Pheenix Alpha Rises From "Death of Vinyl" Ashes

Last October we reported on a Swedish newspaper article covering the return to production of the famed Alpha Toolex record press overseen by Niklas Poblenz, who worked for the original company back in the 1980s and who's father worked there in previous decades.

Mr. Poblenz recently sent the above picture of a just completed press. He wrote: "Next time it sees daylight, it will be in Asia..."

Just thought you'd enjoy seeing it!

TrueGrit's picture

I have read Stereophile for decades and have not seen an explanation of how a cutting head actually makes the groove and implants the information. Can you direct me to an article on this subject? Thx.

readargos's picture

Has some discussion if you want a video reference.

Michael Fremer's picture
Off the top of my head no, but simply put: a cutting head is similar to a phono cartridge only in the opposite direction. The head has coils mounted at 45 degree angles from one another. The signal is fed to the coils, which drive a heated cutting stylus. The stylus cuts an aluminum disc coated with a soft lacquer material and that creates the grooves. The highly flammable cut lacquer thread is sucked out by a vacuum and stored in a jar. The cutter head moves tangentially across the record. That's a very simply put explanation!
mobileholmes's picture

The only thorough education will be if you educate yourself.

Go to Google Patent Search.

Then, type in "disk recording apparatus". Or "disc recording apparatus". Or "gramophone recording apparatus". Substitute "device" for "apparatus". Change words to look for new hits.

Then, click on "tools".
Then, "Filing Date: Oldest".

Then, educate yourself, starting with Emile Berliner, I guess. Once you get to stereo, you'll find that the first stereo cutter was made by Alan Blumlein, using two Western Electric mono cutters (not sure if that's in the patent info, but that's how he did it).

Early cutters came in a lot of different styles, just like you have different types of cartridges. You still have engineers using Ortofon, Neumann and Westrex heads, which are slightly different. And they still use true mono cutting heads.

There's also a fine book called "From Tin Foil to Stereo: Evolution of the Phonograph".

Hope that gives you hours and hours of pleasure.

phillip holmes

readargos's picture

It looks like something out of science fiction. Very cool, and thanks for sharing.

mobileholmes's picture

That thing is truly impressive.

BillBr's picture

Hi Truegrit,

Check out this article from Audio magazine from 1950 titled "Recording and Fine Groove technique" by H.E. Roys.



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jonathan s's picture

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