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#3 Turntables

Kenwood KD-3055

Kenwood KD-3055

Kenwood KD-3055 

('76-'77)  $500 (pristine with extras)

This Kenwood KD-3055 turntable is a heavyweight beauty. 

It's a fully automatic, belt drive with an elegant faux-concrete base and very cool chrome controls. The "shift" lever handles the record size selection and choice of full auto or manual.  Another lever handles the cueing and there are two chrome buttons for start/cut and repeat.  The cosmetic condition is flawless. 

Custom extras:

~real timberwood panels on the lower front and sides of the base
~four custom-built, solid aluminum adjustable feet with cushion pads
~brand new acrylic dust cover
~your choice of the original platter mat or the grey felt mat as shown in the photos.

As a major bonus, the headshell comes mounted with a very high-end Audio Technica VM540ML cartridge and brand new VMN40ML "microline" stylus.  What makes this cartridge so special are the features that include dual magnets that match the left and right channels in the stereo record groove for outstanding channel separation and extended frequency response. The MicroLine stylus traces record grooves with incredible accuracy, resulting in nuanced audio reproduction that elliptical and conical styli simply can’t match.  Para-toroidal coils improve generating efficiency and the center shield plate between the left and right channels reduces crosstalk.

Other features include:

~Auto-return mechanism~Auto-cut mechanism
~Arm elevation
~Return speed adjusting mechanism
~Anti-skating control
~Free-stop action dust cover hinges

Back story:
This is not a plinth made of wood or chipboard like many other decks. Instead, the Kenwood plinth is made from a synthetic marble, or granite, called ARCB.

*ARCB is a resin-impregnated composite. It looks and feels like marble and is a material Kenwood and *Optonica became well-known for.  Folks still talk about the “marble or rock turntables” when they see this type of Kenwood deck. Possessing excellent strength and damping properties, ARCB can also be molded into complex shapes, like the KD-3055 chassis for example.

With the extraordinarily high costs needed to set up production, it’s unlikely we will ever see custom materials engineering like this again in turntables. If you look at the photos or see the turntable in person, you’ll see the attention to detail in the visible construction, not to mention the unseen, heavily ribbed under-chassis. All this was designed to dampen and minimise resonance in the deck.

The platter on the Kenwood is nice and solid; not a heavyweight platter, but the deck weighs around 26 lbs which these days would put it in the massive category. Rumble is around -70dB and wow and flutter sit at around 0.06%, very good figures even today.

Finally, in 1977, Kenwood demonstrated their KD-3055 in a dramatic fashion by placing the heavy 25 lb turntable directly on top of a large floor speaker.  With its special base made of an anti-resonance *concret that was so dense it absorbed vibrations from the speakers and the floor before they got to that specially designed "S" shaped tonearm. Nothing happened.  No howl.  No screech.  Just music, loud and clear.


Essential specs:
Drive: belt-drive system
Motor: 4-pole synchronous
Platter: aluminium alloy die-cast
Speeds: 33.33 and 45rpm
Wow and flutter: less than 0.06% WRMS
Signal to noise ratio: more than 50dB
Tonearm: static balance type, s-shaped pipe arm, eia plug-in connector
Dimensions: 19"W x 14.3"D x 7"H
Weight: 26 lbs including feet


*NOTE:
  The term "concrete" is a marketing hook from Kenwood.  The actual material was called ARCB (Anti Resonance Compression Base) that was a composite of powdered synthetic marble (like Corian) mixed with limestone and resin, then cast it into shape.  Coincidentally, another company called Optonica used a slightly different (yet more formidable) compound for their very cool RP-3636MKii turntable.

Kenwood KD-2055

Kenwood KD-2055

Kenwood KD-2055 

('76-'77)  $350

Obtained from the original owner, this Kenwood KD-2055 is another of "The Rock" tables like its cousins, the KD-3055.  The cosmetic condition is very good and it's operationally perfect.  

As a bonus, the original factory feet have been upgraded by adding the Discwasher "DiscFoot Isolation System".  The "DiscFoot System" was designed to work with existing turntable feet for a dramatic reduction of floor and speaker feedback. 

The specially designed S-shape tonearm has the original headshell and it comes with an excellent Shure R47XT cartridge and pristine Shure 5X stylus.

This is an exceptionally heavy belt drive turntable with a *faux-concrete plinth that makes this unit weigh in at a hefty 26 lbs.  The KD-2055 is a semi-automatic, belt drive with some very cool chrome controls (lever handles for record size selection and cueing, chrome buttons for 33/45 and start/cut).

NOTE:  
The idea behind a heavy turntable is to dampen the bass feedback below 30hz that can rumble a turntable for those with higher quality speakers. Hence the invention of the subsonic filter.


This is one of the cooler turntables on the market and unique in its build quality which sometimes makes them highly sought after and a bit harder to get than a "typical" mainstream Japanese brand vintage table.

In 1977, Kenwood demonstrated the KD-2055 (and KD-3055) in a dramatic fashion by placing it directly on top of a large floor speaker.  With its special base made of an anti-resonance *concrete so dense that it absorbs vibrations from the speakers and the floor before they get to the tonearm. Nothing happened.  No howl.  No screech.  Just music, loud and clear.

*NOTE: The term "concrete" is a marketing hook from Kenwood.  The actual material was called ARCB (Anti Resonance Compression Base) that was a composite of powdered synthetic marble (like Corian) mixed with resin and then cast it into shape. 


Essential specs:

Drive: belt-drive system
Motor: 4-pole synchronous
Speeds: 33.33 and 45rpm
Wow and flutter: less than 0.06% WRMS
Signal to noise ratio: more than 50dB
Tonearm: static balance type, s-shaped pipe arm, eia plug-in connector
Dimensions: 19"W x 14.3"D x 7"H
Weight: 26 lbs

About Kenwood (Trio)...
Established in 1946 as the Kasuga Radio Co. Ltd. in Komagane City, Japan, in 1960 the company was renamed Trio Corporation. In 1963 the first overseas office was founded in Los Angeles.

In the early 1960s, Trio's products were rebranded by the Lafayette Radio Co with a focus on CB radio.

An importer of Japanese-made electronics Radio Shack (Realistic, Tandy Corp) was A&A Trading Co., and a bilingual Japanese-speaking manager from there established a company that would be the exclusive importer of Trio products.

The name Kenwood was invented by Kasuga as being the combination of "Ken", a name common to Japan and North America that had been tested and proven acceptable to American consumers in the name of Kenmore appliance (Sears) \, and "Wood", referring to the durable substance as well as suggesting a relation to Hollywood.  The brand recognition of Kenwood eventually surpassed that of Trio's, and in 1986 Trio bought Kenwood and renamed itself Kenwood.  Eventually, Kenwood merged with JVC in 2008 as JVC/Kenwood.


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Marantz 6200

Marantz 6200

Marantz 6200  

('76-'77)  SOLD

In excellent cosmetic condition and fully operational, this beautiful and distinctive Marantz 6200 is one of the best looking turntables from the mid 70's.  It presents itself in a stately manner and tends to dominate the area wherever it's placed.  Even though it comes with a custom "Corkey"platter mat, the original factory platter mat is included.

The 6200 is a fully automatic design with automatic start & return & repeat functions.  If you prefer to get more hands-on, you can flip the lever to "manual" and place the arm yourself.  Regardless, it will still return and shut off at the end of play.
If you love Marantz and all you want to do is feather touch one lever, kick back, listen to the music and not worry about getting up after the record is over, this is the one for you.

It features a two-speed AC servo-motor belt drive system, strobe-referenced electronic speed tuning, a precision tone arm with calibrated tracking force anti-skating adjustment and hydraulically damped cueing.  Standard factory accessories include the original and distinctive platter mat, damage-free dust cover and the original 45 RPM adapter.

This Marantz beauty features several aftermarket upgrades including: 
~New strobe lamp & wiring
~Custom timberwood headshell with a new Ortofon Red cartridge and stylus. 
~New Avanti Audio audiophile quality interconnects
~Vestax cushioned feet
~Brass corner protectors

The 6200 features the classic styling elements that was so typical from Marantz equipment from this era, including the Marantz font, mixed veneer and metal finishing and elaborate feature designation on the front fascia.  The physical layout of the 6200 deck is superb. Even the parts you can’t easily see underneath are thoughtfully laid out and trimmed.  

Contrary to popular belief,  the Model 6200 was not built in-house by Marantz.  It was designed by Marantz but was entirely built by the respected craftsmen at CEC of Japan (Chuo Denki).  It's pretty well known by this time that CEC built many fine turntables that carried famous names.  The styling of the Marantz 6200 with its quintessential Marantz classic looks and high quality make it a true collector piece from the Golden Age of HiFi. 


Essential specs:
Stylus pressure: 0.5 to 4 grams
Motor: AC synchronous with servo control
Speeds: 33.33 and 45 rpm
Speed control: +-3%
Rumble: -60dB
Wow and flutter: 0.06%
Dimensions: 17.5"W x 7"H x 13.8"D
Weight: 19 lbs


Marantz; a different perspective...
More than any other person, Saul Marantz defined premium home entertainment. Driven by his passion for music and his accomplishments as a classical guitarist – accomplishments that led to a close friendship with Andres Segovia – he was never satisfied with the “hi fi” equipment of his day. So he built better; first in his basement, later in a factory. His talent for industrial design and his ability to infuse talented engineers like Sidney Smith and others with his vision resulted in legendary products: The Model 7 preamplifier. The Model 8 and, soon after, the 8B power amplifier. And insured that his company would remain a premiere name in the industry he helped establish.

In the '60’s. Marantz made multiple significant moves. NASA found the Model 9 stable enough to be used in tracking stations around the world as part of the famous Apollo space program. Marantz also decided to relocate to California within this decade. Most notably, in 1964, Marantz was acquired by SuperScope.

Fueled by financial backing, innovative product development and additional production facilities in Japan, Marantz experienced excessive growth and expansion in the 1970’s. It was also the decade of the famous “2200” receiver, which turned out to become the most successful receiver line in consumer electronics history.

To Marantz, perfect specifications and technical accomplishment count for nothing unless a product can unlock the power, the excitement, and the emotion of music. Their heritage of technical excellence means they can create components with the ability to communicate the scale, timbre, pitch, and dynamics—in fact, the very essence—of a recording. Every Marantz component is technically and cosmetically designed to complement the lifestyle of the listener.

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Harman Kardon T40

Harman Kardon T40

Harman Kardon T40  

(1984)  $400  (rare and pristine)

This beautiful Harman Kardon T40 turntable was obtained from the original owner; it also comes with the original box and packing materials. 

The T-series from Harman Kardon produced some of the very first turntables to incorporate a minimalist design while retaining pure form and function.  Elegant in their simplicity, they also utilized excellent technology combined with sophisticated materials for their construction and operation.  Because the design was uniquely Harman Kardon, they easily stood out among the plethora of turntables available in the 80's.

Fully serviced and fully tested, this T-40 is in pristine cosmetic condition and performing perfectly.  These beauties are rarely seen in such immaculate condition as this one is.  The satin cream finish over MDF was another of the unique ideas that came with the HK T-Series of turntables from the mid 80's.

The complete unit weighs about 16 pounds (including the disc stabilizer), and measures 17.5" wide, 14.6" deep and 6" high.  The design is stunning when seen in person; photos don't do it justice.  The original dust cover is pristine with solid metal spring hinges.

Essentially, the T40 is a single-play, two-speed, auto-up, auto-shutoff turntable whose 2.2 lb die-cast aluminum-alloy platter is belt-driven by a FG servo-controlled, DC motor.  The platter is fairly massive and includes the original HK disc stabilizer for tracking accuracy.  On the control panel there are selections for speed (33 & 45) and a "speed lock" button that does exactly what it says.  With the push of another button you can disengage the auto functions and operate the deck manually if you so desire.  Finally, there is the capacitor trim dial to match up the cartridge within a specified range as required.

An optically sensed auto-lift tonearm is incorporated, eliminating the return mechanism entirely. (This helps to minimize unwanted tonearm and cartridge vibration.)  At the end of play, the arm lifts up and the motor shuts off.  This unit also has a brand new belt installed. 

As a major bonus we decided to install an excellent, brand new Nagaoka MP-100 cartridge & stylus on the headshell.  A turntable this nice deserves a special, high quality cartridge.
(NOTE:  This brand new Nagaoka MP-100 (Moving Magnet) cartridge features a lightweight aluminum alloy cantilever and a conical diamond with .0006" radius.  It's recommended to perform best at 47k ohms with a tracking force of 1.5 grams to 2.3 grams.  The attached stylus is proprietary to the MP-100 and replacements are available online.)

At the tonearm base is a high mass, die-cast aluminium support structure which houses the minimum-friction "microrace" bearings.  The tonearm was designed by the same group responsible for the excellent Micro-Seiki tonearms on their high end decks.

A sophisticated and unique 3-point floating suspension system is employed in the T40. It is precisely counterbalanced with a weight opposite the tonearm assembly to center the moving mass at the platter spindle.  The spring-loaded rubber feet have additional 1/2" foam pads to assure against any unwanted resonance.

The factory installed heavy-duty cables on the T40 are gold-tipped to provide excellent conductivity and low signal loss.

Features include:
Belt drive, quartz-locked motor with pitch control
2.2 lb. platter
Counterweighted 3-point floating suspension
Optically sensed auto-lift tonearm with Auto-cut button
Low mass, low friction, straight tonearm with high mass pivot isolation
Disc stabilizer
Carbon fiber headshell
Phono capacitance trim control
Vibration absorbent wood base with cream satin MDF laminate coating


About Harman Kardon...
Harman Kardon's first audio products were more high style than high-tech, with easily removable faceplates available in a variety of designer colors as their principal selling point. But it wasn't long before Sidney Harman hired Stu Hegeman as HK's head designer.  The products they are probably most famous for are the Award Series and Citation line of kits and factory assembled separates.  Their expertise included ventures into loudspeaker design with the unique HK-50 omnidirectional speaker system being a true vintage collector item.

In the late 70's the "new" handsome components were designed, built and tested with the understandings that went far beyond conventional ideas about distortion and the factors that make one component sound better than another.  HK considered the integrated series such as the HK-503 to be the most musically accurate components ever devised.  That's quite a statement!

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Dual 1225

Dual 1225

Dual 1225

(Germany '73-'74)  $300 (near mint)

This very reliable, well-built Dual 1225 comes with the United Audio real walnut base and the original tinted dustcover.   This turntable is in absolutely excellent cosmetic condition and operates flawlessly. 

The 1225 is a fully automatic turntable with one touch start and auto-return. The tonearm also has soft cueing. The 2-speed, idler-drive mechanism has pitch controls for speed accuracy. The single play spindle and the multi-play, disc-changer (taller) spindle is included.  For those that prefer the hands-on approach, the turntable can be operated manually yet will still return and shutoff at end of play.

The torsionally rigid tubular aluminium tonearm has vertical pivot mounting and a horizontal self-adjusting pivot mount. 
The removable sled has a Shure M55E cartridge and new N55E stylus.

The 1225 is best described as a "middle-of-the-line" deck for Dual; higher up the chain than the 1224, 1222 or 1221, but lower in the hierarchy than the 1229, 1228 and 1226. It was, however, the bread-and-butter of the Dual lineup having sold by the thousands in the USA and even more in Europe.


Specs:
Drive: Four-pole asynchronous motor
Platter weight: 3.1 lbs
Speeds: 33.3 and 45rpm
Pitch control: 6% adjustable at both platter speeds
Wow and flutter: +-0.15%
Headshell (sled): removable, suitable for all 1/2" mount cartridges 2-10g
Weight: 12 lbs


About Dual...
Instead of our usual back story, here is a wonderful link to the amazing history of Dual:

https://www.stereolifemagazine.com/articles/item/1546-over-a-century-of-spinning-a-history-of-dual


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Thorens TD-105 MKii

Thorens TD-105 MKii

Thorens TD-105 MKii 

(early 80's)  $325

This Thorens TD-105 MKii turntable is in excellent cosmetic condition and, of course, it's fully operational.   This unit is a semi-automatic with a friction-free velocity-sensing electronic shut-off and automatic return of the tone arm.  Photo-sensitive backlit buttons for 33 or 45 activate the platter with a slight touch of the finger.  

Main features:

Servo-controlled electronic belt-drive systemSensor feather-touch controlLow resonance tonearm tube utilizing split-wave technology

One especially cool feature:  It has an electronic servo-controlled drive system and the ISOTRACK TP 22 tonearm "wand" (Note: it's called a wand because the entire arm slips out of the pivot for easy cartridge change)  Included is a very nice Grado Prestige Black cartridge and practically new stylus.  

Originally, this model was designed to attract those who wanted the "typical" Thorens quality but didn't have the bucks to buy their more expensive units.  The TD-105 is a belt-drive turntable completely designed and manufactured by the Thorens Corporation.   It has a brand new belt and the original dust cover is perfect as well.

Apparently, Thorens decided that, in order to save money, they chucked out any ideas involving wood and went with a black resin base (plinth).  In order to slightly enhance the "plasticky" look of the plinth, we upgraded the exterior panels with real mahogany veneer on the front and sides.  At Cherry Vintage Audio we always say "if ain't got any wood, it's just not as good"


About Thorens...
Here is an excellent link that does a deep dive into the origins and history of Thorens:


http://www.stefanopasini.it/images/Thor1215.pdf


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Optonica RP-3636-MKii

Optonica RP-3636-MKii

Optonica RP-3636-MKii 

(1976)  SOLD

Literally, in perfect cosmetic and operating condition, this very rare Optonica RP-3636MKii turntable is one of the most unique designs to come from Japan in the mid 70's.
NOTE: One of these unique Optonica RP-3636MKii turntables has been kept in our own personal collection.  It will remain in our hands until the cows come home.

The original Optonica branded headshell comes with a brand new Ortofon 2M Red cartridge & stylus.

It was, without a doubt, the most notable Optonica product designed during  their initial offerings of high end stereo gear was this magnificent direct-drive, manually operated turntable.  It should be noted that while most prefer a turntable with some automatic functions, most of the time a manually operated turntable is the best.  
Why?
All the design technology applied to the better manual turntables goes into the construction of the base, motor and tonearm.  There are no additional mechanics to interfere and operate the movement of the arm or the auto start/stop functions. Pure and simple...that's what a manual unit does best.

Today, this incredibly hard to find turntable is sought after by collectors and audiophiles for obvious reasons.

Its unique construction is called "Mikage Granite Stone" which was developed by Optonica for use in turntable design.  It is a compound of both granite and resin that virtually eliminates feedback thus preventing resonance (rumble) to reach the tonearm.  Therefore, it's literally as "solid as a rock" because it's built on 15.8 pounds of that Mikage granite stone. Which means that vibrations from the speakers are absorbed, reducing acoustic feedback and maintaining maximum signal to noise ratio.  A similar compound was later used by Kenwood for their KD-5xxx series of turntables, some of which are affectionately referred to as "The Rock".

The Optonica engineers were so concerned about resonance, they even added a unique round chrome weight attached to the rear top of the proprietary dust cover.  This weight keeps the dust cover solidly flat (vibration free) on the granite base during play.  The turntable itself is very heavy weighing in at 35.4 pounds.  

The longer-than-normal tonearm is a copy of an excellent Shure Brothers arm. It is a very simple, very precise and highly sensitive S-shaped tonearm. Which means that the stylus will pick up subtle sound signals as accurately as the cutter stylus that recorded them.  The arm design also includes an oil-damped cueing control that gently lifts and lowers the tonearm.  This composite metal tonearm was made strictly for the 3636 MKii.   Notably, the direct-drive motor is the finest that they could create at that time.  
Because there are output jacks on the back, you can pick and choose your own audio cables...another major plus on this very fine audiophile grade turntable.

Specs:
Motor: 6-pole AC Servo motor with 72-pole FG servo mechanism
Drive system: direct drive
Speeds: 33 and 45rpm
Speed control range: within +-4%
Wow and flutter: less than 0.05% WRMS
Rumble: better than 68dB
Platter: 12" aluminium die-cast with strobe marks
Cartridge weight range: 4 to 18g
Dimensions: 19.75"W x 7.5"H x 16.25"D"
Weight:  35.5 lbs


About OPTONICA (Sharp Electronics of Japan)...
The Optonica brand was created and first launched by Sharp in 1976 as a separate high-end brand to compete directly with Pioneer, Technics (Panasonic), Fisher, Marantz, Nakamichi, Sansui, Kenwood and Sony.  Sharp Electronics Corporation of Japan was founded in 1912 and takes its name from one of its founder’s first invention, the "Ever-Sharp" mechanical pencil. Obviously, they also designed and sold much more over the years.  By the mid-70's their electronic equipment (mostly gadget oriented items sold in catalogs and department stores) was well situated in the USA.  Major decisions were made to move into the select high-end stereo component market.  They absolutely hit a home run with their Optonica lineup. Unique, powerful and definitely well built, they are now very well known and commanding prices approaching the better Marantz and Pioneer units.


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