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  • Matt Rector

    Audiophile Sound Systems Music and More

    FIND THE CRUSTY OR I LUV/HATE GARRARD TURNTABLES

    FIND THE CRUSTY OR I LUV/HATE GARRARD TURNTABLES

    A ROLLING STONE GATHERS NO MOSS

    Ok I love Garrard turntables. They are super well built, solid all metal engineering master pieces of analog magic and as long as they are used, last forever. Then along came the CD and most of these venerable turntables were left idle. Lack of movement, believe it or not, for a lot of audio stuff (as well as people) is a very bad thing.

     

    SO MANY GEARS SO LITTLE TIME

    Garrard (as well as others) Record changers have a very intricate system of gears and levers that mechanically do the job of moving the tone arm to the appropriate start or stop position, lift it up and down and drop the records. The good part of this system is they are very solid and reliable as opposed to TTs like Denon that have microprocessors and small electric motors that do it. The bad part is that without use the old grease turn into sludge stopping the proper function.

     

    ROUND AND ROUND IT GOES

    The challenging part of trouble shooting these decks is finding where it’s stuck. Some gears are greased and suppose to move slow where as some are suppose to move freely and with each generation of Garrard turntables the mechanism is different. Hence the challenge of either remembering what each part does or just figuring it out on the fly.  As I only do a handful a month I usually just rely on my problem solving skills to track down the issue (My degree in Chemistry at work).

     

    OUT WITH THE OLD IN WITH THE NEW

    Once I’ve found the troubled mechanism and cleaned out the old gunk. I then degunk the rest of it and replace it with modern synthetic grease or oil that should last essentially forever so that Generations to come can enjoy spinning records on these great turntables.

     

    THE WHEEL IN THE SKY KEEPS TURNING

    The other challenge is that these are all idler wheel turntables which means that a rubber wheel pushes up against the motor spindle and transfers its energy to the inside of the platter making it spin. It’s a good, if complicated system that works well unless the rubber on the wheel gets hard.  This either creates a rumble (imagine the sound difference between a shopping cart wheel and the tire of your car) or it causes the wheel to slip so that it can no longer drive all of the record changer gears. Some of these just need a little sanding on the outside to rough them up but most I will have to rebuild using modern materials like neoprene. The key here is that the outer diameter is the right size so that the speed is correct, that it is soft enough to not transfer motor rumble and that it has enough grip to get the job done. In the old days you could just get a new wheel for a couple of bucks but these days it is cost prohibitive to pay someone else to recondition a wheel so I have developed my own methods that produce a solid wheel that is actually better than the original.

     

    MUSIC TO MY EARS

    Once I am done with a rebuild and run the turntable through its paces there is an immense since of satisfaction and pride of knowing that this proud piece of Great Britain’s turntable manufacturing history has been rescued from oblivion and will now bring the joy of analog music to a new owner.  It’s really pretty cool and I’m stoked to be able to support my family doing it.  Thank you.

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