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Tim
29-03-2014, 20:12
Garrard Model 401 Transcription Turntable - #17XXX

This was supposed to be my 6,000th post, but I missed it posting something curmudgeonly elsewhere! Anyway, hopefully a little more interesting than my usual album cover in Spinning Today? I'm not entirely sure what I'm letting myself in for and this isn't intended as a replacement for my file based audio system, more an addition to allow me to play the few records I have retained from the 70's and give me access to new vinyl which frequently pops up at gigs these days and the yearly RSD . . . a TT needs to be a good performer to live next to my music server so hopefully this won't disappoint . . . anyway, here goes ;)

http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w63/greatgig/P1020805_zpsd7fbd576.jpg (http://s173.photobucket.com/user/greatgig/media/P1020805_zpsd7fbd576.jpg.html)

I recently stumbled across this and some might say it had my name on it? I'm still contemplating where to steer the project, but my current favoured option is a full restoration by Audio Grail, possibly a custom designed plinth and a service/upgrade for the SME 3009. I'm also considering a Jelco SA-750, which may suit my vision for the overall finished look of the deck. I envisage a modern appearance, rather than keeping its vintage/retro looks, so a modern arm won't look out of place. I want this to be sleek and minimalist. If I do go for a Jelco 750, should I opt for a 9" or 10" arm, I don't want 12" . . . what do you think guys?

I anticipate this being a long project and it has to be right, because its hopefully a keeper. I'll add to the thread when anything new or interesting occurs, which should prove useful not only for me, but for others interested in doing something similar, so I encourage comment as there is no doubt AoS is a conduit into a vast wealth of knowledge and experience and the willingness of its members to pitch in and help out is exceptional.

Here's how it looks right now;

http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w63/greatgig/P1020806_zpsd84e035d.jpg (http://s173.photobucket.com/user/greatgig/media/P1020806_zpsd84e035d.jpg.html)

The control plate is good, no scratches with all lettering visible, just a layer of grime and some fingerprints.

http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w63/greatgig/P1020809_zps108f9ba3.jpg (http://s173.photobucket.com/user/greatgig/media/P1020809_zps108f9ba3.jpg.html)

http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w63/greatgig/P1020811_zpsc1cdb6fc.jpg (http://s173.photobucket.com/user/greatgig/media/P1020811_zpsc1cdb6fc.jpg.html)

http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w63/greatgig/P1020813_zps5d1409b2.jpg (http://s173.photobucket.com/user/greatgig/media/P1020813_zps5d1409b2.jpg.html)

Overall it seems a good example for its age, as its one of the early flush strobe models with raised lettering and a serial number commencing 17XXX - I believe its from around 1968~70. I have yet to power it up as I want to give it a once over first, but it'll be tested soon. There is however one issue which will need addressing . . . some bright spark hacked a small corner from the right rear of the chassis (see above) fitting the arm, which will require a repair or replacement. I favour a repair as I would like to retain as much of the original deck as possible and its only a small section – does anyone have any comments or advice regarding how to approach this? I might try to tackle this myself and then have the deck professionally powder coated or maybe a wet paint finish. I'm considering black or gunmetal grey, as opposed to keeping the muddy brown default colour.

http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w63/greatgig/P1020817_zpsd30385c8.jpg (http://s173.photobucket.com/user/greatgig/media/P1020817_zpsd30385c8.jpg.html)

The underside base plate is clean with all linkages in good order and operating smoothly. The motor housing has no visible signs of corrosion and even the rubber isolator sleeves on the motor springs don't appear perished. The platter strobe markings are also clearly defined.

http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w63/greatgig/P1020821_zps34355afa.jpg (http://s173.photobucket.com/user/greatgig/media/P1020821_zps34355afa.jpg.html)

The idler wheel looks to be in good order and might just need a clean, lubrication and re-dressing. The spindle is steady without any lateral play and I have taken the bottom plate off the spindle housing to inspect the spindle itself and that too seems in good order, as is the thrust plate. Its been lubricated and the bearing is oiled and the oil retaining spindle felt pad/washer is damp, so it appears the last owner looked after it.

http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w63/greatgig/P1020822_zps429eab48.jpg (http://s173.photobucket.com/user/greatgig/media/P1020822_zps429eab48.jpg.html)

The plinth material/design is not yet finalised and likely the most crucial element. A lot will depend on where the unit eventually ends up. I currently favour a slate plinth for the claimed sonic benefits of using such a high mass material, which makes sense to me, however I've been reading some opinions stating that slate isn't the be all and end all (Loricraft for one), but Hi-Fi preferences always seem to divide opinion. If this ends up in my main living space, wood might be more visually appealing and I really like the RFC plinth with its flush fitting of the deck. Aesthetics are an important consideration and it will have to ‘look right’ if its going to be sat in my living room. Additionally, a stone or slate plinth will be heavy, so it might not work where I want to place it. I also want the plinth to be individual, rather than something off the shelf, but cost might be the limiting factor here. Ideally this will end up being a one off restoration, rather than a carbon copy of another restored 401, but at this point I don't have a firm budget, so its fluid and may change. I'm very impressed by the Classic Turntable Company 301 with the solid chassis, which turns a 401 into a 301 and folk seem to like them a lot. There are certainly a lot of 401's in Google images, so plenty of inspiration out there and plenty to confuse me too!

The arm if retained will probably go to Johnnie at Audio Origami for a service and rewire. As for a cartridge . . . . well that’s a minefield I intend avoiding until everything else is taken care of. I quite favour an Ortofon SPU but may start off with a Denon DL-103 . . . some help and direction will be needed here, as I've been out of the turntable game for around 30 years now.

To recap the pertinent points being considered;


Retain/service the 3009 or fit a Jelco 750 - bearing in mind the proposed modern appearance of the finished restoration
If a Jelco arm, 9" or 10"
Best way to repair the cut corner of the chassis
Powder coat or wet paint finish
Black, gunmetal grey or original Garrard brown paint job
Plinth material - slate or wood


If anyone has any thoughts or advice be they positive or negative do pitch in, as feedback is a gift . . . . and watch this space, but don’t get the popcorn out just yet guys, as I anticipate this might take awhile!

chelsea
29-03-2014, 20:30
Very nice.
For looks i'd stay with sme as it looks right with a 301/401 IMO.
For sounds i'd go with the jelco.

I use an audio grail 301 and would say go for it.

Just got a cheap solid wood plinth cheap off ebay.
The biggest problem with the old garrards were the cheap hollow plinths.
I'd stay with the original colour.

Mine;

http://i1222.photobucket.com/albums/dd493/pilpil2/gwp002.jpg

Barry
29-03-2014, 20:36
Looks like you have an interesting project there Tim!

I can't give you any advice concerning the deck itself, as I have no direct experience of them - but I can discuss the arm and potential cartridge.

The SME 3009/S2 II arm, you have is still a very good arm and is extremely versatile. If it were me, I would have it serviced by AO and possibly adapted to use RCA phono connectors. Ideally you will need to get yourself the SME P1 tonearm spacer, otherwise when fitted with a deep cartridge, the arm pillar will be at its maximum height (as yours is), yet may not allow correct VTA.

Don't use the 5-pin DIN socket for the arm connections; run the leads directly up to the amp.

As to choice of cartridge, well the SPU is very heavy and some arms may not be able to provide sufficient counterbalance. The SME can and does (I use one in my SME arm, which is identical to yours). If you go for the Denon, then most people would advise you to fit the 103 into a more massive headshell than the SME S2 design.

So my advice is to keep the SME arm and have it fettled (possibly add the FD200 damping dashpot). A Garrard 401 wouldn't look "right" without one!

Congratulations on the 6,000 posts! (No doubt you will be celebrating by seeing Kate Bush.)

Tim
29-03-2014, 21:07
So my advice is to keep the SME arm and have it fettled (possibly add the FD200 damping dashpot). A Garrard 401 wouldn't look "right" without one!
I have to admit, that's what my heart is telling me Barry and I expect André will give me a spanking for even thinking about a Jelco! I guess I don't have to rush into anything and might just get the arm fettled anyway.

Those are nice clean lines there Stu with your 301.

The Barbarian
30-03-2014, 00:25
Tim
That plinth looks so cool id get the deck serviced/arm serviced ignore the plinth bull you might get bombarded with. Never ever will i part with my SME '3009', well maybe just two of em :lol:

;)

btw: if that deck is holding speed straight away id concentrate on the arm service first.

Audio Al
30-03-2014, 05:16
Tim

Does this need restoring ?

The condition look amazing

If it were me , I would send it in for a full service and Mot too the TT and arm , New plinth of your choice , Job done then ENJOY ;)

Tim
30-03-2014, 07:23
Does this need restoring ?
That's a good point Al, if it wasn't for that darned chunk taken out of the chassis, I would say it didn't need much doing other than a strip and lubrication of the motor assembly and spindle bearing, followed by a good clean and polish - it is in pretty good order. Its the arm that probably needs most work.

John
30-03-2014, 07:34
Tim try and find a few guys who have a 401 here it as many combinations as you can and then decide as to plinth arm etc
Everyone will have their own preferences and you really owe to to yourself to get that TT sounding how you want it to sound

Tim
30-03-2014, 07:42
Tim try and find a few guys who have a 401 here it as many combinations as you can and then decide as to plinth arm etc
Everyone will have their own preferences and you really owe to to yourself to get that TT sounding how you want it to sound
Thanks John, very sound advice. I stumbled across Dom and Natalie's forum recently (Garrardmatters.com) and think I should join that. It seems there are quite a few folk from AoS that visit, so I wouldn't feel like a total newbie there.

Ali Tait
30-03-2014, 07:49
I haven't heard a 401 in any of the commercial wooden plinths, but I can say my 401 sounds great in it's slate plinth. I recall hearing Nick's SP10 in it's wooden plinth, and then later in it's slate one, and it was far better in the slate.

John
30-03-2014, 08:00
Yes Dom site is pretty good (I used to go Dom site but not visited in a long time) and lots of people with lots of experience around the 401 on it. I think Dom really like what slate does and would have some interesting views around arm and cartridge combinations. I heard a few slates and wooden plinths on the 401 I personally have a slight preference for slate but could quite happily live with both. I found Loricraft to be really pushy when trying to deal with them in the past and to be honest their approach just put me off dealing with them as they were far to heavy handed. Also it is worth speaking to Ali and Clive around their experience with slate

NRG
30-03-2014, 08:54
^^^^
What Andre said in post #5 & Al in #6, the arm and deck go together. A 103 on a 3009 is a no-no in my book, look for an alternative higher compliance cartridge. :)

Tim
30-03-2014, 08:57
Tim
That plinth looks so cool . . .
Sadly that's the thing I dislike the most André, sorry fella but that definitely has to go.

:sofa:

I'm going to switch her on shortly, I have a new power cord and I've just done a thorough visual inspection, checked the electrical connections and earth, all seems fine.

REXTON
30-03-2014, 08:59
Tim,

If you dont intend getting your hand dirty and completely dismantling the whole deck then I would do the following.

1. The 3009 is a keeper, send it recorded delivery to Audio Origami, get them to completely overhaul it, its worth the money and only need to be done once.
2. If you dont like the plinth, ditch it, or buy a Moldovan plinth, I have one of these and it's as near to Shindo as your going to get! I have heard of a guy in Manchester
making similar plinths but cheaper, you would have to seek him out.
3. Have you consider buy a high quality paint restoration kit and trying to clean the chasis?? I might work out cheaper and you get to keep the deck 100% original.
4. The cart is your own personal preference, what about something truly retro like a Shure V III, maybe with a JICO stylus?
5. Most people suggest a light power chord. I personally would ditch the IEC, some folks like them, I dont.
6. With regards slate or birch ply? Again personal preference, I prefer birch ply. The characteristics are predictable to some extent. Sonically some prefer slate, again I didnt.

Just a few thoughts.

AlfaGTV
30-03-2014, 09:39
^^^^
What Andre said in post #5 & Al in #6, the arm and deck go together. A 103 on a 3009 is a no-no in my book, look for an alternative higher compliance cartridge. :)

Basically agreed, but please note the arm in question is a non-improved jobbie, presenting a much better environment for a low compliant cart, than the later 'improved' one.

IME these low compliant carts really perform best with ball bearing based gimbal tone arms...
Or a really 'eavy 12" arm...

Atb Mike

REXTON
30-03-2014, 10:47
I love my SME3012 + 103 setup. :eek: Sounds ace through some big tannoys!!! That should be your next purchase Tim.

NRG
30-03-2014, 12:40
Basically agreed, but please note the arm in question is a non-improved jobbie, presenting a much better environment for a low compliant cart, than the later 'improved' one.

IME these low compliant carts really perform best with ball bearing based gimbal tone arms...
Or a really 'eavy 12" arm...

Atb Mike

Yep good n heavy 12" would do the trick! The non-improved still doesn't have enough effective mass IME, I've tried 'em both ;)

The Barbarian
30-03-2014, 13:55
Ive been using a Goldring 'G900IGC' with the '3009' for the last three days..Got shut of the Shure 'V15/3'

Barry
30-03-2014, 14:07
Yep good n heavy 12" would do the trick! The non-improved still doesn't have enough effective mass IME, I've tried 'em both ;)

Hence my comment about using a heavier headshell. I occasionally use a Denon 103 mounted in a heavy Fidelity Research FR-5 (?) headshell in either the SME 3009 or 3012 arm.

Barry
30-03-2014, 14:11
Ive been using a Goldring 'G900IGC' with the '3009' for the last three days..Got shut of the Shure 'V15/3'

Yes, the Goldring G900 IGC is a bit of a sleeper fixed-coil design. Two other fixed-coil cartridges worth considering (and both better than the V15 III) are the AKG P8ES and the B&O MMC 20 E or MMC 20EN.

walpurgis
30-03-2014, 14:26
Tim, If you're planning a complete strip & repaint, probably the best way to deal with the cut out piece of chassis would be to take it along to an automotive alloy wheel specialist and ask them to 'TIG' weld it and build the alloy back up. Wheel specialists regularly repair cracked alloy wheels and build up missing chunks for refinishing.

Then you can cut, file, grind and sand to shape accordingly. I'd use a high speed mini drill/tool like a Dremel myself. I've got a couple of these types of tools and they are amazingly handy for smallish jobs that require accuracy, rotary cutting tips come in all sorts of profiles.

Tim
30-03-2014, 16:07
Tim, If you're planning a complete strip & repaint, probably the best way to deal with the cut out piece of chassis would be to take it along to an automotive alloy wheel specialist
Thanks Geoff, just what I was after. I did find the below on Friday and thought it was a bit of a wacky idea, but perhaps not? ;)

http://www.ferndownpowdercoatings.co.uk/Services.html

They are not too far from me either, so I think a strip of the chassis is called for and then take it round for them to have a looksee, they can only say no. I have also located a local stonemason, who says he can cut and finish a slate plinth for me. That is most definitely going to be investigated further . . . . I'm quite enjoying this to be frank :eyebrows:

I'm of a mind to 'get my hands dirty' too as Andy says, its years since I have done anything like this, but after hours of research I'm starting to think I can do most of this myself. The only thing I may get done by the professionals is a strip and service of the motor unit, everything else I'm sure I could handle if I take my time and it would give me so much more pleasure knowing I did it myself. I think that's part of the placebo effect with my music server, the knowledge that when I sit there listening to toons I not only saved a bundle of money, but knowing that "I did that", is a very pleasing feeling indeed.

She's a runner too, powered up the deck for the first time today, it spun up cleanly and was up to speed in under 3s, which took less than 40% of a full revolution of the turntable. No apparent problems and operated very quietly with no issues after running for over 30 minutes.

mSCr0XZ3I7Y

walpurgis
30-03-2014, 16:46
Powder coating can look excellent. Bit dubious about people who can't even get the spelling right on a professional advert though. Curb instead of Kerb? Just about every wheel refinisher will offer a powder coating and enamelling service. Prices vary a lot!

Not sure the 401 needs the kind of mass a slate base offers. A multiple ply laminate base looks nicer and should work just fine. There's nothing on the Garrard that you can't do yourself with a bit of research and the right equipment.

REXTON
30-03-2014, 16:48
Tim,

I'd never stripped a deck down before I did my 301, a complete virgin :eek:. The 301 & 401 are not that complicated and you can even do the motor yourself pretty easily.

Tim
30-03-2014, 18:00
See what you guys are making me do . . . and there was me blissfully happy listening to my FLAC files :whistle:

Then again, it was always an intention to get a good TT, but I was going to wait until I retired. Even though I am still a file based audio boy at heart, you absolutely cannot restrict yourself to a single medium if you truly enjoy listening to music, at least that's my view. I still have a small but treasured LP collection, which I have not played since the early 80's, so the time is right for a good TT.

Barry
30-03-2014, 20:29
See what you guys are making me do . . . and there was me blissfully happy listening to my FLAC files :whistle:

Then again, it was always an intention to get a good TT, but I was going to wait until I retired. Even though I am still a file based audio boy at heart, you absolutely cannot restrict yourself to a single medium if you truly enjoy listening to music, at least that's my view. I still have a small but treasured LP collection, which I have not played since the early 80's, so the time is right for a good TT.

Tim, you have taken your first tentative footsteps on what could be a very slippery slope! :eyebrows:

REXTON
30-03-2014, 20:35
Tim, you have taken your first tentative footsteps on what could be a very slippery slope! :eyebrows:

Lets hope he's got some good ski's.

Tim
30-03-2014, 22:18
http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w63/greatgig/ski_zps109c6531.jpg (http://s173.photobucket.com/user/greatgig/media/ski_zps109c6531.jpg.html)

Good ski's . . . yes . . . any idea how to use them? . . . nada!

Ali Tait
31-03-2014, 07:22
The motor is pretty easy to do, just an oil job really. Make sure you don't tighten the bolts holding the clamshells together too tightly though.

The Barbarian
31-03-2014, 13:07
Be careful Tim all this info might put you in the frame of mind where it's just all to much..I have to say i did not notice that chunk someone stoopidly cut out, why i have no idea. I don't think i would go thru with it tbh..Might be cheaper to flog it & buy a grail jobbie, retain the arm.

DiveDeepDog
31-03-2014, 22:59
Slate is ok, cleaner more detailed sound, but can become tiresome (probably matches valves ?) I thought it best with some ply strapped to it.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7358/11995847585_09b6715ba1_o.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/jh2Ryn)

DIY slate sat on one of my other ply plinths for experimentation

walpurgis
31-03-2014, 23:19
I'd sack the guy who cut that ply base for you Mark. It's all over the place and crooked. ;)

DiveDeepDog
11-04-2014, 23:43
You wouldn't want me fitting doors :lol:
https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7454/12160585953_cdb8fb4bba_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/jwAbx4)DSC_3280 (https://flic.kr/p/jwAbx4) by levs the diver (https://www.flickr.com/people/49381909@N08/), on Flickrhttps://farm8.staticflickr.com/7132/7650960472_36c2931be5_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/cE6aZA)DSC_0445 (https://flic.kr/p/cE6aZA) by levs the diver (https://www.flickr.com/people/49381909@N08/), on Flickr

Reffc
12-04-2014, 07:59
I like the look of that Mark (I've seen it before along with another one you've done I think).

Funnily enough, I'm seeing Dom & Nat next week and we were recently discussing the merits of slate/Birch. Both work well with the 401. RE, whilst I run a V15III with mine (and very nice it is too), the Goldring 1042 is better, the Elite is very good too. The Denon DL110 is also worth a shout if pennies are tighter.

Due to workload, rebuilding parts of the house and other issues turning my diary into a 25 hr day, my own project to completely strip and rebuild my 401 as it needs new springs really and the motor clam shells need re-aligning slightly, will have to be shelved. However, I will be handing it over to Dom as he'll do a good job and I may get a chance to hear his new "super cartridge" next week mounted on another AoS member's 401.

DiveDeepDog
12-04-2014, 23:25
Yep, there's a couple of Twists, I'm in slow motion getting a behemoth together for a friend, ultimate slate and ply for an SME V and FR64. Pics soon :-)