Jump to content

my ar-xb headshell rotates


Recommended Posts

hello my friends. i have a beautiful ar-xb turntable. it has a good headshell with plenty of threads for fastening. i can tighten the headshell using the screw on collar, and thats good and tight. but it still rotates, or turns left and right about 20-40 degrees . so i can never be sure if the cartridge/stylus is parallel to the surface of the vinyl. does anybody know if i can tighten  or glue something to make this work? again, the headshell and collar are tight together. but they both turn on the arm. the arm doesnt rotate. DSC02217.thumb.JPG.0531880b0c19f657782ae3c5e3f6d64c.JPGDSC02220.thumb.JPG.c37416e2fa2eed6be55f98cbdfdb539c.JPG

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I believe the plastic collar insert is glued into the arm itself. I have a spare arm that has never been mounted on a table. It's an XA but I believe it will work on the XB but I'm not positive. It's a bit oxidized and has no counterweight but I think it would clean up OK.  Let me know if you can use it. 

der 

ARXA Tonearm.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure how to answer your question other then to suggest you might want to ask it on the Turntable forums of Audiokarma.org . There are several folks over there that are AR experts and I'm certain that they will be able to advise you. 

 

http://audiokarma.org/forums/index.php?forums/turntables.28/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

3-27-14work BEST BEST larger 5 copy copy 2.jpg

 

  

Sadly, the AR-XA/XB tonearm can never more than ‘mid-fi’ so, now is a good time to replace that feeble and basically useless tone arm. The industry has advanced much since the day of the overly simplistic AR arm and even a used arm from another table will be better. Granted, it was halfway decent back then but, not with-out its problems. Others have used the Jelco 750D arm although certain other arms will work too. Do the required research.

To instrument this change, it’s a matter of re-balancing the weight for the new arm in conjunction with the table’s ‘tri-point’ sprung suspension. Certain other modifications may have to then be made to the mounting hole also. Then running new low-capacitance cables of a higher quality will also be a benefit.

 While you are at it, you may want to set-up a new set of ‘RCA’ input jacks in the rear so that you can experiment with different cables. Some soldering skills are necessary but in the end, you will have a table that at least approaches some degree of flexibility and will offer better and more musical enjoyment by virtue of a newer designed and better tone arm.

 

 In terms of changing out cartridges with a new arm that offers ‘SME’ type changeable head shells you’ll be able to use a whole new world of better cartridges. You'll also have the ability to use a cartridge that is heavier by design such as many moving-coil ones that could never be accommodated with the XA's arm.

As it stands, the degree to which you can change cartridges offered with the AR head shell is extremely limited as that poorly designed head shell is a disaster waiting to happen with its brass threads mounted in plastic and is bound to fail quite readily. 

It failed me in 1972 with-in the first year of ownership. Oh, I thought it was great back then, especially compared to my bought in 1967 Garrard Lab-40 piece of junk but, boy, was I disappointed trying to change in a newer cartridge while those brass thread inserts easily failed and fell out of the plastic head shell, and at that time finding AR head shells wasn’t that easy.

I was disgusted to no end and Testor’s model glue was used to hold those inserts in for two more years of saving and reading and learning about the subject until I bought a better designed table which is shown below.

Fast forward to 1974 and all of the problems I experienced with the AR table were remedied as soon as I purchased another table that blew-away the AR in every department, a Tannoy/Micro-Seiki TM55 direct drive*, which today has become super rare.  It cost me $420. in 1974 prices and it replaced the AR-XA I was using for two years earlier that cost me $68. or so.  Its ease of use, dependability and better sound quality rendering were revelations that the AR table and arm did not give to me. The new table offered definite repeatable adjustments and much better sound.

The absence of any acoustic-feedback and the almost non-repeatable few adjustments of the AR table were all but gone when I made the change to a ‘direct-drive’ model that was better made in all respects. So, from 1974 till 2005 I happily used this table with-out a single regret and put the XA table in a box in a closet.

With the newer table I now had the all important and necessary adjustments for VTA, azimuth, over-hang, speed-checking and arm anti-biasing that I didn’t have while using the AR table and head shell. I still have my originally purchased in 1972 AR table, but only as a piece of memorabilia as since that time which is over 43 years ago, I have learned the better path to higher fidelity.

Today, I’m the proud user of several SME Non-Improved 3009 arms along with two SME 3009 improved arms which I will modifying into mid-weight arms next season. I’m using the Non-Improved 3009’s as they are better and even more flexible. I also use a Jelco 750D arm and my newest stable addition is my glowing over-achiever the Dynavector 505 arm. I have a Black-Widow arm but, it’s only usable with low weight cartridges and all that I use are heavier and won’t work on an arm made for light weights.

In every case with all of these newer/vintage tone arms I have vastly improved the sound of my systems and brought them to new heights of listening enjoyment. In fact after being in this hobby for the multiple years that I have been and avid player, my music system has never sounded better! And that statement ladies and gentlemen is huge and can easily be understood with one listening session. I, from the very beginning always planned to move up the ladder, not laterally. Every change has been a positive one and with noticeable improvements every time.

The latest addition, the super-rare Dynavector 505 sounds as if it were made with the AR 12 inch woofer in mind as it has increased the quality of bass response of my system like nothing before. The bass has this iron-fisted grip and it reaches down to depths of my rib-cage, stomach and especially toes and my foot's  in-step with an almost absolute bass force even I find amazing through my four LST’s.

With a better arm you’ll also be open to the world of better, more accurate and musically realistic sounding cartridges. I have been enjoying the fun world of low-output moving coil cartridges like the wonderful Lyra Delos and Lyra Kleos, the Ortofon Cadenza Blue  the 'giant-killer' Audio-Technica ART-9, the Denon DL-304 to name a few. And with-in a few weeks I’ll be enjoying an older design of the legendary and great sounding Decca/London Super Gold cartridge. If I cheese-out on that one, then the Air-Tight PC-7 cartridge is sure to be here. This cartridge is less than two years old and is already a rarity.

All that I have mentioned regarding my equipment can be criticized by others who pursue and certainly spend more money than I do, who have more knowledge and desire for better quality of reproduction, some even fanatical. It’s all relative of course like anything else but, holding on to that AR/Xa arm will keep you in the world of low-fi. 

Some here may defend it but, take it from whence it comes.

In the quest of achieving higher fidelity, one cannot be a small thinker.

See video of my latest tone arm and turntable during testing of both:  Merge 1 files (5).mp4

Tannoy/Micro table here:* http://audiokarma.org/forums/index.php?threads/picked-up-an-unusual-and-great-looking-tannoy-micro-turntable.196682/

tm55.jpeg

Tannoy/Micro-Seiki TM55

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The AR turntable was a masterpiece of minimalist design, engineered to provide high fidelity reproduction and reduced record wear in an attractive, turn-key package. That it did so at an extremely affordable price makes it a mini-miracle.

It's more than unfair to compare the AR arm against arms that cost more - sometimes lots more - than the entire AR turntable itself. Better to measure the AR 'table against its then-competition from Garrard, BSR, Rek-O-Kut, Dual, Miracord, etc.; to the best of my knowledge, there's not much of an enthusiast-base for these old designs, let alone a thriving marketplace for restoration and performance upgrades.

And while it's true that the AR arm isn't the performer that the SME 3009 is; that said, if the owner is more of a music lover with an appreciation of form following function in an unfussy manner, futzing with an endless stream of cartridges will certainly not be a desired part of his/her hi-fi experience. A properly restored and  set-up AR 'table with a cartridge as affordably-priced as the Shure M97xE - 100 dollars on Amazon - will provide hours & hours of hassle-free enjoyment, while preserving the condition of irreplaceable vinyl in a very satisfactory way.

I just wish AR had managed to incorporate a hinged dustcover!

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well said, and couldn't agree more.

There actually is a base,  albeit  probably not a very large one, that continues to buy, restore, and happily use and champion tables from pretty much every company that you named. Many of those tables were built to last, and while they typically require a certain amount of restoration to bring them back up to speed, once done they all have the capability to provide "hours & hours of hassle-free enjoyment, while preserving the condition of irreplaceable vinyl in a very satisfactory way", as ar_pro has so eloquently and correctly pointed out. And the AR XA/XB certainly belongs to that group. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought the original poster asked about fixing a problem with his AR XB tonearm?  If you remove your head shell you may find that the plastic sleeve is loose. You may be able to gently pull it out far enough to apply glue to the butt end and slide it back in. I would be extremely careful if you decide to attempt this. 

Upon further inspection of the unused but rather old tonearm I have I've discovered that it likely would need to be rewired which is a chore in itself that requires the removal and reattachment of the plastic sleeve itself.

I would also advise to ask your question over at AudioKarma  http://audiokarma.org/forums/index.php?forums/turntables.28/

I own two AR XA tables. One with the stock arm that I've kept serviced that I've owned since 1969 and another that I've modified to use a Jelco tone arm. 

der

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A little late to this conversation because I was away but I did contact Jim directly. Here are some thoughts:

The XA and XB arms re not interchangeable. The XB arm is a little longer than the XA. I discovered this when I bought a "donor" XA 'table to use when restoring my original XA. The donor had an XB arm! I figured I may have enough parts to restore my original XA AND the "donor" but the arm was a problem.

I was in contact with AR TT guru Marc Morin, who was very helpful but ultimately I went with Steve Frosten, who happens to live here in NJ and is also a very helpful and talented AR (and other) TT guru. snfrosten [AT] hotmail [dot] com. Here are some photos of his work: https://www.vinylengine.com/turntable_forum/viewtopic.php?t=14435

Steve took my XB arm in trade and set me up with an XA arm with a new wand (to take a universal headshell), rewired with 16'' Cardas litz, new ground, sapphire bearings installed in a brass barrel and one brass counterweight. It looks great, all polished up, and his price was more than fair. I recommend him highly.

And despite what our esteemed colleague Frank says, Samberger is right: The AR arm is quite good. It just needs a little help after all these years and the replacement of the pivot bearings, and elimination of the damping system really improve it. And if you really hate the AR headshell Steve or Marc can install a Technics wand that will accept a universal (SME) headshell. Counterbalance too light? No problem. Larry Spence will provide a nicely machined heavy counterweight for $45 shipped. cookerman98 [AT] gmail [dot] com

Will post photos of my project(s) when complete.

-Kent

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very nice write-up, Kent, and thx for the references, too. I probably need to re-read all of this (and more), but I had previously only been aware that the XA arm has the double bend (better-looking, IMO) while the XB has just the single bend.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Never too old to learn something. I never realized that the XA and XB wands were different shapes and lengths. Thanks for the info!

der 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not a great image, but this is from a 1974 brochure, and I think you can see the two different profiles. However, as I tried to find better images to describe this difference in shape, it seems that maybe some of the XB's were also originally fitted with two-bend arms. :blink: 

I wonder if this change in shape was possibly prompted by the intent to more easily grab the cueing control mechanism?   

AR-XA and XB.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

PS: Had an email from Steve Frosten regarding Jim's problem:

That's a simple fix, just pull the collar out a 1/16" or so and superglue it, push back in and twist so the headshell is parallel to the platter. If it's pulled out to far the wires will be broken.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

54 minutes ago, JKent said:

PS: Had an email from Steve Frosten regarding Jim's problem:

That's a simple fix, just pull the collar out a 1/16" or so and superglue it, push back in and twist so the headshell is parallel to the platter. If it's pulled out to far the wires will be broken.

That's pretty much where I was going with my original reply.

der

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, der said:

That's pretty much where I was going with my original reply.

True. I should have acknowledged that. Sorry.

Kent

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not a problem JKent. It seemed the topic was going around the barn a bit too many times. I never had the original poster's problem myself but a friend did many years ago and as I recall this was exactly the fix. I don't believe that superglue had been invented back then but whatever he used apparently worked just fine. 

der

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

Try to do a visualization of what angle the head-shell will be sitting at in terms of azimuth position prior to gluing. There are a few really cheap azimuth gauges

available on the auction site.

If the head-shell is misaligned and azimuth is off center by even a 1 mm or less, mis-tracking and undo record wear will occur, not to mention an unbalanced output from the right and left channels.  With its unruly damping, the AR XA arm needs as much attention as is possible.

There's a fellow who actually offers a S.M.E. type of conversion and that is the ultimate route to take. It would mean reconnecting the four wires so some delicate work is necessary. As I mentioned above, it will afford you much more flexibility and certainly better sound reproduction.

Also, crazy glue comes in a gel and it may be easier to use than the typical liquid. Good luck to you.

Just for fun, I may be trying to install an "Infinity" Black-Widow tonearm on my AR-XA this winter. Problem is my XA hasn't been used since 1978 when I let an old girlfriend use it. The last time I took a look at it, the plinth's surface finish had turned into a horrible mushy texture. It'll probably require a complete tear-down and then rebuild plus surface repaint to allow it to look halfway decent.

I don't plan on using it though it may be a fun little pass-time project when the snows come this winter forcing me to stay indoors.

FM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

46 minutes ago, frankmarsi said:

There's a fellow who actually offers a S.M.E. type of conversion and that is the ultimate route to take.

The AR TT guru I mentioned above, Steve Frosten, did this for me. He installed a Pioneer or Technics wand that looks like the AR but accepts a universal (SME type) headshell. He also rewired the arm and installed sapphire pivot bearings. The cost was reasonable and I recommend him. Another AR TT guru is Marc Morin and he can do the same kind of mod. The only possible drawback is that if you use a headshell that is too heavy you may have to buy an extra-heavy counterweight (125g). I bought one from a fellow in Texas. Max weight for the headshell/cart combo is 13 grams before you have to switch to the heavier counterweight. Some of the SME type headshells are pretty light, others are pretty heavy. Another option is to have an SME type connector installed on the original AR headshell (for use with the Technics wand). SO if you have an original headshell with stripped threads you may want to hold onto it for conversion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

59 minutes ago, frankmarsi said:

It'll probably require a complete tear-down and then rebuild plus surface repaint to allow it to look halfway decent.

Frank--I don't know if you planned on doing this yourself but Steve Frosten lives in the New Brunswick NJ area and does some beautiful work. Here's a pretty stock "looking" restomod but he also does some exotic woods and tonearms http://vinylnirvana.com/ar-gallery/httpwww-vinylnirvana-comwordpressar-galleryfrosten-xa/

-Kent

Link to comment
Share on other sites

HI Kent, and thank you for your link but, it says vinylnirvana is located in New Hampshire. I'd still like to see this guy's operation and meet him.It's always good to meet folks with similar hobbies.

I've seen this site before in my travels and I was disappointed by the top surface shown as it appears that gooey, sticky plinth surface was not addressed and sanded down but, seemingly merely covered over with many coats of paint. Generally, I like to do my own work but, I digress, that's the same reason many things don't get done here.

In other turntable related news:   Mere moments ago I won another auction for the wild looking and oh so great sounding Dynavector DV505 tonearm. I have had my eye on others since I started using one months ago. I was so thrilled and taken by this vintage arm that I could never even approach, let alone own in the late '70s because every I cent I made I put rite back into my photography business, now I own two of this crazy arms, go figure.

What held me back from buying another with-in these last few months was their high cost and rare availability. And even though I spoke with a few sellers, I felt $1,800.+ was just a little high for me though, that's what they usually sell for and often more. Money like that I'd only spend on a LOMC as I have done within these last few years.

  I find these expensive moving-coil cartridges have been the single most important improvements I've made to my system. Surely, these costs are crazy but, I've never heard AR speakers nor my set-up ever sound so gloriously good before, ever! It must be experienced to be believed.

Thanks for the suggestion though. And keep in mind, we owe one another a visit at some point. I'm juggling so many things here, it's mentally debilitating and energy to make these changes is ever-fleeting. Presently, working on the exterior of my house in preparation of the coming winter which some are predicting may be brutal.
FM

web.jpeg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 minutes ago, frankmarsi said:

thank you for your link but, it says vinylnirvana is located in New Hampshire. I'd still like to see this guy's operation and meet him.It's always good to meet folks with similar hobbies.

I've seen this site before in my travels and I was disappointed by the top surface shown as it appears that gooey, sticky plinth surface was not addressed and sanded down but, seemingly merely covered over with many coats of paint.

Hi Frank

VinylNirvana may be in NH but Steve Frosten is in Edison. And I don't know which top surface you saw but Steve's are stripped down and professionally refinished. There is a thread on Vinyl Engine, "Show off your AR XA tables" that was started by our own Gene and it had a lot of Steve's creations but when I look at it now the photobucket links aren't working for me.  PM me if you want his email.

-Kent

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm looking at the link. See the bumpy un-addressed top surface of the plinth. It's simply awful and a dust holder. I vividly remember my XA in 1972, it was never like that. He says it has been sanded, by it's anything but that. The original had slight texture to i but, certainly with-out bumps. If I ever redo mine, I might even make it a medium grey like my Thorens TD125 or as I've seen on certain other sites, a prettier color that won't show dust. These newer cheap tables offered in black that so many new-comers think are so cool will soon find that a flat black turntable surfaces show every speck of dust and skin-dander that lands on it. As you surely know,  in the world of vinyl, dust is an ugly and harmful monster.

 Well, mine looks like that because of age, except this one we're speaking of has seemingly been coated with shiny paint with-out first being cleaned or sanded first because one can still see and feel the bumps under the shiny new paint. I would never do that, and I'm a little surprised by vinylnirana as I've been following his progress since he basically first started doing rebuilds.

Do you have a link/site or address to the fellow you're speaking of?

FM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...