Just won a Zero 100s - let the fun (?) begin!

the jewel in the crown
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Re: Just won a Zero 100s - let the fun (?) begin!

Post by DSJR » 08 Jul 2019 12:37

I had an SL110 and used as they were back then in 1976/77, a skilfully set up Linn LP12/Grace 707 ate it for breakfast subjectively...

In more recent times, my SL150 also sounded horrid with a G707 I still have here - no bass and shrill... With better matched tonearm, it's a very different sounding deck but you have to treat it like a Rega in terms of siting, taking the lid off (as you would the SL110 of course) and so on. I've got it back and shall be experimenting shortly - it has the 'SME plate it came with and currently has the tonearm and fittings from the sibling SL1500 mounted, this latter arm found on ebay some years back.

Now, looking recently at an SL110 again, the mat has tiny ribs on it which kills record support - the Technics 1210 mat may well be a lot better and doesn't look so different from memory. The 110 feeds back terribly (at least mine did) and I could almost 'play tunes' on the plinth with my fingers while playing. These days, better siting and dedicated supports may well sort this as it may the 1200mk1 if used sans lid and I do remember someone making a sand lined box to put the deck in which killed the feedback issues completely I remember. I was told at the time that Technics measured the rumble figures by hanging the decks on cotton threads to remove issues from the ground or support structure - something very wrong there methinks... Maybe a modern Jelco style arm would improve things sonically, I don't know.

I have to finish by saying that 'digital' was the best thing that ever happened to vinyl. So much better really, digital showed how awful most cheaper turntable systems were back then and you really do have to spend huge amounts to get the vinyl to clean its act up as best as possible. Fortunately, the skill-set has trickled down in price a bit and a Zero 100 with modern cartridge should sound 'better' than it ever did as long as the drive is ok - it still adds loads of its own though. Even then, the sh**ty bits of black plastic do have a lot wrong in them even before they're played, so even at the top of the tree, one has to make allowances and at this level, fidelity to the mastering/studio sessions doesn't come into it when you hear some of the mega-money confections so beloved of audiophiles...

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Re: Just won a Zero 100s - let the fun (?) begin!

Post by anmpr1 » 08 Jul 2019 17:31

DSJR wrote:
08 Jul 2019 12:37

In more recent times, my SL150 also sounded horrid with a G707

Now, looking recently at an SL110 again, the mat has tiny ribs on it which kills record support

The 110 feeds back terribly (at least mine did) and I could almost 'play tunes' on the plinth with my fingers while playing.

I was told at the time that Technics measured the rumble figures by hanging the decks on cotton threads to remove issues from the ground or support structure - something very wrong there methinks...

Maybe a modern Jelco style arm would improve things sonically, I don't know.

I have to finish by saying that 'digital' was the best thing that ever happened to vinyl.

...a Zero 100 with modern cartridge should sound 'better' than it ever

...the sh**ty bits of black plastic do have a lot wrong in them even before they're played, so even at the top of the tree, one has to make allowances and at this level, fidelity...
Here are a few comments, mostly in order of how you wrote them. FWIW:

Horrid? It sounded horrid? I don't think I've ever heard a 'horrid' turntable. I've heard some I didn't think were as good as others, but never horrid. I have heard horrid speakers, back in the day. But none recently. It used to be easy to find a bad speaker, but most made today are decent, given their price point and design limitations. In any case, I don't have an SL-150 with a Grace tonearm, so I can't comment on it, one way or the other.

A mat can be changed. I never heard of small ribs on a mat causing problems, but if it is a problem I'd suggest getting one without ribs.

I've not experienced acoustic feedback with my deck. But it certainly could, depending upon placement. Also, I don't drum on the player while listening, so that's not a big problem for me. FWIW, I've owned springy decks (AR and Thorens, which had their own issues with foot steps on reverberant wood floors. One should take care to isolate a record player, as much as possible, whether DD or suspended.

The rumble figures I cited were done by Audio magazine. At the time of the Garrard and Panasonic tests, they used the CBS STR-150 test record with a calibrated test groove, compared that against a 'silent' groove, and derived S/N, including rumble figures. The actual test schedule was a bit involved; the protocol can be found in the June 1972 issue if anyone's interested.

I don't know how 'modern' Jelco arms are. I understand they have been making them for years, and some were OEM for Koetsu, Denon, Sumiko, and most recently, Ortofon. I also don't know that a 'modern' arm is necessarily better than an older design, but it certainly could be, depending.

I am not using a 'modern' cartridge. The cartridge I'm using is NOS, circa 1972. It sounds fine as it is. I certainly have no reason to think the Z-100 wouldn't sound just fine with a newer production cartridge. Speaking of: I don't even know what a 'modern' cartridge would be. The basic design of phonograph cartridges has not changed in decades. What are the 'new' breakthroughs? Placing the moving coil next to the diamond (on Audio Technica's latest and greatest cartridge) seems a new thing, to me. Other than that, I've not seen anything that looks particularly 'new', design-wise. Is Ortofon's new 'anniversary' SPU more sophisticated than last year's anniversary model, or the one from 10 years ago? Or is it just different? A marketing thing?

I'd modify what you say about digital recording. What it showed was how poor quality a lot of records were, back in the day. The quality of records is certainly better than they were in their heyday; mostly because of the care that is taken in mastering, and better quality materials. I don't think records are as good as the best digits, but they are not bad, and it's a fun hobby. YMMV.

I have no idea what you are talking about when you mention black plastic at the top of the tree.

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Re: Just won a Zero 100s - let the fun (?) begin!

Post by T68 » 18 Jul 2019 21:27

Here we go again, another z100-question:

Ive seen some other postings that my 100s (single play) may have a different platter bearing than the changer version, which has a bearing with races.
In the service manual here on Vinylengine it looks like races though. But maybe it doesn't cover the S version. Do you guys know anything about this?

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Re: Just won a Zero 100s - let the fun (?) begin!

Post by DSJR » 19 Jul 2019 15:27

Modern cartridges benefit usually from FAR superior diamond shaping and polishing on cheaper models, the internals are now set more for a lively balance at medium-high frequencies than the sucked-out tonal qualities (plus 16khz peak quite often) of 60's designs like the Shure 75 series for example. Shure M75 era styli, even the naked diamond ED ones, were cloudy and not very well finished, a far cry from a current AT95E as viewed under a half decent microscope. When I started in 1973, Shures were being bypassed for ADC's, and the VLM could be carefully used in these arms at 1.5g or so. The early VLM, XLM models, especially the mkII's, had an almost ruler flat response, where most 'MM types back then, either had a falling high frequency range, or a suckout centred on 6-7khz followed by a peak at 16kHz or so. I remember the consternation when the JVC Z1 came out, as this sounded almost razor sharp compared to other popular models back then. Didn't matter to most as nobody had proper references to show what was going on - but we do now..

My SL150/G707 combo had little bass and a screaming top and to me, sounded horrid and not high fidelity to a more neutral vinyl player, let alone digital - it's a subjective view so I think I'm allowed to say it. Not the deck's fault or this particular arm as they both work superbly with other partners. Drumming on the deck plate is a very good way to tell how susceptible a structure is to airborne feedback, which can have negative effects long before the once dreaded howl-round began. For those not brought up on the audible effects the turntable makes to the sound long before cartridge changes and so on further along, it's difficult to explain.

I'm sorry, I'm trying to help and put old auto-change (usually) decks like this into some kind of perspective. To reply to another question, I can't remember if the Zero 100S had the inverted main bearing of the 76 and 96 models but if so, the 'rumble' figures as measured may be a touch lower although it's my experience that the more audible 'rumbles and harmonics of this' are more idler borne. reviewer Martin Colloms in the UK tested the idler Zero 100 and described it as not very quiet by HiFi standards of the time (early 70's), but the SB models when new, were clearly quieter running through the stylus by measurement. If you've never heard a truly silent deck playing records, you tend to take the low bass 'presence' that many idler models present for granted and can be shocked when you listen through a player system that lacks it...

I really like my old Zero 100, but have to accept its limitations even when it was new. I can't even use it for 7" singles in the UK as ours have a standard size centre hole, this only being punched out for jukeboxes over here. Even then, a Dual 1219 and 1229 were in a higher plane it has to be said, but Garrard did amazing work with the bean-counters of Plessey looking over the company shoulders and cost cutting the designs where they could - I bet the design team fought tooth and nail to get the SB models released, as these had closer tolerances here and there more like the Dual decks.

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Re: Just won a Zero 100s - let the fun (?) begin!

Post by T68 » 06 Aug 2019 09:05

A quick question: am I understanding right that there are two o-rings in the platter/bearing assembly in this one.
One that goes in the bottom on the bearing setup (under the first washer and the the race).
One that goes on to the platter shaft in a slot right next to the cogged part.
?
Just trying to understand the exploded view in the manual together with what I read in the forums.

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Re: Just won a Zero 100s - let the fun (?) begin!

Post by 62vauxhall » 06 Aug 2019 17:03

Only the one O ring.

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Re: Just won a Zero 100s - let the fun (?) begin!

Post by T68 » 07 Aug 2019 06:07

Thanks for replying, 62Vauxhall!
So would that be the O-ring in the bearing assembly or on the platter shaft?

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Re: Just won a Zero 100s - let the fun (?) begin!

Post by DSJR » 08 Aug 2019 10:37

The O ring (cushion ring under the ball race assembly usually stays intact in my experience. The O ring on the rotating platter hub which 'quietens down' the mechanism when cycling, turns to goo and drips down onto the plinth base if my decks are anything to go by... I think from memory I settled on 17mm x 1.6mm on mine.

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Re: Just won a Zero 100s - let the fun (?) begin!

Post by T68 » 08 Aug 2019 11:52

Ok, so two O-rings it is, thanks DSJR!
Was just pondering over the bearing assembly wondering if anyone played around with trying a felt washer on top of the assy to dampen noisefrom the bearing to transfer into the platter? Or would this raise the platter too much and cause problems?

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Re: Just won a Zero 100s - let the fun (?) begin!

Post by DSJR » 08 Aug 2019 18:11

I wouldn't say this is necessary or even desirable to be honest. I can't bloody remember, but not sure if this bearing cage isn't similar to the Duals, where the top thrust washer has a slightly larger inner diameter 'hole' for the bottom platter bearing to locate in.

You know, the issue with all decks like this isn't so much the bearing and its ball race, but the high speed motor and idler drive system. Dual motors vibrate far more than a good Garrard motor ever did, but got round it with very careful engineering of the idler and platter dynamics in my opinion, as well as tight tolerances in the main bearing sleeving. Garrard got the motors spot on when they were new, but two of the three grommets suspending the motor were subject to sagging over time and the idler wheels weren't as finely radiused on the driven edge as the equivalent Duals are. It's the drive where you need to look really, as long as the ball races are clean and lubed well (a little grease on the ball races and a slightly viscous oil on the spindle - chainsaw oil as per Duals these days?).

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Re: Just won a Zero 100s - let the fun (?) begin!

Post by T68 » 08 Aug 2019 22:17

Thanks for advice, DSJR.
Yes, I think I need to clean and grease the bearing. Lot of visible hardened gunk from the disintegrated platter O-ring on top of the bearing assy.
And if I spin by hand I can hear a noise from the bearing. It's faint but there if I put my ear close to the platter.
Putting sewing machine oil on it from atop doesn't help.
Probably needs taking apart, cleaning and relube.
So grease is the way to go here? Any specific type? Wheel bearing grease maybe?
Oh, by the way: putting a new o-ring around the platter shaft really quieted automatic down a fair bit.

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Re: Just won a Zero 100s - let the fun (?) begin!

Post by DSJR » 09 Aug 2019 11:49

Even properly lightly greases (ball race) and oiled (bearing shaft), you will get a slight whooshing sound if the platter is spun. Furthermore, I don't think the idlers are fully retracted on these models in 'stop' mode. Disconnected from the motor pulley certainly, but I still think the idler is lightly touching the platter when retracted and this will have an effect on run-down times and so on (not that this should matter, but it seems to in some quarters).

I think the original grease suggestion was LM type - too slippery and the balls slide on the thrust washers which adds to wear. Spinner here recommended 'Superlube' as a universal modern replacement and I'm sure that's fine *as long as ALL the previous grease is removed FIRST!*

There's a sliding plate on the mech running from main bearing casting to the rotating segments around the tonearm underpinnings and a '2p' size washer that locates it*. Any stiction here means the arm is all but thrown up when lifted by the mechanism when it should be lifted smartly but smoothly (watch the cueing platform as it raises under 'auto.' It should be smooth and rapid when raising and not at all jerky)

* Washer #186 in the Zero 100 parts list and the plate it acts on.

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Re: Just won a Zero 100s - let the fun (?) begin!

Post by T68 » 09 Aug 2019 23:50

I certainly will have a look att washer 186 next time I dive into the Zero. Also located a shop locally that sells that super lube.
Think I'll give it a try when I get to clean and relube the platter bearing.
Yesterday I took the motor out and cleaned and oiled the lower bearing. Inspected the rubber dampeners for the mounts and they seem to be in good condition. Soft and no sagging.

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Re: Just won a Zero 100s - let the fun (?) begin!

Post by DSJR » 11 Aug 2019 15:31

The fixing circlips should stand slightly proud of the washers on top of the grommets. The Zero 100 and later decks had two soft light grey grommets which can sag and one original almost black colour harder type (placed nearest the platter from memory). I had a spare set for my 86SB, juggled them around and *think* I have a fair compromise now although it's not quite as quiet as it should be. The Zero 100 is all but silent and the AP76 still has three original slightly firmer grommets fitted and seems no worse for wear because of it in terms of background noise through the stylus when playing*. With these manufacturing cost-conscious Garrards, it's very clever detail engineering here and there, rather than brute force and extra mass and the chap on the ASR forum who started a thread about his time at Garrard researching vibration resistance, kind of backs this up I think.

The SP25 IV still had the three harder motor mounting grommets according to the parts diagram although this one plus the Mk III and SL65/3500 era changer and maybe the 2025 series with similar platter designs I think, had the platter hub O ring to cushion the mechanical cycling noise.

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Re: Just won a Zero 100s - let the fun (?) begin!

Post by T68 » 11 Aug 2019 22:48

Hmm, all three grommets on my Zero 100s are black. The seem to be in good shape.
But I noticed som cyclic Rumble that seems to origin from the idler which I is a bit wobbly and not in an even plane if I look at it from the side. May have to send it to be rebuilt. But first I'm gonna try soaking it in glycerin for a day or two to see if it softens.