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Sony PSX-55

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Sony PSX-55

Postby TheAnalogKid » 20 Feb 2011 20:57

Any thoughts on the merits of this TT? I'm also looking for a manual for this. Shure M95ED cart
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Postby Satch » 28 Feb 2011 13:49

That's a nice table. I had one, and although the light arm is better suited to high(ish) compliance carts, it sounded good with a Grado Silver. Easy to use and very good-looking IMHO. Make sure all the automatic features work as they should.
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Postby Paladin » 24 Apr 2011 20:31

Junk.

It didn’t matter that they were high-tech, made sense, and made great sound; people weren’t’ listening. We couldn’t sell them at the boutique audio store. One customer said it best: “But…it’s a Sony!?” We tried to sell them. High-tech ultra-low-mass designs: we sat one in the middle of a battery of legendary UK turntables with tonearms called Mayware, SME, and Sonus. And those tables had fancy cartridges. The Sony had a simple and inexpensive Shure M91ED moving-magnet cartridge: the ADC cartridge also works well. All the arms roughly the same tonearm mass- even the Sony. The Dual tables were out because their “ULM” tonearms had twice the tonearm mass. We thought the Sony was delightful: every note and word had flourish, crispness, and great separation- the X55 equaled the best and had better bass. But when people saw it playing, suddenly, it was ignored. And it was inexpensive. I like value which is not the same as inexpensive.

Yes, the Sony name hurt them. And other problems hurt them. They were automatic. Telling people the Sony does not have messy and fussy linkages but uses a simple motorized tonearm for all functions had no effect. Older Sony tonearms quickly caught up to the modern. They used the crazy idea that high-compliance moving-magnet cartridges in ultra-low-mass tonearms to have more control with warped records, more detail in the music, more accurate music, and gave low groove wear: more sizzle. They had hefty platters and a stunning and proven drive based on the legendary PS-X70. The plinth of the X55 was not the common medium density particle board with plastic wood grain but an exotic concoction of composites that absorbed the unwanted sounds. And it was small: Sony’s forte was miniaturization, research, and innovation.

Perhaps the most distasteful: Sony didn’t want to sell them. Their Compact Disc would soon debut so turntables were on the back burner set to low.

Well, they are gone now and so is the audio store. People don’t miss what they never saw.



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The older PS-X70 drive system was amazing. They had a great drive system: BSL servo-motor with speed feedback from the platter; silent, accurate speed, costly to make, and plenty of torque. Rap on the Sony Bulk Mold Compound (SBMC) plinth while playing and notice the knocking does not follow the system. At the time the X70 was sold, I think the Japanese, in general, were still behind in tonearm development. Also, their marketing was not too hot so few would take them seriously. And I think xenophobia clouds people’s minds.



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The PS-X55 was a bold venture. Sony kept the incredible drive design but added a ULM tonearm of their design. The short arms were rigid so their resonance is higher where it is needed, where moving-magnet cartridge midrange droops; that resonance “primes” the midrange. Finding the elusive midrange is easy with a combination of this arm and a Shure M75 or M91 cartridge – their negatives cancel out. And they added auto-record size selection plus abort if no record is present: simple added convenience because of the motorized tonearm.



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The PS-LX3 turntable almost moves me. The consumer-grade turntable had a different arm that is slightly heavier, the bearings feel different. The fact that the auxiliary weight of the PS-X55 does not fit the LX3 tonearm tells me there are differences. The cueing now uses the less expensive damping fluid design and connected to a rod that positions the cueing button on the front of the turntable. The drive, while still having real-time “cruise control” like the X70 and X55, has less power- the power is adequate but not as responsive. All in all, it does sound a bit muddy in the all-important midrange.



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Sony had the boldness to try to better the best. The PS-X600 uses the X70/X55 drive but their ULM arms were tapered. Other companies received plenty of praise for making medium-weight tapered designs that gave lighter weight, more rigidity, and less resonance. They should give additional delicate resolution in the midrange. The Sony ultra-low-mass tapered arm was ignored. But crazy Sony couldn’t leave that arm alone: they pushed further with computer-controlled servo motors and feedback sensors. Cool! That design could use a wider range of cartridges and better handle warped records. They were far too difficult to understand so they didn’t sell. The sound coming from the X55 and X600 sound quite similar with the only difference being the X600 superior handling with problem records. Think active suspension cars versus passive designs. ULM arms that are tapered with computer servo-controlled at prices people could afford: cool and sounds great!

It is hard to see the Sony designs. There were so many pseudo-ULM arms that reality showed they were heavy. Those posers ruined the concept. Few have really heard what they could do. And I’m amazed that many present day gearheads and tweakers have yet to figure out how much fun they are.

People just weren’t prepared for Sony. Sales were rotten but they sounded great. I was sold: they still roll in my home. As for the automatic features – Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunctioned and my machines do not: I gave up waiting for them to die, it was predicted, so I just listen to music. The tables are inexpensive, then and now.
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Postby Balifly » 25 Apr 2011 00:37

Thanks for the history lesson! 8)
By that time I was settling into the house with what I had and gone from the market.
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Postby Tubaman » 25 Apr 2011 01:18

I've had one for about a year. It is a second table that I use to check used records that I buy and for it's lush sound on certain records. I have a Sumiko Pearl on it. Everything works and i enjoy the convenience. Not quite as quiet as my Rega P3/Exact. I lubed the gears of the lifting mechanisms which made it much quieter.
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Postby Paladin » 25 Apr 2011 07:42

I got a bit wordy!

I really think the PS-X55 should have been the table for the people. They do a lot right for little cash.

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To keep the weight low, the arms are on the short side- not really short but enough so a cartridge alignment has to be really good for good sound. Another important fact about the Sony ULM design is that they do not use standard headshells. To keep the arm lightweight they redesigned the headshell and connector: both are smaller and do not have the slack of standard shells. And there was a plastic version of the headshell which shaves off 0.5-grams of tonearm mass. You knew all that.

I should add that the PS-LX3 works well enough. The arm is still above average but the plinth design brings it down a notch. Still, it is a better design than many popular midgrade turntables. Rest assured that I would be moved by the LX3 if I didn’t have the X55.

The odd thing is - I do get moved by the M75/M91 cartridges. It shouldn’t be the case. By all rights, the cartridges should not do well yet they sound right. The frequency response is wrong but, I suspect, the mid and high frequency-response phasing sounds correct. It is all subjective on my end. Lots of old M-series out there – they are cheap enough to play and experiment with. Everyone should try one.

I’ve seen the new Sony tables. They have a nice price, $65 including shipping, belt-drive, strobe, and they spin. Did Sony design these or are they rebadged? I don’t know. Playing with one- they are crude compared to the vintage ones but they give an opportunity for newcomers to try records. Or they could be for those that had turntables at one time – they can reach in the closet and pull out their dusty-oldies and spin for a nice price.

http://www.amazon.com/Sony-PSLX350H-Stereo-Turntable-System/dp/B00001ZWTY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1303690761&sr=8-2
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Postby Van_Isle » 26 Apr 2011 10:18

I have 2 PS-X60's in differing states of repair ... what I have heard so far I really like (mind you the PUA-7 tonearm is a different animal).

Funny that when I was searching around locally for a headshell for my Harman Kardon T-60 I found the local "audiophile" shop has 2 or 3 of those PS-X55 headshells in their parts bin.
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Re: Sony PSX-55

Postby freebee » 27 Oct 2012 23:17

Does anyone have an extra weight for a Sony PS-X70/60 for sale? Would like to use a heavier cartridge in my PUA-7 tonearm.
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Re: Sony PSX-55

Postby TheAnalogKid » 08 Jul 2013 04:48

Thank you paladin. I reread this thread for the first time in months. It's funny how many other threads link to your post, a fantastic Litany of why these tables are so incredible. I now own a Technics 1700 Mark two as my second deck. While I admit it sounds fantastic it does not function as well as the X 55. I know this is an older post but I'm wondering if I could get opinions about the best automatic direct drive Sony's that are out there. Is the biotracer all that everyone says it is? I love the look of the X-7s with the carbon arm. Way ahead of its time. Keep those old jap tables turning.
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Re: Sony PSX-55

Postby duficity » 08 Jul 2013 18:16

I have two PS-X60s and one PS-X65. I prefer the 65, but they are both very good DD tables from that era. My personal preference is the PS8750 for an automatic, but they are hard to find. I am not keen on the biotracer arms.
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Re: Sony PSX-55

Postby Daniel Thomas » 07 Aug 2013 21:08

TheAnalogKid wrote:Thank you paladin. I reread this thread for the first time in months. It's funny how many other threads link to your post, a fantastic Litany of why these tables are so incredible. I now own a Technics 1700 Mark two as my second deck. While I admit it sounds fantastic it does not function as well as the X 55. I know this is an older post but I'm wondering if I could get opinions about the best automatic direct drive Sony's that are out there. Is the biotracer all that everyone says it is? I love the look of the X-7s with the carbon arm. Way ahead of its time. Keep those old jap tables turning.



Personally, I would recommend the Biotracer decks, which are the peak of Sony's turntable design. The computer-controlled tonearm works like an active suspension system, making adjustments during playback. Electronic damping on horizontal & vertical axes makes a dramatic improvement on the sound, even when using the cheapest budget cartridges. The sub-sonic filter cancels out anything below 20Hz, another plus. And the light sensor automatically determines the size of your record, and places the tonearm down accordingly. It's a marvel of computer engineering from the dawn of the CD era.

Many people are cautious, however, as repairing the computer components could be difficult, possibly expensive, perhaps impossible. The Sony PS-X75 (1979-81), a personal favorite, is now known to have issues with tonearm rising and falling correctly at the start of an LP. This issue does not seem to be happening with later models, however. My current deck is the PS-X600 (1981-84), and the tonearm performs flawlessly.

The PS-X600 is the easiest Biotracer deck to find; expect to spend $300-$500 on Ebay. The PS-X800, the linear-tracking elder brother now sells for $1,000, but it's arguably the greatest turnable Sony ever built. The later models, the PS-X700 (later revision of PS-X75) and PS-X55es (later revision of PS-X800), are also excellent, but vanishingly rare.

I'm a great fan of the Biotracers, and Sony's later turntables (1977-84) in general. They remain one of the true bargains in the hi-fi world, and if you're not yet ready to spend $1,000 or more on new gear, this is a wise alternative. Just be sure to do your homework.
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Re: Sony PSX-55

Postby Above » 11 Jan 2014 05:28

Hey!
I am new to this forum but would love your opinion
Looking to buy a turntable and found the following options. They Re all in gret hpe nd working
Ps-x55 200$ no carteidge
Yamaha Yp-701 with music hall cartridge new 180$
Kenwood kd-5100 180$
Any reco? How is the sony?
I currently have a gemini xl500 with a blue grado and hope to get a much better audio experience!
Thanks for your input
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Re: Sony PSX-55

Postby Daniel Thomas » 29 May 2014 19:11

Sorry for responding so late. Hopefully, this can still help a bit. I've seen a lot of Sony PS-X55 decks this year, they seem to be falling from the sky. This model includes all of the standard features of the latter-era Sony turntables: Linear BSL motor, Magnedisc/X-Tal quartz lock, SBMC frame, gel-filled adjustable feet, fully automatic play. The X55 also includes the light sensor seen on the Biotracer decks, which automatically determines the record size (and stops play if no record is on the platter). What makes the PS-X55 stand out is its ultra-low mass tonearm, which was designed specifically for high-compliance phono cartridges. If you're a fan of moving magnet carts, this will be an excellent choice.

Prices for this deck are hovering around $200, which is pretty good. Prices for all vintage turntables have been skyrocketing in the past couple of years, bringing them much closer to the range of new budget decks like the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon. And it appears that the secret is out on Sony's classic turntables, which were rediculously low priced for so long. These machines were built at the peak of the company's glory days (Walkman, Compact Disc, Betamax, Biotracer), and it shows. I'll pick one of these Sonys over any other classic brand. But I'm a big huge Sony fanboy (my Trintron kills your flatscreen), so keep that in mind.
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Re: Sony PSX-55

Postby T.O.S. » 05 Jun 2014 20:15

...Maybe it's not a bad idea to go on with this excellent thread .I am quite excited because I brought home at last my PS-X55 after repairing it's broken stub of the tonearm ( result of a criminal uncounscious packaging of the seller )I must say I am pretty glad of my achievement - for a total amateur .Today It sings for the first time in my system and I am asking myself but all of you mostly , wich cartridges should I try on this ULM tonearm to get all the potential of this TT . Budget is not a primary concern in this moment ,as I allready have the original XL-15 and a Goldring Elektra waiting in the closet. I am interessed by the best options in a range of 200 -300 Euro (new )
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Re: Sony PSX-55

Postby fscl » 08 Jun 2014 15:12

Thougn not "new" here's a topic on ULM and cartridge matching / recommendations:

viewtopic.php?p=188858

Good luck and never got the chance to run an M91 / M95 on a Grace.... :?

Good luck.

Fred and may want to try one in the Orbit... :-k :-k
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