Audio Technica AT30E
Hello, I'm new here.
I've just got a Systemdek 2 turntable with AT30E cartridge and AT1120 arm. Can anyone give me some clues about setting it up?
I know that it's a moving coil cartridge, but I have no idea about weight etc. And the lifting arm doesn't work.
This is my first quality analogue system, been getting by with CD for the last decade (before that I had an assortment of mid-fi stuff).
The rubber ring that supports the canteliver in ALL AudioTechnica cartridges is subject to aging, where the glue holds it in place to the catridge body. They all fail at about the 10-12 year point in lifespan.
Old AT catridges are worthless due to this situation. It is just one of the things that one has to worry about.. but also has to know before using or buying a AT cartridge.
For example, I have 7 or so BRAND NEW Signet AT40ML cartridges sitting in a box. Brand new... and totally useless. At about $350.00 each.
I have a rebuilt SystemDek IIX turntable and have rebuilt two
others, they can be tweaked for outstanding performance for
the price, not sure what you mean by the 2 model, not familiar.
The arm I have a vague recollection of, if it has a straight armtube,
needs attacking with some araldite and heat shrink tubing.
What's the problem with the arm lift ?
The AT-30E was an oustanding moving coil cartridge for its price,
but I haven't seen them available for a long time, if the stylus and
suspension is OK, then good for you.
Tracking force around 1.8 gram.
Otherwise you will need a new cartridge. do you have
a moving coil phono input, or moving magnet only ?
It was usually the the straight tube profile, with the round bearing (circle, cut aluminum) bearing assembly on those units, iffin' I recall correctly. Spring loaded like the rega and cheap linn arms, with standard counter weight.
They sure do sound good for their price though.
Old AT30 !
I have an AT30 bought in 1980 and never used all these years. It works fine now. There is also an AT3200 ( high output MC ) of about similar vintage. Sounds great.
cheers for the replies.
The cartridge works and sounds good to me, though I can't run it at 1.8g as there's a little pip on the bottom of the housing (why?) that rubs on the vinyl. This may have something to do with the cantilever support that KBC mentions. Either that or I've misunderstood the calibration of the arm.
None of it has been used for at least ten years, probably a lot more than that.
Sreten: by Systemdek 2 I mean of course systemdek II. Yes, it's a straight arm. What should I do with heatshrink and araldite? The problem with the lifter is that it doesn't lift far enough, ie the 'platform' hasn't even reached the bottom of the arm by the time the lever has run out of arc. Luckily I have a steady hand.
I have an AT transformer that came with the unit. I'm building a preamp though, and that'll have a MC input. Hopefully I'll be posting schematics and offers of boards here before long ;)
Some simple tips for the IIX :
1) oil the motor, few drops where the spindle enters the housing,
top and bottom. Check the motor angle is correct, the belt should
be running in the centre of the pulley.
2) check arm leading dressing is free, I find a single twist before
the clamp works well, often moving the clamp to the back surface
The angle of the lead should be ~ tangential to a circle centred on the main bearing.
(Purpose here is to damp any rotational modes of the subchassis whilst free in other planes)
3) Clean out and re-oil the main bearing.
4) Remove main bearing from subchassis and then replace but
using Araldite to lock it in place.
5) the MDF armboard should fit directly to the subchassis, no
spacers should be used. Use PVA wood glue to semi-permanently
bond the armboard to the subchassis.
6) The deck proper needs to be level to get a really good bounce
from a correctly adjusted suspension, adjust the suspension with
a record in place. Try to get the clearance below the top-plate
and above the motor nearly equal for a clean bounce.
of adjusting the lift height, though it may need a tiny Allen key.
(Usually the position of the damping cylinder is adjustable, if not
sometimes the section can be moved up and down at the base)
Aralditing the arm : for this you have to be very confident in your
assembly and disassembly skills, and your ability to adjust Gimbel
bearing for minimal play, if your not, don't do this.
I've done this to a couple of japanese arms, with good results.
(Using a magnesium headshell and aralditing the whole joint
makes a massive difference for the standard S- shaped arm)
You do need some slack in the arm wires for this.
On disassembly it is apparent the methods of joining the parts
are more for ease of assembly and alignment than any inherent
rigidity, its this rigidity Aralditing addresses, if the joints do
appear to address rigidity, then its probably more trouble than
(Alternatively you could use something like Studlock screw locking compound)
Simply reassemble but with all joint ends smeared with Araldite.
Make sure the headshell is parallel to the record plane.
This depends on the arm tube material and ease of disassembly
to get the heatshrink on, usually requires getting past some
difficulties with the arm wires.
If the arm tube material does not appear to be reasonably
damped, (some older japanese tubes are brass - to allow high
quality chrome plating - but alas not the best material for an
arm tube), heatshrink tubing can help. Make sure it is NOT the
adhesive variety of tubing and test it on something else to
make sure it will shrink enough and your method of heating it.
because the central suspension tension wire is too easily
overstretched with the occasional stylus 'accident'.
You need to read up on stylus rake angle, lifting the back of the
arm somewhat may help a little. If it tracks well at 1.3 to 1.5
grams and the rake angle seems to be correct it should be fine.
Regarding the "Pip", probably better a badly warped
record hits this than some other part of the cartridge.
hope this helps,
IIRC, that unit is a low mass, separate motor/stylus type, meaning the assembly is removable. If it is silver in color and it has a flip up stylus guard that is different that the standard AT stylus guard...then that is the unit I am familiar with. The suspension ring is a two-color foam-rubber donut?
It tracks much closer to the 1.0 grams. 1.1 or so, max. It is a low mass, soft suspension cartridge....weighs about 5-6 grams. I believe the coil is about 30-20 ohms or so. Not super low imp, but low enough.
Not sure if KBK is correct or not, a maximum of 1.1 gram sounds
low to me, but the important thing is that it tracks well at a weight
where the rake angle of the stylus appears to be correct, this is
your best guide to tracking force, but if the suspension is damaged
then this will be at a lower tracking force than optimum.
My fuzzy memory of its rave review in hi-fi choice years ago
indicates a medium compliance model, replaceable stylus / coil
assembly, medium output, KBK's impedance sounds correct.
The AT30E replaceable assembly :
AT30 E replacement stylus
Is the AT30E replacement stylus still available ?
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