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Thread: Linear Tracking Turntables

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    Default Linear Tracking Turntables

    Hi All

    Does anyone have any experience of linear tracking turntables?

    I have one due this week, new to me but 80's vintage in GWO.

    I have heard that although they may need a bit more maintenance, IGD is reduced because of the way the tonearm tracks at 90° to the record instead of at an angle. I listen to classical on all formats but have a soft spot for vinyl.

    Any comments would be welcome.

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    I bought one in the 80s and still have it. The sound is fine, but there is a problem with the tone arm coming up too early. I have not used in a long time.

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    I have Sanyo RP-113 along with not linear high end Thorens and Lenco. Sanyo is regarded as lower quality and not so desireable(well under 100EUR) unit. However I find very little difference in sound quality with my better turntables. It is there, but not 10 times as the price would suggest. If you get the one with removable cartridge you can buy the best available cart and get very good sound out of it. But do not expect any wow experience compared to ordinary tonearm TT's.
    Some say linear trackers are marketing gimmick. Honestly I have not heard too much difference in IGD. Maybe I do not hear IGD to start with. My experience tells me that different levels of distortion depending more on particular LP pressing than equipment that plays it.
    Maintenance wise linear trackers are very similar to CD players. Usually there are some rubber belts that deteriorate over time or lack of regular use and need to be replaced some times, but may be hard to find now days.
    Last edited by erki; Mar-16-2021 at 08:43.

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    I own four of them -- two Technics SL-10s, a Technics SL-6 and a Sony PS-FL7II. I obviously love straight-line tracking turntables.

    One of the SL-10s was bought used, and always had a weird thump every revolution. Could never figure out what caused it. It wasn't too obvious when playing records, but when dubbing them to make CD-Rs this was a problem.

    The other SL-10 just plain wore out after 30 years. It's up in my attic.

    The SL-6 started having problems with arm travel, despite lubricating the rotating shaft it rides on, so I retired it to become my platform for cleaning records.

    I replaced it with the Sony, which turned out to be the best sounding of the three. It operates like a CD player or a laser disc player, with a tray that slides out. That makes it hard to clean records (hence the SL-6) but it operates flawlessly and sounds fantastic.

    I like SL arms for four reasons: they handle warped records much better than a pivot arm, there is no inner groove distortion, once they're playing they're closed & sealed from dust & dirt (so a clean record stays clean for days, until you remove it) and they're totally resistant to external vibration -- walking in front of them for instance. The Panasonics are dynamically balanced and will even play upside down. I have a set of angle brackets and used to play the SL-10s tilted up at 45º for easier record access. There's an indicator light in the cover which shows where the stylus is as it works its way across the record.

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    Quote Originally Posted by erki View Post
    Usually there are some rubber belts that deteriorate over time or lack of regular use and need to be replaced some times, but may be hard to find now days.
    Ace Hardware has rubber 'O'-rings in every size imaginable. For 69¢ I have kept turntables and cassette decks operable.

    As a matter of fact, the Sony needed a belt replacement last year. It was strange. Records would play the first track just fine, then hang up and start skipping on the second track. If you fast forwarded to track 3 or so, it'd play the rest of the way through without problem.

    There's a wiring harness that comes off the tonearm, routed in a 's' pattern so it straightens out as the arm approaches the inside groove. At the point where the needle skipped, I noticed the wires just barely contacted the inside back of the case.

    I lubricated the cables. No better.

    I re-routed the cables so they missed the back of the case. No better.

    Finally, I replaced the belt (o-ring) that drove the tonearm, and that fixed it. There was JUST enough resistance at that one point that the old worn belt began slipping. The new one works gangbusters.
    Last edited by NoCoPilot; Mar-18-2021 at 14:52.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoPilot View Post
    Ace Hardware has rubber 'O'-rings in every size imaginable. For 69¢ I have kept turntables and cassette decks operable.
    I did the same with my TEAC cassette deck. Bought a pack of odd sized belts and found 2 that fitted perfectly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Dee View Post
    I have one due this week, new to me but 80's vintage in GWO.
    What did you get, and how do you like it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoPilot View Post
    What did you get, and how do you like it?
    Akai AP M-313 from 1987 - quite basic with no track selector. Has a nice P Mount cartridge and I put a new Audio Technica AT81CP stylus on it. Those have a carbon fibre cantilever on them so the sound reproduction is very good. I have noticed that if the stylus gathers a 'dust bunny' it can mistrack from time to time, so clean records seem to be a must for this turntable.

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    Did you notice any difference in IGD? That is the phenomenon I haven't experienced yet.

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    From my point of view listening wise, it sounded cleaner at the end of a side than I have noticed before, with less sibilance. I guess a lot depends on whether the record is already worn through IGD from many plays on a conventional turntable. I tried out one LP that I own that has a noticeable edge warp, and there is no 'wobble' in the notes that I would normally have experienced on a normal turntable. I am guessing that's because the tone arm is going sideways as opposed to inwards when it hits the warp.

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    The tone arm goes up and down, following the warp. Well I guess a pivot arm does the same, but I've always found LA turntables are much better at doing it without any affect to the output.

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    The Akai AP M-313 turntable looks like a very nice design, very similar to the SL-6 in fact. I like that the cover hinges way up.

    "Quite basic with no track selector" -- I only know of 2 or 3 tables that allow track selection on an LP. It's a pretty esoteric feature.

    And it appears that the M-313 has indicator lights in the lid, the same as the SL-6, to indicate where the tonearm is playing?
    Last edited by NoCoPilot; Mar-27-2021 at 06:00.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Dee View Post
    ... new to me but 80's vintage in GWO.
    I still haven't figured out what GWO is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoPilot View Post
    I still haven't figured out what GWO is.
    GWO is good working order. There is an indicator light but my turntable is at eye level so it doesn't really help much. It sits on top of a CD player on top of an amp on top of a cassette deck on top of a record cabinet!

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    As a linear-tracking turntable, it *probably(?)* doesn't have to sit flat. My SL-10s and SL-6 didn't. You might experiment with cutting a couple wedges out of wood.

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