Version: Apr. 4, 2001

Rob Lomas

Direct tracking



In our complicated world, a simple device often works better than a complicated one. Rob Lomas has come up with a prototype for a self-tracking cylinder player.

It has a pickup mounted on a plate only about the length of the pickup itself, and hinged by a brass tube on a rod. As it tracks the groove, it is pushed along the rod by the force exerted by the groove wall only, which means it will play both 2-minute and 4-minute cylinders. For this to work, it requires a rather high stylus pressure, Rob uses some 9 grams, and for Indestructibles another 5 grams. The distance from the rod to the stylus should be about 25 mm.

Care has to be taken that the wires from the pickup are really thin and flexible, and preferably suspended to give the wire a U shape, in order not to interfere with the movement of the pickup. The tube on the pickup mount should fit rather loosely on the rod to allow some necessary lateral movement. Cylinders are rarely in perfect shape.

With this contraption Rob has been able to play Intestructibles better than with any other of his players.

Rob invites all readers to give his simple setup a try, and is interested in knowing how it works out.

Christer Hamp, 2001


The pickup on its mount seen from the side. The stylus should make contact with the cylinder a few millimeters on either side of the crest of the cylinder for good tracking Approximate measures for the tracking rod and tube

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