For decades, I have been searching for one of the largest turntables ever made. Not until recently, did I find this GATES Model CB-500. For its age, this turntable was in remarkably good condition, but it still qualified for a complete restoration.
The top plate, seen as gray, was bead blasted and powder coated. Random holes that were made by previous engineers were filled with JB Weld, leaving a flawless surface. A 7/8" hole was made for the new Rek-O-Kut 16" tone arm along with a smaller hole for the tone arm rest. The idler wheel was replaced with NOS for a good contact with the platter. The platter itself required the most labor. Very old paint was removed along with 50 years of corroaded aluminum. With the help of a powered buffing wheel and a bottle of Mirror Finish "Super Polish", the shine came through. Once the platter resembled a mirror, the record surface area was covered with green, self stick, felt. Without much more said, this project turned out 100%. It looks and performs great.
Anyone looking to buy a broadcast turntable, or purchase replacement parts for your Russco, QRK or Sparta turntable, call, or email Skeeter. He is a knowedgable, friendly person, willing to assist you with your broadcast turntable needs. Click on the hyperlink below for a direct connection to Russco Turntables.
Locating one large piece of self sticking felt is difficult. Why self sticking felt? Originally, engineers would use contact cement, making it difficult to remove when replacing the felt. Self sticking felt will never come off on its own, but removes easily when needed. See the following link for ordering.
Making the perfect cut for your table is easy. Don't use scissors! Cut a piece of felt slightly larger than your platter. Peel off the paper backing. Stick it to the platter. Use a record for a template to cut the outside edge, geltly trim the edge with a single edge razor blade and gently peel off the excess felt. Find something to use as a template for the center cut-out. See my Gates turntable for results.
Rek-O-Kut Transcription Tone Arm
Feel free to view, or copy, the PDF for the Rek-O-Kut 16" S-260 transcription tone arm. This extra long tone arm is difficult to locate and usually is very expensive. The GATES turntable shown above is outfitted with this tone arm to acommodate the large 16" transcription records.
Homemade, in as it was not assembled in a factory. This is the result of misc parts and components. A Technics SP-25 two speed turntable, a matching Technics plenth, a MicroTrac 15" tone arm, an oddball arm rest and a matching set of feet. This is not a lot different than any vintage radio station engineer would do. Where a turntable that will handle up to a 16" transcription, would cost several hundred dollars, this was created from a pile of parts, costing nothing. Does it work? Well, naturally and it was fun to build.
Choosing The Proper Stylus
Older records require larger tips for normal playback. Using styli of various sizes to overcome noise in records caused by wear and abuse is a common technique. There is no optimum size stylus. The one that produces the best sound is the correct stylus to use.
Most vintage recordings do not have to be played with any particular stylus, but they were made to be played with certain standard styli. 78s and radio transcriptions require a coarse groove stylus of approximately 3 mil. You should choose the stylus that provides the best overall sound regardless of size. Here are some recommendations to start with:
2.0 X 0.4 mil elliptical diamond - worn LPs, some transcriptions. 2.5 X 0.5 mil elliptical diamond - some 78s, many transcriptions. 3.0 X 0.5 mil elliptical diamond - most 30's-50's, slightly worn 78s & transcriptions, and Edison discs. 3.5 X 0.8 mil elliptical diamond - old or worn 78s, transcriptions. 4.0 X 1.0 mil elliptical diamond - very old/worn discs, raw aluminium, RCA home recordings. 8.0 mil conical sapphire - RCA home recordings, and Pathé vertical discs
Choosing the cartridge is a persoanl choice. My favorite is the SHURE M-44. It is standard equipment and is affordable. Asking someone to recommend a cartridge will surely result in a response. The best cartridge is the one you choose.