A journey with my Systemdek IIX (updated)

Numpty112233

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A JOURNEY WITH MY SYSTEMDEK TURNTABLE.





PART 1 (written Oct 2021)





Let’s be frank from the start. My knowledge re turntables at the beginning of this journey on a scale of 1 to 10 was round about 1 and has, over the years, increased to maybe 2 or 3. I am no expert. Far from it.





I got my Systemdek IIX in the late 1980s. It was 2nd hand from Billy Vee hifi shop and was a couple of years old. It came with a Linn Basik LVX arm but no cartridge for the princely sum of £275. This was just about affordable; I was delighted to have picked up a turntable otherwise out of my price range - and one that was not just What Hifi Magazine’s Turntable of the year, but Product of the Year, 3 years running.





I stuck a £30 Ortofon 510 on it, plugged it into the phono stage in my Pioneer A400 amp, spun Roger Water’s Pros & Cons of Hitchhiking… and was immediately disappointed. The sound was flat and dull compared to CD in my Arcam Alpha+. I didn’t know it at the time but have subsequently learned that both the stylus and phono stage were suffocating it (amongst other things, more of which later). This was the ‘80s, I was young and CD was cool (and commanded a healthy premium over vinyl…) so my Systemdek gathered dust - whilst the silver disk collection expanded - and, eventually, it ended up in the loft.





There she stayed until about 4 years ago when I got a new music system for the garden room. Time to give it a 2nd chance without burning too much money. The Cambridge CXA80 had no phono stage so I budgeted a combined £300 for an external one and new cartridge (the same as I had spent on the CD transport). The Pro-Ject Phono Box USB-V and Ortofon 2M Blue were well reviewed so I fitted them… and was still disappointed. It was nostalgic to play my old LPs from the ‘80s, but they still didn’t sound as good as on CD through the Monitor Audio Silver 8 floorstanders. Less dynamic and dull, I described the sound at the time as like “coming from the bottom a well” or “from the room next door”. An exaggeration but fairly accurate. Considering the age I thought it might need a service to make of its best so I tracked down the Dunlop brothers who had manufactured it to ART Speakers, which is just up the road from me and phoned them to arrange one. They weren’t interested, telling me that all it may possibly need is a new belt and the spindle re-lubing. This I did myself and noted the new, tighter, belt put side force onto the motor inducing vibration that was actually detrimental to sound. I also treated it to a sexy red leather mat in place of the wool felt one that always came away stuck with static to the underside of a record.





Two years later and another new system for the new Man Cave. The Denon PMA-2500ne amp was reviewed as having an excellent phono stage. It was not at all my intention to have a turntable on this system but this was a chance to try it out. The new belt had by now stretched enough to no longer be as detrimental. Well blow me away! Sweet music floated out of the Monitor Audio Gold 300 (s4) floorstanders. It wasn’t perfect by any means but was an enjoyable, fun and musical sound that flowed with irresistible toe tapping rhythm, loads of bass and a wide soundstage.





So it stayed on and, for the first time in three decades I started buying vinyl again. I also started listening to vinyl more than digital and, as I did, two peculiar things happened. I noticed that the wide soundstage started to have music coming out of left and right, but with no centre image. The effect was to grab me from the usual place in the audience and plonk me in the centre of the stage, as though I were actually Tina Turner or Santana surrounded by the musicians. Very odd but surprisingly good fun. Who wouldn’t want to be Tina in full throttle? Then, one evening, I suddenly noticed the bass had snuck off when no-one was looking. I stuck a 5 pence piece on the headshell, rebalanced, and immediately it was back - and then some! Bob Marley had never sounded so good. Like as a teenager pressing the ExtraBass button on my Ghettoblaster. After a few albums I removed the coin and the bass didn’t disappear again but stayed… (EDIT UPDATE having now changed cartridge this peculiar soundstage issue is now no more and it is now as it should be. I conclude the cartridge was possibly responsible albeit I haven’t ruled out the aged tonearm being “haunted” either needing a rewire or mysteriously self adjusting its tracking weight or / and antiskate setting. Even with the 2M Blue still being used the issue resolved itself as mysteriously as it came on. Such is the complexity of turntable ownership…)





I concluded that I was, after 3 decades or more, starting to really enjoy vinyl; I was starting to “get it”. Should I throw 4 figures on a new arm etc willing the Systemdek to reach her full potential or should I just treat myself to a new deck? Decisions, decisions… followed by delivery of a Technics SL-1200GR with AT-OC9XML and Achromat.





The end of the road for the Systemdek? Not a bit of it! Back into the garden room and onto the CXA80 it went. Only now I knew I needed a decent phono stage. The Phono Box USB-V was small but surprisingly heavy. Whether it was full of electronics or antidepressants I’m not sure but they numbed the sound. I tracked down a 2nd hand Phono Box RS at Audio Emotion for £390 and phoned them up. “We’ve just sold that but we have an unadvertised ex-demonstration one for £490 you can have” they said. “Oh” I replied “Can you meet me half way?” I knew of others for £440 “No, it cost us £480 so we are giving it away.” “Ok then”. My negotiating skills had clearly taken a nose dive and it left a wee niggle that I had been “Arthur Daleyed”, so having received the RS I checked their website a week later and the original advert was still active, only the price was now advertised at £590. I am sure there is an innocent explanation. Never mind, the RS is a huge improvement over the USB-V; at least comparable to the one in the PMA-2500ne. The music comes alive with detail, clarity and dynamics. The strange soundstage and lack of bass issues had disappeared and so far haven’t returned. It was behaving itself.





Reading a review of the SL-1200 I saw mention of Les Davis Audio isolation pads doing wonders to tighten up bass etc. and, not being entirely happy with the isolation of my SL-1200GR but not having height clearance for a proper platform these seemed an ideal solution - if they worked. £120 was a lot of wedge for a box of eight 1mm thick wee pads but I took the gamble and stuck 4 of them under the Technics. Immediate noticeable improvement. 4 left - what to do? Between the Systemdek rubber feet and 40mm solid timber work surface they went and on Portishead’s Dummy went with lots of bass and the same result achieved. Because the rubber feet are quite narrow I now have something between foot and isolation pad to spread the weight. (I posted these findings on a FB group page which, unbeknownst to me, also had as a member the director of the company who imports them. He used my financial investment and writing efforts as a blatant free marketing opportunity so I thought if he could have such a brass neck then so could I and I p.m.ed him for freebies as a thank you. “Absolutely, of course.” he replied. 2 weeks passed and I’m still waiting every morning for the postman lol (EDIT UPDATE a year later I posted on the same site for isolation recommendations and he piped up again. I reminded him of his previous unfulfilled promise and, publicly shamed, he claimed to have sent them, despite not having told me at the time he had posted them and nor did they ever turn up. I am therefore reticent to recommend his products and have since combined their use with sorbothane which is considerably cheaper).





What next to make the most of the Phono Box RS investment? Time to pimp my deck. I email SRM Tech and ask advice for which products would improve my turntable. Stuart immediately replied with a long shopping list, we agreed a pack price of £175 and 3 days later I need to remind him to send them out. Unfortunately he notified me that the item he quoted for that most interested me wouldn’t fit - this being a proper bearing at the base of the motor, which, given my previous experience of side load when changing belts, I thought would be a guaranteed winner. Never mind. I receive and fit the remainder with mixed results as follows;-





two Motor Vibration Absorbers - effectively sort of fat rubber bands that fit around the motor - needed me to cut bits out to fit around the connections and bolts and required removal of the motor to do so (straight forward enough)


Bearing Damping Rings - smaller versions of the above for the outside of the brass spindle housing


Sorbothane Damping Kit - which I superglued to the metal suspended chassis and underside of the veneered MDF top near to the springs.


The above 3 items were installed together from the underside and, combined, made improvements, including a quieter but still audible motor. I recommend them, however, I suspect, better still (but more expensive) would be to replace the motor, particularly with one which enables speed change from 33 to 45 rpm as well as fitting the other 2 items.


Spindle support pad. This was a fail. Great in theory I’m sure but in practice the flat disk didn’t fit well around the bearing or inside the concave bottom of the spindle. This not only messed up the VTA but, far worse, made the platter wobble as the spindle wouldn’t sit on the bearing. It was unusable. The oil that came with it though is good stuff.


Acrylic Platter c/w Platter Damping Ring - the Damping Ring, effectively a thick rubber band around the edge, was a fail both practically and sonically. It stuck out beyond the edge of the record, making it very user unfriendly for LP removal, particularly when the platter is spinning, as is my usual with the Systemdek. Doing so also knocks it off straight so it visually wobbles around when spinning. Sonically it sucks the life out of the music, as if whacking up the bass whilst turning the treble right down and throwing a blanket over the speakers. Once removed I preferred the Acrylic Platter to the original glass one. Both are 10mm thick so no messing with VTA but the acrylic is noticeably lighter. Theoretically this is detrimental to wow and flutter, however my ears haven’t picked this up. In reality (with both set 5mm off the deck) the acrylic starts and stops more easily and doesn’t wobble as much. I consider the glass has too much mass for the belt / motor and suspension. Sound wise the acrylic also seemed to tidy up the treble. It’s a keeper.


Thick Silicone Mat - it is a relatively cheap and very easy way to tune sound by changing mats. Different materials and designs have different sonics. Of the 4 mats I had to play with; a thin rubber one with ridges that lift the vinyl off the surface, the 3mm rubber mat from my SL-1200GR and a leather one, this 3mm silicone mat had the most damping. It tightened the sound up the most and increased the bass, quelling the treble. The leather was similar, but not quite as much. In the end I chose the Technics rubber mat as it sounded most fun and tonally accurate. If your sound is too bright or lacking in bass then I recommend you try this mat. I am currently trying it out on the SL-1200GR on top of the Achromat where the effect is more subtle and am liking it (EDIT UPDATE The heavy silicone mat has remained on top of the achromat on my Technics as an improvement over the 3mm Achromat alone and the Technics SL1200GR rubber mat has remained on the acrylic platter on my Systemdek to great effect).


Revolution Soft Record Clamp - this was a fail on the Systemdek as it needed pushed on and pulled off; not good with the suspension. Worse, the Linn LVX headshell would hit it before the needle reached the final groove. I am trying it out on the SL-1200GR though, without these issues, where it is calming treble distortion. Very early days, I have yet to decide if I prefer the mat or clamp on the Technics. Both is too much. (EDIT UPDATE The mat remains in use and the clamp resides unused in a drawer)





I had read that a couple of folk removed the metal base from their Systemdeks to great sonic improvement. One described it as acting like a loudspeaker. Time to try this out. Yep - they were right. It addressed the previously mentioned tendency to make the sound like it was coming from the bottom of a well. It made a big difference. Now I was FINALLY reaching audio nirvana with this turntable… except with bare legs and it’s undercarriage hanging down it resembled a man wearing no trousers. Not a pretty site! The base needed back on, but not until I cut a whacking great hole out the middle of it. Doing so and a wee smidge of the base sonic effect returned. I rather like that as it is part of the unique Systemdek sound character and I didn’t want it to lose that entirely. Where the Technics is more user friendly and sounds more accurate / CD like, the Systemdek has charisma and sounds fuller, more musical and fun (note different cartridges, systems & room acoustics). I am finally very happy with it! Happy days ;-)











PART 2 UPDATE (written March 2023)





Muchness has happened in the intervening year or so as I continue my slide down the slippery slope disappearing into the rabbit hole / financial black hole that is turntable tinkering…





In Nov. 2021 I managed to pick up a brand new unused Ortofon 2M Black cartridge for £300 from a bloke who had just secretly bought it and then got given another one as a pressie from his Missus and so had to get rid of it quick (or so the story went). This was my first purchase from a private individual who I didn’t know and lived hundreds of miles away. I don’t do PayPal so bank transferred him the money prior to posting and sweated until it turned up. He turned out to be a decent guy and taking the risk and getting the reward restored my faith in humanity.


The 2M Black was, unsurprisingly, a step up from the 2M Blue in pretty much every way - comparing them was a wow moment. But first though I compared it with the AT-OC9XML on the Technics through the Denon PMA-2500ne internal stage. The Black was more authoritative, the AT more nuanced (note the Black was new and so not run in). At the time my notes were “The 2M Black has a bigger, bolder, more confident sound. More bass, more treble, more authority. It is also quieter with surface noise, clicks and pops. The OC9 counters with more delicacy and nuance with a more acoustic, less hard sound. The 2M is closer to CD sound and ultimately more fatiguing - a bit like watching the vivid picture setting on the telly versus the OC9’s “expert dark room”.”


Note: different phono stages in the comparison and the Black was not run in. Now that it is the 2M Black has settled down very nicely.


Being on the Technics was just a comparative tryout for the Black though and it immediately went onto the Linn LVX arm on the Systemdek in place of the Blue where it performed well on my 2nd system through the ProJect PhonoBox RS MM setting, CXA-80 and M.A. Silver 8


A month later on the afore referred to FB Group a new member joined and announced that he was setting up a new business venture, manufacturing phono stages and had a prototype of his first product if anyone wanted to try it pre launch. I had just got the PhonoBox RS so didn’t need a new stage, however I have provided business mentoring for start ups on a voluntary basis through The Prince’s Trust and so I took him up on the offer thinking I may be able to provide altruistic help and that I could write a wee review for a bit of fun.


Well blow me over - a little silver aluminium box turned up with “DEMO” badly scratched into the front panel and the prototype Classic Audio Spartan 10 - for that’s what it was - seriously outperformed my far more expensive RS. In my review I wrote “The RS sounds slightly fatter, softer throughout the full range from bass to treble and more acoustic with longer decay, the music flowing more smoothly. It imparts slightly more of its own sonic character and has a little more distortion, however it is easier on the ear. The Spartan is sharper, faster, cleaner and more neutral, with clearer detail. The sound is closer to the digital version reference, more accurate and less coloured. The bass is noticeably tighter and the treble cleaner and brighter, creating a bigger, more expansive sound stage. There is a more clearly defined separation of instruments.” I wasn’t expecting this and so was a little nervous to say quite how big an improvement it was over the RS. Nobody else had given their opinion to compare with mine of this or any other product from Classic Audio / Michael Fidler - it was, after all, an entirely new product from an entirely new company with no reputation - and so I felt I was sticking my neck out somewhat writing the very first review stating how wonderful it was. I needn’t have worried as there have been many reviews since all with comparable or even more ecstatic conclusions. My own findings were on the money.


So I splashed the cash and treated the Systemdek to a new Spartan 10 and the production model was even slightly better sounding than the prototype. So good in fact that I preferred the Systemdek in this configuration to the Technics with MC through the Pro-Ject PhonoBox RS. This meant a swap over between my two systems and the Systemdek ended up back in the main system with the Denon PMA-2500ne and M.A. Gold 300.


Using the Phonobox RS for MC duties on the Technics showed up the RS’s weaknesses and it hummed and hissed and clicked. Where it performed reasonably in MM its limitations were stage lit by the extra gain for MC. It had been found badly wanting and needed to go. I treated myself to a new Denon PMA-A110 amp and the RS and Cambridge CXA-80 were (eventually) traded in against it (after some shenanigans by the retailer Frank Harvey, which left a bitter taste).


In a game of musical chairs the new A110 amp went into the main system with the Systemdek and the PMA-2500 went to do Technics duties with a new (and reviewed by me) Classic Audio / Michael Fidler MC PRO which lifted the game on this setup no end (I am independently informed that the MC PRO objectively outperforms on the test bench all MC phono stages at any price. If true this is an utterly remarkable achievement for a one man new business start-up, especially given it’s relatively diminutive price of just £650. Furthermore I find it also sounds very musical. If you use MC just get one on demo and thank me later).





So time to now look at the arm and electrics on the Systemdek…


I posted for recommendations for arms to consider and three folk got back saying they had tonearms to offer me. The first was a Michell Technoarm. I was very interested. I had seen one on Marketplace for £300 so I asked what he wanted for an easy no hassle sale. I was thinking £250. He came back with £450 and collection from 450 miles away. So that was a no. That left me with a head / heart decision. The first was a Roksan Tabriz for £300 with the attached IIX/900 thrown in. A nice arm by all accounts and a spare TT for spares. Only meeting up to collect ultimately proved difficult. And the fact I didn’t trust myself to not scratch an itch I have to make a turntable with some gorgeous wood and donor parts and suspension from an old Systemdek, which would have incurred even more expenditure and a 3rd turntable I had no use for or anywhere to store.


The other arm being offered, the heart choice, was a rather rare and fancy Analogue Signature TA1000 with a Zafino The Spirit 1877 cable for £600 posted. This is what I have ended up with and rather pretty it is too. The retail price new is an absurd £1,790 (in 2015 it was launched at £1,000). An entirely uneducated guess is that it would cost approximately £300 to manufacture in reasonable quantities, so in keeping with obscene mark-ups from other hifi companies (rumours of Linn products retailing for £13,000 costing less than £1,000 to make and Macintosh selling chopping board isolation platforms for… wait for it… £4,000 simply because they have an illuminated logo being examples of how the hifi industry has sadly ventured into the designer handbag corporate world of shareholders getting rich quick by milking brand value, thereby appealing to a smaller and smaller customer base as most folk don’t like to get ripped off. Yes - £4,000 for a small piece of butcher block black stained ash! With the added logo it should be given away as free advertising. But I digress)


Fitted onto a new perspex armboard this arm and cable raised the sound quality by a noticeably large margin over the old Linn LVX, which itself (despite mixed opinions online) wasn’t too shabby - assuming it was set up properly with independent checks of antiskate and VTF rather than relying on the dodgy arm settings. The seller said the TA1000 doesn’t perform as well as his Origin Live Conqueror but better than his chrome RB250 modded by Audio Origami. Quite how much it outperforms the Tabriz I nearly ended up with for half the price I will never know.


A worthy improvement then, spinning records creating sonics at a level I have not before achieved.


On a practical side the Audio Signature TA1000 is a great arm in certain respects and a fail in others. There are no numbers on the solid brass counterweight to set the force, however there doesn’t need to be - each 360* rotation gives 0.25g of force. So 6 full turns for 1.5g checked out bang on with my electric scales. Fine and accurate adjustments are very easy and once set a 1.5mm allenkey bolt secures the counterweight in place. Excellent. It would be beneficial, though if the additional counterweight had been split into two thinner ones 2/3 - 1/3 as with my 2M Black cartridge the main counterweight is fairly near to the back of the thread but the additional counterweight is too heavy - so an additional smaller counterweight would have been ideal to bring it closer to the pivot.


Likewise no numbers for antiskate. But again no need to. The bar the string hangs over has notches with 0.25g increments so it’s just a case of counting along. Set to match the VTF the needle swings out on the smooth surface of the acrylic platter so I have reduced it to the previous notch and it sounds good to me. There is the facility to adjust azimuth but thankfully I don’t need to.


VTA is adjustable. Yay! (Rega - I’m looking at you! Shims are so DIY amateur) Even better it’s adjustable from above the armboard (Origin Live I’m looking at you!). But - and this is a big but - it is a real faff to get right. The arm cable exits down through a hollow aluminium pipe with smooth sides which is clamped to the armboard at the required height. Loosen the clamp though to adjust the height and gravity drops the arm with no hint of where it’s just been. It would be so simple to thread the pipe and fit a threaded ring to rest on top of the clamp. This (much like on my Technics SL1200gr) could be turned for easy, accurate micro height adjustment and then the clamp tightened to fix in place. Simples.


Cartridge set up should be - and mostly is - straightforward to get spot on with use of the excellent provided alignment gauge. This fits over both the platter spindle and a reference point on the arm with a point for the needle and lines for the cartridge angle. Having a single sliding pivot bolt on the headshell allows easy positioning - or at least it should…. This being second hand, when I went to loosen the headshell moving screw I found it had been overtightened to the point the allenkey hole had been rounded off - and so I couldn’t. I swore at the seller, removed the cartridge and managed to get a Torx head wedged in to hold it steady whilst I used mole grips to turn the cartridge mounting plate to loosen. I then refitted and aligned the cartridge which was straightforward… until I had to fix it in place by retightening the headshell moving screw and realised why it had been so overtightened in the first place. It acts as a pivot and so needs to be very tight to prevent the cartridge from getting back out of alignment. Worse, it is very difficult to keep in alignment when tightening hard. Apologies for swearing at the seller.


Again, there is a simple fix which I may do myself. This is to rough up the two touching aluminium surfaces either with a file or Stanley knife so that they bite into each other when tightened (or possibly use a high friction rubber washer or similar?). It would also be better to move the finger lift to the headshell to prevent the possibility of knocking the cartridge out of alignment when in general use (like the Audiomods Series 6 which also has more surface contact between the headshell and cartridge mounting plate for more friction).


The armrest is not the best as it has no clip, but this has been implemented on the new Neo version.


The armlift mechanism is the big fail though. There is far too much play that it wobbles around which means lowering the arm makes the needle drop diagonally rather than vertically - and it drops like a stone. There’s no soft damping here as would be befitting of a high end product (or even my old Basik LVX which, after 40 years, still has a lovely gentle descent). It is more in keeping with a kiddies Meccano set and, whilst German engineered, is far from vorsprung durch technik. This is the only reason the seller wanted to offer me the arm and was upfront about it from the start. And is the only reason I may in future wish to resell the arm. However, out of the blue the seller phoned me last night to say he was organising to have me sent out some silicone oil to rectify this, though I’m thinking that won’t help such loose engineering tolerances. This was very kind of him, he didn’t need to and I wasn’t expecting it. Top man. He also sent me a video link to show what to do (disassembling the entire mechanism and greasing it all up) so let’s hope this is indeed a solution. Quite why a relatively new arm needs such maintenance who knows?


I am tempted to pass on my user feedback to Acoustic Signature for them to consider for future improvements and I may even ask for a Neo armrest - it would be interesting to know what, if any, reply I get lol.


With the perspex armboard from The Vinyl Source I, based on the tonearm review by Hi-Fi News (where it achieved “highly commended”), initially ordered the original Rega fit board. It turns out that my TA1000 has been redesigned since that review sample to now fit the new 3 screw hole Rega board. So I had to order the correct one. In letting The Vinyl Source I was returning the first one I also mentioned that the fitting holes were slightly out on my deck. Within 10 minutes I got a reply from Marco offering to remake the board to fit my deck perfectly. Top customer service from a lovely guy!


So what next?


I have read that natural rubber belts transfer less vibration to the subplatter so I may make one out of an old latex bicycle inner tube to play around with.


I am about to be sent new “improved” phono stages from Classic Audio to try out which may, or may not, lift performance even higher - if that’s possible (watch this space).


Other than that all that’s left is the electrics.


Options range from very cheap to expensive, from just replacing a couple of capacitors and fully isolating (freestanding) the existing motor to a full external DC PSU and motor - so I need to do a bit of research. Any and all advice welcome.


And then I will have a proper Trigger’s broom that has already managed to lift performance from so-so average to something unique and really quite special.
 

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Interesting read.

My systemdek iix is as I bought it - with Linn Basik Plus arm, except I've recently added a dynavector 10x5 MC cartridge, which has been a massive improvement. No plans to upgrade or change anything until something fails.
 
I thoroughly enjoyed your article. It's both informative and interesting.

In the matter of finding a non-slip solution: something non-destructive is preferable to permanently modifying a surface, unless, of course, it can be done so as to appear part of the original design. Parallel lines of equal length scored perfectly vertically or diagonally or even crosshatch pattern may help. Something else I just thought of is liquid rubber, I think it is. It is or at least was available from craft/model shops. It solidifies when dry but has some flexibility. A thin coat to one or other of the offending parts ought to to the trick, and it's removable, should that be necessary.

As you enjoy the sound of the Ortofon 2M Black, perhaps an upgrade to the Ortofon 2M Black LVB 250 model would be something to consider. That said, it is in the same price bracket as a Nagaoka 500 or Vertere Sabre.

Everything I have purchased from SRM Tech has always performed as advertised. Their products helped transform my Linn Axis. Their platter damper did wonders in getting rid of the Linn Platter ring. During the 80's and beyond, Linn dealers not only appeared to enjoy it, but viewed as a positive. Most odd.

An Origin Live DC motor kit would be a worthwhile, if you've a mind to improve rumble and wow & flutter.
 
I thoroughly enjoyed your article. It's both informative and interesting.

In the matter of finding a non-slip solution: something non-destructive is preferable to permanently modifying a surface, unless, of course, it can be done so as to appear part of the original design. Parallel lines of equal length scored perfectly vertically or diagonally or even crosshatch pattern may help. Something else I just thought of is liquid rubber, I think it is. It is or at least was available from craft/model shops. It solidifies when dry but has some flexibility. A thin coat to one or other of the offending parts ought to to the trick, and it's removable, should that be necessary.

As you enjoy the sound of the Ortofon 2M Black, perhaps an upgrade to the Ortofon 2M Black LVB 250 model would be something to consider. That said, it is in the same price bracket as a Nagaoka 500 or Vertere Sabre.

Everything I have purchased from SRM Tech has always performed as advertised. Their products helped transform my Linn Axis. Their platter damper did wonders in getting rid of the Linn Platter ring. During the 80's and beyond, Linn dealers not only appeared to enjoy it, but viewed as a positive. Most odd.

An Origin Live DC motor kit would be a worthwhile, if you've a mind to improve rumble and wow & flutter.
Delighted you enjoyed reading my waffle
Re a non-slip solution. I've actually tried double sided sticky tape which sort of works. Liquid rubber or a tacky type glue may be better. Thanks for the suggestion.
Top of my list is the NP500 when it comes to changing cartridges, however that's down the line as I'm spending the money I don't have on other things - see below...
I was shocked at how big an effect the platter ring made. On the acrylic platter it was a negative impact, however on glass it may be an improvement. I'm not sure what your Linn platter was.
... So today I just placed an order for the OL DC motor kit you mentioned with electronic speed box and round transformer, along with their belt. I have also ordered up a new ball bearing for the platter. I will post my findings on the OL DC motor kit as I use it to compare 7 different phono stages which I will also write about
 
Delighted you enjoyed reading my waffle
Re a non-slip solution. I've actually tried double sided sticky tape which sort of works. Liquid rubber or a tacky type glue may be better. Thanks for the suggestion.
Top of my list is the NP500 when it comes to changing cartridges, however that's down the line as I'm spending the money I don't have on other things - see below...
I was shocked at how big an effect the platter ring made. On the acrylic platter it was a negative impact, however on glass it may be an improvement. I'm not sure what your Linn platter was.
... So today I just placed an order for the OL DC motor kit you mentioned with electronic speed box and round transformer, along with their belt. I have also ordered up a new ball bearing for the platter. I will post my findings on the OL DC motor kit as I use it to compare 7 different phono stages which I will also write about
I do enjoy your writing.

Linn outer platters are made of MAZAK, perhaps better known as ZAMAK, or even better as "sh*t" metal, (which is how I always think of it) is an alloy. It's constituent components can be mixed in a number of different ratios. I don't know what ratio Linn uses. Carburettor bodies were made of it.

I have always liked the Systemdek turntables. Audio Note UK models one and two turntables are based on the Systemdek. Switching to the Origin Live DC propulsion system should be beneficial . Can't wait to hear what you think of it and the other mods. Will you be making one mod at a time and then testing, or doing everything at once before testing?
 
My first wage packet in 1990 bought me a IIX/900,RB-250,AT-110E for just over £300,still working as intended around 33 years later.
Still sounds great and has needed minimal maintenance,bar the obvious consumables in that time.
To me at least it quite unexpectedly wiped the floor with the Linn Axis,was bought an LP12 for my 40th so good times all round.
Whilst the LP12 is better the gap between them isn't as great as the massive price gulf involved might suggest,imho,must be something about scottish turntablery.
 
Bought a Pioneer PLX-1000 with Ortofon Blue Concord in 2021
Nice to be able to play Singles again without removing the platter

Bought my Systemdek IIX with Linn Basik Plus in 1982
Sold it on ebay in 2022
But did keep the Denon 110 cartridge from Systemdek
 
I scrolled through this awaiting pics of a modded steamdeck

#disappointed :laugh:
 
One could ask the same questions with LS. It's the entire system making up the good sound. But of course it should match the rest of ones gear. I upgraded to a Clear Audio Concept with mm from a Pro-jet RPM 1 with a Denon mc. Very big difference on the same gear. Anything transferring mechanical signals to eletrical is where money is best spent I find. And sound signature across different levels/brands are as different as LS in my view.
 

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