Saturday, 5 May 2012

Classic Gear Restoration Work Ahead

I got around to checking out Space Lab, the shop owned by my recent Sansui turntable customer. I had not been there in a while and dropped in on foot as it is only about 5 blocks away. I soon had to go get the car though...

Harman Kardon Citation & Thorens TD-124

Harman Kardon Citation II

The pics above are from my phone, so not the best.

Clint and I had talked about about some of the gear he had, both in his shop and in storage. I had a look at both today. In storage he had numerous bits of furniture, fans, lamps and stuff but the showpiece there was a custom built console with a complete Harmon Kardon Citation I, II, and III (preamp, power amp and tuner) system. The inset turntable was a Thorens TD-124 with an Ortofon tonearm of some sort, and there was an incidental Dual 1019 (I think) on a slide out rack underneath.

This setup is one of those legendary kind of sound systems I could never hope to have. It's worth thousands and sonically I am sure it's worth it. However I could not fit that in my car, but I could fit an AR turntable, a Yamaha receiver and an Empire turntable as well.   


The AR is the XB91 variation. It will need some cleaning but and probably should be rewired. That will be in one way made easier because the headshell is not attached to the tonearm. It looks like it was simply glued in place but the first thing I noticed was it was spinning. A tiny tug on it and this was the result.

AR headshell closeup

If that's the worst thing wrong that's easy, so that's put aside for now.

AR and Yamaha

The Yamaha CR-1020 is cosmetically challenged too. It has lots of dirt on the face and knobs, scratches in the wood shell, bleeding lettering where it looks like acetone was used to clean the face, and a cigarette burn on the top. As far as value added the cigarette burn might be a good thing for resale. We could say that Keith Richards did it or something. Other than that it will have to remain untested for a bit too.

Yamaha CR-!010 closeup 2

Item # 3 might be the coolest of them all. It's an Empire 598 III turntable. Lots of wood and brass, nice and heavy, suspended and functionally it looks pretty sound. It is a cartridge marked RM10, which I think might be an early Ortofon, with a mangled stylus. It will have to be gone over later too as I have to go out.

Empire 598 2

Empire Tonearm

Should be fun working on these. For now, no money has changed hands. I will check them out and start to do what I can and Clint and I will work out what we do in exchange later. Maybe we sell them and I get a cut, or sell a few and get to pick one for myself. We will see, and I am looking forward to it!


  1. So did you pick up the HK console w/ Thorens/SME arm?

  2. No, that was way too rich for my blood. Clint did sell the Thorens to someone in the USA and I packed it for him for shipping. It arrived in as as good condition as it went into the box.

    The H/K stuff went to someone else.

    I do still have the other turntable that came in that console, a Dual 1019 that you can see here: