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Empire 698 turntable

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

  1. Woodface

    Woodface pfm Member

    Know nothing about these, looks lovely. Is it DD or belt?
     
  2. Rosewind

    Rosewind Lost in Translation

    Belt. Manual change between 33 and 45 rpm. I will post some more pictures.
     
  3. Rosewind

    Rosewind Lost in Translation

    Belt drive mech that spins up the platter in 1/3 of a revolution. It is driven by a Pabst motor:

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Chops54

    Chops54 pfm Member

    I had my 598 sent over from the States and never gave it a thought that the motor wouldn’t be compatible with our mains in the UK. I kitted it out with a Maxon dc motor and dc speed control. I used all the original bolt holes etc so it can be returned to standard at any time. I have the bits and pieces to build a controller that will drive the Pabst motor but I’m happy with the dc motor for the moment.
     
  5. Splityew

    Splityew pfm Member

    I have an Empire 598, which apart from the arm and electronics, is exactly the same as the 698.
    I put a jelco 750 arm on mine, simply dropped it into the hole left by the old one. There is a difference in overhang but it can be solved by moving the cartridge back about 3mm in the headshell, if you can do that depending on the cartridge. I have a boron tipped Denon 103FL mc and it all works wonderfully well.

    If you ever need a new belt that is truely the right size have a look at esotericsound.com. They are US based but in my experience their belts are as good as the originals. They also have all kinds of other bits and pieces for empire turntables. A lot of people replace the rubber gromets shown in your last pic, but a word of caution, I tried this and the old ones performed better, so I put them back in. The audiokarma thread has a lot of useful info about maintainance, but if it's working fine less is better, although the occasional cleaning of the spindle with oil similar to 3 in 1 but with a blue label (it's in the thread) is all you need to do, and a minimum amount of oil at that.

    Enjoy your turntable, thay are real engineering marvels, cheap as chips but I shudder to think about the cost of something that would be a worthwhile upgrade, relatively speaking.
     
    Rosewind likes this.
  6. Rosewind

    Rosewind Lost in Translation

    I paid 3500 DKK (=405£) for it. People were calling the seller when I went to pick it up, so I was lucky. There were 2-3 people waiting to buy if I did not.

    I will buy a new cart for it, possibly just a new Shure stylus. They seem to come in inexpensive and expensive versions (30£ to 300£).

    Apart from that I will buy a spare belt, gently clean it, add oil where applicable and double-check that I have it set up correctly. That's it for now, I think.
     
  7. Chops54

    Chops54 pfm Member

    I never thought to try the Jelco tonearm because of the different mounting distance. The shape of the Jelco does suit the Empire well though.
     
  8. AudioAl

    AudioAl pfm Member

    Looks like the cueing buttons are activated by making a circuit with your finger , Finger on works finger off open circuit , Neat :cool:
     
  9. AudioAl

    AudioAl pfm Member

    Will it strike back :rolleyes:
     
  10. Rosewind

    Rosewind Lost in Translation

    No. But the other day a ray of sunlight activated the cuing system so the arm lifted.
     
  11. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    I well recall seeing ( and hearing ) a 698 at Westwood’s of Oxford.
    I think is was called the Troubadour.
    Sitting by Regas and Linns, it literally shone.
    I was somewhat tempted by it, but funds weren’t available at the time.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2019
    Rosewind likes this.
  12. Splityew

    Splityew pfm Member


    I forgot to mention earlier, you can download the user manual from the vinylengine website. At least the 598 manual is there, it will do if the 698 isn't since all the bits needed for setting the thing up correctly are exactly the same and very easy to do.

    In terms of arms esotericsound provide a variety of suitable replacements, and if you look carefully you'll notice they are all rebadged Jelcos, so I decided to go for the real thing since I wanted a colour other than black. But I think you are right in sticking with the arm you already have it's a more attractive and user friendly design than the 598 and the performance is nothing to be sniffed at either.
     
  13. Rosewind

    Rosewind Lost in Translation

    Yes, I read that Jelcos would fit. I think that I would rather have an externally mounted 12" arm and keep the Empire 698 as it is. I am aware that the sprung turntable will then move out of sync with the external arm but since the turntable is on a wall shelf, it should not be too much of problem.

    I have downloaded the Empire 698 manual which has pointers on assembly and set-up. I will make sure to read it. The cueing switches are called "rocker switches". The user manual is really detailed, yet clearly written. Nice. Would love to have the original user manual in my possession.
     
  14. Woodface

    Woodface pfm Member

    What does it sound like?
     
  15. Rosewind

    Rosewind Lost in Translation

    Like ... a good turntable with a different cart than my (now sadly broken) Benz Micro Gullwing. I will reserve judgment until I have had it a little more. But I don't feel I miss anything. I have it on all the time.

    I had one instance of skipping over the label on side 1 of a 180g pressing of Bob Dylan's "Oh Mercy" Perhaps I need to be able to adjust the height better in order to even out differences between thick 180g and "normal" vinyl pressings?
     
  16. Rosewind

    Rosewind Lost in Translation

    Here is a flyer about its arm:
    [​IMG]
    I wonder how heavy a cart this arm can carry?
     
  17. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    You can figure that out just by adding weight to the headshell and seeing how much you can balance out/free-float (i.e. weigh the headshell after you have hit that limit). If you are thinking of an SPU or something you need to be able to balance out 32g, and not many arms can!
     
  18. Rosewind

    Rosewind Lost in Translation

    I am thinking about putting an EMT JSD6 (10g) or the repaired Benz Micro Gullwing SLR (12.2g) on it if I dare remove the lexan finger lift. If I can make do without an external arm, I would love to do that.

    A possible arm I am looking at is a Brinkmann 10.5.

    EDIT:
    Other options are a replacement needle for the Shure M91ED - or a Denon 107 (mm) - or a return to a cart I got a lot of mileage out of, a Denon 103R (or SA).
     
  19. steven baty

    steven baty New Member

    I own a 698 in MINT CONDITION except for the Sulphur Mechanism which raises the tonearm. This is a common issue but it is challenging to find someone who can fix it. I can actually provide two names. It worked great for about 2 years after I bought it used in 1982. It's a masterpiece in looks and sound and I would love to find a good home for it. Would take $500. plus shipping costs. I have plenty of pictures to share upon request.
     

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