|Version: January 26, 2021|
Yuri Bernikov runs the website Russian Records, dedicated to old recordings of Russian music, from the time before the 1917 Revolution and into the Soviet era. Some of the recordings are made on unusual supports - and of course there are phonograph cylinders, although not many cylinders with old Russian music exist.
So Yuri needed a way to play the cylinders, and set out to assemble his own player. It basically consists of two parts: an Ediphone and a Rabco tonearm.
The Ediphone was originally intended for dictation purposes, and recorded on cylinders much like the cylinders used for recording music, only somewhat longer. The mandrel is the right size for playing music cylinders. So Mr. Bernikov removed all the original parts used for recording and playback, which would just ruin old fragile cylinders, and opted for a modern tonearm instead.
Further changes to the Ediphone include adding an on/off switch and a knob for speed control. This is an extension to the original regulator on the Ediphone, now adjusted with the white knob on the baseplate. For stability, a flywheel was added to the mandrel. This is a turntable platter, attached to a plastic tube that fits onto the mandrel. When changing the cylinder, the platter with its tube has to be removed and reattached. Speed is monitored with a digital tachometer that is fed its information from a line track sensor, both found on Ebay. The sensor reads the lines on a strobe disk with 60 lines, so it gives the rpm figure right away.
The tonearm is a linear Rabco SL-8E, which is battery powered, normally with one 1,5 volt battery. This works fine for four minute cylinders, but for two minute cylinders that voltage does not provide enough tracking speed. Yuri solved that problem by putting in two half size 1.2 volt Ni-Cd batteries that perfectly fit into the compartment and thus give 2.4 volts. The tonearm is raised and lowered with the red button on the Ediphone baseboard.
One problem that has yet to be resolved is a resonance that unfortunately occurs at 160 rpm, the standard speed for many cylinders. So, for now, Yuri has to enjoy his cylinders at 155 rpm, a speed that produces no resonance. For the next version of the player, he plans to replace the motor with a modern turntable motor, hoping to get rid of the resonance.
Christer Hamp, 2021
The drive end of the mandrel with the 60 lines strobe disc, sensor and display.
Images provided by Yuri Bernikov
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