78 noise

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IndigoRock2001
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78 noise

Post by IndigoRock2001 » 04 Jul 2018 22:54

Did 78's when new sound so noisy as they do now. Is this just a matter of age or is it something inherent in the medium? I've heard that when HI-FI was introduced many older people did not like it because of the lack of the surface fzzzz noise which they considered to be "the hallmark of quality". so clearly there was noise on brand new 78's. But how much? Is there any way to hear now what brand new 78's on a matching appropriate reproduction system sounded like?
Indi

eddie edirol
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Re: 78 noise

Post by eddie edirol » 04 Jul 2018 23:26

Depends on the year and medium that the 78s were cut. I think the shellac ones were inherently noisy so that even new ones had some noise, but the later ones can sound very clean. Theres a bunch of them on youtube that people post without cleaning up the sound so you can see.
It also depends on the stylus. If you get used records that people used steel needles on, they could be badly worn.

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Re: 78 noise

Post by Coffee Phil » 05 Jul 2018 01:16

Hi IndigoRock2001,

For the most part 78 records became quieter as the state of the art progressed. Most were made of a mixture of shellac and very fine sand. The sand gave the records stength but also was noisey. By the late thirties they were laminating records with material to give strength in the center with quieter formulations for the playing surfaces. Some of the later shellac records were remarkably quiet but would not rival vinyl. During the ‘40s vinyl 78s started to appear. Those records will rival Lps.

Phil
IndigoRock2001 wrote:Did 78's when new sound so noisy as they do now. Is this just a matter of age or is it something inherent in the medium? I've heard that when HI-FI was introduced many older people did not like it because of the lack of the surface fzzzz noise which they considered to be "the hallmark of quality". so clearly there was noise on brand new 78's. But how much? Is there any way to hear now what brand new 78's on a matching appropriate reproduction system sounded like?
Indi

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Re: 78 noise

Post by Coffee Phil » 08 Jul 2018 17:59

Last night I was up in my stereo room which is just coming together. So far the only functioning record player up there is my little Audio Technica Mister Disc. I have gotten it to spin at 78 RPM, but I'm still struggling over a suitable 78 stylus.

I found a Louis Armstrong 78 up there and had to hear it. I just played it on the little machine with the Lp stylus (yeh, I know). Vintage '30s shellac, no advantage of summing to mono, and the internal RIAA phono stage, but it sounded remarkably good.

Phil

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Re: 78 noise

Post by Bob Dillon » 04 Jun 2019 21:28

IndigoRock2001 wrote:
04 Jul 2018 22:54
Did 78's when new sound so noisy as they do now. Is this just a matter of age or is it something inherent in the medium? I've heard that when HI-FI was introduced many older people did not like it because of the lack of the surface fzzzz noise which they considered to be "the hallmark of quality". so clearly there was noise on brand new 78's. But how much? Is there any way to hear now what brand new 78's on a matching appropriate reproduction system sounded like?
Indi
The noise inherent in 78's varies alot according the the overall composition of the record - the ratio of shellac to whatever filler / binder was used.

There is a reference in above post to sand. One label I know that did use sand was Paramount in the 1920's. Sand is a cheap ingredient to use. Paramounts were made cheaply intentionally. Paramount records are not only noisy but they wore quickly on acoustic phonographs.

Wear from a heavy tracking acoustic phono will increase the noise on a 78. If you've ever had a clean copy of a 78 title and played it against the same one that had much playing wear, you will hear the difference. Some 78's, even very old ones can be remarkably quiet, with just some fairly unobtrusive background hiss, when played on modern gear. If the same record has been abused, not so much.

Some labels are knows for the noise, like British HMV pressings for years, suffer from what is termed as "HMV crackle". If a title was pressed on HMV and another label, like say, American Victor, it would more likely be the Victor that is preferred, if you want the quietest copy.

Mrs Ritchie Valens
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Re: 78 noise

Post by Mrs Ritchie Valens » 12 Jul 2019 00:30

How can you find out if the 78's you have are in fact, acoustic ones? Were even acoustic 78's made from shellac?

Bob Dillon
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Re: 78 noise

Post by Bob Dillon » 12 Jul 2019 01:18

Most acoustically recorded 78's are found on shellac pressings. Exceptions are mainly much later (re) pressings of acoustical masters that may have been pressed to vinyl. Historic Masters is one company that made a trade for years pressing acoustical recordings to vinyl, from old metal parts. All opera though.

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Re: 78 noise

Post by H. callahan » 12 Jul 2019 03:07

Here´s an interesting test, maybe it helps:

1st play:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pITAgJf6WRg

10st play:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQtQALtpNXM

20st play:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwJWb995qHk

... goes up to 100 plays.

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Re: 78 noise

Post by kingpin1935 » 12 Jul 2019 13:11

I did have some 78s way back in the `50s that were made from vinyl,mainly on the Mercury and Pye labels in UK.
One that stands out was Little Darlin by The Diamonds on Mercury.They were certainly quieter that those pressed with shellac.The Diamonds b side,Faithful and True was a favorite.

Sadly they`re now gone when my mother`s house had a break in.Oddly only records were taken.

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Re: 78 noise

Post by Coffee Phil » 12 Jul 2019 22:17

Hi Mrs. Richie Valens,

The easiest thing to do is google the number on the record and you should find the date when it was released. Electrical recording started in the mid '20s. If your record is pre 1925 it is most likely acoustic and if it is late '20s or later it is likely electrically recorded.

I believe the majority of records made in the '20s and '30s are shellac. The were records made from other materials such as hard rubber but I have never seen one. There were also Edison Diamond discs which are a different format (80 RPM and vertically cut) which were not shellac. They had a wood flour or clay core with playing surfaces of a Bakelite like material laminated on. Vinyl started to appear during the WW2 years and some 78s were pressed into vinyl. I was unaware of the old acoustic 78s recordings being pressed into vinyl from the old metal parts which Bob Dillon mentioned. Now I suppose I'll have to look for some to hear what they are like.

Phil
Mrs Ritchie Valens wrote:
12 Jul 2019 00:30
How can you find out if the 78's you have are in fact, acoustic ones? Were even acoustic 78's made from shellac?

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Re: 78 noise

Post by Bob Dillon » 12 Jul 2019 23:16

Coffee Phil wrote:
12 Jul 2019 22:17


I believe the majority of records made in the '20s and '30s are shellac. The were records made from other materials such as hard rubber but I have never seen one. There were also Edison Diamond discs which are a different format (80 RPM and vertically cut) which were not shellac. They had a wood flour or clay core with playing surfaces of a Bakelite like material laminated on. Vinyl started to appear during the WW2 years and some 78s were pressed into vinyl. I was unaware of the old acoustic 78s recordings being pressed into vinyl from the old metal parts which Bob Dillon mentioned. Now I suppose I'll have to look for some to hear what they are like.

Phil

Like Tim Gracyk says here : http://www.gracyk.com/diamonddisc.shtml

"Surfaces on pre-1916 discs are smooth since condensite was applied to a smooth Celluloid base bonded to a wood "flour" core".

I believe this to be so. The basic composition of a Diamond Disc was a thin layer of celluloid with condensite varnish applied to harden the surface. The core was at first wood flour, later it was china clay. The Edison Blue Amberol cylinder of the same time period was also celluloid.

The other disc record I know that used celluloid were the Columbia Marconi "Velvet Tone" discs. They lasted a short time on the market because they were too easily worn by heavy tracking mechanical reproducers and steel needles of the typical gramophone in use. They predate the Diamond Disc by just a few years.

I have some Historic Masters discs. Some of them are remarkable, due to the lack of shellac noise. One can hear details that might otherwise be obscured on a shellac pressing. None of them are totally quiet though, like modern vinyl records. There still remains some residual noise that seems inherent in the old recording, cutting, plating or whatever.

Nauck's sells them and they can be found floating around on e-bay. But I understand that after years in business, there will be no more new issues coming out. https://shop.78rpm.com/index.php?id_pro ... on_catalog

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Re: 78 noise

Post by Bob Dillon » 12 Jul 2019 23:26

H. callahan wrote:
12 Jul 2019 03:07
Here´s an interesting test, maybe it helps:

1st play:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pITAgJf6WRg

10st play:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQtQALtpNXM

20st play:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwJWb995qHk

... goes up to 100 plays.
Interesting that it appears to show little to no wear. Of course, that is on that particular machine with a new steel needle every play. Might have been interesting to hear the record after the first play on the gramophone, then played on a modern hi-fi turntable. Then hear the 100th play on the gramophone again on a modern turntable for comparison. The results may be more revealing of wear having set in. As one of the commentors in the video noted, alignment is important. Some of those old acoustic phonos made really no provision for proper offset of the reproducer to the record groove wall. The old style Columbia machines with their straight arms are one example of that. The reproducer needs to be in good working order too, with a pliable diaphragm and rubber gaskets, so that the movement of the needle is not restricted, thus reducing unnecessary record wear. Not unlike the suspension on a modern phono cartridge.

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Re: 78 noise

Post by Bob Dillon » 13 Jul 2019 02:40

Coffee Phil wrote:
12 Jul 2019 22:17
Now I suppose I'll have to look for some to hear what they are like.

Phil
Two sides of one Historic Masters disc.

Nellie Melba, distance test, recorded in London (I believe) by the Gramophone Co. 1910 :https://youtu.be/GzjX6AaomIE

Francesco Tamagno, "The Lion", in his retirement. Recorded in his castle in Italy by Fred Gaisberg for the Gramophone Co. 1903 : https://youtu.be/VLeNo4wDjRU

The Tamagno has a little more background noise than the Melba. It also has some kind of swishy compression artifacts (like in a low bit-rate MP3) that aren't part of the record. But both are very clear and present sounding, despite being recorded several years apart. Yes, when you eliminate that layer of shellac grunge, it can be suprising. The sound of the room is heard more clearly, etc.

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Re: 78 noise

Post by H. callahan » 13 Jul 2019 04:19

Bob Dillon wrote:
12 Jul 2019 23:26
Interesting that it appears to show little to no wear. Of course, that is on that particular machine with a new steel needle every play. Might have been interesting to hear the record after the first play on the gramophone, then played on a modern hi-fi turntable. Then hear the 100th play on the gramophone again on a modern turntable for comparison. The results may be more revealing of wear having set in. As one of the commentors in the video noted, alignment is important. Some of those old acoustic phonos made really no provision for proper offset of the reproducer to the record groove wall. The old style Columbia machines with their straight arms are one example of that. The reproducer needs to be in good working order too, with a pliable diaphragm and rubber gaskets, so that the movement of the needle is not restricted, thus reducing unnecessary record wear. Not unlike the suspension on a modern phono cartridge.
I assume that he machine+soundbox used for this test was in fully working condition, otherwise the test might have shown a different result.
When comparing the 1st and the 100st play i can hear very small differences, surface noise has increased and there also is distortion on high frequencies - but in the "shellac-world" the record still is in veeery good condition after a hundret plays, almost like new. We´ve had it in another thread where one person did not belive abrasive materials being in the shellac-mix to shift wear onto the needle, but this test does show that the idea of shifting wear from the record onto the needle can work pretty good.
I think one of the reasons why the record held up that well is that the surface of the groove still was undamaged. When playing a record having grey grooves there usually is more shellac-dust on the needle - so it seems that a shellac will wear faster once the groove is damaged.

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Re: 78 noise

Post by Coffee Phil » 13 Jul 2019 17:51

Hi Bob Dillon,

Thanks for linking those. They are impressive. Now I don't have to look for examples of vinyl 78s pressed from early metal parts, but if I stumble across some I'll likely buy them.

Phil

Bob Dillon wrote:
13 Jul 2019 02:40
Coffee Phil wrote:
12 Jul 2019 22:17
Now I suppose I'll have to look for some to hear what they are like.

Phil
Two sides of one Historic Masters disc.

Nellie Melba, distance test, recorded in London (I believe) by the Gramophone Co. 1910 :https://youtu.be/GzjX6AaomIE

Francesco Tamagno, "The Lion", in his retirement. Recorded in his castle in Italy by Fred Gaisberg for the Gramophone Co. 1903 : https://youtu.be/VLeNo4wDjRU

The Tamagno has a little more background noise than the Melba. It also has some kind of swishy compression artifacts (like in a low bit-rate MP3) that aren't part of the record. But both are very clear and present sounding, despite being recorded several years apart. Yes, when you eliminate that layer of shellac grunge, it can be suprising. The sound of the room is heard more clearly, etc.

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