Saturday, 2 April 2016

Realistic RD-8100 Turntable

This Realistic turntable was strictly for the Canadian market and you will not find it on any catalogs off Radio Shack Catalogs. Essentially, this is the Hitachi PS-48 turntable, it is virtually identical mechanically and they only differ in cosmetics and tonearm. Personally, I prefer the look of the Hitachi overall. But, this is a fantastic turntable.

Built by CEC for Radio Shack, this is a lovely direct drive table that probably features "Hitachi Uni-torque motor." It's your typical semi-automatic, 2-speed turntable. Built quality is one of the nicest you can get. Though, it is not real wood veneer but, vinyl wrapped, it is certainly quite thick. The knobs, if I am not mistaken, are aluminum.

It also has the neat "lead-in" assist when you bring the tonearm to the platter. When you bring the needle to the platter there is a mechanism that engages and pulls it towards the inner groove of the record. It's nice and it's pretty neat!

This originally came with the original headshell and the re-badged Shure M91E the R1000E. The original stylus was broken so, we had to get a new aftermarket needle. Shures are definitely one of my favorite cartridges of all time.

Sadly, there is no web links for this deck. But, you can always look up the Hitachi PS-48.

Thorens TD-318 MKI Turntable

This particular generation of Thorens are one of my favorites. The newly designed suspension and the removal of the sub-chassis makes it a winner, in my humblest opinion. For one, you can adjust the suspension is easier to adjust and second of all the tonearm and platter share the same platform like the AR The Turntable, the HK T60C and various others. This means it's far easier to swap tonearms, if desired.

These two features and the fact the plinth is better built than the older Thorens makes this table better than the TD-160/165/145/146/147, again, in my opinion. However, there are some added bonuses for the TD-160 but, I don't think majority of people will care e.g. bigger bearing. The ability of having an automatic lift at the end of the record is also a bonus. Oh, and way better hinges than some of the older Thorens.

Now the styling isn't for everything but, I like this cleaner and sleeker look. It's not entirely retro (all wood) and not entirely modern. Though, it looks more modern than retro. This one is black but, I think it came in 2 more colours or so. However, sometimes these tables are overlooked because they're not the TD-160.

Alright, let's get back to the specifications. The TD-318 MKI uses the TP-21 tonearm, which is is an updates TP-11 and it's variants. This one has both anti-skate weights. The headshell is removable but, not as easy for plug and play over the older headshells. The plinth is MDF which is less resonate than the older "box" plinth. The electronic shut off is nice (which also engages the auto-lift) and has a separate power supply unit (aka wall-wart).

Like the TD-280 and TD-165 series, the sub-platter is a resin, which some like and some don't. I think it's perfectly fine. Resin doesn't resonate as much as the aluminum version and it is lighter.

The previous owner has gotten some modification. Out was the old soldered in RCA cables and in was the RCA jack at the rear of the table. This actually has two ground points. The original, which comes from the tonearm, to the spindle well and out and the new one that is directly off the tonearm. This means you can either use the original ground cable with higher end RCA cables or all three.

There is nothing bad I could say about this table in terms of performance. I've equipped this table with a Shure M91 aka Realistic R1000 and put a new aftermarket stylus. A new belt from Germany, a good servicing and quick polishing of the dustcover and it's ready to go!

Additional Link!

Sanyo TP-1020 Turntable

That's right, I got myself a Sanyo! It's actually not a bad unit when you start stripping it down. I know, the overall black motif isn't awe-inspiring but, it is quite the performer. It's definitely better built than some other turntable I've come across. The motor, especially, is quite good.

So, what can I say about this Sanyo? Well, it's definitely a CEC built table. Apparently, it as a twin called the Grundig PS-1020, tonearm looks different but, probably performs the same. It's your typical Japanese made direct drive turntable, 2-speed, pitch control and automatic return/reject (semi-automatic). It was a quite easy to work, everything was laid out nicely and everything was within reach to get too. Definitely better built than some of the Japanese turntables of the late 70s and into the 80s.

I think one of the more common features with the Sanyo is the mirror at the base of the platter. It's an inspection mirror for the needle and I like it!

I found the tonearm to be on the heavy side, so I put a nice ADC QLM on it. It's a very underrated turntable and the only down fall is really the name it's associated with and the black motif.

Overall, it's a well made, reliable turntable from Japan, what's not to like about it? I know I like it and more than I thought I would. Granted, I've always have a soft spot for lesser known direct drive tables from Japan, despite, there were only a handful of companies that made turntables.

This is a great starter table.

Additional Link!