Acoustic Research XA
The original AR turntable. Two part aluminium platter, suspended subchassis and belt drive from a low vibration AC Synchronous motor.
The mounting location of the AR turntable is not at all critical, outside of the need to protect the cartridge from hum-inducing fields.
Because of the isolation achieved by its suspension, the AR turntable is not sensitive to external shock or acoustic feedback.
In order to take advantage of its insensitivity to jarring the turntable must be placed on a flat surface, so that the base does not rock.
It is also important that it is placed on a reasonably sturdy piece of furniture which does not wobble or rock when jarred.
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Acoustic Research Belt Drive Turntables
Acoustic Research XA owners manual, service manuals and schematics are for reference only and the Vinyl Engine bears no responsibility for errors or other inaccuracies. The PDF files are provided under strict licence. Reproduction for financial gain is strictly prohibited. This website is not affiliated with or sponsored by Acoustic Research.
Though it looks clunky and lacks many modern conveniences like anti skating, cuing, and tracking force readout, the AR arm on the original series of AR tables is a surprisingly capable piece of equipment. It's relatively low mass, can be aligned easily, the counterweight is rigidly mounted, and bearings are low friction, and the leads provide some antiskating force if dressed properly. But look out for the bearing pins in the pivot block -- they can loosen themselves very easily. And the headshell bayonet can be very very easily stripped.
The arm works well with cartridges over a surprising range. Plenty of people used it with Shure V 15s and other very high compliance cartridges, but plenty of others used it with low compliance cartridges, including the Decca (Ken Kessler).
I don't know of anyone who mounted an AR arm on another turntable, and there was a veritable cottage industry mounting other arms on the XA etc., but I believe there was and is a synergy with the X series and their arms, and the effort of changing arms isn't necessarily repaid in improvement in sound.
5/10 by nat
I have had my AR XA turntable since the '70's and have had excellent results. The turntable is simple but quite good. I would reccomend it still today as an excellently engineered device. S/N ratio is great and I recorded all my LPs the day I bought them. I transferred them to reel to reel tape deck which I still own.
8/10 by tallone1944
The ARXA should be purchased for what it is. It is a ground breaking design dating back to the 50s.
This is the initial suspended platter/arm design that opened the door for Thorens and Linn turntables. The turntable has very low rumble and wow specifications, excellent acoustic isolation and delivers very detailed, balanced sound reproduction. That said it is very basic and susceptible to bouncing floors that can cause skipping (think second story floors that are not solid). This is a piece of history.
8/10 by tomvette