Project AR XA - Finally bought one! Help and Guidance please

american simplicity
vishalk
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Project AR XA - Finally bought one! Help and Guidance please

Post by vishalk » 30 Aug 2017 23:41

Hi All

So i finally managed to source this beauty and buy it, please see the pictures:

http://i.imgur.com/VoZ6EAc.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/82eg3YA.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/Xl38Yq7.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/LG0Jtsj.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/oGHGeZ8.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/b9kFK4U.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/H6TejOQ.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/EdfSDjk.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/zZXwfjN.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/D8RyXAM.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/yuUZEp6.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/BX2YOdr.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/URuXrJI.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/DOtuJ9b.jpg

What do you reckon, looks like its in really good condition, just needs a service and setting up really. I am tempted to pull it all apart and do some modification though.

One thing i am not sure about is the spring systems (are those spring original) as its really bouncy, what i mean is the two springs by the turntable are quite stiff it seems, but the one by the tonearm feels soft and to bouncy, is that normal?

Any tips would be wonderful, i do have the manual which i am currently reading. Is there any UK builders here? someone you ca recommend to Help or even perhaps do the refurbishment for me and do some modifications?

Thanks all

Vishal

mclaren007
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Re: Project AR XA - Finally bought one! Help and Guidance pl

Post by mclaren007 » 31 Aug 2017 05:25

Spend lots & lots of time reading here, most questions have been asked & answered before. It looks you have a good start. Welcome.

cre009
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Re: Project AR XA - Finally bought one! Help and Guidance pl

Post by cre009 » 31 Aug 2017 08:35

I have seen your post at Audiokarma - Marc is US based and has serviced dozens if not hundreds of the XA and XB decks. There will be threads here and at AK which will address most of your questions but people will advise if you post here on your progress.

Your deck looks to be in nice condition. Much better overall condition than my XA which ended up being a rescue project.

The headshell on yours has definitely been drilled through possibly because the original threads for the cartridge bolts had gone but that should not be an issue. The headshells are however notoriously weak particularly where they attach to the arm tube so take care if you need to remove it and when you put it back on. The plastic is brittle and the thread will eventually strip. The headshell on my XB has started to go but I have 2 replacements so am keeping my XB as stock.

Note the headshells are unique to these decks and other headshells will not fit. That is the reason why many people switched to a different arm tube.

There are different levels of work possible.

1. Keep stock and do basic maintenance.

2. Change the arm tube to accommodate standard SME type bayonet headshells. This is a viable DIY exercise but has issues and will cost depending on approach. Budget for the tube cost unless you can get a donar deck somewhere and for replacement wires. You need to be handy with a soldering iron or otherwise expect a degree of frustration. The soldering annoyed me so much that I tackled it differently by fabricating my own arm tube.

3. Modify the deck to accept different arms. This requires major work on the sub chassis. While I understand why people do this I personally don't like it and feel they may actually end up with something that does not sound any better but at considerable cost.

akubacki
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Re: Project AR XA - Finally bought one! Help and Guidance pl

Post by akubacki » 01 Sep 2017 04:36

Please, can anyone tell me what is the tone arm lift device vishalk has on his AR, i.e., the brand?
And, is it a recommended add-on?

cre009
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Re: Project AR XA - Finally bought one! Help and Guidance pl

Post by cre009 » 01 Sep 2017 09:09

These are aftermarket lift/cue devices that were sold with the XA universal models in the UK and I think also Europe but for whatever reason were not sold on XA's in the USA. They are very effective once set up right and I actually prefer it on mine to some of the more normal cue mechanisms on other arms including the XB.

vishalk
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Re: Project AR XA - Finally bought one! Help and Guidance pl

Post by vishalk » 04 Sep 2017 00:43

cre009 wrote:I have seen your post at Audiokarma - Marc is US based and has serviced dozens if not hundreds of the XA and XB decks. There will be threads here and at AK which will address most of your questions but people will advise if you post here on your progress.

Your deck looks to be in nice condition. Much better overall condition than my XA which ended up being a rescue project.

The headshell on yours has definitely been drilled through possibly because the original threads for the cartridge bolts had gone but that should not be an issue. The headshells are however notoriously weak particularly where they attach to the arm tube so take care if you need to remove it and when you put it back on. The plastic is brittle and the thread will eventually strip. The headshell on my XB has started to go but I have 2 replacements so am keeping my XB as stock.

I noticed this, seems to be a weak point. Surely replacing it with something better is the way to go? Considering it has been drilled that annoys me, i could replace it with a stock XA item or update it? Means i can have a choice on cartridges


Note the headshells are unique to these decks and other headshells will not fit. That is the reason why many people switched to a different arm tube.

aaahhhh ok, thats annoying

There are different levels of work possible.

1. Keep stock and do basic maintenance.

:D yes i'm trying to but i really want to get my hands dirty on this.

2. Change the arm tube to accommodate standard SME type bayonet headshells. This is a viable DIY exercise but has issues and will cost depending on approach. Budget for the tube cost unless you can get a donar deck somewhere and for replacement wires. You need to be handy with a soldering iron or otherwise expect a degree of frustration. The soldering annoyed me so much that I tackled it differently by fabricating my own arm tube.

this might be the case for me

3. Modify the deck to accept different arms. This requires major work on the sub chassis. While I understand why people do this I personally don't like it and feel they may actually end up with something that does not sound any better but at considerable cost.

I decided to keep the stock arm, it's simply beautiful a little spit and shine and it will look great. Thank yo for your comments!

vishalk
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Re: Project AR XA - Finally bought one! Help and Guidance pl

Post by vishalk » 04 Sep 2017 00:44

cre009 wrote:These are aftermarket lift/cue devices that were sold with the XA universal models in the UK and I think also Europe but for whatever reason were not sold on XA's in the USA. They are very effective once set up right and I actually prefer it on mine to some of the more normal cue mechanisms on other arms including the XB.

Yes i noticed not many XA had this arm lift, i wondered if it was stock or an add on, it's not working as it should, means i have to pull it apart and fix it. Either way it's a lovely add on

1200y3
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Re: Project AR XA - Finally bought one! Help and Guidance pl

Post by 1200y3 » 05 Sep 2017 05:32

The head shell is designed to accommodate the cartridges of the day. It is an effective way of acoustically damping the stylus noise created on older conicals. A modern head shell would likely be an improvement, and I have always seen a dramatic improvement when I swapped over with my favorite head shell. (Two favorites were magnesium and...plastic :shock: )

Marc can upgrade the arm to fit a modern head shell, as well as many other arm/pivot improvements. I don't know if shipping costs are worth it for you, and upgrading to a Rega arm at the very least would probably be easier.

Otherwise I doubt any more improvements are needed, but in the VE gallery there are many.

Stevie342000
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Re: Project AR XA - Finally bought one! Help and Guidance pl

Post by Stevie342000 » 02 Jan 2018 20:54

vishalk wrote:
cre009 wrote:These are aftermarket lift/cue devices that were sold with the XA universal models in the UK and I think also Europe but for whatever reason were not sold on XA's in the USA. They are very effective once set up right and I actually prefer it on mine to some of the more normal cue mechanisms on other arms including the XB.

Yes i noticed not many XA had this arm lift, i wondered if it was stock or an add on, it's not working as it should, means i have to pull it apart and fix it. Either way it's a lovely add on
Neither is the Colton Varilift which I got on my deck working right either. You have to hang on to the lever and lower it gently, which is not the way it should work, as it should be damped by the silicone in the lift mechanism.

I did find a thread on the Colton varilift but that was before it arrived on how to replace the silicone fluid. It was a simple google search.

How are you getting on with your deck? I am very happy with mine and have talked with Marc Morin on what is the best way to keep it original and to update/overhaul it at the same time.

I have a spare arm with mine and 3 additional head shells - you can get the arm bearings seen to for $55 and a complete service for the arm including rewire and damping in the arm tube for $115 that includes labour but not shipping.

What I personally think we should do is play down just how good this deck is given when it was designed it has no reason to sound as good as it does. What it does it does really well and that is to play music effortlessly.

petemcfc1
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Re: Project AR XA - Finally bought one! Help and Guidance pl

Post by petemcfc1 » 14 Jan 2018 15:36

Those prices are reasonable,I may bear that in mind.

Stevie342000
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Re: Project AR XA - Finally bought one! Help and Guidance pl

Post by Stevie342000 » 16 Jan 2018 14:13

That was what I thought as well, would be both be in the Greater Manchester Area? I'm in the neighbouring city across the river.

I opted only to go the basis overhaul route with my AR XA it is in very similar condition to the one at the top of this post but it is at the original address in Cambridge Mass and I am pretty certain it does not say XAU on the label on the base.

I have now cleaned mine up and after a few hick-ups it seems it was the vinyl I was playing that was the issue and not the arm. It appears that the deck does not take kindly to vinyl that is dirty or worn...oh dear that means I now need a record cleaning device.

Plus the Colton Arm-lift needs refilling with silicone fluid so that it works properly.

petemcfc1
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Re: Project AR XA - Finally bought one! Help and Guidance pl

Post by petemcfc1 » 16 Jan 2018 16:11

Littleborough(The nice part of Rochdale.)

Stevie342000
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Re: Project AR XA - Finally bought one! Help and Guidance pl

Post by Stevie342000 » 16 Jan 2018 19:08

I am familiar with Littleborough have passed through it on the way to Hebden Bridge and I have actually been to someone's house there. I am in the nice bit of Salford very very close to the city centre and all transport links which is a bonus as I do not drive. It's a small world and even smaller given that I have worked at MCFC before and after it moved.

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Re: Project AR XA - Finally bought one! Help and Guidance pl

Post by petemcfc1 » 16 Jan 2018 20:14

Well,
You want to try Todmorden market on a Sunday,theres a father and son that deals in used records,they have two going on three stalls,good guys,Steve and Robin buy a few and you should get a good discount,and they sell very cheap anyway.
Also head over to Hebden.Muse Music,opposite the Co-Op as you drop down the hill,Syd is a really nice man,a wizened little hippy which is about right for there,though Todmorden has taken over in the strange stakes.Thats why we call it Oddmorden.
https://www.theguardian.com/music/ng-in ... sychedelia

Thats Sofie in my local pub the Golden Lion,if your over there call in and dip your toe into the madness,theres a train every 20minutes from Victoria station.

Stevie342000
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Re: Project AR XA - Finally bought one! Help and Guidance pl

Post by Stevie342000 » 18 Jan 2018 01:40

I will take a trip when the weather improves to both Todmorden and Hebden Bridge both are easy for me to get too, as I live by the river I can walk to Victoria as it is a quick as getting the bus these days. Well I am so glad I gave up drink if that is what we are in for these days not been in a pub for years.

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