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OLLY

Garrard 301 v's Commonwealth Electronics 12D/3

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I have been using the CE turntable since 2000 and I am pondering a full service on my 301 but before I do has anybody done a proper comparison on the two tables and if so which do you think is the better turntable. I have listened to both but it was an unfair comparison as the 301 is in an inferior plinth. Need to know if it's worth spending close to a grand on the 301 and then put it away again as I have for the last 20 years.

I must admit the looks of the 301 is sort of hard to beat and I would love to have it on display just for that reason.

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I much preferred the Commonwealth but it was not in controlled settings. The plinth was different on each of the two turntables and neither had been serviced so i can't say they were both running perfectly.

But when comparing my Gerrard 301 and 401 the Commonwealth was much better. (My Commonwealth was a 12 inch.  The 16 may have been better again).

The Lenco was almost as good and with mods (very easy to mod these) was probably much better again.

The Technics sp10 i had was more neutral without the idler wheel thrust to the music.

In saying that they are both fantastic turntables.  The plinth made a big difference to the sound of the idlers (less so the Technics which had maybe a 40-50 kg plinth i had made at the time).

LPG

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If both tables were in prime condition,   I would say the simple massive design of the Commonwealth makes it the better table.  If you need to ever repair one, the Garrard will be much easier to find spares for.  That said, you will probably never need to repair something as well designed as the Commonwealth.

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I think the Garrard looks better than the Commonwealth and has the speed adjustment, which is useful if you play 78's.  Both are wonderful turntables, but I have not heard a direct comparison.  In any comparison both tt's would need to be in a suitable plinth, and use the same arm/cart.  As noted above, the Commonwealth is built like a tank and would require minimal maintenance (the occasional lubrication, using the appropriate oil, see vinylengine for a lengthy discussion about oil for the Commonwealth).

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The plinth was the weak point of the original 301 and 401, the 12 and 16 inch Commonwealth broadcast tables were better. 

 

A modded 301 with a good plinth design to mitigate micro vibrations, balance issues is hard to beat, better than a modded 401.

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Talking about having to acquire spare parts I was concerned that if needed where would I find any for the CE.  With that in mind I went out and bought 3 more in case I was in need of something.  All I have had to do since 2000 is add a few drops of oil.

Picking up those spares became a disease as I went out and added a Garrard 401, Technics SP10, ROLA Professional and a Goldring G99/Lenco thinking that the next purchase would sound better than the CE.  HOW WRONG.

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22 minutes ago, OLLY said:

Talking about having to acquire spare parts I was concerned that if needed where would I find any for the CE.  With that in mind I went out and bought 3 more in case I was in need of something.  All I have had to do since 2000 is add a few drops of oil.

Picking up those spares became a disease as I went out and added a Garrard 401, Technics SP10, ROLA Professional and a Goldring G99/Lenco thinking that the next purchase would sound better than the CE.  HOW WRONG.

So the Rola idler is not as good as the Commonwealth?  I had often wondered how they compare. 

I had thought that they Byer/Rola's would be similar quality to the CE.

 

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Couldn't notice an improvement with the Rola.  If I only had the Rola I couldn't see wanting to change it.

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I have acquired 2 Byers 16”, 1 Byer 12”, 1 Commonwealth 12”, 1 garrard 301, 1 Technics SP 10 Mkii, 3 Lencos L75/78 ( 1 modded)

 

 i tried to compare them over the years installed with different arms and various brand of cartridges. By doing these, i have often upgraded or resetted each individual player trying to outperform the others.It was so much fun and at the same time improving the sound of the tables as i went along until i realised that all the above turntables are indeed grade A tables.

 

Out of all the tables above, I personally prefer Byer 16”.

 

 

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Problem with Commonwealth bearing . Here some photos i shoots to show how bad it is , steel platter grinding away aluminium bearing on a cone  ( bad design steel on aluminium ) I’ve been involved with both Garrads and Commonwealth restoration , friends who know me and hear & see my TT known what I’m talking about . Photos show what is the  problem where these two cones rotate one on top the other steel platter and aluminium bearing housing . When these thing happened then idler wheel not in a correct position as you can see the rubber has been grinding /cut by the spindle ( speed selector ) photo show lots of black rubber dust from idler wheel . 

71026FA1-261C-4F55-A75C-5A13783DAD80.jpeg

BC04A698-7C96-45BE-9DCE-0A364B4550FB.jpeg

2EA23209-FF8C-4B19-A5BF-151A26CBABE3.jpeg

B374DE14-D79D-43E5-88C1-0C43AFA8DC93.jpeg

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On 17/03/2019 at 10:29 AM, aussievintage said:

If both tables were in prime condition,   I would say the simple massive design of the Commonwealth makes it the better table.  If you need to ever repair one, the Garrard will be much easier to find spares for.  That said, you will probably never need to repair something as well designed as the Commonwealth.

Sorry you do need to repair the Commonwealth TT as photos which i posted . And damn hard job to repair its . 

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The platter is sitting too low in the bearing housing.Does it have an adjustable thrust bearing, if not then the thrust pad in the bottom is worn. You can find out what material it is and replace it with a new piece therefore lifting the platter to clear the housing and the drive wheel.

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The thrust bearing for the C.E. turntable is adjustable and from memory the bearing sleeve material is white metal deposited onto the shaft housing inner surface. The turntable spindle rests on a ball bearing and sometimes  these have been lost and it may  have been replaced with one of a smaller diameter. The bearings were precision honed and there was a bare  minimum of end play  in all the ones that I have come across.

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3 hours ago, palexsia said:

Sorry you do need to repair the Commonwealth TT as photos which i posted . And damn hard job to repair its . 

I think you are missing the ball bearing on the platter spindle.  Either that or some adjustment is needed.

 

Also, the idler wheel may need adjusting so it doesn't touch the step in the pulley.

 

These problems you won't encounter in normal use.  Looks like someone who doesn't know what they are doing has mucked with it.  Can't blame the design for these problems.

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I love the little copper oiling tubes for the upper and lower motor bearings in that last picture.  Wish they all had that.

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I have been spinning mine every week when not on holidays since June 2000 and apart from a few drops of oil I have not experienced any issues like that. 

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Do you fill the two copper oiling tubes on the CE or do you just put a few drops every few months 

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The manual pp.8-9 gives info on the oiling procedure (download from HiFi Engine or O'Neil's website).  It indicates 3or4 drops in each pipe every 250hrs.  A smear of oil on the bearing shaft at the same time. And a spot of oil on the idler bushing (keeping it off the rubber).

 

There is a lengthy thread on the VinylEngine site regarding the type of oil to use, it should be detergent free.  I spoke to the manufacturers of the recommended oil (Moikiron4 by Rocol), who said that oil isn't available now.  They said that molybdenum disulphide can be bought in a tube at Auto shops to add to oil ( Molybond Formula 2.5 ), they said you can't add too much of it.  I did a lot of research on suitable oil based on the VE discussion, and couldn't find anything that matched those specs in Australia.  Am planning on buying a bottle from US and adding the Moly here ( AMSOIL Synthetic Compressor Oil - ISO 46, SAE 20 ). 

 

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