Thursday, September 4, 2014

Back From the Dead Turntable: Elac Miracord 650

The latest addition to my vintage audio gear collection is this nice Elac Miracord 650 turntable. I was not familiar with the brand prior to me picking this one up. These turntables would have been the competition for Dual turntables in the 60’s-80’s, and some believe they are a step up. I’m bias, I like both!

It is an Idler wheel turntable which has 4 speeds: 16, 33, 45 and 78 RPM. Some prefer a belt drive turntable over the idler wheel as they say the moving parts cause “rumble”, but I have yet to see/hear this become an issue. My opinion is that if you have these idler wheel tables set up properly, they’re well-oiled and greased so all parts move freely and quietly, they will work great. If there is a “rumble”, it is so low that it is virtually inaudible to the common non-audiophile (some of these audiophiles can hear stuff that I sure can’t… I guess I’m lucky I can’t hear it).

This turntable has a square tube aluminum tone arm, the adjustable counter weight is also rectangular in shape, which gives it a unique look. The head shell accepts a ½” mount cartridge (2-screws on top rather than one through the side). The part of the head shell which holds the cartridge unplugs and pulls right out, which I really like. This makes installing a new cartridge super easy to do. Also, if I can find another one of these head shell parts, I can have another needle already aligned and ready to plug in when I like. This would come in handy if I had a mono or 78rpm needle, I could easily switch them as fast as I can switch records.

The base is made of beautiful wood construction giving it a really nice retro look.

This table can be used as a record changer, meaning that I can stack a number of albums (up to 6 I believe), and it will play one album after another. The spindle holds records above the turntable and after the first record plays through, the next one will drop on top and begin to play. Most record changers have an arm that moves over and holds the records flat on the spindle, this player has a different design. Instead of this arm, the spindle has 3 little shelves on it which holds the records flat.

The only downside I have noticed so far is that the spindle needs to be removed in order to change records unlike most BSR and Dual changers which are made so that you can just lift the record directly off the spindle. Not a very big inconvenience, but just different. At least the spindle does not lock in place and is very easy to remove. Also, they designed the turntable case to have a storage area for the spindle on the side so I won’t lose the spindle (as well it stores the single record spindle that was also included).

This turntable is nice and heavy and really has a nice build quality. There are very limited electrical parts: basically just the motor which turns and the rest is mechanical (I also saw a capacitor or two which is most likely used to keep the motor speed consistent).

I’m very happy with this turntable find and it proudly replaces my other record changers as my primary multi-play unit. It’s nice to be able to stack a bunch of 45’s or albums and let them play through. Of course I also have my manual turntable for normal use as well.

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