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Empire 698 Tonearm Repair

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Empire 698 Tonearm Repair

Postby capsican » 12 Sep 2017 00:09

Hi!

I'm trying to repair my dad's precious Empire 698 Turntable. I'm not sure what happened to the tonearm, but the part where the cartridge is supposed to go is in bad condition. There is currently no stylus (I don't have the original), and the spot where it goes is a little black piece of plastic with some bent copper leads coming out of it. I posted some photos below of what it looks like.

Is the tonearm on this reparable, or do I need to replace the entire tonearm? The tonearm on the Empire is gorgeous and I'd like to keep it if possible, but I can live with putting in an aftermarket tonearm (any recommendations?) if that's the only way to go.

Thanks!
Steve

IMG_7306.jpg


IMG_7307.jpg


IMG_7308a.jpg
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Re: Empire 698 Tonearm Repair

Postby musicmn » 12 Sep 2017 18:45

Hi, first off that is a very nice turntable :mrgreen: That piece looks like what is left of the head shell. Have you tried to turn the collar and see if that piece will come out? Standing in front of the turntable turn the collar clockwise to loosen it, and gently pull on that piece. If that piece comes out then it will be just a matter of finding a new head shell and installing a cartridge on it and putting it back on the tonearm. Let us know how it goes.
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Re: Empire 698 Tonearm Repair

Postby tcolegrove » 12 Sep 2017 18:55

I agree with musicmn. That's the remnants of the headshell. Find a replacement headshell (it may not be that easy to do) and install a decent cartridge and you'll be good to go.

By no means should you install an aftermarket arm. That would ruin the whole character of this beauty. My first upscale was a 598 that I should never have sold. But to make up for it - I bought another one about 4 years ago and couldn't be happier!
Yamaha CR-1050 driving Yamaha P-2200 into Snell Sub-500 and Carver Amazing Loudspeakers (A-side) and Dynaco A-25 (B-side). Technics SL-1210 mkII and Empire 598 for inputs along with Dragonfly USB DAC for streaming.
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Re: Empire 698 Tonearm Repair

Postby capsican » 12 Sep 2017 22:44

Hey guys...thanks for the help. I tried to gently pull out the black plastic piece, also tried twisting it left and right in case it unscrewed. I got pretty forceful with a pair of pliers and it doesn't want to budge. If I was certain it would come out, I could try harder or maybe even cut it off?

I downloaded the manual from Vinylengine and the black part isn't in the schematic, so maybe it will come out with enough force??

And yes I'd love to keep this tonearm - ha! :)
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Re: Empire 698 Tonearm Repair

Postby Copperhead » 12 Sep 2017 23:01

capsican wrote:Hey guys...thanks for the help. I tried to gently pull out the black plastic piece, also tried twisting it left and right in case it unscrewed. I got pretty forceful with a pair of pliers and it doesn't want to budge. If I was certain it would come out, I could try harder or maybe even cut it off?


Don't try pulling that part out, it is meant to be fixed and wiring will come out with it. That is the actual headshell connector, the plastic usually falls apart.

You will need to fabricate the new part, or try fixing what is left with something suitable. The headshell is going to be hard to find and quite expensive.
The photograph below shows the complete heashell.

Image
Heavily modified Crosley, Armstrad amplifier and two large terrapins.
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Re: Empire 698 Tonearm Repair

Postby capsican » 13 Sep 2017 00:54

Thanks @copperhead...I'll leave the plastic bit alone then. Having tried to pull it out, I'll say it's much more sturdy than you'd expect!

The original headshell is missing, but I'll look into rigging something up like the Crosley in the photo (thanks for the pic!), but maybe beyond what I want to take on for this repair.

I'll prob put this in storage and preserve it for a time down the road to get it professionally repaired. I'll pick up a cheap turntable for now and use that...I need to turn my children onto vinyl!!

Steve
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Re: Empire 698 Tonearm Repair

Postby Copperhead » 13 Sep 2017 02:21

capsican wrote:
The original headshell is missing, but I'll look into rigging something up like the Crosley in the photo (thanks for the pic!), but maybe beyond what I want to take on for this repair.


Steve


Steve,the photograph is that of the original headshell for your tonearm.
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Re: Empire 698 Tonearm Repair

Postby musicmn » 13 Sep 2017 02:59

Sorry about the bad advice capsican, :oops: I really thought that was the plug in part of a headshell. Thanks to copperhead you didn't destroy the tonearm. Hopefully you can rebuild that piece or maybe rewire the tonearm and fabricate a different headshell that will fit into the tonearm end.
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Re: Empire 698 Tonearm Repair

Postby tcolegrove » 13 Sep 2017 15:31

Have you tried removing the plastic part while, at the same time, turning the collar at the end of the tone arm in a clock-wise direction (as you're facing the end of the tone arm)? I don't see what that wouldn't come out easily that way.
Yamaha CR-1050 driving Yamaha P-2200 into Snell Sub-500 and Carver Amazing Loudspeakers (A-side) and Dynaco A-25 (B-side). Technics SL-1210 mkII and Empire 598 for inputs along with Dragonfly USB DAC for streaming.
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Re: Empire 698 Tonearm Repair

Postby capsican » 14 Sep 2017 00:48

Yes @tcolegrove and thanks for the suggestion. I tried loosening the collar in both directions, and the black plastic is firmly in there whether the collar is fully clockwise, fully counterclockwise, or loose in the middle. The black plastic is definitely jammed in there stronger than simply a lock-tite or something holding it in. Maybe it was glued in place at some point, but I'm pretty sure it ain't coming out without the black plastic (or worse - the tonearm itself) getting damaged.
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Re: Empire 698 Tonearm Repair

Postby LesE » 14 Sep 2017 01:29

I suspect that the pins on the underside of the arm near the collar may be holding the plastic headshell mount in place. I believe there is a second pin under the collar that should be accessible after the rear pin is removed. Since the finish and arm tube is very delicate, you will want to use extreme care.

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Re: Empire 698 Tonearm Repair

Postby Copperhead » 14 Sep 2017 02:37

LeS is right, the pin is holding the connector in place. Problem is that the wire will come out with the connector. Ideally the wiring should be unsoldered from the base before attempting to pull the it out. Many a tonearm has been destroyed by attempting repairs, would be a shame to damage it.

I don't mean to be rude, but what is the aim of pulling the connector out, are you planning on fabricating one yourself or using 3D printing?
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Re: Empire 698 Tonearm Repair

Postby LesE » 14 Sep 2017 17:59

I have seen three different approaches to address this issue and unfortunately, none are simple. The first is to rewire the arm and and modify the way the headshell mounts onto the tonearm. With this approach, the headshell is not entirely detachable.

http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/index.php?threads/some-empire-turntable-history.278075/page-26#post-5244164
http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/index.php?threads/some-empire-turntable-history.278075/page-26#post-5244226
http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/index.php?threads/some-empire-turntable-history.278075/page-26#post-5244371


The next alternative, involves fitting an SME style adapter allowing for the use of a wide variety of headshells. I would expect that this would add some mass as compared to the factory arrangement so there will be a some increase in effective mass.

http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/index.php?threads/empire-698-is-it-repairable.564309/page-2#post-10291692


The third option is 3D printing. The following is a successful reproduction and implementation using 3D printing.

http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/index.php?threads/empire-698-is-it-repairable.564309/page-2#post-10454723


Of course, tonearm replacement is always an option.

http://www.esotericsound.com/ArmsAndHeadshells.htm


I have also worked on a 3D model some time ago in preparation for the possible failure of my tonearm in the future. But it would require a lot of fine tuning based on measurements on an actual tonearm.

Image

As you can see, it’s a two piece assembly and once the electrical connections are separated from the mount and the pins are removed, I believe the center piece should slide out followed by the the outer part.

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