JVC QL-A7 Turntable
A quick look at the JVC QL-A7 turntable—I owned it for several years until I sent it to a new home just last week. It worked very well and was built like a tank, but it had a few things that kept me from really falling in love with it.
This was my primary turntable for the past few years. I bought it for around $60, which I felt was a pretty good deal at the time. I didn't know much about it other than it looked beefy and seemed to be in nice shape despite being covered in a layer of dust and grime. It was a solid upgrade from my old turntable, the JVC QL-A5.
It turns out that the QL-A7 is somewhat sought after as being a rather high end direct drive turntable. The tonearm and plinth are apparently only average to above average—according to some "audiophiles"—but the direct drive unit itself (Victor TT-71) is rather good, plus removable, so you can transplant it into a custom plinth if that's the kind of thing you're into.
I had several upgrades planned for it which I never got around to doing. I wanted to replace the RCA cables with RCA jacks on the back, so I could switch out cables easily. I also wanted to replace the feet, because I thought they were ugly and a bit too sensitive to vibrations. The only thing I actually got around to doing was replacing the stock turntable mat, but it didn't really do much. I ended up selling it last week to a guy who wanted it only for the direct drive unit, so he could use it for a custom turntable (go figure).
To be honest, I never actually loved this turntable despite it serving me well for several years. The semi-gloss black plinth always showed dust and fingerprints a little too much, and I never cared for the "UFO" styled ring around the platter. It also never seemed to photograph well, which is why none of the photos I've taken are very impressive (to me, at least). Despite it's aesthetic flaws, it has a couple interesting features that set it apart from other turntables during the mid-late 1970s:
A "photokinetic" end-of-play mechanism. I'm not exactly sure how this worked, but a typical turntable that lifts the arm at the end of a record does so by mechanical means. This one works through some kind of other magic voodoo. I actually can't find much information on Google about how it works. Oh well, I guess!
Touch sensitive speed controls. Basically works as you'd expect. I've never seen that feature on a turntable before — pretty fancy, indeed!
It had a few known issues which I read about on various forums. Most notably, a drooping counterweight on the tonearm. Many also suffered from rubber feet that became dry and eventually disintegrated. Miraculously, though, mine had neither of those problems. So after several years of good service, it was time for me to say goodbye. I sold it to partially finance the purchase of a very nice Thorens TD-160, which I'll post about some time later.
For more technical specs on this turntable, visit its page on Vinyl Engine.