Dear Editor (Feb. 1978)

Home | Audio Magazine | Stereo Review magazine | Good Sound | Troubleshooting

Tin-Foil Addenda

Dear Sir:

The following are errors which occurred in the article " Edison Tin-foil Phonograph" which appeared in the December, 1977, issue of Audio. On Pg. 60, "10.6 in. [27 cm] should be "12.0 in. [30.5 cm]." On Pg. 62, "December 6, '777" should be "December 7', '777". Finally, on Pg. 64, "Fig. 4" should be "Fig. 2"; "k is density, and 1 is" should be "p is density and o is"; and ''clamping" should be "damping." Doing this project was a delightful and rewarding experience. I hope that the readership of Audio will enjoy reading about the machine that started it all.

--Peter Hillman Ithaca, N.Y.

Damaged Discs

Dear Sir:

May I add my comments to the enormous amount of vitriol spilled recently in the pages of Audio and elsewhere over poor disc quality? All of the blame for bad records has so far been placed where most of it belongs-on the people who make the things in the first place (and claim that thay can, or will, do no better). However, no con sumer can purchase a record directly from the manufacturer. We must depend ultimately on either a retail store or some form of demolition derby, such as the U.S. Mail.

Without discussing the mails, I am convinced that some of the problems experienced with poor discs have been caused by poor handling subsequent to manufacture. In other words, we are buying damaged discs, not poorly made ones.

Far too many record store clerks consider their merchandise only as something to be ordered, stacked, inventoried, and sold. I have seen bins stocked so full that the front records had to be bent in order to read the ones in back, and plenty of couldn't care-less customers bending away, instead of removing a dozen or so and browsing through the rest in a more thoughtful manner. I have seen records stored book-shelf fashion with the end record flopped over and laying at a 45° angle!! (or, rather, !/). Clerks have tried to fill out a charge slip using my records as a desk.

Perhaps the worst thing I have seen occurred when an undisciplined brat, running unsupervised through a store, tripped and fell on a stack of records piled on the floor. He picked them up and ran on. Only he and I know that soon thereafter that store offered for sale 4 or 5 TJB albums that had literally been sat upon.

Here is an area where even a single record buyer can act directly to improve disc quality with no increase in price. Don't be afraid to ask to see the manager and complain whenever you are in a record store and see some predatory practice going on. The owner of a small store is much more likely to listen to a single customer than a multi-million dollar manufacturer. If he isn't, go elsewhere.

I ask Audio to run an article on the proper way to store records for sale, what to look for in a well-run shop, and how to complain when in a shop that isn't.

--Bill Nabor Azusa, Cal.

Renaissance Retort

Dear Sir:

In your September, 1977 issue I read a "Dear Editor" letter from Henry LeClair of San Diego. This "Audiophile's Renaissance" seems, instead, to be a return to the Dark Ages, due possibly to what I perceive to be a resistance to change on the part of Mr. LeClair. Since he may be harboring some misinformation, I thought I would venture a reply:

Dear Mr. LeClair:

If you are unfamiliar with modern stereo equipment, I suspect you might confuse "gimmickry" with "gadgetry," even though this distinction is often vague. For instance, properly designed high and low filters are very handy gadgets. Yet, sometimes, they are hastily added to amplifiers as sales "gimmicks" with little concern for an optimum cutoff frequency or rate of attenuation. Because of the countless varied components, accessories, and "gadgets" available today, "gimmicks" can easily travel in their guise.

Then it's up to the intelligent consumer to sort them out.

Program sources have improved dramatically over the years, including FM stereo and discs. I own many recently issued classical pressings, my only complaint being the occasional noisy disc, courtesy of recycled vinyl.

Virgin vinyl is used in the new direct to-disc recordings, the state of the recording art, so far. It is curious that I, as well as some of my friends, own several Command Classics recorded from 35 mm tape to disc, and they are all overly modulated into unbearable distortion. I have yet to hear of any tonearm/cartridge combination that can track them.

There has been a similar improvement in stereo equipment, especially in turntables, changers, arms, cartridges, and styli, as well as loudspeakers and outboard devices such as noise reduction units. One decade ago, a $150.00 record changer with a 24 pole synchronous motor and belt drive was unheard of. Indeed, it would have offered state-of-the-art performance at a bargain price. Today, they've become commonplace. Not only are components improving, but they are becoming increasingly diversified, thanks to keen competition.

Lux (Audio Research, and others -Ed.) have made a strong case for using tubes instead of transistors in amplifiers, and their products are unquestionably excellent. Even so, an amplifier may be designed to meet any set of specifications using either transistors or tubes, so the decision as to which to use is, in itself, not a determining factor for the superiority or inferiority of the final product. Unfortunately, one can only lead a horse to water.

There seems to be no necessary correlation between cost and quality. The correlation is more apparent between cost and value-the higher the former, the lower the latter. It is entirely possible for a $5000.00 system to sound inferior to a $1000.00 system, especially if the purchaser is bent on buying status symbols, judging amplifiers by the weight of their heat sinks, and loudspeakers by the size of their cabinets. Those of us who choose to listen to our systems find that our fussiness, and consequently our needs, are a function not of what we listen to, but rather of how we listen to it.

--Robert C. Kral Berwyn, III.

Specification Miscalculation

Dear Sir:

It has come to our attention that the Parapalegic Equalizer, listed in your "Annual Equipment Directory" in the October 1977 issue of Audio carried the wrong specification size of a '77 Chevy. This could be a potentially serious mistake as a number of people are likely to begin to modify their living room walls in hopes of someday receiving their back ordered equalizer (delivery has been slow due to overwhelming demand). The Parapalegic is actually of a more traditional dimension-a '57 Chevy. This was felt to be a shape more suitable to our kind of customer.

We hope this notice will be of help to our potential customers, and so that those already hard at work, crowbar in hand, can begin to undo the damage.

--Gerald Sindell, Rabid Audiophile Notions

dbx Lives

Dear Sir:

As a classical music lover and concert goer, I would like to know why today's disc does not sound as if one were present in the hall? No dynamic range is the answer. But there are records that do have it-namely, dbx II encoded discs. Your reviewers and testers have not explained this to the public ... the purchase of a dbx II and a few records, when added to a good high fidelity system, can take the listener to the concert hall.

You have pushed four-channel high power amplifiers, low distortion, bi amps, etc. I have tried every way to make my system better to the tune of about $4000.00. Nothing has satisfied but the few dbx II encoded recordings.

I would gladly trade any five of my regular discs for one dbx II encoded disc.

Since I am a funeral director, I have nothing to push in sound reproduction except to hope that I may soon be able to purchase more dbx recordings.

--Charles E. Hagen Plymouth, Pa.

Radio Remembrances

Dear Sir:

I really enjoyed Mr. Stosich's article in the January, 1977, issue of Audio.

He is a fellow enthusiast and collector of E.H. Scott radios. This is the first time that I have seen a thorough discussion on the technical aspects of these receivers. Of course, there are plenty of contemporary articles available, mostly in Radio News, but they seem to have a gee whiz attitude, which leads one to think that, perhaps, their reviews were colored a bit. On the other hand, the receivers were very advanced for their day and so the attitude may be genuine.

I am currently restoring the tuner and amplifier chassis of a Berkshire, RCA's entry into the high-quality radio field in 1948. Apparently this unit was originally a built-in, as no cabinet for it has survived. Currently, the unit I have is operating extremely well on FM, but the AM bands (0.50 to 23 MC) need attention.

Did Audio ever do an Equipment Profile of this receiver around 1948? It is interesting to contrast, or compare, the features and operation of the RCA and its contemporary at E.H. Scott, the 800B. It is my understanding that one or more ex-Scott personnel worked on the Berkshire. It would be interesting to hear from any old timers who worked on ether the 'Berkshire' or the E.H. Scott as well.

Also, the members of the Classic Radio Club would like to know of any owners of these radios in your readership for our mutual benefit.

--Bob Fabris, 3626 Morrie Dr., San Jose, CA 95127

(Editor's Note: The Equipment Profiles weren't started until 1952.)

(Source: Audio magazine, Feb. 1978, )

= = = =

Prev. | Next

Top of Page    Home

Updated: Sunday, 2017-01-29 13:19 PST