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Old 4th July 2006, 07:16 PM   #1
Triumph is offline Triumph  Netherlands
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Default Help, I am falling in love with an idler tt!

Help, I am falling in love with a Garrard Zero 100S!!!

The question is at the end, first my story.

After almost a year orientating for a new tt I decided to buy a Garrard Zero 100 S from EBay. I choose the Garrard mostly because I want to try an idler drive and less for the arm with the zero angle fault because with a normal tt the fault is only a few degrees. And off course its price, its a steal, much cheaper than 301 or 401.

When I opened the package I also felt for it looks. The arm and platter looks great, even my wife agreed, this is a nice piece of audio equipment. But from a total different design than his famous brothers 301 and 401.

The reason for choosing this Garrard with (obsolete?) idler drive technique is that I am aiming for a more controlled drive which hopefully results in a tight base a good quality mid but probably a messy high because of the bad bearings of the special arm of the Garrard. And of course there is rumble to expect.

So the first listening impression:
Worst than I expected. A big disappointment, what a rumble, unbelievable!
But wait, this is no rumble, something is wrong! After a while I discovered the fault; bad connections in the tone arm, there is a sliding cartridge holder with some metal strip connectors. I cleaned and bend them a little to make a good electrical contact.

Second impression:
Not bad at all. Yes very good but not what I expected:
-the high region was bright, a lot of detail, not too sharp, beautiful.
-the mid was great, nothing to complain just what I expected.
-there is a lot of low, down to the very low regions, but not with sharp attack and punch, more round and more analogue.
-stage is extraordinary good, with a good quality record there is a certain live experience with different layers of sound.
Above conclusions after listening to LP and comparing it with the same album on CD and comparing it with my previous tt.

My equipment is a Linn Classic amplifier and CD player and Italian Diapason speakers. Normally this combination gives with CD a lot of speed because of the design from the Linn but also because the Diapason low/mid driver is direct drive (no XO or BSC ) and just a simple 1e order XO for the tweeter. The Phono Pre amp is from Cambridge audio.
My previous TT was a Sony PS-X4, this is a plain consumer tt, direct drive, not the worst not the best.

About the rumble. There is some, when I turn the amp volume at 70% level and with silent passage of for instance classical music. It is more than the direct drive Sony, there is more detail so also more rumble. But is rumble the only thing to the quality of an tt?

This tt has got a lot of potential. Bear in mind that I did nothing special for preparing and adjustment. Only needle weight and tracking force.
I think after some tuning it can meet the level from other better than average tts. And that is my challenge for the coming time to prepare, compare it and let it exceed more common tts. Hopefully with the help of this forum.
What I think can be improved:
-its low can be with more attack and speed.
-the rumble

I really do not understand the amount of negative comments there is on the internet for this tt. There are only few exceptions like: http://www.tnt-audio.com/sorgenti/garrarde.html

If you have experience with this Garrard zero100s idler drive please share this with me. If you have suggestions to improve it let me know. I am challenging other tts like Linn and Micro Seiki. The Sony was too easy to beat.

To be continued.
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Old 6th July 2006, 02:00 PM   #2
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I have a Garrard 100 too. I replaced the arm on mine as I didn't like it.

The Garrard is a good performing idler but it isn't great. The bearing is a ball bearing race and this is noisier than a standard bearing.

If you get a chance to compare it with a Garrard 301/401 or Lenco L75/78/88 or 99 then you will see that the 100 is about 80% of the others...

As it is it is more than good enough to show a clean pair of heels to a lot of other turnatables including the LP12 and its ilk.

James
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Old 6th July 2006, 04:32 PM   #3
sreten is offline sreten  United Kingdom
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Quote:
Originally posted by James D.


......I have a Garrard 100 too..... As it is it is more than good enough to show a
clean pair of heels to a lot of other turnatables including the LP12 and its ilk......

James
Hi, you wish, /sreten.
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Old 6th July 2006, 05:07 PM   #4
phn is offline phn  Sweden
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James, now it makes sense. I never figured why people love the small Lencos and not the Garrad 100S. I thought it had to do with snobism.

I second the Lenco L75 and L78. Easily the best bargains in audio.

Edit: The LP12 is about snobism. The small Thorens TD-150/160 are just as good, but cost a fraction of the LP12.
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Old 6th July 2006, 05:16 PM   #5
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I don't wish anything...

I've demo it and done it a few times to LP12 owners ...

Upsets them until they realise how much money they can sell their LP12s for on ebay and how many records they can buy with the difference after buying a good deck.

Most buy Lencos cos they're even better. Some buy Garrard 301/401s cos they can - but its the well fettled 100 that gets then rolling...

New plinth, new arm and a good service and thats all you need.

Ohh and an open mind and open ears

I have and still use:

Ariston SL110E - as a belt drive reference as I perferred it to the LP12
Goldring Lenco GL78
Kenwood KD990
Aiwa RP2600K
JVC QL-7A
Optonics RP7100
Garrard 100S
Digital Design DRS-1
Technics SL1000
lots of different arms and cartridges

I won't bother to list the ones I've had and sold like LP12, Gyro, Scheu Premier...

...wouldn't want you to think I had no basis for comparision


James
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Old 7th July 2006, 09:38 AM   #6
sreten is offline sreten  United Kingdom
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Hi,

You claim the 100S " as it is " is better than the " LP12 and its ilk ".
This is simply not true and pure wishful thinking.

My first turntable was a rebuilt Lenco GL60 with new arm and massive plinth.

The first subchassis turntable I rebuilt completely slaughtered it.
Getting subchassis turntables singing is a black art, I accept that.

The 100S needs a new arm and rebuilding to stand a chance of being good.
Though with some tweaking and the right cartridge could sound quite nice.

/sreten.
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Old 7th July 2006, 06:03 PM   #7
bulgin is offline bulgin  South Africa
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Default I'm falling in love with an idler tt

Hi Triumph

Here's my handkerchief! If you play vinyl, your heart's in the right place.

I once 're-commissioned' one of these tt's for a local violinmaker.
When I delivered the job (which had a kaput wire inside the arm), the old guy told me at the time he bought it new, he had listened to a fair number of other tt's, before deciding on the Garrard.

The bearing and the arm IS a problem but these can be replaced or tweaked to make them into something acceptable by audiophile standards.

Cheers

bulgin
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Old 7th July 2006, 08:39 PM   #8
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Well sreten,

If you bother to read my post you will see I said it has a new arm and plinth...

Oh dear, oh dear...

But thank you for reminding why I gave up posting here
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Old 7th July 2006, 09:05 PM   #9
Zen Mod is offline Zen Mod  Serbia
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Quote:
Originally posted by sreten
Hi,

You claim the 100S " as it is " is better than the " LP12 and its ilk ".
This is simply not true and pure wishful thinking.

My first turntable was a rebuilt Lenco GL60 with new arm and massive plinth.

The first subchassis turntable I rebuilt completely slaughtered it.
Getting subchassis turntables singing is a black art, I accept that.

The 100S needs a new arm and rebuilding to stand a chance of being good.
Though with some tweaking and the right cartridge could sound quite nice.

/sreten.

to each his own.........

but-with no doubts-LP12 is one of most overrated "censored word here" in audio world.......perfect example of typical Hi-Fi mumbo jumbo......

and-if that is of any validity-I didn't own one,but I repaired and tweaked few, and have opportunity to compare it with few "crappy" TTs....give me always one of those crappy.........especially for 5% of LP12's price ......
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Old 7th July 2006, 11:57 PM   #10
lndm is offline lndm  Australia
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Hi Triumph,

I use a Dual 1226 idler drive which I picked up in near new condition. It has a good arm which I've kept. I needed to lubricate the unit and calibrate it, and in time I damped it and replaced the cartridge.

I find this unit to be smooth and quiet. I have a friend who is a Garrard enthusiat and even he comments on my TT, surprised at what the idler can do.
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