Sunday, 8 February 2015

Yamaha YP-66 Turntable

The rosewood vinyl wrapped twin sibling of the Yamaha YP-221, they are the exactly the same other than the colour of the plinth and instead of silver plastic bits on the YP-221 the YP-66 has black bits.

This is your typical belt drive turntable of the mid to late 70s.  It's a 2-speed with automatic return (semi-automatic).  It's a nice entry level turntable with all the decent built quality that you find on majority of the Japanese made tables of that era.  It has a good sized motor and a decent weight.  Yamaha tables are like Sony tables, they always have decent quality components and they always look nice to the eyes.  The slight smoked dustcover and the rosewood plinth makes it quite unique to look at.

Sadly, the antiskate weight on our isn't original.  It was missing when we got it.  After a bit of research we found the appropriate weight and found an appropriate weight to retrofit into our table.  We found a nice brass weight to fit with the design.  And, as usual, we've gone through this table to ensure everything is lubricated and running well.  Personally, the brass weight looks nice and nice contrast over your typical silver/chromed antiskate weight.

I've installed a Realistic R47XT cartridge (re-badged Shure Me95ED) with a new old stock stylus.  Everything runs as it should, tracks and plays quite nicely.  It's in great shape and the dustcover has been given a light polish.  It's all ready for a new home!

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Luxman FQ-900 - Lux BIC 71/3R Receiver

Another Luxman but of the early 70s.  This is a beast, that it weights a lot.  Over the internet the Luxman FQ-900 has another name.  People assumed the Lux BIC 71/3R belongs to the bigger sibling of the FQ-900, the FQ-990.  However, I think the Lux BIC 71/3R is the correct one and the Lux BIC 71/2R is the FQ-990.  Why?  Well, from what I've "researched" i.e. Googling, the 71/2R retailed at a higher price, thus I am assuming it had more power.  Both the FQ-900 and FQ-990 shared the same design, just one had more power.  So, higher retail price probably meant more power.  That is my story and I am sticking to it until I get more concrete evidence.  However, these units are quite "rare" and I haven't seen a lot of information about them.

This is a solid state receiver, in case I didn't mention it.  And, like the R-3030, it shares very similar sound signature, that it's smooth, open, and very balanced.  However, I do think the R-3030 is a bit more refined, which makes sense, the R-3030 is almost a decade newer.  However, the Luxman FQ-900 does seem to match well with the AR4x speakers.

Inside the guts it's all quality, almost look hand built from all the wire wrapped and well organized placement of the circuit boards.  Not to mention that heavy transformer which makes it very lopsided when carrying the receiver! 

It's in beautiful shape and was professionally serviced by our friend the TweakJunkie!  Interestingly enough, it took 2 Luxman FQ-900 to make 1, as one of them had broken switches that needed to be replaced and finding the parts would be near impossible.  I guess he was just lucky to have come across a parts unit!

It's rated at 50wpc, and the FM and AM has different display lights, which will turn off if you switch to phono or auxiliary.  It also has some fine tuning adjustment for the radio on the right side, which is a neat feature and certainly do not see on your typical receiver. 

It is definitely an unique piece that has the sound quality too boot.  Oh, did I mention the model number is on the back, near the bottom?  Yeah, weird place to put it.

Luxman R-3030 Receiver

It's been awhile since we last wrote about a receiver, however, this is a Luxman and deserves to be talked about.  While it's a little guy at 30wpc with the right speakers it sounds superb.  Like all Luxman, it's a very smooth, clean and has a balanced sound signature.  It is one of my favorite sounding equipment there is, especially anything with that Duo-Beta circuitry. 

It has all the usual goodies that you find, tone controls, phono input with a subsonic filter with a cool LED display when dialing in the tuner.  Not to mention, like all Luxman, it looks great.  The grey face plate with the rose colour vinyl case, it is truly a beautiful piece to look at and to enjoy.

It's hard to describe the sound signature of the Luxman for those who haven't heard them.  It's like a mixture of Yamaha meet Harman Kardon with edge of refinement.  Actually, I prefer the sound of the Luxman over the HK and Yamaha, at least to my ears.  I just like how clean and open it sounds, especially when matched up to my Epicures.

Acoustic Research AR4x Speakers

The venerable 2-way speaker from Acoustic Research.  If you like and collect vintage speakers, people say the AR4x are special set of speakers.  However, they all suffer from some sort of corroded rheostats for the tweeters.

Disassembly was dirty, had to be done outside.  The fiber glass filling is nasty stuff, gloves and mask are needed.  Once inside, I've noticed this "brick" underneath the choke, it was a wax capacitor and huge for 20uf by today standard.  Pulled the rheostats, took it apart to remove the corrosion and lubricate it before reassembly, put a new capacitor inside and put everything back together.  On the walnut veneer I did a light oiling.  So, these have been completely refurbished.

So how do they sound?  Well, over the years I've heard and had many speakers, including some bigger ARs.  They clearly have the sound signature of that era, definitely not as forward sounding to more modern speakers but, they definitely have more "fuller" signature in comparison to modern bookshelf speakers.  In lack of better words, they're nice sounding.  I know that sounds very generic but, it's hard to find fault in a speaker this old.  It has that typical East Coast sound, it's nice, detailed, good soundstage, laid back in presentation and quite smooth.

They are a great pair of speakers for what they are.  And. that is exactly their flaw, they have a bit of treble roll off (a lot of vintage speakers suffer from a bit of treble roll off).  Many will not care but, for some it might be an issue.  Clearly, the AR4x are not using the latest ribbon/diamond technology.

However, they are a testament of the quality of sound from that era that many people love.  Even by today's standard they are still an excellent sounding pair of speakers.

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Tuesday, 3 February 2015

EDS 25F Turntable

Now this is the oddity I want to write about.  There is absolutely no information on this turntable whatsoever but, it is 100% Japanese and no doubt a CEC machine re-badged for EDS who was an importer of electronics in Canada. 

It is your typical belt drive, 2-speed yet fully automatic turntable with repeat!  Good sized motor that you will find on any belt drive Japanese turntable of the era, well made, though a bit cheesy with the plastic levers.  Clearly, it was not a high end table of the time.

Tone arm can be found on many CEC branded tables, Realistic comes to mind.  It had 7", 10" and 12" lead in and that lovely wood grain vinyl look.

So, why do I want to write about this turntable?  It's the interior or guts, sorry no pictures, I knew I should have taken one.  All the guys know I dislike idler wheels due to the complexity and levers and multiple gears and what not to re-lubricate.   Clearly, this is an early fully automatic turntable, reminds me of some of the early Sony turntables as like the Sony the EDS 25F was a mechanical nightmare and overly complex just to make the table work.  So many levers, I had to spend a couple of hours mentally tracing out the mechanism in my head. 

The only good thing was that it wasn't as bad as the Duals I've had before.  It was easy to service after spending some time with it.  Though, it did strut that suspended plinth and it was overly sensitive so I had to bolt it down to be a more rigid plinth.  That top plate was holding a lot of weight, more than it should!

After it was put back together, I put a very nice ADC K8E on it and found a genuine stylus for it at a reasonable price.  It sounded find, everything was smooth and works like a champ!  Surprisingly enough, it work quite well before I re-lubricated it, not as smooth but, not as dead as some idlers.  It should give the new owner many years of trouble free music.  Neat turntable definitely something I haven't seen in a long time.  Oh, and the owner's manual that the turntable came with is utterly useless.

Kenwood KP-2022A Turntable

Found my camera backup so I thought I would make some blog postings on some of our previously sold turntable for posterity and because I think they are cool and neat, starting with the Kenwood KP-2022A.

The most striking feature is the tone arm, it's neat.  The design was to prevent tone arm resonance, much like more modern tone arms.  Don't know why the design didn't last because Kenwood went back to the more tradition S-shaped arms.  It was also the Trio name plate as well.

At the time, I had several Japanese turntables, the EDS and the Keio which I wrote about quite some time ago (or at least I hope).  Oddly enough the Kenwood had some striking similarities with the Keio.  I thought the Keio was designed by CEC but, when examining the Kenwood, there is some real resemblance, so I have no idea who made the Keio or even the Kenwood.  I will just assume they're all working together somehow.

In any case, was a nice table, typical well made table of the era, good mechanics, motor, and funky tone arm.  It had a suspended plinth like your typical early 70s belt drive tables though, I am not a huge fan of the suspended plinth design of that era.

The tone arm did have some adjustment, you could raise the VTA.  However, you couldn't use any other SME style headshell only the Kenwood headshell, which is hard to find.  Regular SME style headshells don't lock in properly, though it will play fine and look awkward at the same time.

It's your typical belt drive 2-speed, semi-automatic table with that lovely wood grain vinyl plinth and if I recall correctly, RCA jacks to supplement better audio cables. 

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JVC L-A11 Turntable

This turntable has been a running joke amongst us, and we have two of them to boot!  I have no idea why no one wants this turntable?  We've had this table for sale for quite some time and even when offered in a package at a lower price people opt for a different turntable.  Is it because it's silver?  Maybe it's not aesthetically pleasing?  I have no clue!

It's actually a pretty nice table, I've used it on several occasion to play music during the holidays because it was already hooked up to the system, of course I've used a different headshell to prevent wear on the new stylus.

It's very comparable to much of the belt drives of the era.  It's a 2-speed, semi-automatic table that I've completely gone over, lots of tweaking.  Granted it's not as "heavy" as some due to the more plastic interior, lots of empty space and they don't use a heavy bottom damping plate like the Technics (lots of empty space in them too!) but, it's still a very nice table.  It does have some decent weight and sadly, it does outweigh a lot of the direct drives of the 80s.

It's well made for an entry level turntable of the very late 70s and maybe early 80s, it has a good sized motor and the parts inside are quite reliable.  What I like about the JVCs is that a lot of them came with their re-badged version of the Audio Technica AT-11 body, so fitting it with a new generic AT-12E stylus is a breeze and it is a fantastic sounding cartridge.  Everyone knows I am a huge fan of these cartridges. 

It has a new belt, and already mentioned the new stylus, completely serviced and as usual it's been cleaned, tested and the dustcover has been lightly polished.

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Sony PS-1700 Turntable

This has had to be one of the cleanest turntable I've ever serviced.  It looked as if it was well cared for and the interior e.g. guts were really clean.  I was very impressed and happy that I didn't need to take out the gloves!

Sony made good turntable, excellent turntables and awful turntables.  I would have to say the PS-1700 is your typical, average (which means good) turntable.  Considering the design I will assuming it's from the mid to late 70s.  Aesthetically, it is very appealing, very retro looking.  So, I am sure it will not last long.

Overall, it's a well made turntable as are any Sony turntables of that era.  The dust cover is one of the nicer design I've seen and usually Sony puts a nice effort in having some really sleek dustcover designs.  For example, on the PS-1700 the dustcover is curved in the front.  As well, the two tone colour, the wood vinyl plinth with the grey top.  It is a very sharp table as well for those who are looking for the retro design.

For build quality, it's pretty good, nice sized motor and fancy platter mat to absorb vibrations.  This turntable is in excellent shape.  Servicing was pretty easy, had to do quite a bit to it but, it all went smoothly.  It has a new belt, a Shure M75ED (Realistic R1000EDT) with a new stylus and a brand new headshell. 

It is a 2-speed, belt drive, semi-automatic turntable for those who like the arm to come back at the end.  Apparently, there isn't a lot of additional information out there but, there's a lot of pictures!  But, we have some of our own.

Sansui SR-222 Turntable

Finally finished fixing up this lovely turntable by Sansui (though it's already been sold!).  I thought I would write a post about it for posterity sake as a lot of nice tables have been sold without anyone writing anything about them.

Like the SR-525 that I had in during Christmas, they share a lot of similarities, though mostly cosmetics.  However, the design of the tone arm makes you wonder how much trickle down technology they used on the SR-222.  It is a beautiful and sharp looking table, especially that thicker platter over the grey plinth.

Though, it didn't rank the highest among the line up, it is a fantastic table.  It's 2-speed, belt drive and pure manual, just the way I like them.  Simple, elegant and easy to fix, well...if you have the right parts.  This is the first generation (MK1) of the SR-222, in case anyone was confused.

It's also well built, good size motor, interesting isolation mounts, thick and heavier than your average belt drive platter and a beautiful tone arm.  

What I like about the Sansui is the RCA jacks at the back, which allows the user to use their own cables.  There's really not much to complain about.  I think it is a fantastic table, it got a beautiful sounding Shure M95ED with brand new stylus, new belt of course and headshell.  Not to mention all the usual servicing to make everything else runs smooth.

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