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Monday
Apr062015

The Tefifon

A few weeks ago I woke up deaf in my right ear. I'm still trying to get that issue resolved, but in the meantime what better thing to do than demonstrate a monaural music player from the 1950s that most people won't have seen before. Full details in the video below.

 

You may have seen some of my other HiFi based videos, but it's more than likely that you won't have seen them all. I'm particularly happy with the video I made about Compact Cassettes (or tapes as they are more commonly known). If you are interested in seeing more, my HiFi videos are all collected on youtube in This Playlist and the accompanying articles are here.

One interesting fact I picked up whilst making this video: As 78rpm records held under five mins of music per side, longer collections of music consisted of multiple 78s held in pages bound together in a book. This book was known as an album (for obvious reasons). When people moved to the 33rpm vinyl record the album name stuck even though the book was no longer used.

My Tefifon was purchased on ebay - where you'll find German sellers offering vintage Tefi cartridges as well as the occasional player, including portable devices. ebay links UK  US,

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Reader Comments (13)

What an amazing piece of technology. I've never seen anything quite like it.
Odd that it should be mono yet have 3 audio wires. I would have thought they would have been left, right and earth like a pair of headphones.
4 hour cartridge! That's one hell of a long album.

April 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterEvilution

How is it sounds compare to 8-Track?

April 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPhakornS

Hi Mat, facinating video of an item I didn't even know existed, fantastic job and as you say, amazing that it's intact and still working perfectly. Why isn't technology today designed to last 60 years plus, I wonder?

Thanks again for listening.
Daz

April 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDaz

Hi Mat,
Your reviews always hit the fine line between thoroughness and humour.
My partner's son was deaf in one ear and found he has an allergic reaction to wheat (not an intolerance). After giving up wheat for a couple of weeks his hearing came back!
Hope you get yours fixed. As always, thanks for reading.

April 7, 2015 | Unregistered Commenteral

Thanks for the suggestion. My issue is all to do with a long standing chronic sinus condition. More than likely it's due to an allergic reaction, but as yet no one can figure out how to stop it happening. I'm seeing (another) 'specialist' later this week.

April 7, 2015 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

. I take after my Dad who was, technologically speaking, with it in his day. I'm now an old git of 74 and yet have never heard of this device. Well done Matt I've been a follow ever since your 808 days. Keep on the good work.

April 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDerek

" Why isn't technology today designed to last 60 years plus, I wonder?"

It's plastic - that horrible thing that lasts forever. Doesn't breakdown easily. You know - your McDonald's cup that will last in a landfill for 500 years.

Anyways - your music is all digital now - should last forever - just move it to a newer platform.

April 8, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterzho

I haven't seen this device before, strange one! :)

Btw, have you seen some other sites are picking up your review?
http://digg.com/video/this-little-known-german-device-was-like-vinyl-and-an-8-track-combined?utm_source=digg&utm_medium=email

Even TAS!
https://www.facebook.com/theabsolutesound?fref=nf

April 9, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMatte

Yes I'm having fun watch it spread around the world - wish I'd done the video differently now - could have done without the first 45 seconds of preamble.

April 9, 2015 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

As ever a cracking piece of work; reviews of long lost tech - what a genre! Your public salutes you sir.

April 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGK998

first of all, I would like to say a warm "thank you" for your excellent YouTube channel. It is so much entertaining and interesting. I also appreciate the technical quality of your productions. I was so fascinated about the tefifon, that I spontaneously decided to buy one for myself at ebay. Luckily, the item arrived in perfect condition with two additional tapes, so I was able to test the machine immediately. My tefifon has a surprisingly good sound quality, if I take into account that the device may be about 60 years old. I would like to ask two questions about how you connected your tefifon to your amplifier. The connection cable from the tefifon seems to be symmetric, i. e. there is a shielding wire, which is electrically connected to the “ground” and also a white and a red wire. How did you exactly connect these wires to the cinch plugs? In your first tefifon video at 2:25 you show the cinch plug terminal but I am not 100% sure how you did the wiring. The second question is, did you use a pre-amplifier, like one that is needed to connect a record player, if your amplifier does not have a special “phones” input? Or does the amplifier you have such a phones input and you used that one? Or did you use a "line" input?
Thanks and cheers from Germany!

April 16, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterThomas

That's good timing as I was just re-doing the wiring yesterday.
The white wire went to the centre pin on the left socket and the red wire goes to the centre pin on the right socket. The earth shielding wire went to the outer ring on one of the sockets then I made a short wire connection to the other outer ring. With this setup the music is played over both speakers...in mono.
I haven't used a phono pre-amp, the volume output from the Tefifon is slightly lower than the rest of my equipment, but I just turn the volume on the amp up a bit. I tried it on a turntable phono pre-amp, but it was too loud and distorted.

April 16, 2016 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Thank you for answering my questions! I did a similar kind of wiring during my first test, but I used a sound mixer with a mono input, so things are a bit different. And yes, it is of course the “phono” input, not “phones”. When I wrote these lines I already had the feeling that this might be the wrong vocabulary :-)

April 16, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterThomas

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