(peace be on his name) really saved us from having to spend huge money for premium jazz on 78 ditto early chamber music..
    still a clean 78 played on a restored orthophonic is a joy- to respond to Fletch-I have heard 78's played on electric turntables w/right stylus, eq .etc-( I think Girard w/ tube amp-amazing--curious about the Whiteman on Nauck=probably well worth it. Havent had time for this game of late-junking used to be a ball-still today I just heard a bout a box of rare 20's jazz records-always the thought that some rare alternate take exists..
  7. CharlieH.

    CharlieH. One Too Many

    It used to be Detroit....
    I've always wanted to collect 78's... but eBay hates me!
  8. DeeDub

    DeeDub One of the Regulars

    Eugene, OR
    Alternative to Flipping Platters

    I agree that the nostalgia of flipping platters gets old after a while. An alternative is to digitize your discs so you can listen to them on the computer or MP3 player en masse. It also saves wear and tear on the original vinyl (or shellac in this case, I guess.)

    In addition to my regular turntable, I've got turntable with a USB interface that plugs right into my laptop. You can then use audio recording software such as Audacity to capture the audio, break it into separate tracks, clean up the clicks and pops, and so on.

    Take a look at the Ion turntable at http://www.ion-audio.com/ittusb.php
  9. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    There's never been a time in my life that hasn't seen 78s as a part of it -- I had 78rpm kiddie records when I was very young, which I played on one of those littke kiddie phonographs. When I got a bit older, I got hold of the records my mother had owned as a teenager -- and from there I started buying my own at second hand shops and flea markets. In fact, the first records I ever bought for myself were the Benny Goodman Sextet album Happyfilm mentioned.

    I also got custody of the 78rpm library at one of the radio stations where I worked -- it was headed for the dump until I intervened. Lots of 40s big-band in that lot. My best buy, though, was a collection of old-store-stock pop/dance band discs from about 1928 thru 1931. Mostly Victors, with a sprinkling of Columbia Viva-Tonals, and even a few Edison Laterals -- which dont turn up every day. There were about 400 records in that lot, and I think I paid $200 for all of them. That was the most money I'd ever spent in my life at that time, but I think it was worth it...

    I have an Esoteric Sound professional restoration turntable and an assortment of styli -- I used to do transfers of radio transcriptions on a semi-professional basis -- so these work nicely for playing 78s. I also have a Victor RE-57 Electrola, but I don't use it - the pickup needs to be rebuilt, and I don't want to damage any records.

    Most of the records currently live in milk crates stacked in the back of my closet -- but I do pull out a few every now and then...
  10. feltfan

    feltfan My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Oakland, CA, USA
    Digitized 78s just don't cut it. Okay, for rarities one cannot otherwise
    expect to find, it's great to have some of the CDs being released
    these days (particularly R. Crumb collection stuff).

    But no matter how clean your digitized copy might be, it cannot
    equal the experience of playing a 78 through a good quality
    acoustic gramophone. The whole point of it is to be able to hear
    those horns coming from a horn, often with no electronic step whatsoever.
    Those voices coming to you directly from the past. The surprising
    depth of the instruments on old dance orchestra records. The grit
    of the blues.

    I don't care how much you pay for your stereo, you will always be
    a step away from the immediacy and excitement of a 78.

    Playing songs one side at a time also teaches a level of attention
    to detail you take for granted with CDs and even vinyl. And let's
    not talk about visual aesthetics. Go vintage or buy CDs.

    BTW, happyfilmluvguy, you know you're destroying your parents'
    needle if you're playing a shellac 78, right? There were two kinds
    of 78s- vinyl ones made in the 50s and shellac ones made all along.
    The heavy shellac records are made to be played with a steel needle,
    and wear out the needle before the record. Your parents' turntable
    has a 78 setting for vinyl 78s (in the 50s they made double needle
    tonearms to accomodate both, but not by the 70s and 80s). If you
    play shellac on that needle, after a while it'll do a nice job of carving
    up your parents' vinyl records. Same goes for DeeDub's ion turntable needle.
  11. Fletch

    Fletch I'll Lock Up

    I've heard it said that playing mid-late '20s electric Victors on an Orthophonic Victrola is about as good as it gets. But that's a little TOO purist for me, as it leaves out the glorious fidelity of the Western Electric system as used by Columbia and OKeh. (In fact some jazz obsessives insist the OKehs had better sound than the Columbias, which is patently nuts, since OKeh was a Columbia label after 1926.)

    I wonder if there's an "ultimate" acoustic phono for the Westerns. Or an "ultimate" period electric for 30s records. The early Electrolas are supposed to be great, but there are so few around, I doubt anybody's heard them enough to know.

    I would hate to think the entire phono industry after 1930 or so was missing "the whole point" of playing records.
  12. Vladimir Berkov

    Vladimir Berkov One Too Many

    Austin, TX
    The majority of my 1920s hot dance and jazz collection is on scroll Victors, but I agree that Columbia had the best fidelity hands down. I think a big part of this is the way the records are constructed, the "sandwich" style of the Columbias is just a better system for getting the best recording surface.

    I have heard early electric phonographs, the one that stands out is an Edison electric phonograph/radio combination playing an Edison needle-type electric record. That really sounded good, although I wouldn't say it sounded any better than a good record on an Orthophonic Credenza.
  13. matt1466

    matt1466 New in Town

    North Carolina
    I don't have a huge collection of 78's but I think they're cool. In my opinion, it's not about the fidelity (or lack of) but more the fact that I can take a copy of Bing Crosby's White Christmas from the 1940's and play it on a 1920's model Victrola over 80 years after the machine was built. My model VV-IX is all original as is the Pooley record cabinet it sits on. They could both use refinishing but it won't happen while I have them. The crinkled finish just adds character. I do get a little frustrated changing needles so often but my NOS Tungstone replacements last a lot longer!:eusa_clap
  14. DeeDub

    DeeDub One of the Regulars

    Eugene, OR
    Yeah, but when I tried to play my records in the car, they kept skipping. The MP3 player doesn't skip. ;)
  15. Cousin Hepcat

    Cousin Hepcat Practically Family

    Reccomended 78 source

    Reccomended 78 source:
    (average price $2.50 each VG+, $5 each EX, for swing bands)


    Their website is terribly archaic. Click "Set Price Items" at top right, read instructions on that link, search 10" 78 singles by LASTNAME FIRSTNAME all caps (i.e. MILLER GLENN), they have great stuff.

    Here's a pic from their warehouse a couple years back, 1/4 of a million 78s at that time, this is just one corner... they're getting em catalogged now on the website apparently.


    - C H
  16. Fletch

    Fletch I'll Lock Up

    And I'll bet that if they were to arrange them all in tall teetering piles by year of issue, there'd be a big gaping hole between about 1925 and 1940.
  17. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    What would they do if the record you wanted was at the *bottom* of those stacks? (And I bet it'd be in swell condition, too!)
  18. Fletch

    Fletch I'll Lock Up

    If they have (as I suspect) virtually zip from 1925-40 except for The Two Black Crows Go To Hell and a couple of badly-chawed-up Bing Crosby Decca album discs, I wouldn't want any of it. But I might ask 'em for the bottom record in the stack just to be nasty. :p lol
    Better yet, the middle one. "No, just a few more down...Nope, just a few more up. I think that's it...Nope. Too high/low."
  19. feltfan

    feltfan My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Oakland, CA, USA
    While I like the fidelity, I must enthusiastically agree here.
    I have almost never come across a 78 that skips- even cracked ones.
    One heck of a system. Very rarely can we enjoy an experience
    identical to what was enjoyed in the 1920s.

    I love shocking people with the volume produced by my
    entirely acoustic, windup Victrola...
  20. CharlieH.

    CharlieH. One Too Many

    It used to be Detroit....

    Hot damn, what a site! Thanks for the link, cousin!

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