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Sony PS-X7 Turntable Direct Drive goodness

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
So lately I have been on a vintage turntable tear and have researched the heck out of some of the late 70s and early 80s decks and I cam across this table. The table has an outstanding direct drive unit and while the table looks plastic it it made out of metal. The tonearm is made from a carbon fiber composite and was only available in the US and Europe. I have owned a massively upgraded Linn for 10 years and loved and hated that table for the entire time. Loved it for its musical presence and hated the fidgety nature of the suspension and the ungodly price of the upgrades associated with it.
The Sony deck is on par with this upgraded Linn deck surprisingly besting it in some area and losing in others. The sony's bass response is significantly better and there is absolutely no smearing at all in any of the frequencies. It has amazing timing and neutrality besting the Linn in those areas but is just a smidge thin in the mids compared to the linn. Overall a great deck and a testament to Japan's engineering prowess in the late 70s. Future upgraded are to take the ultra nasty rca cables off the rear of the deck and replace them. This is a big job and I will need to take a weekend to take apart the table and solder on new cables. The heashell leads are crap and will be replaced with cardas leads and if I an figure out how to replace the tone arm wire I plan to do that as well. I would like to shop this table to some other headfier rigs to see how it compares. Overall very satisfied and it has made me a direct drive convert. Do not believe the BS that DD tables are noisy and full of rumble, the better ones are not. I would heartily recommend the upper end Sony (ps-x800 to 500, ps-x5-7 and ps-x70s) to someone that wants to get great performance at pennies on the dollar. I vastly overpaid for this table as it is in great condition but you can find the for $100-150 on ebay. Just try to buy local as they get trashed in shipping.

Here is a few pics on action with my ZYX cart.


post #2 of 14
Nice. I have had a few of the Sony Biotracer decks and been pretty impressed with them especially at the prices they go for these days.

You should definitely try to rewire the tonearm as this will make a big difference. It'll be a labour of love

The Sony you have is luckily one of the simpler ones before they went crazy with "Bio" sensers etc... so much easier to work on. The arm could be removed in fact but I would personally go for a restoration job rather than butchering a classic vintage deck like this.

In terms of DD performance though a modern Technics SL1200 with a Rega arm will best most of these older vintage decks and be much less of a headache in servicing terms.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by memepool View Post
Nice. I have had a few of the Sony Biotracer decks and been pretty impressed with them especially at the prices they go for these days.

You should definitely try to rewire the tonearm as this will make a big difference. It'll be a labour of love

The Sony you have is luckily one of the simpler ones before they went crazy with "Bio" sensers etc... so much easier to work on. The arm could be removed in fact but I would personally go for a restoration job rather than butchering a classic vintage deck like this.

In terms of DD performance though a modern Technics SL1200 with a Rega arm will best most of these older vintage decks and be much less of a headache in servicing terms.
In the end I am hoping to score an sp-10mkll and have it custom mounted in a birch ply plinth that way the skys the limit on a tone arm. Funny I have a biotracer as well the sp-x500 and it is a very good table in its own right. these tables sold for around $350 in 79 so in todays dollars they would be in the $1500 range. The arms tend to be the weakest part but this arm is not to bad at all.
post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by jp11801 View Post
In the end I am hoping to score an sp-10mkll and have it custom mounted in a birch ply plinth that way the skys the limit on a tone arm. Funny I have a biotracer as well the sp-x500 .
Yes I also dream of owning a restored SP10II one day but at the moment have no more space left for turntables.
I had a PS-X600 which was lovely but now I only have the PS-FL77 because it can be discreetly stacked and sounds good enough for headphone use. All the auto functions are brilliant too compared to purist audiophile decks, no getting up to take off the record for fear of damaging a pricey MC cart

Their '80s Heli portable decks are very good for the size too and very handy. I'm still looking for a perfect example of a PS-Q7 with built in headphone amp Sony #88: FH-7, Heli

Did your PS-X7 come with the original silicone fuid damped mat, surely one of Sony's best vinyl innovations...
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by memepool View Post
Yes I also dream of owning a restored SP10II one day but at the moment have no more space left for turntables.
I had a PS-X600 which was lovely but now I only have the PS-FL77 because it can be discreetly stacked and sounds good enough for headphone use. All the auto functions are brilliant too compared to purist audiophile decks, no getting up to take off the record for fear of damaging a pricey MC cart

Their '80s Heli portable decks are very good for the size too and very handy. I'm still looking for a perfect example of a PS-Q7 with built in headphone amp Sony #88: FH-7, Heli

Did your PS-X7 come with the original silicone fuid damped mat, surely one of Sony's best vinyl innovations...
that sony rocks and would make a cool desktop source!!

Yes it has the silicone fluid mat and is in pretty good shape. Overall I love this table and think it is a decent source that I would stack up with $1k decks out there today. I like it's sound more than I liked the scout which I felt was dark sounding.
post #6 of 14
Well now if this doesn't strike the nostalgia button, nothing will!

This very turntable was what got me into audio. One of my earliest memories is my dad teaching me how to cue up a record, namely Conway Twitty's Merry Twismas, on this very turntable. I couldn't have been older than 4 or 5 at the time. Once I learned how to operate this thing it was on like donkey kong.

::reminiscing off - questions on::

Ok so question. After being home this past Xmas I spied this same turntable sitting storage. It hasn't been touched in 10 years and before that it was used twice a year at best. It probably has not seen regular use since pre 1987. In the meantime I have amassed a small vinyl collection (about 40 titles) without owning a turntable. Much to the amusement of my wife and friends might I add. I've been holding out for that day when I could get something in the $3K price range and would have a collection of material to play on it.

By using an older 1970's era turntable, am I risking screwing up my records? I suppose my thinking is there has to have been advancements in turntables. Or it is quite possible that I am just being paranoid as hell and I should just listen to the thing.
post #7 of 14
There have been few if any advancements in turntables because most people consider it defunct technology.
With a couple of exceptions like the Laser Turntable, most decks being made today, at least in the price-range you are talking about are based on simple beltdrive designs which havn't progressed much since the 1970s. Companies which continued working on turntables after the advent of CD, were small specialist engineering outfits like SME and there was a watershed in tonearm design in the mid '80s, but the decks themselves are some of the simplest designs possible.
The top of the line Japanese decks like that Sony were technological tours de force which were frighteningly expensive back in the day, two or three times the price of a Michell or Linn which you'd pay 3K (and then some ) for today.
This is the source main potential problem you might encounter now, because they were based on 70s ICs which are no longer made, if there is anything seriously wrong with the deck it's unlikely to be fixable.
It might be advisable to replace the oil in the spindle which could have seized up after so many years of inactivity. Vinylengine.com will have a manual. Fire it up and leave it running for a few days to make sure the speed is stable and blow out the cobwebs.
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by memepool View Post
There have been few if any advancements in turntables because most people consider it defunct technology.
With a couple of exceptions like the Laser Turntable, most decks being made today, at least in the price-range you are talking about are based on simple beltdrive designs which havn't progressed much since the 1970s. Companies which continued working on turntables after the advent of CD, were small specialist engineering outfits like SME and there was a watershed in tonearm design in the mid '80s, but the decks themselves are some of the simplest designs possible.
The top of the line Japanese decks like that Sony were technological tours de force which were frighteningly expensive back in the day, two or three times the price of a Michell or Linn which you'd pay 3K (and then some ) for today.
This is the source main potential problem you might encounter now, because they were based on 70s ICs which are no longer made, if there is anything seriously wrong with the deck it's unlikely to be fixable.
It might be advisable to replace the oil in the spindle which could have seized up after so many years of inactivity. Vinylengine.com will have a manual. Fire it up and leave it running for a few days to make sure the speed is stable and blow out the cobwebs.
Interesting. Luckily I have all of the original paperwork, including the paper protractor. I suppose I am most concerns with the arm tracking all funny and wearing one side of the grove more than the other and totally screwing up my records. I suppose I should play the darn thing and stop worrying about it.
post #9 of 14

Greetings

First post, trying to navigate board.

Know 30day/50post rule to sell, willing to prove myself so here goes.

Worked in consumer electronics for 24 years, at one time had over 3500 LPs.

Found my last TT in the attic, found this board looking for its value.

Sony PSX 600. I forgot that I had stashed away three headshells, might make someone real happy.

Please link me to a beginner's board, and I'll "Shure" do my best to contribute. Thanks
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sayjaybay3 View Post
Sony PSX 600. I forgot that I had stashed away three headshells, might make someone real happy.
Nice. See here
Sony PS-X600 & PS-X500 on TVK

and here

HI-FI WORLD - OLDE WORLDE - SONY BIOTRACER PS-X600 TURNTABLE

I sold mine for about UKP80 a few years back. They don't keep their value so well as there is just too much that can potentially go wrong. You'll probably make a decent amount selling the headshells separately on ebay though.
post #11 of 14

I actually have two PS-X7's.  One is equipped with a standard (non amplified cartridge) and the other with an Ortofon (sorry I don't remember the #'s) cartridge with an Ortofon Preamp. Either of these will play phenomenal sound from mastered records.  In fact I would be willing to put the PS-X7 with the Ortofon cartridge and Preamp against any Rotel on the market.  Using like for like system setups, I would defy anyone to tell the difference between the two in a double blind test.  In fact I believe the tonal quality of the PS-X7 may even garner more votes than the Rotel from a purist listening standpoint.  

 

So, in answer to your question, if you make certain that the vintage player is set up properly and has a decent cartridge, you have no worries whatsoever in playing the finest mastered vinyl one can buy.  (BUT... and this is a BIG BUT... you must make certain that the vintage player is in fact set up PROPERLY! and that the cartridge is and needle are up to the task!

 

PapaJohn, Ph.D.

(Please note, my degree is in Finance... NOT Electronics or Sound Engineering so my opinions should not be given any more weight than any other long term audiophile)!    

post #12 of 14

I forgot to mention that the Rotel to which I referred in my last post was actuallt the Transrotor Argos... not Rotel. My apologies. The Transrotor sells for $250k. You can find it here... http://danielstout.com/2009/03/the-new-top-end-of-turntables-the-250000-transrotor-argos/ .  Sorry for the confusion, my memory isn't what it use to be...LOL   

post #13 of 14

I picked up a very clean Sony PS-X7 at a local thrift store for $19.99, which seems to be a really good buy, based on what I have read on line about this player. I cleaned it, checked the connections, made sure it turned freely and then plugged it in. All the controls work perfectly. I cleaned the stylus (ordered a new one on line with a cartridge) and hooked it up to my Yamaha Tuner. I played an older, somewhat damaged record and was very impressed by the sound it produced. I made sure the balance was correctly set and I have really good results so far. The dust cover is in good condition, no cracks but has some slight scratching on it.

 

I have a question about the neon light. The table appears to spin at the correct speeds according to the neon light. However, the light comes on for a minute or two, then flickers and goes out. A minute or two later it comes back on and will stay on for a couple of minutes, flickers and goes out. Is this normal. The manual and spec sheets I down loaded do not say...

 

Thanks

mogulsmoke

Fillmore, CA

post #14 of 14

Gorgeous TT and a great site. I also love the comments although some of them get seriously carried out by enthusiasm and make belief than logic an facts. I am referring to PapaJon's comments about his Sony's been put against any Rotel etc. I own at present 6 TTs and I have gone through at least another 8 or 9 previous to that. When I came across the Sony Biotracers I was very impressed by the comments to the point that I started haunting them like game. I ended up with a PS-800 that unfortunately did not last me very long. It started having serious issues with the tonearm that was traced by the local technician to one of the ICs. I have never been able to locate the part to fix it. I then got my hands on a PS-X600 that i am listening to at this very minute through a Pioneer 1080 receiver and a pair of Pioneer HPM-900 speakers, modified by myself.

 

After so much hype about these biotracers I started dreaming of the Sonys to really stand their own vs my reference system's Sota Cosmos V with Origin Live Conqueror tonearm. At the time the tonearm had been sent to England for an upgrade and I decided to use the Sony's and my other TTs in its place. After installing my Grado "The Reference" cartridge (1200 dollar cartridge that I have liked a lot) I eagerly sat down to listen. The sound was pleasant and the convenience of not having to worry about the LP finishing while I was doing something else was very...uplifting! Time passed and I was pretty happy with the Sonys and my 1249Q and 701 Duals I kept alternating in my main system. By the way, the Duals simply beat the Sonys in musicality and beat. The 1249Q is an idler wheel driven TT and more noisy than the Sonys but the sound was simply on a different level with this TT. The Dual 701 took the music to an even higher level. As musical as the 1249 but w/o the noise. Great! I had already started planning what to do with the $7K +++ I could get for selling my Sota Cosmos and the Conqueror arm. I was so happy...and silly. The dream ended the day I received the Conqueror arm back, installed it back to the Cosmos and the needle touched the groove! The Cosmos literally obliterated the vintage TTs. All of them! There was simply no contest. The system sounded like a high end system again.The music became real once more and with authority that none of the lesser TTs ever approached. My dreams of buying that Vertical Mill, the 10x22 mini lathe etc. were all shuttered because I could never let go of the Cosmos set up.

 

About three months ago I helped one of my buddies with a custom made cabinet for his Thorens 124 MK II. He has spent a few thousand bucks on that TT and it is a real beauty. When I was done with the cabinet he came by and we installed the TT in it. He is using an SME V which he got at a ridiculously low price ( estate sale) and he also has the Grado The Reference cartridge (he loved mine...). That set up came very very close to my Cosmos but again, there was more noise, less bass (despite the fact that the SME V is famous for its loe level prowess) and overall musicality. The Cosmos proved its self once more and thankfully made me happy that I did not need to sell it for replacement yet... The Thorens set up cost my friend around $5K the Cosmos as I have ti cost me around $6K (it costs more like $8k new by itself but I bought mine used). The Thorens 124 is arguably the best vintage TT out there bar none and it still came short compared to a modern well made TT. There is something to be said about modern technology. Maye the Sota's vacuum hold down system that flattens the LPs to perfection, maybe it superior isolation from vibration, the high  torque motor, the Conqueror arm's design...who knows but it easily beat every other TT I have put up against it...Bar none (so far).

 

Moral of the story? I have 4 different Stereo systems at my home and I enjoy them all like you cannot imagine. The only modern system is my main system and the other 3 are made up from vintage equipment. As I said, I enjoy them all for what they are but I have NO illusions of a giant killer with vintage equipment. Yes, a well made vintage piece will beat the heck out of a plastic Best Buy piece of crap any time of the day. But put against a well made modern gear most vintage pieces do not stand a chance. Enjoy them for what they are and what they offer and if it suits you keep on dreaming that a 60's hot rod really beats a modern Porchse in its own terms. To each his own...

 

Peace and enjoy the music.

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