Question for audiophiles -- mathematics to the rescue??

May 9, 2008
houston tx
I have rescued dozens of old records from the basement of my in-laws. Many have no markings for speed (RPM), are VERY thick plastic, and are imprinted on only one side. And they have no scratches. The binding "book" did not survive, but the individual inner jacket is for now still protecting the record. I am assuming that they are 78's.
These are for the most part pre-1950's era. Many are classical orchestra/symphony labels, but some are Big-Band. One that I can't wait to hear is Caruso (I used to sing Tenor).
There are also a number of 33-1/3 that my wife had in childhood and youth, but they are more scratched 😉 . She mentioned the wind-up record player she enjoyed using. THOSE platters are 1960's through her teens in around 1990's. (Gotta be careful here....... we've been married 45 years, but she's "still 29".)

I want to transfer them with high sampling-rate to computer. Most of the higher-rated (affordable) turntables do not have 78rpm as a choice.

Mostly a hypothetical question: Could I load on a platter at, say, 45 rpm and collect the much lower pitched data stream, then in editing software speed it up by
x = 78/45 = 1.73 ? Any system rumble would then be almost an octave higher in pitch -- -- noticeable?

I'm leaning towards the Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB (the 120 X usb) is a newer model but I haven't ferreted out the exact difference yet.

Any thoughts?

My budget can handle the 200-250 price range (ok, 300.00 for spectacular improvements) but I'm not sure I could justify the 500.00 range for Sony PS-HX500 or AT-LP1240-USB XP , much less the Clear Audio / EAT-B-Sharp / or upper end Audio Technica in the 1,500 to 2,000 range.

Any recommendations on:
1) entry-level turntables
2) trying "software corrections" or "tried that and too many hidden program obstacles"
3) forget USB output and solely rely on the microphone input jack on computer to capture digital??

Thanks folks.
May 27, 2006
Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Hi BIll - I had luck using software to tackle a similar project; I found a box of reel-to-reel tapes from the late 60s that were my grandparents sending messages back and forth to my uncles while they were serving in Vietnam. I didn't know what type of reel-to-reel machine was used to record them and my recorder played them back at such a high speed that they sounded like Alvin and the Chipmunks, so I had to run the output from the recorder's headphone jack into a Zoom digital recorder, and then I used speed and pitch correction in Adobe Audition to make the resulting audio files reasonably understandable. I think you might have more success in that the records were meant to be played at a specific speed and, as you mentioned, you can calculate the speed correction more definitively whereas I had to guess and arbitrarily pick what sounded "good".

Good luck! The journey will probably be as interesting as the destination with a project like this!



Apr 26, 2008
Up in the hills, Gloucestershire, UK
It won't work, because the old needles used to play 78's are very different from the sort of stylus used to play the later LPs and 45's. (So it will sound terrible and may wreck the stylus.)
But you are in luck - there is a solution - you need to buy a special type of stylus which you fit to a modern deck. Here is a supplier:

Once you have the data you can process it to the correct speed.

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