78's On Your Stereo ... without spending a fortune!
One of the primary problems facing the 78 collector today is simply "how do you play
Using an old acoustic machine is unarguably authentic
for those of our group who are more interested in machines than records) but the heavy
arm and poor durability of the steel needles carbine to shorten the life of a favourite
disc fairly drastically;
acoustic reproduction on anything short of the
Victor "Orthophonic" fails to do auditory justice to an electric record.
On the other hand, the mention of the
"78" in your local stereo
emporium will, according to the sophistication of the salesman,
produce either an incredulous stare or an
opportunity to view equipment whose price starts at more money than is possible to comprehend and goes
While it is possible to acquire contemporary equipment
which will play 78's, and I have had the opportunity to view some quite
belonging to advanced collectors, both price
and availability make these
set-ups impractical to the everyday record collector who simply wants to listen to his
while preserving his favourite discs.
There is, however,
although I have yet to see it discussed in print.
Well, first acquire an old
monophonic or early stereophonic record player
with a 78 speed and a working turntable.
Make sure that it runs quietly
and at the proper speed.
One word of caution:
in Canada, much electrical equipment
intended for 25 cycle current,
and will be so marked
on the nameplate.
AT THE PROPER
(If set to "33", however, it will run at close to 78.)
Check it to see if there is any sound,
although it is not a problem if there is not.
If you are fortunate, the player will take a pitchfork-shaped needle, with the fork end
fitting under a small setscrew.
If this is the case,
and if there is sound from it,
you can go directly to Step 4.
If there is no sound
from the machine, but touching the wires leading from
the cartridge down the arm produces a hum or, if the machine takes a different type of
remove the old cartridge.
Pull the two (or four) leads off the cartridge
remove the two screws holding it in place.
Acquire an Astatic 420 or 422
cartridge, otherwise known as a
Mono Turnover Cartridge", or equivalent which takes the
Install the new cartridge.
It should have instructions with it, but in any
case it will come with a bracket, which the same two screws
removed previously will
attach to the arm.
Put the two leads back on;
they will usually just push on the pins
on the cartridge,
although they may require a bit of adjustment.
At worst, you will
have to solder new ends on the two leads to fit the pins;
these come with the cartridge.
Cut the two wires from the cartridge, after they leave the arm,
Solder a cord having a phono plug
(RCA plug) at the other end.
available at Radio Shack.
now have an output.
Plug this cord into the "Aux" socket on your stereo (tuner,
Set the stereo to "Aux".
Turn the treble down.
You can now listen to 78's on your
you will need is an Astatic N8-3d, which can be ordered
from Astatic through Radio Shack.
This is a diamond needle and will last for
hours of use.