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Rotel RP1500 Reviews

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Rotel RP1500

Rotel RP1500

9/10 by M0BOL

It worries me that people oil the main bearing of these fine simple turntables. They are not oil bearings, they are grease bearings and the best thing to use on them after a thorough clean is standard LM grease ftom your local auto parts store! I did try some fancy PTFE grease sold specifically for turntables, but it was so thick and stiff that it actually degraded speed stability! I cleaned everything again and used LM grease. Measurement then showed speed stability comparable with the finest belt drive turntables money can buy. The thrust bearing is plastic (possibly nylon) so don't use heavy pucks to hold warped records down, a lightweight clamp is the preferred option here. With a modest cartridge, I've used a Nagaoka MP11 and an old Shure M75ED (my preferred choice) tracking is nigh on perfect at 2.5g. I had a very nice Thorens TD-150BC mk2 before, it was fiddley to set up and I swear it never sounded as sweet as this simple little tt! It's been in regular use since I bought and refurbished it about 4 years ago and will remain a part of my system until it, or I dies! The only readon for a 9 rather than 10 score is those terrible feet and the rubber mat, both of which I have replaced. The RP1500 does also require careful placement as feedback isolation is not good, but put it on a solid wall shelf and it will reward with a beautiful sweet and stable sound that you would have to spend many hundreds of pounds to get from a new turntable now!

8/10 by LizzardSkin

Purchased this fine T/T back in the early mid 80s as 1 previous owner. Was then in as new condition and due to careful use and regular maintenance still performs well. Bearing has been lubricated with light sewing machine oil (just two small drops annually) and still yields excellent results, bearing in mind many of my vinyls date back to mid-late 60s. The initial cost of £25.00 Sterling turned out to be a good investment as is now back in regular use after being mothballed for 6 years in the heat of CD hype. Belt has been replaced on 4 occasions over the years but as noted above can stand its ground with a wide range of older cartridges,Typically Shure M75ED/Goldring G800 and even a 9 year old Pickering which I cannot identify but came as a family heirloom with 2 new styli and much treasured (sound included). Hydraulic lift still works fine also, so no complaints. May invest in new T/T but at what price???

8/10 by Tim70_99

I remember reading, with some enthusiasm, reviews of this turntable way back in the 1970's but could not afford to buy one back then, even though I suppose it was reasonably priced at the time. I thought it looked pretty good back then, and I still think so now. Designers of the mid 70's hit a sweet spot for turntable aesthetics, to my eye at least. The performance is probably a different matter.

Come forward a few decades and a presentable model appears on a certain auction site and money is no longer a problem, naturally I pay far too much for it but into my hands falls the object of my latent desire. It is not without it's problems. The bearing has seen no lubricant for many a year. The mains suppressor capacitor has failed and switch on is accompanied by a loud thump in the speakers. Fine speed control on 33 1/3 is hit and miss to say the least, getting the turntable to stay at a constant rpm is nigh on impossible but it works, after a fashion. The motor also makes a ticking noise, again a case of no lubrication.

A little work with a soldering iron has the switch on thump cured but replacing all of the electrolytics on the motor control board has no effect on the speed issue so I swap the 33 and 45 rpm pots and that fixes that problem. Removal of the main bearing, stripping, cleaning and re-oiling puts that item back into as serviceable an order as it's ever likely to be for now. Light machine oil silences the motor.

Ok so what's it like? Now I am unable to resolve differences in turntable sound like most HiFi enthusiasts seem to be able to so I'll confine my self to mechanical issues.

The arm is in good order and will accept any of my cartridges (M75ED, M95ED, M97XE etc) without complaint. I feel that the bias weight may be a touch too heavy and only 3 different positions don't allow for much adjustment. The arm actually reminds me of the item fitted to an Amstrad TP12D that I made the mistake of buying back in the 70's but seems slightly better specified. Unfortunately the cueing device has lost it's damping and no attempt to revive it has improved matters. Funnily enough, just like the TP12D.....

Sadly the lack of lubrication lead to bearing wear and during silent passages a cyclic grinding can be heard through headphones and through speakers at high volume. The construction of the plinth is no doubt aggravating this as the bearing is clamped to a metal plate beneath a thin wooden (ish) plinth which is probably quite resonant. Motor noise can also be heard through headphones, no doubt the rubber mountings have hardened with age but that thin metal chassis and light weight plinth is no doubt making it's contribution. If this were a main turntable I might consider attempting to add some damping but it isn't so I won't bother. I suppose it's rumble characteristics could be said to have deteriorated with time.

This makes the thing sound like a pile of junk but it isn't, it's simply a consumer durable that has lasted far beyond it's intended design life. I use it in my 70's system and it is perfectly suited to that role. It is in pretty good physical shape and certainly doesn't look almost 40 years old, cover excepted of course which has seen better days but would easily polish up if I wanted to sit down and spend time doing it. At the end of the day it still plays records well and looks as if it will continue to do so for some time to come. As for sound quality, there is some speed instability, there is some rumble as I've already pointed out, but it doesn't spoil the music and that is what matters. A nice little period piece I'd say.


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