My "new" Garrard 401

take5

Wammer
Wammer
Jul 17, 2008
4,472
152
0
lancs
AKA
brian
At last, I now have my Garrard 401 up and running. Im very pleased.

Patience is not normally my strong point, but I have been waiting for this moment for about 1 year now.

It started when I went up to Blackpool to visit Stewartwen. He has a fantastic sounding 401. The seed was sown. Then Geoff/Oldius invited me over to listen to his turntables. The 401 was the winner again, from the fantastic collection of T/T's that he has.

So, I decided to have one sometime. I even bought the arm to go with it. An SME 3012. It was local and cheap, so nothing to lose.

Into 2013, at Scalford. I am blown away with the sounds coming from Doms 401 based system. A few weeks later, Geoff has a Bake off. Again the 401 does it for me. Thats it. no more messing. Get a 401.

I would never buy anything like this blind, from eBay, so limit my search to local. I get as far as going to see 2, but both times I was dealing with blaggers, who were "economical with the truth". I walk away, twice.

3rd time lucky. An honest seller. I buy a really nice one.

I start a thread looking for advice about arms to go with it. A few folks mention Audio origami 12" PU7. So , it is on my "look out for" list. Then one pops up here on the Wam. Part of a complete system. I am lucky enough to get it. :love:

Next I need a plinth. A wanted ad here finds someone local to me selling a mint condition plinth. The seller only bought it at the end of last year, from Russ Collinson. But he decided that he really wanted a 301, so this plinth was for sale.

His plinth ticked all the boxes for me. I wanted a dark plinth to show off the chrome finish on the PU7. This plinth was "Macassar Ebony". A dark wood with a lovely grain running through it. To my eyes, just beautiful.

It came with 3 armboards. One each for SME 9" and 12", plus a blank. Perfect for my needs, given the arms that I had. So, I bought it. :love:

The 401 was in fantastic condition, but hadnt left the room that the dealer had set it up in 48 years ago. It needed a service. Mathew at Audio Grail was very kind to me, and helped me with the things I should think about changing.

Then 2 local wammers offered to come here to help set it up. A huge thanks to Alf and Steve for TWO visits and help and advice. Fantastic.

Initially it was to just have a look at the way it worked. Basically, we put some oil in the bearing, put it in the plinth, put a plug on and started it. Happy days.

The plan was to put the SME 12" on initially. But I hadnt realised that I needed a spacer to do this. They left and I got onto buying the spacer and some screws etc. At least the turntable was spinning.

They came back 2 days ago and set up the arm and cartridge. (Cadenza Black)

It sounds really nice. So, basically, it is still working with all the original parts, from 1965. :^

I recognise that it will be better with a service and by replacing the parts that Mathew highlighted. The logic is obvious.. BUT... I wanted to hear it, NOW !!

For the meantime I have the turntable up and running and sounds great. There is no noise from it at all.

Oh ok, if you put your ear right next to the platter you can hear the faintest little noise. (It sounds like a little voice say "change the idler wheel", but I cant be certain as it is so faint :) )

From 2 ft away, nothing. Not bad for a 48 year old piece of engineering.

I wont be selling this, so someday, I will have work done to it. For the moment, I just want to enjoy it.

It sounds nice with the SME on it, so I am going to live with that for a while, just to experience the 3012. Eventually, I will get the armboard cut for the PU7 and put that on it. It will be an interesting change over.

There you are. I hope I convey how delighted I am.

I dont have a camera to post any pics. But Im hosting a Bakeoff in a few weks and hopefully some pictures will emerge then.

 

kneesup

Wammer
Wammer
Jan 26, 2013
779
25
48
Wiltshire
AKA
Richard
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I love this post. It's really well written and sums up perfectly the good fortune and pleasure that can be had from focus and passion and discernment. Three vital qualities in this audio game. It makes me really happy just reading it, because it's all so 'right'. And 'meant to be'. I hope I manage to follow suit in my audio quest. Thanks for sharing such a terrific story.

At last, I now have my Garrard 401 up and running. Im very pleased. Patience is not normally my strong point, but I have been waiting for this moment for about 1 year now.

It started when I went up to Blackpool to visit Stewartwen. He has a fantastic sounding 401. The seed was sown. Then Geoff/Oldius invited me over to listen to his turntables. The 401 was the winner again, from the fantastic collection of T/T's that he has.

So, I decided to have one sometime. I even bought the arm to go with it. An SME 3012. It was local and cheap, so nothing to lose.

Into 2013, at Scalford. I am blown away with the sounds coming from Doms 401 based system. A few weeks later, Geoff has a Bake off. Again the 401 does it for me. Thats it. no more messing. Get a 401.

I would never buy anything like this blind, from eBay, so limit my search to local. I get as far as going to see 2, but both times I was dealing with blaggers, who were "economical with the truth". I walk away, twice.

3rd time lucky. An honest seller. I buy a really nice one.

I start a thread looking for advice about arms to go with it. A few folks mention Audio origami 12" PU7. So , it is on my "look out for" list. Then one pops up here on the Wam. Part of a complete system. I am lucky enough to get it. :love:

Next I need a plinth. A wanted ad here finds someone local to me selling a mint condition plinth. The seller only bought it at the end of last year, from Russ Collinson. But he decided that he really wanted a 301, so this plinth was for sale.

His plinth ticked all the boxes for me. I wanted a dark plinth to show off the chrome finish on the PU7. This plinth was "Macassar Ebony". A dark wood with a lovely grain running through it. To my eyes, just beautiful.

It came with 3 armboards. One each for SME 9" and 12", plus a blank. Perfect for my needs, given the arms that I had. So, I bought it. :love:

The 401 was in fantastic condition, but hadnt left the room that the dealer had set it up in 48 years ago. It needed a service. Mathew at Audio Grail was very kind to me, and helped me with the things I should think about changing.

Then 2 local wammers offered to come here to help set it up. A huge thanks to Alf and Steve for TWO visits and help and advice. Fantastic.

Initially it was to just have a look at the way it worked. Basically, we put some oil in the bearing, put it in the plinth, put a plug on and started it. Happy days.

The plan was to put the SME 12" on initially. But I hadnt realised that I needed a spacer to do this. They left and I got onto buying the spacer and some screws etc. At least the turntable was spinning.

They came back 2 days ago and set up the arm and cartridge. (Cadenza Black)

It sounds really nice. So, basically, it is still working with all the original parts, from 1965. :^

I recognise that it will be better with a service and by replacing the parts that Mathew highlighted. The logic is obvious.. BUT... I wanted to hear it, NOW !!

For the meantime I have the turntable up and running and sounds great. There is no noise from it at all.

Oh ok, if you put your ear right next to the platter you can hear the faintest little noise. (It sounds like a little voice say "change the idler wheel", but I cant be certain as it is so faint :) )

From 2 ft away, nothing. Not bad for a 48 year old piece of engineering.

I wont be selling this, so someday, I will have work done to it. For the moment, I just want to enjoy it.

It sounds nice with the SME on it, so I am going to live with that for a while, just to experience the 3012. Eventually, I will get the armboard cut for the PU7 and put that on it. It will be an interesting change over.

There you are. I hope I convey how delighted I am.

I dont have a camera to post any pics. But Im hosting a Bakeoff in a few weks and hopefully some pictures will emerge then.
 

AGrail

Wammer
Wammer
Aug 15, 2009
2,660
103
108
Devon
Great news! Getting to know the unit before servicing / changes is certainly the way to go and gives insight into maintenance in the future. Sounds like you found a nice one there. Looking forward to the images. The PU7 will make a very positive improvement over the 3012 :cool:

 

oldius

Moderator
Staff member
Dec 30, 2008
7,052
5,098
158
Liverpool
AKA
Geoff
HiFi Trade?
  1. Yes
Great stuff Brian. I'm not going to be able to make the bake off but no doubt we'll get together soon. Thanks for the kind words and enjoy the 401.

 

take5

Wammer
Wammer
Jul 17, 2008
4,472
152
0
lancs
AKA
brian
Thanks for your positve feedback guys

l do enjoy a thread where someone has found their hifi holy grail
Andy, this phrase worries me and makes me feel all nervous. Im not actually looking for my "Holy Grail".... yet.

The problem is that I dont yet have enough Hi Fi experience to know if I am there. I intend to get that experience by buying/trying lots of stuff. Im having a great time learning as I go.

I probably wont sell this Garrard as it is a nice example, with the potential to be better. So, it may be my final turntable when I reach my dotage. Who knows.

But, in the meantime there are others that I want to try, and others out there that I dont know yet, that I will want to try.

Heres an analogy. I am a sax player. I spent 25 years looking for the Holy Grail of saxes. I now have a collection of what folks think of as the "Holy Grail". They are all the same brand, just different vintages. Guess what, they are all similar but slightly different, with positives and negatives.

My thinking changed, and I realised that it was best for me to just pick one and really get to know it. It worked, and for 5 years or so now I havent changed saxes. Guess what again, my tone is the best it has ever been. The others just sit in boxes, sometimes coming out when other sax players are here.

The point? Sometimes you have to go through a process, in order to find what is best. To find out what the Holy Grail is.

Ask me about my final turntable in about 15 years. I may well have an answer. But, maybe not.

 

take5

Wammer
Wammer
Jul 17, 2008
4,472
152
0
lancs
AKA
brian
I could do with some advice regarding my 401.

But rather than start a new thread, I thought I would just tag onto this thread.

I have the original rubber mat on it. I understand that I can do better. Any thoughts on options.

Rubber, felt, cork, metal (gold coloured), others ????

 

Vinyl Art

Wammer
Wammer
Feb 13, 2010
12,480
191
0
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I like the gunmetal job from pure sound. Might have one in time for the bakeoff. Just have Doms here at the mo.

The Audio Technica mat hat smeagol has was also impressive.

I have one of those thin discs with a number of small supports on it. Dont know what it's called but will bring that with me so you can try it.

 

Tarzan

Wammer
Wammer
Aug 13, 2007
8,875
1,845
143
Hornchurch, England
AKA
Andy
HiFi Trade?
  1. Yes
Thanks for your positve feedback guysAndy, this phrase worries me and makes me feel all nervous. Im not actually looking for my "Holy Grail".... yet.

The problem is that I dont yet have enough Hi Fi experience to know if I am there. I intend to get that experience by buying/trying lots of stuff. Im having a great time learning as I go.

I probably wont sell this Garrard as it is a nice example, with the potential to be better. So, it may be my final turntable when I reach my dotage. Who knows.

But, in the meantime there are others that I want to try, and others out there that I dont know yet, that I will want to try.

Heres an analogy. I am a sax player. I spent 25 years looking for the Holy Grail of saxes. I now have a collection of what folks think of as the "Holy Grail". They are all the same brand, just different vintages. Guess what, they are all similar but slightly different, with positives and negatives.

My thinking changed, and I realised that it was best for me to just pick one and really get to know it. It worked, and for 5 years or so now I havent changed saxes. Guess what again, my tone is the best it has ever been. The others just sit in boxes, sometimes coming out when other sax players are here.

The point? Sometimes you have to go through a process, in order to find what is best. To find out what the Holy Grail is.

Ask me about my final turntable in about 15 years. I may well have an answer. But, maybe not.
Lol just enjoy it Brian! :)

 

oldius

Moderator
Staff member
Dec 30, 2008
7,052
5,098
158
Liverpool
AKA
Geoff
HiFi Trade?
  1. Yes
Brian I have had the rubber mat, the Loricraft dual layer cork composite and now an XTM acrylic mat. Honestly, I can hear little difference between them so I have chosen the one that looks best! I remember Loricraft recommending that the two layers of cork should not be joined together or it would impair the sound quality; so would not sticking them together and having a layer of cork ripping off your cantilever as it statically welds itself to your records! I glued them together and noticed no change whatsoever in sound.

Perhaps I have lost my golden ears but the tinkering around the edges holds little appeal to me anymore. Just sit back and enjoy a deck that still holds it's own fifty years after it was made. There is something beautiful about spinning Coltrane on a deck from an era steeped in smoky, jazz club ambiance.

 

AGrail

Wammer
Wammer
Aug 15, 2009
2,660
103
108
Devon
I've had: Leather, Cork, Ringmat, Acrylic, Glass, Aluminum, silicone, rubber Original, Pure sound Rubato (Copper) and Pure sound Tenuto (Gun Metal) on several 301's and 401's - I can say without hesitation a 1mm silicone mat on top of the main platter topped with the Tenuto Gun Metal Platter is my preferred choice (Copper Rubato second).

 

divedeepdog

Wammer
Wammer
Aug 13, 2011
1,377
571
143
notts/derby
AKA
mark
HiFi Trade?
  1. Yes
  2. No
I've got a Funk Acromat and a glass mat (2 decks) on the other. Would like to try copper, and keep looking at DIY, but not taken the plunge yet :geek:

 

old_school

Wammer
Wammer
Dec 8, 2011
389
3
0
London
AKA
Jay
I found the platter would "sing" without a mat, or with a thin mat that didn't damp it. I've used a TTWeights copper/maple laminate mat, the original rubber, and now a SoundDampedSteel mat with a thin foam pad. I haven't done a proper mat bake-off though, but I've preferred the mats that damped the ring of the platter, so something a bit heavy.

 

anubisgrau

Wammer
Wammer
Oct 23, 2006
3,800
28
0
Belgrade Serbia
AKA
Gordan
an interesting talk, as i've just put my 401 in work this afternoon, trying to analyze all the weak spots of the deck. the platter should be obviously targeted as it rings badly.

i hoped it would be possible to make an aftermarket platter as i've had a great recent experience with such a product for kuzma stabi s which elevated the performance of the deck into a completely different category. however given the 401 spindle/platter arrangement i don't think it would be an easy and affordable job. i will try to persuade the manufacturer of stabi s platter which is a alloy-acrylic sandwich to make a mat for 401 along the same principles so hopefully some of the resonances will be damped.

by the way, a question about 401 speed stability. the stroboscope shows a stable speed only when the pitch control is in minus (say 11 o'clock).

does this signalize anything worrying - except a possible grid voltage variation to the original one the 401's motor is made for?

 

Plato

Wammer
Wammer
Jan 14, 2009
1,225
15
0
, ,
Brian, lovely story, and I'm glad it's been worth it for you.

I'm sorry I shall not be there to admire it.

Another day perhaps.

Plato

 

AGrail

Wammer
Wammer
Aug 15, 2009
2,660
103
108
Devon
an interesting talk, as i've just put my 401 in work this afternoon, trying to analyze all the weak spots of the deck. the platter should be obviously targeted as it rings badly. i hoped it would be possible to make an aftermarket platter as i've had a great recent experience with such a product for kuzma stabi s which elevated the performance of the deck into a completely different category. however given the 401 spindle/platter arrangement i don't think it would be an easy and affordable job. i will try to persuade the manufacturer of stabi s platter which is a alloy-acrylic sandwich to make a mat for 401 along the same principles so hopefully some of the resonances will be damped.

by the way, a question about 401 speed stability. the stroboscope shows a stable speed only when the pitch control is in minus (say 11 o'clock).

does this signalize anything worrying - except a possible grid voltage variation to the original one the 401's motor is made for?
It is worth noting that the platter is not only damped by the mat but also the idler wheel to some extent when engaged.

THe speed stability can be adjusted further by lowering the magnet:



 

Forum statistics

Threads
113,744
Messages
2,433,676
Members
70,285
Latest member
akash011

Latest Articles