Tonearms For Warped Records
Matching Arm To Pickup
There may be no practical sense to it, but there are sound theoretical reasons behind it, which can be summarized. The motor of a turntable has one job, turning the table. The motor of a changer must also work, through intricate gears, to lift and move a tone arm out of harm's way and to push records one on top of the other. It does its basic job less efficiently because it has too many other things to do. The tone arm of a separate installation merely holds the stylus on the groove, and swings in as the record plays. The tone arm of a record changer must also trip a mechanism which starts the changing cycle. As it leans against this switch, toward the end of the record, it drags the stylus against the outside edge of the grooves, distorting the eventual sound and (more serious) wearing out the shorter grooves.
Since record changers do not have heavily weighted turntables, they lack the flywheel effect which makes for constant speed on precision instruments. The turntables are rarely a full 12 inches in diameter. This means that the vinylite record sags slightly as the stylus plays its outer area-and the stylus wears more heavily against the outside of the groove.
Pickups are made to perform most accurately when the stylus is directly perpendicular to the flat record. A tone arm can be adjusted to hold the stylus in this position if there is to be exactly one record on the turntable. A changer, however, plays stacks of records, and the tone arm will bold the stylus perpendicular to only one of the records. The stack problem has other aspects, too. It increases the weight of the turntable which the motor is turning, and the turntable is likely to run slow as the stack builds up. Moreover, it never did a record any good to be dropped, and then to be gripped in the grooves of another record.
Nevertheless, except in the very best systems (which will pick up the changer's characteristic low-frequency rumble) the record changer is an adequate way of playing records. Those with an all-LP collection will not want it (the man who is too lazy to change records every 25 minutes is too lazy to live), but others are likely to find that its convenience outweighs its defects. Many hi-fi families own both a changer and a precision turntable the former to accompany Madame's housework; the latter for more serious listening.
Record changers come in all varieties. The ultra-fancy kind, which turns records over, has not been made for hi-fi use-it takes a special and pretty poor cartridge. But the Thorens, Garrard, Miracord, Glaser-Steers, Collaro and Webcor (in descending order of price) are eminently hi-fi goods.
(Excerpts from the book Hi-Fi All-New 1958 Edition)