Playback equalization for 78 rpm shellacs and early 33⅓ LPs

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This page serves as a library of additional EQ curves for old disc recordings that can be used in the Equalization effect in current Audacity.
While this page deals mainly with 78rpm playback equalization curves, some detail on early (pre-1955) LP curves is also included.
 
Related article(s):
Ultraphon.JPG

The audio on almost every phonograph record is not the same as that originally performed. For technical reasons the signal's frequencies need to be modified when cutting the disc. Playback equalization (EQ or de-emphasis) is necessary to restore the signal's original frequencies. Only thus can music lovers enjoy the original sound of the music performed long ago from their rare discs.


Contents


Usage

The most relevant EQ curves are presented as Table 1:

  • You can download some of them from the EQ Curves Library section and import them into Audacity using Effect > Equalization
  • You can generate any curve yourself with the 78 rpm EQ Curve Generator plugin
  • You can set the sliders of any digital or analog graphic equalizer manually
  • You can determine appropriate settings for any adjustable analog pre-amplifier.

Which EQ curve will be needed for a specific record label is answered:

Equalization (EQ) Curves explained

When phonograph records are made, the sound being recorded is deliberately distorted by reducing the volume of the low frequencies and increasing the volume of the high frequencies. This process, known as 'pre-emphasis', allows the low frequencies to be accommodated in the limitations of the record groove and reduces the effect of high frequency surface noise. If pre-emphasis was not carried out, the bass notes in the music would create a groove in the record that oscillated so wildly that the stylus could jump out of it on playback, and the treble notes would be drowned out by the surface noise of the stylus in the groove.

On playback, the pre-emphasis must be reversed in order to restore the original sound. This is known as 'de-emphasis' or equalization (EQ).

Modern vinyl records use a method of pre-emphasis and de-emphasis adopted by the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) in the 1950's, and the EQ curve used is known as the RIAA curve. However, before the RIAA curve was adopted, each record label used its own EQ curve for recording and, for these records (78rpm and early vinyl), the correct EQ curve must be used for playback.

Each 78rpm EQ curve is a combination of two filter characteristics; a bass boost curve, defined by a 'Bass Turnover' (or 3dB) frequency, and a treble cut curve, defined by a '10 kHz Gain Rolloff' parameter, i.e. a defined level of treble cut at 10 kHz.

As an example, Figure 1 below shows the characteristic of the bass boost curve defined by a 500Hz Bass Turnover, and Figure 2 shows the characteristic of the treble cut curve defined by a 10 kHz Gain Rolloff of -13.7dB. These two curves, when combined, give the characteristic shown in Figure 3.


Bass Boost curve

Figure 1. Bass Boost curve: 3dB at 500 Hz


Treble Cut curve

Figure 2. Treble Cut curve: -13.7 dB at 10 kHz


Combined Bass Boost and Treble Cut curve

Figure 3. Combined Bass Boost and Treble Cut curve


The EQ curve may also include a Low Frequency Shelving filter, (although it is absent from the definition of most 78 rpm EQ curves). This addition reduces the effect of the bass boost at very low frequencies (typically 50 or 100 Hz) in order to attenuate low-frequency noise such as turntable rumble. Figure 4 shows the effect of a 50 Hz LF shelving filter being added to the curve in Figure 3. This is in fact the RIAA standard EQ curve.


Combined Bass Boost, Treble Cut and 50 Hz LF Shelving curve

Figure 4. Combined Bass Boost, Treble Cut and 50 Hz LF Shelving curve


Acoustically recorded (pre-electric) 78 rpm records have a completely different characteristic because they were cut with a different type of cutter (For more details see: Acoustic recordings). In some early EQ curves of electrically recorded shellacs, while there is a bass boost curve, there is no treble cut necessary – i.e. the 10 kHz gain rolloff is zero.

Note that in the combined EQ curve, the gains at the Bass Turnover frequency and at 10 kHz may be different from those specified by the parameters. This is not an error, but is due to fact that the gains of the bass boost and treble cut curves are simply added together.

Because 78 rpm EQ curves were non-standard and, in many cases, accurate records were not kept to show what EQ curves were used when recording 78s, there is a degree of uncertainty about what is the correct playback EQ for many record labels. The tables below have been obtained from websites which, in their turn, have compiled data from a number of sources and should prove reasonably accurate. However, the ear of the listener is the final arbiter - if it doesn't sound right, it isn't right!

According to NAB standards, the nominal speed of a 78 RPM record is precisely 78.26 RPM +/- 0.5%.

EQ Curves

Pre-equalization of most records – especially of shellacs – was always determined by the cutter head used and often by internal regulations of the record company. Both left quite some room for the recording engineer to make changes to improve the sound. Also if Graumann uses 250 Hz in playback of an EMI disc and Copeland votes for 300 Hz this is not a contradiction. Both mean the same EQ curve but have different opinions on what sounds best. This should encourage you to try both versions and take the one which sounds right to your ears.

Please do not worry about fractions of a dB! Still in the 1960s an accuracy of a curve of +/- 2 dB was considered to be standard. In the 1950s +/- 3 dB were a very fine result and nobody will ever know if recording engineers in the 1940s or 1930s applied their curves correctly (or if they applied it at all!) So the spread in pre-equalization during recording will outnumber any bias in playback equalization by far.


Table of EQ Curves

The most relevant EQ curves are presented in table 1. All curves are described from the point of view of a playback or de-emphasis curve, where bass / low frequencies must be amplified / boosted and where treble / high frequencies must be attenuated / cut in order to achieve the original sound that had been recorded. The corresponding pre-emphasis curve used for cutting the master disk is inverse. (When comparing with the lists provided by the manufacturers of equalizer preamps it should be considered that those may be misleading, as they might not quote the correct parameters of the curve but rather the next-best possible settings of these devices.)


Table 1 gives the three parameters to characterize any EQ curve: the turnover frequency f1 for bass shelf, f2 for bass boost and f3 for treble cut (or alternatively the three corresponding time constants τ1, τ2 and τ3). These are the necessary conditions to compute and plot any EQ curve, determine the correct settings of a digital equalizer or to solder an electronic filter circuit.

The gain at two typical frequencies will give you a rough impression of what the curve does to the audio from the record. The frequencies are:

  • 50 Hz, where usually the bass shelf becomes effective
  • 10 kHz, because the treble curve is often indicated by rolloff at 10,000 Hz

The very descriptive “code” is a good tool to avoid misunderstanding when EQ curves come under various alias names (what they do too often).

  • The first 3-digit number indicates the turnover frequency of bass boost (f2)
  • The letter in the middle is
N … (“None”) if no bass shelving is applied, or
R … 20 dB (named R after RCA or RIAA)
B … 18 dB
A … 16 dB
C … 14 dB (named C after Columbia LP curve)
X … 12 dB
  • The last number shows the reduction or rolloff of treble at 10 kHz and is always preceded by a minus sign. Please mind that this is only a code and that the exact value – after normalization to 0 dB at 1000 Hz – might be different.

This code can be used to find the correct settings of most equalizer preamps.

(Example: “RIAA 500R-13.7” means for the RIAA curve that bass must be boosted below 500 Hz, but no more than + 20 dB and that treble must be cut at 10,000 Hz to – 13.7 dB)

The geographic region and the time period are added to allow a qualified guess for the required EQ should a record label not be listed. In general, American recording curves were more deliberate in cutting bass and boosting treble. The British and Europeans tended to apply only the necessary minimum of bass attenuation and often no treble boost at all, that means they had a “flat” treble curve. Early pre-emphasis curves were simply built and rather soft. In the late years (after 1945) curves became highly sophisticated, with the third turnover frequency f1 added to manage the bass shelving and also with gain ranging from -20 dB to + 20dB.


Table 1: Playback Equalization Curves

Region Timeperiod Curve Name, alias names Time constants Turnover frequencies Bass shelf Bass boost Treble cut Code
τ1 [μs] τ2 [μs] τ3 [μs] f1 [Hz] f2 [Hz] f3 [Hz] [dB] @ 50Hz
[dB]
@10kHz
[dB]
Normal Groove, 78 rpm
Eur., Brit. 1926 - 1946 "European 78", Old Europ.,250,EMI 78 636 250 + 14,4 0 (flat) 250N-0
Eur., Brit. 1927 - 1946 "Blumlein 300" 531 300 + 16 0 (flat) 300N-0
Brit., Amer. 1926 - 1950 "500-FLAT", Blumlein500, Europ.500 318 500 + 19 0 (flat) 500N-0
America 1926 - 1951 "American 78" 636 250 5900* + 14 - 6 250N-6
America 1926 - 1951 "American 78" 636 250 4400* + 14 - 8 250N-8
Amer.(CBS) 1938 - 1948 "Columbia 78" 530 100 300 1592 + 16,7 - 15,0 300N-16
Eur., Brit. 1944 - 1956 "DECCA 78", FFRR 78, London ffrr 78 531 25 300 6366 + 15,4 - 5,7 300N-5.5
Germany 1952 - 1955 "CCIR 78", Recomm. No.134 (1953) [1] 450 50 354 3183 + 17,0 - 10,5 350N-10.5
Eur., Brit. 1955 - end "IEC N78" = "B.S.1928" for N78 only 3180 450 50 50 354 3183 + 16 + 14,0 - 10,5 350A-10.5
Microgroove, 33⅓ and 45 rpm
America 1942 - 1949 NAB (broadcast transcriptions, 1942) 318 100 500 1592 + 20,5 - 15,6 500N-16
America 6/1948 - 1956 "Columbia LP", Col. M33, "LP" [3] 1590 318 100 100 500 1592 + 14,5 + 13,6 - 15,5 500C-16
America 4/1949 - 1958 "NAB", NARTB (standard 1949) [3] 3180 318 100 50 500 1592 + 20 + 17,5 - 15,6 500"B"-16
America 1/1951 - 1958 "AES" (standard 1951) 398 63,7 400 2500 + 18,1 - 12,3 400N-12
Amer.(RCA) 1949 - 8/1952 "RCA 45" (for 45 rpm) 200 63,7 796 2500 + 22,6 - 13,8 800N-12.3
Amer.(RCA) 1950 - 8/1952 "RCA Old Orthophonic" (for 33⅓ LPs) 318 63,7 500 2500 + 19,7 - 12,6 500N-12.3
Amer.(RCA) 8/1952 - pres. "RCA New Orthophonic" 3180 318 75 50,05 500,5 2122 + 19,5 + 16,9 - 13,7 500R-13.7
Amer. (all) ca.1956 - pres. = "RIAA" (US-standard since 1955)
Europe ca.1962 - pres. = IEC No.98 (1955) = B.S.1928 (1955)
Amer., Brit. 1949 - 1956 "LONDON LP" [2] 1590 318 50 100 500 3183 + 13,8 + 12,5 - 10,9 500C-10.5
Germany 1955 - 1962(?) TELDEC (as proposed 1957 for DIN) 3180 318 50 50 500 3183 + 19,3 + 16,5 - 10,9 500R-11


Table 1 is mostly based on Tab. 2a of: Heinz O. Graumann, Schallplatten-Schneidkennlinien und ihre Entzerrung, in: FUNKSCHAU 1958 / Heft 15, pp 359 ff
* computed frequencies to get 6 or 8 dB @ 10 kHz
[1] CCIR used by Deutsche Grammophon modified with 50 Hz bass shelving => IEC N78 [Brice]
[2] Used by British Decca and for London/Decca releases in US, mostly M33
[3] Gary A. Galo, The Columbia LP Equalization Curve, ARSC conference March 2008; Gary A. Galo, Disc Recording Equalization Demystified, in ARSC Journal Fall 1996

78 rpm EQ Curve Generator

EQ Curves for Audacity can be generated from these Frequency and Rolloff values using the experimental Nyquist plug-in "78 RPM EQ Curve Generator". This plug-in is obtainable from the top of this Forum topic and requires Audacity 1.3.13 or later. Please give feedback on this plug-in, or ask for help if you need it, by replying to that Forum topic.

  1. Extract 78EQCurveGen.ny from the zip file downloaded from the above Forum topic.
  2. Place 78EQCurveGen.ny in the "Plug-Ins" folder inside the Audacity installation folder, then launch or restart Audacity. For more help installing the .ny file to the correct location, click here.
  3. Click Generate > 78 RPM EQ Curve. You can find help inside the plug-in by choosing one of the Help options in "Select Function or Help".
  4. Choose the curve you want from one of the lists.
  5. Enter the values for your chosen curve for
    • "Bass Turnover Frequency (Hz)"
    • "10 kHz Gain Rolloff (dB)"
    • "LF Shelving Frequency (Hz)" (if a value is given)

    in the equivalent boxes in the plug-in dialog.

  6. Click "OK" in the plug-in to save the .xml file to your chosen location.
  7. Select some audio and choose Effect > Equalization.
  8. Choose "Save/Manage Curves...".
  9. Choose "Import...", navigate to the location where you saved the .xml file from 78EQCurveGen.ny, then "Open".
  10. Click "OK".


EQ Curves Library

Here you can find some useful EQ curves for download to Audacity for use in Effect > Equalization. How to get an EQ curve from this Wiki and add it to your Audacity’s Equalization effect is explained here.

  • EQ toolbox for 78 rpm shellacs contains the following nine EQ curves which can be downloaded individually as well.

    • 500-FLAT 500N-0: used by British Columbia, EMI, His Master’s Voice, MGM and Parlophone between 1931 and 1953. Later releases have modified treble.

    • ‎American 78 – 250N-6/250N-8: Common setting for many American shellacs. This curve here is a compromise between both varieties with -7 dB rolloff.

    • BBC 2dB/octave: used by smaller British labels (Aco, Broadcast, Linguaphone, Vocalion, …) from 1926 to 1933, which had their recordings mastered by BBC with the Marconi system.

    • Blumlein300 - 300N-0: A British traditional for Gramophone Company, Decca, Columbia and EMI (1930s – 1944).

    • ‎Columbia 78 – 300N-16 is the right one for American CBS-Columbia shellacs (1938 - 1948).

    • Decca 78 – 300N-5.5: For Decca and London shellacs featuring the ffrr (full frequency range recording) system. Here in the version of Copeland/The British Library Sound Archive.

    • European 78 - 250N-0 is a common setting for European shellacs (1926 – ca. 1944), especially for Columbia and His Master’s Voice produced by EMI (UK), Cetra and Cetra-Soria.

    • Telefunken 400N-0: used by European Ultraphon, Supraphon and Turicaphon from 1929. Also used by Telefunken – after the takeover of Ultraphon – until mid 1950s.

    • Western Electric: Very early Columbia and Victor recordings (1926) used a bass turnover frequency of 250 or 300 Hz but their treble is described as “flat”. The perceived treble amplification was possibly only the result of resonant peaks of the early Western Electric condenser microphones used in recording. The above download is an experimental replay EQ curve for this microphone / pre-emphasis combination. Additional background information is given in this PDF.

  • EQ toolbox for pre-RIAA 33⅓ LPs contains the following six EQ curves which can be downloaded individually as well.

    • ‎AES – 400N-12: Intended by AES (Audio Engineering Society) as a replay standard for many American shellacs of the 1930s and 1940s. Also used by many record producers as a recording curve for N78 and M33 between 1951 and 1958. Also to replay Capitol and Capitol-Cetra recordings with “Capitol curve” 400N-12.7 (1951 – 1955).

    • Columbia LP – 500C-16: For Columbia and many other labels, mostly 33⅓ LPs (M33).

    • London LP – 500C-10.5: Used for British Decca and for London / Decca releases in the US featuring the ffrr (full frequency range recording) system. Mostly 33⅓ LPs (1949 – 1956). Here is the most likely of some slightly different versions which have been published.

    • NAB – 500B-16: A widely adopted standard of NAB / NARTB (National Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters) requiring ca. 6 dB more bass boost than Columbia LP.

    • RCA 45 – 800N-12.3: RCA’s curve for their 45 rpm discs (1949 – August 1952). Possibly identical with Technichord’s “Technichord curve” 800N-12 already used since 1938 for their 78s; if not, the difference will be < 0.3 dB.

    • RCA New Orthophonic – 500R-13.7, identical with RIAA: not in this library because it is already one of the standard curves of Audacity’s Equalization tool.

    • RCA Old Orthophonic – 500N-12.3: RCA’s curve for 33⅓ LPs (1950 – August 1952) and for LPs mastered by RCA for other labels. Possibly identical with “MGM curve” 500N-12 used by MGM and Audiophile; if not, the difference will be < 0.3 dB.

All these curves are suited for Audacity 2.1.2.

Individual fine tuning

In some cases it will be not enough to apply the correct EQ to get the desired result. According to the condition of the record and to personal listening preferences you might consider one of the following methods:

  • To remove low frequency noise Robinson (MidiMagic) recommends a low cut filter at 100 Hz with just 6 dB/octave. (Especially for many acoustic recordings which have only noise below 150 Hz or for the “long-playing” shellacs of RCA Victor of 1931/32). This filter will do exactly the same as the “C”-type bass shelf of Columbia LP curve.
  • Vadlyd uses a variable low cut filter for American Victor, early British Decca, EMI, His Master’s Voice and Columbia at frequencies between 40 and 70 Hz. This is very similar to the recommendation of Phonomuseum.org. In Audacity you can experiment with different settings for “Frequency” and “Rolloff” in Effect > High Pass Filter (a different word for Low Cut Filter) and listen to the result with “Preview”.
  • All bass shelf settings on analog equalizers (R-B-A-C-X) can also be used to remove low frequency noise (especially from acoustics and early shellacs). This is why the extra positions X and A were provided [MidiMagic]
  • To improve the weak bass on some 45s (especially on EPs – Extended Play) Esoteric Sound uses a higher turnover frequency for bass in replay than in pre-equalization. For example 700 Hz instead of the “correct” 500 Hz. This will give a smooth, extra bass amplification of roughly 4 dB at 50 Hz.
  • To reduce surface noise of early American Columbia, Victor and RCA-Victor iasa recommends an additional high cut (= low pass) filter set to 5500 or 5200 Hz with 6 dB/octave. This will reduce treble by 3 dB at around 5000 Hz and by 9 dB at 10000 Hz – and hopefully most of the noise.
  • The primary thing YOU can do to improve this page is to share your knowledge about EQ curves and their usage with us. If you have reliable information which record label used which recording curve, please do let us know!
  • Please let us have YOUR feedback on this page! What did work well – and what didn’t? What was easy to adopt – and what was confusing?
  • To give feedback on this page please email us. If you already have an account on this Wiki, please post your comments directly on this article's Talk Page.

Acoustic recordings and Broadcast Transcription Discs

Acoustic recordings (before 1926) are beyond the scope of this page. In these pioneer years speeds varied from 70 to 90 rpm, groove modulation could be lateral, vertical or diagonal and some records were even cut outward with the audio starting at the center. A special turntable and a range of styli / needles are needed to replay.

All acoustics were recorded without any pre-equalization (“flat”), simply because a modulation of the signal was impossible before electric microphones and amplifiers came into use. So the signal on the disc has a clean constant-amplitude characteristic. This is fine as long as you play back with a gramophone needle or a piezoelectric crystal pickup. But you will probably use a magnetic cartridge which – by its constant velocity characteristic – will double the amplitude whenever the frequency doubles. To compensate for this Robinson (MidiMagic) recommends a “800N-16” EQ curve, which comes close to the theoretical characteristic of a constant velocity device – a straight line from +20 dB at 100 Hz to -20 dB at 10,000 Hz with constant slope of 6 dB/octave. This is a very simple curve to draw in Audacity’s Equalization! Some more information is here on record labels and on technical background.

MidiMagic gives useful information on vintage labels as Edison, Berliner, Pathé or Zonophone and playback EQ recommendations.

Scientific help regarding valuable historic recordings can be found at IASA (International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives) and at ARSC (Association for Recorded Sound Collections).

Broadcast Transcription Discs are not in the focus of this page either. Those were recordable lacquer discs, mostly 16 inch in diameter, played at 33⅓ or 78 rpm. They were professionally used by radio broadcasters. Some more information is in this PDF.

In America many of these discs were recorded under the standard of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) of 1942. The very same recording curve had been used by NBC under the name “Orthacoustic” since mid 1930s. This “NAB Transcription (1942)” playback EQ setting can be downloaded here.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) used a rather exotic curve as a house standard. The version in use after 1949 has been reconstructed from Longford-Smith’s publication of 1952 as an Audacity EQ setting “BBC Transcription (1949)” and can be downloaded here.


78 rpm shellac labels and their EQ

This page is about electrical recordings since 1925 on 78 rpm discs made of shellac! The invention of the Electrical Recording System by Bell Laboratories / Western Electric which was licensed to industry leaders Columbia Records and Victor set some de-facto standards: speed is always 78.26 rpm, cut is always lateral (same as later mono LPs) and the groove type is always Normal Groove (also named coarse groove). Therefore shellacs are sometimes referred to as N78 (which stands for normal groove discs, played at 78 rpm).

A turntable capable of 78 rpm will be useful. You will need a MONO stylus with 2.5 mil (64 μm), for early electricals possibly one with 3 mil (76 μm) and this Audacity Wiki!

It is assumed that you replay your discs “flat” (without any analog de-equalization) and apply the necessary EQ after digitizing with Audacity Effect > Equalization. If it is necessary to play the record through a system that applies modern RIAA equalization, select the "RIAA" curve in Audacity's Equalization effect and use the Invert button to invert and thus remove the incorrect RIAA equalization before applying the appropriate equalization to the recording.

In case your sources did not agree on one EQ curve, their different opinions are listed and you will have to trust your ears.


Table 2: 78 rpm Shellac Labels and Their EQ

Label Remarks Curve Name Code turnover
bass [Hz]
bass
shelf
treble rolloff
[dB @ 10kHz]
Source
_Electrical 78's (general) 1925-1938 300 0 ES
_Electrical 78's (general) 1932-1938, mid 30s 500-FLAT 500N-0 500 N 0 ia,ES,JP,RF
_Electrical 78's (general) 1938-1946 300 or 500 0 or -5 ES
_Electrical 78's (general) 1947-1954 300 or 500 -16 ES
Aco 1926 - 1933, with M in a circle BBC 2dB/oct. PC
Aeolian-Vocalion 1926 - 1933, with M in a circle BBC 2dB/oct. PC
American Rec. Co. 500  ? PC
Argo American 78 250N-6 250 N -6 mm
Ariel 1925 - 1931 UK, with Δ after matrix no. or with W in a circle [W.E.] 250 W.E.mike PC
Artist 500 -16 ES
Audiophile 1948-1958 Audiophile 500N-8 500 N -8 mm
Autograph Marsh electrical 1000 0 ES
Balkan 500 -5 ES
Beltona 1926 - 1933, from cat. 1194 to 1282, with M in a circle BBC 2dB/oct. PC
Beltona 1944 - 1955, ffrr, prod. by Decca UK, Decca 78 300N-5.5 300 N -5,7 PC
Bluebird sub-label of RCA, see: RCA-Victor ES
Bluebird 1925 - 1931, with VE in an oval or "Orthophonic Recording" or with Δ after matrix no. (recorded in Europe) [W.E.] 250 W.E.mike PC
Bluebird 1932 - 1949, with High Cut at 8500Hz 500-FLAT 500 0, later -12 PC
Broadcast American 78 250N-6 250 N -6 mm
Broadcast 1926 - 1933, with M in a circle BBC 2dB/oct. PC
Brunswick 1925 European 78 250N-0 250 N 0 ES,GH
Brunswick 1944 - 1955, ffrr, a Brit. Decca label Decca 78 300N-5.5 300 N -5,7 PC
Brunswick 1946 500N-16 500 -16 ES
Brunswick (American) 500-FLAT 500N-0 500 N 0 ia,JP,RF,PC
Brunswick to 1951 630N-8 629 N -8 mm
Brunswick 1946 - 1954 630N-12 629 -12 ES
Capitol earliest 78s 1000 PC
Capitol 1942 (founded) to 1951 American 78 250N-8 250 N -8 mm
Capitol 1942 - ?; probably "Capitol 400N-12.7" [CAP] 400 -12 ia,ES,mil,JP,RF
Capitol / Capitol Cetra 1951-1955 Capitol [CAP] 400N-12.7 400 N -12,7 mm
Capitol to 1954 800 -10 ES
Capitol - Telefunken 500-FLAT 500N-0 500 N 0 ES,mil
Capitol (Europ.) 1944 - 1955, ffrr, prod. by Decca UK, matrix prefix DCAP Decca 78 300N-5.5 300 N -5,7 PC
Cetra founded 1930s by RAI, Italy European 78 250N-0 250 N 0 GH
Cetra-Soria founded 1949, Cetra prod. in US European 78 250N-0 250 N 0 mm
Chappell 1931 - 1944, with © before matrix no., [Bc] Blumlein300 300N-0 300 N 0 PC
Coliseum 1926 - 1933, with M in a circle BBC 2dB/oct. PC
Columbia (American) 1926 [W.E.] American 78 250N-5 250 N -5 ES,mil
Columbia (American) 1926 [W.E.] 200 -7 ia,mil,JP,RF
Columbia (American) 1926 - 1940 (?) [W.E.] American 78 250N-8 250 N -8 mm
Columbia (American) 1938 - end, most ("Columbia Rec." a CBS label since 1938) Columbia 78 300N-16 300 N -16 ia,GH,ES,mil,mm,JP,RF
Columbia (British) 1925 - 1931, with W in a circle [W.E.] 250 W.E.mike PC
Columbia (British) from 1926, from 1931 EMI(UK) - 1953 European 78 250N-0 250 N 0 ia,GH,ES,JP,RF
Columbia (British) 1931 - 1944, with © before matrix no., [Bc] Blumlein300 300N-0 300 N 0 PC
Columbia (British) 1932 - 1949, with W in a circle or matrix prefix W (US COL/OKeh reissues) 500-FLAT 500 0, later -12 PC
Columbia (British) 1949 - 7/1953, EMI UK, matrix nos. from CA22600 to CA22610, and at CAX11932 500-FLAT 500N-0 500 N 0 PC
Concert Hall 500 -5 ES
Coral 1946 - 1954 629 -12 ES
Coral AES 400N-12 400 N -12 ES,JP
Decca (American) 1934 -, (Decca US established in 1934) AES 400N-12 400 N -12 ia,JP,RF
Decca (American) pre 1946 Blumlein300 300N-0 300 N 0 ES
Decca (American) very few, to try a combination of 500Hz / 6300 Hz 500N-5.5 500 N -5,5 mm
Decca (American) 1946 - 1951 Decca 78 300N-5.5 300 N -5,7 mm
Decca (American) 1946 - 1954 (??? 629 Hz ???) 629 -12 ES
Decca (American) 1951 - 1953 AES 400N-12 400 N -12 mm
Decca (American) 1953-Nov 1955 NAB 500B-16 500 B -16 mm
Decca (British) 1935 - 1944, matrix up to DR8485-2; test disc: Decca K.1803, London T.4997 Blumlein300 300N-0 300 N 0 PC
Decca (British) to 1944 European 78 250N-0 250 N 0 ES,mm
Decca (British) 1944 - 1955, ffrr, cat. nos. from F.8440, K.1032, M.569 and X.281 (some exceptions); matrix nos. 8486 to 18000; test disc: Decca K.1802, London T.4996 Decca 78 300N-5.5 300 N -5,7 PC
Decca (British) 1944 - 1956 Decca 78 300N-5.5 300 N -5,7 ES,mm
Decca (British) some 1949-1956 London LP 500C-10.5 500 C -10,5 mm
Decca (European) to 1944 European 78 250N-0 250 N 0 mm
Decca (European) 1944-1950 Decca 78 300N-5.5 300 N -5,7 ES,mm
Decca (European) 1950-1954, (Telefunken + Decca UK = TELDEC since 1950) Telefunken 400N-0 400 N 0 mm
Decca (European) some 1954-1962 CCIR 78 350N-10.5 354 N -10,5 mm
Decca ffrr 1946, same as London ffrr Decca 78 300N-5.5 300 N -5,7 ia,mil,JP,RF
Deutsche Grammophon alias "DGG", taken over by Telefunken 1937 300 -5 ES,mil
Deutsche Grammophon 1944 ca. - 1953 ca. (???) European 78 250N-0 250 N 0 PC
Dial 78s used same EQ as 33⅓ and 45s Columbia LP 500C-16 500 C -16 ES,mil
Dot to 1958 AES 400N-12 400 N -12 mm
Electrola 800 -10 ES,mil
EMI-HMV (British) some, re-releases of acoustics mastered 1909-1926 800N-12 800 N -12 mm
EMI-HMV (British) 1927 - 1953, prod. by EMI(UK) European 78 250N-0 250 N 0 GH,ES,mil,mm
EMI-HMV (British) 1931 - 1944, with □ after matrix no., [Bc] Blumlein300 300N-0 300 N 0 PC
EMI-HMV (British) 1931 - 1949, with ◊ after matrix no. 500-FLAT 500 0, later -12 PC
EMI-HMV (British) 1931 - 1953, (test disc HMV DB4037) European 78 250N-0 250 N 0 ia,ES,mil,JP,RF,PC
EMI-HMV (British) 11/1943 - 7/1953, matrix nos. from 2EA17501 to 0EA17576 European 78 250N-0 250 N 0 PC
EMI-HMV (British) 1955 - end, test disc: EMI JGS812, BBC DOM86 CCIR 78 350N-10.5 354 N -10,5 PC
Exclusive all, 1944 - 1949 Decca 78 300N-5.5 300 N -5,7 mm
Gramophone Company 1925 - 1931 UK, with Δ after matrix no. [W.E.] 250 W.E.mike PC
Gramophone Company Blumlein300 300N-0 300 N 0 ES,mil
Harmony Acoustics to Aug 1929 300 -16 mil
His Master's Voice (Brit.) some, re-releases of acoustics mastered 1909-1926 800N-12 800 N -12 mm
His Master's Voice (Brit.) 1925 - 1931 British, with Δ after matrix no. [W.E.] 250 W.E.mike PC
His Master's Voice (Brit.) 1927 - 1953, prod. by EMI(UK) European 78 250N-0 250 N 0 ia,GH,mm,JP,RF
His Master's Voice (Brit.) 1932 - 1949, with ◊ after matrix no. 500-FLAT 500 0, later -12 PC
His Master's Voice (Brit.) 11/1943 - 7/1953, EMI UK, matrix nos. from 2EA17501 to 0EA17576 500-FLAT 500N-0 500 N 0 PC
Hispanophone 1926 - 1931 , with Δ after matrix no. [W.E.] 250 W.E.mike PC
Hit of the Week 1930 - 1932 500 -5 ES,mil
Homochord 1926 - 1928, matrix no. HH, JJ, HR, JR, Ee (made by Gramophone Co.) [W.E.] 250 W.E.mike PC
Hugophone 1925 - 1931, with W in a circle [W.E.] 250 W.E.mike PC
Hugophone 1931 - 1944, with © before matrix no., [Bc] Blumlein300 300N-0 300 N 0 PC
Keynote 500-FLAT 500N-0 500 N 0 ES
King 500 -16 ES,mil
Linguaphone 1926 - 1933, with M in a circle BBC 2dB/oct. PC
Linguaphone Blumlein300 300N-0 300 N 0 ES,mil
L'Oiseau-Lyre 1944 - 1955, ffrr, prod. by Decca UK, Decca 78 300N-5.5 300 N -5,7 PC
London early , 1947-1948 ? European 78 250N-0 250 N 0 mil
London 1947 - 1955, ffrr, prod. by Decca UK, Decca 78 300N-5.5 300 N -5,7 PC
London ffrr 1949, same as Decca ffrr (to DR8485-2) Decca 78 300N-5.5 300 N -5,7 ia,mil,JP,RF
MacGregor to 1965? American 78 250N-8 250 N -8 mm
Majestic 500 -16 ES
Marsh Laboratories (electrical) 1000 0 ES
Mercury to 1951 American 78 250N-8 250 N -8 mm
Mercury 1951 - Oct 1954; to matrix MG50026, 7000 AES 400N-12 400 N -12 ia,ES,mm,JP,RF
MGM (American) founded 1946; up to E3071 MGM [MGM] 500N-12 500 N -12 ia,ES,mil,JP,RF
MGM (British) 1949 - 7/1953, matrix no. 0SM420 500-FLAT 500N-0 500 N 0 PC
Musicraft 800 RIAA ES
Musicraft 700 or 750 -14 ES,mil
Nat. Gramophonic Soc. 1926 - 1933, with M in a circle, cat. HHH to TTT and NGS.65 to NGS.102 BBC 2dB/oct. PC
Octacros 1931 - ?, Britain, a Synchrophone label Blumlein300 300N-0 300 N 0 PC
Odeon some early electricals 800 0 ES,mil
Odeon 1925 - 1928, with W in a circle (a Lindström label) [W.E.] 250 W.E.mike PC
Odeon 1928 - 1936, matrix with ₤ in a circle ( a Lindström label) 400 100Hz 0 PC
Odeon 1931 - 1944, with © before matrix no., [Bc] Blumlein300 300N-0 300 N 0 PC
Odeon to 1953, (1926 sub. of Brit. Columbia , 1931 sub. of EMI) Blumlein300 300N-0 300 N 0 ES,mil
OKeh 1926 - 1941 (a Columbia label since 1926) American 78 250N-8 250 N -8 mm
OKeh electricals, probably American78 250N-8 300 0 or -8.5 ES,mil
OKeh 1941 - 400N-8 400 N -8 mm
Parlophone 1925 - 1931, with W in a circle [W.E.] 250 W.E.mike PC
Parlophone 1925 - 1953 European 78 250N-0 250 N 0 GH,ES
Parlophone 1931 - 1944, with © before matrix no., [Bc] Blumlein300 300N-0 300 N 0 PC
Parlophone 1932 - 1949, with W in a circle or matrix prefix W (US COL/OKeh re-issues for UK) 500-FLAT 500 0, later -12 PC
Parlophone 1949 - 7/1953, EMI UK, matrix nos. from CE14643 to CE14689 500-FLAT 500N-0 500 N 0 ia,PC,JP,RF
Parlophone-Odeon 1925 - 1928, with W in a circle, Odeon in Brit. [W.E.] 250 W.E.mike PC
Parlophone-Odeon 1928/29, matrix with ₤ in a circle, Odeon in Brit. 400 100Hz 0 PC
Pathé 1931 - 1944, with © before matrix no., [Bc] Blumlein300 300N-0 300 N 0 PC
Philips to 1953 Philips 400N-6 400 N -6 mm
Polydor sub-label of Deutsche Grammophon 300 -8,5 or -10 ES,mil
Radiofunken Telefunken 400N-0 400 N 0 mil
RCA Victor 12/1931 - 2/1932 "long-playing" shellacs at 33⅓ rpm 500 - 700 0 PC
RCA Victor 1931/2 "long-playing" shellac, N-groove played at 33⅓ American 78 250N-6 250 N -6 mm
RCA Victor 1931 - , test disc Victor84522 500-FLAT 500N-0 500 N 0 PC,ES
RCA Victor 1931 - ?, with swastika after matrix no., (EMI reissues) European 78 250N-0 250 N 0 PC
RCA Victor 1931 - 1941 American 78 250N-6 250 N -6 mm
RCA Victor 1931 - 1944, with □ after matrix no., EMI UK reissues, [Bc] Blumlein300 300N-0 300 N 0 PC
RCA Victor 1933 375 -8,5 mil
RCA Victor 1935 300 or 500 -5 ES
RCA Victor /Victrola 1932 - 1949, with High Cut at 8500Hz 500-FLAT 500 0, later -12 PC
RCA Victor 1938 (or earlier), used High Cut at 8500Hz Old Ortho. 500N-12.3 500 N -12,6 PC
RCA Victor 1938 - 1947 500 -7 ia,JP,RF
RCA Victor 1938 - 1948 500 0 to -12 mil
RCA Victor 1938 - 1954 500 -8 ES,mil
RCA Victor 1941 - 1947 (some to Sept 1952) Old RCA 800N-8 800 N -8 mm
RCA Victor 1947 - 1951 RCA 45 800N-12.3 800 N -13,8 mm
RCA Victor 1947 (or 1950) - Aug 1952 Old Ortho. 500N-12.3 500 N -12,6 ia,mm,JP,RF
RCA Victor RIAA after 8/52, after matrix E2RP4094 RIAA 500R-13.7 500 R -13,7 ES
RCA Victor (European) 1930 - 1950 European 78 250N-0 250 N 0 ES
Regal 1925 - 1931 UK, with W in a circle [W.E.] 250 W.E.mike PC
Regal Zonophone (Brit.) budget label of EMI/Columbia European 78 250N-0 250 N 0 ES,mil
Regal Zonophone (Brit.) 1925 - 1931 UK, with Δ after matrix no. or with W in a circle [W.E.] 250 W.E.mike PC
Regal Zonophone (Brit.) 1931 - 1944, with © before matrix no., [Bc] Blumlein300 300N-0 300 N 0 PC
Regal Zonophone (Brit.) 1932 - 1949, with W in a circle or matrix prefix W (US COL/OKeh reissues for UK) 500-FLAT 500 0, later -12 PC
Regal Zonophone (Brit.) 1949 - 7/1953, matrix no. CAR6800 500-FLAT 500N-0 500 N 0 PC
Scala 1926 - 1933, with M in a circle BBC 2dB/oct. PC
Schirmer 1000 -24 mil
Supraphone Czech, since 1932, a subsid.of Ultraphon Telefunken 400N-0 400 N 0 ES,mil
Synchrophone 1931 - ?, Britain Blumlein300 300N-0 300 N 0 PC
Technichord American, all N78 from 1938 [TCH] Technichord 800N-12 800 N -12 ES,mil,mm
Telefunken 1944 - 1955, ffrr, prod. by Decca UK, Decca 78 300N-5.5 300 N -5,7 mm,PC
Telefunken 1951-1953, (Telefunken + Decca UK = TELDEC since 1950) Telefunken 400N-0 400 N 0 mm
Tempo (American) 400N-6 400 N -6 mm
Theme all N78 American 78 250N-6 250 N -6 mm
Turicaphon Switzerland, 1930 - , a subsid.of Ultraphon Telefunken 400N-0 400 N 0
Ultraphon Europe 1929-1932, taken over by Telefunken Telefunken 400N-0 400 N 0 ES,mil
Unison 1926 - 1933, with M in a circle BBC 2dB/oct. PC
Victor 1925 [W.E.] 200 - 500 -7 ia,JP,RF
Victor 1925 [W.E.] 250 or 300 0 or -5 ES,mil
Victor 1926 -1931 [W.E.] American 78 250N-6 250 N -6 mm
Victor / Victrola 1925 - 1931, with VE in an oval or "Orthophonic Recording" or with Δ after matrix no. (recorded in Europe) [W.E.] 250 W.E.mike PC
Victor see: RCA-Victor (bougt by RCA in 1930) ES
Vocalion a Brunswick label, 1926 - 1940 European 78 250N-0 250 N 0 ES,mil
Vocalion 1926 - 1933, to cat. X10029 A.0269 and K05312, with M in a circle BBC 2dB/oct. PC
Vocalion 1944 - 1955, ffrr, prod. by Decca UK, series V1000 Decca 78 300N-5.5 300 N -5,7 PC
Voice of the Stars 1931 - 1944, with © before matrix no., [Bc] Blumlein300 300N-0 300 N 0 PC
Zonophone 1925 - 1931 UK, with Δ after matrix no. [W.E.] 250 W.E.mike PC
Zonophone 1931 - ?, with swastika after matrix no. European 78 250N-0 250 N 0 PC
Zonophone 1931 - 1944, with □ after matrix no., [Bc] Blumlein300 300N-0 300 N 0 PC
Remarks:
  • [Bc] ... Due to changes in the setup of the Blumlein cutter the characteristic of the recordings could vary between 180 Hz-FLAT and 500 Hz-FLAT, resulting in +/- 4 dB at 50 Hz. Copeland suggests 300 Hz as an average value.
  • [CAP]... used its own “Capitol curve” 400N-12.7. Play back with “AES” 400N-12!
  • [MGM] ... and Audiophile used a special “MGM curve” 500N-12. Play back with “RCA Old Orthophonic” 500N-12.3!
  • [TCH] ... Technichord used its own “Technichord curve” 800N-12. Play back with “RCA 45” 800N-12.3!
  • [W.E.] ... Very early Columbia and Victor recordings (1926) used a bass turnover frequency of 250 or 300 Hz but their treble is described as “flat”. The perceived treble amplification was possibly only the result of resonant peaks of the early Western Electric condenser microphones used in recording. Background information is given in this PDF. An experimental replay EQ curve for this microphone / pre-emphasis combination can be downloaded ‎here.


Early 33⅓ LP labels and their EQ

After the launch of the “long-playing record 33⅓ rpm” by Columbia in 1948 (which used vinyl discs and a narrower groove width – microgroove records or M33) record producers experimented a lot to fully exploit the potential of the new medium. Bass shelving came into use to limit the necessary bass boost in playback and – as a consequence of the extended frequency range – necessary gain reached values as high as +/- 20 dB. So recording characteristics varied considerably!

The “poor sound quality” of some early LPs is nowadays considered to be mostly a result of the wrong EQ in playback.

Standardization was reached with the “New Orthophonic” curve of RCA which was to become the world standard by the name of RIAA. In America most labels switched to RIAA around 1955 – Europe followed by 1962.

In case that sources did not agree on one EQ curve, their different opinions are listed and you will have to trust your ears. Later recordings on the labels listed should be all RIAA. The following labels should have used only RIAA all the time: Bethlehem, Classic Editions, Chess, Clef, Composer Recordings, McIntosh, Montilla, New Jazz, Norgram, Prestige, Romany, Roulette, Savoy and Walden [High Fidelity Magazine, MidiMagic].


Table 3: Early 33⅓ LP Labels And Their EQ

Label Remarks Curve Name Code turnover
bass [Hz]
bass
shelf
treble rolloff
[dB @ 10kHz]
Source
Allegro 1948 - 1956 Columbia LP 500C-16 500 C -16 ES
Allied  ???NAB 500 -16 JP
Allied to 1958 Columbia LP 500C-16 500 C -16 Hi,ES,mil,mm
American Recording Society to 1958 AES 400N-12 400 N -12 Hi,mm,JP
American Recording Society to matrix E2KP9607 500 -12 ES
Angel (2XEA213-392/XAX561-817)(1N,2N) 500-FLAT 500N-0 500 N 0 ES
Angel to 1952; to 35022 Old Ortho. 500N-12.3 500 N -12,6 ES,mil,mm,RF
Argo RIAA 500R-13.7 500 R -13,7 mm
Arizona to Sept(?) 1955 Capitol [CAP] 400N-12.7 400 N -12,7 Hi,ES,mil,mm,JP
Artist NAB 500B-16 500 B -16 GH,mil
Atlantic to 1953 NAB 500B-16 500 B -16 ES,mil,mm,JP
Audio Fidelity no. 901-903 NAB 500B-16 500 B -16 ES,mm,JP,RF
Audiophile 1954 - 1958 (!) MGM [MGM] 500N-12 500 N -12 Hi,ES,mm,JP
Bach Guild sub-label of Vanguard; to no. 500 Columbia LP 500C-16 500 C -16 GH,mm
Bach Guild no. 501-529. NAB or Col.LP 500?-16 500 B/C -16 Hi,ES,mil,mm,RF,
JP
Banner to 10002 Columbia LP 500C-16 500 C -16 ES,mil,mm
Bartok to 1952 Columbia LP 500C-16 500 C -16 ES,mm
Bartok 1952-1953 AES 400N-12 400 N -12 mm
Bartok no. 301-307, 309, 906-920 Bartok 630C-16 629 C -16 ES,mil,mm,JP,RF
Bartok no. 308, 310-11, 901-05 and from 921 RIAA 500R-13.7 500 R -13,7 Hi
Blue Note to Sept(?) 1955, 33⅓ and 45s AES 400N-12 400 N -12 Hi,ES,mil,mm,JP
Bluebird sub-label of RCA, see: RCA-Victor ES
Boston to 1958, up to B202 Columbia LP 500C-16 500 C -16 Hi,ES,mil,mm,JP,
RF
Brunswick to matrix MG4400; early "T" Columbia LP 500C-16 500 C -16 ES
Brunswick to matrix MG4400; with raised matrix** Old RCA 800N-8 800 N -8 ES
Brunswick 1951-1955 AES 400N-12 400 N -12 mm
Caedmon founded 1952, TC1002 - TC1022 (1955) Bartok 630N-16 629 N -16 Hi,ES,mil,mm,JP,
RF
Caedmon 629 -11 or -12 JP,ES
Caedmon 1953 - ?, early LPs (!) CCIR 78 350N-10.5 350 N -10,5 PC
Canyon to C6160 AES 400N-12 400 N -12 Hi,ES,mil,mm,JP
Capitol / Capitol-Cetra 1949 - 1955 (sold to EMI-UK in 1955); 33⅓, Capitol [CAP] 400N-12.7 400 N -12,7 Hi,ES,mm,JP,RF
Capitol / Capitol-Cetra 1949 - 1954; 45 rpm NAB 500B-16 500 B -16 GH,mm
Capitol to 1954, weak bass on 45 rpm can be improved by 800 Hz t/o 500 -12 ES
Capitol (American) 1951 - 1955; possibly "Capitol 400N-12.7" AES 400N-12 400 N -12 PC,JP,RF
Cetra-Soria Am. releases of Cetra, 1948-1953 (Cetra-Soria sold to Capitol) Columbia LP 500C-16 500 C -16 Hi,GH,ES,mm,JP,
RF
Colosseum AES 400N-12 400 N -12 ES,mil,RF
Colosseum to Jan 1954 NAB 500B-16 500 B -16 Hi,mm,JP,RF
Colosseum some long operas 1000 -5 ES
Columbia (American) 1947-1955; to matrix ML4895, XLP3200 Columbia LP 500C-16 500 C -16 Hi,GH,ES,mil,mm,
JP,RF
Columbia (American) 1948 - 1953; 45 rpm NAB 500B-16 500 B -16 ES,mm
Columbia (American) 45 rpm AES 400N-12 400 N -12 JP
Columbia (American) 1955 - ; after matrix XLP3200 or with "HiFi+" sticker RIAA 500R-13.7 500 R -13,7 ES
Columbia (British) 1949 - 7/1953, matrix nos. LPs: from XA561 to XAX817; XRX12; EPs: 7TCA 7, 7TCO 6; SPs: 7XCA185, 7XCO 87 500-FLAT 500N-0 500 N 0 PC,ES
Concert Hall (American) to 1954, XTV matrix to 20383 (low take nos) Columbia LP 500C-16 500 C -16 Hi,ES,mm,JP,RF
Concert Hall E1KP/E2KP matrix  ???AES 500 -12 ES
Concert Hall marked AES, E1KP / E2KP matrix AES 400N-12 400 N -12 ES,mil,mm,RF
Concert Hall E0 matrix Old RCA 800N-8 800 N -8 ES
Concert Hall CH matrix? 500 -10 ES
Concert Hall matrix E2RP from 4095 / E2KP from 9607 RIAA 500R-13.7 500 R -13,7 ES
Concert Hall (British) to 1956 (or 1954) London LP 500C-10.5 500 C -10,5 Hi,mm,JP
Contemporary 2001-02, 2501-02, 2505, 2507, 3501 AES 400N-12 400 N -12 Hi,ES,mm,JP
Contemporary 2504 NAB 500B-16 500 B -16 Hi,ES,mm
Contemporary after matrix AP121 RIAA 500R-13.7 500 R -13,7 ES
Cook to 1958(?), regular mono records Cook 500 N var. -12 to -15 ES,mm
Cook Cook Laboratories NAB 500B-16 500 B -16 JP
Cook (binaural) inside band -0 rolloff, outs.-11 dB 500 0 ins./-11 outs. Hi,ES,mil,mm
Coral  ???AES 400 -12 JP
Coral est. 1949, to 1958(?); a DECCA subsidiary NAB 500B-16 500 B -16 Hi,mm,JP
Coral sub of Decca (Amer.) up to MG4400, with raised matrix Old RCA 800N-8 800 N -8 ES
Coral 400 or 750 -12 or -16 mil
Decca (American) 1949-1951 London LP 500C-10.5 500 C -10,5 mm
Decca (American) 1953, 33⅓ and 45 rpm AES 400N-12 400 N -12 mm,JP,RF
Decca (American) 1953 - Nov 1955, 33⅓ and 45 rpm NAB 500B-16 500 B -16 Hi,mm,JP,RF
Decca (American) up to MG4400, with raised matrix Old RCA 800N-8 800 N -8 ES
Decca (British) 1949-1956 London LP 500C-10.5 500 C -10,5 mm
Decca (British) ffrr (from ARL1186-1B)***  ???London 500 -10 ES
Decca (British) ffrr (after 6/50)*** 500-FLAT 500N-0 500 N 0 ES
Decca (British) ffrr (from ARL2530-2A) RIAA 500R-13.7 500 R -13,7 ES
Decca (European) 1949 - 1954, (Telefunken + Decca UK = TELDEC since 1950) Telefunken 400N-0 400 N 0 mm
Decca (European) some 1954-1962 CCIR 78 350N-10.5 350 N -10,5 mm
Decca (European) most from 1954 RIAA 500R-13.7 500 R -13,7 mm
Decca ffrr 1951 [Disputed!][1] 300 -14 JP,RF
Decca ffrr 1953 [author's note: London LP since 1949]  ???London 450 -10 or -11 JP,RF
Deutsche Grammophon alias "DGG" LP -10 ES
Deutsche Grammophon 1952 - 1955, early LPs (!), cat. no in a rectangle IEC N78 350A-10.5 350 (50Hz) -10,5 PC,GH,RB
Deutsche Grammophon RIAA, cat. no. in an inverted triangle (RIAA symbol) RIAA 500R-13.7 500 R -13,7 PC
Deutsche Grammophon 1957, test disc DG 99105, possibly the only disc to DIN 45533 TELDEC 500R-11 500 R -11 PC
Dial 1948 - 1954, 33⅓ and 45 rpm Columbia LP 500C-16 500 C -16 ES,mil,mm,JP
Dial bass of EP 45s can be improved by 700Hz t/o 500 -16 ES
Dot to 1958, 33⅓ and 45 rpm AES 400N-12 400 N -12 mm
Ducretet Thomson 10/1954 - 1958, issued by London/Decca UK  ???London 450 -11 RF
Elektra EKL 17, 22 (released 1954) AES 400N-12 400 N -12 Hi,ES,mm,JP
Elektra EKL 2-15, 18-20, 24-26 (rel. 1952-55) Bartok 630N-16 629 N -16 Hi,ES,mil,mm,JP
Elektra EKL 16, 21, 23 (rel. 1955) and from 27 up RIAA 500R-13.7 500 R -13,7 Hi,ES,mm
EMI-Angel to 1952, Deutsche Grammophon releases in US Old Ortho. 500N-12.3 500 N -12,6 mm
EMI-HMV 1949 - 1953; matrix 2XEA213-392/XAX561-817 (1N,2N) 33⅓ and 45 rpm 500-FLAT 500N-0 500 N 0 ES
EMI-HMV 1951 - 1954 NAB 500B-16 500 B -16 mm
EMI-HMV 1954 - 1958? Columbia LP 500C-16 500 C -16 mm,JP
EMI-HMV 33⅓ LP  ??? Columbia LP ??? 500 -12 mil
EMI-HMV from July 17, 1953 RIAA 500R-13.7 500 R -13,7 ES,PC
EMS 1951 - 1956 AES 400N-12 400 N -12 Hi,ES,mil,mm,JP,
RF
Epic 1948 - 1954 Columbia LP 500C-16 500 C -16 ES,mil,mm,JP,RF
Esoteric ES 500,517 and EST 5,6 AES 400N-12 400 N -12 Hi,ES,mil,mm,RF,
JP
Esoteric matrix E2KP to 9607 500 -12 ES
Festival to 1955 Columbia LP 500C-16 500 C -16 ES,mil,mm
Folkways 1948 - 1955; all Columbia LP 500C-16 500 C -16 Hi,ES,mm,JP,RF
Fraternity Records up to F-1013 500-FLAT 500N-0 500 N 0 ES
Good-Time Jazz 3, 9-19 AES 400N-12 400 N -12 Hi,ES,mil,mm,JP
Good-Time Jazz 1, 5-8 NAB 500B-16 500 B -16 Hi,ES,mm,JP
Good-Time Jazz 2, 4, 20 -; from Oct 1955, re-recording RIAA 500R-13.7 500 R -13,7 Hi,mm
Handel Society to 1957 Columbia LP 500C-16 500 C -16 ES,mil,mm
Haydn Society 1948 - 1955; to matrix XTV20386, HS3062, HS80 Columbia LP 500C-16 500 C -16 Hi,ES,mil,mm,JP,
RF,PC
His Master's Voice (Amer.) to 1951 Old Ortho. 500N-12.3 500 N -12,6 ES
His Master's Voice (Amer.) 1951 - 1954 NAB 500B-16 500 B -16 mm
His Master's Voice (Amer.) 1954 - 1958(?) Columbia LP 500C-16 500 C -16 Hi,mm
His Master's Voice (Amer.) prod. by RCA after 1953 RIAA 500R-13.7 500 R -13,7 GH
His Master's Voice (British) 1949 - 7/1953, EMI-UK, matrix nos. LPs: 2XEA213 - 392 and 0XAV145; EPs: 7TEA 19, 7TAV 28; SPs: 7XBA14 - 21 and 7XCS 23, 7XLA 2, 7XRA 30, 7XSB 6, 7XVH 70, 7XEA688, 7XAV227 500-FLAT 500N-0 500 N 0 PC,ES
His Master's Voice (British) Columbia LP 500C-16 500 C -16 GH,JP,RF
Kapp no. 100-103, 1000-1001 Kapp 800N-16 800 N -16 Hi,ES,mil,mm,JP
Kendall to 1958(?) NAB 500B-16 500 B -16 Hi,ES,mil,mm,JP
L'Oiseau-Lyre to 1954, to matrix OL50018, prod. by Decca London LP 500C-10.5 500 C -10,5 Hi,ES,mil,mm,JP,
RF
London first few Columbia LP 500C-16 500 C -16 mm
London 1953 - ; ffrr; to cat.no. 846  ???London 450 -10 or -11 JP,RF
London to LL-846 London LP 500C-10.5 500 C -10,5 Hi,mil,mm
London ffrr; after matrix ARL1186-1B***  ???London 500 -10 ES
London ffrr after 6/1950*** 500-FLAT 500N-0 500 N 0 ES
London ffrr; after matrix ARL2530-2A RIAA 500R-13.7 500 R -13,7 ES
Lyrichord 1948 - 1951 Columbia LP 500C-16 500 C -16 mil,mm,JP,RF
Lyrichord 1951 - 1957(?) NAB 500B-16 500 B -16 Hi,mm
Lyrichord 1950 - ?, mastered by RCA Old Ortho. 500N-12.3 500 N -12,6 PC
Lyrichord 400 -16 mil,JP,RF
Lyrichord before 1953, (E0-E3 matrix)  ???AES 400 -12 ES
Lyrichord if "629" listed on jacket, "newer" Bartok 630C-16 629 C -16 ES,mil,JP,RF
Lyrichord XTV matrix NAB or Col.LP 500?-16 500 B/C -16 ES
Mercury 1948 - 1952, marked "2000Hz/3dB p.octave", MG10000 series 500 -7 PC,ES
Mercury 1951(53?) - Oct 1954, 33⅓ and 45s, to matrix MG50026, 7000 AES 400N-12 400 N -12 Hi,ES,mil,mm,JP,
RF,PC
MGM to 1952 NAB 500B-16 500 B -16 GH,mm
MGM to 1952 a few; to matrix E3071; 33⅓ and 45 rpm; bass of 45s can be improved by 700 Hz t/o and rumble filter MGM [MGM] 500N-12 500 N -12 ES,mm,JP,RF
MGM  ??? MGM curve still used in Oct 1955 ??? MGM [MGM] 500N-12 500 N -12 Hi
MGM (British) 1949 - 7/1953, matrix nos. SPs: 7XSM203 500-FLAT 500N-0 500 N 0 PC
Music Treasures all Columbia LP 500C-16 500 C -16 mm
New Records to 1954 Columbia LP 500C-16 500 C -16 ES,mil,mm
New Records 500 -12 ES
Nixa (British) 1950 (founded) to 1955, US matrixes from Westminster Columbia LP 500C-16 500 C -16 mm,PC
Nixa (British) to 1955, if labeled AES AES 400N-12 400 N -12 mm
Nixa (British) to 1955, if labeled NAB NAB 500B-16 500 B -16 mm
Nixa (British) US matrixes from Polymusic or Urania; mastered by RCA Victor Old Ortho. 500N-12.3 500 N -12,6 PC
Nixa (British) US matrixes from Lyrichord; see: Lyrichord PC
Nocturne LP1-LP3 ,LP5; XP1-XP10 AES 400N-12 400 N -12 Hi,ES,mil,mm,JP
Oceanic to 1958; to matrix XTV20383, low take nos. Columbia LP 500C-16 500 C -16 Hi,ES,mil,mm,JP,
RF
Odeon 300 -10 ES
Overtone no. 1-3; to matrix XTV20386 NAB 500B-16 500 B -16 Hi,ES,mil,mm,JP,
RF
Overtone up to matrix XTV20383 (low take nos.)  ???Col.LP 500 -16 ES
Oxford to 1958? Columbia LP 500C-16 500 C -16 Hi,ES,mil,mm,JP
Pacific Jazz to 1953 Pacific Jazz 500C-12 500 C -12 mm
Pacific Jazz PJLP 1-13; 10" LPs issued in 1953/54 AES 400N-12 400 N -12 Hi,ES,mil,mm,JP
Parlophone 1947-1954 300 -10 ES
Parlophone 1949 - 7/1953, EMI UK, matrix nos. LPs: XEX 60; SPs: 7XCE135; (EPs were probably all RIAA) 500-FLAT 500N-0 500 N 0 PC,ES
Period 1949-1953; up to 576 NAB 500B-16 500 B -16 ES,mil,mm
Philharmonia to 1958? AES 400N-12 400 N -12 Hi,ES,mil,mm,JP
Philips to 1953, 33⅓ and 45s Philips 400N-6 400 N -6 mm
Philips (British) 1953 - ?, LPs with re-issues of 78s masters CCIR 78 350N-10.5 350 N -10,5 PC,RB
Polydor sub-label of Deutsche Grammophon 300 -8,5 or -10 ES,mil
Polymusic to 1958 (regular mono records) NAB 500B-16 500 B -16 ES,mil,mm,JP,RF
Polymusic (binaural) inside band -0 rolloff, outs.-11 dB (Cook system) 500 0 ins./-11 outs. Hi,ES,mil,mm
Rachmaninoff Society to 1958? Columbia LP 500C-16 500 C -16 ES,mil,mm
RCA Victor 1949 - 8/1952, some, (D9 to EOLRC3980)# 33⅓ and 45s Old RCA 800N-8 800 N -8 ES,mm
RCA Victor 1949 - 8/1952, first 45 rpm discs (also some M33) RCA 45 800N-12.3 800 N -13,8 mm,PC
RCA Victor 1950 - 8/1952, 33⅓ only (matrix to E0LRC3981) Old Ortho. 500N-12.3 500 N -12,6 ES,mil,mm,JP,RF,
PC
RCA Victor Aug. 1952, "New Orthophonic"; all LM,WDM,DM cat. from 1701; LCT,WCT from 1112; all LHMV,WHMV,LBC,WBC and Ext. Play 45s; (from E2RP4094) RIAA 500R-13.7 500 R -13,7 Hi,GH,ES,PC
RCA Victor 1948 500 -10,5 mil
RCA Victor 1949; matrix D9 to EOLRC3980; 33⅓ and 45s 700 -10 ES
Remington to 1958(?); to matrix 199-135 NAB 500B-16 500 B -16 Hi,ES,mil,mm,JP,
RF
Renaissance 1949 - 1952 Columbia LP 500C-16 500 C -16 mm
Renaissance 1952 - 1954 Pacific Jazz 500C-12 500 C -12 ES,mil,mm
Riverside to Sept (?) 1955 AES 400N-12 400 N -12 Hi,ES,mil,mm,JP
Stradivari to 1958 Columbia LP 500C-16 500 C -16 ES,mil,mm
Telefunken 1951 - 1953, (Telefunken + Decca UK = TELDEC since 1950) Telefunken 400N-0 400 N 0 mil,mm
Telefunken 1954 - 1962 CCIR 78 350N-10.5 350 N -10,5 mm,RB
Tempo 1948 - 1953 Columbia LP 500C-16 500 C -16 ES,mm
Tempo 1954 - 1958(?) NAB 500B-16 500 B -16 Hi,GH,ES,mm,JP
Transradio to 1958(?) Columbia LP 500C-16 500 C -16 Hi,ES,mm,JP
Urania to 1954; most (up to XTV20383)(low take nos) Columbia LP 500C-16 500 C -16 mil,mm,JP,RF,ES
Urania 224, 603, 7059, 7063, 7065-66, 7069 AES 400N-12 400 N -12 Hi,ES,mm,JP,RF
Urania 1950 - ?, mastered by RCA; (to E2KP9607) Old Ortho. 500N-12.3 500 N -12,6 PC,ES
Vanguard 1948 - 1951 Columbia LP 500C-16 500 C -16 GH,mm
Vanguard 1952 - 1953; VRS 411-42, 6000-18, 7001-11, 8001-04, (up to XTV20386) NAB or Col.LP 500?-16 500 B/C -16 Hi,ES,mil,JP,RF
Vanguard since ca 1954 RIAA 500R-13.7 500 R -13,7 Hi
Vox 1948 - 1951(55?) or labeled "LP" (up to XTV20386), PL8400) Columbia LP 500C-16 500 C -16 GH,mil,mm,JP,ES,
PC
Vox labeled AES AES 400N-12 400 N -12 mm
Vox 1951 - Oct 1954 NAB 500B-16 500 B -16 Hi,mil,mm,JP,RF
Westminster 1948 - Oct 1955, to matrix XTV20383 low take nos. Columbia LP 500C-16 500 C -16 Hi,ES,mil,mm,JP,
RF,PC
Westminster labeled AES; to matrix E2KP 9607 AES 400N-12 400 N -12 Hi,ES,mil,mm,JP,
RF
Westminster labeled NARTB NAB 500B-16 500 B -16 GH,JP
Westminster EO matrix Old RCA 800N-8 800 N -8 ES
Remarks:
  • [1]... This EQ can be traced back to Langford-Smith (1952), who vaguely describes a “London LP curve (Jan. 1951)”. Powell reads this as 300Hz (wrong!) and -14 dB (correct!). Copeland describes it correctly as 234Hz / 1989Hz but judges evidence “to be very defective.” No evidence of usage.
  • [CAP]... used its own “Capitol curve” 400N-12.7. Play back with “AES” 400N-12!
  • [MGM] ... and Audiophile used a special “MGM curve” 500N-12. Play back with “RCA Old Orthophonic” 500N-12.3!


Sources, links and reading references

Sources of tables 2 and 3:

  • Hi ... High Fidelity Magazine, October 1955 with revised “Dialing Your Disks” table.
  • ES ... Esoteric Sound and the updated EQ list from the manual of their re-equalizer preamp in which they also have very useful tips how to identify LPs by their matrix number (British London / Decca, American Decca, American Columbia, RCA Victor). Please mind that they quote settings of their device which have to be translated back into parameters of EQ curves.
  • GH ... Graumann, Heinz; Schallplatten-Schneidkennlinien und ihre Entzerrung, in: FUNKSCHAU 1958, Heft 15, pp 359 ff
  • ia ... iasa – International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives: replay EQ
  • JP ... James R. Powell Jr., “Audiophile’s Guide to Phonorecord Playback Equalizer Settings”, in: ARSC Journal 20-1, Spring 1989, pp 14-23
  • mil ... Millennia Music and Media Systems and their list MM Legacy Recordings: 78 EQ Chart.pdf
  • mm ... MidiMagic is probably the most comprehensive and reliable websource. Data were researched in the 1970s and are based on publications of the 1950s.
  • RB ... Richard Brice in PspatialAudio
  • RF ... Russell Fisher / W.A.M.S. (Wolverine Antique Music Society)
  • PC ...Peter Copeland, Manual of Analogue Sound Restoration Techniques, The British Library, 2014, (Some of Copeland’s EQ curves or sources are disputable!)

Recommended analog reference:

  • James R. Powell, Jr. and Randall G. Stehle, "Playback Equalizer Settings for 78 RPM Recordings", Third Edition, Gramophone Adventures, Portage, MI, 1993, 2002, 2007.
  • Fritz Langford-Smith, Radiotron Designer's Handbook, Wireless Press, Sydney, Fourth edition, 1952.
  • James Moir, High Quality Sound Reproduction, Chapman & Hall Ltd., London, 1958
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