of a Lifetime
|KAB CUSTOMER COMMENTS
"Just wanted to let you know I rewired the tonearm with your wires. They are everything you said they were - light, flexible and they sound fantastic. I think Cardas has some serious competition in tonearm wire now. I'm contemplating replacing the Cardas in my other tables as well. Congratulations on designing and making a stellar product." B.M Idaho, USA
"Got it all back together and wow those new wires do make a big difference. It seems like the signal is getting through with more power, all the frequencies sound better and the bass is tighter/more defined." J.B. TX USA
"Your explanation fits my professional experience PERFECTLY. In Ophthalmics we have many instances where a high degree of cable flexibility in required for instruments where the cable will experience Tens of Thousands, sometimes Hundreds of Thousands of cycles of operation during it's lifetime. The manufacturers of our instruments have learned as you have, that more strands of a finer gauge conductor is far more durable than fewer strands of a heavier gauge conductor for short duty cycle, repetitive, long term use." J.G. USA
"I spent all night listening to different records.That is awesome wire. The SL-1401 sounds amazing; what a difference compared to stock Technics wire."L.B. PA USA
"Just a quick update - I finally got round to rewiring one arm over the weekend. What with a 2 day power cut last week and various priorities, it was a mission to reserve the time! Like you said, very easy to solder the litz. I cut the lengths to 260mm and didn't twist them this time. The capacitance measured about 9.5pF. Absolute magic to see the arm swinging totally freely - in fact now the you can see the effect of the antiskate engaging at the minimum 0.5g setting; the arm now swings all the way out past the record rim with no stiction. We are truly seeing only the arm bearing friction. I haven't had time to do any seriously listening or measurements (that'll have to wait 'til this weekend!), but it certainly is "the business" mechanically! " A.N. New Zealand
KAB Technics Audiohile Mods
"I have to tell you, this evening I installed the tonearm dampner on the turntable I rewired. I invited a friend over who fancies himself quite a golden-eared audiophile. We listened to various records from diverse genres, each time we were blown away by the transformation your upgrades provided. Thank you for doing what you do. There are few things more satisfying to me than taking an object and unlocking its untapped potential. This has been quite an experience. I'm looking forward to buying the PS-1200GX next month and maybe the Isonoe system. Oh, and my friend is now hunting through the classifieds/ebay looking for a good deal on an Sl-1200 mk to mod. So again, Kevin, thank you. " B.M. USA
"The turntable arrived unscathed yesterday. I set it up today and played my favorite music test disc, Paul Simon's Graceland. I'm sure I'm missing many of the subtleties that the diehard vinyl crowd talk about, but from my limited perspective, there's just more music than there used to be. And that is just fine with me." K.M. USA
" I am from Barcelona (Spain) I am writing this e-mail in order to thank you. I own a Technics sl 1200 I had the problem of erratic pitch -6 to -8% and I was able to fix it thanks to your post "SERVICE TIPS" and substituting the infamous zener diode D301. As said earlier, THANK YOU, you saved my life (and my mixes) ! :) Greetings. " I.G. Spain
KAB MSX-1 Remote Mono Switch
Kevin-san, Without having to worry about breaking stereo records with a mono cartridge, I can enjoy listening to mono recordings. Moreover, some 2-channel recordings (Not-stereo) including old Blue note records sound so much better in mono. This is exactly what I wanted. Thank you very much. Regards". T.O. Japan
KAB SpiralAir Interconnect Cables
"I spent all night listening to different records.That is awesome wire. The SL-1401 sounds amazing; what a difference compared to stock Technics wire."L.B. PA USA
KAB Cardas Double Litz Interconnects W/ETI Connectors
Just a quick note, I'll send something a little more detailed later, but the cables sound fantastic! Really a WOW improvement. I knew I had the wrong cable in the tonearm to phono stage position, but didn't know how wrong. I don't like to fall back on audiophile clichés, but the shoes all fit: quieter, blacker background, more sonic information (textures, detail, nuance), more relaxed yet no loss of dynamics, more precise and deeper soundstage. My wife was in the kitchen. She has an excellent ear (two of them, actually). And she keeps me honest ..... I said, "you've got to hear this." She said, "I can already." Then she came into the living room and sat down in the sweet spot. She didn't want to get up, really enjoying what she heard, in some very familiar music. Wonderful! J.B. NJ USA
KAB Cardas Loudspeaker Cables
"I noticed more transparency and resolution - not as dramatic a difference as when I swapped my van damme interconnects for the cardas phono cable. The biggest difference is in presentation - the cardas has more coherence - it holds everything together a lot better. I guess you could say its more musical. changing my cables to cardas has given me a more 'adult' sound across the board. its still 'burning-in'. i've noticed that with the cardas phono wire, it starts off incredibly clean and lean but then dramatically transforms after a month or two with the bass coming to the fore introducing a fuller sound. This is the van damme cable it replaced: http://www.van-damme.com/25.html I was using the relatively thick 4mm version "
"I made first positive experience with your Souvenir. I recorded 7 78 records on cassette, same as I recorded with my OWL-1 earlier. And then compare the sound on my Technics double cassette deck. To me it seems that the treble and midrange frequency's with the Souvenir sounded more alive and silken, very good! Then I tried INL (click suppressor), also very good. I am very satisfied." H.S. Emmerthal, Germany
"Enjoying your KAB Souvenir VSP. I just thought I was playing 78's before I purchased your Souvenir." D.S. New Mexico
"..I have listened to the Demo Tape and want to commend you on your apparent success in establishing a family of playback EQ curves which truly complement the recording process. "...With both parametric and octave-band equalization at my disposal, I was unable to obtain as pleasing and as beleivable a reproduction from the "dry" track on your tape as you have done on the other track with the Souvenir VSP. I was also impressed with the subjective performance of your implementation of DNL (noise filter) circuitry." When I finally get around to upgrading my vintage playback system, I hope to include your Souvenir VSP." J.B. Felton Ca.
"Incidentally the VSP+ is wonderful. Can't describe the pleasure my wife and I are getting from it. Never knew 78s could be so enjoyable on modern equipment. Of course I love acoustics on the Victrola and will continue to play my Caruso etc with steel needles. None-the-less spinning Enrico and his friends on the Technics/VSP+ combo is totally guilt free from shellac damage guilt and not that shabby a listen. Since I've recently acquired lots of impressive (and perhaps valuable) early jazz records the Technics/VSP setup has become essential." S.D. Healdsburg, CA.
" I have been using the up-dated KAB Souvenir plus the stanton 500 and am very pleased." N.D. Watford, Herts England
"We are very pleased with our KAB Souvenir VSP's. It really does a very good job with restoring the sound of old 78's!!! Joar use it professionally on broadcasting. He have his own program on radio, where he plays old records." J.M. & J.R. Sefors, Norway
Thanks so much for getting this back to me so soon, even though it seemed like I was without it for an eternity. I truly had no idea just how much it improved the sound quality until It was disconnected. Of all the equipment I've purchased through the years I feel this was BY FAR the most important addition to my components. Well worth the price. If you ever need a reference feel free to ask I couldn't praise it enough. F. L. New York
Just thought i would drop you a note and let you know the vsp is
more than i expected, I have only listened to 78 rpm records with victrolas.
the sound processor is now one of my most favorite pieces of stereo equipment.
it dramatically reduces "all" 78 rpm noises and the best part is, it does it
all in real time with a few simple adjustments, i rate it as a must have for
others that enjoy 78s as much as i do. thanks for the product and keep up the
great work for us vintage music listener's B. H. South Carolina.
Dear Kevin: A belated Happy New Year and "thank you" for shipping my order so promptly. The pre-amp is a beautiful piece of work: I am finally starting to hear my old 78's the way they SHOULD be heard! Thanks again for your wonderful product! Best wishes, N.D. Via Internet
Hey Kevin, Can't wait for processing some serious listening tests. I made some with my cousin Serge, yesterday. The turntable is a Thorens TD124 MkII, rebuilt so well that we cannot hear the mechanical noise of the 'table, buried into the vinyl paste noise. The cartridge is a Grado ZT+, a cheap but very good performer. We compared your Mk12 with the Nagra PL-P, nothing less ! When listening to your phono stage, we used the PL-P as a line stage, feeding the signal in one of its line inputs. When listening to the PL-P's phono stage, we simply hooked the 'table on the Nagra phono inputs. The PL-P was set in MM mode, and the gain on your Mk12 was set to +9 dB (corresponding to 45 dB if I correctly read the manual) for matching the gain of the PL-P. We did not listen to thousands of records, after just a couple of comparisons we both thought that it was very difficult to find a winner! Your Mk12 is truly amazing. The only slight difference we noted was that on the PL-P voices were a tad more laid-back, while being a tad more present in your machine. Which was wrong, or right? Very difficult to say. And the difference seemed to be smaller each time we switched back and forth on the same tune. Frankly, I believe that the PL-P is among the very best phono stage we can find - especially the MC section - and now I can truly say that the Mk12 is on the very same league! My hat off, Kevin! H.D. Switzerland
Thanks for your amazingly quick shipment of the 3.3 E stylus.
That little thing has made a bunch of 78s in my collection much more listenable
- in fact, it has saved a couple from wall hanger status or worse! Some,
however, have more pops and ticks than before. Time for the 2.3. I'll save a
bit and get back to you on that. A pleasure doing business with you.
"Simply Delighted" M.W. NewYork, NY
"You are the best most greatest stereo equipment dealer I know.
You are highly knowledgable, result oriented, caring dealer with practical
discernment. You are a positive key contribution to the record collecting
field. Your pre-amp suggestion worked like a charm! My hubby, who did not lift
a finger to help is quite impressed with the result.'
" I received the KAB SL-BD78 turntable and it works great, thanks alot!" T.D. Newyork, NY.
"I called you by phone last Tuesday with questions in regard to
the SL-BD78 turntable. I've given it much thought, and decided to order, since
you were so kind with the information, and I might add professional. Best to
Hi, I just wanted to let you know that I recieved the SL-BD78
and to thank you for this Wonderful piece of equipment!!! I have played my
collection of 78's on everything from "wind-up" Victrolas to the $5.00
Salvation Army specials that still played at 78rpm, nothing came close to the
incredible sound from this machine. I now have a friend here in town who is
going to buy another from you (she heard me Raving!) for her 78's too. Thank
Just wanted to let you know that I received my SL-BD 78
turntable a couple of weeks ago, and I have been putting it through its paces.
I am very happy with it and it seems a terrific value. I have been using the
standard Technics SL-BD 22 formany years, and it only recently started giving
up the ghost-- so I look forward to a long relationship with the new, 78 RPM
augmented model! Thanks.
Just a quick note to let you know our new phonograph arrived in record time (took more time to set up the speakers)! The sound is wonderful and we're very, very pleased! Thanks so much, C.Y. Via Internet
The player came yesterday - it took me a while to figure it all out. Just wanted to let you know that I am deeply satisfied, and wanted to tell you that you handled the sale very professional.
I have your site bookmarked for the future.
T. H. Indiana
Hello Kevin: THIS IS A NOTE FROM A TOTALLY SATISFIED E-CUSTOMER. I want to personally thank you for the most efficient and quiet e-transaction experience that I have had online period. I have used e-commerce since its inception. KAB informed me instantly of delivery delay; I queried how long; your response was detailed and instant; I requested an upgraded turntable; KAB agreed and cautioned me the difference between the two turntables, KAB shipped upgrade as agreed. Both the NITTY=GRITTY RECORD MASTER 1 record cleaner and VESTAX BDT2500 turntable were very easy to install, the installation guide and user guide precise and easy to follow. I am now copying my LPs to CD with ease. The record cleaner is amazing (no hiss, scratch, pop, nothing). I am logging on to www to order new sleeves to house my clean LPs. Kevin, I do not ordinarily send praise notes to vendors, this experience with your company and the complicated nature of the turntable to PC with compatibility and etc. went so smooth and although I did not wait for the VESTAFIRE 78 delivery, I am perfectly satisfied with the more expensive model. Ciao, C.H. Via Internet
"I'm still immensely enjoying my KAB Broadcast Standard turntable I bough from you about a year and a half ago! ...Thanks! J.L. Staten Isl. NY
" My main focus was a turntable and cartridge." "...I've finally
settled with my present 'table which is a Technics 1200MK2 upgraded to play
78's. KAB sells the upgraded table and it's worth every penny."
"I bought my Technics modified for 78rpm from you about 2 years
ago when I lived in Vancouver Wa. Thank you so much, what you told me on the
phone was correct, it was worth the extra $$ spent for this table"
Just had to let you know that the 1200 arrived safely and with a
minimal amount of set up, I began to see if it really stacked up to your
description. I first played a 33 1/3 album and was completely blown away. At
that point I was more than totally pleased. Next, I played a 78 recording of a
violin concerto. I was shocked and amazed at the sound that came out. Your
assistance in selecting this turntable is very much appreciated. I have wanted
this for a long time and I am thoroughly happy with the purchase. It is truly
Hi. I just wanted to drop you a line and say that the turntable arrived Friday and it is MAGNIFICENT! This, by far, is the BEST turntable I've ever owned. I just love how I can play 78s on it too, through my stereo system it is FANTASTIC! I recommend your website to any audiophile that has a large collection of records this is just wonderful. Thanks once again for such a great item great website and prompt service! --Z.S. Via Internet
Kevin, I just wanted to let you know the the Broadcast Standard Turntable arrived on Monday, the 15th. It was beautifully packed and arrived safely. All I can say about the KAB Broadcast Standard Turntable is....... FANTASTIC!!! I am really delighted with this 'table. It is very solidly built and of the highest quality. My only regret is that I waited so long to get one. This table is worth every penny....what a great way to enjoy my collection! The best Birthday present I could ever hope for! I also enjoyed our telephone conversation. You were very friendly, helpful and answered all my questions, including some I hadn't thought to ask!! I look forward to my next transaction with KAB! Best, Doug P.S. I am passing the word about KAB to my friends....... Via Internet
Hi Kevin, Just thought I'd drop a line. After using my Technics turntable for a while, I'm as thrilled with it as when I first used it. Although not every record I own is noise free, it's amazing how pure they sound with the virtually zero distortion the turntable offers. I have a Benny Goodman from the 30's (I think) from which I can actually hear studio chatter behind the music. I'm impressed with the modifications you've done. The strobe is even funcional on all 3 speeds, which I guess I didn't expect. Thanks again, Dennis ....Via Internet
Kevin, I wanted to let you know that the turntable and Stanton 500-27 cartridge are great. I was playing my 78 rpm records on an old Garrard turntable that I picked up in a garage sale. I had almost given up on the idea of collecting these records when I ordered my new turntable. The records have such a good sound left in them! The turntable speed is rock solid, even when I press the Stanton cleaner upon them. The controls have such a good feel to the hand. The machine is built like a tank with the precision of a watch. Thanks for your advice. J. C. Honolulu, Hawaii
Kevin, On a lighter note: I installed the Sorbothane Sonic Domes under CD player, preamp and power amps, with quite impressive results. My wife, who has a sharp ear but little interest in these things, commented that "Well, CD still doesn't quite sound like live music, but it sure sounds a lot more like your record player". The vinyl rig is a Michell Gyrodec with Mørch arm and Ortofon Kontrapunkt pickup, so I guess that about sums it up. As for myself, having a couple of engineering degrees, this convinced me that soft decoupling is *the* way to go. Any footer with a resonance frequency in the audio band just adds some more-or-less desirable frequency coloration and unpredictable phase mud, IMHO. My speakers and sub are far too heavy for sorbothane, some 150-160 lbs apiece, but I discovered that standard hollow rubber doorstops (!) screw right in as spike replacements. An unscientific rocking test of those contraptions indicated resonance frequencies in the single digits under both sub and main speakers. Goodbye single note bass! A huge suckout/peak combination around 100Hz just vanished, and imaging became much more precise and stable, meaning that something nice happened to phase behavior at higher frequencies as well. I also note that I can play a good deal louder without listening fatigue, and sharp-sounding CDs somehow became more tolerable. A.B. Norway
A Stereophile magazine reccomended component, April 1997. Vol. 20 No.4, Page 109. Last reviewed- Vol. 17, No.5 ( Model 1.5FI )
"I am serious user of Nitty Gritty Model 1. It is very efficient, I am completely satisfied." Y.C. Chigasaki, Japan
"... The real clincher was a night I was pulling records from a box in the garage, using a flashlight. One of the records came out of the cover and the light hit it and the record looked brown. This was a record that I had hand cleaned and put in a new sleeve and stored away.
I cleaned it on the Nitty Gritty and it was black, like it's supposed to be. A vacuum record cleaner is the ONLY way to truly get a record clean." R.L. Ellicott City, MD
Thank you. I found the drain hole. Man, some filthy records I've been cleaning! The liquid coming out of the drain hole looked like mud! I have been buying used records, some in very questionable condition. After cleaning them with the KAB record cleaner (using my Oreck vacuum) most of them play like they are new!! I'm sold on vacuum record cleaning. I could never get them this clean with Allsop Orbitrac or Discwasher D4. In fact, I cleaned some records again with the KAB that still sounded scratchy after cleaning them with the Orbitrac and/or the Discwasher and guess what?? That's right, the scratchy's were gone!! I could be a salesman for your product, I believe in it that much!! Thanks again and I'm glad I found your website (while doing a search for Nitty Gritty). T. H. San Diego CA
Good news! The EV-1 came today after an antagonizing 9 weeks! I just finished cleaning my 30 odd LPs I picked up over the past 9 weeks. Playing one of them now and it is totally free of pops and clicks! And it is really well built and easy to use. Best of all, it is compact and does not take up space. Once again, I would just like to convey my appreciation for an overall excellent product. Regards, W.W. Singapore
Dear Mr Barrett, my kab-ev1 arrived 14 days after my order and i tested it at once. what can i say, it´s great. even my worst LPs sounds much better after cleaning with the kab and my best do either. so thank you for this very good little machine. with best wishes. J.H. Germany
"The KAB Souvenir TCA Class A Amplifier is the most real sounding amplifier I've ever heard! The KAB Souvenir amp really made my records come to life. The highs were so good that the tambourines came out as clear as if the musician was right in the room with me. The midrange was especially sweet, smooth and so enjoyable." "...You will need to choose speakers that perform well at 20 watts or less, but when you do, you will hear your music as never before. You will be able to pick out instruments that you never noticed before in your music. I was hypnotized by the KAB Souvenir TCA amp.." P.K. Stevensville, MD.
"Had to write and thank you for sending the correct needles for our two phonographs. My son is thrilled that he can play his old records. You did a great job in helping me." S.W. Murray, KY.
"This is great news! I want my grandchildren to experience the fun involved with the 'record player'. Thanks" J. S. New Berlin, WI.
Stanton 681EEE MK3 Calibrated Phono Cartridge
Dear KAB, Received my Stanton 6800 stylus in only 2 days after I phoned in an order! Great service. The sound is wonderful too. I should have gotten a new stylus years ago. Thanks, FC Springfield, Ohio
GREAT customer service ! I look forward to receipt of the 681EEE MK3; this is going to replace the 681EEE I have been using for, gosh, 25 years or so with one stylus change over that time. I'm rediscovering the "rapture" of vinyl re-issues and NOT believing my ears - absolutely glorious. So I figured it's time to start again with a brand new 681EEE. Was I thrilled to find you site and the the triple-e is still available. Can you tell I'm excited ! ? My new vinyl will be :-) My regards from Seattle, M.F.
Just got the lovely new Stanton headshell, mounted the Shure cart you sent me, plugged in the N 44-3 stylus (2.5 mil) and away we went! Sounds great and your repair job on the cart works fine. I immediately did a comparison with my Stanton 500 with your 2.7 mil stylus and there is no essential difference sonically between the two. Curious. I thought the Shure would be a little "warmer" than the Stanton and the Stanton, because of the larger stylus, a little quieter. This will take more comparison, I think. No matter... it sounds great. M.R. Kula, HI.
Kevin, wanted you to know that the part arrived in a timely fashion and I installed it and got this old hand-me-down 'table running. Now I'm going to save my pennies for a SL1200.You have my congratulations on an honest and well-run business. The local dealer wanted $20. for that belt...and most people jack-up the mailing and handling charges substantially. I appreciate what you do and will mention KAB to my analog-aware friends.Chris
Received the belt on Wednesday and it works like a charm. Well done. M. S. Vacaville CATD1200 Tonearm Damper for SL-1200
By the way your system improve dramatically the TT so much I don't recognise many difference from my previous SME 20 / SME V combo TT. Just a minor sonic weight overall the frequences spectrum , probably due the the heavy base of the SME or the higher mass of the SME V arm. But soundstage is pratically the same and this is a great goal! So Kevin , I'm very happy about your "stuffs" also the little clamp works fine Best regards and my compliments again! C.A. Via San Polo Italy
Over the Xmas holidays I got round to installing your TD1200
damping trough. What a fantastic product!
Congratulations for the very professional look of the Fluid
damper. I am a Metal Machinery Engineer and I can tell you that they are "state
of the art" machined. As far as the the sonic result is concerned, I can tell
you that both my friend and I, couldn't believe our ears after listening to our
1200 with the Fluid Damper and the Record Grip. The result is no less than
astonishing...... With less than the price of a medium quality cable, we
improved our system of at least 200%....unbelieveble !!!!!!
The KAB TD-1200 Fluid Damper is easily the most economically
effective device I know of to achieve sound perfection for the Technics SL 1200
MK2 turntable. I have had my TD-1200 for two weeks. The clarity, definition and
musical presence this fluid damper provides is astounding. Admittedly, I am not
a "Bona Fide" audiophile, electrical engineer etc. But I do have relatively
good ears and a sense of rhythm and to my ears the bass is no longer partial
and fragmented. It is now full and vibrant allowing the mid-range and highs to
separate while forming a cohesive, melodic sound fully supported by a clear,
complete and well defined bass. I use a Marantz 1250 Integrated amp, Technics
1200 MK2 turntable, JBL Century 100's and a Shure V15VxMR cartridge. I have
been totally satisfied with everything I have purchased from KAB. Kevin is an
honest man with impeccable integrity.
Music Hall Phono Pak Phono Preamp
Kevin - Just a quick note to tell you that my preamp arrived and works wonders on the sound. The Doors never sounded so good. It's such a pleasure to *hear* how excellent some of my old albums sound: it makes me appreciate all the hard work and engineering went in to making so many screwball musicians sound out of this world. Listening to these albums almost takes me to that moment in time surrounded by all of that hand made preamplification, mixers, microphones...right there in the room as the magic moments were captured on tape (and then, of course, sent off to the record mill). Anyway, thanks for your help and I'm very pleased. When I can afford an S arm turntable, I will return to your shop. Paul Via Internet
Hello, I ordered the Czech phono preamp (Music Hall) a couple of weeks ago. It arrived quickly (next day), and I hooked it up this weekend. You're right, it's dead silent. Thanks for your help. Hope all is well. J.S. Via Internet
KAB/Stanton Groovemaster II Audiophile Edition
When I wrote to you requesting a new cartridge, I just knew you had another ace up your sleeve. And when I received the cartridge, I said to myself: I'll be damned, Kevin some-how convinced Stanton; to integrate the D88s stylus with the Groovemaster body. I remembered our phone conversation back in October when you were telling me about the D88s stylus and why it would be a perfect match for the Groovemaster, but, you were having trouble trying to convince the folks at Stanton Boy am I glad you finally succeeded This is one fine cartridge at a bargain basement price. [ Company Note, KAB does this mod, not Stanton]
In making comparisons, the standard Stanton 881S is not even in the same league. The 881S fitted with the D88s is a step up and sounds very similar to the Groovemaster combo. But as you pointed out in your memo, There simply is no edginess with the Groovemaster. That edginess, or upper mid-range glare (similar to digital glare) was the only thing that really bothered me about the 88lS.
The improvements in, sound with the Groovemaster, however, aren't just; with the elimination of intermodulation distortion. I hear more space between instruments, giving the music better definition and a more defined soundstage. Without the glare, the sound is smoother, yet more dynamic. Transients are better, from top to bottom. Bass has a bit more slam and the stronger midbass gives the cartridge a fuller sound.
Furthermore, I got to thinking the I7 gram Groovemaster body and design is simply a better match for the Technics "S" arm, especially when teamed with the KAB tonearm fluid damper. In fact, this combination tracked so well I didn't even notice that I had forgotten, to reset the anti-skate gauge: I heard no tracing distortion, nor did I have any problems with the lead-off grooves at the end of the records. Besides all that, the Groovemaster simply looks cool. and feels right.
Do I have any criticisms to make? Well, yeah, although in light of the Groovemaster II fine performance, I'm reduced to nitpicking instead of actual criticism. In regards to set-Up, the Stanton instruction booklet, indicates the tonearm height scale should be set at zero for the Groovemaster. When I did set the scale to zero, the sound was flat and lifeless. So I reset it at one, and the music came alive. Later on, I began to notice that the midrange was a bit weak. I then re-set the scale reading between zero and one. Bingo: Both the midrange and the bass notes became more focused.
In regards to tracking, I did get some Vocal spitting from the Andrews Sisters on a 1980 MCA mono pressing, but that, cleared up once I engaged the mono button on my preamp. It, would be nice if the stylus was user replaceable, but I realize integrating the stylus with cartridge body; improves the sound and reduces distortion. And the cartridge would look more uniform if the nude stylus was painted to match the rest of the cartridge. Like I said, I'm nitpicking here.
Finally, the sound. This is really tough, because:
Vestax Handytrax Battery/AC Portable
Here is the only piece of gear I ever expect to review that can legitimately be described as a "must-have" product - at least for all used-record collectors. The Vestax Handy Trax is, I strongly suspect (I haven't tried *everything* else), quite simply the best battery-powered portable turntable solution ever offered for sale. Though it's not dirt-cheap at it's 'street' price of $150 plus batteries, any veteran record-scrounger will quickly recognize that it can easily pay for itself many times over in terms of records left unbought or bargained-down due to audible condition problems, or just because you can finally stop taking sound-unheard chances on unfamiliar material.
The Handy Trax has almost everything I want in this type of product: it's lightweight and compact, tough enough to withstand physical abuse within reasonable limits, contains all three common speed settings, can be powered either with batteries or plugged-in, and is seemingly gentle enough on records (vinyl, shellac, or styrene) that you can audition disks - or even play them for fun - without worrying about destroying them. Most importantly, the Handy Trax is capable of yielding sound good enough to accurately assess the condition and content of the records you play, and good enough too not only not to offend the ears, but to even to be enjoyable in its own right. But a major qualification applies to that last statement: To get the quality of sound this unit can deliver, the Handy Trax *must* be listened to through a decent set of portable headphones - the built-in speaker sounds as bad (maybe even a bit worse, really) as you would expect, and will not play very loudly to boot. You'll notice that I haven't listed a set of headphones in my associated gear; this is because so far, I've only cannibalized assorted 'phones included with various portable CD and cassette players that I've accumulated over the years, and not tried any better aftermarket separates. At present, a set of Philips AY3682's (I have no idea where they came from) are the best I've got, but lately the Headroom company has been touting a new set of Sennheisers which conveniently fold up in their own little carrying case as being the best of the type they've heard, and I intend to try these soon.
Once you've got some 'phones (and add their price into the total cost if you're buying a dedicated set and not just 'borrowing' a generic pair you already have lying around), this is what you can expect to hear from the Handy Trax: surprisingly full fequency response, blessedly sufficient speed stability, low enough distortion and artifacts that you can easily focus on hearing the record and not the player, and perfectly adequate volume and tone control range. Besides, listening through 'phones is the preferred and discreet way to audition in mixed company or noisy environments anyway. The speaker need only be used in those rare situations where you want to audition a record for multiple listeners at once. The Handy Trax' speaker is mono, but the cartridge and line-outs are stereo. The ceramic cart (CZ800-9) comes equipped with a sapphire stylus, but it can be aftermarket upgraded to diamond when the standard one wears out. The player is a belt-drive design (not rim-driven via an idler wheel, like most child's toy 'tables) featuring a metal platter and spindle. The platter is the size of a 7" 45-rpm record; LP's hang out over the chassis sides when in play. The chassis is made of a hard plastic which I would guess to be ABS, while the likewise plastic tonearm is made of a softer, presumably more resonance-damping variety. The gimbal 'arm is balanced by a fixed rear weight and suspended by a compliant shock-absorbing spring visible around the mounting post, and is not adjustable in any parameter. Bearing types all around are unspecified, as is the tracking force; the motor is described as being servo-controlled, and battery life is spec'ed at 65 hours (unverified by me, but I personally suspect this figure to be optimistic). There is an 'arm lock-down for securing the unit for carrying, and one for the 45-rpm adaptor too. A neat feature is that the 'arm-rest also functions as a switch which stops the platter rotation when the 'arm is placed on it, making record-swapping a more efficient process.
The Handy Trax was designed in Japan by Vestax and is manufactured in China, and overall displays an admirable attention to design detail and production quality. But I do have a few ergonomic quibbles to report. The most consequential of these is the location of the main power (slider) switch on the side of the chassis near the I/O jacks, outside of the top cover's protection, and unlike said jacks, unrecessed. I have already experienced - twice - that this switch can be inadvertantly thrown into the "on" position through jostling when the 'table is packed for transit with other luggage, turning on the amplifier and rotating the platter away until the batteries are drained completely. Obviously this occurance is a big disappointment when you go to use the 'table next and are surprised to find no response, as well as putting unwanted wear on the mechanism (and batteries if they're rechargeable). In some situations the included AC adaptor can save you for the moment, but the design could and should be changed to either place the switch under the top cover (better), or to at least recess it. In it's hard-to-see location, it's also too easy, if you use the turntable at home (as I sometimes do to aid in quickly grading uncleaned records) and leave the turntable uncovered with the 'arm rested after play (thus stopping the platter), to simply forget and leave it powered up with the amplifier on.
My other ergonomic complaints involve the cover. First, it's unnecessarily difficult to operate the sliding latches to unlock or lock it. They offer considerable resistance before clicking over to the other position, but very little surface contour with which to get a comfortable and positive purchase on them. My second cover quibble is that once it's removed, there's no provision for cover placement; you must find a place to put it to the side somewhere, because it's not hinged or spring-loaded, and doesn't fit under the 'table in a nested fashion either. If you collect records but have never had a portable 'table, this Vestax will be a revelation and a big change in the way you browse and buy. You'll find yourself pulling records just to listen for purposes of enlightenment that you may never have bothered with otherwise. But overall, you'll probably buy fewer records, rejecting stuff you would have taken a gamble on previously. Either way, you'll feel more confident in your buys and have smaller discard piles at home. I have not yet tried the Handy Trax' line-outs into a good system or listened to it through my HD600 headphones, but that might be mostly due to the fact that it usually lives in my car, ready for any unplanned action opportunities I might stumble into. Vestax, an innovative company (they actually make a portable, integrated disk-*cutter*!) largely dedicated to DJ culture (for which the review product is doubtless intended) is to be commended for seeing that a market for a good portable existed and doing something about it.
The unit is commonly available from many pro-sound shops and online, but I bought mine from Kevin Barrett of KAB, who stocks them with an eye more to the collector market (and who says he's been selling about one a day, with some of those going to ordinary folks who just want a set-and-forget player they plug into their rack systems for normal use!), and to whom I owe a grateful acknowledgement for originally informing me of the Handy Trax' existence. Now I just have to figure out what to do with those obsolete toy portables I won't be needing any more... Reprinted From the product review section of Audiogon.com http://www.audiogon.com
Many history buffs and collectors of misc. "old stuff" have vintage photograph records in a closet or in the attic that haven't been played for years, probably because the phonographs to play them were disposed of for one reason or another.
Good news! Very recently, a distributor in New Jersey introduced the Vestax record player, a quality instrument very moderately priced. It plays old-time 78's and the later 45's and long-playing discs. The player's main features are that it operates on six D-cells and allows the user to play records "out loud" or with through ear-phones---OR---run the sound directly into your computer or into a stand-alone CD maker.
Recently, I transferred 1920-ish Paul Specht 78's directly to a
Sony CD maker with outstanding results. If you're interested, access:-
KAB Electro - Acoustics
P.O. Box 2922
Plainfield, NJ 07062