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Re: [ARSCLIST] Gates transcription turntable
Well, since John Ross didn't mince words, that saves me a lot of more
politically correct hemming and hawing.
The pair of RCA Transcription Turntables (also Rim Drive) that I
salvaged from somewhere and ended up in someone else's dumpster (or
compactor) in the end had horrid rumble as well. I don't know if
these tables were better when they were made than in the 1970s when I
got them, but I didn't notice any out-of-round on the thrust ball and
the rubber idler was still reasonably compliant.
In consumer-land, Dual and Garrard took rim drive to a high art, but
abandoned that when Panasonic (Technics) introduced the direct-drive
(DD) turntable (TT) in the 1970s. Others also made DD turntables.
Their rumble is perhaps 15-20dB below the rim drive TTs.
I worked for McCurdy in the early 1980s, and by that time, the
"McCurdy" turntable was a Panasonic SP-10 mounted in a clever, highly
Earlier (1940s/1950s), TTs had larger motors in the base (RCA?) but
I've never evaluated these.
There are many people who can sell you working turntables that can
play 16" records. Kurt Nauck of this list has some, I believe.
I don't do turntables officially - but I have two Panasonics and a
Dual. I currently use a Technics SL1200 MKII (1990s?) as my primary
TT for the TT work I don't do. The Dual 1219 (1970?) 3-speed rim
drive and the Panasonic/Technics SL1100A (first consumer DD after the
SP10--1970s) are both sitting in their original cartons, carefully
put away -- and as of last use, both worked quite well. One needs
backup <Smile>. Neither of the Panasonic TTs I have does 78s. The
SP10 does. Dual dropped 16-2/3 with ther 1219 or the 1019. The 1009
had it, IIRC, in the mid 1960s. There is a great Dual historic site on the Web.
I think, honestly, the only use for the Gates TT would be eyecandy
for a 50s/60s radio studio set. Oh--QRKs were pretty bad too, IIRC.
At 07:38 PM 8/9/2005, John Ross wrote:
It's hard to think of a good reason to spend any kind of money
restoring a Gates turntable. As a category, the performance of those
old rim-drive transcription turntables was much worse than later
direct-drive and belt-drive machines, and among the transcription
tables, the Gates turntables were notorious for rumble problems --
much worse than comparable turntables from Rek-o-cut, McCurdy, RCA or
Fairchild . They might have been okay for heavily-processed lo-fi AM
radio circa 1958, but most FM stations that cared about sound
quality got rid of them as soon as a practical alternative became available.
Even if you need a turntable that would play 16-inch transcriptions,
there are much better alternatives.
A lot of that old technology was indeed wonderful -- RCA ribbon
microphones, McIntosh tube amplifiers and so forth -- but Gates
turntables ain't in that category.
Gates Radio made a full line of radio studio equipment, from
turntables and consoles through to transmitters. It's my impression
that much of their market share was achieved through creative
financing of package deals -- buy everything from us and we will give
you a good price and affordable terms -- but they were never the
choice when quality was more important than price. Based in Quincy,
Illinois, they were widely known as "The Quincy Tin Works."
Disclaimer: I'm talking about their reputation in the 1960s and 70s.
Gates is still in business, but their designs and quality levels are
almost certainly better than they used to be.
Richard L. Hess email: richard@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Media web: http://www.richardhess.com/tape/
Aurora, Ontario, Canada (905) 713 6733 1-877-TAPE-FIX
Detailed contact information: http://www.richardhess.com/tape/contact.htm