If you had to have a turntable, it'd better be a 401


  • You been talking with Jim? ;-)
  • You know, 'Jim the squealer' [/Mafia voice].

    I called him today about a bargain 401, which I may or may not have bought, and which may or may not be a rude shade of purple. But I ain't sayin nuttin'.
  • You bought a purple 401?

    What a coincidence after I posted that question!
  • Barring a flash of common sense, I'm buying this on Monday for a very fair price. 401s are only going up in value, and this could be my last chance to own one. Comes with a decent arm, too.

    Behold, the 'Purple Nurple'!




    I'm now looking out for a glitter ball to go with it.
  • How 70s can you get?
  • That's not a TT, it's an historic socio-cultural archetype.
  • What he said.
  • Alan, this is the most enviable object I have seen all week. If you can resist purchasing it on Monday, you're simply not human!! 
  • It is rather, er, 'moneysupermarket', isn't it?

    I am unashamedly shallow about this process. I really like the looks of the 401, it is a design classic IMO. It helps that it sounds great also, but I wasn't going to be buying an ugly turntable for sure.

    Which brings me to the colour....
  • Great buy for you Alan. We've enjoyed our 401 since the day it landed with us. As Doc says, it's not so much a 401 as as wazzizname archetype.  All you need now is a Shure V15 to grace the headshell and that archetype is complete.  A decent plinth is a must to hear them at their best.  Mine isn't quite the purple 70's retro machine, but I still love the thing:



    Buy it and worry about the expense later.  You're right in that they're only going one way in value, so a great time to buy before they hit 301 price levels is now.
  • Barring a flash of common sense, I'm buying this on Monday for a very fair price. 401s are only going up in value, and this could be my last chance to own one. Comes with a decent arm, too.

    Behold, the 'Purple Nurple'!




    I'm now looking out for a glitter ball to go with it.
    WTF !

  • Well, me and the Garrard popped over to Jim's yesterday as some time off coincided with a rainy spell (no working). It was all a bit last minute, so thank you Jim for fitting me in. :)

    Jim showed me how to set up an arm and cart, talked me through a load of stuff, and we listened to the purple nurple make some very fine sounds indeed. I was pretty relieved to find the whole thing basically works as-is, leaving me free to learn this analogue lark without undue complication. We used one of Jim's fine MC cartridges, a Sumiko blue point special,  which was a bit of a treat.

    Future plans include re-wiring the arm, a service for the deck, respray for the plinth and an experimental remounting of the motor unit and arm without rubbery isolation. Also a decent MC cartridge along the lines of a DL110 or DL301.

    I have ordered most of what I need to get going now, bubble levels, jewelers scales, carbon brush, a starter cart (Rega Carbon) and protractor. And a wall mount bracket for the now to be displaced TV!

    I now need to get some LPs, I am quite looking forward to this.
  • As an aside (and in keeping with the thread title), it seems a 401 isn't the only way to fly. I was seriously impressed with Jim's home made TT, which was a wonderfully simple design. It was clearly better than the Garrard in most areas, but it was running a Decca Super Gold! ^:)^
  • I haven't heard the home brew TT, although I have seen pix.

    I thought Jim was still erring on the side of the 401. But that was a while back.
  • How's the Purple People Eater, Alan?
  • Hi mate

    The Garrard is a lovely thing even if it isn't used so much. I just like having it around.

    Honestly, I do enjoy my digital rig more, but then I'm more used to it, it cost more, and the Garrard needs work to get it up to spec imo. I also don't have many records I like yet. That being said, the foibles of vinyl replay, even less than perfect vinyl replay, sit easier on my ears than digital audio on a less than great day.

    Also, there's something very interesting in the way records are mixed and mastered. It's partly to do with presence and partly in the bass. It's quite obviously superior to digital in these aspects, imo.

    But this is really hair splitting, and little more than preliminary impressions. I enjoy both but f digital edges it in this system to these ears, plus it's so convenient to access any of thousands of tracks.
  • Interesting. 401s are very good.

    The inconvenience factor is something that keeps me in the digital camp. And even the ever-laid-back Sam staging a revolt over having thousands of pieces of vinyl in our living room.
  • The only inconvenient thing for me with LPs is keeping them clean, but since each only needs cleaning once every 5 years or so if kept in antistatic sleeves it's no great chore and means I get to keep some rather unique recordings not released on digital.  I flick between LP and CD/digital regularly and there's good and bad examples of recordings for each but to lose the tactile nature of an LP spinner is to lose part of what the music's all about for me...involvement!

    The 401's a fine deck Alan and really, there's very little to go wrong or to service.  The main bearing needs cleaning and re-oiling on many after so many years of use, and the felt washer atop the spindle if not already renewed , should be.  You can buy specialist oils intended for sintered bronze bearings to oil or use something like sewing machine or light machine oil (recommended by Garrard I understand).  Keep the oil ways lubricated and check every few months.  Clean off the inside face of the platter (meths), and renew the motor mount springs if not already done.  The motor itself needs stripping (easy job) and bearings cleaned and re-oiled, but that's really about it.  The idler wheel rarely requires replacement unless messed with (some try and re-square the edges and ruin the wheel in the process in most cases) but idler bushes can sometime require replacement (kits available).

    As long as these things areas are attended to, the 401 should give another 40 years sterling service.

    It may be "less accurate" or have more THD than digital (dependant upon many factors such as cart choice, set up, recording, record quality etc etc) but I do find that a well recorded, good quality LP played back using a decent cart/arm into a decent phonostage is hard to beat for sheer enjoyment.  Part of it I'm sure is the personalisation of an analogue system, tuning things to your own sonic preferences via cart/tonearm/phonostage/leads.
  • The deck has been cleaned and lubed, just a loose connection/wire on the on/off to chase down someday.

    On the whole it just needs some updating, specifically the tonearm wire. The addition of a pair of RCAs at about that point makes sense also. After that a decent cartridge and I'm set.

    To be honest, I'm a little embarrassed I haven't played anything on it for a couple of months now, I just haven't had time and I don't have much of a vinyl collection. Still, just having the thing around gives me pleasure on some level, it's a good looking object. Even in purple! Some day I shall give it the attention it deserves, in the meantime it can sit there appreciating in value.
  • Another 401 owner here :D. Bought it last night on fleabay. I really must stay off eBay late at night! Have no plinth, arm or cart but I'm now the proud owner of three records that I cannot listen to :-\"
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