“Baby Grand” AR the Turntable in Piano Black, SME 3009 Series II, Many Mods, including the new Aluminum Resin Platter

Another Turntable Offering:

“Baby Grand” AR the Turntable in Piano Black, SME 3009 Series II, Many Mods, including the new Aluminum Resin Platter!

Why spend more to buy a refurbished AR turntable from Vinyl Nirvana?

Buying vintage electronic equipment on eBay can be a gamble. To better your chances at winning, you want two things: 1) Plenty of information about the auction item; and 2) A seller you can trust. When an AR turntable is refurbished by Vinyl Nirvana, it undergoes a multi-step inspection and tuning regimen. Ask another seller of aa AR table on Ebay these questions and see if you can get a response…

Is the motor running silently? Any unhealthy bearing noise?

Is the spindle straight? Was the spindle cleaned of old belt residue, which can cause rumble?

Does the belt properly interface with the spindle on both 33 and 45 rpm?

Is the belt new or in near mint condition?

Is the proper length belt installed? (Differences of less than an inch can result in speed changes.)

Is the proper width belt installed? (Differences can result in belt slippage or faulty change of speed.)

Has the platter bearing been inspected? Is it straight, true, and without significant wear?

Has the platter bearing well been inspected? Was it cleaned of old grease and contaminants? Was it properly lubed with appropriate oil?

Is the tonearm functioning properly? Any significant side-to-side motion, which can adversely affect tracking? Is range of motion appropriate? Is anti-skate functioning? Is appropriate tonearm weight installed?

Is cueing adjusted properly?

Were electrical connections cleaned and inspected? Headshell leads? Tonearm recepticle? RCA plugs? (Dirty connections can contribute to hum problems.) Are all connections tight? ( I use Dexoit products, highly recommended.)

Is transport screw intact? Is it functioning properly?

Are dust cover hinges intact and not stripped?

Was all wiring beneath the turntable inspected? Were worn solder joints re-soldered?

What is the condition of the AC cord? The interconnect cable?

Are springs in good working condition? Have worn springs been replaced? Has spring suspension been tuned? (This is an art learned through having set up dozens of these tables.)

Was the speed checked by strobodisc at 33 and 45 rpm?

Was headshell inspected? Is there any stripping? Do the cartridge screws hold tight? Are the leads brittle?

Is the tonearm rest original? Is it functioning properly?

Is a proper mat installed?

Is the base intact? Are the rubber feet intact?

If an AR table fails to pass any of the above inspections, Vinyl Nirvana corrects the problem before it gets listed. If the turntable is unsellable due to too many defects, it becomes a parts unit to be used in the restoration of other AR units. In addition to this multi-step inspection, each turntable is thoroughly detailed with appropriate cleaners. The average cleaning takes up to two hours. Though the tables Vinyl Nirvana sells will vary cosmetically, they will always be clean. Can you trust Vinyl Nirvana as a seller? Please read our ebay feedback (username vinylnirvana3345) regarding sales of turntables. Notice references to item exactly as described. Notice references to excellent packing. Notice references to our service and committment after the sale.  Then see our testimonial page linked on the “For Sale”  page.

This Week’s “Baby Grand” AR the Turntable in Piano Black, w/SME 3009 Series II Arm & More

If you are familiar with AR lore, you know that there were a very limited number of AR ETL-1s produced with a piano black finish.  In my whole career working with these turntables, I have come across only one. (See my Gallery page)  I love wood and wood finishes as much as anyone who loves vintage, but there is something about that black ETL-1 that sets my heart racing.

Inspired by the ETL-1 in piano-black,  I have now commissioned a total of three of these very special bases.  I want to emphasize two things: 1) This is a professionally applied and built up piano black finish.  2) The finish was applied over an existing AR the turntable plinth that was professionally prepared by an experienced auto body professional.   I would wager 99% of the original imperfections in the original plinth were accounted for, however, if you are a paint professional, and you examine it long enough, you will likely discover  those very slight imperfections.  For the rest of us, it is nothing but dropdead gorgeous.   Overall, with the top metal plate also newly and professionally painted, I would rate the unit a solid 9.5.

Because of the special nature of the plinth, I nickname the piano-black turntables “Baby Grand.”  Fitting that stature, I have installed many of the AR upgrades: new shaft/spindle, new co-polymer pulley, new acrylic platter, new outer clamp ring, and new springs/studs.  Finally, I installed the upgrade motor sourced by George Merrill; it has been a universal success, solving many of the issues in the stock motor.  The Bren weight is also included at the sale price. If the new owner wishes, we can discuss upgrading the subchassis to the terpolymer one.   I can make an attractive package price.

(Please note this is the third “Baby Grand” I have offered. My hope is to continue to offer one per year.)

The brand new aluminum resin platter

The New Aluminum Resin Drive Platter

Again, due to the special nature of this turntable, I have decided to debut the new aluminum resin drive platter on this package.  Unlike the stock AR platter, which is aluminum and rings like a church bell, the aluminum resin material DEADENS unwanted resonance from the shaft as it spins in the bearing well.  In addition, the extra mass helps with the flywheel effect, creating greater speed consistency.  These drive platters are made one at a time, with great care.  They are essentially the same drive platter used on the legendary Merrill-Scillia MS-2 ($7K)  and MS-21 ($24K)!

The SME 3009 Series II Tonearm

The SME 3009 tonearms have become the holy grail for vintage turntable enthusiasts.  The arms have consistently increased in value over the past 10 years. The Series II (non-Improved) is arguably considered the best of the 3009s.  Cosmetically, the arm is in very good to excellent condition, with no significant flaws to report.  It is 100% tested and functional.  Note the original SME connector cable has been replaced with a hard-wired rca cable with quality rca plugs.

Overall, this is a stunning table with a serious arm capable of handling cartridges in the $500 to $2000 range with ease. I would be happy to mount any cartridge for the new owner for $30. If I install the cartridge, it makes set-up incredibly easy for set-up.  I am a also dealer for Dynavector, Ortofon, and Grado.  If you buy the cartridge from me, the installation fee is waived.

A Note about Piano Black Finishes

With the beauty of these finishes, comes responsibility.  I will include with the sale a microfiber cloth, and some special cleaner/polish recommended for upkeep.  I will also include a set of white gloves for removal of the turntable from the packaging and placement on its rack.  If one is reasonably careful, and one uses the air duster instead of a cloth for regular dusting, this finish, like a car finish, can last a long long time.

The machined and fitted acrylic platter looks and sounds amazing
Closer view of the new aluminum resin platter
No dust cover is included. Custom acrylic cover can be purchased for $225.

The Details

This table will be packed like it is a fragile pane of glass. I simply care too much for these tables to just shove them in a box. I will carefully pack the table in extra sturdy boxes. and bubble wrap. I prefer Fedex Ground. What I love best is introducing someone new to the joys of vinyl, getting someone back into vinyl who left it for the “superiority” of cds, or helping someone else who does appreciate it to “move up.” In that regard, I do what few sellers do…if the buyer needs it, I can supply up to one hour of help by phone with set up. (At a mutually arranged time.) In general, most buyers don’t need it, but if there IS a problem, I am there.

Email me if you are interested in purchasing this turntable or another one I have slated for restoration.

Inquire if you’d like to upgrade to the new SME M2-9 tonearm