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 Post subject: Orthophonic vs. Electric
PostPosted: Mar Sat 15, 2014 11:37 pm 
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Joined: May Sun 15, 2011 2:11 am
Posts: 192
I've never owned an orthophonic machine, but have recently been offered the chance to buy one (see other post), and I'm wondering if I should. My main concern has been one of sound quality; I've always suspected that acoustic records sound better on older, acoustic machines, and orthophonic/electric records sound best on electric machines. But this opportunity has me wondering: How do orthophonic/electric records sound when played on an orthophonic machine sound compared to when they're played on an electric machine (say, from the late 1920's or early 1930's)? All opinions are welcome, but what I'm really looking for is a comparison -- not just "better" or "worse," but how they're different. And how do older acoustic records sound on an orthophonic machine? (In my humble opinion, they don't sound all that great on an electrical machine.) Finally, if I were to add one orthophonic machine to my collection someday, which one would you recommend if my top consideration is sound quality? Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Orthophonic vs. Electric
PostPosted: Mar Sun 30, 2014 10:15 pm 
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Joined: Jan Sun 09, 2011 10:32 pm
Posts: 29
Location: Van Buren, Arkansas
Well, a Victor Orthophonic, with the full-size folded horn, such as the Credenza was the LAST acoustic machine standard. The early Victor Orthophonic records were DESIGNED to be played on this machine. A Standard of comparison, for want of a better word. The Credenza-sized (there WERE other models that had the same size horn) folded horn machine was part of the complete Western Electric design for recording and playback. They designed their electric recording system standards to include this machine as the playback.


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 Post subject: Re: Orthophonic vs. Electric
PostPosted: Apr Tue 01, 2014 3:47 am 
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Joined: May Sun 15, 2011 2:11 am
Posts: 192
Thanks. Does that mean that early Victor Orthophonic records would not sound optimal on a smaller horn -- like, say, you might find on an 8-4? What is the difference in size between the two horns, anyway? And which other Victor machines feature a full-size orthophonic horn? And when did they start records for which optimal reproduction would have been electric rather than acoustic?


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 Post subject: Re: Orthophonic vs. Electric
PostPosted: Apr Tue 01, 2014 10:49 am 
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Joined: Nov Thu 22, 2007 10:25 pm
Posts: 4946
Location: Moline Illinois
I have a 1925 Credenza and it sounds wonderful but I have not seen it mentioned yet that to alter the volume, one must either close the doors or put in a needle designed for quiet, medium or loud.


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 Post subject: Re: Orthophonic vs. Electric
PostPosted: Apr Tue 01, 2014 6:56 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 4153
Location: Boston, MA USA
Hyperion wrote:
And when did they start records for which optimal reproduction would have been electric rather than acoustic?

Actually the electronic Brunswick Panatrope came to market shortly before the acoustic Victor Orthophonic.

-David


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 Post subject: Re: Orthophonic vs. Electric
PostPosted: Apr Sun 06, 2014 8:24 pm 
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Joined: Jan Sun 09, 2011 10:32 pm
Posts: 29
Location: Van Buren, Arkansas
dberman51 wrote:
Hyperion wrote:
And when did they start records for which optimal reproduction would have been electric rather than acoustic?

Actually the electronic Brunswick Panatrope came to market shortly before the acoustic Victor Orthophonic.

-David


Yes, the Brunswick was the first to market, but the research literature says it didn't sound very good, the components were not well matched.


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 Post subject: Re: Orthophonic vs. Electric
PostPosted: Apr Sun 06, 2014 10:56 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 4153
Location: Boston, MA USA
They must have fixed it quickly -- it became very popular. By 1929 electronic phonographs had taken over what phonograph market remained after the radio boom.

-David


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 Post subject: Re: Orthophonic vs. Electric
PostPosted: Jul Wed 16, 2014 5:44 pm 
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Joined: Aug Sun 26, 2012 2:27 pm
Posts: 138
I have a Radiola 67 and a 1926 Brunswick Panatrope Radiola. The Radiola 67 has a larger speaker and uses a 50 output tube. Overall it sounds better than the Brunswick I would say, but the Brunswick is not a bad sounding machine. The Brunswick uses a 210 tube for the output. The speakers in both are the same except the Brunswick has a 6 inch "ultradynamic" speaker as they call it and the Radiola 67 has an 8" speaker in it. The speakers are both very heavy (In fact everything about both of them is very heavy!). I also have had a number of Credenzas over the years and kept an 8-9 mostly because it's a little smaller. It's a really nice sounding machine as well since they use more or less the same horn. But you do have volume control on the electric one's and on the Radiola 67 it has a sort of tone control on it. I always say it's kind of like pump organs. They all have their charm and do sound different, so you can find a reason to keep all of them.... Ha! And some records sound better on one machine over another for whatever reason. But with the acoustic Orthophonic Victrola, if you find a 'sweet spot' to set it in a room, it's pretty hard to beat as far as I'm concerned. Even over an electric machine, and you don't have to deal with the temperament of how some of that early electric stuff can be. The single dial tuning on the radio of the Radiola 67 is nice as well. The Radiola 28 was considered a huge improvement over the previous radios, but it sure can be an oddball to tune. I can see why they kept notes years ago on where stations were found, aerial position and so forth! I guess the Radiola 20 that was used in the Victrola 7-3 can be a real pain to get tuned in on a station.
I doubt in the end my comments are much help. But that's kind of where I'm at with it. I don't have any radio/phonographs newer than the Radiola 67 so maybe something a little newer would sound much better. I did hear an RCA radio phonograph from about 1934 awhile back and it was really nice sounding. I thought it was really almost painfully ugly, but it sure sounded good. Those magnetic pickups really sound good when you get everything right in them, there's no denying that.
Well, good luck with your quest. You'll probably be listening to a few before you make up your mind on what you want. If you find an orthophonic reproducer that sounds good make sure you hang on to it. They have their personalities as well. My best sounding one is a rather ugly pot metal one. It has played circles around any of the brass one's I've ever had, and I've had a dozen or more of them over the years. Who knows why that is.


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 Post subject: Re: Orthophonic vs. Electric
PostPosted: Mar Thu 08, 2018 2:56 am 
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Joined: Apr Fri 05, 2013 7:13 pm
Posts: 21
EarlH, I just acquired a very nice Radiola 67 from a well known collector. It sounded OK from the start, and maybe I'm expecting too much, but there is some distortion on low frequencies, both radio and records. The pickup has been properly rebuilt and there is plenty of loudness. Maybe my next step is to check the voltages on the terminal strip at the power ampifier. There is slight, normal AC hum that other sets of this vintage have. It seems you are pleased with the sound of your 67. I have an RCA RE-78 radio-phono from 1932 and it does sound similar. How would you describe the sound of yours playing period Victor records? Also the tone arm has a staggering 200+ grams tracking force, more than any other magnetic pickup I've seen from the period.

Tom


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 Post subject: Re: Orthophonic vs. Electric
PostPosted: Mar Thu 08, 2018 6:52 pm 
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Joined: Jun Sun 15, 2014 11:04 pm
Posts: 956
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
The information I'm giving here is subjective, I have no way of confirming it scientifically. I have a 1930 Capehart Model 5 which is electrically amplified. The amplifier has pp 45's driven by a 26 and 27. The speaker is a 10" ED type. I always thought this machine was the best sounding amplified machine I have. With orthophonic recordings it seems to have fairly good bass response down to about 80 Hz, but the high end seems suppressed (except some of the early electrically recorded Columbia's seem to have some distortion). Compared to my Victor 10-50, it has way more volume, but about the same tonal quality.
I also have several other amplified phonographs of the 1927 to 1933 period. All of them sound pretty good to my ears (I'm usually comparing recordings which have little or no wear to them).


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