What did you make for Christmas?

I made Oso Buco and a new turntable. Well not quite a new turntable. But it sure sounds like that's what I did!

Disassembled it, all the way down to having the bearing apart. Its the Teres bearing which you can see Chris originally used a Delrin thrust plate and stainless ball bearing. http://www.teresaudio.com/project/bearing.jpg Extremely smooth and quiet, but the Delrin would wear so he went to teflon over brass which lasted longer but the teflon wore out even faster than the Delrin. 

My solution after a lot of research was a tungsten carbide thrust plate and silicon carbide ball bearing. These materials are so hard that the wear point even after years of play is a teeny tiny little dot smaller than the period at the end of this sentence. 

This was good but not quite as silent. But the silent solution wasn't silent for long and then was replaced by a low rumble. So a good tradeoff. But a tradeoff nonetheless. Wanted something better and with fO.q tape I finally found it!

With the bearing completely disassembled and clean a small piece of fO.q tape is stuck on the bottom of the thrust plate. This adds vibration control and damping while retaining hard wear performance. Here is some info on the bearing and a view in cross section. http://www.teresaudio.com/manuals/Bearing_Manual.pdf The tape does raise the bearing shaft somewhat and this will reduce the journal surface area a bit but only about a half a mm, but keep this in mind as it does raise the platter requiring VTA adjustment later.

Next a washer of fO.q tape was cut to go around the bearing mount hole. Then a strip of fO.q tape is run around the large BDR bearing fastener nut. Look close at picture #19 the big round piece directly under the center of the plinth is threaded and serves as the nut that fastens the bearing. https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/8367#&gid=1&pid=19 In this way now the bearing and platter are held rigid by the extremely stiff BDR Shelf material, while also being suspended by the layer of vibration killing fO.q tape. 

On the top, picture #13, a hand made carbon fiber washer holds the record up just slightly above the platter. I put another gasket of fO.q tape on top of the washer. Another strip of fO.q tape runs along the perimeter of the record clamp. Tightening the clamp forces the edges down onto the platter, creating a contact area equivalent to a vacuum hold down system. That's no idle boast either. When the clamp is removed after playing the record stays stuck to the platter by atmospheric pressure. No kidding. Freaking impress myself.

Next, cut a piece of fO.q tape to perfectly fit the tone arm head shell. Very time consuming but totally worth it. Because now not only is the headshell vibration damped but the Koetsu is mounted directly onto the tape. All original holes are maintained and so the Synergistic PHT go right back where they were. See images. Although these are before images its very hard to see the tape anyway. These are all very stealthy mods! 

There's room for another fO.q gasket where the tone arm mounts, but I decided to call it for this time as I had something even better in mind for this Christmas- Active Shielding!  

Synergistic Research Active Shielding really is just a wire mesh around the cable with 30 VDC on it. Battery strap is wire mesh. Slid the phono leads inside some battery strap, stuck a resistor and cap in series, connect to a Synergistic wall wart, presto change-o we have Active Shielding!

Not just any old Active Shielding, of course. These wall warts were sent off to Michael Spallone for better caps, diodes, and point to point wiring. Something I could easily do myself but there's like 50 diodes and caps to choose from, Michael has done the hard work of finding the best sounding ones, and doesn't charge much, so support the guy, okay? Fabulous mod by the way, did the Tesla ones for my CTS cables, totally ups their game.

So with Active Shielding added the leads and the arm and everything goes back together. There's a whole bunch more stuff I have in mind but its Christmas I want to play with my new toys and this should be big.

Was it ever! Like a whole new rig! Eyeballed VTA, then dialed in by ear, which by the time that was done wow, what a difference! Active Shielding power supplies and stuff, even cold zero hours, this all was a huge improvement. Piano and guitar on Year of the Cat were like some killer audiophile recording now not the run of the mill sound it was before. Groove noise and the noise floor in general were way lower. Way lower! 

This was by the way all accomplished with a $60 sheet of fO.q tape (less than 10% of it) $30 worth of battery strap, etc, and $60 worth of Michael Spallone. $150, maybe $200 all-in. For improvement on par with about a $10k turntable upgrade. No kidding. This was huge. Images float magnificently. Tchaikovsky White Hot Stampers are a religious experience. Best Christmas in years. Even the Oso Buco, red wine and organic fennel pollen in the gravy, delish!

Merry Christmas! And a Happy New Year!
Great project!  As for me, I was happily on my hands & knees on the lawn, pulling weeds.
My AcustaFan increases laminar flow in conjunction with elements of low shear that work in unison to condition the air in my listening room. Makes for great improvement on all CD's but most strange are a couple of live recordings that sound even  more live. Wonder why that is the case. Tom
I did some re-arranging of my office system. I disconnected my GE Triton One Speakers, moved them to the side of the room to store and connected my brand new JBL L100 Classic Speakers. I do not yet have the stands for them as they are on back order from Audio Classics so I hauled 4 cinderblocks from my shed, covered them with a towel and put the speakers on top. The height is 8 inches off the floor compared to the stands which are 9 inches from the floor and tilted back.

I realized my left speaker cable is a bit short for where I placed them so I put an order in today @Blue Jeans Cable for a longer single Canare 4S11 cable in black with locking banana plugs. I have an original pair of the JBL L100 speakers I purchased in 1972 but the new Classics are a different animal. The Classics aren’t bright like the originals, and they have a more refined sound. As I have been playing them for only 6 hours, I am sure the sound will change a bit.

I plan on using these speakers for all of 2021 and then decide if I want to put the GE speakers back in or not. It wasn’t a really fun thing to do as it was a lot of moving things around but i had put it off since Dec 15th when I drove down to AC to pick them up. I would call it a satisfying day.
@millerCarbon, you do realize that tungsten carbide is 9.0 on the Mohr hardness scale and silicon carbide is just slightly harder at 9.5 on the Mohr scale? Diamond is at the top with a hardness of 10.0 for reference.
Any engineering data on plain bearings (this is not a roller element bearing) will show that one part of the bearing must be considerably softer than the other part.
Using two almost equally hardness materials with just a tiny point contact will result  in the oil film being dispersed and direct contact will take place. This will result in a slow lapping process that will disperse extremely fine and hard particles in the oil. These particles will wind up in the brass bearing supporting the main shaft and get impregnated in the soft brass housing.
Impregnating either silicon carbide or tungsten carbide particles onto a brass plate makes a very nice lapping tool. Do you see where I'm going with this?
I would immediately dismantle this spindle bearing and clean it as best you can before you start destroying it. Replace the disk with a Delrin or Teflon disk, and be hopeful that no permanent damage has been done.
A turntable thrust bearing at the bottom of the spindle is a very difficult engineering problem. There is insufficient velocity between the two surfaces to maintain a oil film and with a heavy platter the almost infinitesimally small contact area insures a very, very high loading per square inch compounding the problem. That is the reason that self lubricating materials are used in these applications. Under no circumstances should two very hard materials ever be used together in this application.
The original designer switched from the harder Delrin to the softer Teflon probably due to the Teflon having better properties as a self lubricating plastic. Since it wears faster in this demanding application he was wise to use the brass plate to back it up. It will no doubt "talk" to you when the ball reaches it in the form of rumble.
Sorry to burst your bubble but you really out smarted yourself with this modification. Even you admitted that it wasn't long before rumble from wear had you digging into it again.

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Bill let’s not let science get in the way of temporary bliss... all random walks tend to ... well end

185 posts


The two or 3 surfaces, bottom of the shaft, top of the ball, bottom of the ball, top of the bottom thrust plate. the RPM is so slow, and the oil so thin there is close to NO wear, read the post. He almost STOPPED the wear not accelerated it. To get wear you have to have heat, there is NONE..

Weight and the hardness of the material is the real KEY to wear.

The proper weight oil (VERY THIN) will stop the wear, and "COOL" the parts. To thick a lube is a serious problem, it has to flow BACK quickly and STICK, that is the real trick... Move and stick, JUST like "The Greatest", Move and stick... Move and stick :-)

I get less than .05" wear in 10 years (with service) black sapphires and VERY hard bronze thrust or Stainless, make little difference, other than I don’t want magnetic surfaces and rotation. NON-ferrous. 7 and 17 lb platters, both wear the same..ZERO... or close to it...

The first Thorens TD124s you had to demag the platters, weird stuff would happen, with heavy MM carts.

I do the Thoren, Gerrard, Sparta, GRK, and Russco all the same.. LOW rumble, low wear...

I did a little work on the new RtR rack mount kit.. Haven't quite figured that one out yet.. place for the new RtR pre amp.. only 4 months to go.. LOL I'll get it..

I would immediately dismantle this spindle bearing and clean it as best you can before you start destroying it.

Thanks billwojo, you will fit right in here. Whole place chock a block with guys so eager to show off their know it all engineering vocabulary they can't be bothered to read what is written, let alone think what is actually going on. It was the original "silent" teflon that developed the rumble, which could maybe be more clear but is clear enough to a reader without an agenda. Others got it. Why don't you?

This bearing has been in service nearly 20 years. Its been apart half a dozen times. Each time showing the same very slight very fine wear. Each time. Including the times it was original teflon over brass. Also each time with tungsten carbide there was only the same teeny tiny little speck of a wear spot.

This may come as a surprise, but its a record spindle. It supports a grand total of 24 lbs. Turning a whopping 33, to sometimes as much as 45 RPM. Immersed in oil. Krikey, did I not include a link to the .... never mind. Common sense. Talking common sense to an engineer.

Waste. Of. Time.

Look. I write for guys who dream of having a really stellar sound system, without going broke, and who are willing to put in a little effort to get a lot better sound for a lot less money. I do not write for academic bobble-heads who blather all day about stuff they never once did and never will do. But like I said, we have a whole slew of them. Look you already attracted a couple. Like chum in the water, only instead of sharks you only get more chum. They will give you a warm and hearty welcome, for having tried so valiantly to take me out. You can all commiserate and lick your wounds together. Or whatever. Don't care. Waste. Of. Time.
That is how to answer to a person trying to save someone from trouble? He might have been right, or wrong, and reasonable argument could have continued, but going straight to insults in the post above is beyond low-class mannerless ego-trip with no foundation.

It would be ok, if it weren't predictable.
i made crab dip, caprese salad, bucatini carbonara, pan roasted asparagus

didn’t touch my turntable

happy holidays to all know it all hifi nerds
@billwojo Science, engineering, logic, and common sense don’t play well in MC’s world or agenda. He needs to get more mileage out of fO.q tape and his thesis that tweaking equipment with items that can be found in your kitchen junk drawer are the hidden panacea just out reach of audiophiles of lesser caliber than himself. MC doesn’t really want to do anything extraordinary, he just wants to be praised and adored by those who don’t know any better and buy into his bs. The ego is a most peculiar thing.

Its been apart half a dozen times. Each time showing the same very slight very fine wear.

In the police business we call this a "clue".
So glupson, you do anything for Christmas? I worked on my RtR stand and worked over my Grandson pretty good. LOL He’s a blast..

How about you three_easy_payments ? you get anything done? Or put together stuff for kids? Your a Copper?

How about you three_easy_payments ? you get anything done?

No, I didn't tear down and rebuild any of my gear.  You're probably wondering how I still managed to enjoy my audio gear?  
Oh heck no.. Working without problems is always good..
Maintenance free batteries, greatest thing ever...Until they need maintenance.. :-)

oldhvymec, Ever go fishing and notice, lovely beautiful blue sky day when suddenly out of nowhere you're barraged by gulls? Minutes before not a gull in sight, sandwich comes out, no time flat you're surrounded, stupid critters, really well suited to their scavenger existence but not a single saving grace beyond that, even their call is annoying. Now what do you suppose made me think of that?
actually gulls are the astute salmon fisherman’s ( and highliner ) friend.....any decent herring or bait ball gets pushed up by the salmon and the gulls let you know that from a long way away....

shall we start adding highliner pictures on the systems page ???? 

spent my day, most of it in service at Mir a Mar National, I will post up that awe and gratitude inspiring photo.....
@millercarbon "My solution after a lot of research was a tungsten carbide thrust plate and silicon carbide ball bearing. These materials are so hard that the wear point even after years of play is a teeny tiny little dot smaller than the period at the end of this sentence. This was good but not quite as silent. But the silent solution wasn't silent for long and then was replaced by a low rumble" Well, if the bearing surfaces were not breaking down you would not have developed the low rumble. That was the sound of the carbide surfaces grinding into each other. At a tiny point contact, and I mean very, very tiny when using a ball on a flat surface that can't deform (either the ball or flat surface) with 24lbs of pressure pushing on it there will be absolutely no oil film. None. You were running metal to metal. If you could see a spot on the plate it confirms that it was doing that. A ball bearing on a flat polished plate has a contact area to small to even measure much less be visible.
People talk about vinyl melting when the stylus passes through the groove. Not sure if I believe that or not but they claim the pressure is something astronomical when computed for the contact area and 1.5 gr stylus pressure. Well, the contact pressure for a small ball with 24 lbs is going to many many orders of magnitude higher.
I'm sorry if you can't understand this, just go ahead and apply magic tape to what ever you want if it makes you feel good. I'm just trying to point out an error and save you grief.

My wife made Osso Buco with saffron risotto,a nice red we got as a gift, and topped it off with an individual molten chocolate cake. Kinda happy with my set up right now. We'll see how long that lasts... 
Oso buco is the best. Traditional rustic Italian dish, done right with red wine, shallots, and lots of garden fresh rosemary it is almost unbelievably delicious. This year I taught my wife how to make it. But only I know the secret to the gravy. A little mystery, the spice of life.
@tomic601 ,

What a beautiful and well put together system you have.  Enjoy!
actually gulls are the astute salmon fisherman’s ( and highliner ) friend.....any decent herring or bait ball gets pushed up by the salmon and the gulls let you know that from a long way away....

So MC even failed to "install" a metaphor correctly? lol 
Making other people in the world happy by donating the money I would have spent on audio gifts to feed the hungry in Brazil and Ethiopia, a truly great buzz better than any toys I would have bought.
Gulls. I get my fave rib tips and savor the heavenly bites. The I throw the bones to the masses of assembled flying rats.

Pisses them off.

"Boss de list, de list"

So glupson, you do anything for Christmas?
Thanks for asking. I did not do anything worth mentioning. No secret gravy here. Not even grandchildren. If I had them, I would let them read some of the posts here to teach them how they should not behave.

I did let some Christmas "CDs" (files from the server) play at some point. Bob Dylan, Phil Spector, and The Puppini Sisters. All equipment remained stock, the way more capable people invented/designed it. I touched only remote controls.
We reverse seared a large prime cowboy steak and it came out perfectly. I was in the mood for prime rib, but cooking a roast seemed ridiculous for two of us. 
I spent the better part of the afternoon playing records. No tweaking, fiddling about, or wondering "what if." Played a range of material, from post-bop to heavy metal. My ratio of intake (records coming in) to processing and accessioning (examining, cleaning, playing- enjoying and cataloging in the stacks) is pretty bad; incoming (mostly old) records will stack up unplayed. So yesterday was a chance to just play; I had cleaned a bunch of records a few days before, so didn't even have to bother with that. 
I hope I'm not in the minority in actually playing the damn thing for enjoyment occasionally. 

I heard your rig (same preamp/amp/speakers) at a show. The vocals were second to none I have heard. Certainly dinged my bias against SS, but I digress. 
Bill - everything is bigger in TX, especially the Prime Rib

i did cook a smoked ham, in the Mac n Cheese with sourdough crostini bread crumbs and a nice aged cheddar 
Playing the damn thing for enjoyment is what I mostly do. Its in my spare non-listening times I think of how to make it even more better. My methodical, incremental, proof of concept approach takes this up a whole level to where very little of the outcome is left in doubt. It'll work in the hard time consuming case because its been shown to work in the super easy to try out case first. So it'll definitely work. The only remaining question being, how well?

Pretty damn well, let me tell you! First tried listening to just the tape, which all by itself was quite good. Tons lower noise floor, really nice detail, less glare, more natural. Active Shielding however takes it up into a whole new level. The power supplies had been connected but sitting idle a very long time so it took a while to warm up and break in. They were modded by Spallone, remember. New parts. Now though, wow!

Was up so late last night just playing the damn things lost track of time.
@tomic601 I don’t consider myself much of a cook, my wife is great; I was the grillmaster back east but down here, I don’t bother- Trying to find real Italian in Austin is a challenge, so that has to be home cooked (I'm not Italian by heritage but grew up with it). Your meal sounds yummy.
I love cooking but not this Xmas, mother in law took over in a family gathering. After moving or not around like a crocodile did put the radio on and stopped moving at all till next day. Not so active i confess.
Mary Xmas and Happy New Year.
Rotisserie chicken from Ralphs (Kroeger) Market, scratch potato/cauliflower smash, petite French green beans (Trader Joe's frozen) and Ocean Spray tinned/jellied cranberry sauce.

Spent many hours looking @ your Red Carpet pics.

Played "The Last Days of Disco" soundtrack a couple of times and watched reruns of "Martial Law".

Repeated paragraphs 1 & 2 yesterday and will be repeating them today as well.

Looking forward to Meatless Monday as well as further extended views of your Red Carpet pics. 

One thing for sure with Gulls, I don't want to get lucky (crapped on).

Yes I appreciate they saved the US from a bug infestation.  NO I don't care for them.. No I wouldn't hurt them.. BUT I do avoid flying SEA RATS, and land bound flying rats, pigeons and doves...

YUK... Nasty..

Me, the dog, the rabbit, the goat and EVEN the chickens agree..

No Yoko Ono, sea gulls, pigeons, doves, or RATS... :-)

Fresh homemade tamales, (pork and sweet), rice and beans, rice pudding, capidotatha (SP) (bread pudding Mexican style).
All my MIL recipes (RIP).. Wonderful food.. I'm an American Irish Kid.... Get out of my way...  Yum Yum...

 and Ocean Spray tinned/jellied cranberry sauce.

Holy.... okay dekay, millercabon gonna make you the holiday hero from now on:

1 bag cranberries, 1 lemon, 1 orange, 1 Granny Smith, 1c raisins, 1c walnuts, 1c sugar. Pour the sugar and a cup or two of water, just enough to cover the berries, bring to a simmer.

Dice apple, shred zest and then juice lemon and orange, add that in. Simmer, skins pop, takes about 15-20 min then add raisins and walnuts, mix real good, remove from heat and let cool.

Refrigerate over night. Enjoy the best cranberry sauce you or anyone you know ever had. This recipe thanks to my dear departed neighbor Debbie. May she rest in peace, her recipes live on.
Thanks MC. My wife and I are going to try to make it for New Years dinner.  It will go wonderful with the 8 pound chicken I am going to rotisserie.  We are also making real rice pilaf like was made in the old country, recipe per great grandma and of course butternut squash. 
It really does sound delicious and I’m sure it’s better than Ocean Spray.  
It really is delicious. Everyone who has tried it raves about it. Also super easy to make. Use more or less of whatever you want, except for the apple, it contributes a lot of the pectin that serves to make a nice rich sauce that when chilled is almost like jam. Do it right it can be used on a sandwich. Also thanks to the sugar and the acidity it will keep refrigerated for one to two weeks no problem.
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Pork chops and applesauce.

Then I sat down for my annual listening session of Miles Davis' Bitches Brew. I've done this in consecutive years since the late '70's in the hope that one day I will actually like it. This year I got through all four sides and have to admit that the worse my hearing gets, the better I like it.
Love the food post here. Did my annual Christmas dinner, a dark wild duck and Savoys pork sausage gumbo with my potato salad and a buttermilk dressindg coleslaw with a from scatch german choclate cake. Enjoy the music, yum yum