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ELAC Miracord 40A...

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ELAC Miracord 40A...

Postby Chopsrr » 29 Sep 2010 15:40

I just dug out this mint 40A from my parents house this morning. I've heard these things were built like tanks which doesn't surprise me as it was made in West Germany.

Anyway, the one I have was the "Realistic" version with the cheap plastic plinth. The cart looks to be an AT11E from what I can tell. It's still mounted to the headshell. I noticed that the cantilever is bent off to one side so I'll either have to buy a new stylus for it (if they still exist) or replace the cart entirely.

I pulled the platter off and took some #0000 steel wool to the side of it to clean off the small pitted oxidation. It cleaned up just dandy. I'm going to have to use some 409 or some other kind of cleaner to get the black plastic bits of the tonearm and the rubber platter mat back to black instead of the current gray-ish color it is now from all the years of dust. It didn't come with a dust cover.

If everything checks out fine on it (it worked perfectly fine the last time I used it nearly 12 years ago), I'm going to build a nice thick and heavy wood plinth for it.

Something like this maybe...

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I really like this one!

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I have plenty of pictures of the 40A on my iPhone but I have to wait until I get home tonight to upload them to my PC, then to my site.

If everything pans out for this TT, and if I can't find a replacement stylus for the AT11E, what cart should I go with? I would say the tonearm is more of a medium weight rather than a heavy weight.
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Postby Chopsrr » 29 Sep 2010 20:24

Gee... I would have expected at least a couple responses by now.

Hmm... :?
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Postby Chopsrr » 30 Sep 2010 03:51

Wow! When you guys don't care about something, you certainly make it known. Oh well, it's not going to stop me from posting about this TT.

Anyway....


I got it home safe and sound, hooked it up, put on a junk record of mine and hit the ole' #12 button. Just as I figured, it started right up, lifted and moved the tonearm over to the lead-in groove, gently placed it on the vinyl and started playing music with no noise or hum. Even with the AT11E's cantilever bent to one side, it sounded surprisingly good! In fact, better than I had imagined!

It played the entire side of the LP without a glitch, and once the needle got into the lead-out grooves, the tonearm lifted back up, swung back over to the tonearm rest, gently set it back down on the rest and turned itself off. This TT is still in such great shape, that after it turned off, the platter continued to spin for another full minute until it came to rest. That platter is heavy too!

The entire mechanics of the 40A run nice and silent except for a very slight "tick, tick, tick" sound when it's playing. IIRC, it did this before as well. It may or may not be the nature of the beast, but I'll look into it regardless.

And now for a few pics...

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Postby Alec124c41 » 30 Sep 2010 06:09

That looks nice and clean. I like the styling.
You can still get a new stylus for that cartridge.

Cheers,
Alec
Keep them spinning.
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Postby Chopsrr » 30 Sep 2010 14:02

Thanks Alec! I'll have to get a replacement stylus then for it. That way I can use it in the meantime as I plan out the new plinth for it.


I just ask my father about that "tick, tick, tick" sound and apparently it's the tachometer that keeps track of and corrects the rpm's of the unit.
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Postby Chopsrr » 30 Sep 2010 14:16

UPDATE:

I just ordered a genuine ATS11E stylus from StereoNeedles.com :)
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Postby nat » 30 Sep 2010 19:55

That tic tic tic is something else -- there isn't anything like a tachometer on Miracords -- many of them had synchronous motors which meant that they were locked onto the mains frequency and motor speed didn't vary. You can adjust the speed of some Miracords, but that's by moving the pulley slightly on the varying diameter pulley for whatever speed you have chosen -- there is a bit of difference between the diameter of the pulley step at the top than the bottom, so the platter moves a different amount each rotation of the pulley.
What I think you have is a feeler for the tripping device that is either a little sticky so it doesn't pop back, or a cam that contacts the feeler, which the same problem.
The grease in old turntables can harden, and then things that ought to move freely don't. A good cleaning and relube will solve most problems.
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Postby J. S. Bach » 01 Oct 2010 04:21

That is one nice looking turntable. I love that "battleship" tone arm! Hmmm, the speed selector looks like the automatic transmission shifter from a 60 Chrysler.
Later gator,
Dave

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Heading to Gatow with a load of coal.
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Postby Chopsrr » 01 Oct 2010 14:28

nat wrote:That tic tic tic is something else -- there isn't anything like a tachometer on Miracords -- many of them had synchronous motors which meant that they were locked onto the mains frequency and motor speed didn't vary. You can adjust the speed of some Miracords, but that's by moving the pulley slightly on the varying diameter pulley for whatever speed you have chosen -- there is a bit of difference between the diameter of the pulley step at the top than the bottom, so the platter moves a different amount each rotation of the pulley.
What I think you have is a feeler for the tripping device that is either a little sticky so it doesn't pop back, or a cam that contacts the feeler, which the same problem.
The grease in old turntables can harden, and then things that ought to move freely don't. A good cleaning and relube will solve most problems.


Yeah, after thinking about it more, my father sent me an email pretty much saying the same thing you said about the synchronous motor. He even mentioned about the old grease hardening over time and causing things to possibly lag and/or stick. So the two of you are pretty much in "jive" with each other! :wink:

So when I have my next day off, I'm going to get some lighter fluid and clean up all the old grease and goop, then put on some fresh white lithium grease and also get some light viscosity oil for the motor and hub bearings. While I'm at it, I may just swap out the power cord and RCA cable for something new and better.

I tell you though, this TT is rock solid and operates like a champ! The real good thing is that it works and sounds good. I can't wait to hear it with the new stylus installed and properly aligned. This gives me the "go-ahead" on planning out a nice new wood plinth for it too!
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Postby Blue Angel » 01 Oct 2010 15:45

Nice cleanup, Chops

Nice iphone pics too. A new power cord, a new needle and phono cable will bring your beasty right up to spec. I also like those push buttons - very cool...

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Postby nat » 01 Oct 2010 16:39

While you are under the hood, check the motor isolation grommets -- they are probably fine, but if they harden or tear, you can get noise. That was the problem with the one I had.
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Postby Chopsrr » 01 Oct 2010 19:24

Blue Angel wrote:Nice cleanup, Chops

Nice iphone pics too. A new power cord, a new needle and phono cable will bring your beasty right up to spec. I also like those push buttons - very cool...

ba


Thanks, but nothing's been cleaned up yet. That's just the great shape that the deck is in. And those aren't the iPhone pics. I wish the phone took pics that good! LOL

Once I got home and got it up and running, I decided to pull out my real camera and shoot some better pics of it.
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Postby Chopsrr » 01 Oct 2010 19:24

nat wrote:While you are under the hood, check the motor isolation grommets -- they are probably fine, but if they harden or tear, you can get noise. That was the problem with the one I had.


Good point Nat, thanks! Will do. :wink:

I have to say though, while playing the TT is completely silent. No mechanical noise being picked up or electrical hum. And what's really surprising is that there's no ground wire at all.
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Postby taephono » 02 Oct 2010 19:57

I was given the same Miracord / Realistic modle, but haven't had time to clean it up....I will definitley be replacing the plastic plith also.
Thanks for the good photos...I'll post some of mine shortly
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Postby Chopsrr » 03 Oct 2010 01:05

I've been messing around a bit this evening on the Miracord listening to some older LP's that I'm not too concerned about their condition. I am also running it through my old Music Hall mmf-phono pack as I have run out of phono inputs on my amp. LOL

After a thorough inspection of all the mechanics above and below the chassis, it is still a very smooth and quiet running machine to say the least. Absolutely everything works just like new. There's no rust or corrosion anywhere.

That's the good part. Now for the bad part...

First off, the left RCA is flaky. Under closer examination you can see the wire mesh shielding showing through right above the plastic plug. So every once in a while the left channel will drop out if the cable is agitated a little. That's not a big deal as I plan on replacing/upgrading this cable anyway when I build the wood plinth.

Secondly, and this is the important one, I have found the source of that "tick, tick, tick" noise that I've been mentioning. As I had the platter off, I plugged the unit in and started it in its motions to see the mechanicals do their thing. Since the platter wasn't there to hold the idle wheel against the motor, I lightly used my finger on the idler arm to let it touch the motor. When I did this, I immediately felt and heard that same ticking. (BTW, the spindle actually has to be spinning to get the mechanics of the table to move, so with no platter I used my other hand to turn the spindle.)

Anyway, after I spun the spindle enough to have the tone arm back at its resting place and the motor turned off, I took a good look at the idle wheel. What I found was a small "burned-in" groove in the side of the wheel where it looks like something stopped it while the motor was running and the shaft burnt the groove into it. I'm guessing one of my brothers or possibly my mom stopped or held the platter in place years ago at some point. Who knows, but that's why I remember this table having that ticking sound even when I was young and just starting to use it. If it wasn't for this, this table wound be in absolute mint shape inside and out.

This may present an issue as I'm sure it's not very easy to just happen across a new or mint idler wheel for a ELAC Miracord 40A, though I haven't even begun to hunt for one yet on the net either. Any suggestions on possible suppliers?

As always, here's a few pics to go along with the post...

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If you look to the left side of the idler wheel, you can see the little groove with some "gold dust" on either side of it, and from the looks of it, it looks like it was on the 16 rpm section of the shaft when it happened.

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