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Garrard 401 plinth

Discussion in 'classic' started by wylton, May 24, 2021.

  1. mjkelshaw

    mjkelshaw pfm Member

  2. Robn

    Robn pfm Member

    For a while a basic two part skeletal pinth housed the 401 here, but I was lucky to buy a Martin Bastin ply plinth SH on Ebay at a reasonable price. It not only to me looks far better but also sounds better too. The plinth is fairly deep and well finished but without looking overly luxurious. It was supplied with what I think are 3 motor support pillars too but I've not as yet felt the need to use them. Maybe one day when I'm flush I'll contact Martin to have them fitted and the deck serviced.
     
  3. Mick P

    Mick P Retired and content

    Many years ago when I was still working and travelling all over the place I struck up a friendship with Terry O Sullivan and often called in to his workshops in Marlborough and later at the Piggeries in Lambourn. His sidekick was Nigel Pearson and between them they lived and breathed for Garrard / Loricraft. Their enthusiasm and knowledge had no limit and even if you struck up a conversation, on say the reproduction cycle of a dung beetle, they would divert the conversation back to Turntables within a minute. Turntables were totally in their blood and it was always quality of product before the making of money.

    They spent goodness knows how many man hours experimenting on the making of the plinth and tried every material they could think of before settling on the standard plinth of solid wood / 20mm plywood top plate supported by 4 standard size squash balls.

    I bought a second hand 401 for the princely sum of £40 and did a deal with Terry, he did a full service on the 401 and fitted it into one of his plinths.

    The increase in sound quality was enormous and from that time I have been hooked on the 401 / Loricraft plinth / Naim Aro / Dynavector cartridges and Loricraft PSUs.

    I once had a chat with Nigel and he reckoned that sorbothane was the only thing that came near to squash balls and I may well buy some of the ones that you have suggested as my squash balls are somewhat distorted.

    One of my regrets since retiring is that I have lost contact with Terry who has now himself retired and goodness knows what has happened to Nigel. I must have visited hundreds of small firms in my time as a Purchasing Manager but Nigel and Terry certainly came out on top for enthusiasm. The industry and the UK needs more like them.

    Regards

    Mick
     
    zeon, torstoi and wylton like this.
  4. Simon Dawson

    Simon Dawson Angry, Ill & Ugly

    Here's my DIY effort:
    [​IMG]

    I have not compared it to a skeletal plinth but I think the 401 and an Aro is hard to beat.
    Do not put the armrest in the position indicated by the Aro arm board drawing for an LP12. Move it nearer to the platter, in a line directly "below" the bearing pillar. This eliminates the gap between the rest and the platter and means if you drop the arm the stylus does not hit the metal chassis (RIP one AT33PTG).
     
    Darren L, torstoi, Robn and 2 others like this.
  5. Stuart Frazer

    Stuart Frazer pfm Member

    Mick, good to see you back. Hope you are well.

    I hear that Terry is doing okay and, I think, still involved with the Loricraft record cleaners after the SME takeover.

    I hope you are sitting down for this next bit. I've heard that Terry now uses a Technics 1200G as his main turntable! Quite a few others are making a similar change. Apparently it has allot of the 301/401 attributes.
     
  6. wylton

    wylton Naim and Mana member

    I have heard good things about Marin Bastin, but there is no web site as far as I can see, so no idea how one would contact him.

    Yes, me too, though I haven't tried a PSU on mine yet.

    Yes, that is one error that Terry made on my plinth; I've had some hair raising moments! It's in the air at the moment, what I will do about the plinth, but either way, I will move the arm rest as you say.

    Well, if that's true, then that is a turn up for the books!
     
  7. docstocker

    docstocker pfm Member

    I think it did. Looks really good.
     
  8. mjkelshaw

    mjkelshaw pfm Member

    I met both Terry & Nigel in the late '90's when I was visiting to discuss the o/haul of my TD124 II, suffice it to say that I left the premises after placing an order and a deposit for a 'restored' 401 and without any mention of a 'service' for my 124.;)
    Initially I was planning to use one of the latest (then) SME arms, but the considerable delay before I received notification that a suitable deck was available, meant that I no longer had sufficient funds to add an SME and I suggested that I would be happy to substitute an RB300 with a suitable cartridge mounted.
    I collected the 401/Plinth/RB 300/Goldring 1042 in '98 and transported it home, but it was only tried as a temporary substitute for my LP12 given the limited space in my small flat.
    Fast forward to 2011 and my 'plan' to leave this benighted island and 'retire' to China, I contacted Terry once again with a request to 'recomission' the 401 which had been 'stored', re-plinth and service the 124 and 'export pack' both ready for shipping.
    Fast forward again to 2015 when I finally(?) 'washed-up' in Torquay, I unpacked both, mounted them onto wall shelves and connected both to my old Quad amped system. After replacing the originals with several sets of matching 'squash balls', in 2018 I installed the sorbothane spheres, where they have remained without any unequal deformation.
    At present the 401 remains in service, sadly the 124 appears to be 'hors de combat', and I'm using a modified Goldring G99 acquired in 2013 more than either. In fact I'm planning to assemble my 'final' turntable from a collection of Lenco 'bits', PTP6 plates, and a bespoke bearing,which has yet to be decided upon.
    Regards
    Mike Kelshaw
     
    torstoi likes this.
  9. RichShortland

    RichShortland pfm Member

    When I ran a 401 (around 15 years ago) I had it serviced by Nigel and built 2 versions of their skeletal plinths. One was an almost exact copy and the other was just a different base section; heavyweight made from multi layers of mdf. Both worked well but I (just) preferred the lighter version.

    Based on this experience, and the bit of time I've had playing with my latest deck (a Lenco GL75) my plan is almost identical to @mjkelshaw in terms of PTP6 plates, bespoke bearing, Lenco platter(s) using a panzerholz top plinth, then the squashballs concept in a light-ish lower layer plinth... I think the top plate material in this context is one of the biggest factors to success with an idler wheel deck in particular.
     
  10. wylton

    wylton Naim and Mana member

    I have a Lenco 88, which I restored myself. I designed the plinth for it, which consist a slate top, sitting on an aluminium frame. There is an intervening layer of cork between the two. It sounds good and looks great too; the guts of the turntable don't show, though the 88 has less guts as it were in the first place than the 401!

    I'd be interested to hear peoples experiences with PSU's for the 401.
     
  11. Fergus

    Fergus pfm Member

    I’m using a Long Dog Audio regenerator psu. As well as giving better speed stability I found it to have all round sonic benefits. The background noise is now much lower, the bass is better controlled, high frequencies are cleaner and more extended and dynamics are much improved. Well used records sound better too as surface noise seems to be less intrusive than before.
     
    torstoi likes this.
  12. wylton

    wylton Naim and Mana member

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with the Long Dog Audio regenerator psu @Fergus.
     
  13. Mick P

    Mick P Retired and content

    Chaps

    I thought I would give you a quickie update on this.

    Following Mikes recommendation, I ordered a set of sorbothane isolation spheres from Peak HiFi and they arrived in the post this morning. The old squash balls were well and truly flat and since fitting the sorbothane ones the sound as gone back to as was. I was lucky in that the platter was 100% level and needed no adjustment, so all very easy peasy. I shall certainly be listening to the Garrard a bit more again.

    I am not surprised that Terry treated himself to a Technic 1200G as it always had a reputation of being a bit alike to a 401 and after working on Garrards for most of his life, he may well have just fancied a change.

    After reading this thread I spent a couple of hours on Youtube and I must admit I don't like the appearance of the skeletal plinth. The standard Loricraft plinth is a bit solid looking and possibly old fashioned in appearance but I like it.

    I am totally content with my current set up and see no reason to change.

    Regards

    Mick
     
    torstoi and wylton like this.
  14. Sonny Beauceron

    Sonny Beauceron pfm Member

    I also have the LDA psu and agree there's an all round improvement in the sound. I would say that compared to a well set up 401 (ie which runs consistently at the right speed), it's fairly marginal. But it's easy to use - and not every 401 is well set-up.

    Actual mains variation in the UK is minimal. Manufacturers (including LDA) cite the variation as between 48 and 52 hz, but that's the full extent of all variation on the system over all time. Something like (from memory) 99% of the time it is between 49.9 and 50.01, or even less than that.
     
    wylton likes this.
  15. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    What do the modern PSUs actually do? For a long while the suggestion from Loricraft and others was to just use a ‘dim-bulb tester’, i.e. wire an incandescent lightbulb in series to drop the voltage down by some percentage. This means you can get away with less eddy current brake, which is a major noise source in Garrards and 124s, but you also lose torque so very much a ‘tune by ear’ thing. I played about with it at length with the TD124 and eventually came to the conclusion I valued the torque/drive/punch over noise-floor, so I’m running without.

    PS I may try again at some point as I built a new dim-bulb tester as part of my TL12 Plus restoration.
     
    torstoi likes this.
  16. Sonny Beauceron

    Sonny Beauceron pfm Member

    This is what the LDA one claims to do: https://www.mcru.co.uk/product/longdog-audio-quartz-mains-regenerator/
     
    Tony L likes this.
  17. divedeepdog

    divedeepdog pfm Member

    I've got the LDA too, I've also got a loaned Lenco controller . 220 vs 215 volts makes a difference. LDA 220 retains more of the drive Garrard's renowned for. Reduced noise floor too. Not the best VFM, its a big wedge thats icing on the cake rather than an essential for me, however mains quality does vary.
     
    torstoi likes this.
  18. wylton

    wylton Naim and Mana member

    Is that Nigel's speed controller from Lenco Heaven? I have the PCB waiting for me to start yet another project...
     
  19. clivem2

    clivem2 pfm Member

    I tried my variac on my 301 some years ago. Dropping from my usual 245V to about 220V had a small benefit without noticeable losses. Going much below that ie 200V or even 180V slugged the dynamics. My 301 is pretty quiet anyway so I just run it at full mains voltage nowadays.
     
  20. divedeepdog

    divedeepdog pfm Member

    Yes, I believe built by Deco audio. Not mine so I’ve not had the lid off to see if voltage can be altered, it’s set at 215.
    Interesting, I’ve plugged Avondale Taps and original Roksan Xerxes PS into them and made significant difference. Maybe belters more susceptible to mains ‘noise’?
     

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