graham67

Lockdown Technics refurb

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Here are some pics of the very handy Audio Origami spacers re-machined by Angus to match the profile of the MS-9 headshell.

With a 5mm mat and the low profile AT headshell, a 1mm spacer was needed with the 150Sa cart.

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Edited by graham67

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Thanks to Angus for expertly rewiring the tonearm and for recapping the PCB.  Also thanks to Robin (Wizmax) for collecting and delivering this deck to me pre covid.

Now all I need is some flight cases and a couple of Stanton 500s and international DJ stardom beckons 😉

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Edited by graham67
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Posted (edited)

One advantage of a detachable headshell is that trying cartridges out becomes very easy.

This rather unassuming looking cart is the Technics EPC-270C.   With its elastoplast beige body and clashing green stylus assembly its never going to win any cartridge catwalk contests.

It came with the Technics Q202, probably fitted as an upgrade by the original owner. I am not sure which brand the fitted stylus is, its not an original Technics, but looks like a decent quality item unlike some of the generics.

After cleaning it up and giving the stylus a careful brush with fluid, I mounted it in the original Technics head which makes alignment very easy as the cart attaches to a sled that only moves back and forth and cannot be twisted.  

Next came a good going over with the HFN test record.  Recommended VTF is 1.75g, I settled on 1.8g.  It tracks very well managing the first 3 bias tracks with only a small amount of distortion. Resonance was 11Hz, so perfectly designed for the Technics arm. The lighter cart weight also meant I didn't have to fit the extra counterweight.

Satisfied that the stylus still seemed in good nick and wasn't going to ruin my records, I let it loose on some real albums.  Once again, I was reminded how good vinyl replay had become in the late 70s and how little things have moved on since.

This cart manages to be have that appealing 70s warmth and musicality while also having great rhythm and a powerful dynamic presentation.  It obviously doesn't have the ultimate detail or gut busting bass of a high quality MC, but all the important bits are present and it has a lovely even balance. Treble is very open for an MM but at the cost of a touch of sibilance, mainly on hotter cuts (though this could also be due to stylus wear)

Despite the occasionally exposed top end, I found it better suited the inbuilt phono stage of the YBA amplifier whose slightly dry tone complemented the warmer cart presentation.  Into the valve P10, it had bigger scale but could sound a bit rich.

Its good enough that I am thinking of getting a genuine Nagoaka stylus and using it for non critical listening.  I would also love to hear a Jico SAS stylus but that would cost more than the turntable 😄.

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Edited by graham67

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Posted (edited)

This is a 150 I tidied up a couple of years ago. I am trying it with a Rega 251 that I sent to Angus who replaced the dismal cart clips with good quality Cardas clips.

I have fitted the AT-150SA cart which proved a real pain to install on the Rega arm.  The counterweight is Michel Technoweight which suits the industrial look of the deck. I have removed the cosmetic stub cap to allow the lid to close.

One item I find invaluable is a keystrobe for setting the run speed.  Unlike the platter strobe which does drift it is not affected by mains fluctuations.  Fortunately the recapped motor board is not impacted by these variations so the platter keeps steady speed once set and no adjustments seem to be needed day to day.20200927_143607_copy_604x453.jpg

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Edited by graham67

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One tip I received from Angus is to use the 60hz setting on the keystrobe which gives true 45rpm unlike the 50hz setting which is a little slow IIRC.

I always used to change the brake on the Garrard when swapping from 33 to 45 to get the platter strobe stable.  In fact what I was doing was making it incorrect.  With the keystrobe I can see that the speed is correct on both 33 and 45 on the same brake setting.

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Posted (edited)

Update on the EPC-270C.  I purchased a genuine Nagaoka stylus for this cart.  Nagaoka supplied the original stylus (and I can only assume the cart body too).  Visually the stylus assembly is a different bluish colour and it has ridges on side to help grip the stylus.

Setup was easy, as it tracks brilliantly, as good as my upmarket ATs. Interestingly, compliance was higher than the non genuine stylus,  resonance being lower at 7-9hz. 

Although I am sure it will benefit from some running in, it sounds substantially smoother than the aftermarket stylus.  The sibilance is absent, and the midrange fuller and warmer and bass is richer. It has a generous presentation but is not as obviously transparent as my ATs.  It will be interesting to see how it develops with a few hours.

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Edited by graham67
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Super Wammer

Great work. I wish that I had your skills Graham. 

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Thanks Dom!  Actually I think anyone with an ounce of mechanical sympathy could work on a midrange 70/80s Technics, the engineering is top quality and its designed to come apart and go back together again.  As mentioned earlier it's like Meccano for grown ups.

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We await your next project Graham.:^

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Hi Andy, got another couple in the pipeline,  so will post more when I finally get around to them , unfortunately work gets in the way at times 🙂

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On 10/10/2020 at 20:18, graham67 said:

Hi Andy, got another couple in the pipeline,  so will post more when I finally get around to them , unfortunately work gets in the way at times 🙂

:pop: :P:)

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Another wet weekend so time for some TT fettling in the form of J1 intended as an Xmas gift for a complete vinyl newbie.
 
The service was pretty much the same as I performed on the J1 that Richard (Lostwin) very kindly donated early last year for my daughter so I won't go into great detail. In summary, I cleaned and regreased/ reoiled the arm mech, cleaned and reoiled the bearing  cleaned up the chassis and interior, polished the lid and front panel, cleaned switches and contacts and adjusted the arm set down points. 
 
One strange thing I noticed was that the centre channel under the arm was full of grease despite no contact in this area. The arm mech moves over this channel suspended from the rail with just 2 round glides that contact the tracks either side of the channel. These had obviously never been lubed so I applied two lines of grease here. I also fitted new arm and platter belts from Thakker and swapped in a AT85EP cart, one of the few T4P carts still made.
 
It performs perfectly, including all automatic functions and the rather remarkable track search features. It is pretty cool to cue up a track by pushing a couple of buttons. The speed is very stable and doesn't need adjustment once set.
 
As I was in the groove i turned my attention to the first J1 I worked on. As previously mentioned it had an occasional pitch instability which I couldn't solve. It possibly required a board recap but could be something else. Fortunately I was able to locate another J1 which had sustained some physical damage causing misaligned hinges/lid. This is critical on these linear trackers as the arm mech is in the lid.  However the speed was constant and all the functions worked so I set to work using this as a donor for my daughters J1.
 
It was a bit like performing open heart surgery with all the motor, PSU and PCB removed and laid out in front of me.  The donor machine was a year younger (1985) and I noticed that Technics had improved the bearing fitting a two piece brass/steel spindle so I swapped this in too.
 
Fortunately the swap worked as planned and the refreshed J1 now works well.
 
Sonically these decks belie their humble stack hifi roots I was able to compare this to an SL-150 using the same Ortofon stylus as I have both 1/2" and P mount bodies to hand. The J1 is noticeably more airy and a bit more forward. I suspect it is deliberately so to match the bass enhanced, treble limited stack systems of the day. As it has RCA outputs I hooked it upto my main system using a decent oyaide tonearm cable.  Its upbeat presentation worked very well with the big JBLs and I think it will work very well with the tabletop speaker it will be used with which has a rather warm full balance typical of such devices.

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Edited by graham67
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I swapped the PCB, motor, PSU, socket and lid open switch from the donor machine to my daughters J1.

This image shows the "Ooh-err" moment when one wonders if either machine will ever be made to work again 🥴.  Donor machine is on the right.

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Edited by graham67

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10 hours ago, graham67 said:

I swapped the PCB, motor, PSU, socket and lid open switch from the donor machine to my daughters J1.

This image shows the "Ooh-err" moment when one wonders if either machine will ever be made to work again 🥴.  Donor machine is on the right.

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You are a brave soul.

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This is the ortofon p mount cart i fitted to the J1 as a bit of an experiment. A huge  step up on the previous p mounts i have tried.  Its slightly more mature presentation really suits the upbeat J1. This is a nos OM20 which had higher compliance and 1.25g VTF to suit all T4P decks 

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I also tried it in the 1510, again a very nice match and probably the best result of all the various carts I have tried.  Unlike many heavier modern carts, there is no need to resort to extra counterweights, and its well controlled top end avoids any treble tizz in the stock arm.   I think this (or at least a similar OM stylus) will be the keeper cart in the 1510.  With its DJ roots, it also looks perfect on a Techie.

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Edited by graham67

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