On Friday, May 22, 2009 12:30 PM, Jan Myren wrote:

> May there be any size "in between" that I should check out?

My most used shellac styli are 2.3, 2.5 and 2.8 mil with a
truncated elliptical geometry.

> ALSO; what kind of devices (others that the stylus itself) 
> reduces distortion sounds?

I once had a good lesson in distortion when I heard significant 
distortion and tried numerous things to improve the sound
quality, including:

   - testing a variety of stylus geometries and dimensions
   - checking my cartridge alignment (ie. HTA, VTA, VTF, 
     antiskate, and azimuth)
   - checking all my electronics and cabling
   - making sure the disc was absolutely clean using a Keith
     Monks record cleaning machine

I found that my other shellacs sounded good, but this one 
particular disc - a disc deemed "mint" by its owner and upon 
visual inspection did indeed look like new, unplayed and 

As a last effort, I put the disc under a 150x microscope and
the problem became immediately clear: a poor and distorted 
pressing - the distortion was in the grooves themselves.  No 
amount of stylus experiments, alignment or cleaning was going 
to ever improve the sound quality.

I know there are expert collectors on this list reading your
email post.  If you indicate some of the discs you are having
difficulties with (label, artist, matrix), people may be able
tell you if there are known issues with pressing quality for
those discs.

Eric Jacobs

The Audio Archive, Inc.
tel: 408.221.2128
fax: 408.549.9867
mailto:[log in to unmask]
Disc and Tape Audio Transfer Services and Preservation Consulting