New purchase: Garrard AT6 Mk II

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RKnack
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New purchase: Garrard AT6 Mk II

Post by RKnack » 24 Dec 2017 03:12

Just bought a Garrard AT6 Mk II on EBay ( https://www.ebay.com/itm/GARRARD-AT6-RE ... 2749.l2649 ). It comes with both the changer spindle and the short spindle, as well as the flat 45 RPM spindle adapter (which I probably won't use, as all of my 45's have spiders). It comes with an Acos cartridge, which is a brand I have never heard of. The seller says the platter turns readily with the motor powering it, but that no other tests were done, and that it would need cleaning and lubrication (no surprise - I have heard that Garrard lubrication turns from grease to epoxy resin over the years). I will also need to build some sort of plinth for it, unless I can find a ready-made one for sale at a reasonable price.

First, how good are these changers? I assume it is a better quality changer than the GE changer I have been using, which has only spring tension adjustment for stylus pressure rather than a counterweight. Obviously, I am not expecting the same low rumble as my 1980's Technics belt drive player, but still...?

Also, how good are Acos cartridges? And are there any other cartridges, that are decent but won't break the bank, that will fit this without changing out the head shell?

Finally, will plinths made for other Garrard players fit this player, even with only very minor modifications?

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Re: New purchase: Garrard AT6 Mk II

Post by A70BBen » 24 Dec 2017 08:20

Any plinth for the Autoslim-chassis Garrard record changers or single players can be used with an AT6 Mk II. Most if not all of the Unimech model plinths can be used, too; on some, the dust cover may interfere with the AT6 counterweight if a heavy cartridge is used.

The Garrard AT6 is a reasonably good midrange record changer with a stable, balanced tonearm. It will rumble more than your Technics belt-drive but is acceptable in systems without very extended low bass response, if the idler wheel, platter bearing and motor are in good condition. Wow and flutter are admirably low.

Acos was a popular low-cost ceramic cartridge from the same era as the Garrard AT6, which actually can be used with considerably better cartridges, tracking down to 2.5 grams or so, if the unit is properly serviced. It has a four-pole motor with shielding plates against magnetic hum, so it is also suitable for magnetic cartidges. Many cartridges with standard 1/2 inch mountings can be mounted in the AT6 headshell.

Unless it has been serviced, the automatic trip is probably seized up, preventing the auto cycle from initiating and also possibly creating a blockage against the pickup arm tracking to the end of a record. That is not hard to fix. As you have noted, other lube grease in the mechanism may be ossified; and the motor and platter bearings likely need servicing and relubrication.

The engineers' service manual for the Garrard Autoslim, available by free download from the Library section, includes the supplement for the Garrard AT6, which differs slightly from the AT6 Mark II (the earlier version is in a different colour and has adjustable spring suspensions, for leveling the changer). The newer Models AT60 and 60 Mk II are similar.

The AT6 Mk II in the USA differs slightly from the AT6 Mk II in the UK and Australia, where it incorporates some of the refinements in the Model AT60. Your apparently Canadian version AT6 Mk II has an all-rubber platter mat that differs from that of the AT6 Mk II imported to the USA, which has a chrome trim disc. It is the same as the mat on the first-version AT6 and the Type A. Some samples of this mat have been known to get brittle with age, and crack; while others seem timeless and remain soft and pliable. Be careful with it. The paper specification ring on the platter should be UNDERNEATH the rubber mat, so presumably yours is pliable enough that somebody moved it there!

A continuing longterm project on my workbench is an AT6 Mk II, USA version. It came to me with a broken tonearm and no platter or overarm...and the "Garrard" logo on the chassis was broken. It's coming along, with the platter from a 50 Mk II, the overarm from a Model 50...and a salvaged tonearm tube, with headshell from a 60 Mk II or 60 Mk II. I still need the moulded plastic "Garrard" logo.

RKnack
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Re: New purchase: Garrard AT6 Mk II

Post by RKnack » 24 Dec 2017 14:12

Any plinth for the Autoslim-chassis Garrard record changers or single players can be used with an AT6 Mk II. Most if not all of the Unimech model plinths can be used, too; on some, the dust cover may interfere with the AT6 counterweight if a heavy cartridge is used.
Does the Model 50 Mk II fall under the "Autoslim" series, or the "Unimech" series? I saw a Model 50 Mk. II plinth for sale for a reasonable price, but I won't get it if it won't fit my player.

Also, how hard are dust covers to come by?

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Re: New purchase: Garrard AT6 Mk II

Post by A70BBen » 24 Dec 2017 16:46

50 Mk II base will fit. It is an Autoslim chassis.

The dust covers are harder to find. Most in the USA were made of styrene which was more brittle than the acrylic used in hinged dust covers, but the acrylic tends to crack from fatigue induced bu sprung hinges. Also many USA Garrard dust covers were specific to the bases, with mountings that changed every few years. The nicest-looking USA bases, the 1962-1966 ones made of solid walnut, took a non-playing dust cover made of moulded vinyl that tended to crack at the corners. It did not clear the tonearm except at rest.

Canadian ones might be different. I don't know what the Canadian importer Charles Pointon did, and UK ones were mostly the lift-off, playing variety on bases that were larger at rear and side to clear the tonearm counterweight. But being in the USA, you are most likey to encounter the American ones. There are also non-official bases for Garrard, by other makers. The one on my AT6 Mk II is one. The recesses for the springs are not accurately milled so the changer sits a bit crooked. I'll have to fix that once the unit is fettled!

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Re: New purchase: Garrard AT6 Mk II

Post by RKnack » 24 Dec 2017 19:12

I just found a vintage aftermarket plinth and dust cover made by a company called "Garona" ( https://www.ebay.com/itm/202148476533?ul_noapp=true ). Sounds Spanish, which would make sense as the seller is in Spain. The plinth, as well as the sides and back of the dust cover, are wood, while the top and front of the dust cover are smoke colored plexiglas. Looks to be a nice, sturdy plinth.

Are there any decent cartridges that will fit the headshell, that won't break the bank? I'd prefer a non-magnetic, if a decent quality ceramic or other non-moving magnet/variable reluctance type is available, as I would like to use it without having to use a pre-amp.

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Re: New purchase: Garrard AT6 Mk II

Post by Spinner45 » 24 Dec 2017 20:13

RKnack wrote:I just found a vintage aftermarket plinth and dust cover made by a company called "Garona" ( https://www.ebay.com/itm/202148476533?ul_noapp=true ). Sounds Spanish, which would make sense as the seller is in Spain. The plinth, as well as the sides and back of the dust cover, are wood, while the top and front of the dust cover are smoke colored plexiglas. Looks to be a nice, sturdy plinth.

Are there any decent cartridges that will fit the headshell, that won't break the bank? I'd prefer a non-magnetic, if a decent quality ceramic or other non-moving magnet/variable reluctance type is available, as I would like to use it without having to use a pre-amp.
Amplifiers, unless they have a SPECIFIC Ceramic phono input, are not suitable for using ceramic cartridges.
The reason being - the impedance of "aux", "line in", "CD", "Tuner", and such is only around 10 to 50K ohms. - and ceramic cartridges need at least 500K ohms or more in order to produce full bodied sound.
Hooking a ceramic into a 50K input will sound tinny and shrill, with NO bass.

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Re: New purchase: Garrard AT6 Mk II

Post by RKnack » 24 Dec 2017 20:21

My stereo system is 1980's vintage, and has a "phono" input.

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Re: New purchase: Garrard AT6 Mk II

Post by A70BBen » 24 Dec 2017 22:14

It is probably a MAGNETIC phono input of around 47kohms. The ceramics have a higher output voltage so the Acos could overload it. Even if padded down to proper level the bass usually rolls off and the sound is thin.

Ceramics were generally intended to run into tube line stages with input impedances from 250k to 1 megohm (one million ohms). Into transistor iinputs some added compensation is needed, generally a resistor/capacitor network.

Many decent magnetics work well in the Garrard AT-6...even the cheap Numark disco cartridge, though it is very low mass and may need added weight in the headshell. It tracks at 3 grams, just about ideal for the AT-6.

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Re: New purchase: Garrard AT6 Mk II

Post by Spinner45 » 24 Dec 2017 22:35

RKnack wrote:My stereo system is 1980's vintage, and has a "phono" input.
As A70BBen mentioned, it's likely a phono input for magnetic cartridges only.
But you never gave us the make/model of this stereo that you intend to use.
That would give us a clue as to compatability.

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Re: New purchase: Garrard AT6 Mk II

Post by RKnack » 24 Dec 2017 22:58

It's mostly packed away right now, but it is a Kenwood component system that had a cassette-type CD changer (which I AM currently using), a radio tuner, a dual compact cassette player, an amplifier/equalizer, a "brain center" that all the components connect to which allows the remote control to control all the components, and it originally had a Kenwood KD-65F turntable which my dad kept when he gave me the stereo system. The KD-65F uses a Kenwood V-63 cartridge.

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Re: New purchase: Garrard AT6 Mk II

Post by A70BBen » 24 Dec 2017 23:15

Kenwood V-63 is a rebranded Audio-Technica cartridge built by A-T for Kenwood. There are a bazillion A-T crossreference numbers for it.

It is a magnetic cartridge.

Replacement stylus is Kenwood N-63 or any of a bazillion equivalents by/for A-T, and of other brands for which A-T built the same cartridge.

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Re: New purchase: Garrard AT6 Mk II

Post by RKnack » 24 Dec 2017 23:26

Okay, that explains why my dad uses a pre-amp with it for transferring his old vinyl to his computer. Guess I will have to get one, too.

So, on THAT note, what would be a good cartridge to use that isn't a highly expensive audiophile-grade cartridge? I just want to enjoy my record collection, from 100+ year old 78RPM's to 1980's LP's and 45's, and maybe, eventually, transfer them to digital format.

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Re: New purchase: Garrard AT6 Mk II

Post by A70BBen » 25 Dec 2017 02:23

For LPs this is good and a fine match for your AT6. Less than twenty bucks:

http://www.thevoiceofmusic.com/catalog/ ... ategories=

For 78s I like the General Electric VR-II, a mono cartridge from the late 78 era. It is still frequentlly found used but is getting pricey. Styli should be bought from a reliable source (Voice of Music is good). But most of the ones out there are turnaround types, with a knob on top to switch between LP and 78 styli. The AT6 headshell and the interchangeable later ones for AT60, Model 50, 60 Mk II, 50 Mk II, SL55/65 and the early SP25s cannot accommodate this turnaround knob. The single -stylus VRII are suitable but more rare.

The long-lived and well-liked Stanton 500/Pickering V-15...the bodies are the same...would be another choice. The bodies are widely available used. Credible replacement styli with spherical tip are available new through Stanton itself, though not with elliptical stylus types and a wide choice of tracking forces as with that cartridge in its "golden" years. Good 78rpm styli and aftermarket LP styli are available too, from several sources. Styli are easily interchanged without tools and you can easily adjust tracking weight of your AT6 arm between 2.5-3 grams for LP and 5 grams for 78s, without a gauge.

A few weeks ago I bought a headshell for the Garrard AT60 (it fits and works on the AT6 but being cut-away it is of lower mass) with a Pickering V15/ACE cartridge, stylus nearly unused, for less than $20 on the infamous auction site.
Last edited by A70BBen on 25 Dec 2017 03:10, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: New purchase: Garrard AT6 Mk II

Post by Spinner45 » 25 Dec 2017 02:23

RKnack wrote:Okay, that explains why my dad uses a pre-amp with it for transferring his old vinyl to his computer. Guess I will have to get one, too.

So, on THAT note, what would be a good cartridge to use that isn't a highly expensive audiophile-grade cartridge? I just want to enjoy my record collection, from 100+ year old 78RPM's to 1980's LP's and 45's, and maybe, eventually, transfer them to digital format.
OK, to clarify things, that Kenwood system uses a magnetic cartridge turntable.
The KD65F is a linear tracking model.

In order to use that Garrard changer, you'll need to install a magnetic cartridge into it.
The Audio Technica AT95E is a good choice, reasonable.
Track it at 2 to 2.5 grams.
Advisable to get the changer serviced as was mentioned, too.
This way, endless frustrating threads of "why doesn't this or that work" are eliminated.

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Re: New purchase: Garrard AT6 Mk II

Post by Spinner45 » 25 Dec 2017 02:25

A70BBen wrote:For LPs this is good and a fine match for your AT6. Less than twenty bucks:

http://www.thevoiceofmusic.com/catalog/ ... ategories=
Indeed, a simple solution.

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