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  1. #1
    Byron
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    Encino, CA
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    37

    Merrill Replica ES Turntable ES-R1

    This summer Merrill is introducing a new turntable based on the AR ES-1 turntable with the Merrill modifications. I have been using an AR turntable (The Turntable) for the past 28 years and fully enjoying it so this got my attention right away. The base price is $995 and fully set up with the base finish, Rega tonearm, Ortofon cartridge, dustcover it is still under $1500. There are also many other options. This could be another way to go for anyone looking to get into analog. I wonder if these will be sold in the stores or displayed at the audio shows because I would love to see the unit. Generally I think it is better to purchase a turntable from your local brick and mortar store so it can be set up properly. It sure is an exciting time to be into analog.
    Byron

  2. #2
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Dec 2003
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    5,463
    Quote Originally Posted by Byron4 View Post
    This summer Merrill is introducing a new turntable based on the AR ES-1 turntable with the Merrill modifications. I have been using an AR turntable (The Turntable) for the past 28 years and fully enjoying it so this got my attention right away.
    The AR was significant not only for its presence, but also that it spawned an entire new class of belt-driven designs. Admittedly, the original AR arm wasn't anything to write home about. Perhaps the most famous derivative design was the Linn Sondek LP-12. In '74, I had a Technics SL-110a with a SME 3009 and lusted after the Linn, but couldn't afford it at the time. Two years later, I ended up buying a rep's sample of an Ariston RD-11s which is a very near Scottish cousin. I use it to this day in the vintage system also with a SME3009 - although not the same one I originally used.

    Quote Originally Posted by Byron4 View Post
    The base price is $995 and fully set up with the base finish, Rega tonearm, Ortofon cartridge, dustcover it is still under $1500.
    Seems like a pretty good deal. For me, the most critical part is the arm/cartridge. I experimented greatly back in the day first with damping the SME and later working with a Vestigal, Grace 714 and eventually, the Souther TQ-1 which I continue to use now mounted on a VPI Scout. I pretty much converted to MC cartridges thirty years ago.

    Quote Originally Posted by Byron4 View Post
    Generally I think it is better to purchase a turntable from your local brick and mortar store so it can be set up properly. It sure is an exciting time to be into analog.
    I agree. You really need a passionate turntable geek for the initial setup. I was one of those guys working at a hi-fi shop while I was in college. We sold lots of Vestigals, Grace 707s, Mayware Formula 4s and a few Dynavector 505s. I really enjoyed the setup process. Occasionally, we'd get an Infinity Black Widow.

  3. #3
    Byron
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Encino, CA
    Posts
    37
    Hi-Estat You may not remember but we had a nice audio chat when I first signed up a couple of years ago about my AR turntable. It may have been my first exchange. Your post chronicles my turntable journey. My turntable was purchased at GNP Audio in Pasadena. Brooks Berdan was still working there and set it up. He also installed the Sumiko Premier MMT tonearm and Talisman S MC cartridge which was a very musical cartridge. I currently use a Grado Platinum which may approach the musicality of an MC cartridge. When my turntable motor got noisy about ten years ago I considered purchasing a new motor which at the time would have been costly or purchasing a new VPI Scout which was a gorgeous turntable. My kids were just starting college and that expense took priority so in desperation I tried sewing machine oil on the motor which completely got rid of the noise. I now do all minor maintenance myself including cleaning the main bearings, applying oil, and replacing the cartridge periodically.
    Byron

  4. #4
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    540
    If your bearings have minimal freeplay (like new) try Mobil-1 0W-30. If you detect very minor wear try M-1 5W-30.

    The M-1 is inert and will not degrade like sewing machine oil.

    A Qt of M-1 will last a looooooonnng time.....

  5. #5
    Forum Regular hifitommy's Avatar
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    Dec 2001
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    sylmar, ca. in beautiful so cal earthquake country
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    byron,

    i hope you already knew that brooks berdan passed away recently from complications of crohn's disease. his son brian carries on the tradition and the store in monrovia has grown significantly. worth a visit for anyone visiting the LA area.
    ...regards...tr

  6. #6
    Byron
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Encino, CA
    Posts
    37
    QUOTE=hifitommy;384399]
    byron,
    i hope you already knew that brooks berdan passed away recently from complications of crohn's disease. his son brian carries on the tradition and the store in monrovia has grown significantly. worth a visit for anyone visiting the LA area.
    I read about this sad news. I haven't been to the store in a while however I spoke to Brooks at the 2006 Home Entertainment Show in LA. When I get a chance I will visit the store again.
    Byron

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