How can I archive old 78s from the 1930s and 1940s?

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How can I archive old 78s from the 1930s and 1940s?

I have just inherited some boxes of Jazz 78s, including one signed by Louis Armstrong. I would love to record them to my PC but I think they are too old for even normal 78 players and would need a wind up gramophone. The ideal solution would be something like this: http://www.elpj.com/  but that is insanely expensive. Does anyone know if you can rent these? Or if a museum or someone would help me archive what I think are rare recordings?  

RE: How can I archive old 78s from the 1930s and 1940s?

It can be done I think without too much difficulty although I've not done it myself. A 78 rpm turntable is obviously necesssary but you MUST have a 78 stylus in the pickup cartridge (this will have to be whatever is available - over the years the groove spacing on 78s was not constant and those who transfer 78s to CD professionally will have a range of cartridges often with custom made styli of various dimensions). These are of larger dimension than those for LP and if an LP stylus is used it will rest in the bottom of the groove and give far too much surface noise. A company called ION make budget turntables with USB connectors and built in electronics for connecting to a PC but I don't know if they do a 78 version - get them at the likes of PC World or Maplin.

Alternatively Pro-Ject produce quality turntables at a higher price and do one with built in analogue/digital converter for connecting to a PC and I believe they will do a 78 version as a special. I don't know if the 78 cartridge is included or you may have to get one separately. I think it costs around £300. Check out the website of their UK distributor Henley Designs and forget about an acoustic windup Gramophone! 

Having said that however at one time Nimbus used to transfer 78s to CD by playing them on an acoustic gramophone with a massive horn about 10 ft or more long in their concert hall and re-record with microphones and a digital recorder but I think they now use more conventional means!

I also recall having seen advertised in those mail order adverts in weekend papers turntables with CD burners built in avoiding the need for a PC but can't remember details or if they would play 78s and the turntables cannot I think be of great quality judging by the price.

Good luck with your endeavours!

RE: How can I archive old 78s from the 1930s and 1940s?

If you get an ION deck, you can get a 78 stylus. They only play at 33/45 but you can get a computer program e.g. Audacity to speed it up to the right speed.

Enjoy!

P

RE: How can I archive old 78s from the 1930s and 1940s?

Thanks I'll look into the ION deck as a first step. 

RE: How can I archive old 78s from the 1930s and 1940s?

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clive heath
RE: How can I archive old 78s from the 1930s and 1940s?

I would first try contacting a professional, for example the curator of recordings for the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. Also, researching any of the foundations that work in cooperation with the Ralph J. Gleason Awards. I agree with the previous advice concerning the sophistication and fine art of making a good transfer and I would look in the direction of these types of organizations.

goofyfoot

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