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Empire 698 turntable

Discussion in 'classic' started by Rosewind, Oct 19, 2019.

  1. Rosewind

    Rosewind Lost in Translation

    Now another interesting turntable popped up. One that I will go and look at, at 1 o'clock PM today: an Empire 698 in mint condition. I know the deck has its quirks and faults - headshell, cue electronics, gold plating etc. But it is a lovely-looking turntable. I will snap photos of the unit and post them, even if I don't bring it home.

    I haven't found much on PFM about it, still I know that Chops54 owns an Empire 598 and used to own an Empire 698 once upon a time. So this Long Island, NY product can be found in the UK and in Denmark.
     
  2. MotelBlues

    MotelBlues pfm Member

    Rosewind likes this.
  3. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    A very cool looking turntable IMO, always fancied a good look at one, but they are very rare in the UK.
     
    Rosewind likes this.
  4. Rosewind

    Rosewind Lost in Translation

    I have it in my room now. It looks excellent and everything on it works. It comes with two carts - a Shure M91ED that is mounted on it now, and a Pickering XV15/400E. I don't know anything about the condition of the carts, but the one I have listened to briefly sounded great.

    I will clean it thoroughly and gently later on, and try not to rub off too much of the gold surface. I will also need to take a peek into the bearing shaft but right now there are no worrying sounds from it.

    This ends my turntable journey and I expect to run it alternately with my Thorens TD 147 Jubilee. The Van den Hul "The Grail" has two inputs, which will come very handy now.

    Pictures:

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    [​IMG]
     
    Niel Blackwood likes this.
  5. Rosewind

    Rosewind Lost in Translation

    Thanks for the comments above. I read up on a lot of things about this turntable and I even tracked down a Russian man who had 3d-printed at least one of the fragile plastic/acrylic parts for this turntable. I am trying to get him to release the 3d-files into the public domain. I have not had a chance to listen to it in earnest. That will come.

    Now I will have to change my signature again.
     
  6. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Looks great!
     
    Rosewind likes this.
  7. Chops54

    Chops54 pfm Member

    That’s a very nice turntable. There’s a long thread about Empire turntables on Audio Karma.
     
    Rosewind likes this.
  8. Rosewind

    Rosewind Lost in Translation

    Yes it is. I read frantically about it last night when I realized that I was first in line for it, including a long thread on Audiokarma. I don't think that Empire turntables have been discussed very much on PFM in the past. At least I couldn't find much about them here

    Didn"t you own an Empire 698 at one point?
     
  9. Chops54

    Chops54 pfm Member

    I had a 698 for many years. It was my first serious turntable though I did have a Connouisseur Craftsman at one point in my earlier hifi life. I bought it from Badger Sound Services in Lytham around 1980. It came with a Formula Four tonearm and a Grado cartridge and I ran it like that for quite a few years until I put all my hifi into storage as I was renovating the house. My hifi remained in storage for fifteen years or so as I completely lost interest in hifi what with the children growing up and a business to run etc but during that time I remember clearing some stuff out and I came across the old Empire. It was dirty and rather sad looking and without even thinking about it I threw it in the skip. When my interest in hifi rekindled itself I bought a cd player to partner my the rest of my old kit but it didn't sound right and I ended up buying another turntable. Several turntables later I came to regret dumping my old 698 and eventually bought a 598. I have another Empire in storage too but that's another story for another time.
     
  10. Rosewind

    Rosewind Lost in Translation

    Thanks for sharing that story. Good to hear that you have an Empire 598 doing duty in your set-up! There will be a time and place for that other Empire, I am sure.

    I have just placed the Empire 698 on a permanent shelf next to my rack and am listening to Lou Reed, "Walk on the Wild Side" through it. Glorious. I am mainly a rock'n'roll man with a soft spot for (live) jazz. Next up will be Leonard Cohen.
     
  11. Chops54

    Chops54 pfm Member

    You're welcome Peter. I hope you have many happy hours with your Empire. Its a gem that has remained under the radar for a long time. I have to say that I'm not a lover of the tonearm. I would imagine it suits a DL103 quite well but I fitted an early Notts tonearm to mine as I like Benz carts. The original arm is well packed away just in case!
     
  12. Rosewind

    Rosewind Lost in Translation

    Thanks. Up until a few hours ago I had a Benz Micro Gullwing that I had wanted to use with the Empire 698 if it was possible to use that heavy a cart with the arm. I snapped the cantilever off while cleaning the Thorens TD 147. So that idea is on hold for now.

    Alternatively, I would have mounted the Benz Micro Gullwing on an SME 3009R outside the turntable. As I understand it, the Empire 698 is constructed in a way that makes simply plopping in a different tonearm a bit tricky. I had heard that a Jelco 750 (or so) would be a nice fit with an Empire turntable otherwise, except the 698.
     
  13. 337alant

    337alant Negatively Biased

    Thats a lovely turntable :cool:

    Alan
     
  14. Chops54

    Chops54 pfm Member

    Mounting distance is 211mm so that rules out all the Jelcos I believe but Linn arms are OK as are quite a few others. However the hole in the Empire subchassis is only 19mm so I had machine down the Notts arm pillar. The arm on your 698 has other functions to perform though unlike my 598. My 698 lost its auto functions with the fitting of the Mayware tonearm.

    Yes I've just read about your misfortune. I hope you get it sorted ok.

    Edit, I've just had another look at the pics of you deck and there's no way I'd do anything to it. The arm on your deck just looks so much better than the clunker that came with my 598. I'd love to hear your deck with a 2M Black on it!
     
    Rosewind likes this.
  15. Rosewind

    Rosewind Lost in Translation

    Everything works flawlessly and I am chuffed to bits! My wife thinks it looks clunky in comparison to my replinthed Thorens TD 147 Jubilee. I beg to differ.

    I am not going to change a thing about the Emire 698. I may consider buying a replacement stylus for the Shure cart. If I want to test a different arm it will be done externally.
     
  16. Chops54

    Chops54 pfm Member

    The subchassis on the 698 is sprung so I don't think an external arm would be a good idea unless it's been been bolted up solid?
     
  17. Rosewind

    Rosewind Lost in Translation

    I think it has been done with a sprung Thorens. But I will see. The stock arm is supposed to be quite good.

    The turntable is placed on a wall shelf that won't move unless I throw my considerable weight into it or the wall - which I won't do. I promise!
     
  18. Chops54

    Chops54 pfm Member

    There's nothing to stop you doing it Peter but the sprung subchassis is always moving even though we can't see it. A quick thought but neither of my turntables had the felt damping washers fitted and that does make the suspension very soft. If yours are present and working you may be ok.
     
  19. Rosewind

    Rosewind Lost in Translation

    I will have to read up on it. But if the stock arm is good enough, I can't see the reason for adding another external one, now that I come to think of it. I will just have to make sure that any cart that I buy will be compatible with the headshell.
     
  20. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    If that beautiful Empire was mine I’d just do whatever was required to get the arm working at its very best (e.g. maybe get the bearings reset or replaced and maybe a rewire) but other than that I’d just choose the best cartridge for it, whatever that is. It looks like it could be half decent. What’s its mass, overhang, and how much weight can it balance out, i.e. could you maybe stuff an SPU in it?! (I’m assuming it is an SME-fit shell?).
     

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