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Yamaha P-550 Turntable ('80-'82)

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hey all,

My parents have a Yamaha P-550 Turntable (1980-1982) they got at a garage sale long ago that I messed around with at their house tonight. My parents never use it anymore, but it still works like brand new, only missing dust cover. I did some searching and came up with this thread on audiokarma which states it is a decent, but nothing special turntable.

I don't have the shelf space currently to bring it to my place, but I might later if you guys think it's good enough quality. They had several old London and NY Phil classical recordings which I played and it sounded ok on the junky speakers they had hooked up to it. I figure it needs a good cleaning (the lps also) as there was plenty of pops, some lps more than others.

My question right now I suppose is whether this unit is good enough to use for a headphone rig, and also what cartridge I should install if it needs to be changed. It currently has a Shure 3X R25XT Realistic cartridge which I'm quite positive was purchased at a radio shack when my dad got it home from the garage sale probably 10-15 years ago, maybe less.

It says on the device FG Servo D.D. Fully Automatic meaning it is a direct drive (no belt). I inspected it and found no corrosion or damage beyond cosmetic on some of the corners of the unit. The feet appear to be working properly to provide dampening.

Thanks!
post #2 of 6

LPs and headphones

Generally speaking listening to LPs on headphones will make you far more aware of imperfections in the playback than speakers. Tics, clicks, pops, rumble, mistracking, groove noise, side end disortion, hum; all things that dissipate into the background with speakers somewhat are much more evident with cans. So if extraneous noise is an issue with you keep to speakers. The Yamaha is actually a pretty quiet TT so it does not add much of it's own noise.

If you have a good copy of Mahler's first on LP try that first , it has a very quiet opening section, if you can listen through that on headphones without gritting your teeth you are good to go...
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply, can you state if I need to replace my cartridge? Looking around at some sites I see this cartridge is decent, not trash and not high end, but I don't know if they need to be replaced after a certain time. This cartridge probably had less than 100 hours of use, but it is fairly old.

The LPs they had were pretty basic for classical. Most of what they had was 60s-70s rock like beach boys, beatles, eagles, etc, so the classical stuff was just an afterthought. If I decide to bring it over I'll have to find a good local source for LPs. As to being able to listen to it I have no doubt I can hear through the limitations of the technology. Even on junk speakers I could really hear some vibrant music trying to come through, especially vocals.
post #4 of 6
Don't worry too much about the quality. If it works and you liked the sound, make some room and set it up.

You don't need to find a record shop, either. Check out thrift stores, junk shops and garage/estate sales for used vinyl. You shouldn't have any trouble finding any at great prices. Learn how to clean records and get a pack of clean sleeves to put them in and you're set.

Replace the stylus when it starts to sound distorted - you'll know when you hear it.
post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post
Looking around at some sites I see this cartridge is decent, not trash and not high end, but I don't know if they need to be replaced after a certain time. This cartridge probably had less than 100 hours of use, but it is fairly old.
I remember selling the Yamaha P series tables and they were very competitive to the king of the day, Technics. I recall the arm being noteworthy, a straight-arm, low mass design if my memory serves me correctly.

Anyway, replace the cartridge. Even though it doesn't have many hours of use, after this many years the suspension is shot. The rubber used back then on the cantilever deteriorates with age which affects the tracking. Kind of like driving a car with worn out shocks. Grado makes some good low priced cartridges that will work fine with your arm. Sumiko has some as well.
post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by jwbrent View Post
the arm being noteworthy, a straight-arm, low mass design if my memory serves me correctly.
If that's the case then go for another Shure like the M-97 or one of the Ortofon OM series. Replacing the stylus on your current Shure will be fine though as the parts which wear out are replaced...
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