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Bsr Mcdonald 510 - Any Thoughts/Suggestions?

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Bsr Mcdonald 510 - Any Thoughts/Suggestions?

Postby ctbiggs » 25 Aug 2011 19:02

Hello everyone,

I recently decided to revive my old vinyl collection that was sitting in my parents' basement and was able to talk my father into giving up his old BSR McDonald 510. I know this turntable probably isn't all that good, but it's certainly better than the one i was using as a kid that managed to wear down some of my records.

Unfortunately, I can't seem to find any info on the table at all, other than the fact that it's an idler drive. I'm looking for any info I can get on it, and more than anything, I'd like to know if it's worth servicing or if I should just be on the lookout for a good used direct drive.

Currently the BSR is running with a Shure M-75CS cartridge that has a Shure 3x stylus attached. I'm still waiting on the preamp I ordered, but as far as I can tell, the sound is pretty decent.

I am, however, experiencing some skating issues with at least one 45 I have, and adjusting the anti-skate on the table doesn't fully eliminate it. I had to set a small piece of plastic on the tonearm to stop it, and I'd rather not do that. I've noticed a couple of things that may be causing this, but I'm definitely a novice when it comes to turntables and I could be completely wrong.

The first thing I noticed is that the stylus is not directly centered in the cartridge, rather, it looks slightly bent to one side. If this is the issue, should I just go for a new cartridge, or simply a stylus?

The other issue is that the table seems to exhibit some "wobbling," if that's the right term. This causes the tonearm to move up and down ever so slightly while the platter is spinning. If this is the problem, how do I fix it, and is it worth it?

I apologize if I'm asking dumb questions, and greatly appreciate any help you'd be willing to give me, so thanks in advance! :D
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Postby charliewhite » 25 Aug 2011 23:20

If its anything like the BSR 810 Transcription TT I picked up at the local Goodwill, I would avoid it and get a different one. I did only pay $5 for it but it was just a pain in the ass to mess with. Seems like there is way too many mechanics/parts involved in it. I just ended up ripping the guts out & made a wall clock out of it.

If you are looking for a non-expensive TT, I would suggest picking up a vintage Technics Direct Drive TT from epay or something. You can usually find them for pretty cheap. I picked up my mom one and it runs like a tank. Of course I have a pair of Technics 1200's but you'll be shelling out more duckets for one of those.
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Postby charliewhite » 25 Aug 2011 23:24

I would get a new stylus also because a bent one will ruin your records. I don't have experience with the cartridge but I like every Shure I've owned.

Charlie
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Postby nat » 25 Aug 2011 23:52

For some reason, I'm deeply interested in the X10 series of BSRs, probably mostly because they have a weirdo camshaft mechanism which I would like to work on. But the only one I've seen was at a Goodwill a few years before the audio bug bit. If the table works, I wouldn't agree with Charlie that it's a waste of time.
But make sure that the stylus is in good shape -- even if you just get a generic stylus it ought to work better than a bent one of unknown amount of wear. I'd then see what the issue is with antiskate -- it might be okay without the bend.
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Postby charliewhite » 26 Aug 2011 00:59

I guess I just like low maintenance TT's. I have falling in love with vintage broadcast TT's. I know I have too many of them but I am having way too many second thoughts about parting ways with any of them. I just love the style of the Russco's, Sparta's, ROK's...

Reason why I suggested to grab a Technics DD TT was simply because they last forever (well the ones I own/have owned). Years ago, I picked up an SL-Q3 for $5, SL-Q30 $10 and a SL-D3 for $5. I sold the SL-D3 but still have the others. Besides replacing a cut RCA cable on the SL-Q3, I have had no issues with them.

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Postby ctbiggs » 26 Aug 2011 01:55

Hey, thanks a lot for the replies.

Since the table itself seems to be in good working order, and I'm sure it was babied, replacing the stylus sounds like my only real concern. If I'll get decent sound from a generic replacement, then I should be ok with something like this:

http://www.amazon.com/N74C-N75C-Shure-R ... B000PHJN8I

based on what the cartridge database says, yes?
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Additional Suggestion

Postby josephazannieri » 26 Aug 2011 02:36

Yo ctbiggs:

I have no disagreements with others, but one additional suggestion. You might want to look and see if your stylus pressure is set correctly. From my experience with Shure a cartridges and Radio Shack cartridges, 3x stylus is probaly wanting to track at about 3 grams, and this would be about typical and right for a BSR in this class.

These are not the best turntables in the world, but certainly not the worst either. There are a lot of cult faves that are in the same category. They weren't top dollar merchandise, but they didn't stink either. As long as arm tracks at correct pressure, antiskate is set OK and arm moves freely and doesn't stick or hang up while playing records, it's OK. You may have to clean underside to get rid of old grease, and you may have to clean it so that trip mechanism works properly.

For what it's worth, with a wish for good luck from that cheap old guy who has had a lot of disrespected turntables, including Webcors and Silvertones,

Joe Z.
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Postby ctbiggs » 26 Aug 2011 03:09

Thanks Joe.

I went ahead and pulled off the stylus and it definitely has a small bend in it, so it looks like I'll need a new one. Once I receive it I'll try to borrow a small scale just to make sure the pressure is ok.

From what I'm seeing, my cartridge can take a number of different styli, so I just need to find something equal or better than the 3x.

Thanks again!
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Styli

Postby josephazannieri » 26 Aug 2011 05:06

Yo ctbiggs:

I would be reluctant to use a stylus that was way high compliance in this unit. I would stick to styli that track in the range of 2 grams or heavier. The reason is that you will find that units that track way light will get pulled way over to the side when they are working the changer trip mechanism in this thing.

There may be an elliptical that tracks in this range, and that would be OK, but I would not use a stylus that tracks in the 1 1/2 gram range. You can buy a good stylus pressure gauge like the AR gauge from sources like Needle Doctor. Or, you can make a crude stylus pressure gauge from a tongue depressor and a dowel or a triangular piece of wood. A penny weighs 3 grams and a dime weighs about 2 1/2 grams. A nickel weighs 5 grams. I did it years ago before I got my AR gauge. I like the AR because it will measure heavy forces accurately, using the weights supplied and additional coins if needed. Shure gauge is maxed at 3 grams.

Again, that's FWIW, and further good luck from the old cheapskate,

Joe Z.
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Postby ctbiggs » 26 Aug 2011 06:37

Nice suggestion on the makeshift scale, Joe. I used a piece of balsa with a dowel as a fulcrum. From what I can gather from this rough method, the numbers on the dial that adjusts the stylus pressure actually correspond to gram measurements. When I set it at 3, it balanced with a penny, and at 2.5 it balanced with a dime. Looks like I'm in luck, though I'll verify this with a digital scale hopefully soon. The replacement stylus I ordered has a recommended tracking force of 2g so hopefully I won't have any issues. I definitely appreciate the input.
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Postby Tedrick » 26 Aug 2011 12:57

My Dad had an 810 years ago. My advice to you is, since you live in the Denver metro areas, save your nickels and scan Craigslist until you find something better that's in your price range. Shouldn't take very long. This is NOT a good example of an idler-drive 'table. Motor noise is easily transmitted to the platter and then into the tonearm/cartridge, and from there to your speakers. Also, these 'tables have a RIDICULOUSLY complicated system of plastic gears, springs, and cams that have to be greased. By now, the grease will have hardened, which may lead to balky operation or even breakage. When it does break, you won't be able to get it repaired. These are crap 'tables that a best avoided...or stripped of everything but the platter and converted into a platform for cleaning records (which is what I did with my Dad's 810).
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