Russco, QRK, Sparco, Garrard, Thoren, Fairchild, Roberts

Ok I have several of the old rim drive broadcast TT. Russcos, QRKs, Sparcos, and
a few more. Also different Transcriptions, Thoren TD 121, 124s, 224s, and Garrard 401s.
Had a Fairchild (stolen). What's your favorites, or ones not mentioned.

Plinths, what are you using, what have you made, what have you bought??

I'm into the actual repair and mods of the machine more than the use, I love um', but
they are used.

Have any tips, tricks, suggestions?

There are many fans, of those older, Thorens and Garrard TTs.     Quite a market for 401s and their upgrades.                 You may find this interesting:’ing_a_time_machine.htm
Olhvymec, I use a Garrard 401 in a plinth I built (after restoring the 'table), and mounted a Dynavector 501 arm on it. I'm really happy with this system, and don't worry about upgrades on my analog front end.
Yea I was 5 or 6 years old when my Dad instructed me how to drop the ol arm down without bouncing across the LP. It was a Garrard 301. He was so proud when he bought a fully automatic, Zero 100.

Funny how things change. 

My personal preference is Russco, and Thoren. 
Loved my 750 Fairchild. SME 3012R gold, too, killer TT.

That being said the best I ever heard (of the old guard) was a tricked out 401 with SME arms, a close second was a Russco then Thoren.

Rim drive, you say? Repair and mods, you say??

Behold! The Miller Carbon!
Carbon fiber BDR Source Shelf for the base, arm, and motor pod. I have built, repaired, and modified all of it!

Originally based on the Teres turntable.
The Teres bearing is internally modified. The stock teflon on the brass thrust plate is silent when new but quickly wears through slightly increasing noise and slowly wearing a small hole in the brass thrust plate. So I replaced the thrust plate with some super hard material, tungsten carbide I think its called. Been a while. Then I modified the stainless ball bearing in the spindle, replacing it with silicon carbide. With now something like 15 years in use the last time I took it apart for inspection there was only the tiniest little speck of a spot to show where they meet. Technically wear, but infinitesimally tiny. After 15 years!

The bearing comes with a large stainless steel fastening nut. I drilled a hole in a 3" diameter piece of Source Shelf, threaded it, and that is my "nut". Because of the large diameter it gets plenty tight by hand and because the bearing is now totally encased it is incredibly well damped and rigidly held.

The motor likewise is mounted in BDR Source Shelf with BDR Cones. Stock from the factory the Teres Verus motor used little rubber feet. Which is okay but this was a big improvement. Only drawback being the lack of damping. Mechanical stuff like motors, rim drive and all does need to be damped. I found a combination of sorbothane, fo.Q tape and Blue Tack works pretty good.

The acrylic platter uses brass plugs to hold lead shot. I took it apart and coated the brass with TC. At the time noticed the brass rings. Well of course, its brass! But I didn’t have enough fo.Q tape to take care of that. Next time....

So I made all of this, and why is because after comparing a bunch of different turntables and materials this is the best I can find for the money.

A lot of this is directly applicable to your older tables. fo.Q tape and TC in particular. This combination will control vibration and improve electron shear so much you won’t believe. Incredibly cost effective. It works with my table which being BDR is about as dead as dead can be. I would think it would work at least as well on your tables.
Yup, millercarbon you did a fine job indeed.  I need to dig out my project.
It's a 47lb alu platter. I made the housing for the spindle out of cast alu to make it quiet. It's well on the way. I used a black sapphire (super hard black liquid carbon ball) I think 5/8 or 3/4 can't remember.  The ball is just dropped down the bore, main shaft sits on top of that. I use Rislone and liquid teflon for the lube.

What is fo.Q tape and TC, this is 4/20, is that THC? LOL.

I just came in from working on a Russco plinth, cutting two more MBass boxes, priming and blocking two others. All getting close to paint. Need about an 80 degree day with zero humidity. Man I'm thinkin' Jaguar Red just like the new Cary. Burgundish. 

Need a little 24 x 24 x 4" CNC. Finish the stuff  quicker, BUT not really handmade then is it?...Every cabinet in the house, no matter how bad it looks I made it.. LOL Fun..

Just got a Russco Studio Pro Model B in very good shape. This will get a complete tear down and restore.
Doing the mechanical work and machine work is not a problem, but I'm not into wood working and don't have access to those kind of tools. Not sure what I'm doing about a plinth yet. I know it should be high mass to dampen any vibration. Anyone have a plinth from a project sitting unused?
I used to have an old Presto with rim drive and a 16" platter. We used to stand on it and engage the motor until we got dizzy- it had a lot of torque :)  Rim drive (different from idler drive) isn't the best way to do a drive mechanism if you want low noise...
The Prestos had washing machine motors like a lot of the broadcast units. LOL Fractal motors are heavy little guys. I though some of those were dual drive for the cutter.  Fairchild had a dual drive, so did Roberts..

EMT had some goodies too.. if your into recording, your own RtR stuff.

Check out my page click the single PIC it will show you a 1" red oak plinth. It has a Russco sitting in place.

That is about 50 - 60 lbs. They are stair flats. They make a serious plinth.
I rubber line the plinth, silicone the top platter, dampen the chassis with black hole. The chassis to plinth I use a dampener also. SPRING mount the bass to whatever you use. Blocks or Butcher Block stacked on rollers for me..

I'm working on a plinth with Queen Ann legs (pretty heavy short legs). That is turning out to be a bit of a project also.... Again Red Oak..
Same idea as the speakers..

I want my 750 Fairchild BACK that got nicked.. THAT ticked me off...
6-7 year ago now.. It was a 16".  I still can't figure how they moved a 250 lb unit across a wet yard.. Hercules with snow shoes is all the cops could figure, I figured the same.
I tried checking out your page on here and all I get is a spinny thing that never stops. It's under "Systems"Do you have pictures posted else where?As far as your Fairchild, that really sucks. It had to be someone that knew exactly what you had. Someone that had been in there. Average thief would have no clue to its value.

atmasphere, I have a trick or two for rim drives.. Has a lot to do with dampening the platter and the way the roller engages the platter, it needs to follow the platter not push it. If that makes sense. Second is isolation of the drive with a thrust made of teflons and controlling it with shims and wave washers to preload it.

I can get them as quiet a Garrard and 5 times as powerful.. Mine are completely up to speed in 1/2 a revolution... You can truly Que with no motor heat up.. 24/7/364 (one day for maintenance a year) :-) 2 hours every month for 12 months.. 1 24 hour day per year..

I have 5 or 6 Russcos and a couple QRKs right now, Harris or two..

Always a 6 - 12 Thorens here too..

401 Garrard, if someone needs one... 50hz 220, I’m sure I have a 60 hz pully.. BUT the 50hz 220 is all the rage with the new PS/converter. 1K or so for the new PS..

I like them with a separate armboard too. Can always add a blank and plinth mount your tonearm.. I still have a 16" tonearm here somewhere.

oldhvymec, do you have any pictures and details of your Russco builds? I'm already planning to get rid of the ball on ball spindle thrust bearing with a ball on Delrin thrust pad. I have a new bottom bearing brass setscrew that I will machine for the Delrin insert pad.
I'm going to have Terry's Rubber Rollers rebuild my idler wheel a soon as I get the new oil lite bushings delivered for it. I also found a nice replacement on ebay that looks like a Audio Silente style with the o-ring type drive rim.
I also have new isolation mounts coming directly from LORD manufacturing so that I know they are fresh and not 20 year old NOS junk.While the chassis is out being powder coated hammertone grey I will go through the motor as well.
So any hints and tips to quiet this down will be appreciated. Pictures help a lot as well. Do you post on any other forums?
I’ve never seen one powder coated. We always used rattle cans. So you know that was actually factory..

Sparta, QRK, and Russco all the parts are swap, but the Russco had a better pocket bearing for the platter. It had an endplay and height adjustment.

The Fractional motor had end play adjustment and I added a remote oiler on a couple I did. Just depends on how hard it was to access

There were two kinds of platters too. One had a fixed ball the other had a flat surface and the ball was in the pocket, I prefer the latter BUT I’ve also used combos, double balls, bla bla bla.. :-)

I use Rislone for lube (Engine additive)

This is the motor and spindle bearing I use. You can take the motor apart and drop balance or if you know someone spin balance the armature.

The drive pully, you want the one with swappable O-Rings (same manufacture as the ones for Thoren and Lynn)

The chassis isolators I use the red ones and add a silicone bead to one side to stiffen them.. 8.00 each vs 25-35.00 each..

I usually just keep shop notes in Mead, college rule or geometric note books. They are 6-8 200 page note books full of my projects. They are also mixed with all my OTHER projects too over the last 40 years.. tool inventories, and a Hand Written Will with DNR unless statement. :-)

I'll look up some notes..
I paid about 13 bucks each for the isolation mounts. The two closest to the front are rated 2lb per 1/16" deflection and the one in the rear is rated 1/2 lb per 1/16" deflection from the Russco factory so that is what I bought from LORDS.
Today I stopped by McMaster Carr and picked up new spindle bushings and a new bushing for the stock idler. Will replace the bushing before I send it out to get rebuilt. They also had the brass setscrew and a bar of Delrin waiting for me. Need to get over my buddys machine shop soon.
Today I stripped the plinth, still need to get the lamps out. I hate those one way metal clips that hold them in. Hopefully I can find time to visit the powder coater soon.Any tips that you have are greatly appreciated, I intend to make this a killer table.
Just looked at that link. I have the same motor on my table. I fired it up for a few seconds and it ran pretty smooth but I'm going to take it apart to clean and lube it. It feels slightly stiff.
Yea that is a clean clean clean deal. Very Very fine steel wool is your friend, too. The motor ball you can replace it with a ceramic if you want, I stick with conductive parts in motors UNLESS it suppose to be insulated or sealed (as per application, non spark).

Newer fractal motors and some of the broadcast had fixed updated neo magnets.. Hard to tell if they are smooth when they are assembled, magnet drag... Smaller too.. 1/10 HP (Vroom Vroom).  I think they are Japanese made and very well made they are... 100 year motors with maintenance and another 100 with more maintenance. :-)

I just went out and did some sanding on the top of a Russco Plinth, I started it over 10 months ago. Just starting to feel good enough to work, but so out of shape.. 15 minutes is a LONG time.. Mercy.. Gettin' there though, just a little color sanding.. Ready for color and a hard clear coat.

Again so you know Hammer coat in a rattle can is VERY VERY good.
They actually use it on BIG drifters (rock hammers) as a finish protective paint.. It use to blow my mind how well it stood up and touched without being able to tell they touched up the original paint.. 

Different Note:

I just picked up a Puffin phono preamp. I'm thinking it will be the PERFECT combo... Has onboard POP eliminator and tons of programmable options, ADC digital connection option and RCA.
TONE control... I love that option spinning vinyl and recording it..

I have a new Jelco 10.5" TA. I think it will be a good fit.. on the Russcos or QRKs

It may be the perfect piece (Puffin) for me and RtR recording from a GREAT piece of vinyl, (I have a few) or any source, maybe even a digital original.

The problem with RtR today is source tape. 90% I wouldn't even listen to.. In spite of my age, I've never been an HUGE Opera fan, THOUGH I did attend a few I really enjoyed.

Too much of a Tower of Power, James Brown, Gram Central Station, War, Carlos, kind of a guy.. :-) Throw in all the Outlaws in country western, Metallica and a big ol blob US blues... BB King comes to mind, or Muddy Waters. US Jazz ok... Miles Davis, Tony Williams (Sr) Stanley Clark, Herbie H or Chick C (Rip) and Jeff Beck.. I'm good...

Todays music.. LOL I like a lot of it.. NOW I want it on Reel to Reel. PERIOD. No I don't care how I get it there as long as I can get it to sound GREAT... Good for now will work.  :-)

600.00 dupe master tapes, I don't like, really won't work for me.. 

Legally it's an archive as long as I don't sell it and I can give it away with the original source I paid for and choose to resale..

I use to love my RtR I'm close now.. 6-8 weeks Decware might send me a Tape/phono preamp.. 5 months 3 weeks now.. 4 weeks with Soundsmith and no delivery for "IN STOCK", carts.. ?????

EVERYONE is still in recovery mode.. Me 16 heart attacks later an in general, pissed off. LOL. Fixed that part, at least, thank God..  Now 15 lbs has got to go..

A$$ and Belly fat nanites.. :-)


Guys/Gals this an address for a cable that can't be PMed for some reason..

I use this in a 1 meter, great Power Cable for 49.00.. 1-3 weeks delivery time.. Great construct for speaker IC too. BIG time bang for the buck..

oldhvymec, have you ever used Dynamat on the chassis? Once you strip everything from the cast chassis it rings like a bell if you tap it. I just hate to stick it on as I don't think it comes off easily.
I got a lot done today at my buddy's shop. I used a internal bearing puller and removed the top bushing from the spindle housing. The lower bearing couldn't be reached so I did a quick measurement and as I suspected, it showed little wear. So I made a bushing driver and a guide block and installed a new bushing for the top bearing. Now the clearance between the spindle and bushing measures 0.0013, about 0.0005 tighter than before. I also made a new bottom bearing setscrew with a Delrin puck insert. While I was at it I made a bushing driver to replace the oil lite bearing in the idler as well. Now it spins freely on the idler stud with no play. Will ship that to Terrys Rubber Rollers tomorrow.Next week the chassis goes to the powder coater.
No I haven't used Dynamat, BUT I have used black hole and a few others.

Dynamat will work just fine. So does the spray on TV that seals gutters and BOATS. Flex Seal. Tape everything off and a coat or two.. Same with the platter. You can use silicone too to get rid of the ring.. (the bottom)
The top FELT is exactly what it's for.. noise and a slipper Que..

I've seen people cut one two or three groves in the top platters side and fit dampening O-Rings too.. Add or remove, for the dampening you like..

Lots of tricks.

Those tolerances your talking about are for a turbo rebuild spinning at 20-50,000 rpms.. LOL. remember on a TT sloppy is good, too tight is not..

The platter bushings get loose, but seldom are TOO worn.. I've seen water damage wreak havoc though..

Drive bogies that's different.. I've seen a LOT of those with no thrust or wave washers to preload the drive wheel. the type of lube is pretty important and KEEPING the lube on the bushing is kinda tough just because of design.. My little axels for the drive hubs have a reverse spiral cut up the side. it helps to riffle the lube up the shaft as apposed to not at all or down the shaft.. O rings and wave washers seal the bottom.. kind of... :-)  No squeaky tight.. loosie goosy is a lot better.. :-)

Aren't they the BOMB.. Everybody need at least one.. I love um..

I'm thinking a 2" acrylic platter on top of the original platter. Just match the tonearm perch with the thickness of the platter addition. We're getting serious now... the more we do the better they get.. They are that good of a starting point.. people don't realize how quiet you can really get a TT platter if you just think about it.. How you drive it is different too.

Can always use an external drive motor and O-ring drive belts too.
Fill the bottom of the platter with silicone and that's about 3 or 4 more pounds added. Dead quiet then...

I like the secondary isolation of Thoren 121 and 124 system.. Belt, idler AND gummie puffers between motor and chassis. Boils down to the platter bearing as far a rumble.. ONLY.. Fun being a mechanic..

Usually.. ;-)

Armboards 25.00 aluminum. These are usually available on Ebay. I've purchased 4 or so.. For 25.00 you can't beat the price..


I have one of those armboards coming next week. I'm waiting for it before I drop everything off at the powder coating guy.
Actually, one of the nicest spindle bearings I've worked with was on an old Pioneer PL-41D belt drive. Spindle was aprox 3/8" in diameter and very finely ground with an integrated ball on the end. The bearing pad was shot so I made up a new one out of Delrin. The bearings were bronze sleeves, not oilite, finely honed and they showed zero signs of wear. The amount of play was extremely small, I didn't measure it but well less than 0.001. My guess is that they followed the rule of thumb for plain bearings, 0.001 clearance per inch of diameter. So it was probably around 0.0004 clearance in that bearing. Using light hydraulic oil for lube, with belt off it would take over 3 minutes to spin down and come to a complete stop. Totally silent as well.
If I get noise from this bearing, I'll redesign the spindle housing and make it out of aluminum barstock with a bottom cap so a Sunnen hone can pass through. I'll use bronze bearing stock for the bearing sleeves and do the final sizing with a hone to get down to 0.0005 to 0.0007 clearance. With a Delrin thrust pad it should be completely silent.
With no oil in the spindle and having 0.0013 clearance, my spindle feels very loose. Because of that I will be running a heavier weight oil in this unit.
I think when these tables were designed they worried more about reliable operation than fidelity. A seized spindle was simply not tolerated, hence the very liberal clearances.
Well they sure can be HiFi. A few companies used these chassis as their base unit. The pocket spindle housing, just black hole it. I’ve rapped them with 1/16" silicone or neo rope too. Little dab of silicone hear and there to hold it in place.. Quiet as a mouse.. Add a different visual when you look at it too.. The ol ? will pop up.. LOL

I’ve never seen one lock up, BUT I have seen water damage units..

Couple time there were fires at local stations.. Fire department and water... I had a couple of those.

I just picked up a parts unit.. 75.00 typical broken idler and the wheel missing.. All there though..

I really got my eye on a Fairchild 412, 600.00  I'm thinkin' 300.00. :-)

I want my old 750 back.. 3-10k for one now..
There are after market idler brackets from Europe that sell for 50 bucks and there is a guy in Thailand that I purchased an idler wheel from, listed at 75 bucks or make off. I offered 60 bucks and it’s on the way for 68 bucks shipped. He advertises on Ebay. Look for past listing or search seller name windkit.
The idler wheel that I purchased looks like a high end Audio Silente wheel that uses an o-ring for a tire. My buddy that has both a Thorens and a Garrard swears by that design.
Check on for the bracket.
Or, I’ll pay you 100 bucks to get that broken TT off of your hands. LOL Even pay shipping.
Oh if you need any parts let me know, you take care of the shipping for the most part, I'll fix you up.. :-)

That part, for the tire, there are a couple of different ones. The better one if off set. You can get either to work, BUT the geometry of the off set make for a smoother application of the boggy (driver hub) vs platter contact area. It changes the position. It's better if the drive hub is under a dampening ring CUT on the other side of the rim of the platter..

Like I said, you can MATCH the finest TT in the world if you pay attention and share.. LOL That is actually a learned Garrard trick, if there are any Garrard guys watching.. Stock platter dampening rings and boggy position on the other side of the rim make a difference in noise big time..

Plenty of info on the Link about a Russco Renovation.
Work carried out by a engineer with a keen interest in Idler Drive TT's.

The Forum will probably offer a lot of information for Idler Drive TT's you need information on.
Check Through the Other Turntable Section.
oldhvymec, can you give me some more detail on your idler wheel mods, not sure what you mean concerning offsets. I think I follow your line about machining a groove on the OD of the platter and using say a rubber o-ring and having that in line with the idler wheel on the inside.
I'd want to find a spare platter to make that mod to as mine is in very nice shape. Sounds like an excellent idea though. Remember turning brake drums on the brake lathe? Used a rubber strap on the OD to kill any resonances. Same idea.
pindac, I have been looking at the Lenco Heaven forum, some neat builds there although I'm not a big fan of Lenco TT they have some good ideas.
Anyone using Sonic Barrier from Parts Express? A bit like Dynamat, want to apply t to the bottom of the aluminum chassis. After stripping the chassis, it rings like a bell if tapped.
billwojo you ever look at my page. Just click the virtual page. ONE pic then it will fold out.. I'm not into showing a bunch of stuff, just some stuff.. LOL. I'll straighten it out if I stay at AG.. We'll see.

I'll find some pics of the two different designs of the axels for the driver wheel. YES both were overseas. One in Southeast Asia, one in Eastern Europe somewhere if I remember..
Love the paint job you did on the Russco chassis, much like what I plan as well. Do you find the rubber mat an improvement over the felt mat? I was planning on going with a red felt mat and grey hammertone powder coat.
What cartridge are you running? I'm going to put a Denon DL-103 on mine. Love those old things.
Well this project is finally moving again. I found a fellow in Texas (master wood worker with a keen interest in idlers) that would build a nice plinth for me. It's detailed on this post on AK.

Chassis out at the powder coaters. All parts are now in and my friend Andy the master wood worker has his own Russco as well. My new Delrin tipped brass setscrew has worked out great for him.
Tonearm is going to be a Victor UA-5045 with a Denon DL-103 cartridge.

Glad to hear there is progress. I'm just trying to catch my breath. Frigging blood clot from a year ago they just caught one.  One was in my brain one in my left lung, liked to killed me Bill. Weirdest thing I've EVER went through.. What a crazy 18 months it has been.

7 month things have set.

I went out and cleaned the shop for work, that's a start.. Never been so winded in my life..

I was thinking about a dual Russco or QRK plinth..

The two Thorens are looking real good too. I got the inside and bottoms all flex sealed and looking good.. 

I found a generic hardener for the Urethane, it cut the clear coat cost by 2/3s, geez everything has gone through the roof.. Clear coat 2 part 100-150 a gallon from 65 - 75.00 a gallon..

I'm using DL110 re-tipped, Shure BC, Stanton, and Pickering.. For the heavy arms stuff.

Soundsmith and Ortofon for the SMEs and Jelcos

Glad to hear that your on the road to recovery.
Hopefully I pick up my parts this week from the powder coating guy so I can start reassembling everything.
Andy, my plinth builder who hangs out on AK did some testing on my Delrin tipped brass setscrew. This has a 5/16 diameter flat Delrin puck pressed into a 1/2-13 x 1.25 long brass setscrew.
Even though he still had the stock idler wheel on it he said it dropped the noise way more than he expected it to. His platter is the flat bottomed spindle bearing style. So my spindle bearing design is off to a good start. He is also getting a few idlers made out of Delrin that will use the o-ring tire.

I think these two modifications alone will make a huge difference in the way these tables sound. 
I'll update things as I move along. You to Dave, keep us updated on the 2 Russco plinth. That will be very cool.