| audio, gear, vintage | 1 comment

I recently acquired this vintage turntable as a possible replacement in my stereo setup, based solely on aesthetics. It has several disadvantages compared to my current turntable, but it looks really nice damn it!

I bought this turntable on Kijiji last year as a possible replacement in my stereo setup. I was attracted to it purely for aesthetic reasons; I really liked the exposed strobe pattern around the platter, and paired with the duotone black/silver plinth, it reminded me of the classic Technics SL-1200

The work I did to it was fairly minor; I cleaned and lubed all of the knobs and switches with DeoxIT, specifically the speed control knobs. Afterwards, it held both 33 and 45 RPM perfectly. I also experimented with a new product designed to remove cloudiness and minor scratches from the dust cover, called Novus Plastic Polish, which I was able to purchase on eBay for $12. It comes in three bottles, which you are supposed to apply in three steps; one for "major" scratches, one for minor scratches, and one for a final polish. It had pretty good reviews online, but I am sure that experiences may vary, as it didn't work as well as I'd hoped. It reduced the cloudiness, and reduced the appearance of some scratches, but overall the dust cover remained fairly scuffed up (as most do, having stuff piled on top of them since the 70s). I will give it a couple more applications before I decide whether or not it was a waste of money.

After giving it a good cleaning and tune-up, I listened to about a dozen albums on it over the next week or two, but I still wasn't convinced if I should keep it or flip it. It sounded great, but I couldn't get over the fact that it had several key downsides versus its contender, my JVC QL-A7:

  • no vertical tracking adjustment
  • no quartz lock
  • 8 pole motor (vs. 12 pole on the JVC)
  • plastic plinth (vs. wood)
  • no end-of-play mechanism (lifts the needle at the end of the record)
  • 60dB S/N ratio (vs. 72dB on the JVC)

Another advantage my JVC had was a dedicated direct drive unit, meaning I could transplant it into a new plinth if I ever wanted to be adventurous. My JVC also had a much higher MSRP in 1978: $350 USD, versus only $200 USD for the Toshiba in 1975. On paper it was a no-brainer decision, but I like shiny new things, and I was seriously torn.

I mulled it over for a few more days, asked for some opinions online, and eventually gave into logic. Even though I loved how it looked, and it seriously sounded nice, I couldn't get over the fact that I'd be giving up a higher quality component because the alternative looked nicer.

Keep an eye out for it on Calgary's Kijiji listings in the next few days!

1 comment

Nice table and yes looks a lot like the Technics SL1200. Don't worry about rated paper specs and things like Quartz lock. They have almost zero correlation to perceived sound quality (yes turntables greatly influence sound quality). Solidity, rigidity, inertness, resonance control and low friction are what determines how your turntable will sound. Those qualities should be respectably good on Japanese tables of the Toshiba's vintage. If it sounds good, it is good.
I used to run an early built-like-a-tank Dual 701 who's rumble specs were decent but about 8 db poorer than a later vintage Denon DD. Yet when listening the Dual smoked the Denon for 3D sound stage, bass slam, dynamics and detail retrieval. Then I got a belt drive Linn Sondek LP-12 and it left all my direct drives in the dust for sonic realism.
Happy listening!