Newly-modified XA

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pbda
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Newly-modified XA

Post by pbda » 08 May 2009 21:00

A few years ago I bought an old XA from a seller on Craigslist in Cambridge (Massachusetts). For $40 the TT was in reasonable shape, with the original dustcover, tonearm and headshell intact. The motor was a bit noisy. I put the deck away in a closet.

After reading a number of posts in this forum, I contacted Steve Frosten (username snfrosten). I had a surplus Linn LP12 that could sacrifice its arm and power supply, so I sent Steve a laundry list of ideas. To my delight, he readily agreed to perform the mods, which are the following:

-Remove stock arm and replace with Linn Basik LV X.
-Strip and repaint the top plate in a wrinkle finish gloss black.
-Dampen the top plate, subchassis and other parts as needed.
-Check condition/suitability of suspension springs and replace if necessary.
-Diagnose noisy motor and replace with Hurst 3 watt motor if necessary.
-Install Linn Valhalla power supply.
-Assess bearing and clean or upgrade if necessary.
-Replace feet with spikes.
-Replace existing bottom cover with heavier one.
-Modify the original dust cover to fit over the Linn tonearm.

In working on the TT, Steve hit a couple of snags and had to start over with the mods midstream. Fitting the Valhalla power supply inside the table proved impossible because of its size and the way the power switch plugs into the board, so Steve created an outboard power supply. In addition, the Linn arm did not fit without hitting the suspension spring so the top and subchassis had to be modified to the same geometry as the newer AR tables. Steve replaced the original suspension springs with Linn springs.

I received the 'table back this week, and I've been listening to it obsessively for three days. After these mods, and even with a lower-spec cartridge, the XA really gives my "primary" LP12 a run for the money (much less money, in fact: Even after paying Steve his very reasonable fee for the mods, the XA cost me less than 1/5 of what I paid for my used LP12).

Before I shipped the TT to Steve, I had sent the plinth to a friend in Maryland who is a re-veneering wizard. He re-veneered the plinth in Brazilian rosewood.

So this marvelous machine of the sixties, which I believe for suspended turntables is "the box that all the others came in" is up and running and ready to spin for another forty years.

Huge thanks to Steve for his formidable modifications: He's a superb technician and a great guy.

Here are a few photos; you can see more in my gallery on this site.

This isn't my exact XA, but it's a useful "before" shot:

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Here is the finished TT. Note the modification that Steve did to the dust cover to allow it to clear the tonearm.

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Here's what she looks like, uncovered. Note the rosewood veneer.

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In action here. Note how Steve integrated the new armboard. He also filled the holes in the top plate where the power switch and the arm rest used to be.

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Steve put the Valhalla power supply into an outboard box...the small one on the left.

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I'm very pleased with the result!

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kenwood61
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Post by kenwood61 » 09 May 2009 17:09

Nice job! Now for me to find the tonearm I will use :) Thanks for the motivation.

pbda
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Post by pbda » 11 May 2009 16:11

To be honest, there wasn't much hard work on my part other than assembling the parts.

I'm considering replacing the Valhalla PS with a Hercules II. I've got the Hercules in my LP12 and am very happy with it; I may obtain a second unit for the XA.

patrickhenrypdx
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Re: Newly-modified XA

Post by patrickhenrypdx » 04 Oct 2019 03:09

pbda wrote:
08 May 2009 21:00
the Linn arm did not fit without hitting the suspension spring so the top and subchassis had to be modified to the same geometry as the newer AR tables.
Can you elaborate on the Linn arm not fitting, and the fix? I'm toying with the idea of putting a Basik LV X on an XA so I'd like to know more about what I'm facing.

My understanding is that the LV X pivot should be 211mm from the spindle (center-to-center). Also while I've yet to measure this what I see online is that the stock XA pivot-to-spindle is 210mm. So the distance seems nearly identical, and seems like the Linn arm should not be close to the spring. Apparently I'm missing something. Can you explain?

Thanks!

snfrosten
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Re: Newly-modified XA

Post by snfrosten » 11 Oct 2019 01:23

Simple, the mounting base for the linn arm needs much more room and overlaps the spring location so the spring needs to be moved to the same location as the newer 80"s AR tables.

patrickhenrypdx
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Re: Newly-modified XA

Post by patrickhenrypdx » 11 Oct 2019 14:12

snfrosten wrote:
11 Oct 2019 01:23
Simple, the mounting base for the linn arm needs much more room and overlaps the spring location so the spring needs to be moved to the same location as the newer 80"s AR tables.
OK, thank you.

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