Should I look into a vintage Dual?

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PioneerFan
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Should I look into a vintage Dual?

Post by PioneerFan » 15 Oct 2019 17:14

So, the more I watch videos featuring some of the classic automatic Dual's, the more I fall in love with these machines, from the ruggedness of them, to the way records seem to just fit flat onto the platter. They look to be true instruments.

Yet, very rarely do I see a video that does not also feature a quirk or maintenance issue. Such as the whole steuerpimple issue, to idler wheels and putting new rubber on them.

Anyways, should I look into one assuming, based on the age, that it's going to have issues? Or, spend a premium for one that has been overhauled, tested, reconditioned? Are parts easy, or difficult, to secure? Is there one model that stands out over the others as "the best gateway model into Dual?"

circularvibes
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Re: Should I look into a vintage Dual?

Post by circularvibes » 15 Oct 2019 17:28

The following are my opinions only. Dual changers are worthwhile when working properly or you are willing to either pay for service before/after acquiring it. If you are reasonably handy, have a few required and easy to obtain hand tools, and do not cuss and get violent when donig jigsaw puzzles, self care may be a rewarding option. I have owned more than a few Duals over the years and been very happy with them. I still own 3 Duals, a 1218, 1225 and a 1009. If this is your first time at self care options, don't choose one with arm issues, especially the 1229 with dearing ring issues. Use the service manuals in the library on this site and search fon and post to the Dual forums for answers to your questions. As to the availability of parts, most can be had with either lots of cash or reasonable patience (or a combination of both). Sometimes even parts machines can be found for free if you keep your eyes and ears peeled. Parts need not be expensive and posting your needs here can net better leads. Someone may have a parts machine that for a reasonable cost plus shipping will help you. If you want to stack records, require a 3 or 4 speed machine or want a new vintage option, Duals are very worthwhile.

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Re: Should I look into a vintage Dual?

Post by PioneerFan » 15 Oct 2019 17:36

Thank you. What would your recommendation be for a simple, non changer unit?

circularvibes
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Re: Should I look into a vintage Dual?

Post by circularvibes » 15 Oct 2019 17:57

I am not very familiar with the single play units but a 704 I had was nice. The 700 series was direct drive, the original 500 series were belt. All single play unit I have seen are two speed if that is a factor for you. I do not care for the 80's machines. Too lightweight and plastic bases. My 704 was modified by turning a trimpot for 45 rpm to make it 78. Wish I still had it.

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Re: Should I look into a vintage Dual?

Post by DSJR » 15 Oct 2019 18:10

All old decks will need service of some kind or another, even the simple two speed Japanese belt drives that were increasingly popular in the mid 70's (motor and platter bearings, belts and so on). Old direct drives suffer bad adjustment pots and switches - I have a really horrible (the problem, not the deck itself) Technics SL1500 which I thought I sorted out ten years back, the speed jumping and switch gremlins have returned and all down to sh**ty speed pots (four of them) and the master sealed switch...

If you've never done work on a Dual before, I'd respectfully suggest first getting a still cheap Garrard SP25 or BSR MP60 (as we knew the latter in the UK - P128R I think elsewhere). Easy to take apart and rebuild and pretty tough mech parts tp practise on. Once you have a bit of a knack for these, they won't depreciate if you rebuuild 'em right and you could then move on to a Dual, the mechs of which are more delicate and more easily damaged. Good Duals for first timers and with a fair spec could be the 1216 and 1218 (almost interchangeable on some parts I gather and at this time, no 'pimpel' or 'dearing ring').

If you want to dive straight in to a Dual, look at the Dualcan service tips for many popular models. Loads of pics, details on servicing old motors (not sure they 'all' need totally taking apart, but full instructions if you need to) and many threads and old posts here to help all of us.

The 510 was a good single play belt drive as said above, the 505 models very popular but not as sturdy. The 700 models have the potential to be seriously good to roughly Rega 6 levels subjectively, but parts are very rare, the mechs even finer I think and again, all the electronics will need looking at. With a page translator, the German Dual-board may help hugely here.

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Re: Should I look into a vintage Dual?

Post by circularvibes » 15 Oct 2019 18:15

All good advice DSJR. I have one question, is there really no pimpel in a 1218? I have to repair mine in the future and the lack of pimpel might hamper my troubleshooting later.

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Re: Should I look into a vintage Dual?

Post by mikepick » 15 Oct 2019 19:39

There is a pimpel in the 1218, it's the black cap version. The 1216 had the white mushroom cap.

Although the SM refers to it as a "pin".

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Re: Should I look into a vintage Dual?

Post by circularvibes » 15 Oct 2019 19:49

Thank you Mikepick. That 1218 may be one of my winter projects now.

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Re: Should I look into a vintage Dual?

Post by PioneerFan » 15 Oct 2019 20:37

I have reconditioned vintage turntables before, so I think I am fairly mindful of the fact they are all going to need something. However, a Dual certainly seems to be a different breed altogether, and I am hoping to find one that won't need a near total rebuild, and that is, by nature, somewhat simple.

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Re: Should I look into a vintage Dual?

Post by circularvibes » 15 Oct 2019 21:43

I believe if you have experience with other tables, you will be okay with a Dual. My arm caveat still stands. The rest is a wee bit more delicate (not much excepting my caveat) and more advanced. Let's say if you like bigger jigsaw puzzles for the challenge then go for it. Just ask for help around here like you might for finding the middle pieces of a puzzle. See, I am an enabler. Just wait until Vinyl Master sees this thread and gets going! As to the unfamiliarity of the mechanism, start with a table that has only a minor issue and good looks and start from there. If you have the luxury of time, post questions here before buying.

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Re: Should I look into a vintage Dual?

Post by lreneat » 17 Oct 2019 05:53

Pioneer Fan,

I have around 9 Dual turntables and would personally better recommend a Technics SL-D1 or SL-D2 turntable. This late 1970's turntable has the functional features and better/quieter noise specs than the Dual turntables with none of the stuff that is problematic with Duals. The belt drive Duals will be easier to deal with than the rim drive Duals when problems arrive. I have a nice 1228 Dual, but it has a smaller platter. The Dual 601 and 1245 have been pretty good units, but they too have their little faults. There are lots of nice used Technics turntables available. Be in no hurry to buy and find something in good shape that does not empty the pocket too much.

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Re: Should I look into a vintage Dual?

Post by BirdsOf-Fire » 17 Oct 2019 09:57

I'm not sure why everyone is ignoring the elephant in the room. Most of the models of Dual turntables mentioned have:
1) Drive pucks,
2) Ball bearings with races,
3) Stamped steel platters.

All of these things were missing from broadcast quality turntables, both before and after these Dual TTs were made.

All Nippon Columbia/DENON broadcast turntables, and all the broadcast turntables from Panasonic/Technics were missing these things. They had:

1) Direct drive motors,
2) Hand-lapped stainless and bronze bearings with 100% synthetic oil,
3) Diecast and CNC machined magnesium alloy platters.

Bottom line? The DENON and Technics turntables were spot-on accurate for speed and had flutter/wow specs that were less than half a puck drive turntable. Their bearings rumbled at 10dbs quieter than ball bearings in races. And their diecast and CNC machined alloy platters were scientifically as flat as anyone could measure. Better still, they were heavier and didn't ring after the interface mat was applied.

I owned a Dual 1009 at the time. The guy in the Japanese record shop convinced me I was wasting money on Japanese vinyl, and playing it on a noisy, imprecise turntable that totally smeared any increase in fidelity from the actual record. That was when I went to the AAFES Exchange on post and bought the SME 3009 Type II Improved tonearm they had on the back shelf, and ordered a Denon DP3500F (has DP3000 with plinth, no tonearm) and mounted my new SME and cartridge.

"Shocked" is the word that leaps immediately to mind.

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Re: Should I look into a vintage Dual?

Post by DSJR » 17 Oct 2019 14:11

lreneat wrote:
17 Oct 2019 05:53
Pioneer Fan,

I have around 9 Dual turntables and would personally better recommend a Technics SL-D1 or SL-D2 turntable. This late 1970's turntable has the functional features and better/quieter noise specs than the Dual turntables with none of the stuff that is problematic with Duals. The belt drive Duals will be easier to deal with than the rim drive Duals when problems arrive. I have a nice 1228 Dual, but it has a smaller platter. The Dual 601 and 1245 have been pretty good units, but they too have their little faults. There are lots of nice used Technics turntables available. Be in no hurry to buy and find something in good shape that does not empty the pocket too much.
I just cannot equate my personal experiences of the sound quality of cheap Technics decks to your recommendation, sorry. The P-Mount cartridge mounting was an added issue too with a well measured issue in the lower midrange, but then, we UK people were among the first to 'listen' to the music played on different turntable 'topologies' and do many comparisons, not just w&f figures and rumble levels. Maybe our smaller rooms emphasised the mid-bass 'thickening' colourations on so many Japanese one-piece decks, but baby Technics models, despite looking grand, don't 'arf' lose a lot of the music's subtely in comparison with their peers (in addition to that lost in the vinyl too of course) I found at the time. Look up some old HiFi Choice test books from the 70's and early 80's for full tech and subjective comments to back me up ;) The top techies could sound very good indeed, but you sometimes needed to treat them like a Rega - careful siting, remove lid in use and so on. No issue with many Duals as the suspension was so basically good.

Duals are great music reproducers, but being the delicate little things they are ;) and with rather more finely balanced mechanisms than typical Japanese alternatives (which can be tractor-like in comparison under the skin), a little prior experience can work wonders.

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Re: Should I look into a vintage Dual?

Post by Legrace » 17 Oct 2019 16:35

Dual was very much a pyramid manufacturer. Base of the pyramid is the consumer mass market. Examples of models from this category abound. Given the large numbers they dominate post activity, and are typically accorded way more credit then they technically deserve. Kudos for enthusiasm. But they did make some good stuff as well, ref 700 series.

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Re: Should I look into a vintage Dual?

Post by Kashofa » 17 Oct 2019 17:17

All that follows is opinion obviously...

I only own a 1019 and have no experience with other Duals. I would only suggest you buy an old Dual changer if you love machinery and expect to work on it yourself. IMO it's not worthwhile if you want a reliable player with little to no effort. And it's not a good value if you plan to pay someone to fix it for you.

The easy way to play and enjoy vinyl is to get a direct drive turntable. I've purchased $50-100 turntables that worked reliably (Pioneers and an Onkyo) and that required new cartridges to sound good. After installing a $90-120 cartridge you are good to go. If you plan to go higher end than that in cartridge I can't advise you as I've never done that :)

I've also taken apart and cleaned and made functional a Garrard 440, Elac Miracord 40A, and a Dual 1019. These are fun to work on, a bit complicated but not incomprehensible. Among these the Dual was the most satisfying. The sound when it finally worked reliably was well beyond what I'd expected. It sounds without question very good.

If you are an audiophile who can hear what hardly anyone else can, first you don't need my advice, but I'd say you probably will be disappointed in most Duals eventually. A higher end unit will probably be where you end up.

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