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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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 :-)