History of lead-in and lead-out grooves?

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Bob Dillon
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Re: History of lead-in and lead-out grooves?

Post by Bob Dillon » 08 Jun 2019 19:43

H. callahan wrote:
08 Jun 2019 03:58

...When i first saw the horn, arm and soundbox in the video "How a Columbia record is made 1928", i considered it to be there because most grammophones in 1928 still were mechanical machines, featuring horns and soundboxes. So my assumption was that they wanted to be able to test how this electrical recording would sound on an average, mechanical grammophone - and if necessary to alter settings for best sound quality with pure mechanical playback.
By 1928, the big companies, like Victor, with their Orthophonic phonos, Columbia, with their Viva-Tonal phonos, Brunswick, were producing and heavily promoting exponential internal horn acoustic machines that were designed for the new electrical records - how they rendered improved bass and so on. An old style flared horn phono set up like in the film wasn't going to tell them much in that sense.

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Re: History of lead-in and lead-out grooves?

Post by H. callahan » 09 Jun 2019 07:19

I see.
At least the horn in "How a Columbia record is made 1928" looks "more exponential" to me than the horn in "The immortal voice" used to test-play the record. And the less folded a horn is the better it should reproduce sound.

Also the horn in "The immortal voice" used to test-play the records looks very similar to the horn they use for recording. Maybe they just used the recording set-up, the horn and the recording box, to test-play the record. Maybe that´s why it was possible to test-play the wax without excessive wear, because a look at the recording box used in the video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbHBxjFxBbo

at 1:30, does show that the "cantilever" of the recording box has the "advanced suspension" - like later soundboxes intended for electrical records. Such a suspension is known to wear the record less, while being able to better follow the groove at the same time.
Such a "soundbox" - as it actually is a recording box - would wear the wax less at least when used for playback.
Also a recording box should be built to higher precision than a soundbox for 9.99$, so if used for playback they might be more gentle to the wax.

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Re: History of lead-in and lead-out grooves?

Post by Bob Dillon » 09 Jun 2019 19:09

I should say folded exponential horn. Some of them were like 8 feet long.

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Re: History of lead-in and lead-out grooves?

Post by Bob Dillon » 10 Jun 2019 00:58

H. callahan wrote:
09 Jun 2019 07:19


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbHBxjFxBbo

at 1:30, does show that the "cantilever" of the recording box has the "advanced suspension" - like later soundboxes intended for electrical records. Such a suspension is known to wear the record less, while being able to better follow the groove at the same time.
That's one example of an acoustic recorder head. We also don't know how that may have been restored or modified with modern tech. I would sort of doubt it is all original. But who knows, maybe it is an exact replica. It doesn't look as much like the one shown in the 1923 Columbia video (where all the wax shavings are flying) - what you can see of that one anyway.

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Re: History of lead-in and lead-out grooves?

Post by H. callahan » 10 Jun 2019 02:31

I havn´t seen a lot of acoustic recording heads, but yes they might have had a different/less advanced suspension for the cutting stylus.

On the other hand what is it like with phonographs?
I mean a lot cylinders were made of a material similar to wax and for a short time cylinders were made of real wax. These don´t hold up forever but a onetime playback shouldn´t wear them badly. I´m not too familiar with phonographs but could be said what the VTF of an average reproducer is? By that one might deduce whether it is possilbe to play a wax-matrix once without excessive wear. Also how much wax is passing the stylus per second on a shellac vs. a cylinder? The more length per second the fewer the wear, as all the modulations have "more flesh"...

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Re: History of lead-in and lead-out grooves?

Post by Bob Dillon » 10 Jun 2019 03:23

Metallic soap (wax) cylinders are harder than beeswax.

They are all vertical groove.

The reproducer is usually on a carriage and connected to a worm gear that has a thread that matches that of the grooves on the cylinder, either 4 minute or 2 minute. The reproducer is not pulled along by the groove wall usually. Sometimes the reproducer is stationary and the cylinder mandrel itself moves under it on a gear, like a record lathe.

The vertical tracking force varied. Some of the reproducers have a weight, some are spring loaded to apply enough down pressure to the stylus in the groove. The styli are conical or doorknob / button shaped, not pointed needles.

The speed of most standard 2 " diameter, 5 " length cylinders is from 120 to 160 rpm. So that's how much "wax" is travelling under the stylus.

I think most wax cylinders can at least get in the low hundreds of plays (if not more) before noticeable wear sets in.

They are a different animal.

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Re: History of lead-in and lead-out grooves?

Post by Bob Dillon » 10 Jun 2019 18:39

If you want to see a new brown wax cylinder being made, here's a vid : https://youtu.be/6B5U3GUNBjw

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Re: History of lead-in and lead-out grooves?

Post by H. callahan » 11 Jun 2019 15:32

So this means that with a standart cylinder at 120rpm about 30cm per second are passing the stylus, while at 160rpm its about 40cm/s.
A 10" shellac has about 97cm/s at the beginning and about 40cm/s at the end when they put a lot of music onto the record, about 50cm/s when the record has average playtime.
Not a lot more at the and of a shellac but maybe enough for a onetime playback...

I have seen some phonographs and have notived that either the reproducer or the cylinder is moving along - but what i don´t get is how to match the groove to the stylus. If the reproducer cannot be swung to left and right, just a little like 1mm, it might not land in the groove or exert pressure to one groove wall. I´d construct the reproducer-horn-assembly onto a pivot so it can swing left-right a little to make sure the stylus will land in the groove.

Interesting video about making new cylinders, but i always wondered how you "press" cylinders. I know that in the realy days they piled up as many phonographs as possible to record like 6 or more cylinders at once, i also know that you can "copy" cylinders by playing the recording on one phonograph connect it with a hose to another phonograph and copy - but i also have heard that later they used molds to "press" cylinders, similar to records where there is a stamper.
But how do you get the cylinder out of the mold without damaging the grooves? A two-piece mold would greate two burrs along the grooves - and to get a two-piece mold you had to saw through which would cut out two small areas of the groove... or am i wrong and they never made cylinders containing music with molds?

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Re: History of lead-in and lead-out grooves?

Post by Coffee Phil » 11 Jun 2019 17:36

Hi "H. callahan",

I believe that at the start cylinders were individually cut using some sort of pantagraph type machine, but eventually they were molded. As you point out a clam-shell mold mold would not be satisfactory. The process involved heat. After the cylinder was molded it was allowed to cool so it contracted enough to allow it to be removed from the mold. Also the "cylinders" are not perfectly cylindrical. They are slightly conical. Notice that they will only go on the mandrel of the player one way. In this article is some description of the process:

http://cylinders.library.ucsb.edu/histo ... oulded.php

The reproducer in the player is indeed driven by a lead-screw, however the stylus in the reproducer has sufficient lateral degree of freedom to not put excessive side force on the groove.

Phil
H. callahan wrote:
11 Jun 2019 15:32
So this means that with a standart cylinder at 120rpm about 30cm per second are passing the stylus, while at 160rpm its about 40cm/s.
A 10" shellac has about 97cm/s at the beginning and about 40cm/s at the end when they put a lot of music onto the record, about 50cm/s when the record has average playtime.
Not a lot more at the and of a shellac but maybe enough for a onetime playback...

I have seen some phonographs and have notived that either the reproducer or the cylinder is moving along - but what i don´t get is how to match the groove to the stylus. If the reproducer cannot be swung to left and right, just a little like 1mm, it might not land in the groove or exert pressure to one groove wall. I´d construct the reproducer-horn-assembly onto a pivot so it can swing left-right a little to make sure the stylus will land in the groove.

Interesting video about making new cylinders, but i always wondered how you "press" cylinders. I know that in the realy days they piled up as many phonographs as possible to record like 6 or more cylinders at once, i also know that you can "copy" cylinders by playing the recording on one phonograph connect it with a hose to another phonograph and copy - but i also have heard that later they used molds to "press" cylinders, similar to records where there is a stamper.
But how do you get the cylinder out of the mold without damaging the grooves? A two-piece mold would greate two burrs along the grooves - and to get a two-piece mold you had to saw through which would cut out two small areas of the groove... or am i wrong and they never made cylinders containing music with molds?

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Re: History of lead-in and lead-out grooves?

Post by H. callahan » 11 Jun 2019 17:42

Thank you very much!

Now i have to think of the poor guys sweating while trying to pull the cylinder out of the mold without scratching it... i mean there cannot have been a lot of clearance between mold and cylinder...

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Re: History of lead-in and lead-out grooves?

Post by Bob Dillon » 11 Jun 2019 18:07

The first commercial cylinders in the late 1800's were made by the performer (s) playing into multiple cylinder recording machines at once and then repeating the process, so maybe they'd get a few hundred cylinders to sell at the end of a days work. Those would have been brown wax cylinders.

Pantographing was then used for while.

Edison introduced his "Gold Moulded" cylinders in (IIRC) 1906.

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Re: History of lead-in and lead-out grooves?

Post by Bob Dillon » 11 Jun 2019 18:16

Coffee Phil wrote:
11 Jun 2019 17:36

The reproducer in the player is indeed driven by a lead-screw, however the stylus in the reproducer has sufficient lateral degree of freedom to not put excessive side force on the groove.

Phil

It should be pointed out that they don't all work that way. A inexpensive little machine like the Columbia Q doesn't. https://youtu.be/KSpaBGOit2Q

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Re: History of lead-in and lead-out grooves?

Post by Coffee Phil » 11 Jun 2019 19:51

Hi Bob,

I seem to see the lead-screw in the video. Are you saying the stylus is rigid to the diaphram?

Phil

Bob Dillon wrote:
11 Jun 2019 18:16
Coffee Phil wrote:
11 Jun 2019 17:36

The reproducer in the player is indeed driven by a lead-screw, however the stylus in the reproducer has sufficient lateral degree of freedom to not put excessive side force on the groove.

Phil

It should be pointed out that they don't all work that way. A inexpensive little machine like the Columbia Q doesn't. https://youtu.be/KSpaBGOit2Q

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Re: History of lead-in and lead-out grooves?

Post by Bob Dillon » 11 Jun 2019 20:25

You seem to see correctly, this video shows the screw better, so I was wrong : https://youtu.be/isSIdAy_WDE

Okay, but the PUCK doesn't have one : https://youtu.be/IkXKhTfTfF8 :)

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Re: History of lead-in and lead-out grooves?

Post by Bob Dillon » 11 Jun 2019 20:38

Bob Dillon wrote:
11 Jun 2019 18:07
The first commercial cylinders in the late 1800's were made by the performer (s) playing into multiple cylinder recording machines at once and then repeating the process, so maybe they'd get a few hundred cylinders to sell at the end of a days work. Those would have been brown wax cylinders.

Pantographing was then used for while.

Edison introduced his "Gold Moulded" cylinders in (IIRC) 1906.
Wrong you are, me. The "Gold Moulded" cylinders were introduced in 1902 : https://obsoletemedia.org/gold-moulded-record/

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