Can you believe this?

I went through my garage the other day & pulled out my old Phase Linear 8000 Series II turntable.
I knew I had it, but didn'd know which box it was in when we moved here over 4 years ago.
I had not used it in about 20 years & had gone through 10 or 12 high end turntables in that time (Garrard, Nottingham, Oracle, Clearaudio, Avid & Verdier) just to name a few.
First I took it down to my man cave & cleaned it up.
Then I started to set it up & realized I might have a problem.
The patch cords (RCA) needed cleaning - So I cleaned them with alcohol.
Then I attached the RCA jacks to my phono stage (Pamphili).
Next was to attach the Pamphili to the pre amp (Einstein II) which has only balanced inputs, so I got out a pair of RCA cords & attached the RCA to XLR adapters & thought all was going fine.
I powered up all the components & hit the start button on the turntable & the arm started to move in a very weird way (tracking to the right).
I thought I had leveled it properly, but I guess I was wrong.
After trial & error for about 20 minutes with some good ole Kentucky leverage the table was properly balanced.
I pulled out my favorite Doc Severensen LP & was ready for a listen.
I didn't know what to expect next, but another problem arised - Music was only coming from the left channel.
First I removed the headshell & checked the connection to the cartridge (Ortofon MC 20) & all seemed well.
Next was the connection between the cables & the RCA to XLR adapters & that seemed fine.
Now I had figured out that the 30 year old cartridge was at fault - I had my ZXY Universe SSB handy & figured what the hell - A $5K cartridge on a $800 turntable?
To my dismay - Left channel only again.
OK - It must be the RCA cables between the phono pre & the pre amp.
I get out another pair of RCA cables, attached the RCA to XLR adapters, connect everything back together & am hoping that it's not the RCA jacks that lead from the turntable itself.
VOILA! The turntable cued properly to the first cut & both channels were producing music.
To my amazement the sound was spectactular!
To say I was "FLOORED" is a gross understatement.
I pulled out Billy Joel (An Innocent Man Half - Speed Mastered), Melissa Manchester - For The Working Girl), Huey Lewis - Sports - Half Speed Mastered), Jackson Browne - Lawyers In Love) & was up until 3:00 AM celebrating with some Hennessey XO & trying to figure out why some of my much more expensive (turntable, cartridge, arm & phono pre) didn't put this 30 year old turntable & arm to waste?
Meet the new boss - Same as the old boss!
I always knew that I had kept this gem of a turntable for a reason & did not sell it when I sold all my Phase Linear gear over 20 years ago - Now I know why!
Some of you must think that I must be out of my mind, but I have had some $25K turntables, $10K tonearms, $15K cartridges & $12K phono pre amps & what I am now hearing is almost as great (90% - 95%) as anything I have owned prior to putting this old relic back into my system.
It's almost a shame that I thought that newer & belt drive & high mass was the only way to go when I had this Japaneese direct drive linear tracker sitting around & unused all these years.
When i get a chance - I'll try the original Ortoforn MC 20 again & see how she sounds as I bought it back in the day when I got the 8000 II.
Maybe I'll give the $15K Clearaudio Insider Reference Wood a shot too.
Now my wife can put her new car in the garage & I'll be in my listening room putting on one LP after another.
That's my story & I'm stickin' to it!

You put your audio in the garage, I bet you put your wife there to. You should be ashamed of yourself.
... Some of you must think that I must be out of my mind, but I have had some $25K turntables, $10K tonearms, $15K cartridges & $12K phono pre amps & what I am now hearing is almost as great (90% - 95%) as anything I have owned prior to putting this old relic back into my system...

That is modern High End but you should see it from a different view
It made you happy when you bought it and you made your Dealer happy, too.
You are a good guy.
I have a Yamaha GT 2000 that I adore. It was one of those Direct Drives that the Japanese never exported. It has to be heard to be believed.

I'm utterly convinced.
Reports of "modern progress" in analogue playback have been greatly exaggerated. Marketing and hype fishes us all in to a degree. What you've found is not crazy IMO. Congratulations, you just pulled your head out of the sand.
Agree with sonofjim. We have been carried away by reading too many reviews from the audio press. What you have encountered is pretty normal that's why there are many ditching their high end tables and going back to "old school".

Don't get me wrong. There are some brilliant sounding modern tables but it does not mean it will outclass the old stuff. Listen more and and read less.
08-12-12: Sonofjim
Reports of "modern progress" in analogue playback have been greatly exaggerated.

I would even stretch that to audio in general. Anyone stuck on the glossy rags latest and greatest whiz-bang product is just a sucker for marketing. The old "the mk IV version is soooo much better than the Mk III version that I cannot even begin to describe it" syndrome. ROTFLMAO!!!
I think it is great to come across a gem like that and be well entertained. I'm wondering Paladin, if you will still feel this way about your old tt a month or two from now. I have also had the experience at first blush with a low cost cartridge and once with low cost speakers in the past that sounded remarkably good and musical. It made me wonder why I was spending so much money on high end gear. After listening for a few nights or weeks, however, I started to notice what wasn't there. Subtleties are the crux of this hobby.
I must also agree that newer products aren't always better, especially when it comes to mature technologies like vinyl and tubes. After chasing after new tubes for 27 years, I finally tried some NOS. That was an eye opener.
I would like to know more about the Phase Linear turntable; I was not aware that they ever made one. (Chances are, it's a re-branded product made in Japan for Phase Linear. It might even be a Micro Seiki, since they did a lot of work for other companies.) Something you wrote made me think it has a linear tracking tonearm. Is that the case? One more thing: if you have some DIY ability, try creating a straight shot from the cartridge through to the preamp input. Bypass as many of those RCA connections as possible. The ZYX will like that.
congrats but also let us know how you feel in 3 weeks

any change has a way of sounding best for a brief period and then the things surface - bad things... cue ominous music...

I hope not and it sounds as if you are having fun so good for you
This remind me of the story of some guy at the North Pole.
He boiled the water to shave himself but the water was too
hot to use. So he put the can with the water for only one
minute outside. And would anyone believe this the water
become ice in this period of time. This happened so fast
that the ice was still warm.
This is quite a coincident. Friday august 10 2012 I received my Phase Linear 8000 II back from restoration by Dudley Chicione of Tech 1 Electronics in Missoula, Montana. The shipping took 2 weeks both ways from my home on the coast of North Carolina. It is now literally like new. I purchased this turntable new in 1979 and have never had a reason to upgrade. I also saw no reason to replace with a new turntable at the price I paid in 1979 or less, especially when I discovered that I could have it restored at Tech 1. This is a rare piece of equipment . It never stopped working and has given great pleasure over thirty years. I now expect to enjoy it even more for at least another thirty years. Some things really make life priceless. This has proven to be one of them.
Dear Harold, Life is priceless with or without a turntable. If you have evidence to the contrary, please let me know. Glad you're happy.
Life is priceless with or without a turntable. If you have evidence to the contrary, please let me know.

Dear Lewm,

the audiophile is evidence of life's futility: he longs for what he can't have, live sound reproduced through his speakers.

For a thousand more reasons, you can peruse the works of the great pessimist, Schopenhauer.

More relevant to this thread, I'm having a related experience with a 'throwaway' linear motor direct drive turntable that I got for free. I had sold my sp10 and was desperate to play some vinyl while waiting for my new turntable, so I hooked up the Fisher and was shocked by how quiet it was. Playing rock and pop, it gives me 80% of what the sp10 did. To be sure, I couldn't live long term with this turntable, but that it's more than tolerable is very surprising. Maybe with a few tweaks, it can be much more than it currently is?

The Phase Linear 8000 turntable is the same thing as the Pioneer PL-L1000. Both uses a linear tracking servo tonearm. They can sound good but the weakness is the bottom platform that holds the motor and tonearm. It's made of plastic and it's rather soft and it flexes. The flagship PL-L1 corrects the problem by using a solid platform and no suspension.

The selling point of the servo arm is that it glides on rails and its actuated by magnetic force, just like mag-lev train, so it can servo correct bi-directionally. Most gliding arms only corrects for one direction a la Rabco and Goldmund. Very unique but the rollers are rather noisy. I gutted the motor out and build a turntable out of it. The motor uses Pioneer's famous SHR(stable hanging rotor) bearing--just a fancy way of saying an inverted bearing. They are good sounding motors but I prefer the coreless motors from JVC.

Well after 2 weeks IT STILL SOUNDS GREAT!
However - Now the arm does not raise to the proper height & therefore I cannot cue it with the remote.
Not such a big deal as I am used to manually starting, cueing & stopping anyway.
Looks like I may wind up sending it to Tech 1 Electronics sometime in the future (Thanks Harold).
Can totally believe it. I got rid of a certain audiophile best-seller TT and later stumbled upon a very well-kept Technics DL202 w/AT 130e cart. Was stunned as well, especially by tracking ability--100% flawless so far. Gives me 90% of the best-seller's sound, plus better tracking and inner groove "fullness." It's on a Symposium anti-vibration plate and hooked up to Vandersteen 3a sigs. I've not as of yet replaced it.
I know this is an old thread, but I just replaced the belt (more like an O-Ring) for the motor that drives the tone arm lift mechanism on mine and it now works like new. So Paladin, I got a new belt and some other stuff after googling the turntable model. The Turntable Doctor was one of the hits and I spoke with the guy there who talked me into opening up the unit to do the work myself. It was pretty easy actually.

Also Pioneer bought the rights to the unit when Phase Linear was exiting the scene and that's where the  PL-L1000 came from.
I have a Phase linear  8000 since 1979 I had to change the elevator belt which is simple , but be careful when disassembling the plastic  elevator gears putting them back wrong will strip the teeth on the elevator gear shaft !!! (like I did) Now try to find  this part!!!! T.Y.
I believe it. 

Good sound is a team sport.   A good component from years past now gets to play with modern day improved teammates so there is a very good chance it may sound better than ever. 
An old audio and Phase Linear guru friend of mine has one. He swears by it, and although I'm deep in the old idler drive camp I can't fault the sound which is spectacular. Gongrarts on rediscovering your turntable.

Paladin, Before something bad happens, I strongly recommend that you replace all the electrolytic capacitors in your Phase Linear/Pioneer turntable.  After all this time, and after being stored unused in your garage, especially, odds are that at least some of those capacitors have gone leaky (electrically speaking if not also fluid-wise), and this can lead to damage to transistors and ICs in the circuit.  Some of those ICs will be hard to find if needed.
If you can find a service manual on the internet, it will likely have a parts list, which will include all capacitors and capacitor values. You can then use that list to order replacement electrolytics from an on-line company like Digikey or Mouser or Newark.  The total cost of such a purchase is not likely to exceed $20 to $30.  If you can solder, you can do the rest yourself.