[78-L] Acoustic gramophones sound comparisons, and experiment proposal.

Inigo Cubillo ice261263 at gmail.com.invalid
Thu Sep 1 12:06:31 PDT 2016

Just finished reading of R. J. Wakeman book on Brunswick. Very nice.

I believe it was there where I read that the sound of the big acoustic
Brunswick gramophones with the conical spruce wood internal horn was of
surprising quality, and even a comparison with Credenza was rated at an
overall 90% sound quality of the Brunswick against the Credenza.

In other places, even Youtube videos, I've read about comparisons between
the big exponential Viva-Tonal Columbia gramophones and the Credenza, and
some experiments done interchanging the Columbia no.15 soundbox and the
Orthophonic, playing on either machines. Also results were that Columbia
sound was good, but not as good as the Credenza.

In older e-mails at 78-L, years ago I raised again the question of
comparison, this time between the huge reentrant HMV models. My question
was about the sound difference between the 193/194 (second model in the HMV
range) and the biggest 202/203. Someone told that the difference was the
same as between the third size (163) and the second (193/194).

This raises again the question. Any colleague collector has carried on such
tests and can comment about sound differences? I'm mainly interested in
qualitative comparisons between the sound volume and overall quality of
sound between different brands. Kinda of "louder and mellower" or "more
brilliant", etc. Also comparisons between soundboxes (HMV/Orthophonic, HMV
5A and 5B, Viva-Tonal, or Brunswick metal diaphragm soundboxes).

I also have my own opinions, of course, about tests done --audibly
only, without any testing apparatus. I own ---and have listened to for
years--- HMV portables 101 and 102, a 127 tabletop model, and the second
size reentrant console 194. I also own a british Columbia 113 (the huge
portable model, equal to the american 163) with the no.15 soundbox. Also
owned ---not now--- a late spanish Columbia portable model wich was a copy
of a Paillard, with a Paillard soundbox. also own a no.17 Thorens soundbox,
same principle as the Paillard. I've been doing comparisons between the HMV
soundboxes nos. 4 (mica), 5A (aluminium diaphragm as the Orthophonic, with
tangential creases in the diaphragm outer edge) and 5B (radial creases).
Also did comparisons exchanging soundboxes between them.

I would like to sustain a conversation/discussion with others that have
done such comparisons, and exchange opinions and knowledge. I've never
listened to a Credenza with wooden horn, nor a Viva-Tonal console or a
Brunswick one, except in YouTube videos!. Dunno anything about them "in the

I'd also like to know if any collector colleague has ever compared the
wooden horned Credenza with the HMV reentrants (terne plate horn). I
suspect that the HMV horns, although being stiffened at some points, with
double-plates and internal posts, must have a stronger resonance than a
Credenza, if only for the difference of the latter having a wooden horn

Mad plans have raised on my mind: What if we fill the HMV console with fine
sand, from the bottom to just over the horn upper plates under the motor?.
I think it can be done, and I'm almost sure that the sound quality would
certainly improve, for the sand would kill all resonances of the big
external horn plates. The sand would fill competely the internal cabinet
space between the horn and the walls. The 194 cabinet is more or less
airtight, and no holes exist except two or four 1/3" holes at the cabinet
floor. These can be temporarily closed, and used for sand removal when
needed. The horn mouth is screwed to the cabinet front behind the grille
screen, and no sand could either escape by the cabinet front. The upper
part of the sand infill could be sealed by means of a plastic sheet or
whatever, just to protect the motor from the sand dust.

Main drawback... the weight of the cabinet would greatly increase... robust
casters must be placed on the legs, or the gramophone previously installed
over a wheeled platform before performing the experiment.

Someone has ever performed such an experiment?


Inigo Cubillo
Madrid, SPAIN

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