Review: Yamaha PX-3 Turntable

Category: Analog

I have always been intrigued by the linear tracking turntables. God and my wallet knows I have had many of these over the years. Sadly to say most never lived up to the promise.

However recently that has changed. Was fortunate to find a NOS Yamaha PX 3 Linear Tracking turntable. It also came with a very fine Yamaha 705 Low Output Moving Coil phono cartridge. Yamaha did make another one of these called the PX 2.

By the size,weight and construction Yamaha appeared to have spared no expense on this project and it shows very well indeed. Weight is about 25 pounds.

Have had this one for several weeks now and the performance is quite stellar to say the least. Set up was fairly easy, but it does need a rock steady platform and needs to be level.

So on to the test. Mounted the enclosed Yamaha 705 MC Cartridge. Put on Sadao Watanabe Live at Budokhan. To say that I was startled is a major understatement. The channel separation and soundstage totally blew me away. Name an adjective to describe the presence of this piece, well you can name them all dealing with the analog experience. Next up was Santana Abraxas, just had to try some rock on this and once again the PX 3 delivered the music with impact an clarity that would have been hard to imagine. So on to a Classical Album Frederick Fennel & The Cleveland Symphonic Wind Band. Just astounding the strikes on the anvil,- gad I thought it was live and in the room!! French horns came through as I had not heard before. Except for the most exalted linear trackers I had not heard this kind of performance at all. Truly impressed for this old jaded audiophile. Not familiar with the Yamaha 705 MC cartridge, but it sonics are truly in the higher end. Without question this is one of the most musical turntables I have owned since I got started in this hobby in 1957 and I have owned a boat load of tables since '57.

Yamaha really has only 3 truly collectible turntables the PX 2,PX 3 and YF 800. These tables are holding value and beginning to move up in price. Audiogon Blue Book puts this as $340.00 as a used average. My opinion one of high ends true bargains. You can spend a ton more, but you will be severly tested to do better. My neighbor with his VPI Scout was more than duly impressed and when I told him what I paid he nearly passed out!!!.

Later on will be trying different moving coils to see if the current performance can be enchanced.

The only caveat I find is the fixed interconnects. However the ones supplied are quite heavy and gold plated. The accessories package contained additional head shell and counter weights to use heavier cartridges.

So if you get a chance to acquire one of these,do so. Yamaha got linear tracking very right with this. No it is not in the exalted level of linear tracking tables,but will clearly hold its own up to todays $1,200.00 level tables. In 1982 this went for $695.00 not cheap by any standard of that year.


Tone Arm Section;
Arm Type: Linear Tracking Arm
Servo System: Opto-electronic tracking error sensor and
coreless dc servo motor.
Total Length: 236mm(9 9/32")
Effective Length: 190MM(7 15/32")
Tracking Force Device: Static Balance Sliding Weight(0 to
2.5 Grams)
Effective Mass: Tracking Force Proportional 17.0(when trak
ing force 1.5g)
Cartridge Weight Range: 5-11 grams 10 to 18 with optional
Counter weights.
Tracking error angle: +/- 0.15 degrees
Arm Lifter: Electronic Oil Damped
Adjustable Arm Height: +/- 4.0mm
Headshell: Forged Aluminum EIA Type 8.0g Gold Plated Conn-
RCA Cable: Neglex 2496 low impedance double cylindrical
cord. Capacitance 130pf,Resistance 1 ohm to pin

Rotary Section

Motor: DC 4 phase 8 pole coreless Hall motor
Drive System: Direct Drive
Servo Systen: Quartz PLL
F.G. :Total Circumference intergrating type
Speed: With Lock Indicator 33 1/3 and 45 rpm
Platter: 30 CM(12") aluminum die cast,weight 3 pounds
Moment of Inertia: 210kg including mat

External Design

Cabinent: High Density BMC(bulk moulding compound)
Dust cover: 4 MM acrylic weighing 1.1kg
Hinges: Detachable Type
Insulator: Combination of spring and rubber type with
height adjustment

Control Section

Automatic Functions:
Auto Lead In
Auto Return
Auto Repeat
Auto Cut
Auto Up(during power off)
Size Selector 17/30 CM
Manual Functions:
Arm up
Arm down
Left and Right 2 speed sensing.

Signal to Noise ratio: 77dB(DIN B)
Wow & Flutter: 0.015% WRMS
Power Supply: 120V60Hz U.S. and Canadian
Dimensions:18 1/2 x 5 7/8 x 16 7/8
Net Weight: 26 pounds 6 ounces

For a turntable that is 20 years young the above specifications are quite spectacular by any standard.

Operation of this table has that solid smooth silk feel and for all its automation is remarkably quiet.

So if you have ever wanted to try a linear tracker, I certainley endorse the Yamaha PX 3 and for a lot of us this could be the perfect stopping place. To do better than this table one will pay dearly.

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Where does one find an NOS table? More to the point, where did you get it from? Would be interesting to see what a controlled listening comparaison with some of the sacred cows of turntabledom would yield.
This came from the original owner,who just never got around to using it. So it sat in his garage for some 20 years. This was on another auction site and after several e mails to the party was convinced he was legitimate seller. So bid and won. There is always a certain amount of risk in New Old Stock, just because it was never used does not mean it will work. However most NOS items do perform as new and this was no exception.

The PX 3 sits beside the Oracle Alexandria so I do have a reference to draw upon. Sonically the Oracle is better, but the difference between the two is very marginal indeed. And the Oracle has all the recent updates as well. So I was very surprised to find that the PX 3 was competing very well in that arena. Over the years have owned Linn,Ariston,Revolver,Revox,Rega,Oracle and a host of other highly touted high end tables. The PX 3 can compete with them and in some instances the PX 3 will sound better.

Fully realize that many will carp on a table such as this and it is fair to do so. All I can say is find a PX 3 or PX 2 and put it to the test. You will be very surprised at the results. I was and I am just about as jaded as one gets in high end. Totally surprised by the PX 3 performance. Truly worth seeking out.

Now use the Oracle for critcal listening and for audiophile records. The PX 3 gets daily duty and what a joy it is to use and listen to. Yamaha really pulled out all the stops on this one. It is very apparent that Yamaha decided early on with this design to build a linear tracker that kept the promise of such a design and no doubt they were succesful. These continued in production until 1986, by then the CD revolution was building speed. Was deemed to expensive to continue with as retail price on these would have to go up higher than they already were.So with reluctance Yamaha ceased production on the PX 2 and PX 3.
I've got a PX-3 also. Got it from a stereo repair store for $25. It had no counterweight so I fabricated one out of aluminium and melted fishing weights. Looks good and works even better. Best $25 turntable I've ever bought!
I remember having this TT at one of the stores I worked at. It is decent and there's quite a few things you could do to improve its performance:

1) Get an audiophile mat (make sure VTA stays the same if it can't be adjusted)

2) Change interconnects.

3) Remove the power supply and install it outside on a separate housing.

4) Dampen the insides with Dynamat Extreme

5) Place it on an IKEA Lack shelf or Neuance

You might find the unit to be more enjoyable than the Oracle if you do these mods. Welcome to DD's!
I have one of these turntables but the servo motor went bad. I called my local Yamaha dealer and they said there was not way to get a replacement motor because of the age of the turntable. Does anyone out there know where I can get a part to fix this?
I have a px 3 and love it however I moved recently and lost the operating manual. Is there a site to print a copy from?
I've just obtained a nearly-NOS PX-3 that meets the exact description from the original poster. Came with the Yamaha MC-705. Everything mentioned above is correct - this is the best sounding table I've had in my system, and I've had these tables: Sonographe SG-3, Linn Axis, Rega 2, and AR (old and new). I am not using the Yamaha cart, as my preamp only handles MM in, so a Shure V15VxMR will "have to do."

What do I like about the sound? Pardon my french, but it has BALLS. Clean, clear, detailed, nice soundstage, good presence, and not wimpy like, well, all of the above tables. I'd love to try an outboard phono stage, right now, I'm using a custom tube preamp with a phono stage much like an AR SP-6.

This table is a bargain, as long as it is good working order. Make SURE any sellers can pack it carefully, there are three transport screws on the bottom and two, plus a transport bracket, on the top that need to be attached. Since the base IS massive, this will get damaged in shipping if not packed very, very carefully.

They are rising in price on eBay, at this point, $350-400 for a PX-3 and over $400 for the larger, handmade PX-2 is not uncommon.

J. Brodsky
Denver, CO
Wow, I wondered if anyone else knew how wonderful these turntables were, I've never seen one on Ebay!

I have a PX-2 that I bought as a 10 day old store demo. You know how it happens, I just had to have it, and I've now owned it now for probably 20 years. Very heavy at about 50 lbs, but nothing compared to the PX-1 for the Japanese market that weighed in at 100 lbs. That was the one I wanted! Yamaha might be able to still get parts out of Japan as I later saw a picture of a PX-1 in a magazine and I think PX-2 continued there as well. Someone here with Yamaha would have to be willing to research it.

I had problems with my alignment about 10 years ago. I made several calls to Yamaha and they're facility in CA took great care of me! Unfortunately, they had to call me to report that they received it with the cover cracked. Bad day! The tech's attitude was super as he said a new cover could be secured from Japan - oh yeah! They checked it over, replaced an alignment servo and got it back to me in two weeks; the cover took a month. I was so grateful to that tech as I had stupidly kept the cover attached to it in shipping; a big no - no! It still sits as beautiful as the day I bought it without a mark on it, thank God! It is a little beefier than the PX-3 and to me, it's operation is sheer elegance! The cartridge head can be switched, but the one with it is well suited to the unit and accept for a brief period, I still use it. The only possible negative about the unit is it's heavy and can be fragile, and as for moving it, I carry it!!!
Just got one of these from ebay. Used but in absolute mint condition. Came with two Yamaha headshells and a Audio Techinica headshell with cartridge mounted which is what I am using. Everything works perfectly except the tone arm hangs up sometimes. Sometimes it won't return fully to the rest position and the platter will keep spinning. Other times it won't move but a quarter of an inch from the rest position to move towards the platter. A slight nudge at the back of the tonearme gets it moving. Seems it's binding on something. Any suggestions?
The most common cause of those types of issues is that lubricants tend to dry up over the course of 20 or 30 years. One of the first things I do when I buy a new tangenital tracking turntable is take it apart, clean the old lubricant off the tracks and mechanisms, and re-lube it with whatever greases or oils are necessary. This is very delicate work, though. Also, it MAY be possible (I'm not familiar with Yamaha designs) that a seperate belt is used for the arm and it will likely need to be replaced. Your best bet it to book it in for a service--then you'll have a like-new table. It's probably long, long overdue for a cleaning, regardless of how nice it looks on the outside.
These are great turntables.

The PX-2 had a bit of a cult following when it came out and as mentioned above, is even heavier and more exotic.

I had one in high school and it was a beautiful turntable, great sounding and of course, FULLY AUTOMATIC.
I just bought a used PX-2 this week. Appears to be working fine but I don't have a clue if it is set up properly. I have no manual. Any suggestions.

good luck -- a very cool turntable

As I recall, there is not much to do on the set up side.

Check the physical level of the turntable obviously.

Otherwise I think the only adjusments would be tracking force and overhang on the cartridge?

If you don't have them already, you can probably get some tweaky gauges from any analogue dealer.

The only issue long run might be the switches and belt, but perhaps a Yamaha dealer can look into replacement parts and service.
Yeah, what a turntable. I have a PX-2 that I purchased from a friend in the early 1980s (81 or 82). I have a Signet TK9LC dual magnet cartridge connected to the tonearm. It is an awesome machine and a beast of a turntable. I have had no known problems. Am currently planning on transferring my old LPs to CDs in the near future.
I can't believe that so far, no one (including the otherwise great review) has mentioned the fabulousness of a great Servo PLL Direct Drive system! For silent running and speed accuracy, nuttin' can touch it IMO.

Also, highly recommended for any TT w/ steel bearing/shaft, is the van den Hul zirconium oxide doped bearing oil.
I purchased a PX-3 in mint condition about a year and a half ago and love it. I've always been fasinated with Yamaha statement pieses, however the head shells(2) witch come with it do not have finger lifts, threfore I switched to Technics 1200 shells I had in my audio junk drower. It is very handy to be able to manualy cue. The overhang for this table is 50mm incase you don't have the gauge.
HELP HELP!!! I have had my PX-3 since 1983 (purchased in Germany) The Tone arm only tracks 1/2 way the stops,it was repaired once but this proble reoccured after 10 minutes.Is it the 220/110v difference?I also need the legs for this ! HELP with repair info PLEASE !!
I miss some of my old vinyl and have found that much of my old collection has not been released on CD. I do not have the space for a turntable set-up that would get only occassional use - hence I want to transfer the music to digital.

I have an old Sony linear track turntable that is admittedly junk, but it worked fine for many years. I put a new stylus on it but have discovered that the sound arm tends to stick in the same way the previous user noted.
You mentioned lubricants for the tracking bar - would you mind advising on a brand or type?

also, must one dissembled the arm and tracking bar to lubricate? Why not simply apply lubricant to the bar?

Thanks in advance.
I bought one of these plus several boxes of records in 1990 for $100. I guess I stole it!
I just bought a PX-1. I will post again when I get it set up.

For reference, there is a Japanese site with some information about the PX-3 (and the PX-1).

If you paste the site address into Google's search window, you'll get a link to the site and a link to a "translated" version of the site. The translation is really pretty horrendous, but I guess it is better than nothing...

At the bottom of each page, there are two large font links with stars. They link you back to a menu, and to the base page. There are three pages of 1970s and 1980s mid-high end Japanese turntables, with write-ups and specs in many cases, for those interested in going down memory lane...
A PX-1?? That is rare, how did you come across that? Can you post some pictures?

I've gone through my fair share of turntables from the Rega's to the massive acrylic Teres. The PX-2 is in its own class and is my reference. No pivoting tonearm can match a good properly setup linear tracker in terms of tracking error. All pivoting tonearms have a tracking error of 3 degrees compared to the PX-2's .15 degrees!

The PX-3 is a great turntable too, but was designed as a cost effective version of its massive older brother, the PX-2. Looking at the PX-1, that seems to have spare even less expense than the PX-2.

I currently own three PX-2's with two on regular rotation. The PX-2 and PX-3, I found, can benefit from having the arm servo circuitry tweaked a little more different than what the service manual states. My arm now tracks on the money to correct any mistracking.

BTW, anyone have a good source for the square belt that connects to the motor of the PX-2?

Daus, here are the two best belt sources I know:
Got it off a web auction (I live in Japan). I'll put a picture up as soon as I get it set up. The PX-1 was the first one out (1977), and the the PX-2 followed in 1979, followed by the PX-3 (1981). The MSRP at the time was 4x higher. It weighted 27kg (plus another 5kg for the separate PSU) vs the PX-3's one-chassis 12kg, the platter of the PX-1 is 5.6kg whereas for the PX-3 it as ~1.6kg. I imagine the first one out was the ridicously under-owned flagship player and a couple of years later they figured they could offer most of the technology for less.
I got the PX-1 set up - my first foray back into vinyl since I was in college. I'm into my third LP now (third one this afternoon) and this is putting stupid grins on my face. A picture will be up shortly.
For those of you looking for certain replacement belts, that Yamaha no longer produces. You might try Small Parts Inc, located in Miami Lakes area of Miami. This is a small specialist company dealing in miniature industralist and hobbyist parts. Web address is:
they are a valuable resource in trying to find parts that will work for you.
For old belts, Bob will MAKE you one from the remnant of the old belt VERY reasonably. Check:

"Bob@Vintage Electronics"

Ed Tanton
Recently bought Yamaha PX-3 from ebay. Like to know if anyone could offer me advice on the tonearm. Everything seems to be working fine. Tonearm will not go down gently
on the record. For some reason it seems to bounce a little and than lands on the record. Any suggestions how to correct this ?. Tonearm been damped. Goes down better than before. Still needs to go down smoothly on record.
Thank you.
The tonearm is controlled by light emitted diodes (LED's) and they are not working properly, but it can be fixed. These are some very nice sounding players and worth fixing.
Had same problem with px3 tonearm. Seems like its piston
has worn out. Only way is to have it machined as Yamaha does not supply parts anymore.
I would suggest there are certainly more than 3 collectable Yamahas. Not sure what the YF-800 the author makes mention to is. Perhaps a YP-800? although (for my money) I would think the PF-800/PF-1000 are much more desirable. And who could forget the awesome (japan only) GT-1000 and GT-2000? I've just taken delivery of a PX-2 and fitted a new MC-705 and AT3100 stylus to it. The table had a few issues when I got it, I had to repair the Photo interupters, dismantle and clean out the old solidified grease in the arm worm drive and replace the arm drive belt. It works like a champion now and to get it off me, you would have to prise it from my cold dead fingers. If anyone is having problems with a PX-2 message me, I may be able to help now that I've gotten so intimate with mine. Happy Vinyl Listening :-)
Yamaha PX2 & PX3 known to have loose belt problem. This situation
causes the tonearm to sit still at one place. Arm swings without tonearm base movement. There is a solution to this problem without the need to buy springs. Photo Interrupters can cease to function later. Normally, a good electronic expert can  find a suitable match for Photo Interrupters.