[78-L] New Turntable - advice appreciated!

Iñigo Cubillo ciadelgramofono at yahoo.es.invalid
Sun Jul 5 04:40:25 PDT 2020

Maria, if you want a high-end stylus you may acquire one of the Expert Stylus Co., a British supplier of many different sizes and types, conical or elyptical, truncated or not, and in different sizes, but all these are expensive (near $150). If depends of what you want, too. Of course there are other styli suitable for 78s, at much cheaper prices, something like $30-40. Between these two ends you have many choices. Usually the cartridge you want to use also is a factor. Companies as Ortofon or Grado have their own 78 carts with different styli. For casual or daily listening with no other high-end pretensions, I would recommend a standard Shure SC35C or Stanton 500 cart, for which you can find in the market suitable off-brand styli, usually conical 2.5 or 3 mil tips, that serve well with most 78s. You'll find the groove widths are different from one record brand to another, so having these two sizes is common, for you'll find a record sounding better with one of these and worse with the other. The quality of the pressing and the good or worn condition of the grooves is also a factor; for instance, if it's common to find records that have been played with used up steel needles, by some users that didn't change the steel needle, using a new one for each play on acoustic machines: the purpose of these steel needles and the abrasive material present in the records was that the very first grooves must wear the point of the needle and shape it to suit the groove. The steel needle was made to be discarded after one play, but many ignored this, and perused the needles, with the result that the worn point acts as a chisel on the following record played, and breaks and erodes the groove walls, wearing the record very fast. That is the greying noticeable at nude eye in the grooves of the strong passages, and the source of that music distortion. Usually these worn out areas of the grooves are located in the mid to high parts of the walls,  so the result when playing these worn records with modern light cartridges is that the records may sound broken and distorted when using, say, a 3mil stylus, but you may discover they sound better when using a narrower point, say, 2.5mil, for this rides on the grooves at a lower position, where the action of the worn steel needle didn't reach! That is why it is recommended to have at least one thicker stylus and also a thinner one.  The reason for using thick styli is that some records, for instance the orthophonic victors of the twenties, had wider grooves than others. These will sound dull and swishy if played with thinner styli.

Better you may read first any suitable article on the Web about the matter. Many websites devoted to 78s have literature and advice about playing those with modern diamond styli. I've found this, as an example
but there are many more. Just google for advice to newbies to the 78rpm hobby about styli.

Iñigo Cubillo
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Sent: Friday, July 3, 2020 9:00:01 PM
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Subject: 78-L Digest, Vol 142, Issue 2

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Today's Topics:

   1.  New Turntable - advice appreciated! (Maria Fletcher)


Message: 1
Date: Fri, 03 Jul 2020 07:28:50 +0000
From: Maria Fletcher <mariafletcher at protonmail.com.invalid>
Subject: [78-L] New Turntable - advice appreciated!
To: "78-l at klickitat.78online.com" <78-l at klickitat.78online.com>

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Dear listers,

I have just purchased the Audio Technica AT-LP140XP turntable, and would appreciate advice on the best Stylus to use to play and record 78 rpm records, mostly from the pre 1940s.

kind regards

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