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ARSCLIST  December 2015

ARSCLIST December 2015

Subject:

Edison cylinder playbacks circa early 1980s

From:

Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 19 Dec 2015 09:32:58 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (104 lines)

I just recently transferred some tapes that Art Shifrin had made for my father, using his cylinder 
playback system, in the early 80s. This was when Art was researching and finding "lost" Edison 
Kinetophone cylinders, and working on lining the audio up with picture for transfers to video (all 
of this before FinalCut Pro, which probably makes child's play of it today). I remember going with 
my father to visit Art at one of the Manhattan film-post places, where he had a working system using 
a 16mm film-transfer machine.

Anyway, I was blown away by the good quality that Art got with his playback system, on Kinetophones 
and other cylinders. I think details of it, and maybe a working example still lives, at the Edison 
Historical Site or maybe the LOC. I think Art made a handful of the machines, and sold one of them 
to one of those places. Art published details of his Kinetophone work in the SMPTE Journal. I think 
he used an off-the-shelf cartridge in his machine, maybe a Stanton 500? I believe the stylus was 
custom made, and back then it was easier to get that sort of thing done.

I have a couple of U-Matic videotapes of Art's Kinetophone-to-video transfers, and the audio lines 
up to picture a hell of a lot better than modern digital cable TV! Art's SMPTE Journal article 
indicated that if funding were found, there were hundreds of Kinetophones where film and audio parts 
were present, and thus could be transferred to then-modern NTSC video. In the hands of a modern 
audio-production person who's not bent on over-processing low-fi sound, and a FinalCut Pro expert, 
very good results could be gotten. I was able to tame the screamy midrange with a touch of mastering 
EQ in the box. I made no attempt to go after the wideband cylinder noise because Art got a high s/n 
for that media and wideband noise is exactly what causes the worst digital artifacts when attacked 
with any aggression. An example of what I'm talking about is an awful-sounding CD reissue of 
jazz-ish Edison Diamond Discs, put out to show off DiamondCut Pro software, which promptly turned me 
off on the whole thing. Awful digi-swishing and other annoying artifacts. Much better to get as high 
a s/n analog playback as possible, and then leave it the heck alone!

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Rob Lomas" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, December 19, 2015 8:20 AM
Subject: [ARSCLIST] Edison original stylus specs was [ARSCLIST] Archeophone Needle/Cartridge


> Regarding specs for playing Edison cylinders, for archival purposes a selection of various sizes 
> and shapes (conical, truncated eliptical, etc)
> is preferred in order to get the stylus to 'ride' the least damaged or quietest area of the record 
> groove.
>
> However, here are links to the blue prints from the Edison factory for what was originally used.
>
> http://www.edisonia.com/stylus/DiamondA.gif
>
> http://www.edisonia.com/stylus/HStylus.gif
>
>
> This site can better explain the groove geometry:
>
> http://www.poppyrecords.co.uk/tec001/tec01.htm
>
>
> And a link to an 'off the shelf' option if you already have a cylinder phonograph:
>
> http://edisonia.com/Zen2/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=3&products_id=1
>
> and a little info about the same:
>
> http://www.nipperhead.com/old/act/
>
>
> -Rob
> www.edisonia.com
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> On 12/19/15 1:13 AM, John Haley wrote:
>> Really?  I'm no expert on cylinders, but thought all cylinders played with
>> a flat-bottomed stylus, the grooves being more like troughs, with the
>> modulation being in the bottom surface rather than the groove walls.  i
>> don't think you ever want to play a cylinder with a pointed stylus made for
>> flat records.
>>
>> Best,
>> John Haley
>>
>>
>> On Fri, Dec 18, 2015 at 9:13 PM, Rob Lomas <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>
>>> Edison factory blueprints show the 4 minute stylus as 3.5 mil conical.
>>>
>>> -Rob
>>> www.edisonia.com
>>>
>>>
>>> On 12/18/15 8:15 PM, Overkill wrote:
>>>
>>>> I have been wanting to build myself an Archeophone for playing the common
>>>> Amberol type 4 Minute Cylinders. I want to use a moving magnet cartridge
>>>> and I am looking for suggestions as to which cartridge and needle size is
>>>> best suited to fit the grooves correctly??
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Dave
>>>>
> 

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