Lacquer disc playback for ripping

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Al-Mustafa The Beloved
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Lacquer disc playback for ripping

Post by Al-Mustafa The Beloved » 23 Jun 2019 18:53

Hi -

I've been reading a lot about what all is involved with cleaning and playing lacquer discs with all kinds of recommendations for cartridge and stylus recommendations.

I have a whole case of lacquers that were produced in radio stations in the southeast US in the late 1940s to the 1950s. Some have the white powder and some do not, but that's not really my issue at the moment. Some of these are just going to be recordings of popular songs of the day and they aren't especially important or valuable. But some are recordings both my father and my mother (both have passed on) made when they worked in radio and are therefore unique. In the 2000s I made a run at digitizing them at 33-1/3RPM and up-converting them in software, but I did so using a Pioneer receiver that would have applied RIAA EQ; I have since bought a separate preamp with defeatable RIAA EQ and am gearing up to try it again.

What I have for playback is a Shure DM95 Type G cartridge with a Finetone diamond stylus described as 3 mils, tracking force 1.5-3g, 78RPM (my Pioneer PL-518 turntable only does 33-1/3 and 45). Given that none of these lacquers are in anything like great shape, is there any reason for me to try to improve on this stylus/cartridge combination?

BTW one of the reasons why I want to do a better rip of these discs is that I'm going to be donating some of them to libraries and museums; I'd rather do that and keep the digital content than lug them around for the rest of my life.

Alec124c41
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Re: Lacquer disc playback for ripping

Post by Alec124c41 » 24 Jun 2019 01:26

There is a free program that will correct the equalization of a file, available here: http://www.clickrepair.net/software_info/equalizer.html
There is a fee for the ClickRepair program, which is also good.

Cheers,
Alec

Bob Dillon
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Re: Lacquer disc playback for ripping

Post by Bob Dillon » 24 Jun 2019 01:56

"Finetone". Have no idea of the quality of "Finetone" styli, but the cart would be fine. 3 mil conical is a good middle ground. Unless there is indicated somewhere (the label or sleeve) what size stylus these 78 rpm lacquers were cut with and should be played with, it's guess work. Ideal stylus size for these discs can vary. You don't want a too small stylus that will skate and create more noise. Make sure you sum to mono to cut noise. ClickRepair is a good program. Audacity is a good free program that can perform a number of tricks like adjusting a 33/45 rpm capture to 78, re EQ'ing, high and low pass filtering etc. You can also do a capture in stereo in a program like Audacity and choose the least worn side of the groove, left or right, and convert that to mono if need be. Sometimes with worn material, you find that the wear is heavier on one groove wall.

62vauxhall
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Re: Lacquer disc playback for ripping

Post by 62vauxhall » 24 Jun 2019 03:30

Al-Mustafa The Beloved wrote:
23 Jun 2019 18:53
What I have for playback is a Shure DM95 Type G cartridge with a Finetone diamond stylus described as 3 mils, tracking force 1.5-3g, 78RPM
Somewhat off topic, but where did you find that particular cartridge?

I have one also and it came off a Dual installed in a Grundig tabletop system. It was speculated that's what the "G" signifies.

Not akin to a regular Shure M95 but supposedly provided for, presumably Grundig, and the European market, Mine was not two hole mount but had the snap in clip setup specifically for a compatible Dual cartridge carrier.

There were an awful lot of stylus repackagers back then. Never encountered Finetone before - I've seen Fidelitone.

Al-Mustafa The Beloved
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Re: Lacquer disc playback for ripping

Post by Al-Mustafa The Beloved » 24 Jun 2019 14:58

62vauxhall wrote:
24 Jun 2019 03:30
Somewhat off topic, but where did you find that particular cartridge?
Other than it being a specialty online source, I don't remember; it was probably more than 17 years ago. I bought it specifically because I was able to get a separate stylus for 78s.

Al-Mustafa The Beloved
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Re: Lacquer disc playback for ripping

Post by Al-Mustafa The Beloved » 24 Jun 2019 15:13

Bob Dillon wrote:
24 Jun 2019 01:56
"Finetone". Have no idea of the quality of "Finetone" styli, but the cart would be fine. 3 mil conical is a good middle ground. Unless there is indicated somewhere (the label or sleeve) what size stylus these 78 rpm lacquers were cut with and should be played with, it's guess work. Ideal stylus size for these discs can vary. You don't want a too small stylus that will skate and create more noise. Make sure you sum to mono to cut noise. ClickRepair is a good program. Audacity is a good free program that can perform a number of tricks like adjusting a 33/45 rpm capture to 78, re EQ'ing, high and low pass filtering etc. You can also do a capture in stereo in a program like Audacity and choose the least worn side of the groove, left or right, and convert that to mono if need be. Sometimes with worn material, you find that the wear is heavier on one groove wall.
I've got years of experience with Audacity; it's awfully good for this kind of stuff. Years ago I had a high-end ISA-bus audio card for PCs and used software called Cool Edit; one thing that was really nice about that card was that you could set its sample rate arbitrarily so for 78s so I'd set it to 18.846kHz and just change the sample rate to 44.1kHz - no conversion involved.

Another trick I learned is that the spectrum of disc surface noise pretty much remains the same (and is broadband, with plenty of power even past 10kHz) no matter how fast the disc is turning. If the turntable is running at 33-1/3, it pushes the spectrum of the program downscale by more than half such that its top end is way below the surface noise top end. If you look at the spectrogram and see about how high your program spectrum reaches, you can lowpass-filter everything above that and wind up with something less objectionable after you upconvert. Of course, any de-click or other phono-specific noise reduction should be performed before doing that.

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Re: Lacquer disc playback for ripping

Post by Bob Dillon » 24 Jun 2019 18:07

Al-Mustafa The Beloved wrote:
24 Jun 2019 15:13
If the turntable is running at 33-1/3, it pushes the spectrum of the program downscale by more than half such that its top end is way below the surface noise top end. If you look at the spectrogram and see about how high your program spectrum reaches, you can lowpass-filter everything above that and wind up with something less objectionable after you upconvert. Of course, any de-click or other phono-specific noise reduction should be performed before doing that.
I know. That trick works well for frequency range limited, non EQ curve specific 78's like acousticals. If you do it right (I'll use 45 rpm to 78) you can get a very smooth sounding result that doesn't sound like it's simply been hammered with a low pass filter.

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Re: Lacquer disc playback for ripping

Post by Coffee Phil » 25 Jun 2019 16:14

Hi "Al-Mustafa The Beloved",

I just want to mention that if you have any interest in playing these records in "real time" it should not be very difficult to get your turntable to turn at 78.26 RPM. It is a direct drive controlled by RC time constants. A switch and potentometer mounted in an inconspicuous manner should do it.

Phil


Al-Mustafa The Beloved wrote:
23 Jun 2019 18:53
Hi -

I've been reading a lot about what all is involved with cleaning and playing lacquer discs with all kinds of recommendations for cartridge and stylus recommendations.

I have a whole case of lacquers that were produced in radio stations in the southeast US in the late 1940s to the 1950s. Some have the white powder and some do not, but that's not really my issue at the moment. Some of these are just going to be recordings of popular songs of the day and they aren't especially important or valuable. But some are recordings both my father and my mother (both have passed on) made when they worked in radio and are therefore unique. In the 2000s I made a run at digitizing them at 33-1/3RPM and up-converting them in software, but I did so using a Pioneer receiver that would have applied RIAA EQ; I have since bought a separate preamp with defeatable RIAA EQ and am gearing up to try it again.

What I have for playback is a Shure DM95 Type G cartridge with a Finetone diamond stylus described as 3 mils, tracking force 1.5-3g, 78RPM (my Pioneer PL-518 turntable only does 33-1/3 and 45). Given that none of these lacquers are in anything like great shape, is there any reason for me to try to improve on this stylus/cartridge combination?

BTW one of the reasons why I want to do a better rip of these discs is that I'm going to be donating some of them to libraries and museums; I'd rather do that and keep the digital content than lug them around for the rest of my life.

Al-Mustafa The Beloved
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Re: Lacquer disc playback for ripping

Post by Al-Mustafa The Beloved » 25 Jun 2019 16:18

Coffee Phil wrote:
25 Jun 2019 16:14
Hi "Al-Mustafa The Beloved",

I just want to mention that if you have any interest in playing these records in "real time" it should not be very difficult to get your turntable to turn at 78.26 RPM. It is a direct drive controlled by RC time constants. A switch and potentometer mounted in an inconspicuous manner should do it.

Phil
Hi, Phil -

Really, it's not worth it to modify the turntable. My only objective here is to rip, not to listen in real time. I do have a few proper mass-produced 78s that I'll also be ripping but once that's done I plan to sell them or otherwise pass them on. I'm generally trying to get away from the phono life.

KentT
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Re: Lacquer disc playback for ripping

Post by KentT » 27 Jun 2019 00:38

Most transcription discs, which is what your discs are. Are cut with 2.7 mil grooves, 3 mil styli are fine for worn examples. Usually the NBC Orthoacoustic curve was used for cutting and for playback, later the NAB curve.

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Re: Lacquer disc playback for ripping

Post by AudioFeline » 28 Jun 2019 04:53

Many of my thoughts are covered above.
I believe software to remove RIAA eq is in many digital editing programs now.
The mod to change a dd turntable to 78 is not suited to quartz-lock turntable, but is a very simple job for many dd tt's.

The 3mil stylus should be fine. If you have lots of noise, trying a slightly smaller or larger tip may move the stylus to a non-worn part of the groove.

Adjust for the eq curve that the disks are likely to be cut with (eg. those suggested in the above post), but don't be afraid to experiment with eq - they may have been cut with a non-standard curve, or there may have been recording / room characteristics that can be improved with post-production eq.

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