Another Turntable Thread - Advice Needed

I didn’t want to hijack the other recent (great) threads, so I figured I’d start my own.

I’ve hinted recently that I’m thinking of getting a turntable for myself since both daughters have been spinning vinyl on their bedroom rigs and really enjoying it. Ive been keeping an eye on local Craigslist sites and saw this one:

I just stopped by this evening to check it out (brought my own receiver and speaker cables). The guy ‘inherited’ it from his wife’s uncle. It’s in pretty good physical condition, but I quickly discovered it was missing a stylus. It powered on and seemed to hold speed, but that was all I could check. I told him I might consider it as is for $50. Is that a fair/good for me price? Is a replacement stylus for the Ortofon OM-20 cartridge expensive? Should I just pass on it and wait for something else?

Here’s some additional pictures:


As always, I appreciate the advice of the veteran vinylistas around here!



  • scubalabscubalab Posts: 2,476
    He also had a pair of Polk 7B’s listed for $80 that I was interested in!

    However... more bad news. One had been gutted all but the crossover and PR (tweeter and mid driver were gonzo!). The front of the cabinet was scratched to he11, but was hidden by the grill. I felt bad - the guy had no idea. He didn’t know that the grills even came off. The other looked complete and in very good condition. However I couldn’t really test it since the only way was with the turntable, and, well, with no stylus... that didn’t happen. I was able to get some static noise (FM on the receiver wouldn’t pick up a station without an antenna...). The mid driver worked fine, but I could here absolutely nothing from the tweeter (Peerless too!). I told him in that condition they were probably worthless. I said I’d give him 10 bucks for them. Thought maybe I could find replacement tweeters and a mid driver, but might not be worth it. I could probably sell or karma the remaining drivers, crossovers, and grills...

    Again... should I just walk away? Or take them for $10?
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 519
    Here's some info on that HK turntable Seems like it has a solid base/plinth, and not just plastic. That's good. Says it has a 'high mass platter', too. Can you tell if the platter is cast aluminum (good) vs thin stamped steel (cheap)? The rubber mat should lift right off so you can inspect the platter. Also make sure the feet are still doing their job of providing good spring suspension.

    That is a semi-auto, so the tonearm should return to the rest at the end of a side, and it also has a 'cut' button that should send it back when pressed mid-play. Even if you can't lower the needle, the return function should work if you test it. Cue the tonearm up, move the arm over the platter (should be spinning at that point), and press that 'cut' button. You can also gingerly push the tonearm towards the center until the auto-return kicks in.

    It has pitch control, but no strobe light for setting it, so you would need a strobe disk and incandescent bulb to set speed.

    How is the cueing drop rate? With the tt unplugged, you can cue-up the tonearm, move it over the platter, and flip the cue lever down. If it falls fast, it probably needs new damping oil. If it falls gently, you're good. Applying new damping oil is not TOO hard to do, but can sometimes be a hassle.

    As for the Ortofon OM20, generic replacement styli run about $20, but to get the best sound out of the cartridge, you'll have to spend about $100 for an OEM or high-quality replacement stylus.

    It looks good cosmetically from the pics, and I assume the dustcover is in good shape as well. Hope this helps some.
  • Tony MTony M Posts: 6,795
    edited February 2018
    I just browsed your CL listings a little and I'm glad I don't live there. I've seen a few things already I'd be calling about! This shop looks like my Cave did 15 years ago. Maybe get a TT from this place!!! look at all that CLASSIC gear too! WOW.

    B) The Monitor 7's are GREAT speakers!

    And here is another listing in your area that might be of interest. I own a pair of Polk 9's and they sound great to me. You can get a pr. for 50.00 little ones.

    I'd find out if they are in decent cond. if I were you. Polks' first commercial set I believe.

    And pick up that set of Cerwin Vega D5's for 50.00 also. Make sure the voice coils aren't toasted before you buy though. Then refoam them. You'll be amazed how easy it is and rewarding to when you bring some speakers back to life. IT'S ALIVE, It's alive... :D

    Why not, here's a nice Yamaha! on CL around you.
    Most people just listen to music and watch movies. I EXPERIENCE them.
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 5,213
    Are you sure that you aren't a part owner of this place? Your name is right on the sign!


    Tony M wrote: »

    • "Electronic music is human sound adapting to indulge technology, and for some, it feels like the signature sound of energy. New and abstract sounds over hypnotic rhythms can conjure vast soundscapes for escape, pleasure, and transcendence."
  • scubalabscubalab Posts: 2,476
    I've been to Paul & Tony's MANY times! Sometimes they have decent deals, but most times they are a little high on price. I most recently bought a used Carver receiver from them a few years back. It's in very nice shape, with remote, nice price too. It's being used now by my oldest daughter in her little two channel setup with a Kenwood KD-5070 turntable (very nice table!) a Cambridge Phono pre-amp, and a pair of B&W DM601 S2 bookshelf speakers.

    My FIRST Polks were purchased from Paul & Tony's back in 1991 or 1992. They were the S6 bookies. I had them on layaway - bought them with blood money (LITERALLY). I donated plasma every week and immediately took the money (like $15 or $20) to Paul & Tony's. In a few months, and after selling a Roland Synthesizer to fund the payoff, they were mine! Fell in love with the Polk sound, and have since owned MANY Polks!

    I did see that ad with the (I'm assuming) Monitor 10's and the rare 9A's. I did a little research on the 9A's and read that they sounded pretty bad. They were (I read somewhere) an attempt to compete with the Bose speakers of the day. I think I see them (17th and 18th pictures) in the pictures and they look pretty rough. I considered them just for the collector aspect, but don't have the room.

    I also saw that ad with the Yamaha TT (and the two Technics SL-1200 cheap clones). Wasn't sure if that Yamaha was a good table for the asking price. Might be worth a call and seeing what his best price is. They've been listed for a few months now.
  • scubalabscubalab Posts: 2,476
    Thanks for all the input jdjohn. To answer some of your questions...

    Yes, the table does have a nice wooden plinth (plastic or resin coated I think). I believe the platter is aluminum as well. The feet were all there and definitely 'bouncy'! So, I assume they are doing their job. The strobe card is included and was on the platter (small card in the center about the size of a record label). I'm not sure how to check the speed. The manual just says observe under fluorescent light. How would that work without a strobe light? I didn't try it. The cueing drop seemed well dampened. I did try dropping it and if fell smoothly. I did not check the auto return - wasn't sure how without a stylus and a record playing to the end. I also did not check the cut feature.

    The table is in pretty decent physical & cosmetic condition - a little dirty, but should clean up nice. The dust cover is in great shape for the age. No cracks, and no scratches. It should clean and buff out nicely. There was a little yellowing of the plastic coating on the plinth and the front, but not too bad.

    Did a quick search for the Ortofon OM-20... Looks like the OM-20 replacement stylus is nearly $200! The OM-10 replacement stylus is around 60. A Super OM-10 cartridge/stylus is around $70. Not sure what the differences are... I just looked at Music Direct. I'll have to do a little more homework this week.

    Still wondering if the table is worth $50 and the cost of a new cartridge and/or stylus.
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 19,929
    I like that generation of h/k turntables.
    That is a low mass arm and will do best with a pretty high compliance cartridge.
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 519
    Hey scuba, regarding the strobe disk, you just have to stare at one spot on the disk (e.g., 33RPM/60Hz) and look for drift of the markings. Then speed it up or slow it down accordingly until the markings stay steady. Incandescent bulbs hooked-up to your house main will 'strobe' at 60Hz (or maybe 120Hz?), so no special strobe light is needed. Compact fluorescent bulbs usually don't work for this, nor LED, and definitely not DC battery-powered lights.

    LP Gear has the OM20 OEM stylus for $149.95 , and then their own version for $109 . The differences are 1) the OEM has a nude-mounted diamond with a .3X.7mm radius, and 2) the LP Gear has a bonded mount with .0002X.0007inch tip. So, you kind of have to choose between a nude mount, or a finer tip.

    The difference between the OM10 and OM20 (in OEM) is bonded vs nude...same diamond.
  • scubalabscubalab Posts: 2,476
    Thanks for all the great information John. It makes perfect sense now in adjusting the speed with an incandescent lamp.

    I guess now, the question is whether or not this turntable is worth the $50 plus the cost of a new stylus. So, if I were to put the cheapest (OM10) cart/stylus on it, is it a good TT for the $110 - $115 investment? Or could I do better with a little patience?

    I’m not in any hurry, so if this is not a ‘very good’ or ‘great’ deal, I’ve got no problem passing on it.
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 5,213
    Personally I would pass on it. Meh.
    • "Electronic music is human sound adapting to indulge technology, and for some, it feels like the signature sound of energy. New and abstract sounds over hypnotic rhythms can conjure vast soundscapes for escape, pleasure, and transcendence."
  • scubalabscubalab Posts: 2,476
    Also, I’m thinking I’m going to pass on the molested 7Bs for $10 unless someone on here needs the parts. I’d gladly pick up and part them out for someone who needs something that remains for the cost of shipping and Maybe an extra buck or two.

    Does anyone need passive radiators, a midrange, crossovers, grills, or a questionable Peerless tweeter? If so, shoot me a PM and I’ll grab them too.
  • scubalabscubalab Posts: 2,476
    Clipdat wrote: »
    Personally I would pass on it. Meh.

    That’s what I’m leaning towards. If I’m spending over $100, I think I’d rather get something that doesn’t need any work. If it were free or close to it, it might be worth the investment.
  • msgmsg Posts: 4,367
    Al, I saw this yesterday but just getting around to checking out that ad. Man, I kinda like this table. If everything that jdj recommends checks out (great info, by the way; insightful stuff) I'd consider picking it up if you can get it for the $50. Instead of trying to get a stylus, maybe consider going with a different high compliance cart that Doc mentioned.

    Of course if you're considering buying a cart, this would mean that your turntable budget would have to go up. Then back to basics - do you just want a turntable to mess around with, or do you want something kind of nice-ish? And yes, after adding cart or stylus, it might put you in the range of something newer that won't need the work, as you say.

    Might check out some of the forums to see what others are running on this table, cart wise?

    Maybe just get a new/used u-turn or something?

    Definitely pass on the speakers, imho. Sounds like a hassle. What a shame...
    I disabled signatures.
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 519
    scubalab, you haven't said what your upper-end budget is for a tt, but since that CL listing was $150, I assume that's in the range. You could skip that OM20 cartridge altogether, and just put an Audio Technica AT95 cartridge on that HK tt for about $50, and be in for $100 total...assuming you get the tt for $50. Simply tell the seller that without a working cartridge and stylus, the table is only worth $50. Tell him you don't even know if it works the way it is without a stylus, so you're taking a chance...a small one IMO since I'll bet it does work with a good cartridge.

    I looked on eBay for other tt's near you in PA and found these: Pretty sharp IMO, and my research indicates these were made by Technics for JC Penney, so it should be solid. Dustcover could use some polishing, but in your price range. Might be a good candidate, but may have a plastic base. Not my first choice, but it's practically brand-new and probably sounds pretty good.

    I saw some other P-mount tt's listed as well, so look at those if that's up your alley.
  • Tony MTony M Posts: 6,795
    edited February 2018
    I have an MCS TT also and it's quite beefy like a Technics is. ;)

    It's a good STARTER TT.
    Most people just listen to music and watch movies. I EXPERIENCE them.
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 19,929
    edited February 2018
    Most of the MCS tts I've seen were Technics (Panasonic) OEM. :)
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 519
    Excellent confirmation! I'd say scubalab better jump on that before someone else does! They even have the 'Make offer' option, so he could likely get it for $75. It is right purdy!

    P.S. The cord issue with it is NBD.
  • scubalabscubalab Posts: 2,476
    edited February 2018
    I threw $75 out when I contacted the seller through eBay. Stupidly, I did this BEFORE I thought to look and see if he had it on the local CL. I didn't see anything right away, but then found an ad he placed about a month ago. He has it listed on CL for $50! D'Oh!


    At least I did not 'officially' make an offer. Emailed him again to see if he'd still do the $50 he has it listed for locally... We'll see. He's only a half hour from where I'm teaching this week.
  • Tony MTony M Posts: 6,795
    Good Luck!!!!!

    I hope you get it.
    Most people just listen to music and watch movies. I EXPERIENCE them.
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 519
    Yes, fingers crossed!!!
  • scubalabscubalab Posts: 2,476
    I did. Nice guy. He honored his local ad price of $50.

    Just got back to my ‘home away from home’. Don’t have any records to test it, but it holds speed (33 & 45), the cue lever drops smoothly, the auto return works fine. Only issues are: the motor seems a little noisy, and the tone arm seemed low (when cue lever is raised, the needle barely clears the platter mat - would definitely hit the edge on an LP). I was able to twist it clockwise and it seemed to level out and has some height now. Can the motor be lubricated? Also, the belt seems very loose. May have to replace it. Here’s a pic:

  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 519
    She's a bute! Sounds like you found the cue height adjustment screw in the lift bar assembly. Adjust as needed for proper clearance.

    Yes, there is a way to lubricate the motor. First, you'll need to remove the mat, the platter, and the belt. Let us know if you need help with that step. Next, with all those bits removed and the tt plugged in, the motor and pulley should spin when you move the tonearm towards the center spindle with the cue in the up position (set anti-skate dial to zero), but leave VTF tonearm counter balance as it is. With the tonearm on the rest, the motor should not be running.

    With the motor, pulley, and tonearm in the rest position, apply a few drops of oil at the base of the pulley shaft - where the shaft enters the motor. This 3-in-One electric motor oil will suffuce (available at Home Depot, Lowes, etc.) make sure you buy the stuff with the blue top, and not the black top - the latter is a penetrating oil, so more corrosive.

    Apply the oil, and move the tonearm towards the spindle in order to get the motor and pulley spinning. The oil will seep down into the top motor bearing. If it soaks up quickly, add another drop or two. Let it spin/run for several hours...maybe even overnight.

    The drive belt contact points should also be cleaned with either isopropyl or denatured alcohol. The motor pulley should be cleaned, as well as the outer rim underneath the platter where the belt rides.

    Then reinstall the platter and belt, and play something to check RPM fine pitch control. At that point you can evaluate the need for a new belt or not.
  • scubalabscubalab Posts: 2,476
    John - thank you so much for the instructions. I’ll tackle this when I get back home tomorrow night.

    I see the cue height adjustment screw, but that’s not actually how I adjusted it... I gently gave the tone arm a twist (it actually looked like it wasn’t level left to right or the ‘S’ bend). It twisted clockwise fairly easily (not so easily that it doesn’t stay) and stopped. It now looks level, has a little better clearance, and the head shell looks more level if you look at it from the front.

    I also tried to remove the platter, but can’t seem to lift it. I turned I so the hole was over the motor and slid the belt off (hence how I was able to tell it was so loose). While holding the belt, I tried gently lifting the platter, but didn’t want to force it. I plan to see if I can find a PDF of the manual, but if you have a tip on lifting the platter off, I’m all ears!

    Once I get home, I’ll give it a ‘tune up’. I plan to upgrade the cables (if it’s not too difficult), polishthe dust cover, re-adjust the VTF and anti skating, and make sure the cartridge is aligned properly.

    Thanks again for all the help! This is a very nice looking table (minty condition) for a great price. Thanks for suggesting it. It should be a decent ‘starter table for me.

  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 519
    Happy to help, Al. When you remove the belt from the pulley, it should have enough elasticity to cling to the sub-rim of the platter all the way around. This makes removal and installation of the platter and belt easier. If it's loose and doesn't cling to the rim, you definitely need a new belt.

    After so many years, the platter may be slightly stuck on the spindle...this is typical. Using a screwdriver handle, tap the spindle on the side from a few different angles. This will help break the seal, so to speak, between the spindle and the platter hole. Take the belt off the pulley. If it clings to the sub-rim of the platter, great, but if it falls down don't worry about it...there's no need to try and hold on to it while removing the platter.

    There a couple of different ways to then pull the platter off when it's seized. Using both hands, you can put fingers in the holes and pull up while putting your thumbs on the spindle to get some leverage. Or you can put your thumbs in the holes and pull up while pushing down with your fingers on the chassis around the edge of the platter. Or you can grab the platter like a six-pack with a thumb in one hole and finger in the other hole, and then pull up with that hand while holding the chassis down with the other. The location of the holes, and distance between them, may dictate which approach to take. If it's still stuck, you can put a few drops of penetrating oil around the spindle/hole and let it sit for a minute first. One thing is for sure - you'll need to pull pretty hard...gentle won't get it.

    Once you get it off, clean the spindle and the hole in the platter with alcohol. That should prevent future sticking issues. Good luck!
  • scubalabscubalab Posts: 2,476
    Who needs a frickin' owner's manual when I have the great advice and tips given here so far!!!

    Thanks again John. I'll tackle this over the weekend when I get home and have more time, and the tools to do so.

    Looking forward to getting it set up.
  • scubalabscubalab Posts: 2,476
    edited February 2018
    Got home and was able to remove the platter, oil the motor, cleaned the motor pulley and cleaned the platter rim where the belt rides.

    I adjusted the tracking force to 1.25g (recommended for the AT-92E is 1 - 1.5g). I adjusted the antiskate to match.

    I think I need to level the tone arm. It looks like it has a downward slope. Is there an adjustment for that? Is it this screw(the lower hole in the black plastic part):


    Also, I’m assuming this set screw is the one for the cue height adjustment:


    Here are a few additional pics:


    Thanks for all the help!
  • Tony MTony M Posts: 6,795
    edited February 2018
    I don't know what those screws do. Sorry.

    I wonder if there are screw heads underneath that would adjust the height of your tonearm assembly pad.

    Your concern about your arm pointing down. That's a good thing as long as it isn't extreme!

    I've had some times where I wish I could raise the tonearm assembly some more.

    Here is a picture of where MORE height is definitely needed I believe. Look how tall that cartridge is! :o
    Most people just listen to music and watch movies. I EXPERIENCE them.
  • SCompRacerSCompRacer Posts: 6,968
    edited February 2018
    Try the vinyl engine that was referenced above. They may have a manual for that table/arm. Check their forums too. They list a MCS-6502.

    IIRC you have to register to download anything. Again, IIRC I think Hitachi made that table and JC Penney sold it.
    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Salk SoundScape 8's * Audio Research Reference 3 * Bottlehead Eros Phono * Park's Audio Budgie SUT * Krell KSA-250 * Harmonic Technology Pro 9+ & Pro 11+ * Signature Series Sonore Music Server w/Deux PS* Twisted Pear Buffalo III Dual Mono ESS Sabre32 DAC * Heavy Plinth Lenco L75 Idler Drive * AA MG-1 Linear Air Bearing Arm * AT33PTG/II & Denon 103R * Richard Gray 600S * NHT B-12d subs * GIK Acoustic Treatments * Sennheiser HD650 *

  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 519
    edited February 2018
    scubalab, I like your attention to detailed alignment! I don't think that tonearm can be adjusted for height, so you'll need to incorporate spacers, either between the cartridge and headshell mounting, or add an additional thin platter mat to compensate for shorter cartridges. Either spacers or an additional mat will get the tonearm more level, and less 'tail-up'. I have ordered a few of these rubber/cork composite mats from HudsonHiFi out of NY: I have been very pleased with them.

    Sadly, the 6502 manual from the VE website database is for a very different machine than the 6500.

    P.S. How does the belt fit???
  • scubalabscubalab Posts: 2,476
    Thanks everyone for the help and tips.

    Tony, that Triangle Art TT is next on my list. It’s the obvious next step in the upgrade ladder, right? :p

    Rich, I may just have to sign up on vinyl engine. I’ve been disappointed a couple times not being able to view manuals.

    John, yeah, I think you’re right about the 6502 being much different. I believe if I can track down the manual for the Hitachi HT-250, it is supposedly the name brand version of the MCS I have. Found a manual for the Hitachi HT-460 on Manuals Lib. Different table, but the tone arm guide looks the same. I will see if that screw will adjust the cue height.


    Regarding the tone arm being tail up, I’ll actually measure it and I’ll tackle that with shims or a platter mat.

    The belt likely needs to be replaced. It doesn’t slip, but it is definitely loose. With the platter off, it doesn’t quite have the elasticity to hold tight to the platter and there is some slack.

    Thanks again for all the help.
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