Can I Play 78 Rpm Records with My Existing Stylus?

Vintage records from the early 1900’s are different to the familiar vinyl records used today. They are made from a brittle material which uses a shellac resin and typically play at a speed of around 78 RPM. While it may be tempting to play a little bit of history using the standard cartridge/stylus on your home turntable, the audio reproduced will not be satisfactory, and here’s why:

The microscopic stylus tip will ride in the bottom of the 78 RPM groove, and not on the groove side walls where the desired signal resides. A 78 RPM record has a groove about 3 to 4 times wider than a conventional 33 1/3 RPM record. Thus, the stylus tip must also be 3 to 4 times wider to reproduce a 78 RPM record adequately.

playing-78-records

Can I Purchase a Cartridge That Will Work with My 78’s?

The Shure M78S cartridge is specifically designed for the playback of 78 RPM records. The M78S features a suitably sized stylus tip, plus output terminal jumpers (removable) for use when connecting to a vintage monophonic hi-fi system.

The M78S stylus, model N78S, will also fit onto the Shure M97xE cartridge body. Simply remove the N97xE stylus and replace it with the N78S stylus to play 78 RPM records. But make sure that the turntable is spinning at 78 RPM to avoid very slow and scary sounding results…

Where to Buy a 78 Cartridge?

You can locate stockist for all Shure cartridges (including the M78s) at our UK dealer locator.

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Marc Henshall

Marc forms part of our Pro Audio team at Shure UK and specialises in Digital Marketing. He also holds a BSc First Class Hons Degree in Music Technology. When not at work he enjoys playing the guitar, producing music, and pretentiously dabbling in the odd craft beer or two from his own personal glass at the local pub — like a total nerd.

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