27 October, 2010

Talk Vinyl: Restoration of Garrad 301 Part I

Talk Vinyl: Restoration of Garrard 301 Part I

As you know, I am very fond of Garrard 301 and have long regarded it as the best of turntables (see my previous Vinyl Talk article). I have TWO of them and, interestingly, both were acquired around the same time in the pre-R33 era and under somewhat unusual circumstances.

From Malaysia with Love
The first one was a mint cream-colored version I acquired together with an EAR 834P. This was before R33 and the items were selling via the second-hand forum of Audioboard (remember?) and I think on GotoHK and Yahoo. The seller was a nice Malaysian gentleman who was re-locating back home. My dear colleague who went with me also bought his Klipsch Heresy. On his very last day in HK I bought also his Lowther TP1 with Queen Anne legs and he delivered them in an open truck! I hope he is well and enjoying life and hifi in Malaysia.

The TT came with a rudimentary plinth that has a hole for a Rega arm. I screwed on my Origin Live basic mod RB300 and that was the start of a lasting marriage (again see my previous Vinyl Talk article)! Sometime ago I lent it together with an SME IV to my friend whlee. He built a nice plinth for it and its serving well with a nude Denon 103. He is enjoying it so much I'd hesitate to take it back from him.

From RTHK with Love 臥虎藏龍-韜光養晦?
At the time my neighbor across from my house collected Volkswagen's and had them strewn all over the place. One day finally I went inside his house and was surprised to see some wonderful vintage hifi gears. Tannoys, 300Bs etc. I found out he was previously in this business in Apliu Street (now again in 好望角). He was cleaning house and sold me a Japanese San Ei VT62 SET amp, AND a grey (grease bearing) transcription 301, which he said was from RTHK, untested and without even power cord.

For years I never got around to power it up. It was kept in a wood crate that originally housed my MI-300, tugged under a table that had a big heavy CRT TV on it, and with a couch in front. That meant I never even saw it for years.

Recently, my washing machine broke. As I have it out on the balcony, I dreaded delivery of a new one and removal of the old one, as the machines had to go through my cramped living room. I made enough room and finally got it done. One side benefit was that the path was clear for removal of the big old CRT TV too. That also meant I finally got my 301 out.

A few days ago icefox visited me and I became motivated to hook up a power cord to the 301. I turned the knob and...NOTHING! You can imagine our disappointment!

As a last resort, I measured the AC voltage: 33 V AC???? I plugged the power into another outlet and voila! we heard some noise but the platter (just sitting tilted on the table) did not turn. Then we propped up the TT to ensure all parts were free from interference. Voila! The platter moved! You can imagine my joy. Apparently the first AC outlet was hooked up via a wall adapter which had been knocked loose during my struggle with the huge wood crate and the table over it. Lesson: watch your connections!

Hurray! The TT shall be off soon to my friend Robin's place for his expert restoration. He had also given me his old plinth (pictured) but I think I shall make a new plinth and mount a 12" arm on it when the restoration is done. Maybe a Thomas Schick? :-)

No comments:

Post a Comment