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Panasonic RD-620 Reviews

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Panasonic RD-620

Panasonic RD-620

7/10 by eb2jim

This is an interesting turntable in that it is part of a series of machines that Panasonic made as they gradually phased out using BSR changers and started to develop their own machines, and eventually the Technics line. These seem to have been made in 1974-75. The RD-620 platform with its low-end tonearm balance was also used later with re-badging as the Model 300 AKA SL-275 (no flip front and ceramic cart) and Model 500. The real gem of this line was the RD-820 as that had a more modern Technics-like tonearm.
The layout of the machine is very much influenced by the then-prevalent BSR changers, which themselves were take-offs of earlier Garrard. They also borrow from Dual to some degree as well. The 620 seems to have been sold with AT carts. This is an idler drive machine, but the platter has some heft and the motor is a very nice and quiet Japanese made motor. They run very quiet. Lubricants seem to have been very high grade, and 40 odd years on every one I have seen is slippery smooth. As a dedicated 78 player these would be a killer choice. As a manual 3 speed, they do a nice job - as nice as typical Dual. Not as nice as a BIC 980, but you do get 78 rpm. The auto spindles are non-existant if you don't have one. The 45 stacker was an option. No one seems to have bought one, opting for the free puck. The lp stacker spindle was included. It is a Dual-like umbrella design, and similar to the Technics SL-1350 one, but different tip. Again, if its lost, good luck. The only annoying thing for me is the shut off. You can't just pull the tonearm back and have it shut off as you would hope and expect, but instead you wait for it to pick up and turn off auto function, or push the lever to stop, and again wait for it to cycle off. Pushing it to stop doesn't turn off the motor. If you have started the cycle in the auto function you may have to lock down the arm to get it to kick off the repeating, and then shut it down. A minor annoyance. These are fun machines that play nice as manuals, and do a top end job as a changer.

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