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Connoisseur BD1 Reviews

displaying reviews 1 to 7 of 7

Connoisseur BD1

Connoisseur BD1

8/10 by kesh

I've just completed building a BD1 from parts, much as people did from kits back in the day. The project started life as as a tonearm I found in a bric-a-brac shop, which turned out to be a Sugden SAU2, and I collected the other bits piece-by-piece mainly from E-bay. It took longer, cost more and caused more headaches than I ever envisaged, but it's really satisfying to hear it playing records again. If you want a turntable which is plug-and-play straight out of the box and requires minimal maintenance then a BD1 isn't for you.

The motor suspension is a pain in the proverbial. Mine has what seems to be Sugden's second version, a rubber spider which has stretched slightly, so it's now reinforced with an extra rubber band and an O-ring. At present, after much fiddling around, the pulley is in the right position and there's very little vibration, but I suspect it will need keeping an eye on.

The UK 240V models have a 3.7K resistor in the switch-box which knocks the voltage down to the 110V the motor wants. It's worth checking that the value hasn't drifted : if it has, the wrong voltage could cause the motor to overheat or burn out. I learnt this the hard way.

Belt problems - I had start-up problems with the belt snatching and jumping on the pulley before settling down, a faint whispering noise from the pulley where the belt rubbed on the flange on either the 33 or 45 position or both, and the platter was turning slightly slow with some wah. I noticed that the instruction leaflet referred to a silicon belt dressing which I assumed would be silicon oil, so (with deep misgivings about putting anything oily near a drive belt) I rubbed some on the belt. It cured all 3 problems. Counter-intuitive, but it worked.

Despite contrary opinions, it is possible to keep the SAU2 tonearm in vertical stylus alignment right across the playing surface of the record by following the original installation instructions. The trick is to get the outer gimbal pointing exactly towards the centre of the playing surface, and then ensure that the tonearm is exactly horizontal in the playing position. The headshell will then tilt from the horizontal only when lifted at the beginning or end of the record.

Soundwise, I'd place the BD1 very firmly in Pioneer PL12D territory, which isn't a bad place to be at all. I started with a Shure M3D cartridge, but that exaggerated a slight earth hum (the M3D is notably bass-heavy) and it's now much happier with an AT91. I'm going to try an AT95E and/or a Shure M75ED ; I doubt it would do justice to anything more sophisticated. Absolutely fine for a day-to-day spinner, looks beautifully rugged, but not ultra-fi by any stretch of the imagination. And it has some character and charisma about it, which many more expensive turntables lack. A nice trip into vintage hi-fi; despite all the problems I really like this turntable.

9/10 by tagalie

Rudimentary but performs excellently. It was my second ever turntable, bought 40-odd years ago, came with me half way across the world and I've never seen any reason to change it. Replaced the arm with an SME many years ago, added fancy feet to my home-built plinth, and apart from renewing the elastic band motor suspension periodically and replacing the belt, I've just left it alone. Like an old car, there's little to go wrong and when it does it's easy to fix. I'd like to find something that lasts longer than those rubber bands (size 12 or preferably 27).

7/10 by Techweenies

This was my very first component turntable. I bought it from a high-end shop in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This was in the very early part of the 1970s. The turntable was fitted with a Goldring cartridge. I can recall them telling me that the Connoisseur was a poor man's Linn Sondek.

Overall, I must say that the sound was good to my untrained ears. This was one of the oddest, most Rube Goldberg, setups. Though it did work quite well, it looked like something a couple of plumbers had put together from leftover parts. I never did like the way the cartridge moved in an arc, relative to the disc surface. Also the rubber nub 'kicker' that was used to get the synchronous motor turning in the correct direction was a bit odd compared with American and German models.

I kept it for a few years, eventually trading it for an AR Turntable owned by a co-worker. I wish I had kept it. The Connoisseur was much better at resisting skipping when someone walked across the wood plank floors of my home on Beacon Hill.

8/10 by desertdog

A really good turntable when set up correctly, looks basic but plays records!!! Posted 2015

6/10 by James22-23

I bought a BD1 kit and ended up with quite a fine turntable. I had a solid, 1 thick black marble base cut for it, mounted a Grace 707 arm, and placed it on Audio-Technica isolating feet. There was an update kit that replaced the elastic bands with some weird, gooey rubber parts that worked much better (and didn't fall apart with age). It ended up being SO resistant to feedback that I used it sitting ON one of my speakers with no dust-cover! The anti-skating arrangement is odd, but seems to work well.

5/10 by fluffyman

Just picked up a BD1 kit tt and im looking for info regarding the elastic band set up, any takers. Thanx in advance

5/10 by cejiger

it works, but it is quite a simple player with quite strange solutions....

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