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Erläuterungen zu diesen 1960er Seiten

Die hier stehenden amerikanischen Artikel aus 1960 (aus der US-AUDIO) sind teilweise sehr gewöhnungsbedürftig, weil sie erstens aus einer längst vergangenen Zeit stammen und zweitens, weil dort in den USA ganz "anders" gedacht wurde als bei uns in Old Germany oder in Europa.
Vergleichbar mit unseren deutschen Hifi-Magazinen etwa ab 1962 ist jedoch, daß auch diese Zeitschrift ihre Anzeigen- Kunden und -Leser (be- oder ab- ?) werben mußte. - Weiterhin sind die Dimensionen des amerikanischen Kontinents mit den unseren hier in Europa nicht vergleichbar. - Ein "Trip" von New York nach Los Angeles oder gar in die Wüste nach Las-Vegas zu einer der Audio- "Shows" war - auch mit dem Flugzeug - immer noch eine Weltreise. Und jede Ausstellung oder "Messe" wurde als "Show" deklariert. Und natürlich, in USA musste alles "Show" sein, um beim Publikum einige Aufmerksamkeit zu erzeugen.

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AUDIO ETC ("Edward Tatnall Canby") - Kolumne
über die Mono- zu Stereo Kompatibilität der LP's von 1960

Diese Kolumne umfaßt 3 Themenbereiche,
(1) die unglückliche Preisgestaltung der Stereo-LPs, dazu die Abtastung von Mono Platten mit Stereo-Abtastern (sehr unglücklich) und
(2) die neuen Magnetband-Kassetten, die nach wie vor nicht zu Potte kommen und
(3) die alten Plattenspieler.

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Thema 1. "COMPATIBLE PRICING"

I take a dim view of the new move towards a "compatible" LP record, that will play both stereo and mono, which is now agitating the inner circles of the record business.
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Eine gemeinsame LP für Stereo- and Mono-Abtaster

It's not that I am skeptical of its success, purely technically. I don't doubt that with a very small compromise in stereo effect a record can be cut that will play on a mono machine with reasonable safety.

This is water under the bridge; it has been done before. But at a time when confusion and misunderstanding of the value of stereo itself are at a maximum, this new injection of more potential confusion seems to me unfortunate (unglücklich). I also feel that it opens the way for a host of marginal, irresponsible, semi-stereo records that will merely add more doubts to those so dismally evident already. For stereo's own sake, I say no.

Es gäbe da bessere "Wege" als Kompatibiltät ......

There is a much more important alternative step that is by now almost screaming for a trial : Compatible pricing. That is, equal pricing of stereo and mono records. Get rid of the crippling stereo surcharge!

This is the big thing we need most, I think. It should be put into effect even if it means a modest rise in the price of some or all mono discs, to meet the stereo price halfway.

Competition, fair, open and equal, will eventually take care of that rise if sales justify it. But above all, and quickly, let's put stereo recording into the "standard" category, take it out of that deadly de luxe area, where it has no business at this late date.

Ein vernünftiger Übergang zu Stereo

The plain fact is that stereo was introduced deliberately to supercede mono, as the 45 and LP were intended to supercede the 78. Compatibility, as always, is basically a holding action, to help the transition in the initial stage. The transition was never meant to go on indefinitely - or receive a belated shot in the arm, too late. That's what a "compatible" record will do now.

The continued stereo disc surcharge says clearly just the opposite, and says it whore it hurts, in terms of cash. Stereo, says this extra charge, is still a de luxe specialty, an "extra" (and for most people of unproved value). The mono disc is still clearly "standard."

How can stereo ever replace mono as the intended new standard, as long as this artificial price barrier, this class distinction, continues to block the transition?

Compatible Playback - mit den Abtastsystemen

The plain fact is, emphatically, that stereo compatibility stems not from the record but from the pickup cartridge.

Virtually all new phonograph equipment, of all grades except the very bottom, is already fully compatible - both stereo and mono records may be played interchangeably, via the stereo-type cartridge.

Virtually every phono cartridge line on the market a few years ago has now been redesigned for stereo playing. The entire complex field of pickup manufacture has "converted" to the new standard, and with a technical success that would have seemed beyond belief only two years ago. Model for model, the new stereo pickups equal or exceed playback standards of the late mono period.

  • Anmerkung : Und hier irrt der Herr Tatnall gewaltig. Das stimmt so nicht. Mono-Platten lassen sich mit dem Stereo-Abtaster nur unvollkommen abtasten, hörbar schlechter. Vielleicht konnte man das mit dem 1960er Equipment nicht heraushören. Heute kann man das.

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Hier wir eine Legende geboren und festgenagelt

Virtually every existing older phonograph that is capable of playing an LP record can be made compatible via a replacement cartridge - and will probably be improved in the process. You can have a compatible cartridge for as little as a dollar or so, if you want a bargain. You may not get super-sound, but you will get compatibility.

In effect, the phonograph cartridge, and hence the phonograph itself, in all its forms hi and low, is now already compatible to all intents and purposes. Only the sluggish confusion of stereo itself, the mess occasioned by speaker compromises, ignorance, false and faulty exaggerations, holds back this compatibility process from completion - aided, of course, by the stereo disc surcharge, a heavy drag.

The 78 Bow-Out

Let's look backward, for enlightenment, at another recent major transition (Umstellung), that from the 78rpm "standard" disc to the new microgroove speeds and groove.

That transition is now safely accomplished (Anmerung : es ist auch bereist 10 Jahre her), though the 78 is still with us. How was the all-important "compatibility" managed in that situation?

A compatible LP-78 record was obviously out of the question.

  • Anmerkung : Die microgroove Rille war um Dimensionen (Faktor 3) enger / schmaler als die Rille der 78er Schellackplatte.


So compatibility was achieved - as now - via playback equipment, not via the record itself. We had a really terrible problem then, what with two quite different stylus points (Abtastspitzen) and three different speeds.

There was, even then, some oversimplification (and resulting confusion) - the "all-groove" needle, for example. But fortunately, wiser procedures prevailed in the main; the equipment sold to the public fitted the needs of the time, however zany we may have thought it at first.

Three-speed changers and turnover pickups seemed grotesque, but they did provide the vital playback compatibility that made possible the steady and assured retirement of the 78 as "standard."

The old record made a gracefully slow exit and has been retiring ever since with admirable decorum, though to this day it is still alive in a modest way. We still, to this day, have 78-LP playback compatibility.

To this moment, most home machines provide for 78 playing, thrown in, so to speak, on the house ; and you can play 78's on any grade of component hi fi you may choose, if you so desire.
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But the 78 is no longer "standard."

The problem of compatibility is no longer a problem. It was beautifully managed, considering the mess back in 1949 and 1950 ! Note the retirement steps that are similar to those involved in our new changeover, from mono to stereo :

1.)

(1). New equipment that would play both 78 and microgroove records very quickly became standard and ordinary, at a minimum increase in cost (even though prices of everything were going up).

Same thing today with stereo equipment: it is now generally available in all lines, top to bottom. Even without actual dual speaker outlets, the essential element of compatibility, the stereo cartridge itself, is already virtually standard from top to near-bottom. Also stereo-designed motors, arms, and the rest.

2.)

(2) When the LP and 45 arrived, new recordings were issued in alternative releases, first in LP and 78, then later in three forms - LP, 45 and 78. The availabilities varied according to need; as the relationship of the 45 to the LP was clarified, classicals were mostly on 78 and LP, pops 78 and 45. Speaking generally, the same is true today in respect to mono and stereo. The dual release is widely prevalent, with emphasis on one or the other type according to the situation.

Note again that in both of these periods of multiple-form release, compatibility has been achieved basically through the playback equipment, not through the records themselves.

But now look at some striking differences.

3.)

(3) LP and 45 recordings were issued from the beginning at prices equal to or below that of the old 78, and this in spite of a painfully high expense involved in the dual and triple processing - three sets of masters, three types of album and packaging. The assumption was, of course, that this would not last long - and it didn't.

During the period of alternative releases, however, public confidence in the new-type discs grew steadily, in spite of violent (gewaltsamer) LP-45 competition. First, the machines were compatible, would play anything. And, second, the new records were favorably priced.

What else could you ask for?
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- Whereas the stereo disc from the very beginning has been saddled with a grossly unfavorable surcharge, publicly justifiable only in the period of immediate innovation.

Worse, where the LP and 45 had immediate and dramatic advantages to offer - remember the huge pile of 78 albums standing beside the tiny stack of equivalent music on LP? - the stereo disc looks just like the ordinary LP, conies in the same package and, alas, too often through bungling and misunderstanding, sounds just like an ordinary record.
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Do It Now (- wir sind hier noch im Mai 1960 !)

It seems to me only too evident, right now, that the "stereo-mono price difference" should have disappeared after a few months at the most. Say, by early 1959. Hindsight is better than no sight!

Then, with compatible playing equipment on sale everywhere, the new type disc would have had a solid basis for the precious growth of public confidence. If the two types cost the same - people should have been saying, all this time - then why not try stereo? Might just as well. And this is just what people would have done, iii droves, I assure you.

Considering the surcharge on stereo records and the public's extreme doubt as to stereo's true value, I think it's amazing
that stereo discs have sold as well as they have so far.

An immediate price-equalizing can still pump life and enthusiasm into stereo, and you may forget all about the "compatible" record.

Eigentlich wäre die ganze Diskussion überflüssig

As described in this column before the stereo disc was even marketed, the free price interchangeability between the two types, given all-stereo pickups, would render the whole question of compatibility meaningless.

Equalize the price of stereo and mono records, and compatibility will come of its own accord and in its own way. You may build any degree of stereo difference-signal into your record that you may see fit - from none at all to the maximum - and the product will sell legitimately at the one standard price.

In the end, as suggested by me 'way back, the mono-and-stereo dual release will simply fade away. Remember my mock-up ad, suggesting how a record company might introduce a great, new advance in recording technique, Variable Stereo? (See Audio, October, 1958, page 97).

Da muß noch etwas korrigiert / ergänzt werden

Now I'll admit (zugeben/gestehen) that I've simplified some aspects of the situation, in favor of the broad viewpoint.

The conversion to stereo did cost plenty and that cost must be paid off somehow. Reducing stereo prices isn't as simple as lowering the price of, say, a ball-point pen (Kugelschreiber). That amazing innovation, that sold for $ 13.- or so at first, was inherently inexpensive to produce and inherently a mass seller; the price could come down fast, and did. I don't mean to suggest that re-pricing the stereo record is as easy as rolling off a ball point pen.

Nevertheless, the time has come to forget the higher price and look to larger horizons. How many ball point pens would you sell now at $13 apiece?

I would not dare guess whether the conversion to dual stereo-mono releasing has been more costly than our earlier conversion to 78-45-LP simultaneous release.

At this point I can't see that it matters. If something isn't done about the stereo record's present cost vs. the mono, the entire investment will have gone down the drain (in den Gulli).

For a while, the public can be expected to understand and tolerate an extra surcharge on a new and special product such as the stereo disc. But not now, not after so long!

Die Stereo LP "muß" billiger werden

Everybody knows that now almost any recording is "available in both stereo and mono," everybody knows that both types can be had at all sorts of devastating discounts, and that many a stereo demo special is sold, apparently with profit, at the low, low prices printed right on the label.

We are all aware, especially, that the two types are now part of one operation, one continuing production overhead, and anybody with common sense realizes that the cost could just as well be split evenly as not. Why not?

Maybe people don't think this consciously, but you can bet that it floats around in their brains, ready to pop out at any time with a great whoosh of approval, the very moment stereo discs are priced with mono discs. That will do it!

Ich empfehle - macht es gleich jetzt

So I suggest that right now is the crucial time for something dramatic, a major breakthrough in simplifying the stereo picture - and the breakthrough is EQUAL PRICING.

It is not the "compatible record," which has been tried at least twice before and is guaranteed to add confusion to confusion, still further to undermine confidence in stereo sound (by suggesting even more devastatingly that there really isn't any difference), and, in the end, open legitimate stereo to every imaginable degree of modification, dishonest or no.

Gefährlich : Konfusion oder Unglaubwürdigkeit

Is a "compatible" stereo-mono record a source for potential confusion and for dishonesty, yet an all-over "Variable Stereo" disc, as I've suggested for the future, quite OK? Yes, for there is a vital difference.

The "compatible disc" as now understood is a compromise, variably so, intended to make stereo records playable via mono pickups. That means a compromise in the vertical response that is basically determined by the old-type pickup.

It ties the "compatible" record not only to an obsolete type of pickup, but also to a mechanical consideration that is entirely extra-musical. At its very best, it is bound to be a compromised record - though Columbia's ASRA "compatible" record of 1958 was, to my ears, virtually undetectibly compromised.

At worst, the compromise in favor of the mono stylus can be seriously detrimental to the stereo effect. Still worse - the "compromise" record may be virtually non-stereo.

Who is to say where the dividing line is? Who is to "police" the variably compatible discs, to weed out the fakes that are 100% "compatible" - i.e., with no stereo component at all!

Die (alte) Mono-microgroove-Platte ist sowieso "kompatibel" !

Never forget that every mono record is a highly "compatible" disc. There are very serious dangers here that can't be put aside as long as stereos and monos carry different prices.

When Columbia first put forward its ASRA scheme, so quickly withdrawn when opposition to it became excessive, I was enthusiastic. I was convinced then, and remain convinced, that with real ingenuity, and with high-minded responsibility, a compatible stereo disc is quite feasible in which the vertical component is selectively reduced by enough to make the disc playable via most mono pickups, yet the essential stereo message is retained in full, or so nearly so as to be undetectibly reduced. I felt that Columbia's skill in just that sort of thing was a strong point in favor of a compromise of maximum usefulness - and I came out in favor of it, at that stage.
But not now.

Zu der ASRA Zeit gab es keine Stereoplatten zu kaufen

When ASRA was demonstrated, there were no stereo records at all on the market. There were very few stereo pickups commercially available and, at that point, the quality of their performance was much in doubt.

Suppose that your old mono records sounded worse via the new pickups than via the old ? Should you junk a perfectly good mono pickup and perhaps jeopardize (aufs Spiel setzen) the sound of a whole library of standard LP's in order to be able to play the handful of new stereo discs that would be available in the then near-future?

That, at least, was the buyer's point of view in the spring of 1958 and it wasn't any laughing matter, either. A "compatible" stereo disc would at least have softened the more painful aspects of the early stereo stage.

Anmerkung : Und wieder eine schlechte Empfehlung . . . .

Buy the new stereo discs as they appeared, play them on your old pickup for safe and secure sound - though mono.
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  • (Anmerkung : Das ist leider völliger Unsinn, was der Autor Tatnall hier empfiehlt !!)

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When and if the stereo pickup was developed to a point of real quality, matching the then mono units, you could retire your mono cartridge for good and play everything via the new cartridge. An excellent idea - at the time.
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  • Anmerkung : Diese Empfehlung war damals wie heute unsinnig, denn die dicke Mono Nadel konnte die neuen Stereoplatten gar nicht richtig abtasten.

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But things are utterly different now. The quality of the stereo pickup is entirely secure, as compared to the mono. No excuse at all now for any sort of major compromise in the disc itself.

So, I say, the "compatible" stereo disc would have been an excellent idea in 1958, if everyone had gone into it from the beginning. This is exactly what would have happened, indeed, except for two dismally unfortunate circumstances. Columbia plugged compatibility but RCA was agin it.

AND the stereo disc was priced above the mono, leaving compatibility in a sort of price limbo. So the "compatible" disc died before it was born.
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Das Counterpoint Label (ex-Esoteric)

The idea was born again, on a relatively small scale, in at least one later instance, the "compatible" recordings on the Counterpoint label (ex-Esoteric). Counterpoint discs were stated to be playable on both mono and stereo equipment - but whether this was a case of semantics I could not say. It has been possible to argue all along, of course, that a straight, non-compromise stereo disc can be played safely via enough mono pickups to call it compatible. The GE mono cartridges, for instance, wrill play most stereo discs without undue trouble. They provide enough vertical compliance cushion to prevent major damage.

Not wise, you'll say, to count on this sort of accidental compatibility. Indeed, you may think it highly unwise to suggest that there is any compatibility at all. But the fact remains that the argument is not black and white. A stereo disc may be flatly termed compatible, in so many words, and the statement is not 100 per cent untrue by any means.

Whether Counterpoint depended on this somewhat doubtful use of language, or actually cut with reduced vertical excursion is an interesting question. You ask them. Nor do I know whether the stereo aspect of the records was in any way compromised in favor of compatibility. But the discs were, indubitably, called compatible. And surely there have been others claiming the same which haven't reached my notice.

Price-Compatibility AND Unigroove ?

Now we have the "compatible" record all over again, not from Columbia but from Fairchild, and the story is essentially no different as I see it. I don't even feel that this is the place to argue whether the new process "works" or not.

I'm quite sure it does (And if some Unigroove discs turn out to have "blended" the two stereo tracks into each other a bit, there's no saying it might not be a good thing. Too much stereo separation can be a pain, and a bit of compatible blending, especially in Pops music, might be very healthy. I've heard one such Unigroove disc already and it sounds just fine - blended or no.) See p. ??

Unigroove may for all I know provide the very paragon (das Muster) of compatibility, nevertheless. I still must go on record as feeling that the whole thing is an unfortunate development at this time, UNLESS ...

Unless we have, first, the much more dramatic compatibility that would come with equal pricing of "standard" mono and "standard" stereo discs.

Then, by golly, the "compatible" record might be a reasonable bet.

Weder Vorteile noch Nachteile für diese Unigroove Disc

Look at it this way. If stereo and mono prices were the same everywhere, a compatible disc would have no special price advantage or disadvantage. It would not have to make the painful choice of attaching itself to one price level or the other. Therefore it would sell strictly on its own merits. Chiselers would not find it easy, then, to muscle in on the confusion.

If you had your choice of three types of disc, all of the same performance at the same price, a stereo, a "compatible" stereo, and a mono - which would you choose?

Whatever your choice, it would be realistic, practical and painless.

And the chances are, I'll bet, that it would be the full stereo disc.
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* * *

I rather doubt if compatible pricing will come in via a sober, industry-wide conference and subsequent agreement. In our competitive field it isn't likely to happen that way.

Remember the pre-war $1.00 disc and the more recent LP price slashes? All such price-cuts that I can remember have been strictly unilateral and with a maximum of drama. The idea is to get a beat on your rivals. Especially if you are big and so are they.

So - go to it, somebody! Somebody plenty big. Get the publicity for yourself, grab the initiative and take the credit. Act big, be dramatic.

Price your monos and stereos the same across the board. Only the biggest record companies can swing this sort of thing, but any one of them might try it with success. Or any two. Which ones? I wouldn't know. But some-body'd better do it pretty darned soon if stereo is to be put on the rails for good.

Flash! Since this was written, Everest (auch ein US-Label) has advertised both at the same price. Good for them!

2. THAT NEW TAPE CARTRIDGE

A big heading and not much to say-yet. My article in the April 1960 issue probably looked a bit silly to you, considering that it appeared only a week or so after the public announcement of the new Columbia cartridge system at the New York IRE meetings in March and slyly prophesied that the cartridge might, perhaps, be announced in June ! Natch, I had written the piece long before and, natch, the IRE announcement came just after we were safely and irrevocably "in bed", gone to press. By being a bit too forehanded, I missed the boat beautifully.
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Geplant für 1961

No matter, for the new device is not scheduled to be put on sale until 1961, as had been previously hinted in one of our worthy rival magazines by Dr. Goldmark himself, head of CBS Labs. The project is being carried on in conjunction with "3M," Minnesota Mining, and it seems that at this point the tape itself, quite reasonably and logically, is the biggest bottleneck.

This strikes me as both an honest and a hopeful explanation. We all know of the really amazing progress in head gap construction and manufacture these last few years, and we all are aware now that pitch stability at the very low speeds is decidedly attainable, even in relatively low-cost equipment. (Remember when the 33 LP record was much too slow for steady speed?)

Columbia möchte mit der Cartridge schneller am Markt sein als der Konkurrent RCA

Other factors in slow-speed hi-fi on tape have been improving right along; the apparent fact is that now the tape itself is the major bottleneck. Reminds me of the problems of fine-grain film when the miniature camera first came out.

But there is precious little doubt that with the right impetus, tape manufacturing standards can be raised and tolerances narrowed until the needs of 1 7/8 ips recording speed can be met. That, evidently, is Columbia's target along with 3M, before a major launching of the new tape record.

Why the announcement now, then? Aha - there we run into politics, no doubt. Never forget that there is still officially on the books a rival tape cartridge launched by our friends at RCA and not, at this point, an outstanding success. Perhaps an announcement at this delicate point might give it a polite coup de grace. From CBS to RCA with love? My own idea - strictly speculation.

Es gibt doch schon Viertelspur Bänder

I did suggest, last month, that this was a year of decision for tape. The new announcement proves it handily. We still have four-track 7 1/2 ips tape and this excellent medium has a year's grace in which to organize itself for its own best values or, alternatively, to modify its aims towards the inevitable slower speeds. Four-track 7 1/2 ips is fortunately not too expensive now and it has the major advantage of being in production - and playable on most present new machines. Make hay while . . .

3. DON'T THROW IT OUT - CONT. (Fortsetzung)

In our March 1960 issue we inadvertently put my discussion of the new Dyna-Empire stereo arm under the general heading of "Don't Throw It Out" and I hereby bow an apology to Dyna-Empire, in case that company thought I had ever had such an intention! (Apparently they didn't, for they didn't mention it. Ed.)

At this point I would not even think of the possibility of throwing (aussondern/wegwerfen) out my Empire 98, and I suspect I'll feel the same way for quite awhile to come. What happened was simply that two other items under that heading had to be postponed due to space limitations. Then the boldface typography in our leads somehow slipped a joint and found itself in the wrong place. The culprit was myself - my copy was very late.

The postponed items will follow, and I'll add more from time to time, since I think it's interesting to follow up on older equipment now and then as a sort of perspective on the new.
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Those Mono Tables

I am still using no less than three old mono-intended turntables, built before the stereo era (und damit vor 1958), and two of them are playing stereo records very nicely. (Anmerkung : Das kann so nicht stimmen, es geht physikalisch nicht.)

The third continues as a superb table for mono broadcast tapings of both stereo and mono discs - my radio program is still, of course, inescapably mono throughout and will continue so until the F.C.C. comes to some decision as to stereo broadcasting. (Die Entscheidung fer FCC kam erst im April 1961.)

The best table I've ever had, if you take the product of the equation time/quality, is also my oldest table, the Rek-O-Kut (now Rondine) T-12H, with hysteresis motor. .
This really superb old machine just plays on and on and on, year after year. And the best thing of all is, that it turns out to be a very acceptable stereo table, with vertical rumble low enough so that there is only a slight difference between mono and stereo playback, reasonably acceptable for my listening purposes.

Anmerkung : Was ist erträglich - reasonably acceptable - anhörbar ???)
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Die letzten Sätze oben drüber sind merkwürdig und verwirrend.
Jetzt Anmerkungen zum reinen Laufwerk :

I think this T-12H is an excellent illustration of the important distinction between professional and ... well, consumer quality. Professional equipment is generally better in performance but its real superiority is in the simple matter of quality, of strength, durability, reliability.

The "T" lines of Rek-O-Kut tables were originally designed as professional equipment, or modified from it. The table (das reine Laufwerk) was basically a recording table, the 12" model adapted, if I'm right, from the fully "pro" 16" job. It is enormously massive, the bearings are heavy and big, the rubber idlers are immense; the whole thing is built like a battleship (but simpler) and was intended to last. It has.

Ein Vergleich der "alten" mit den "neuen" Laufwerken

I doubt if the old T-12H can match the very best of new stereo tables. But it's likely to outlast a few of them. The happy "extra" in this model, the hysteresis motor, is probably the best reason for acceptable stereo performance in this pre-stereo table though generally good design has plenty to do with it.

The low vertical rumble might be a sheer happenstance - who cared about vertical vibrations in those days? - or it could also be a by-product of over-all care in the design.

The other high-quality table I'm still using is the D&R, the one that serves for my broadcast tapes. This table rated tops when it was first produced, maybe seven or eight years ago (von 1953) or more, and I've found few faults with it since then.

It has an outside-drive rubber wheel, mounted free (you can lift the whole idler unit right out) and held against the rim by a simple spring; speed change is clumsily done via brass collars that fit over the motor spindle - but I don't have to change very often. A "mercury switch" (was ist das ?) that tips does the on-off job as the brass handle moves the idler against the rim.

Only two difficulties have ever cropped up with this machine. One is petty. The idler wheel doesn't always release from the rim when you turn the machine off, due to mechanical slippage. The other would be serious if it mattered in my case.

Though the "lateral rumble" in the table is very low, "vertical rumble" is quite severe; I cannot use the table at all for stereo playing.

Just goes to show what a tricky thing rumble can be. This, too, is a beautifully designed table; but its set of design parameters happened to involve the once-unimportant factor of vertical rumble, where the Rek-O-Kut design happened not to.

und nun der 3. Plattenspieler

The third table is a far less expensive model, the original Components "Junior" single-speed table, later called the "GI Special" or some such name - I forget exactly. This was a modest version of the Components belt-driven table that had been highly praised; it uses a heavy ceramic weight for the table itself, covered by a soft aluminum shell (I had trouble with dents and bending at first) and the drive is fixed, via outside belt.

The table has one extra advantage - it will fit into a changer box or the space where a changer ordinarily goes. That's where mine is right now (though I had to cut a hole in the box to give the manual arm room to move).

And, wonder of wonders, this cheap little "Junior," selling 'way back for around $25, does an excellent stereo job, so good that I have had no special desire to get anything newer. This, mind you, with a pair of AR-3 speakers that show up rumble very precisely when it occurs.

Between these three tables I've been doing so well that, believe it or not, I have not yet tried any post-stereo table, except for a brief whirl with the amplifier-driven Fairchild model some time back. A good table, let me tell you, is a good investment.
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  • Anmerkung : Hier schreibt der Autor, daß er "nach Gefühl" die neuen Stereo-Platten mit den alten Mono-Abtastern "gut" hören könne. Doch was ist acceptable - also was ist "gut" ? Diesen obigen Ratschlag sollte man nicht mehr befolgen, denn die Physik kann man nicht überlisten.

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Das Pickering 240-D

In the first of these accounts, involving the "Columbia 360" phonograph (March, 1960), I mentioned the familiar designation "just a piece of junk" - and then described how I found that this relatively ancient Model 360 was anything but that, once it had been fixed up right.

Und nun zum Plattenspieler meiner Sekratärin ....

Well, here's another example. My secretary brought her own home phonograph woes to me a few months ago and I got interested, for the usual reasons. Wanted to find out exactly what was wrong in her system. She was as cryptic as you might guess. The machine didn't play right but she couldn't get over to me what was the matter.

She'd sent it out once, at great cost, and it had gone bad again - the old story. Now, the local service man said her cartridge was no good and she'd have to get another one.
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What, she asked me, was a cartridge?

That intrigued me no end (unendlich neugierig), for here there was something I could cope with. Hers was detachable, on a plug-in changer arm, and to my surprise it turned out to be an excellent one - a Pickering 240-D turnover back-to-back model, one separate little sugar-lump cartridge for LP and another for 78. That model was a distinguished one in its day and you don't toss such valuable equipment on the junk pile without a second thought. So I turned her cartridge over to my assistant for exploration.

Did it work?

The electrical continuity was OK. But as we tried it, the stylus seemed to produce distortion now and then, a buzzing. And the point seemed sort of wobbly. Vaguely remembering a similar problem with my own example of the same model, I began to speculate.

So I ups and sends it back to the Pickering factory with a note. Told them I suspected it might be the stylus damping material; I had heard of minor trouble in that department with that model. Was it OK here? (Or the stylus might have been broken, but didn't feel so). I said please repair and send bill.

Repariert -aber die Story geht weiter

It came right back from Pickering a few days later. No charge. Cryptic note saying simply "Stylus is OK." Not a word about the damping or any other trouble. So I gave it back to its owner to try again.

The story isn't finished yet. A week later she was back - the phonograph still didn't work. So I dutifully explained the phono-plug amplifier test that would indicate whether the trouble was beyond the changer - unplug the signal lead halfway, breaking the ground connection, and see if there's a blat. (Be sure to turn volume up and put controls to phono ....). Another week passed. She came back and said yes, there was a blat. But still no music.

So weit waren wir schon mal

That is as far as we've got to date but it is a long way, you'll realize, even if the darned thing still doesn't play.

For at least I know that I have saved this lucky lady the cost of a new Pickering 240-D, or equivalent, diamond and all, and that ain't hay. Green stuff. It would have brought that crafty local serviceman a neat little profit.

And, moreover, I know that her trouble is no worse than a loose connection somewhere between the cartridge itself and the amplifier. She asked whether she should send for the man again - I said NO!

"But what'll I do?" Well, I said, maybe one of these days my assistant can get up to your place and check that loose connection. There it stands. She's saved a mint. But she'd had no music for something like three or four months.
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