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The Victor-Victrola Page  

How do I get my Victor or Victrola to work correctly?

ANSWER:  Instructions for operation of most spring-wound machines can be found here. It covers the basic use of a particular model (the popular VV-XI); other models may have slightly different operating features and appearances. However, in most cases, the VV-XI manual will be adequate for most users to get their machine working.

 Most problems that users encounter are:
1. Using the wrong type of record. "LP", "vinyl", "stereo", "45" types of records can't be played on a wind-up or early electric phonograph. You will need to find a 78 RPM 'brittle" shellac record in order for the machine to function correctly. If the 78 record is really worn, the sound will be terrible.
2. Using a worn or incorrect type of needle. You will need a new steel needle.
3. Motor problems. Hardened grease in springs, broken spring(s), broken or missing governor weights, worn or misalighed gears or shafts. Many of these mechanical problems require an overhaul of components, and you should contact one of the service providers on our RESOURCES page.
4. Soundbox problems. Broken mica diaphgragm, loose needle clamping assembly, brittle or missing gaskets
5. Playing 78RPM records at the wrong speed. For setting the correct turntable speed, please click here.
6. For determining how many times to wind the crank, click here.

The needle/soundbox should always be placed on the record to the right side of the center spindle. In other words, the motion of the record must be such that it is spinning in a direction from the rear of the tonearm toward the needle. Many people incorrectly place the needle/soundbox to the left side of the center spindle, resulting in a "plowing effect" which will quickly destroy records. See picture on right, showing the correct position of the soundbox at the end of a record.

Note that the "tone doors" on a Victrola (the ones that open and close just below the lid on most models) are NOT record storage shelves. The "slats" or "directing panels" are there to aim the sound toward the user (at least that's what they were intended to do). Store your records in the bottom of the cabinet, not in the tone door slats. Some tabletop models will not have tone doors or record storage capability.

By the mid-1920's some very complicated phonograph and radio/phonograph models were introduced, and it is unfortunately impossible to include instructions for each model.