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Old 29th June 2009, 11:16 AM   #1
smiler is offline smiler  United Kingdom
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Default Where to begin with a well-used PL-12D?

Hi all,

I have a well-used Pioneer PL-12D that I'd like to coax back to its former glory. It's running fairly well, with some oil, a new belt and a Rega Elys cartridge. I've taken off the lateral balance, which I saw suggested somewhere too.

There's a few problems that I'd like to fix first, then I might consider upgrades/mods. Firstly, there's a gradual increase in sibilance, which can become intolerable by the end of some records; others even start with it! I've aligned the cartridge til the cows came home, and it's not had much effect. Over-specifying the playing weight makes it more tolerable though.
Secondly is the motor/ground hum (not entirely sure which).

So far, I've replaced the interconnects with an otherwise useless Cambridge Audio Pearl I had (the contact fell out of one of the plugs!) and the grounding lead. This definitely reduced the hum, but it's still quite audible.

I think after 20 years of sitting in the loft the motor needs some work. Also, the tonearm doesn't seem to pivot smoothly, and I suspect that the anti-skating is shot (when it's set to zero, the tonearm still swings in).

So really, I'm a bit stuck on where to begin. I expect I'll replace the cartridge at some point with a better match (I've read around here that Grado and Audio Technica are the best), but the deck obviously needs some attention first. My only experience with turntables has been troubleshooting this one and my dad's Planar 3, so it's quite possible I've made some mistake with alignment (not sure what though). I'm ready to learn
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Old 30th June 2009, 07:48 AM   #2
EC8010 is offline EC8010  United Kingdom
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Sadly, I think you're wasting your time. The PL12D was a pretty mediocre deck that only achieved popularity because most other turntables of the time were even worse. Pick-up arm bearings wear and if you strip the arm down you will probably find the horizontal bearing is shot. The hum is almost certainly being mechanically transmitted from the motor and there's not a lot you can do about that.

So, what to do? Well, you could take the platter and main bearing and put them on a solid bit of MDF and use them as a quick starting point for an Altmann-style turntable. There is nothing you can do to redeem the arm. Probably the most valuable part is the lid/dust cover.
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Old 9th July 2009, 03:07 AM   #3
YohY is offline YohY  United Kingdom
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I agree with the above post...
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Old 10th July 2009, 10:03 AM   #4
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Hi friend,

This is an average player and fixing this is a waste of time. Go for a new player (Why don't you make one) ?

Best regards,
Bins.
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Old 10th July 2009, 10:29 AM   #5
smiler is offline smiler  United Kingdom
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Wow, well there's a lot of negative responses. How disappointing.

Building one could be interesting. I'll have to look into this, in particular, how much it costs; I might be better off saving up for a Pro-Ject Debut or Rega P2.

Then again, I'm not sure I'm willing to give up on the Pioneer. Someone on here's restored one, so surely it's not hopeless?
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Old 10th July 2009, 11:10 AM   #6
EC8010 is offline EC8010  United Kingdom
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Yes, it's disappointing, but be reassured that you can make a good turntable for a fraction of the cost of a Rega. The Altmann is a brilliant concept - I am really jealous that I didn't think of that main bearing idea.
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Old 10th July 2009, 11:48 AM   #7
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Hi Friend,

It may sound so.... but in the end you will know. I am on the way to build one.

Best regards,
Bins.
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