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Old 20th February 2012, 04:46 PM   #1
b767 is offline b767  United States
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Default Yamaha PF-800 Advice

Dear members, I'm looking for advice on Yamaha PF-800 turntable. Any recommedations and pro & cons, looking forward to your valued opinions.
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Old 21st February 2012, 01:16 AM   #2
Nanook is offline Nanook  Canada
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What are you after? Do you have one or are you thinking of getting one? Yamaha's attempt at a serious belt drive table, ley down by the twin tube tonearm. Fit and finish not as high as the PF1000, but essentially the same deck. Some have suggested a PF800/PF1000 with a manual arm on it (RB250/300 as per usual) could be good. I've never measured to see if one would fit. Included phono cable is "OK" but nothing special (but much better than most British tables' tonearm interconnect). They are built fairly heavy, the PF1000 has a slightly heavier platter IIRC. Both should come with a "record clamp" which is on the useless side other than for the strobe markings on it. A mod could be done to improve the clamp or just get a hockey puck and make your own.

Dust cover and hinges are quite robust (better than my Oracle's). I think the PF800 was all black (only) and I know the PF1000 is silver/walnut. The over all fit and finish is to quite a high level, at least on par or higher than my old Alex MkII. Materials quality is high as well. I believe these were the top belt drive turntables that Yamaha brought to North America. Not sure what the "PX" tables were belt ot DD, and Yamaha had something called the "Gigantic-1" or similar but have only seen pix on the web of that one.Aesthetics and quality of finish is about as good as I have ever seen. Pretty much speed stable.

Anything else?

Check out the vintageknob website. There's a link to a user review of the PF800 vs MMF9. Guess which table "won". These tables are not cheap and were pretty rare to begin with. I think in the linked review it was suggested that the PF800/PF1000 tables were around for only a year or two in North America, and they were actaully sold below the cost of making them to check the market to see if it would tolerate an expensive belt drive suspended table from Yamaha.
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Last edited by Nanook; 21st February 2012 at 01:42 AM. Reason: added comments
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Old 21st February 2012, 01:49 AM   #3
b767 is offline b767  United States
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Default Yamaha PF-800

I have a Hitachi HT-550 TT, I am happy with it. But I'm curious, how much better is belt versus direct drive. I have an old friend that had one, he says that PF-800 is a great TT. So I've been looking around for one, but I'm also open to advice from members with much more analog experience than me. I'd like to balance out great performance with great aesthetic's within my budget. I'm a fan of wood finish, not so much the more modern look, so any advice or recommendation's you can give me greatly appreciated.
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Old 21st February 2012, 02:19 AM   #4
b767 is offline b767  United States
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I will look at comparisons you have suggested, what do you think about an isolation platform. I'd like to remove all possible vibrations, also looking for some better quality feet for my current table. Thanks for sharing with a novice like me.
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Old 21st February 2012, 03:27 PM   #5
Nanook is offline Nanook  Canada
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Default well this is DIY forum....

So I'll try to make reasonable comments:
Quote:
I will look at comparisons you have suggested, what do you think about an isolation platform. I'd like to remove all possible vibrations, also looking for some better quality feet for my current table. Thanks for sharing with a novice like me.
An isolation shelf/platform is never a bad idea. Once you read the reference, it will be pretty ovious that the isolation capabilities of these tables are very good.

Quote:
I have a Hitachi HT-550 TT, I am happy with it. But I'm curious, how much better is belt versus direct drive. I have an old friend that had one, he says that PF-800 is a great TT. So I've been looking around for one, but I'm also open to advice from members with much more analog experience than me. I'd like to balance out great performance with great aesthetic's within my budget. I'm a fan of wood finish, not so much the more modern look, so any advice or recommendation's you can give me greatly appreciated.
There are many proponents and detractors of both types. I personally believe that there are good examples of well designed and well executed turntables of all types : DD, BD and idler and "rim" drive. I have some experience with all but the rim drives which are often a hybrid of idler/belt drives. Some rim drives are a type of direct drive as well.

Depending on how much cash one wants to spend, there are always the always the "my buddy bought a Thorens TD-124" or similar , "for $15 " stories out there. Don't count on it.

regarding feet and isolation platforms:This is something that can be accomplished. If your turntable is susceptible to footfalls, etc, then better feet can help. Ultimately a properly designed and built platform of some sort should be a huge improvement, and where the platform is located. If your floors are truly horrible (as in an old house/apartment with wooden floors and joists) then a wall mount is indicated. A good one (even DIY types) can be expensive. Here's a suggestion: go buy yourself a sleeve of squash balls, usually sold in 3's, so you ,ay have to buy to sleeves). Then take them with you to a hardware store and look for wooden furniture "cups" that will fit the squash balls. Put the wooden "cups" upside down (with the flat pointing up) under each of the feet. Then sneak the balls into the cups (obviously one at a time). you then end up with something that will look like the attached sketchup. Otherwize you'll need to spens some money on commercial ones.
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File Type: png DIY foot.png (34.1 KB, 90 views)
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Old 21st February 2012, 04:03 PM   #6
b767 is offline b767  United States
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Hi Nanook, great advice. I understand what you are saying, I'm just not a TT expert. But with advice from members like you and trials and tribulations, I will hopefully be in a much more knowledgable position. Read the PF-800 vs MM9 comparison, great article. If I looked at same one you did, money is not always the answer. Article I read said PF-800 outperformed the more expensive MM9, keep your post coming. I'm a voracious reader, love to expand my knowledge. I can see that I'm going into uncharted waters, but I so love the sound of vinyl over the digital domain. Just have to buy only pristine albums and expand my analog pieces, so info on phono pre-amps and such info will be great. I'm not an electrical engineer, but I've worked airplanes for over thirty years. I have a pretty good base knowledge, I'm looking forward to down the road build some of my own components.
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Old 21st February 2012, 10:57 PM   #7
Nanook is offline Nanook  Canada
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Default other considerations.

If you don't own a PF800 or PF1000 already, then be prepared to be shocked. They often sell for more than the price new in non-adjusted dollars. Taking an adjustment for the time-value of the purchase price of $500 (1986) and comparing it to as the author of the review suggested, (based on 2006) the "price " would be about $1000 or so without cartridge or any of his "updates". I do like the ida of having a set of
"stand alone" interconnects . Feet can be purchased or made. The internal tonearm wie was suggested to be better than what had been tried (Cardas IIRC), and I do like the idea of an IEC power inlet that allows the use of a detachable power cord.

There are so many great tables out there to either restore or modify. Many of them are ridiculously cheap and when done ridiculously good. A case in point: I've modified an old Dual changer by removing the mechanical "guts" of it and setting it up to be a single play full manual table, with my 219 tonearm. It was equipped with a Grado Sig8 MCZ . It has competed on even terms with my old Oracle Alexandria MkII/SME 309/Grado Signature 8MCZ and a Roksan Xerxes MkI/hot-rodded RB250 (Michelle Tecno-weight and VTA adjuster, internal silver/teflon wire and DIY cartidge tags)/Ortofon MC3 Turbo. A lot of laughs for essentially no money (I think under $50 total, less cartridge).

Of course there are always the original AR turntables that can be bought for under $100 now and then. With some time and effort (and a little money) these can be made to sound very good as per the Merrill mods, or the Thorens TD-150/TD160 as per the Chadwick mods. These are but two additional tables, but the list is endless. Lenco (now way over priced I think), Rega, Systemdek, Ariston, Heybrook, etc are to name but a few more. Check your local Kijiji or craigslist for turntables. Check local thrift stores and audio shops that have been around for a while. You never know what could be out there. Almost any of these tables with a little work can be made to sound as good or (much) better than your Hitachi. And don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to dis your turntable. Most likely the weakest link is the tonearm and the internal wiring.
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Old 21st February 2012, 11:22 PM   #8
b767 is offline b767  United States
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Cool Table information

Nanook no problem, I know that my table is not a great table by any means. But as a starting point not bad, this is exactly why I'm engaging with members with such knowledge as you. Wow lot of food for thought, but great info. Keep it coming I look forward to learning, and believe me I look at all kind of stores here in Manhattan. I have looked at kijiji and Craig's list. I'm on the search and with all info gleaned, I should end up with a great table. Then I need to look for a pre amp and amp to match, no sense in short changing a great table with inferior equipment. Oh crap here come new speakers, my wife is going to a have a cow.

Last edited by b767; 21st February 2012 at 11:51 PM.
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Old 21st February 2012, 11:44 PM   #9
sreten is offline sreten  United Kingdom
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Hi,

Get a grip on reality. The PF-800 is a great turntable far better than most.
Fit a good MM and you have a very good highly desirable front end.

If you don't have one, don't buy one, the going rate is seriously steep.

rgds, sreten,
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Old 21st February 2012, 11:54 PM   #10
Nanook is offline Nanook  Canada
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Default Just be ready to pounce...

Have some sort of budget set aside. If you happen across something that you know is good, and is guaranteed to be working just agree and go get it! Otherwise get a somewhat "pedestrian" turntable cheap. Play around with it until you have something you can enjoy. More $$$s ≠(always) better performance. Yes something with a respectable phono stage (free standing, part of a preamp, or built into an integrated amplifier or receiver).

As sreten suggests (and if you read between the lines in my own comments), the PF800/PF1000 have an overly significant resale value. Sreten: how long have you had one?

What new speakers? Hope ya survive
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Last edited by Nanook; 21st February 2012 at 11:56 PM.
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