Caring For My Sansui-SR535 + Pickering XSV 3000

the thin end of the wedge
Globalksp
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Caring For My Sansui-SR535 + Pickering XSV 3000

Post by Globalksp » 29 Jul 2018 03:06

Hi all,

I have a Sansui SR-535 turntable with a Pickering XSV-3000 that I picked up from a woman who received it as a gift from her audiophile dad (along with a Sansui QRX6500 and Sansui SP-150's). She knew nothing about it, nor did I until I got home and started researching. Needless to say, I was pretty happy with that $400 package =D>

The turntable is in great shape except that some of the feet were missing and the counterweight on the tone arm might be broken.

I did the best I could with fixing the feet, cannibalizing a few from a Pioneer PL-518 that's in rough shape. The turntable is steady now, but I'm not sure it's "balanced". The counterweight on the tone arm sags. I've looked at photos of other SR-535's online and it seems that this is not normal.

I read / watched a little bit about how to properly set up a turntable. I have the counterweight set to 1.5 and the bias set to 2. I clean my vinyl before each play with a microfiber and air puffer (camera tools come in handy for vinyl!) and gently keep the stylus brush clean.


I've been using the turntable for the past 3-4 months. Now, I don't have anything to compare the sound to except for the same track played through the Aux via Spotify. That said, I think it sounds fantastic.

My buddy struck the fear of God into me when he said that I could be destroying the stylus if the TT isn't set up / balanced properly. Knowing how rare my stylus is and how much a "suitable" replacement costs, I'm rightly freaked out.


So... thoughts? What should I do?

patient_ot
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Re: Caring For My Sansui-SR535 + Pickering XSV 3000

Post by patient_ot » 29 Jul 2018 15:18

Counterweight sag on some old turntables is normal. You will need to use a digital scale to set your VTF until you figure out if the sag is something that can be fixed. Lots of threads on that, though maybe not on your specific tonearm/table, that could help you figure it out. Might be a piece of rubber inside the tonearm tube that has degraded over time.

RE: the cartridge, if you bought it second hand like you described, you have no idea how many hours are on it. For all you know it could be worn down to nothing and be chewing up your records. I would remove the stylus and put it away until you can get it inspected under a microscope. That is really the only way to verify wear and tear on the stylus itself. It is likely your cartridge body is still good. You can buy an aftermarket replacement stylus for the body. Jico makes the best aftermarket replacements but they are also the most expensive. AFAIK, the XSV3000 is the same or almost the same cartridge as the Stanton 881S, so aftermarket replacements designed for the Stanton should fit your cartridge. Many Stanton models have a Pickering equivalent and vice versa because they shared ownership at one point.

RE: your record cleaning methods, that's only going to deal with stuff on the surface. It won't get into the grooves. So if any of your records are old, you could be prematurely wearing down your stylus by grinding it through your filthy records. IMHO the Spin Clean is the bare minimum record cleaning system one should have. If you afford to spend at least $200 on a record cleaning system, you really need to be looking at vac-based RCMs.

Globalksp
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Re: Caring For My Sansui-SR535 + Pickering XSV 3000

Post by Globalksp » 02 Aug 2018 01:00

Thanks for the response and insights!

I have a digital scale, but no time to put into this at the moment. I did have time to (finally) upload some macro shots of the stylus (it's not a microscope, but it's close) and some video. See below.

I'm a bit concerned about how the tonearm jerks once it hits the record. Doesn't seem like it should be like that... thoughts?

Also, don't judge the sound quality since it's being recorded through a Canon 5D Mark III's little mic and played back through whatever you're listening on.
Follow these links to really zoom into the photos:
https://i.imgur.com/A2FKQIv.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/zj1XyAW.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/A2FKQIv.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/zj1XyAW.jpg

Videos on YouTube:
Last edited by Globalksp on 02 Aug 2018 01:07, edited 3 times in total.

Globalksp
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Re: Caring For My Sansui-SR535 + Pickering XSV 3000

Post by Globalksp » 02 Aug 2018 01:00


Globalksp
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Re: Caring For My Sansui-SR535 + Pickering XSV 3000

Post by Globalksp » 02 Aug 2018 01:01


patient_ot
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Re: Caring For My Sansui-SR535 + Pickering XSV 3000

Post by patient_ot » 02 Aug 2018 15:49

A little bit of "jerking" at the lead-in groove is normal. You can try adjusting your antiskate if the jerking is causing any sort of skipping on some records (increase the AS value). Those photos aren't going to tell us anything about the wear on the stylus. You need much stronger magnification under a microscope. A digital scale is the only accurate way to verify VTF.

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Re: Caring For My Sansui-SR535 + Pickering XSV 3000

Post by Mike Malone » 14 Jun 2019 16:40

Mine sags as well, can it be fixed?

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Re: Caring For My Sansui-SR535 + Pickering XSV 3000

Post by wolfie62 » 14 Jun 2019 19:26

Your stylus is filthy, meaning your records are very dirty. After hundreds of hours, my stylus is clean, so is the cartridge.

Also, you need to align that cartridge to get the best sound and even wear on your stylus.

You can clean records in your kitchen sink; you don't need to buy a record cleaning machine unless you just want to.

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Re: Caring For My Sansui-SR535 + Pickering XSV 3000

Post by nat » 14 Jun 2019 22:37

I think the jerking may be caused by the fact that your record brush is bent up so that it doesn't actually fully contact the record, if it does at all. The brush's integral weight has to be balanced out when setting the arm up, even though in use it is self supporting, so the tracking force setting needs to increased (I believe a gram) to compensate for the imbalance. And the brush adds to the skating force so the antiskating needs to be increased.
Not sure how you set the arm up, or if you used it as it was already set up, but if you have the higher antiskating setting without the brush fully contacting the record, when the stylus hits the groove, it will jerk since there is more antiskating force than there is skating force. It appears you attempted to set it up yourself, but it is unclear how you did since you seem to be worried that the counterweight is broken. If you did not compensate for that extra weight, if the brush contacts at all, it is removing some portion of a gram from your tracking force at the same time it is increasing the skating force. I'm not sure why you set the antiskating higher than the tracking force, but that by itself might cause the jerk.
I'd pop the brush off and bend it so that the weight sticks straight up and the brush straight down. Many people discard the brush entirely, some because of the set up hassles mentioned above, and others because they believe it affects the sound. I tend to use it because it does help with damping and it does clean the record.
Counterweight stub sag isn't neccessarily a big deal. If severe, it can be a problem because whatever decoupling is still there may not be desirable, and it may affect the accuracy of the tracking force settings on the counterweight. (Looking on the bright side, many people spend big bucks for underslung counterweights, but yours is free.)

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Re: Caring For My Sansui-SR535 + Pickering XSV 3000

Post by Globalksp » 17 Jun 2019 22:59

wolfie62 wrote:
14 Jun 2019 19:26
Your stylus is filthy, meaning your records are very dirty. After hundreds of hours, my stylus is clean, so is the cartridge.

Also, you need to align that cartridge to get the best sound and even wear on your stylus.

You can clean records in your kitchen sink; you don't need to buy a record cleaning machine unless you just want to.
Thanks for the heads up.

I bought all this EQ second hand from someone who lived in a dusty cabin. The EQ now lives in Los Angeles where, it's dusty. All the time. The TT always has its lid closed and I do my best to take care of the things I own (clean my $2 vinyl, only play clean-ish records, dust them before each play, use a blower to clean off dust from the cartridge, record, stylus, etc...). It's never been properly serviced and while I'm good at tinkering, I've never made the time to do it.

Luckily, I've moved a few blocks from a long-standing HiFi repair shop (http://www.solutionsrepair.com/, on Sunset Blvd) and the TT will be headed there shortly. .
Last edited by Globalksp on 17 Jun 2019 23:12, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Caring For My Sansui-SR535 + Pickering XSV 3000

Post by Globalksp » 17 Jun 2019 23:10

nat wrote:
14 Jun 2019 22:37
I think the jerking may be caused by the fact that your record brush is bent up so that it doesn't actually fully contact the record, if it does at all. The brush's integral weight has to be balanced out when setting the arm up, even though in use it is self supporting, so the tracking force setting needs to increased (I believe a gram) to compensate for the imbalance. And the brush adds to the skating force so the antiskating needs to be increased.
Not sure how you set the arm up, or if you used it as it was already set up, but if you have the higher antiskating setting without the brush fully contacting the record, when the stylus hits the groove, it will jerk since there is more antiskating force than there is skating force. It appears you attempted to set it up yourself, but it is unclear how you did since you seem to be worried that the counterweight is broken. If you did not compensate for that extra weight, if the brush contacts at all, it is removing some portion of a gram from your tracking force at the same time it is increasing the skating force. I'm not sure why you set the antiskating higher than the tracking force, but that by itself might cause the jerk.
I'd pop the brush off and bend it so that the weight sticks straight up and the brush straight down. Many people discard the brush entirely, some because of the set up hassles mentioned above, and others because they believe it affects the sound. I tend to use it because it does help with damping and it does clean the record.
Counterweight stub sag isn't neccessarily a big deal. If severe, it can be a problem because whatever decoupling is still there may not be desirable, and it may affect the accuracy of the tracking force settings on the counterweight. (Looking on the bright side, many people spend big bucks for underslung counterweights, but yours is free.)
Thanks for this. Lots of good info in there.

I set up the arm by following some YouTube videos, however, the TT has bad feet aka it only came with 3 of them and I have it standing (literally) on a separate TT's broken foot. Because of this, I figured everything else I tried to dial in would be in vein. Apparently not.

As I mentioned above, I know I have good equipment and I want to take care of it and will be taking it the repair shop now that I live near one.

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Re: Caring For My Sansui-SR535 + Pickering XSV 3000

Post by wolfie62 » 18 Jun 2019 13:39

The brush should hang lower than the stylus. When the arm/cart lowers to to the record, you should see the brush contact the record first, pivot or swing up, then the stylus contact the record. You have normal warp in you Records. You should see that brush moving up and down with the warp. Your brush doesn’t move at all. As already stated, it’s bent up too far, so it does nothing to help tame the arm movement nor do any “cleaning “.

If the brush was properly lined up, bent back down, you won’t see any jerking. The brush fibers will engage the groove first, before the stylus contacts the groove; then when the stylus comes down, it will line up in the groove without jerking.

I have a Pickering XV15-1200E, and that’s how it works. Brush contacts first, then stylus. I zero my counterweight just at the point where the stylus is barely contacting the groove. That’s my Zero on my counterweight. Then I move my arm to the armrest, and dial in my VTF, 1.30 grams. Then I know I have exactly the right VTF on my stylus, regardless of my brush weight.

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Re: Caring For My Sansui-SR535 + Pickering XSV 3000

Post by Globalksp » 18 Jun 2019 18:27

wolfie62 wrote:
18 Jun 2019 13:39
The brush should hang lower than the stylus. When the arm/cart lowers to to the record, you should see the brush contact the record first, pivot or swing up, then the stylus contact the record. You have normal warp in you Records. You should see that brush moving up and down with the warp. Your brush doesn’t move at all. As already stated, it’s bent up too far, so it does nothing to help tame the arm movement nor do any “cleaning “.

If the brush was properly lined up, bent back down, you won’t see any jerking. The brush fibers will engage the groove first, before the stylus contacts the groove; then when the stylus comes down, it will line up in the groove without jerking.

I have a Pickering XV15-1200E, and that’s how it works. Brush contacts first, then stylus. I zero my counterweight just at the point where the stylus is barely contacting the groove. That’s my Zero on my counterweight. Then I move my arm to the armrest, and dial in my VTF, 1.30 grams. Then I know I have exactly the right VTF on my stylus, regardless of my brush weight.
First, thanks for that last bit on your procedure for dialing in your VTF. I'll give that a try.

Also, I realized that the videos we're all referencing are rather old. I made them the first day I had my system set up. Here is one that was taken this morning showing that the brush is properly engaged. That said, I'm sure my stylus is sitting too heavy on the record. And also, yes, it's filthy.


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Re: Caring For My Sansui-SR535 + Pickering XSV 3000

Post by Collux » 19 Jun 2019 00:54

Still well regarded, the Pickering 3/4/5000 cartridges.
https://www.vinylengine.com/library/pic ... 3000.shtml
With a number of good & advanced styli available:
https://www.lpgear.com/product/PICSD3000.html
https://www.jico-stylus.com/product_inf ... ts_id=1354

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Re: Caring For My Sansui-SR535 + Pickering XSV 3000

Post by wolfie62 » 19 Jun 2019 03:18

Globalksp wrote:
18 Jun 2019 18:27
wolfie62 wrote:
18 Jun 2019 13:39
The brush should hang lower than the stylus. When the arm/cart lowers to to the record, you should see the brush contact the record first, pivot or swing up, then the stylus contact the record. You have normal warp in you Records. You should see that brush moving up and down with the warp. Your brush doesn’t move at all. As already stated, it’s bent up too far, so it does nothing to help tame the arm movement nor do any “cleaning “.

If the brush was properly lined up, bent back down, you won’t see any jerking. The brush fibers will engage the groove first, before the stylus contacts the groove; then when the stylus comes down, it will line up in the groove without jerking.

I have a Pickering XV15-1200E, and that’s how it works. Brush contacts first, then stylus. I zero my counterweight just at the point where the stylus is barely contacting the groove. That’s my Zero on my counterweight. Then I move my arm to the armrest, and dial in my VTF, 1.30 grams. Then I know I have exactly the right VTF on my stylus, regardless of my brush weight.
First, thanks for that last bit on your procedure for dialing in your VTF. I'll give that a try.

Also, I realized that the videos we're all referencing are rather old. I made them the first day I had my system set up. Here is one that was taken this morning showing that the brush is properly engaged. That said, I'm sure my stylus is sitting too heavy on the record. And also, yes, it's filthy.

Pretty boneheaded comment I made about the stylus being filthy. Duh! It’s second hand, not your dirt! Yes, it’s dirty, not because of you though.

That’s a nice cart!

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