New (to me) AR The Turntable

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by SnowmaNick, Aug 15, 2018.

  1. SnowmaNick

    SnowmaNick Well-Known Member

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    I acquired a new toy yesterday. A Merrill modified AR The Turntable with walnut veneered plinth (the only retailed finish).


    The subchassis has been replaced with a George Merrill acrylic subchassis, and Vinyl Nirvana supplied a new vinyl pulley and armboard for a Rega argm. It currently is sporting a Rega (Moth) Variant of an RB-300 with Cardas wiring, tags, and adjustable VTA. It also has new upgraded springs from Vinyl Nirvana.

    It has the stock aluminum platter assembly, and I just ordered a new belt and AQ Wildcat tonearm cable.

    This table, IMHO, is a good looking piece of kit.

    I’ll be running it with a Rega Exact2 MM cart into the phono section of my Parasound HINT Integrated to start. Why? Because I already have them on hand. I’ll look at maybe a Lounge LCR or Rega Fono MM or MC Mk2 later, after this cart at least.

    The previous owner mentioned he also has the George Merrill acrylic platter, record weight and rim weight for sale separately. Are there any AR fans here who can say if that is a worthwhile improvement over say a Funk Achromat 2?

    Also, this platter assembly rings like a bell. I was thinking of adding some Dynamat to the bottom in an even pattern to dampen it? Worthwhile? Bad move? Just the ticket?

    This is my first non-Rega and first suspended table. Any and all help is always appreciated.

    B1418DB0-4507-4EEA-A960-83C82188A987.jpeg 5DFB0362-2683-46A5-B602-EB7A445832FF.jpeg

    *Edit: I was told by the seller that the arm was a Rega/Moth RB-202, but when I was cleaning everything up I discovered it’s actually a Rega RB-300 with Cardas rewiring and tags terminated to a 5-pin Din plug.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2018
  2. SnowmaNick

    SnowmaNick Well-Known Member

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    The AR is in my living room system, which is just for music. The rest of the system consists of:

    Parasound Halo Integrated amp
    Revel Performa3 F208 speakers
    JL Audio Dominion D108 subs (2)
    Auralic Aries Mini w/Linear Power Supply
    Mytek Liberty DAC w/SBooster BOTW ps
    Ifi Micro iUSB 3.0
    Sony BDP-S790 for CD/SACD
    Panamax power conditioner
    Wireworld and Furutech cabling (and the new AQ)
    Roon & Tidal via dedicated iPad
    Minimal acoustic treatments due to aesthetics in this room, one picture panel, wool rug, etc.

    FE3ACF25-514A-41D4-8B75-39E038D222D1.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2018
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  3. SnowmaNick

    SnowmaNick Well-Known Member

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    Damn Murphy and his law! The day I get all the kit to check out my new AR I get a head cold. Ears are so stuffed up I may as well be listening to my kids toys.
     
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  4. SonOfJames

    SonOfJames Guest

    AR's are nice, no frills tables, very musical, some say poor man's LP-12. Just like old Lenco, Gerrard, transcription tables, etc. lots of mods out there, parts, etc. you can spend another 1K easily. Watch your local CL, usually about $125 in need of some sort of work. Some may even include nice vintage Shure cart.

    You may want to consider adding a platform w/vibrapods or isolation blocks, wall shelf, DIY sandbox or inner tube for some isolation.

    Hope you feel better, sounds like hayfever or sinus infection this time of the year. Try a neti pot.
     
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  5. SnowmaNick

    SnowmaNick Well-Known Member

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    Thanks.

    I tend to get a seasonal cold this time of year.

    I’m going to try coupling the table to the very heavy Salamander stand it’s on, which is in turn on sorbothane pucks under each foot.

    My first simple addition to this table was to take off the fixed feet and put on some adjustable spikes. I want the table as level as possible before any adjustments that may need to be made to the springs.

    Plus, this didn’t require me to be able to hear. ☹️

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  6. Sturgus

    Sturgus Well-Known Member

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    Very nice table, a classic.
     
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  7. SnowmaNick

    SnowmaNick Well-Known Member

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    Thank you. Ears are still stuffed up, so I did some polishing tonight. Cleaned up the outer platter ring tonight. You have to love how metal platters look when they’re all cleaned up and shiny.
     
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  8. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Well-Known Member

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    I'd want the acrylic platter and weight. Possibly the peripheral weight as well depending on price- but definitely the first two. George Merrill is an AR genius.
     
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  9. SnowmaNick

    SnowmaNick Well-Known Member

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    I have a line on all three, but wanted to get the cartridge and phono pre sorted out first. The gent I bought the table from has them, as well as the lead mat, but doesn’t want to break up the set and its a bit pricey.

    I want them as I agree that George Merril was and is a genius with these tables.

    In the interim I’ve ordered a Funk Achromat 2 to replace the generic cork/rubber platter mat. I also ordered a Michell Technoweight and Hana EL MC.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2018
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  10. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Well-Known Member

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    The lead mat too? I'm curious how much he wants for all of it- I have a number in my head, and I want to see if I'm right. $600?
     
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  11. SnowmaNick

    SnowmaNick Well-Known Member

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    Within spitting distance of your guess.
     
  12. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Well-Known Member

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    It's a weird spot to be in. The seller has a horribly limited market, but the items are impossible to find.
     
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  13. SnowmaNick

    SnowmaNick Well-Known Member

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    How much of an impact would you think they’d make over the aluminum platter with an Achromat?
     
  14. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Well-Known Member

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    I'd think the difference is noticeable. I'd call George Merrill. He's the best source to tell you what to expect.
     
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  15. SnowmaNick

    SnowmaNick Well-Known Member

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    I added some Dynamat today to a few places. I started with both the inner and outer platter, but found that deadened everything down. No bass, treble was subdued, and interestingly absolutely zero I mean zero surface noise from records. Even ones I haven’t cleaned in ages.

    While the lack of surface noise was nice, everything else was blah. So I removed the Dynamat from the outer ring of the platter, throughly cleaned it, and tested again. Much better! A little surface noise was back but zero motor noise, bass was back, solid imaging, and the speed (as tested by my iPhone app) was very steady. In between tests I kept adjusting the suspension a bit to adjust for the weight of the Dynamat. Some or all of the differences could of course just be down to me getting the tuning off, or better, but anywhich way I’m pretty happy with the platter now.

    Next I used a combination of CLD Dynamat like butyl rubber material on the insid of the top of the plinth and open cell Dynamat on the sides and over the braces I made to hold the adjustable feet. I also applied the CLD material around the motor mount, on a portion of he motor housing, and on the bearing housing.

    I was originally debating building a new bottom as the design is just open down there, with just some holes to adjust the springs and let the power and phono cables out, but I kept reading mixed reviews. So I just split the difference by building two light braces and attaching them to the posts where the original feet were. The braces are made of oak and are just .25” thick and 1.5” wide and attached with wood screws, painted black, and again have open cell foam Dynamat on top of them.

    One more check of the suspension, table and arm and time for some tunes.

    Wow, the bass is much improved. Maybe a little improvement in imaging and instrument separation, but the bass is very noticeably and dramatically different. It hits much harder and has less blurring/overhang/sloppiness.

    Overall a pretty darn good mod IMHO. A total of $25 in materials, but a fair amount of time applying, removing, and adjusting. This would have been much faster on a non-suspended table, but it was worth it.

    I forgot to take pics of most of the process but here is one before I put the braces back in showing the CLD and open cell material.

    E8F3F128-872D-409B-B098-FD39705A8CA8.jpeg

    Here is a quick pic of one of the braces to give an idea. I had to punch up the light level quite a bit, sorry for the pic being a bit crappy. The photographer is a joke.

    00C2C1F9-D957-46DC-803F-3D22289FE4E1.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2018
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  16. SonOfJames

    SonOfJames Guest

    What type/kind of cone/feet are you using ?
     
  17. SnowmaNick

    SnowmaNick Well-Known Member

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    No name ones off of eBay. Aluminum construction.
     
  18. SnowmaNick

    SnowmaNick Well-Known Member

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    New 3MM Funk Achromat 2 arrived. Wife chose the color.

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  19. lee newman

    lee newman Well-Known Member

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    Let us know what you think.
     
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  20. SnowmaNick

    SnowmaNick Well-Known Member

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    Will do.

    I didn’t have much time for listening as we’ve had family over, but I’ll report back once I get a few hours with it and can A:B it against the cork/rubber mat.

    I also got my Hana EL in and, as I mentioned in the Sutherland thread, bought a Sutherland KC Vibe which should be arriving around midweek.

    This table is much better than I thought it would be. Every mod and tweak so far has yielded solid benefits. I see why it was so popular.
     
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