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britishcomposers

Turntable drives: accuracy, detail or energy?

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I know did all about the engineering involved in a turntable, but would guess there a good, bad and indifferent examples of all. When it comes to listening, in the main I prefere belt driven. Suspended or not depends very much on the system used. I find the much vaunted advantages of direct/idler in the bass to be either monotonous or relentless, take your pick.

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Agree Col there are poor DD and pulley style and rim drive and there are good ones in each category.  The element factor of time as in longevity is out of fashion lately but matters to me that satisfactory performance is given whether it's cold hot high humidity and over decades is my measure.   Long lasting Enjoyment is the key afterall.

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Super Wammer

We discussed this at length at Garrard when Direct Drive motors first became available. Without exception all the experienced engineers (I was but a lad) were of the opinion that Direct Drive had the greatest potential.

I am 99% sure that the Garrard replacement for the 401 would have been direct drive if the company hadn't folded.

I think this is borne out in fact but the small production volume of the specialist makers means it is impossible for almost all of them, so they have to do the best they can with available motors and belt drive is easier than idler to get good. Probably...
 

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41 minutes ago, f1eng said:

We discussed this at length at Garrard when Direct Drive motors first became available. Without exception all the experienced engineers (I was but a lad) were of the opinion that Direct Drive had the greatest potential.

I am 99% sure that the Garrard replacement for the 401 would have been direct drive if the company hadn't folded.

I think this is borne out in fact but the small production volume of the specialist makers means it is impossible for almost all of them, so they have to do the best they can with available motors and belt drive is easier than idler to get good. Probably...
 

If I am right, didn't the 401 cease production as late as 1977?  If so, it was this year or thereabouts that their complete turntable, the DD75 came about.  Nothing like the broadcast-standard build quality of the '01 series motor units, being a mere domestic market product, but it was heavily publicised in full page ads as seen in the Comet pages of all the Haymarket Press magazines at that time as being a big deal.  

Garrard's penultimate throw of the direct-drive dice before everything crashed in 1980 was with the less solid (eg; plastic injection moulded) three-model range comprising:  DD132, DD131 & DD130 models, which photographed well but were actually of quite nasty quality using silver dipped plastic nearly all the way;  the model differences being fully automatic, semi-automatic and manual respectively.  

When Brazillian engineering firm Gradiente bought Garrard, around '80/'81, the final swansong direct-drives were the DDQ-550 and DDQ-650 Quartz-lock turntables that each came fitted with an Ortofon VMS-20 MM cartridge.  I got a friend to buy one in the Laskys sale for a heavily discounted price of around £79 in 1982 along with a rather nice Nikko stereo amplifier and a pair of KLH 317 loudspeakers and Argos stands.  The 650 he bought was actually quite well finished for what was a top-of-the-range turntable for full retail at under £150, and he still has it to this very day.   

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On this debate regarding the pros and cons of the drive system.  Perhaps the biggest factor is engineering excellence.  HiFi News a couple of years ago republished its original review of the Linn Sondek LP12.  Comparing it to another  Scottish manufactured turntable, think it was made by a company called Fons?  The LP12 was rated as of shoddy construction and sounded the worse of the two.  A case of objectivity and subjectivity being in harmony?  Obviously Linn got their act together and the LP12 sold in shed loads. If you want to chance buying an old Idler drive, the wow and flutter figures are likely to be high.  With the Technics SL1200/1210 having extremely low W & F reading even when measured on old models.  Never quite understood the debate on Technics turntables problem with cogging.  Surely this would be picked up when the turntable is reviewed.  Is the Quartz locked direct drive system, a closed loop integrating servo system?  If it's not the case then speed variations around the set speed (cogging) is unlikely.  When my turntable is running the strobe shows a steady set speed.  

Edited by Ron Hilditch

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Accuracy from ANALOGUE/joy ...

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Ron - yes I was dubious of any advantage of the anti cog circuit.  Perception of the strobe shows no change and the effect is subtle . Commercial devices are expensive ( for me) so a friendly geek stuck his meter and oscilloscope into the gubbins and muttered darkly about variations of drive power to the' cogs'as the platter magnet moved so his circuit reduces the 'dips'. I have insufficient knowing to question what this is or any possible effect this might have on actual sound. But I can say it's ' smoother' clearer and more detailed in such as cymbal decays and harmonics. It's a tiny effect so easily described as ' subjective' ie unproven.  I would not pay much for it. However removing the transformer( and any resonating plastic )Does work and is cheap and easy. .Along with a different mat (blown acrylic with weight / heavy dense ' rubber' /or Soundeck style/ even craft foam sheet ) .  I use an MCoil Hana and found the arm base to be a key factor .  Hard wood is good ( oak nice)

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Super Wammer
21 hours ago, britishcomposers said:

If I am right, didn't the 401 cease production as late as 1977?  If so, it was this year or thereabouts that their complete turntable, the DD75 came about.  Nothing like the broadcast-standard build quality of the '01 series motor units, being a mere domestic market product, but it was heavily publicised in full page ads as seen in the Comet pages of all the Haymarket Press magazines at that time as being a big deal.  

Garrard's penultimate throw of the direct-drive dice before everything crashed in 1980 was with the less solid (eg; plastic injection moulded) three-model range comprising:  DD132, DD131 & DD130 models, which photographed well but were actually of quite nasty quality using silver dipped plastic nearly all the way;  the model differences being fully automatic, semi-automatic and manual respectively.  

When Brazillian engineering firm Gradiente bought Garrard, around '80/'81, the final swansong direct-drives were the DDQ-550 and DDQ-650 Quartz-lock turntables that each came fitted with an Ortofon VMS-20 MM cartridge.  I got a friend to buy one in the Laskys sale for a heavily discounted price of around £79 in 1982 along with a rather nice Nikko stereo amplifier and a pair of KLH 317 loudspeakers and Argos stands.  The 650 he bought was actually quite well finished for what was a top-of-the-range turntable for full retail at under £150, and he still has it to this very day.   

I was there when the DD75 was designed. It was a marketing defined product for the domestic market, not anything like the 301/401 series. It used a bought in motor on a simple plinth with a Garrard designed and made arm.

By then the products had become entirely styling lead without even a nod to the cost of the engineering compromises needed to achieve the chosen "Look". I left in mid 1976, the company was no longer what it had been. I have no knowledge in any of the products post 1976, and I would be unlikely to be impressed by them based on how things had gone.

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6 hours ago, f1eng said:

I was there when the DD75 was designed. It was a marketing defined product for the domestic market, not anything like the 301/401 series. It used a bought in motor on a simple plinth with a Garrard designed and made arm.

By then the products had become entirely styling lead without even a nod to the cost of the engineering compromises needed to achieve the chosen "Look". I left in mid 1976, the company was no longer what it had been. I have no knowledge in any of the products post 1976, and I would be unlikely to be impressed by them based on how things had gone.

That would all figure.  Such a shame.  Did you stay in the hi-fi industry after '76 or could you foresee the writing on the wall for British manufacturing with the Far East invasion?  So much quality apparatus coming through:  it's a wonder those that survived were able to economically continue, but then there was a lot of anti-Japanese feeling still from many middle-class retired ex-servicemen who probably closed ranks and against buying anything not from these shores;  a bit like my ex- father-in-law (a very pompous Colonel Blimp type) WWII Squadron-Leader who only drove Rovers, and right into to the Honda era, as well as for his even more hideous pink-rinse wife with one of those nasty City Rover tin boxes made in India, as driven by night-shift garage workers these days.  The Captain Mainwaring  "move out of the way, I'm driving a Viking ship" mentality of self-aggrandisement.  

I digress.  It was sad to see quality like this come to a close, but Terry O'Sullivan's reviving of the brand is something that interests me as I'd like to try one of those 501 units myself and you never see them secondhand, so there must be something in their quality:  improved PSU's, etc.  

Edited by britishcomposers

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I have 3 TTs, oldest is a 1978 Rega Planar 3 in original condition, I don't play this one as it is the one I like the least.

Next chronologically is a 1980 Luxman PD264 DD, this I saved from going in the skip, it had no arm and no cover, the base cover was waterlogged and was in a pretty bad state. The base cover was used as a template to make a new one from 6mm MDF, this did 2 jobs, 1 protected fingers from electrical bits and 2 stiffened the whole TT a lot. I purchased a 1980 Hadcock GH228 that needed a rewire for a nice low price and j7 rewired it for me with Van den Hul flexible stuff he was trialling (very nice by the way better than Cardas 33 in my opinion). Cart is a Shure V15 III with Jico SAS/SS.

This sounds very dynamic, fast very detailed and airy, brilliant for Female vocals, acoustic guitar and piano.

last but by no means least is my Townshend Elite Rock mkII. I bought this new in 1986, I have changed the belt, oils and even replaced the sorbothane feet as they became misshapen over time.

This has a modified RB250 with Cardas 33 and foam fill etc by j7, and the structural mod supplied by OL, the cart is an AT OC-9 III.

Presentation is totally different to the Luxman although the speed is the same. There is more bass the quiet parts seem quieter. Detail is still there, it just seems more coherent. It plays any music well.

I know I'm not comparing apples with apples, I do not prefer one over the other, they are just different.

Edited by Batty
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Batty - enjoyed your post re ' journey' with t tables.  I've had similar even a ' saved from skip ' one . It was a DD which ran well after fettling. I mounted a Rega Carbon very exactly ,an Achromat and took off all ID on table then demoed it at a gathering of wammers . Only played tracks to its strengths -  rock- and folks shocked when I announced its source!  OC 9 does respond to a heavier arm .On my kit ( OL arm) I add lead under the arm tube near head until I get arm / cart resonance to 9 or 10. I use adhesive 'lead on a strip' used for Window decor- MCoil sounds happier in heavy cut grooves with 3 g added down there getting total weight around 20 g for it to bury vibe in.   Tension in pillar to arm base fixing is a factor with significant effect ( assuming a decent level of resolution in line up) Too tight seems to reduce dynamics and bass heft  Too loose matters much less except whole arm moves out of alighnment! 

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Super Wammer
14 hours ago, britishcomposers said:

That would all figure.  Such a shame.  Did you stay in the hi-fi industry after '76 or could you foresee the writing on the wall for British manufacturing with the Far East invasion?  So much quality apparatus coming through:  it's a wonder those that survived were able to economically continue, but then there was a lot of anti-Japanese feeling still from many middle-class retired ex-servicemen who probably closed ranks and against buying anything not from these shores;  a bit like my ex- father-in-law (a very pompous Colonel Blimp type) WWII Squadron-Leader who only drove Rovers, and right into to the Honda era, as well as for his even more hideous pink-rinse wife with one of those nasty City Rover tin boxes made in India, as driven by night-shift garage workers these days.  The Captain Mainwaring  "move out of the way, I'm driving a Viking ship" mentality of self-aggrandisement.  

I digress.  It was sad to see quality like this come to a close, but Terry O'Sullivan's reviving of the brand is something that interests me as I'd like to try one of those 501 units myself and you never see them secondhand, so there must be something in their quality:  improved PSU's, etc.  

No, I went into motor racing full time after that.

My wife is a musician and I continued to record her work and others where I got permission but apart from discussing vibration related (I started as a noise and vibration engineer) with friends in the business had no further involvement except as a customer.

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Crossley can now rest.

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