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Welcome Licorice Pizza (LP) lovers! Setup guides and Vinyl FAQ.

RE: 78 rpm stylus for 33 rpm records? Can it hurt?

I don't know why you would think that something the size of a beach ball would follow an undulating surface with the same accuracy as something the size of baseball when the undulations have curvatures closer to the size of the baseball. A beach ball will simply roll over them but the baseball will maintain contact with the undulating surface. The 78-rpm stylus is analogous to the beach ball whereas the 33-rpm stylus is analogous to the base ball. Each groove wall is an undulating surface.

A 78-rpm record spins more than twice as fast as a 33-rpm record. Consequently, the curvature of the undulating groove is larger for the same frequency on the 78-rpm record as on the 33-rpm record. Therefore, the larger 78-rpm stylus can follow the faster groove on the 78-rpm record with greater accuracy than it can follow the slower groove on a 33-rpm record.

At any rate, if you can't visualize the problem of tracking a microgroove record with a 78-rpm stylus then perhaps someone else can explain it to you better than I.

John Elison

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