Transcriptor Turntables

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There where a number of experiments in the style of turntables during the 1970s. Many theories where advocated. One was that the platter should have high mass and inertia. The Gale, JBV and Transcriptor used heavy cylinders that doubled up to support the record at a few discrete points.

The Transcriptor Skeleton

Transcriptor had gained frame when the Saturn was used in the film "A Clockwork Orange". The Skeleton departed fro the Saturn in having an all glass case and a new "vestigal" tone arm.

The motor is housed in a small box at the top left hand corner. This can be adjusted for height so that the speed change can work freely. This is a nothing more than a small knob that allowed the belt to be dropped or raised from one pulley to another - the two speeds of 45 and 33 1/3 rpm.




With the lid up and the patter spinning it is stunning. The over all affect is a work of art.

I purchased the Skeleton direct from Ireland in 1978. It was supplied with the casing side panels removed and the lid separated by sponge. The arm was fitted.

The Vestigal arm takes a little getting used to as only the head shell lifts and there is no keeper for when it is resting.

The platter is suspended on three legs. These can be adjusted, as can the support for the motor. I found that no matter what I did the platter would rub against the rear leg and so I filed the cap down to allow free movement.

I purchased an AKG P7E cartridge but later found that the Ortofon VMS20, supplied with the Round Table was an even better match. One magazine article suggested the use of a DECCA London, a cartridge that was as expensive as the turntable. However the author couldn't remember using the turntable when I wrote to the magazine but suggested that the design would not be very good as it lacked a firm support for the whole record surface.

I used a GA glass mat and a felt mat over the top. This did make an improvement, but it no longer looked so stunning.

In seeking an improvement for my hi-fi I was able to compare my set up (Cambridge P60 amplifier, JR149 speakers) to A&R60, Meridian and Naim and a Linn Sondek. The Linn Sondek had been the very expensive top end turntable and had a cult following with  justification. Considerably more expensive the Linn Sondek outperformed the Skeleton and Pioneer PL12D by a comfortable margin.

I upgraded eventually, in 1980, to a Linn Sondek, Itok, Asak cartridge, Meridian 101 preamplifier (later upgraded to 101B), 104 tuner and M1 MkII speakers. In 1991 I replaced the Linn with a Linn Sondek Valhalla, Ekos and Troika,

The Skeleton was used by my brother in law, but his family couldn't cope with it and he got a single brand hi-fi separates with a remote control and returned the system to me. I had this running in the bedroom and eventually sold the Skeleton through Exchange and Mart. The Cambridge P60 and T55 tuner where sold on eBay in 2006.

I purchased the Round Table with VMS20 cartridges fitted. The lid is acrylic and has a fair amount of flex in it. As the tiny tone arm is suspended from the lid, half way across the radius of the LP this didn't seem right. I had no problems getting used to operating it lifting the shell up as the lid is lowered then placing the needle before letting it down. Other family members found it much harder to operate.

 The platter lacked the extra mass of the cylinders but still had the rubber supports to reduce contact with the record.  Changing speed required the belt to be moved manually.



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Transcriptor brochure


Last updated 29th November 2009