Turntable Rebuild

My turntable since early 2000 was a NAD 533.

After a house move, it was relegated to storage under the bed while I had no suitable shelving for putting it into the lounge along with the rest of the hi-fi gear.

It remained languishing under the bed for a couple more house moves until I finally got myself some decent shelving that passed the “her indoors” test (“If you think I’m having THAT in my living room, you must be joking!”).

When it finally emerged from under the bed, I found the stylus of the Goldring Elektra cartridge was broken. Time for an upgrade – Electra was duly replaced with an Ortofon 2M Red. While fitting the new 2M Red, at least one of the connectors from the tonearm to the cartridge broke off (corroded). Soldering on new connectors to the litz wire of the tonearm is not an easy job so the tonearm was duly removed from the turntable base and sent off to Origin Live in Southampton for a decent rewire. I also had the original plastic counterbalance stub replaced with a better one that Origin Live offer as an upgrade. Once returned from rewire/upgrade, the tonearm was reinstalled onto the NAD and put back into use revisiting all my vinyl from years back.

After a reasonable amount of vinyl play following the rewire, I felt that, while the 2M Red was a good cartridge, it wasn’t taking full advantage of the tonearm upgrades (both wiring and counterbalance stub). Move over 2M Red, make way for 2M Black.

2M Black arrived, was fitted, then the Red went onto that on-line auction site. A worthwhile improvement, bringing a clean sound and definite improvements to sound stage.

By this time, the tonearm / cartridge was clearly out-performing the turntable base and platter. The NAD platter was MDF with a felt mat and the  sub-platter  is primarily a plastic moulding fitted to a steel shaft. The base is also MDF. So on to the next stage.

I looked into options for the sub-platter and decided on a Tangospinner machined aluminium / steel shafted sub-platter. For the platter / base / moter combination, I sourced the component parts (less sub-platter and tonearm) for an Inspire Apollo. I fitted the Tangospinner sub-platter, then the tone arm /cartridge, into the Inspire Apollo.

The end result is a striking turntable which also plays vinyl beautifully.

From a musical perspective, the obvious improvements are

  • significantly lower noise floor
  • more musical detail extracted

Job done!