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Big Blue

"Austral Argo" Transcription TT

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...and here's the pics of my Commonwealth electric that just arrived. Seems to be complete and in good condition. Just needs a clean, some lubrication of the mechanism to get that Idle wheel biased in. Idle wheel looks nice and soft and in good condition. 

 

 

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7 hours ago, Big Blue said:

... 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...

My understanding is that stone plinths are extremely rigid, so no flexing, etc.  The extra mass is good. 

Slate is composed of layers, so vibration energy which goes into the slate is dissipated horizontally through the layers, which is why I believe it's regarded as a good plinth material. 

In comparison, marble looks great, but is formed volcanically and has a dense crystalline structure.  So vibration energy tends to bounce around inside the stone and back to the tt, rather than being dissipated. 

 

Of course, the plinth is only one part of the system.  Reducing motor noise and mechanical vibrations within the TT means there will be less energy for the plinth to deal with. 

 

The Argo TT looks like it's built like a tank.  With a good restoration and plinth I would anticipate that it would produce a sound that would be very hard to beat.  Good luck with the project, and please keep us updated here.

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yeah the argos are tanks. The platter on them spins so freely. I do wonder if the idle wheel of the commonwealth will be inherently more quiet though. Will be fun to find out. 

 

Interesting about the slate. Shouldn't be too hard to source a big thick bit that was intended for some home application and get it waterjet cut to what I need. 

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Hi big blue
It’s me back again.
As for lubrication, I have used those shown in the photo. I have found them good for my purpose
IMG_5680.jpg
The engine cleaner, foamy type, is good to clean the metal surface. It came out brilliant on mine.
The grease is for all moveable parts
The engine oil I used it to lubricate the shafts and bearing balls.

Motor servicing -

When you have unscrewed the bottom screwing cap ( don’t lose any ball bearing inside please) and the four bolts and nuts of the motor, gently twist and pull open up the top motor cap and bottom motor cap to expose inside. Clean the rotor and lubricate the shaft with motor oil. Easy job . Don’t forget to lubricate the bearing balls and any movable parts) . The pulley can be unscrewed open using plier if too tight.( if no locking screw presence). Make sure don’t scratch the pulley and shaft
Putting it back all together could be a little pain as you must make sure the rotor is turning as freely as possible before locking the 4 bolts and nuts. You can hear how the motor is running after locking and also you can adjust the running noise to the very minimal by adjusting the bottom screw while releasing the bottom screwing cap ( not the bottom motor cap).. once you have achieved the optimal setting ( minimum noise while motor is running ), lock the bottom screwing cap and tighten it by hand
Above was my experience and not necessary the right way. Servicing with caution and diligent is required. DO Not rush as these tables are so precious. Spare parts??? Almost NIL....

As for the noise/ hum reduction issue and if you want to enjoy the table before you come out with a proper plinth , a temporary one like the photo below and using a stand alone arm will hear no hum at all ( make sure you servicing your table well )IMG_1522305980.355706.jpg

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Thanks very much for those detailed instructions kttiong! This sounds like a very good plan. Will let you know how it goes. 

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Oh! Cleaning also involves using alcohol solution ya... enjoy servicing, it’s absolute pain yet fun?

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On 06/02/2017 at 7:10 PM, Big Blue said:

I have 2 x "Austral Argo" 16" Transcription Turntables. I'm just interested in finding out some info on them. ...Any info to help me out with the resto is appreciated.  

How is the restoration on these turntables progressing? 

 

I've found some info on Austral Argo (but unfortunately not on their turntables)-

 

http://citycollection.melbourne.vic.gov.au/austral-argo-taximeter/

The City of Melbourne Art and Heritage Collection has a 1930s Austral Argo taximeter in their collection.  From the online description - "Located on Exploration Lane in Melbourne Austral Argo Engineering Co. Pty Ltd. imported taximeters from Germany and adapted them to the local market. Established by Thomas Seymour Sharman, the business was taken over by his son Phillip. The company went into voluntary liquidation in 1943."

 

https://sciencefiction60s.wordpress.com/capri-theatre/used-technology/

In a blog on technology used at the Capri Theatre…

"Ken Novell, a worker at the Argosy during the 40s to the 70s wrote in his article The Argosy Theatre Murrumbeena in the Cinema Record 40 about the technologies used in theaters in the early 40s. At this time, two men were responsible for the cinema: Ron Dudgeon and Tom McMurtrie. They also administered an engineering company called Austral Argo Engineering Co. It was a business that sold projector equipment as well as service."

The blog included this advert from the company:

bildschirmfoto-2012-01-29-um-17-10-21.pn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks for this info audiofeline, very intersting. I still have the turntables but haven't done anything too them yet. My problem is I just keep adding to my collection, so now I have 2 garrad 301s and a commonwealth 16a.l and the two argos :)

 

This is a great lead will be interested in following it up. As I said before this paor were formerly used by the A.B.C in melbourne. They have BSR motors I think. I showed them to a former ABC audio technician who is very knowledgable about ABC gear, as well as a couple of other experts. Nobody has ever heard of them. So very great to finally find some info, very keen to find further info. Thanks. 

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Posted (edited)

Your Commonwealth is an early model, I've recently acquired a 12D, so will plinth-build soon.  The Argo motors look similar to the Commonwealth/Byer style, so should be excellent to drive the tt.  If the Argos were at the ABC they should be good quality.  Just build a heavy stacked hardwood ply plinth, if there is some noise isolate the tonearm, and make sure the motor mounts rubber etc is ok (if they have it).  They should sound wonderful. 

 

Have you done any more research on the Presto - eg. similarities to the Argo?  The speed selector looks similar to the Byer, but was also probably used on US transcription decks of the time.  It is feasible that the Argo is a re-badged overseas turntable, as Austral seemed to be more of a cinema equipment and other manufacturing (found another site which suggested they made wood-working planes).  So they are definitely not an audio-focussed company.  But your photo has their name embossed on the bearing mount.  Could some of it be imported, and some locally-made?  Who knows?

 

 

Edited by audiofeline

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