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Big Blue

"Austral Argo" Transcription TT

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Hi All, 

 

I have 2 x "Austral Argo" 16" Transcription Turntables. I'm just interested in finding out some info on them. These particular two were originally used by the ABC in radio broadcast.  They are very sturdy and well built. A huge motor contacts a rubber rim driving the enormous platter. You move the "gear shift" looking knob to engage different sections of the motor shaft to the Table rim. The bearing is very smooth, when you push it, it just keeps on spining. It plays 78's, 33's and 45's. 

 

They look very similar to another american TT I have researched called a Presto 10-B. However these say nothing about Presto on them, perhaps the Aussie company licensed the design from the yanks?

 

I have 2 Audio Technica arms with them. I'm looking forward to a project to build some plinths for them and get them back to their former glory. Any info to help me out with the resto is appreciated. 

 

Thanks 

Lachlan. 

 

 

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Wow what a great find. With two of them you will be able to do a bit of DJing , scratching and beat mixing:)

 

I am interested to see what information members can provide and look forward to seeing them in plinths and running.

 

 

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Ha yes, do some DJing with 78's! 

Amazing mate. They will come up very nicely. But you only need one. Send the other one down to me!!!![emoji13]

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I have 3 Byer turntables ( 1940-1950s) . Two 16 inches ( one with S/N 1 ) and one 12 inches. They share a lot of similarity to yours, eg rim drive, same motor and motor shaft by looking at your photos. All 3 of mine are working well . Trust me , go ahead with the restoration and u will not regret with the result and will be rewarded heaps. All these are great tables and IMO will not shy in front of Garrard 301/ Thoren 124 . I own a 301 but only sitting at the back bench atm. Some audiophiles referred these huge tables as “big boys” , of course including the great Commonwealth electronic tables.
You have scored well. Congrats!

IMG_4533.jpg

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Hi Kittiong that's a beautiful turntable. I like how you've done the plinth and the nice clean perspex cover. What tonearm are you using?

 

Yeah I did have one the the Argo's working just in a quick and dirty MDF plinth. But the arm I have ( an audiotechnica broadcast one) isn't quite long enough. So the two Argo's are basically the same, one just does 45s and 33s, while the other does 45s 33s and 78s. The third one I just got is a 16" commonwealth electirc. So gonna be interesting to see the difference. 

 

 

 

 

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Kittiong by the way...a 16 inch Byer with serial number 1? Wow congratulations that is pretty cool. 

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That’s S/N 1 on display ( photo ). It is fully working but the plinth is only good for display purposes only . The plinth is a piece of solid wood approximately 2 inches thickness. [emoji37]Not Good Enough! When I installed a SME 3012 arm on it, it hums due to the noise from the motor. Some audiophiles suggested it has to be at least 10” or more in thickness. So that will be my next project. Anyway , I have also acquired a piece of slate material and according to my mate Rob , it will be good for the purpose. Will see.
Commonwealth 16”. You are a lucky man Big Blue!. Drooling !
Well! As for the arm, it definitely has to be a 12” arm . I am happy with SME 3012. But if you can an Ortofon 12” with it’s cartridge , you are on top. Yeah !

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Yeah cool. I had similar hum issues with my Argo. Mine has a thick foam gasket about 1cm thick between the Turntable and the Plinth. That I think helped a bit. How thick is the slate you are using? 

 

Also did you do anything to lubricate your byer motor and centre it properly? And i assume you have a smoothing capacitor of some sort external to the motor like the one in my pics above? 

 

I decided the best course of action was to try to smooth the motor out a bit and try to improve the capacitor situation. 

 

Here's a bit of inspiration for your Slate plinth project: Oswald's Mill. 

 

https://oswaldsmillaudio.com/others

 

Yeah cool I had planned on getting a 3012 

 

Cheers. 

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The hum / noise issue is pretty sure no matter what we do ( if the plinth is not thick enough , wrong material or we are trying to place anti vibration material in between) it will almost certainly feel the noise from the motor. Hence, correct material and thick ness has to be perfected. I’m in the process of trying out. If I have any luck in the future, I will post it. Anybody out there having the experience ? Really appreciate for the advice if you will.
I have done the lubrication to the motors ( 3 Byers) myself and I have ordered one identical capacitor from NZ. All work out fine and quiet. While servicing the motor, all cautions need to be observed ( stupid suggestion[emoji16] really , everyone knows).IMG_5553.jpgIMG_5665.jpg

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Interesting. Would like to know more about the process of servicing that byer motor. e.g. what lubricant you use. Any details would be appreciated. My motors on both my Argos hummed more than I'de like. Wasn't sure if it was due to lack of lubrcation, centering of the motor spindle to ensure clearance all around, or the smoothing CAP not doing it's job. 

 

Interesting setup you have there. I can understand the appeal of Slate with such a weighty materials it would be a tough job for an vibrations to excite this thick slab and transfer through to the tonearm. Although I wonder even if there is perfect islolation of the tonearm from the motor vibrations and mechanical vibrations of the motor to platter, we must still reduce vibration to the platter as this will just get transferred into the vinyl then into the needle. 

 

I think when I experiemented with my Argos I got it to the point that there was no audible hum when the tonearm was not engaged with the vinyl (i.e tonearm isolated successfully from motor and platter). But never got it to the point where, when engaged with the vinyl, there was no hum. 

 

Interestingly the condition of the rubber rim and roundness seems to be cruical. My pair of Argos were originally A.B.C and later owned by a guy with a home studio. Several years ago he had them serviced. A man cam out to his house and painstakingly adjusted the rubber rim on the platter, stating the importance of this. As I'm sure you know any flat spots on that rubber rim would be a showstopper. i think the rims on both my Argos are pretty good. But as per my recent post I'm looking for anyone who knows how to service these things professionally. I assume you dont know anyone Kttiong? 

 

In my experiments, achieving the lightest contact of the motor spindle with the rubber rim that still maintained the speed of the record was the the key in reducing hum. 

 

Glad to find a like minded person passionate about the "Big boys" of vinyl. Will takes some pics of the Commonwealth when it arrives.  :) 

 

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Will write more this evening. Working at the moment. Thanks for all info given. Appreciate all. Cheers

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Are you saying this is a rubber rim drive - i.e. there is rubber all around the rim of the platter, and not an rubber idler drive?    If so, then maybe, despite not having flat spots, the rubber may have gone hard.  This is what happens with idler drives as well, and could be transmitting more vibrations from the motor than it should.  I also wonder, does the table have any speed adjustment?   The rubber may have also changed diameter if it has shrunk as it hardened and that may alter the speed.

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13 minutes ago, aussievintage said:

Are you saying this is a rubber rim drive - i.e. there is rubber all around the rim of the platter, and not an rubber idler drive?    If so, then maybe, despite not having flat spots, the rubber may have gone hard.  This is what happens with idler drives as well, and could be transmitting more vibrations from the motor than it should.  I also wonder, does the table have any speed adjustment?   The rubber may have also changed diameter if it has shrunk as it hardened and that may alter the speed.

Very interesting. Yeah it's a rim drive, not idler, Rubber around the platter. Yeah the rubber is kind of hard probably harder than the sole of a shoe, definetly harder than car tyre rubber. Speed sounds ok, I'm going to get a strobe thingy to check speed properly. No means to adjust the speed. Nah reason I think the issue is mainly the motor is there is a reasonable amount of vibration comming off the motor even when not engaged. More than I think even a really soft rim could manage with. Regardless the softening of the rim is probably a good idea. There are various ways to soften rubber, I wonder if anyone has done this successfully in a rim drive?

 

Edited by Big Blue

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17 minutes ago, Big Blue said:

. Regardless the softening of the rim is probably a good idea. There are various ways to soften rubber, I wonder if anyone has done this successfully in a rim drive?

 

Many theories exist and have been applied to idlers, but I don't believe any are really successful in softening old rubber.  Best bet for an idler is a rebuild.  They remove the old and replace with new rubber stock and cut/machine it down to correct size I suspect.

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Could be quite the job. Will try to sort the byer motor out first and see where that gets me. 

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