scrapjack+ wrote:As far as I'm aware shellac coated rock dust is fairly forgiving to poor(by modern standards) tone arm design, putting up with old phonograph reproducers, 10 for a penny needles, or heavy intricate tone arms that seemed to be designed for style instead of sound. I'd say even a crosley tone arm won't kill them.
Are you that badly prejudiced to shellac 78 rpm records to even propose a Crosley for them ?
I've heard shellac 78 rpms literally blowing the speaker on an accordingly proper phono set-up. Dynamic is unbeatable, basses are boomy and there was almost a 2-D sound stage "image".
Hence the amp valves provides sufficient inherent details and noises suppression from the flaws of the "rough" accidented shellac grooves. Flaws that a modern "clear & neutral" amplification and defined speakers would bring to light and that not many appreciate. I do not mind those so much...[/b]
Actually one of my only two realistic complaints with my current table is that it doesn't have a 78 setting. They can sound great on old cabinets, even my grandfathers which was ignored and unmaintained for decades. I quite like 78's, it should be able to produce beter sound due to it's higher rpm than 33's or 45's and I always get excited when I see a book of 78's at the thrift shop even as I find the records don't match the book cover, at least until I see the first broken record, often of several.
My argument wasn't based off my preferences however, but my experiences. I have encountered old 50's 78 rpm record changers with what seemed like equally terrible plastic tone arms, and giant cast metal tone arms that would likely be equally destructive if not more than a Crosley arm to vinyl records such as the 78rpm V-discs or the less than 16" 78 transcriptions among other examples. I've yet to encounter a gramophone that wasn't in box of 1,000 pieces, however those pieces were quite heavy as well. Please let me clarify, it wasn't my intention to recommend Crosley arms, and I agree with what seems to be the general consensus, that they are among the worst on the market today, that is why they sell for $3 with the $2 p-188 cartridge and needle. I did however once own a Crosley clone that seemed to play 78's well enough through my component stereo, and the table died before the record grooves, and before the new diamond stylus for that matter. It had the older nonqueing lever style arm pictured unmounted, that I refer to when I say "Crosley tonearm". It actually does have spring hooks to set the tracking force however the springs, if ever present, were missing by the time I ended up with it, and it gave me the inspiration to take another look at fixing my Technics.
So if an arm as terrible as a Crosley's will work and some vintage(1950's -prior) tables designed with those records in mind had arms that would make a vinyl collector cry, then I'd say just about anything can
work. Before some one beats me to it, remember folks, the ever important difference between "can" and "should" be done. In other words, if the OP sees a newer(1970 onward) decent arm the OP really wants and can afford, they, in my opinion, can be reasonably confident it won't eat their shellac records on the first spin* provided it's mounted and setup correctly of course. If Like me they have old family home recordinngs etched in cardboard, resin, or the 78 rpm postcards, or any of the other odd material 78 rpm records, those may be a different matter. I was simply using Crosleys as an example of one of the most universally hated arms, and yes they are terrible arms. Save your $3.00, you'd be better off building an arm from scratch than using a Crosley arm, and tone arms are the most mechanically complicated part of a table, I believe someone else already mentioned resonance frequency. The tracking force is only the first of several problems with a Crosley tonearm, and the tonearm is the first of several problems with a Crosley turntable.
I was going to google the photo however I found that Crosley now has turntables has arms with counterbalances that might be considered a real tone arm, or mistaken for one at least. So it seems the photo of the two common lower end arms I referenced is necessary to clarify my statements, and as I reworded my earlier sentence, the arms I am referring to unless otherwise specified are of the style that is unmounted in the photo, and has no adjust ability.
* Actually I once saw a test done and I think they got over 40 plays of a single vinyl record side on a Crosley before the wave forms were starting to show significant change, and that may have just been the $2 stylus giving out. So, having some idea how much more abuse shellac records took when they were the standard from period players compared to modern (1970-onward) dainty 33 rpm tone arms with their delicate adjustments and fine, or even coarse tuning, I'm doubtful a crossly can damage a shellac 78 unless the lid closes on the record surface during playback. Crosleys seem gentle by comparison to some of the period pieces I've encountered. I think anyone who has held one or more reproducers with their swiveling arm tubes separated from the gramophone will realize just how light a Crosley arm really is, or a real tone arm
for that matter. They did not skimp on metal in the 30's or 40's, outside of the war years that is.
scrapjack+ wrote:If you want to try a heavy arm before committing to the price and modification, then you can always increase the weight on a head shell. Lead tape is used for balancing tennis rackets and golf clubs, or some pennies and scotch tape, would also allow you to fake having a heavy tone arm with whatever you already have. If you change the weight enough you may need a different counter balance for that head shell, but counter balances are cheap compared to complete tone arms.
That is a good advice if one has such a low compliant MONO cartridge with a large conical tip under the hand to test that alone... But only as a "lead" to follow or not. A properly set-up heavier effective mass tonearm will out perform such tweak "montage" on the resonance factors for one.
Well yes, I assumed so, properly designed gear is usually better than rigging scraps together. That said, sometimes it can be really helpful to have even some brief experience with something, even if it is only a loose approximation, to get a feel for that type of device and know if it's the direction you want to take, in my experience at least. If needed some spare counterweights sell for less than $10, all you need is to match the inner diameter and choose an appropriate mass. They'll spend more on carts and styli than that. So if they want to hear how a cart they already have may sound with higher mass tonearm it may be an approximation, and they may be able to do the test with out getting a new weight. Then again I got headshells with carts so light my Technics stock counter weight is too heavy for the arm to drop, so they may need a different weight to run the Heavy Headshell Test(HHT) as I will henceforth call it.
This "quick" response was allot longer than I expected. It is never my intention to offend anyone. My intention was merely to clarify any confusion or misinterpretation regarding my previous statement, and to contribute information that may be of Help in resolving the initial question. I tend to carry on and get side tracked with what seems to me to be relevant. I have usually found it preferable to have more information than needed as apposed to not enough, although I am aware some prefer short concise answers over lengthy explanations.
Disclaimer: The HHT will not meet NASA's quality standards however neither will the 78's in question or any other non-gold-plated 16.6 rpm records.