THE IDEAL RECORD CHANGER

WHY IT DOES NOT EXIST

Part of the problem is defining what the Ideal Record Changer is. The general definition is probably close to saying that the record changer must not harm the records and must not make mistakes that cause damage, miss the record edge, or make it less useful. And part of the reason the Ideal Record Changer does not exist is that it was almost technically impossible to make.




PART 1: SEEKING THE IDEAL RECORD CHANGER

V-M 406

V-M 406 and 407 properties


It plays the following records automatically
12" and 10" 78 rpm records intermixed
12" and 10" 33 rpm records intermixed
7" 33 rpm records separately
7" 45 rpm records separately
The speed knob has these 4 positions.

 

First, we need to decide what the Ideal Record Changer is.

Let's start with what it isn't.

The page author had an experience at age 5 that made him wonder why record changers could not figure things out for themselves:

The page author wanted to play a kid's 78 version of Perry Como's "Round and Round." he got as a gift on a V-M 407 changer belonging to his grandfather (similar V-M 406 shown at right).

The author's father and grandfather got into a small discussion while trying to play it on this record changer:

(GF) "Turn the knob here! It's a 78!"

(F)    "No, turn it here. It's a 7-inch record!"

(GF) "But that's 33!"

(F)    "We'll turn it there, then turn it to 78 once the arm sets down!"

          "PSSSSSSSSSSH!"

(F)    "Something's wrong, it missed the edge of the record!"

(GF) "Try the 45 position."

          "PSSSSSSSSSSH!"

(F)    "It still missed. This record seems too small."

(GF) "Let me get a ruler."
.... .... .... ....

(F)    "Turn it to 78. This is a 6-inch record. We'll have to play it manually!"

This caused the author to wonder (at age 5) why they don't make a record changer that is smart enough to be able to play all sizes and speeds of records automatically.

WHAT IS THE IDEAL RECORD CHANGER?

V-M 406

The V-M 406 is one of the worst

DAMSPD
SEP
OSZTRP
SOF
MAN
REPSSP ASPTENCUE
 
MIXSMXRPD 2SD2SCRSQ
 
SSHNFGTNY GVSHOL
 

 

This changer was not made under ideal conditions. Instead, it was V-M's first 3-speed changer, designed in a hurry to get something on the market to accommodate the new 7" and 45 rpm records.

 

COLOR CODES
Completely does this
Partially does this
Doesn't do or minimally does this

 

The following are properties of the Minimal Ideal Record Changer:

The following are additional properties of the Totally Ideal Record Changer:

The following are additional properties of the Ultimate Luxury Ideal Record Changer:

The following exceptions simplify the problem of designing an ideal changer

* - See the section WHY CAN'T WE REACH THE IDEAL?

WHY ARE THESE FEATURES NEEDED?

Garrard 6-200

Garrard 6-200 - Not what we want

 

Minimal Ideal Record Changer:

Totally Ideal Record Changer:

Ultimate Luxury Ideal Record Changer:

Exceptions - why they are not needed

WHY ARE THESE SO HARD TO DO

The Minimal Ideal Record Changer:

The Totally Ideal Record Changer:

The Ultimate Luxury Ideal Record Changer:

The exceptions

SAMPLE RECORD CHANGERS

Perpetuum Ebner PE 2038 B (modified to add repeat)

PE2038 B

PE 2038 B - no intermix

DAM
SPD
SEP
OSZTRPSOF
MAN
REPSSP ASPTENCUE
 
MIXSMXRPD 2SD2SCRSQ
 
SSHNFGTNY GVSHOL
 

 

PE2038 B control

The following are properties of the PE 2038 B:

Not bad for the Minimal Ideal Record Changer.

Perpetuum Ebner PE Rex AA

PE Rex AA

PE Rex AA - no repeat

DAM
SPD
SEP OSZTRPSOF
MAN
REPSSP ASPTENCUE
 
MIXSMXRPD 2SD2SCRSQ
 
SSHNFGTNY GVSHOL
 

 

The following are properties of the PE Rex AA:

Not quite the ideal.

Collaro TSC-640/1019A (modified for autospeed)

Collaro TSC640/1019A

Collaro TSC640/1019A - half and half

DAM
SPD
SEP OSZTRPSOF
MANREPSSP ASPTENCUE
 
MIX
SMX
RPD
2SD2SCRSQ
 
SSHNFGTNY GVSHOL
 

 

The following are properties of the Collaro TSC640/1019A:

Not quite the ideal, but much better. This is the page author's favorite record changer.

Luxor RTW-7

Luxor RTW-7

Luxor RTW-7

DAM
SPD
SEP OSZTRPSOF
MANREPSSP ASPTENCUE
 
MIXSMXRPD 2SD2SCRSQ
 
SSHNFGTNY GVSHOL
 

 

The following are properties of the LUXOR RTW-7:

Not quite the ideal, but very close.

DUAL 1006A

Dual 1006A

Dual 1006A

DAM
SPDSEP OSZTRPSOF
MAN
REPSSP ASPTENCUE
 
MIXSMXRPD 2SD2SCRSQ
 
SSHNFGTNY GVSHOL
 

 

Dual 1006A Feelers

The following are properties of the Dual 1006A:

Not quite the ideal, but even closer.

WHY CAN'T WE REACH THE IDEAL?

The main reason the ideal has not been reached is that the methods needed for intermixed record sizes are different from the methods needed to repeat an already played record.

The problem is that the method for feeling a record for intermixed sizes is not normally the method needed for repeating a record. The record to be repeated is not usually in the same place that it was in when it was originally felt for size intermix.

SIZE SENSINGSIZE RANGE INITIAL SENSE LOCATION REPEAT SENSE LOCATIONPROBLEM RESOLUTION
Turntable sensor7", 10", 12" On turntable On turntableNo size intermix
Falling record sensor7", 10", 12" Falling down spindle (random mix) On turntableNo repeat
Falling record sensor7", 10", 12" Falling down spindle (random mix) On turntableRepeat size control
Falling record sensor7", 10", 12" Falling down spindle (random mix) On turntable (saved)Repeat button saves size
Stack record sensor7", 10", 12" On stack (arranged mix) On turntableNo repeat
Stack record sensor7", 10", 12" On stack (arranged mix) On turntableRepeat disc, same size on stack
Stack record sensor7", 10", 12" On stack (arranged mix) On turntable (saved)Repeat button saves size
Stack record sensor6" to 12" On stack (arranged mix) On turntableRepeat disc, same size on stack
Stack record sensor6" to 12" On stack (arranged mix) On turntable (saved)Repeat button saves size
Lowered record sensor6" to 12" Partway down spindle (random mix) On turntableNo repeat
Lowered record sensor6" to 12" Partway down spindle (random mix) On turntable (saved)Repeat button saves size
Feeler wheel sensor6" to 12" Top record on turntable (random mix) Top record on turntableRepeat disc
Feeler wheel sensor6" to 12" Top record on turntable (random mix) Top record on turntableRepeat button
Record alone on turntable4" to 12" Only record on turntable (random mix) Only record on turntableRepeat button

At first glance the feeler wheel seems the ideal solution. But the wheel touches the grooves and might contaminate them if not kept clean.

HOW COULD WE REACH THE IDEAL?

Actually, it can be done. But it would be expensive. Here are several methods:

  1. Some kind of electronic sensor finds the edge of the top record without touching it.
  2. Some kind of pneumatic sensor finds the edge of the top record without touching it.
  3. Lift the top record off the turntable to feel it again with the arm tip.
  4. Only one record on the turntable at a time.
  5. The Fisher Lincoln solution below.




The rest of this page is the result of pure imagination....
Except that all but two of the following record changers actually exist.




PART 2: ACHIEVING THE ULTIMATE LUXURY IDEAL

NOW WE ENTER THE REALM OF FANTASY. FEW COULD AFFORD TO BUY THESE.

Histories of Side Coupling Sequences

- Manual Sequence was used before record
    changers existed.
- Drop Sequence has been used ever since drop
    changers appeared.
- Relay Sequence is usually limited to DJ copies.
- Slide sequence was used with 78s from 1931 to
    1945 while throwoff changers were being made.

Oddities:
- Slide Sequence 45s were made when no Slide
    45 players existed.
- Thorens TD-224 plays Slide Sequence, not Drop.
- Fisher Lincoln 70 plays Slide and Manual, not Drop.
- The page author has a Drop album misnumbered
    as a Slide album.

- A professional record critic once reviewed the blank
    sides of a DJ copy of the Beatles album "Beatles 1".
    It was pressed in the Relay Sequence for DJ use.
    Reviewers aren't normally given DJ copies, so he
    didn't know what he had.

 

In additions to the capabilities of the Ideal Record Changer, the Ultimate Luxury Ideal Record Changer can also play a complete record album without the user having to restack or reorder the records somewhere in the middle. The changer can also repeat the sequence over and over.

The following are the four side coupling sequences that have been used in record albums:

  1. The Manual Sequence was the first to be used. The sides are coupled so someone playing the album manually can easily find the next side.
  2. The Drop Automatic Sequence was designed for changers that drop records down a spindle. The stack is turned over and put back on the spindle halfway through the album. Drop changers do not reverse the stack as they go through it.
  3. The Slide Automatic Sequence was designed for changers that take records off the turntable and place them to the side. The stack is turned over and put back on the turntable halfway through the album. Slide changers do reverse the stack as they go through it.
  4. The Relay Sequence was designed for DJs so the next record is always available to be cued up on the other turntable. The records are not placed in a stack. The records are always made in groups of four sides (two records). Any extra sides at the end of a relay sequence have quick runoff blank grooves.

    - DJs prefer the Slide and Relay sequences because the next record is always available to be cued up on the other turntable.

The changer must also be able to take a normal one-sided stack.

The changer must also be able to take a single record for manual play.

The changer must also work with albums made of several 12" records and one 10" or 7" record placed last. A few such albums were made.

The table below shows the playing orders of each of the side couplings for 5-record albums. The light red spaces in the table below are states where the next side to be played is on the back of the record being played.

SIDE COUPLING SEQUENCES
 COUPLINGS 1234 5678 910
Manual Sequence 1/2. 3/4, 5/6. 7/8, 9/10 1/22/13/44/3 5/66/57/88/7 9/1010/9
Drop Sequence 1/10. 2/9, 3/8. 4/7, 5/6 1/102/93/84/75/6 6/57/48/39/210/1
Slide Sequence 1/6. 2/7, 3/8, 4/9, 5/10 1/62/73/84/95/10 6/17/28/39/410/5
Relay Sequence 1/3. 2/4, 5/7. 6/8, 9/11, 10/12 1/32/43/14/25/7 6/87/58/69/1110/12

 

Sides 11 and 12 of the 10-side relay sequence album have quick runoff grooves. They are not played.


Anyone who does not own the correct record changer to play a multiple record album can buy two copies of the album and use a drop changer. The records from the second copy are shown in blue.

BUYING TWO ALBUMS TO PLAY ENTIRE ALBUM WITHOUT A BREAK
 COUPLINGS 1234 5678 910
Manual Sequence 1/2. 3/4, 5/6. 7/8, 9/10 1/22/13/44/3 5/66/57/88/7 9/1010/9
Drop Sequence 1/10. 2/9, 3/8. 4/7, 5/6 1/102/93/84/75/6 6/57/48/3 9/210/1
Slide Sequence 1/6. 2/7, 3/8, 4/9, 5/10 1/62/73/84/95/10 6/17/28/3 9/410/5
Relay Sequence 1/3. 2/4, 5/7. 6/8, 9/11, 10/12 1/32/43/14/2 5/76/87/58/6 9/1110/12

 

Notice that the stack for the drop sequence can be turned over and it will play the album again correctly.

Sides 11 and 12 of the 10-side relay sequence album have quick runoff grooves. They do not need to be played.


Here is a table of how much work needs to be done to play a single album of the wrong side sequence on various kinds of changers:

PLAY ONE ENTIRE ALBUM IN ORDER
  ALBUM \\ CHANGER TYPE MANUAL LD DROP LD SLIDE LD 2 DJ PLAYERS
PLAY TOP SIDES Use ONE SIDE mode 1 Load in wanted order 1 Load in wanted order 1 Next side on other player f
MANUAL SEQ ALBUM Use TWO SIDE mode 1 Stacks of two records d n/2+1 Stacks of two records d n/2+1 Each disc must turn over g
DROP SEQ ALBUM (See 1-side mode col a) > > > Turn over halfway b 2 Invert & restack halfway c 2 One disc must turn over h
SLIDE SEQ ALBUM (See 1-side mode col a) > > > Invert & restack halfway c 2 Turn over halfway b 2 Next side on other player f
RELAY SEQ ALBUM (See 1-side mode col a) > > > Stacks of four records e n/4+1 Stacks of four records e n/4+1 Next side on other player f

n = Number of sides in album (for Relay Seq, must be multiple of 4)
LD = number of times the changer is loaded.
a Use the table column for the kind of one-side play the changer can play (drop or slide).
b When the changer shuts off halfway through the album, turn the stack over, load it, and restart the changer.
c When the changer shuts off halfway through the album, turn the stack over and hold it, move the records one at a time to the changer, and then restart the changer.
d One side (odd) played alone, followed by stacks of two records (next even and next odd), followed by the final side
e Two sides in a stack, followed by stacks of four records (next odd, even, odd, and even), followed by the final two sides
f The next side can always be cued up on the other turntable.
g The next even side is always on the back of the playing odd side. Each record must be turned over and played before the next record is played.
h The next side can be cued up on the other turntable, except the middle record, which must be turned over to get the next side.


Specifications for the Ultimate Luxury Ideal changer:

- The two-side modes must work for all record sizes. The page author has three albums of 45s in slide-automatic sequence.

- The repeat function repeats the current side.

- Note in the example changers below that all drop changers play only half of the drop sequence. Then the stack must be turned over by hand.

- Some multi-disc albums were made with mixed sizes. The small sizes were always played last.

SAMPLE RECORD CHANGERS CLOSE TO THE ULTIMATE LUXURY IDEAL

Markel 74 Playmaster

Markel 74

Markel 74

DAM
SPDSEP OSZTRP
SOF
MANREPSSP ASPTENCUE
 
MIXSMXRPD 2SD
2SC
RSQ
 
SSHNFGTNY GVSHOL
 
 
 
SMA
SDR
SSLSRY
 

 

The following are properties of the Markel 74:

Barely meets the category

Fisher Lincoln 70

Fisher Lincoln 70

Fisher Lincoln 70

DAM
SPDSEP OSZTRPSOF
MANREPSSP ASPTENCUE
 
MIXSMXRPD 2SD
2SC
RSQ
 
SSH
NFGTNY GVSHOL
 
 
 
SMA
SDR
SSL
SRY
 

 

The following are properties of the Fisher Lincoln 70:

Slightly better

Other contenders:

Thorens CD-50

Thorens CD-50 & CD-53

DAMSPDSEP OSZTRPSOF
MANREPSSP ASPTENCUE
 
MIXSMXRPD 2SD
2SC
RSQ
 
SSHNFGTNY GVSHOL
 
 
 
SMA
SDR
SSLSRY
 

The spindle is split. The top half and
turntable rotate in opposite directions.
The black disk is a turntable turning
with the top spindle half.

 

CHANGER MODELSPEEDS RECORD SIZESTWO SIDES RECORD SEQUENCESSTACK REPEAT
Capehart Turnover78 12" & 10"YES Slide and ManualYES
Capehart Turnover33, 78 12" & 10"YES Slide and ManualYES
Fisher Lincoln 60 and 70 16, 33, 45, 78 12" to 4"YES Slide † and Manual ♦ NO
Garrard RC-100 ♥33, 78 12" & 10"YES Drop † and Manual ♦ NO
Lincoln 30 and 5033, 45, 78 12" to 4"YES Drop † and ManualNO
Markel 70 Playmaster78 12" & 10" YES Drop † and ManualNO
Markel 74 Playmaster33, 45, 78 12", 10", & 7" ‡ YES Drop † and ManualNO
RCA Duo;33, 78 12" & 10"NO Slide †NO
RCA Magic Brain V-225 ♥78 12" & 10"YES Drop † and ManualNO
Risteaucrat 4545 7"NO Drop †YES
Risteaucrat 40045 7"YES Drop † and ManualYES
Thorens CD-5078 12" & 10"YES Drop † and ManualNO
Thorens CD-5333, 45, 78 12" & 10"YES Drop † and ManualNO
Thorens TD-22416, 33, 45, 78 12" to 4"NO Slide †NO
Victor Auto Change 278 10"YES Slide † and Manual ♦ NO

† = Plays half of the sequence. Requires manually inverting the stack to finish the album.

‡ = 7" records must be played one side.

♦ = Records are left in reversed order useless to sequence.

♥ = Very few were made because World War II halted production.

All of these still fall short.

HOW COULD WE REACH THE ULTIMATE LUXURY IDEAL?

Actually, it can be done. But it would be very expensive. Here are several methods:

  1. Records shuttle back and forth between two piles with a two-side turntable (Like Fisher Lincoln)
  2. Records are moved up and down on a long spindle (similar to Thorens CD-50)
  3. A device like a jukebox that takes any record size in each pocket
  4. Two identical two-side systems so one can get the next record into place while the other is playing
        (still has delays in Drop and Manual sequences)

ONE WAY TO ACHIEVE THE ULTIMATE LUXURY IDEAL?

Modifying a Fisher Lincoln 70:

The following changes must be made to the Fisher Lincoln 70:

  1. The pneumatic control system must be removed. Solenoid valves must be used to send compressed air to the existing controls from a new electric control system.
  2. The turntable unit and the record platforms must be modified so the turntable can pick up records and drop off records at either platform.
  3. The control system must be able to handle manual operation with the turntable at the top, one-side operation, manual sequence, drop sequence, slide sequence, and relay sequence.
  4. The control system must also be able to handle record repeat and stack repeat.

Disclaimer: This is just a suggestion of how to do this.

The page author does not own or have access to a Fisher Lincoln record changer, so he has no idea how difficult any of these modifications really are.

Note that getting replacement rubber parts for a Fisher Lincoln will be very difficult.

Sample control panel:

MANUAL
PLAY
TOP
SIDES
MANUAL
SEQ
DROP
SEQ
SLIDE
SEQ
RELAY
SEQ
TOP
BOT
UNLOAD
STACK
REPEAT
STACK
REPEAT
1 SIDE
STEP
ON
STOP
REJECT
START
REJECT
DIR
<−>
<<−−
CUE
<−
CUE
LIFT
CUE
PLAY
CUE
−>
CUE
−−>>
CUE
CYC
 ON 

Modified Fisher Lincoln 70

Fisher Lincoln 70

Modified Fisher Lincoln 70

DAM
SPDSEP OSZTRPSOF
MANREPSSP ASPTENCUE
 
MIXSMXRPD 2SD2SCRSQ
 
SSH
NFGTNY GVSHOL
 
 
 
SMASDR SSLSRY
 

 

The following are properties of the Modified Fisher Lincoln 70:

This does almost everything

MODIFIED FISHER LINCOLN 70 PLAYING SEQUENCES
70top/bot   bot\top   RECORD LOCATION   STAGE NUMBER: Direction, Record #, Side
SEQUENCE Top23 45Bot 1234 5678 9101112 END
Top Sides 1/2/3/ 4/5/  >1T>2T>3T >4T>5T          <<
Manual Sequence 1/23/45/6 7/89/10  >1TF1B>2T F2B>3T F3B>4TF4B >5TF5B   <<
Drop Sequence 1/102/93/8 4/75/6  >1T>2T>3T >4T>5T F5B<4B<3B <2B<1B   <<
Slide Sequence 1/62/73/8 4/95/10  >1T>2T>3T >4T>5T <<>1B>2B>3B >4B>5B   <<
Relay Sequence 1/32/45/7 6/89/1110/12 >1T>2T<1B >2B >3T>4T<3B >4B >5T>6T<5B* >6B* <<
 
Key: * = Side with quick runoff groove > = Put record on right, get from left << = Move all records to the left platform <<> = Move all records left, then get record from left
number = Record number on turntable < = Put record on left, get from right T = Play top side of record B = Play bottom side of record F = Turn record over

Notes:
- The first sides of all sequences are face up on top of the stack.
- With the top-sides and drop sequences the stack order is reversed to the order a drop changer uses.
- The changer will play the unused sides of the relay sequence 10-side album at the end.
- If the relay sequence finds an odd number of records, both sides of the last record play together.

 



ANOTHER WAY TO ACHIEVE THE ULTIMATE LUXURY IDEAL?

Uni-Quad Autosides If the Uni-Quad Autosides design were ever built:

The following are design elements of the Uni-Quad Autosides:

  1. Two turntables and two arms are used, one set for playing the top sides and one set for playing the bottom sides.
  2. The spindles and record raiser (in lower turntable) are designed so they can drop one record, raise one record, raise two records, or raise the entire stack.
  3. Both arms scan for record size on the top turntable. Small records must be placed above large records.
  4. The control system allows manual operation with power cue for either turntable.
  5. The control system handles record repeat and stack repeat.
  6. The control system handles top sides, and two side operation for the manual, drop, slide, and relay sequences.

Disclaimer: This is just a suggestion of how to do this.

The page author has only sketched out this idea.

The mechanical arm control devices are based on the Collaro Conquest mechanism design.

The control panel is slanted and sticks out in front of the turntables. See it in the image at right:

Uni-Quad Autosides

Uni-Quad Autosides

Uni-Quad Autosides

DAMSPDSEP OSZTRPSOF
MANREPSSP ASPTENCUE
 
MIX
SMX
RPD
2SD2SCRSQ
 
SSHNFGTNY GVSHOL
 
 
 
SMASDR SSLSRY
 

 

The following are properties of the Uni-Quad Autosides:

This does almost everything

UNI-QUAD AUTOSIDES PLAYING SEQUENCES
UQtop/bot   bot\top   RECORD LOCATION   STAGE NUMBER: Direction, Record #, Side
SEQUENCE Top54 32Bot GO 1234 56 MID 78910 1112 END
Top Sides  5/4/ 3/2/1/ 1T2T3T 4T5T         
Manual Sequence  9/107/8 5\63\41\2 1B1T2B 2T3B3T   4B4T5B 5T   ⊥∪
Drop Sequence  5/64/7 3/82/91/10 1T2T3T 4T5T  ∧5B∧4B∧3B ∧2B∧1B  Τ∪
Slide Sequence  5\104\9 3\82\71\6 ⊥∩ 1B∨2B∨3B ∨4B∨5B  ⊥∩ 1T2T3T 4T5T  ⊥∪
Relay Sequence 10/129\116\8 5\72\41\3 ⊥∩ 1B∨2B Δ1T2T 3B∨4B   Δ3T4T 5B∨6B Δ5T*6T* ⊥∪
 
Key: * = Side with quick runoff groove ⊥ = Empty top found ∧ = Raise one record ∩ = Raise all records ∨ = Drop one record ∪ = Lower all records
number = Record # being played Τ = Empty bottom found Δ Raise two records T = Scan, drop, and play top side of record B = Scan and play bottom side of record

Notes:
- The stack is arranged as it would be if the sequence were played on its own kind of changer.
- With the top-sides and drop sequence, side 1 is the top side of the bottom record in the stack, as on a Collaro Conquest.
- With the slide and relay sequence, side 1 starts as the top side of the top record in the stack, as on a Fisher Lincoln, but then the stack is turned over before loading.
- With the manual sequence, side 1 is the bottom side of the bottom record in the stack, as on a Markel Playmaster.
- The stack is always placed on the lower turntable when loading.
- The MID column in the list is the point where the changer starts playing the other sides.
- If the MID box is gray, there is no midpoint where the changer changes its operation.
- The changer will play the unused sides of the relay sequence 10-side album at the end.
- If the relay sequence finds an odd number of records, both sides of the last record play together.