Garrard Lab 80s

the jewel in the crown
DSJR
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Re: Garrard Lab 80s

Post by DSJR » 11 Feb 2014 17:56

The Lab 80mk1 had a two pole switch and a little lamp to show it was running. The wiring loom was a sight to behold under the deck plate and all this was much simplified in the mk2 model :lol: The styling was updated a little too, more like the decks which replaced it (mat and operating tabs as well as the tonearm bearing 'cover')

Much more important is that fact that the mk2 had numerous small mechanism refinements to help prevent damage should the platter be run backwards while the mech was engaged, which previously broke the plastic main guide-pin that runs in the cam-groove.

BOTH decks were primarily single or multi-play auto models, but manual positioning and lowering was offered on both models and with auto return/shut-off at the end.

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Re: Garrard Lab 80s

Post by GP49 » 12 Feb 2014 16:44

There is no difference in sound quality between Lab 80 (Mk I) and Mk II. Functionally the Lab 80 Mk II had auto play of a single record with short spindle; the Lab 80 (Mk I) did not: if one engaged the AUTO tab with the short spindle, the arm would lift, return to rest, and the machine shut off. Cosmetic changes in the Lab 80 Mk II: A different platter mat with grooves in which the stylus could ride if the AUTO tab were pushed with no record on the platter; different styling of the control panel and tabs; omission of the pilot light and illuminated record size indicator; a plastic antiskate lever with gram calibrations on the lever instead of a metal one with notches, and a window in the sliding weight; revised tonearm "turret" styling...though this was introduced in late Mk I production as it was so popular, Garrard ran out of the original ones. At some point in production, the plastic tip on the tall autochange spindle was changed from black to white, but I think this happened before the Mk II introduction.

Invisible changes included those mentioned by DSJR, above, to minimize the chance of damage should the platter be rotated backwards with the mechanism engaged. I believe late Mk I production already incorporated them.

Here's my Lab 80 (Mk I). On top it is totally stock Mk I in appearance but for one small detail appearing in this photo, since corrected. Underneath it has been upgraded to Lab 80 Mk II function. I have always preferred the more chaste, conservative appearance of the Lab 80 (Mk I) but liked the auto single play of the Mk II. Finally I acquired a heavily damaged Mk II (bent chassis corner, broken tonearm) as a source of parts to do the conversion, and as a spares source.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7090/7223 ... 4fb4_c.jpg

sberger
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Re: Garrard Lab 80s

Post by sberger » 12 Feb 2014 17:42

That is one gorgeous table I need to get a Garrard badge for my base.

Recently my Lab 80 (MKII) was out of commission with a few issues, and in the meantime I acquired a an Elac Miracord 50H to go along with Dual 1019(used exclusively for 78's). The 50H is a great table, and I loved mine enough to spend more than a few bucks to get a NOS Elac stylus from Germany to plug into the original Elac cart that came with the table. So why am I going into this much detail about another table on the Lab 80 forum you ask? Well, last week got my cleaned up and fixed up Lab 80 back from a kind friend who is also a Lab 80 aficionado(actually bought my table from him) and much better with mechanical issues than I am). Took the Elac out, put the Lab 80 in, plugged in the 93E stylus that I referred to previously and out came the most beautiful seductive sound that right away I knew I had been missing. There is just something so right about this table that as good as my other tables are they just can't provide. Yes they need to be futzed over well to reach there full potential and because that can be a rather complex undertaking most turntable folk these days simply dismiss them out of hand as below average junk. Fine. I'm not looking at winning any popularity contest. But I know, as all of us on this forum know, that these tables are really something special.

DSJR
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Re: Garrard Lab 80s

Post by DSJR » 13 Feb 2014 17:17

Great that we're all in agreement about this dear old Garrard model. Like GP49, I too prefer the looks of the mk1, but to own either is a joy once they are sorted out. I think I've sanded the dent out of the idler too and it now runs fairly quietly through the speakers :)

GP, are you the kind person who posted some excellent and highly detailed Garrard turntable-evolution info over on the Vintage Radio forum? Fantastic stuff which filled in many gaps for me =D>

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Re: Garrard Lab 80s

Post by KentT » 25 Feb 2014 16:52

For me, the Garrard Lab 80 Mk II was the best changer Garrard ever made for microgroove discs. The last true Garrard mechanism made the old way before the company began cheapening their changers and using the AutoSlim mechanisms on their offerings save for the 401.

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Re: Garrard Lab 80s

Post by DSJR » 25 Feb 2014 18:08

Ummm, you can see how some of the ideas in the Lab 80 went into the replacement SL/AP 75 and 95 models (and onwards). if only these were made and tolerance like Duals, the German firm wouldn't have had such an easy ride IMO.

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Re: Garrard Lab 80s

Post by KentT » 26 Feb 2014 01:18

Yes, but both were lighter platter models built on AutoSlim. They were very nice turntables, but not built to the old Garrard standard of build and engineering like the Lab 80 Mk II and earlier models. That said, AutoSlim was a nice cost reduced platform but less handmade. This was the first of Plessey's cheapening which gave way to the crummy, cheap and nasty Unimech mechanisms. The Unimech had rickety feeling controls, felt cheap, and was not really suited to the needs of better HiFi applications.

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Re: Garrard Lab 80s

Post by DSJR » 27 Feb 2014 20:38

The AP/SL75 and up were NOT built on the Autoslim platform - honest guv'nor :)

The best Autoslim models were the 60/SL65 series and the once ubiquitous SP25 series. The Autoslims had a totally different mechanism which survived with very few real modifications (only finer details) until the mid 70's. The upper models were larger and the mechanisms were far more complex. In my opinion, it's the fine details like tonearm bearings and main platter bearing tolerance (play/rock) that spoiled the recipe in the AP/SL75 upwards and onwards and in fact with my recent experiences, I'm truly stunned that they can sound as good as they do.

One final thing, I've yet to own one, but the later 86 and 100SB models were a genuine attempt to improve the drive and platter IMO and the auto trip parts were loosely modelled on the Dual method of a pivoted end to the trip slider at the tonearm, and the platter end running on a captive ball. Along with the Zero vertical tonearm bearings, the spring pre-loading on the needle races was lightened - not as good as the fixed but adjustable needle rollers of a Dual, but certainly finer than that of the early to mid period SP25 tonearms for example.

AP76 mech below -

https://i132.photobucket.com/albums/q8/ ... 7c87ab.jpg

Over-greased - cough - Autoslim (60mk2) below

https://i132.photobucket.com/albums/q8/ ... ef337f.jpg

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Re: Garrard Lab 80s

Post by richardz » 03 Mar 2014 13:55

Both my LAB80 and 80mkII won't drop records, so any advice about adjusting the platter bearing height would be helpful.

They are great decks.

Regards

DSJR
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Re: Garrard Lab 80s

Post by DSJR » 03 Mar 2014 18:16

Not the platter bearing height, but possibly the fitting of the auto spindle and maybe adjustment underneath - please check out the service manuals. My own lab 80mk2 works fine with the auto spindle, so I haven't felt the need to tinker here, sorry...

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Re: Garrard Lab 80s

Post by A70BBen » 05 Mar 2014 20:29

Non-dropping of records due to inadequate retraction of the three record-support arms could be due to wear on the plastic pin that rides in the cam that controls the spindle. Though rare, in such cases I've judiciously shimmed that assembly to make the three arms retract farther.

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Re: Garrard Lab 80s

Post by DSJR » 05 Mar 2014 21:08

The Mk1 and Mk2 service manual mentions an adjustment on the auto spindle. Take great care if considering adjusting this, but I thought I'd mention it anyway...

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Re: Garrard Lab 80s

Post by A70BBen » 07 Mar 2014 06:40

That's a delicate adjustment and affects only the operation of the wedge ("pawl") that retains the stack of records while the bottom-most one drops.

The tripoise arms ("latches") are operated by the "inner support" which is not adjustable. See image.
TripoiseSpindle.JPG
(32.44 KiB) Downloaded 873 times

DSJR
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Re: Garrard Lab 80s

Post by DSJR » 07 Mar 2014 17:21

Thanks for clarifying :)

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Re: Garrard Lab 80s

Post by richardz » 17 Mar 2014 18:10

Thanks for your thoughts guys, I have a copy of the service manual (thanks Garrard, they sent it free of charge when I bought a new idler from them in 1982....).

I've replaced the assembly with the plastic pin with a NOS metal one and have tried shimming as well. All I've succeeded in doing is jamming the mech and leaving dig marks on the pot metal cam. Luckily I had a spare from a scrap deck.

I have three auto spindles, two standard and one large hole, so it's the decks rather than the spindles I hope.

Any thoughts on put thin washers on the top, where the spindle rests, to raise it slightly?

Thanks again.