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Vinyl records before the late-1950s were heavier, more brittle discs - typically either 10" or 12" in diameter - made using shellac resin. Commonly called 78s, because of the faster speed they were played at, there are still many vintage collectors around today who hold large collections of these early records.
Most modern turntables are designed only to work at 33 (actually 33 1/3) RPM or 45 RPM speeds, to accomodate the Long Play 12" and Single (Juke Box) 7" records pressed using vinyl plastic, as we still see used today. However, Pro-Ject Audio Systems also have solutions available for 78 collectors; providing a modern, reliable solution for these precious historical recordings.
Pro-Ject Audio Systems produce some turntables that will work with at all three speeds (33, 45 and 78RPM) out-of-the-box. These models still generally require some level of manual interaction to work at 78 RPM, but they provide the ultimate convenience for audio enthusiasts who have record collections that span many decades. However, there are many other turntables in the range that can be modified in order to support Shellac record playback...
78 RPM Pulley Kit
The 78 RPM Pulley Kit is a cost-effective solution that allows users to modify their supported turntable without breaking the bank.
The Kit consists of a pulley and square drive belt. The pulley replaces the standard motor pulley, supplied with your turntable to support 33 and 45RPM speeds; and the belt replaces the standard drive belt. When the turntable is switched on and the belt is placed around the smaller pulley rung, the turntable will rotate at 33 RPM. When the turntable is switched on and the belt is placed around the larger pulley rung, the turntable will rotate at 78 RPM.
This is the most affordable way to achieve 78 RPM, but it comes at the cost of 45 RPM speed. However, the pulley can easily be switched back in order to restore the turntable 33 and 45 RPM playback.
Speed Box S + Speed Box Pulley
The Pro-Ject Speed Box S brings both convenience and performance improvements to supported Pro-Ject turntables, and in some cases it also brings 78 RPM support. If you have a turntable that is capable of spinning at 78 RPM with a Speed Box S, you will also need to purchase and install the Speed Box Pulley (different to the above pulley kit) to make the system work.
Now, when the turntable is switched on and the belt is placed around the smaller pulley rung, the turntable will rotate at 33 RPM and allows for push-button speed change to 45 RPM from the Speed Box S. When the turntable is switched on and the belt is placed around the larger pulley rung, the Speed Box S needs to be set to "45 RPM" and the turntable will rotate at 78 RPM.
Shellac records were produced in a different way to the processes we see used in vinyl record production today. So, in order to get the most detail and performance from these precious artefacts, Ortofon produce two specialised, '78 RPM', shellac-friendly styli.
CAUTION: Playback of 78 RPM records with a standard stereo cartridge will damage your stylus.
The Ortofon Stylus 78 fits onto all OM cartridge bodies, and is therefore easily switchable with popular cartridge models like the OM5E or OM10 Super.
The Ortofon 2M 78 is available as a complete Cartridge, or as a Replacement Stylus. Therefore, if you have a 2M Red and are looking to reduce costs, you can purchase a 2M 78 Stylus and interchange the stylus-portion of the cartridge only when playing 78 RPM records. Alternatively, you can purchase the 2M 78 Cartridge when you plan to only listen to 78 RPM records, or your normal cartridge is not a compatible fit with either the 2M 78 Stylus or Stylus 78.
The charts below show the compatibility for 78 RPM playback across the entire Pro-Ject Audio Systems turntable range, including a variety of legacy products.* If after viewing the charts you still have some questions about your turntable, please Contact Us for more information.
* Please Note: When a turntable will spin at "3 Speeds Out of the Box", it is still recommended that you purchase a 78RPM cartridge/stylus, so as not damage your normal stylus, or your records.