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

the jewel in the crown
anmpr1
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Re: Just won a Zero 100s - let the fun (?) begin!

Post by anmpr1 » 31 Aug 2019 19:57

Pickering V15-1200e: This is a NOS item bought at the on line marketplace. Actually, it is an XV-15 625 body with a NOS 1200e stylus. The XV-15 series were moving iron designs, all using the same body, but featuring different plug-in styli. The 1200e was the top of the line. Next up was the moving magnet XSV-3000, which featured a line contact 'Stereohedron' stylus. The 1200e was, I believe, more or less equivalent to the Stanton 681eee.

At 1.25g with an additional 1g for the brush, resonance began at 7 Hz and lasted to 9Hz. It was well controlled, with minimal arm excitement, and no groove displacement.

Soundwise, to me, subjectively, it was the best. It sounded as good as the Denon DL103 on piano, and had equal bass presentation as the AT VM 740ML. Overall coherency was superior to all, although the AT did present quite a 'clear' picture of the music. It just didn't sound as compelling. Why that is, I cannot say.

Much if not most of this will depend upon your speakers. If your speakers lean to the 'bright' the Shure might be the way to go. The Shure had the best integration with the arm, due to its dynamic damping. It is a shame that Shure chose to leave the marketplace. The M97xE is a good, but not great cartridge. We would like a new and improved V-15. The AT plays in a different league. But it has its own 'sonic signature' that some may find too 'aggressive'. Unfortunately, neither the Shure at the low end, nor the Stanton/Pickering line at the high, are current.

If time permits, I have a couple of other cartridges I may try out. We'll see,

If you decide on a Z-100, all I can say is that you have your work cut out. It will likely take refurbishing. No matter how good you get it, it's going to be more 'noisy' as far as rumble goes, than what was/is available. The total package is clunky, and in ways Mickey Mouse. That said, the pantograph arm essentially does away with tracking error, and that is a big plus. A very big plus. Once you hear it, it becomes hard to deal with standard pivoted tonearms. What is amazing is what the Garrard folks did, at such a low price point, so long ago. I give them kudos for that. However, the total package is an incomplete thing. It reminds me of a phrase the late Peter Aczel once used to describe a component: "If your picture window wasn't so clean, your neighbors couldn't tell how dirty your living room was." But, let's face it, all audio entails compromises. Right?

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

Post by DSJR » 01 Sep 2019 17:31

Garrard did wonders with the pennies they were allowed, but sadly, the audio 'window' is still rather grubby and especially so now, nearly fifty years later, when a beer budget Rega Planar 1 is so damned good, quiet and basically so involving in reproduction quality, despite the fitted AT91 cartridge derivative being bottom of their range...

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

Post by T68 » 02 Sep 2019 10:50

Well, last weeks have been a bit crazy with a lot going on in the domestic department.
So no opportunity at all to fettle or spin records on the zero.
But while driving across the country one has time to ponder.
For example about trying to dampen the platter to address rumble.
Got this crazy idea to try to dampen the space between the rims of the bottom and top platters with modelling clay.
Maybe this could absorb vibration from the idler and motor.
My most concern (besides maybe being non working) is to get imbalance on the platter which can cause other issues.
But I figure this mod is pretty easily reversed.
Anyone tried something like this?

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

Post by anmpr1 » 05 Sep 2019 21:17

T68 wrote:
02 Sep 2019 10:50

Anyone tried something like this?
If you come up with something substantial, let us know. My suggestion is simply to take the machine for what it is within the context of the early '70s, remind yourself of what was, given the price point constraints Plessey imposed, and what could have been had Garrard's management been a bit more creative and loose with their pocketbook.

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

Post by T68 » 06 Sep 2019 15:55

Well after all the tinkering to get it running I'm on a roll and just can't stop myself :-)!
Will share findings. Now off to the toy store to get some clay.
Wonder if purple will match the golden bits on the Zero nicely?

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

Post by DSJR » 06 Sep 2019 16:02

The platter doesn't ring with the mat fitted. if it really bothers you, try a circular cut sheet of thin foam between the pressed driving platter and the ally top one (make sure you mark how and where on the hub the top one fits on as to minimise visual up-down movement at the edge, as the the top platter was carefully aligned to minimise this in my experience).

Rumble in the generic sense on these decks is more in the idler drive I think and if the ball race assembly is carefully cleaned and lubed so the balls roll and not slide, the added noise from here isn't huge.

Depending on the depth of the cartridge, you could add a heavy rubber mat to the existing one as long as the extra height doesn't totally mess the VTA up. Might make the sound a touch more 'solid' as it does for my dual 601/M20E.

P.S. - You want a more 'solid' sound from this chassis type? Look out for an AP96 if you can find one. You have the solid '95B' tonearm, together with the single point low noise platter bearing of the AP76 and possibly the previous AP75. The underpinnings aren't so different and by the time of the AP96, the auto trip parts had been slightly revised, but not sure how much alike the finer Zero 100 parts they were (I remember in previous threads that it was said the Zero was the first to have finer trip parts, especially the wire slider, but some if not all of these refinements gradually worked their way into the subsequent production before a full 'Dual-like' revision of these parts for the derived SB models and their descendants (on the SB's, the wire slider was attached to a pivoted delrin bush at the tonearm end and the delrin attachment at the cam end slid on a ball bearing a la Dual).

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

Post by T68 » 06 Sep 2019 23:07

I like the idea of a sheet of foam between the top and bottom platter. Might give that a try too. I got a mat too somewhere. Have been hesitant trying that though, since it will affect vta more on a short tonearm like the one on the zero. But maybe I should pop it on to see how it sounds.

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

Post by DSJR » 07 Sep 2019 15:04

VTA varies with the stylus assembly sample if you really want to be anal about it, and as many less exalted styli have slightly too much rake angle (or used to, I'm not sure it's changed that much), having the arm slightly down at the back won't make it worse and may even improve things slightly ;)

The stock idler driven Zero mat is pretty good and damps the aluminium top platter perfectly (many Garrards like this have strips of sticky tape anyway which were intended to stick said mat in place..

Same with my 601/M20E. The arm - looks more parallel with added heavy 3mm mat (and in my opinion, sounds better too) and bass is definitely better/more tuneful and powerful.

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

Post by T68 » 07 Sep 2019 16:56

Well after a busy week moving kids and furniture around the country and also moving the audio gear into a new cabinet, I finally got around to spin some records. And I notice that the break fluid treatment for the idler wheel seems to have silenced some of the rumble. Now it's barely hearable at my normal listening volume and distance to the speakers.
So I might back off on the plans to dampening the platter. We'll see...
But definitely gonna try an extra mat. Once I can find the one I know I have. Somewhere...
Here she is in the new cabinet spinning some Faithful:
IMG_20190907_172358.jpg
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Re: Just won a Zero 100s - let the fun (?) begin!

Post by T68 » 09 Sep 2019 19:48

Hmm, seems as if I got more rumble again and the mat doesn't help. Maybe the break fluid treatment of the idler wheel only helped short time.
Think it may be time to send it off for a rebuild.
The rumble is a quick cyclic noise that I think is with every rev. the idler wheel makes against the platter rim. Maybe it's not totally circular any more.

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

Post by DSJR » 09 Sep 2019 20:27

You mean a background thump-thump=thump three or so times a second? Have you tried emery paper and then a good clean-off? Is the idler level and not tilted particularly as in my much earlier post? Are the fibre washers in place top and bottom? If not, you could perhaps replace with thin Delrin ones as Dual use. Vertical play in the idler should be minimal as long as it can freely spin.

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

Post by T68 » 09 Sep 2019 21:39

Yes, that's the noise pretty much. There's a thin transparent plastic washer on top of the idler under the lock washer. But haven't seen any on the bottom. Maybe it's missing? Gonna try finding something to put there. But it has to be thin since there's no play.
No noticeable tilt but it seems as if the idler has a slight, barely noticeable wobble when spinning.
Yes have tried sanding carefully but doesn't seem to help.

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

Post by DSJR » 10 Sep 2019 17:18

You can get delrin washers and I think Garrard had a fibre one on the bottom which retained oil. I'm hoping others here who rarely post (because I do too much?) can chip in please and help. If you measure the diameter of the idler bearing spindle, it should be possible to get a thin enough delrin/nylon washer to go between the idler and mounting bracket and this may just cure your problem I hope. As long as it spins freely with no slop up and down, you'll be ok and centring the fine speed adjuster is easy from underneath if it's not all far out.

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

Post by T68 » 10 Sep 2019 19:55

Did a little work on this tonight. Well the delrin bottom washer was in place. Never noticed that one before :-).
But the idler wheel isn't round. Was easy to see when I looked carefully from above when it was spinning (good thing with a white chassi to contrast against the idler).
So I did a more thorough sanding this time. The idler is still not round but I must've soften it out cause now there's no more cyclic rumble. There's some noise but not as disturbing at all. Would describe it as a normal background noise. Actually I think I can live with this. Can save a buck for now on that idler restore.
Thanks D for helping me out!

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

Post by DSJR » 11 Sep 2019 14:52

Whew... My Zero 100 idler has up and down movement at the edge, but somehow I don't hear it at all - I did hear pitch nasties on receipt when the idler wasn't aligned as per Garrard's pics... Setting the idler level and dealing with motor pulley height afterwards, seems to have stabilised it all.

I think I have to say that ALL idler driven decks are noisy compared to sota machines, direct or belt-cord driven. I believe the trick is to get the noise as least intrusive as possible.