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analog on the cheap

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January 29, 2005 6:58:42 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Many readers may have extensive record collections. Some readers may
not, but may be thinking (I don't know why) of entering the analog
world. Maybe they have read amazing things, sometimes too amazing, from
the pages of TAS and SP and want to try it out.


Today, in order to get involved with analog one has two options. Buy
something new for more money than one might expect, or pick up something
old. I cannot speak to the new, but want to share my experience with
something old.


I grew up in the age of vinyl. Not particularly liking pop music but
inclined to jazz and classical I built up a goodly record collection
which, because it was not popular (that is, it wasn't shared among a lot
of dope smoking friends), mostly stayed in pristine condition. Because
of this I mostly listen to records (while all the time conceding that CD
is technically superior--here I am not a dogmatic vinlyphile). I have
owned many record players over the years, but for whatever reason I've
stayed mostly with a Thorens 160 with the latest V-15 cartridge. Surely
not SOA, but very good for those of you that have not experienced such a
thing.


One day I happened to come across a deck from about 1970. It had not
been used in 25 years but had been sitting in a cabinet gathering an
occasional dust particle. It was a Garrard Zero 100. The owner,
knowing I collected (or had collected) records, asked me if I would like
to buy it. We settled on a price of $80.00. I imagine that I paid a
premium.


Taking the unit home I found it was sturdily built, but was not working
well. 25 years of non-use had taken its toll. So, I pretty much
disassembled the unit cleaning and oiling the thing with a light machine
lubricant. Amazingly, the drive idler was soft and pliable, but needed
a bit of touch up with a rubber conditioner (the stuff I use for my Teac
open reel pinch rollers). The foam inserts within the spring suspension
had rotted so I simply removed them. This made the actual suspension
very bouncy--kind of like what I was used to with the Thorens. I sanded
and painted the plastic base a nice basic black, stuffing the underside
with a mixture of lead shot and silicone gunk. Finally I set the thing
on about 1 inch of a spongy foam.


The tonearm is an unusual pantograph design. Turning the table upside
down and using a sewing needle to guide the oil I was able to lubricate
the articulating arm pivot along with the main arm bearings. The
counterweight needed a major touch up with Brasso. The platter mat is
of a very hard material; I added a cheap felt mat. This, if for no
other reason, to bring the arm parallel with the record when using my
installed cartridge.


Once done the unit worked perfectly. So, I thought, what kind of
cartridge should I place on an $80.00 turntable? The articulated
pantograph arm is a bit on the massive side, so I thought I'd need
something of relatively low compliance. I happened to have on hand a
cartridge whose design was about as old as the Garrard and would likely
fit the bill--a Denon 103. Securing and aligning the cartridge (the
deck came equipped with a little plastic gauge assuring the tangent) was
quite easy using the slide on cartridge clip.


So, how does it all sound? I'm hesitant to make unsubstantiated claims,
but considering that all this technology is 30 plus years old I can
honestly say I'm pretty impressed. The lower end is a bit on the "thin"
side compared to my TD 160 Shure V-15xMR, but the tangential arm allows
the Denon's spherical stylus to avoid the usual inner groove tracking
distortion of pivoted arms, thus allowing a very crisp presentation.


So, for much less than $300.00 (I paid $180.00 for the Denon 103) I have
a record player that is quite satisfying. Would I suggest this as a
route to go for a perspective analog fan? Probably not. But as a hobby
project it sure was fun.


I'd be interested if anyone else has any experiences with old,
refurbished gear.


michael

More about : analog cheap

Anonymous
January 29, 2005 10:12:24 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

In article <ctgbri01349@news1.newsguy.com>,
michael <pm279@bellsouth.net> wrote:
>
>I'd be interested if anyone else has any experiences with old,
>refurbished gear.
>

The main problem with the Zero 100 was that the arm bearings, when dry
or worn, would introduce quite a bit of drag. It was also fairly heavy.

I used a Rek-o-Kut K34H turntable with various arms (primarily the Keith
Monks unipivot, before I really understood the dangers of mercuric oxide);
I mounted in in a frame suspended by screen door springs (it's pictured in
a note in a 1970's Audio Amateur.

It worked very well; I took it to my local high end shop and they were
suprised to find that the rumble was second only to the Linn, and not by
much; it beat all the other turntables in the shop at the time.

I used the K34H with a Harley 24" subwoofer, and turntable rumble and
feedback weren't really a problem.

Mike Squires
--

Mike Squires (mikes at cs.indiana.edu) 317 233 9456 (w) 812 333 6564 (h)
mikes at siralan.org 546 N Park Ridge Rd., Bloomington, IN 47408
Anonymous
January 30, 2005 7:38:31 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

michael wrote about his adventures with a Garrard Zero 100:


> I'd be interested if anyone else has any experiences with old,
> refurbished gear.

================================================

I started out in this silly business as a kid, doing overhauls of
Garrards a few years before the Zero 100. The most frequent cause of
malfunction (as opposed to maladjustment, bad cables, broken styli) was
the icky yellow grease that Garrard and BSR used; apparently it was
related to glue because as it dried out with age, a matter that took but
a few years, it came to resemble an adhesive, more than a lubricant! We
used to get $35 to overhaul a jammed-up Garrard, all but the LAB 80
which was $50; that unit must have been designed by someone who had a
habit using excessive amounts of recreational pharmaceuticals.

I think I have already told the group of how I was able to make a
1961-vintage Garrard Type A track records and trip its automatic cycle
with the tracking weight set at under 1 gram. Unfortunately if you
tried to use the only cartridge of the day that could operate at under 1
gram, the ADC 10/E, the high mass arm of the Type A would squash the
stylus on the slightest record warps.

As one would expect from a brief examination of the arm of the Garrard
Zero 100, its unique weak point was breakage of the tonearm wiring from
flexure at the headshell pivot.

-GP
Related resources
Anonymous
February 1, 2005 3:30:54 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

"michael" <pm279@bellsouth.net> wrote in message
news:ctgbri01349@news1.newsguy.com...
>
>
> So, how does it all sound? I'm hesitant to make unsubstantiated claims,
> but considering that all this technology is 30 plus years old I can
> honestly say I'm pretty impressed. The lower end is a bit on the "thin"
> side compared to my TD 160 Shure V-15xMR, but the tangential arm allows
> the Denon's spherical stylus to avoid the usual inner groove tracking
> distortion of pivoted arms, thus allowing a very crisp presentation.
>

I have owned and used both the cartridges you write about, a Denon 103S
(spherical) and also a 103D ("conical"?) and both had moving coils requiring
use of a head amp. The Shure of course is a MM with a stylus of entirely
different shape. It appears you are dealing with apples and cartridges; what
did you use to boost the signal from the Denon? The Denons did not by any
standard sound "thin", if anything the Shures of that era were thin in
comparison.
February 1, 2005 7:19:53 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Norman M. Schwartz wrote:

> "michael" <pm279@bellsouth.net> wrote in message
> news:ctgbri01349@news1.newsguy.com...
>
>>
>>So, how does it all sound? I'm hesitant to make unsubstantiated claims,
>>but considering that all this technology is 30 plus years old I can
>>honestly say I'm pretty impressed. The lower end is a bit on the "thin"
>>side compared to my TD 160 Shure V-15xMR, ...


> I have owned and used both the cartridges you write about, a Denon 103S
> (spherical) and also a 103D ("conical"?) and both had moving coils requiring
> use of a head amp. The Shure of course is a MM with a stylus of entirely
> different shape. It appears you are dealing with apples and cartridges; what
> did you use to boost the signal from the Denon? The Denons did not by any
> standard sound "thin", if anything the Shures of that era were thin in
> comparison.


As I said, I am hesitant to make subjective claims. Anyone can say
anything, and any comparison is meaningless without taking a whole lot
more into consideration than I have time to write about. I posted
mainly as a discussion about the project as a project--not to make any
specific and definitive claims about the sonic goodness of the
combination.


BTW, the 103D used what Denon called their "special elliptical" diamond.
The 103S was also elliptical and, I think, may have been Shibata
based. I never owned a 103S, but having owned 2 samples of the 103D I
can attest to its being a fine product.

michael
Anonymous
February 2, 2005 3:07:46 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

"michael" <pm279@bellsouth.net> wrote in message
news:ctn01902tkv@news4.newsguy.com...
> Norman M. Schwartz wrote:
>
>> "michael" <pm279@bellsouth.net> wrote in message
>> news:ctgbri01349@news1.newsguy.com...
>>
>>>
>>>So, how does it all sound? I'm hesitant to make unsubstantiated claims,
>>>but considering that all this technology is 30 plus years old I can
>>>honestly say I'm pretty impressed. The lower end is a bit on the "thin"
>>>side compared to my TD 160 Shure V-15xMR, ...
>
>
>> I have owned and used both the cartridges you write about, a Denon 103S
>> (spherical) and also a 103D ("conical"?) and both had moving coils
>> requiring use of a head amp. The Shure of course is a MM with a stylus of
>> entirely different shape. It appears you are dealing with apples and
>> cartridges; what did you use to boost the signal from the Denon? The
>> Denons did not by any standard sound "thin", if anything the Shures of
>> that era were thin in comparison.
>
>
> As I said, I am hesitant to make subjective claims. Anyone can say
> anything, and any comparison is meaningless without taking a whole lot
> more into consideration than I have time to write about. I posted mainly
> as a discussion about the project as a project--not to make any specific
> and definitive claims about the sonic goodness of the combination.
>
>
> BTW, the 103D used what Denon called their "special elliptical" diamond.
> The 103S was also elliptical and, I think, may have been Shibata based. I
> never owned a 103S, but having owned 2 samples of the 103D I can attest to
> its being a fine product.
>
Thanks for the clarification on the 103D. It's your observation of
"thinness" which grabbed my attention. As it appears, you understand way
better than I, the signal from your "103" requires some amplification before
going into a standard pre-amp's "phono" section. For our information only,
how is this being accomplished in the scenario you describe? After that my
incomplete memory recalls that you may require some adjustment of
capacitance, which in my case was accomplished by inserting resistor plugs
from a kit into the signal path. The head amp I used was a JC-1-AC plus one
of the plugs from this kit. I discarded the head-amp and all the other items
long ago when I decided to forever give up on moving coil cartridges and all
their associated problems since I could detect no significant difference
using them. (This was over 30 years ago when my hearing was a lot better.)
February 2, 2005 7:31:33 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Norman M. Schwartz wrote:

> Thanks for the clarification on the 103D. It's your observation of
> "thinness" which grabbed my attention. As it appears, you understand way
> better than I, the signal from your "103" requires some amplification before
> going into a standard pre-amp's "phono" section. For our information only,
> how is this being accomplished in the scenario you describe? After that my
> incomplete memory recalls that you may require some adjustment of
> capacitance, which in my case was accomplished by inserting resistor plugs
> from a kit into the signal path. The head amp I used was a JC-1-AC plus one
> of the plugs from this kit. I discarded the head-amp and all the other items
> long ago when I decided to forever give up on moving coil cartridges and all
> their associated problems since I could detect no significant difference
> using them. (This was over 30 years ago when my hearing was a lot better.)


First, I respect anyone admitting that age affects hearing. I wish I
could disagree on a personal level, but you are correct. And,
unfortunately, memory of sound is not the best arbiter.


My gear, today, is decidedly not what might be considered by anyone high
end. I am using a Denon PMA 777 integrated amplifier with built in MC
amp. My speakers are Paradigm mini-monitors with the 10 inch powered
sub. On the other hand, like you, I have sold items that many, at the
time, considered high-end: Conterpoint, Quad, Acoustat, Grace,
Transcriptors, PS Audio, Highphonic, Amber, and other names once favored
but now forgotten.


Your erstwhile Mark Levinson (John Curl) unit was highly regarded, as I
recall. Mark's "I never met a preamp that was too expensive" philosophy
was, many say, the real beginning of the so-called high end.


The problem with MC cartridges is likely a combination of their
exclusivity, small production runs, and the general BS of the high end
which equates money spent with quality. The Denons were always
reasonable alternatives. In the series, only the venerable 103 (and
103R) remain, and for what can only be called slum prices. If Denon
would release another "D" version I would buy one tomorrow.


What one considers worthwhile in analog reproduction will always embrace
extremes. So I take a 35 year old turntable, refurbish it, and couple
it with a cartridge from a similar age. It was fun as a project and I
suspect that anyone not familiar with analog sound would also think the
sound very good. But my anachronistic project is quite modern in the
scheme of things. For instance, an enthusiast in Japan whose name is, I
think, Sakura, designs low powered tube amps the purpose of which is to
drive ONE high efficiency horn loaded speaker in order to enjoy old mono
records. He plays them on a Garrard 301 using a Grace oil damped
tonearm and Denon 201 (!). The moral: there is no end to the limits
hobbyists will go in their enjoyment.


Anent the description of my Denon's 'thinness' versus the V15. I owned
the previous V-15MR and also own the newer but now discontinued V15xMR.
I can understand how someone might say that the older V15 was 'thin'
sounding. The latter Shure, IMO, is quite different sonically. If you
have not heard it you may want to pick one up while you can. While the
former could have been called 'analytical' the latter might be called
'musical'. Forgive me for these subjective descriptions--in spite of my
hobby I don't want to come off as too tweako.


michael
Anonymous
February 2, 2005 10:07:45 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

"michael" <pm279@bellsouth.net> wrote in message
news:ctqv9502fb1@news1.newsguy.com...
>
> Anent the description of my Denon's 'thinness' versus the V15. I owned
> the previous V-15MR and also own the newer but now discontinued V15xMR. I
> can understand how someone might say that the older V15 was 'thin'
> sounding. The latter Shure, IMO, is quite different sonically. If you
> have not heard it you may want to pick one up while you can. While the
> former could have been called 'analytical' the latter might be called
> 'musical'. Forgive me for these subjective descriptions--in spite of my
> hobby I don't want to come off as too tweako.
>

I have the V15xMR. The original stylus went bust some how(? cleaning folks),
the cantilever snapped at some point. I replaced the stylus with the genuine
Shure item and that too became bent and I didn't care for its looks or its
sound, output being too low for my taste/requirements. The Shure cantilever
is somehow too fragile in my (gentle) hands. I replaced that replacement
with a Radio Shack equivalent, sound was about the same and output too low.
My everyday cartridge is one of the MM Andante series marketed by Sumiko,
having a "Fritz Geiger I" MR shaped stylus and virtually unknown and
unheard by everyone but myself. Both the Shure and Andante are completely
immune to hum pick-up from my TD125 or Linn-S. LP12 motors. The complete
absence of hum is an absolute necessity for me. I stayed pretty clear of the
"tweako" arena and can't for the life of me understand how (m)any of them
are tolerant of hum from anywhere on a LP.
Anonymous
February 15, 2005 6:49:46 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

A few years ago, I found a Pioneer PL-L1000A linear tracking turntable (with
original box and instructions) at a local record show for sale in a package
deal with a broken JVC belt-drive turntable. I think I paid about $40 for
both. The JVC was immediately trashed, of course, and I went to work on the
Pioneer. I had to order a small belt for the tonearm lift mechanism. Also,
the rubber cones in the suspension system were rotted, so I removed the
loose pieces. I installed a Shure V-15 V MR that I had "retired" long ago
and was able to set up everything to track at about 1 gram.

I am still using the Pioneer in a secondary system near my exercise
equipment and vinyl collection, and it works pretty well. Especially for
less than $50.
"michael" <pm279@bellsouth.net> wrote in message
news:ctgbri01349@news1.newsguy.com...
> Many readers may have extensive record collections. Some readers may not,
> but may be thinking (I don't know why) of entering the analog world.
> Maybe they have read amazing things, sometimes too amazing, from the pages
> of TAS and SP and want to try it out.
>
>
> Today, in order to get involved with analog one has two options. Buy
> something new for more money than one might expect, or pick up something
> old. I cannot speak to the new, but want to share my experience with
> something old.
>
>
> I grew up in the age of vinyl. Not particularly liking pop music but
> inclined to jazz and classical I built up a goodly record collection
> which, because it was not popular (that is, it wasn't shared among a lot
> of dope smoking friends), mostly stayed in pristine condition. Because of
> this I mostly listen to records (while all the time conceding that CD is
> technically superior--here I am not a dogmatic vinlyphile). I have owned
> many record players over the years, but for whatever reason I've stayed
> mostly with a Thorens 160 with the latest V-15 cartridge. Surely not SOA,
> but very good for those of you that have not experienced such a thing.
>
>
> One day I happened to come across a deck from about 1970. It had not been
> used in 25 years but had been sitting in a cabinet gathering an occasional
> dust particle. It was a Garrard Zero 100. The owner, knowing I collected
> (or had collected) records, asked me if I would like to buy it. We
> settled on a price of $80.00. I imagine that I paid a premium.
>
>
> Taking the unit home I found it was sturdily built, but was not working
> well. 25 years of non-use had taken its toll. So, I pretty much
> disassembled the unit cleaning and oiling the thing with a light machine
> lubricant. Amazingly, the drive idler was soft and pliable, but needed a
> bit of touch up with a rubber conditioner (the stuff I use for my Teac
> open reel pinch rollers). The foam inserts within the spring suspension
> had rotted so I simply removed them. This made the actual suspension very
> bouncy--kind of like what I was used to with the Thorens. I sanded and
> painted the plastic base a nice basic black, stuffing the underside with a
> mixture of lead shot and silicone gunk. Finally I set the thing on about
> 1 inch of a spongy foam.
>
>
> The tonearm is an unusual pantograph design. Turning the table upside
> down and using a sewing needle to guide the oil I was able to lubricate
> the articulating arm pivot along with the main arm bearings. The
> counterweight needed a major touch up with Brasso. The platter mat is of
> a very hard material; I added a cheap felt mat. This, if for no other
> reason, to bring the arm parallel with the record when using my installed
> cartridge.
>
>
> Once done the unit worked perfectly. So, I thought, what kind of
> cartridge should I place on an $80.00 turntable? The articulated
> pantograph arm is a bit on the massive side, so I thought I'd need
> something of relatively low compliance. I happened to have on hand a
> cartridge whose design was about as old as the Garrard and would likely
> fit the bill--a Denon 103. Securing and aligning the cartridge (the deck
> came equipped with a little plastic gauge assuring the tangent) was quite
> easy using the slide on cartridge clip.
>
>
> So, how does it all sound? I'm hesitant to make unsubstantiated claims,
> but considering that all this technology is 30 plus years old I can
> honestly say I'm pretty impressed. The lower end is a bit on the "thin"
> side compared to my TD 160 Shure V-15xMR, but the tangential arm allows
> the Denon's spherical stylus to avoid the usual inner groove tracking
> distortion of pivoted arms, thus allowing a very crisp presentation.
>
>
> So, for much less than $300.00 (I paid $180.00 for the Denon 103) I have a
> record player that is quite satisfying. Would I suggest this as a route
> to go for a perspective analog fan? Probably not. But as a hobby project
> it sure was fun.
>
>
> I'd be interested if anyone else has any experiences with old, refurbished
> gear.
>
>
> michael
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
!