Question about vintage turntable cartridge (33/45 needle vs. 78).......

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by MielR, Nov 28, 2010.

  1. MielR

    MielR Advanced Member

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    I purchased an old Apollo turntable (one of the ones with a domed lid that looks like a flying saucer- I think it's from the early 70s), and it came with a cartridge pre-installed. It's the kind that has a tab that allows you to "flip" the cartridge over- one side presumably is for 33s and 45s and the other side is for 78s. The problem is- I don't know which side is intended for which. One side of the tab is blank, the other has an "S" imprinted on it. I know that playing a 33 or 45 with a 78 needle will damage the vinyl, so I'm afraid to use it until I'm sure which is the correct side. I asked the person I bought it from, but he wasn't 100% sure.


    Anybody know? Thanks in advance!!!!
     
  2. Leo Kerr

    Leo Kerr Screenwriter

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    Hmm.. I certainly don't know any specifics, but the stories I've heard suggest that the 78RPM side might very well be a significantly larger needle. My father tells stories of using cactus needles on 78s..


    Leo
     
  3. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    This is bugging me, because I feel like I should remember what an "S" on one side means, so I hope someone knows the answer to that.


    In the meantime, look at the two closely because, as Leo says above, the 78-rpm needle will in all likelihood look larger or fatter. Use a magnifying glass if you have one handy.


    Other than that, if you have a junk record lying around, you might try each one on that to see what they both sound like.
     
  4. MielR

    MielR Advanced Member

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    Thanks to both of you for your replies!


    I've heard that the 78 needle is larger in size than one used for LPs -


    I found a couple of sources online that says the "S" stands for "standard" or "sapphire" both of which usually denote a 78 needle (?)


    In any case, I'll get out a magnifying glass and try to see which needle appears larger, just to be on the safe side.
     
  5. Leo Kerr

    Leo Kerr Screenwriter

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    I'd have thought that classically, sapphire needles were for LPs. On the other hand, I believe the "official" needles (when not using cactus,) were stainless steel, which could also be an "S".


    Are we helping at all, or just making it even worse?


    Leo
     
  6. MielR

    MielR Advanced Member

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    Ha! No, I don't think you're making it worse.


    I read somewhere that for the "flip"-type cartridges, the 33/45 side would be diamond usually, so then the sapphire side was reserved for 78s.
    "S" for "steel" would also be 78s-only, I assume, so that would support the idea that the "S" side is for 78s.
     
  7. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    I remember "Sapphire" for 78 mode on my father's old console with a similar flip-style stylus. LP/45 styluses were always diamonds. Sapphire was used for 78 compatibility on electronic record players (78s were originally a purely mechanical medium).


    If you have a POS old record that you don't care about, try both.
     
  8. bigshot

    bigshot Cinematographer

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    I wouldn't Bother figuring it out. The needle is probably thrashed anyway. You can get a new flip over needle at www.garage-a-records.com for a few bucks and they will tell you how to install and use it.
     

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