Thursday, 25 October 2012

Realistic LAB-500 Turntable

Here is a rare treat.  Don't let the name fool you, this is one heck of a quality turntable.  In fact, I've owned several turntables by Realistic.  Why?  It's because it's the name behind the Realistic, and no it's not Radio Shack.  Rather, who built these pieces for Radio Shack.  In most cases, majority of their turntables was manufactured by C.E.C.  or Chuo Denki, who still exist today.

Radio Shack in the early days had tons of equipment manufactured by Japanese OEM companies such as Foster/Fostex and NEC, Hitachi,  and C.E.C..  Hence, why you may see similarities with other pieces of gear from various different, like Hitachi, Marantz, Sanyo, Toshiba, Taya etc... In fact, our Taya DP-550 was an exact copy as the Realistic LAB-400.

Getting back to the Realistic LAB-500 the question is: who made this turntable?  I don't really know, I initially assumed it was C.E.C. but it shared similarities with a fellow Mitsubishi turntable, and I'm not too sure whether Mitsubishi made their tables as well, despite having some really nice ones.

Regardless, this turntable is superb.  It's a direct drive, fully automatic, quartz lock, 2-speed turntable with a repeat function.  The platter, while is smaller in height than most, it's heavier, thicker and wider than most.

It's also a great looking turntable, while it's not real wood veneer, the vinyl wood wrap does give it that classic wood look, as that seems to be quite popular with the crowd these days.  It has that "vintage" look, I guess.

 Another "neat" item about this turntable is the integrated headshell, R9000E LWS, which is really a Shure M95 but in an integrated headshell.  Not only this is a great cartridge, but styli are widely available and since it's integrated, no need for adjustment making it a breeze to set up.
Overall, it's in great condition.  Some flaws are: in the front corner some of the vinyl has worn off, one hinge as a portion missing but it doesn't affect the performance of the hinge and, of course the usual dustcover could use a polish.

And, if you recognized the record being played on the turntable, please don't laugh!

This is a hard one to let this one go, since it took me a long time to acquire one, but over the past year and a half, I never really used it, just sat and collected dust.  But, I've taken the time to clean and lubricate tons of parts inside and I can tell you it's well built!  So, it's time to move on and find it a great and loving home. 

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Videoton Minimax II Speakers

These little guys are made in Hungry, and now they won't fill your stomach.  But, if you need a small pair of great sounding speakers then these will fill your ears with beautiful music.

They may not look like much in stature.  But, they're sound bigger than they look.  For vintage small speakers, they're one of the best I've heard.  Especially, with anything with a 4" woofer and I do like the real wood veneer look.  They really make great and true bookshelf speakers.  All you need is a nice little receiver and they can fill a small den with great music.

There's quite a bit of information on the net, so give them a google!

Hitachi FT-600 Tuner

Now this is a great tuner.  It was TOTL back in the early 70s.  It's a 4 gang tuner and looks very nice, also has a pretty neat tuning needle.  I also enjoy the look, the wood side panels give it a classy look!

Rotel RT-425 Tuner

A nice and great looking entry level tuner for those who just need some basic FM and AM sound.  Can't really say much about it but it sounds pretty nice and Rotel did make some lovely looking pieces.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Pioneer PL-8 Turntable

Now this is an interesting turntable.  It took me a while to finish servicing it due to it's overall size.  It's very slim and getting into the heart of the turntable wasn't easy!

This is a sleeper of a turntable.  For many Pioneer fans, these series of turntables tend to fly under the radar.  You can say they're like a hidden gem in the Pioneer line up, especially the higher end turntables of this particular series.  These tables utilize a polymer graphite tonearm.  This meant, the tonearm not only has excellent rigidity and resonance (vibration) control but as well being light weight to meet with the demand of higher compliant cartridges of the time.  But, then CDs came along and development went elsewhere.

Nonetheless, this is an excellent turntable.  It was second from the top, the PL-9, being TOTL.  And the PL-8 was one step higher above the PL-2 to PL-7 turntables, for the PL-8 had a better tonearm.

It's in great shape too!  Not to mention very slim line in comparison to the turntables.  However, one draw back, in my opinion, is the faux gold look.  Not really my taste but, I guess it was quite popular to do in the early 80s on having that off color look, many companies followed the trend, remember that gold looking Pioneer or Marantz?

This is a fully automatic, 2-speed, direct drive turntable with quartz lock.  It has a disc size selector and a repeat function.

Currently, it has a very nice Shure/Realistic R47XT cartridge.  Yes, Shure made cartridges for Radio Shack, so did Audio-Technica.  The R47XT is a M95 variation or rather Me95ED.  Nice cartridge with plenty of stylus upgrades, like the Jico SAS from Japan, great stylus and will elevate the Shure to a whole new level.

If you like the look and don't mind the faux gold color, this is an excellent turntable.  It is one of our better offerings due to the fact it has a polymer graphite tonearm.

Akai AP-206 Turntable

It's been a while since we've posted audio gear on the blog.  But, I've finally gotten the time to finish a couple of turntables

This is one of my favorite turntables for not only it performs well and dead reliable, the operations are smooth and it looks great to boot!  This is one solid turntable.

In my honest opinion, the black finish is great.  It matches both modern and vintage pieces.  And, of course it has a nice tall platter and strobe to give a classy look.

The Akai AP-206 is a nice direct drive, 2-speed semi-automatic turntable.  It's well built and had good weight.  It's freshly serviced and ready to go to a new loving home.

Now, I've had to add a couple touches to this turntable to make it whole.  It was missing the headshell and cartridge:

1) is a very nice and light weight ADC headshell.  It is a great headshell as it has excellent rigidity, but light weight.

2) I've put a very nice Nagaoka MP-15 cartridge.  This is not your average entry level cartridge.  The current or updated is the Nagaoka MP-150 cartridge.  Nagaoka is one of my favorite cartridge manufacturers, especially their lower level cartridges.  I've owned the entire line up and the sound of these cartridges are really nice.  They have great bass, in comparison to a Shure.  They almost have a Grado feel but much cleaner sounding, especially the treble.  It's much more detailed than a similar Grado cartridge and much more lively and dynamic sounding over a Shure.

Overall, this is one great table that's in great shape and has a great cartridge.  The new owner will be quite happy with this setup!