Stanton Gyropoise Turntable
I've decided to start a thread on Stanton (and Pickering) Gyropoise turntables because there's not much information available on them, and there's already a good thread here on Stanton cartridges.
This all started for me when I saw a cute turntable up for auction, and couldn't resist buying it. This was my first Stanton model 8004 II turntable (see above). This looks at first glance like a baby Thorens 160. My first impression was that it looked like a toy. The build quality is not very impressive (understandable if it was inexpensive, see below) but the design is based on sound principles. The basic design is the same as an AR turntable, with a suspended chassis. The one innovation is that the platter is suspended vertically (floats) by opposing ring magnets. Here is a picture showing one of the magnets on the base:
The platter shaft is held vertically with two bronze sleeve bearings. The motor is a Hurst 300RPM synchronous and drives the platter through a flat belt of around 19 inches circumference. The arm is a unipivot design, called "Unipoise" by Stanton. There is also a magnet on the arm rest to hold the arm. Antiskating compensation is provided by an adjustment ring at the base of the tonearm. One strange feature of the tonearm is that the finger pickup is at the top of the headshell, not at the side (takes some getting used to)!
The turntable came with a Stanton 681EEE cartridge, but the needle was bad, so I bought a NOS D6800EEE-S stylus for it (stereohedron, most 681's are elliptical). Note that this turntable has a fixed headshell that only accepts specially modified Stanton (and Pickering) cartridges which have the mounting ears truncated - the cartridge just plugs in, though it is a tight fit and difficult to remove (I believe that these cartridges have a "TT" prefix to identify them - mine was marked "TT 681EEE").
After plugging in the new stylus, I put on a record, not expecting much. The record was MFSL 1-507, Respighi's "Feste Romane" and "The Pines of Rome" with Lorin Maazel and the Cleveland Orchestra. I probably hadn't listened to this record in some 20 years and didn't remember how good it was. As the record played, my jaw dropped. It just sounded fantastic. By the way, most people are familiar with "Pines" but "Fest Romane" contains some of the most outrageous scoring ever (some would call it inane, but it's lots of fun to listen to). This was my first experience listening to a Stanton cartridge, having started with Shures and now owning dozens of others, including moving coils. I'd have to say that the Stanton 681EEE-S sounded in some ways better than the Shure V15-V that I used to have, at least in the midrange.
Here is a question that I hope some people can confirm. It has been reported that the Stanton 8004 II sold for only about $100 (in the mid 1970's) with a 681EEE. I find this hard to believe, since the cartridge itself must have been worth at least $50 in those days. When I was in college, I spent close to $500 of my hard earned money (painting and cutting lawns in the summer) on a turntable setup - JH Audio turntable, Formula 4 arm, Shure V15-V cartridge, and I'd have to say that this Gyropoise would have given that combination a run for its money. I could have saved a lot of money if I had known about the Gyropoise in those days!
Another question. It has been reported on the internet that the Stanton Gyropoise (no model number given) had a lot of quality issues and a high rate of return. Can any of the former employees comment on this. My first 8004 II did have some issues:
1. slight noisy motor (common issue with AR turntables too)
2. sticky speed change, fixed by lubricating speed change arm
3. intermittent power switch due to too much clearance between switch lever and microswitch, fixed by gluing in a metal shim.
Some history of Stanton Gyropoise turntables that I've been able to piece together:
Circa 1964: Gyropoise 800B puck drive turntable, very different than the 8004 II but with the same magnetic bearing. Price - $99 (without cartridge I think).
Circa 1974: Gyropoise 8004 II introduced. Was there ever a "version I"?
Circa 1979: Gyropoise 8005A introduced. Similar to 8004 II but with redesigned rocker type switches instead of slider switches (which may have had issues as I reported above). Arm also looks different. Picture of 8005A available here:
Last edited by fantao; 07-16-2009 at 03:55 PM.
Reason: Added pictures
The Gyropoise turntable was also sold under the Pickering name with Pickering cartridges installed, possible only in Europe. See Vinyl Engine web site for an owner's manual for the FA112/145:
Pickering FA112: with Pickering TT1200E cartridge, looks same as Stanton 8004 II.
Pickering FA145: with Pickering TT4500Q (quad) cartridge, looks same as Stanton 8004 II.
Pickering FA330A: with Pickering XSV/3000 cartridge, semiautomatic, looks similar to Stanton 8005A.
Pickering FA330M: manual version of above.
See Vintage Knob's page on the FA330 (with nice pictures):
There is a review of the FA330A in the March 1979 issue of Gramophone magazine, available on the Gramophone archive:
It's given a generally favorable review but note the high price of 346.50 pounds! What happened to the cheap Stanton available in America?
Last edited by fantao; 07-16-2009 at 03:20 PM.
Interesting table and the sliding weight on the tonearm reminds me of the Phillips GA 312.
Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, Funk Firm Achroplat, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cone, Audio Technica F7, Moon 110LP w/PSU
Digital Sony SCD-XA5400ES SACD/cd, Marantz SA 8001
Int. Amp Krell S-300i
Speakers JBL Studio 530's / Sanus SF22 stands
Cables AQ Rocket 44's, Diamondback XLR's & IC's
After buying my first 8004 II Gyropoise, I decided to get another. The first unit had a slightly noisy motor. Forunately, the second one I bought had a dead quiet motor. Also, I was inspired to get another unit for modifications - a la the Thorens TD160 "Super". Some of the weaknesses I noted on the 8004 II are a really lightweight base and a platter that rings like a bell when struck (this is common to many platters of cast aluminum). I decided to add a dampening compound to the base and platter of my second unit. I already had on hand some driveway crack sealer compound, the kind made from a polymer and sand mix, kind of a "plastic concrete". I didn't want to use an asphalt based mixture due to its messiness and smell.
Here's the inside of the base with the compound added:
Note the similarity of the internals to an AR design.
Here's the underside of the platter with the compound added:
When adding dampening compound to the platter, you have to be careful not to put on too much on. If it gets too heavy, the suspension may bottom out. Also, there isn't very much clearance between the bottom of the platter and the motor pulley or speed change arm. After I added the compound, I measured that the platter had sunk slightly more than 1mm. I had to scrape some high points of the compound off to avoid interference with the speed change arm. For others doing this, you may want to put the compound only on the edge of the platter, where it will do the most good.
I also decided to put on some isolation feet. Not that I thought it would do much good, but my second unit was missing a foot (a small rubber foot) and I had some "Barry" shock mounts on hand. See picture below:
After the modifications, I noted that striking the base or platter resulted in much subdued ringing noises compared to an original unit.
For my "Super" Gyropoise I also decided to mount a Stanton 881S. This required cutting and filing of the mounting ears to fit into the headshell.
How did it sound? Well it sounded great without the modifications, so it still sounded good. I'm of the school that tweaking a turntable will result in only minor sonic improvements to the sound, compared to having a better cartridge. I do the modifications anyway because it's an enjoyable hobby for me.
Stanton's biggest sales dud
I haven't posted anything on audioreview for quite a while, but after seeing a thread on the Stanton turntable, I couldn't resist. The Stanton/Pickering turntable (circa mid 70's) was then far and away the worst product either company ever sold. Both units experienced a staggering 110% failure rate. That meant that not only all units sold came back, but an additional 10% (after refurbishing) came back as well.
Most of the time the tonearm, when lifted and let go of, simply stuck up in the air. The platter (much like early AR tables in the 60's) often turned backwards. Most of the dust covers, which weren't hinged, didn't fit, and just fell all over the turntable as they were too big. The individual at Stanton responsible for having the turntable made for the company (only the cartridges were made by Stanton or Pickering) had the audacity to tell dealers to put the dustcover in the oven (!!) with books on it (!!!) to somehow give it its proper shape.
The finger lift in the center of the tonearm was one of Walter Stanton's personal touches: he always felt (even though the rest of the universe disagreed) that it was better to rest one's hand on the platten of the turntable, and push back and lift the arm with one's thumb, than by using the more traditional side-mounted finger lift. Dealers were furious over the center-mounted finger lift, and thought it was just plain ridiculous, but Walter was quite stubborn in this respect, and insisted it be kept there.
The "new and improved" model illustrated here on this thread had only one worthwhile difference between it, and the mid 70's model: low-profile styling. Needless to say, it too was a sales dud, as too many dealers never forgot their horrible experiences with the earlier model.
When I first started working for Pickering in 1976, I was given a PIckering turntable for free. At the time, I was using a cheap Technics SL-1500 with a PIckering XUV/4500Q cartridge, which is what came installed in the Pickering turntable. The far less expensive Technics (I don't recall the actual selling price of the Stanton/PIckeringr turntables) just walked all over it. Even for free, I couldn't stand it, and gave it away.
The "Unipose" and "Gyropoise" arm and platter suspensions were novel, but never lived up to their promise. All in all, it was the laughingstock of both companies for a very long time.
emaidel, thanks for your insider's information. I guess if you try to cut costs too much on a product, it ends up biting you back. As I mentioned above, the Gyropoise was very cheaply built. If only they had put some more money into the design, I think it would have been a respectable turntable like the AR. I can only guess what Walter Stanton was thinking about on the design choices for this turntable. Like you say, he must have been a stubborn man to work for.
I stated that the turntable often ran backwards, but that which happened most of the time is that the platter just shuddered, and never moved in either direction.
Also, at the time of the introduction of the "new and improved" model (late 70's), there was a pattern in retailing that predestined the turntable, regardless of whether it was any good or not: dealers often sold turntables at, or near, their cost, and cartridges at outrageously high profit margins. Most of those cartridges were cheap, "private label" models with ridiculously high prices that bore no relationship to their performance. Packaging a turntable with a cartridge already installed in it removed the opportunity for such enormous profits, and as a result, the turntable had little interest at the dealer end.
One might note also that the "new and improved" model, aside from its "low profile styling" had another cosmetic feature that by then had long gone out of favor amongst audio products: rocker switches. When the turtable was introduced at a summer CES, representatives and dealers were stunned at the use of such archaic devices on a supposedly "new and improved" item.
Lastly, Walter Stanton wasn't often too difficult to work for. Once you knew who his "yes men" were, and how to deal with them, it wasn't always easy to get around them, but at least was possible most of the times. Still, I found myself on the edge of being fired more than once because I disagreed with some of their often ridiculous ideas. If I hadn't been successful at increasing sales, I probably wouldn't have lasted at the company as long as I did.
I have a turntable identical to the one pictured at the start of this thread, and absolutely LOVE it. With a D6800-EL-MP cartridge, it sounds wonderful - pristine, clear, warm, with excellent stereo separation and depth. Bought it on ebay a couple of years ago for around $100, and think it's one of the best deals I've ever gotten. The 45rpm switch broke several months ago and there doesn't appear to be any simple way to repair it, but otherwise it works brilliantly. No motor noise at all.
A minor issue is that one has to be very delicate when walking by, otherwise skipping can occur. Any advice as to how to mitigate this problem?
It is interesting to me so many people had trouble with this turntable. I am trying to recall, I bought mine new in 1976, and I think the cartridge was $80 at that time and the price of the turntable with cartridge was $159 or $169. I still have it, though I need a new belt. The only thing ever failing was the grease inside the tonearm actuator coming out. The rear tonearm weight was not fixed, so if a person did not first adjust the rear and the front weights to balancing, and then move the front weight to the correct # of grams, the tone arm would might well move up instead of down, but seriously, such a simple mechanism, for anyone who has seen one, could hardly have this number of failures. I like the weighting the stand with goo, not so crazy about weighting the platter. Cheers!
Hi everybody, I bought a 1961 model 800c on Ebay a few years ago for $40.00 I think. It came with the original installed ESL s1000 tone arm, a Stanton 380 cartridge, the 800cb base, all paperwork, advertisements, and templates. When properly leveled, it takes about 2min for the platter to stop spinning. The weight on the tone arm was loose from the rubber rotting so I fixed it with some rubber tubing. This turntable works great. Replaced the cartridge with something newer. Original ad says $59.85 for turntable, $15.00 for base, $34.50 for cart (yellow V-guard .0007"r styli), $39.95 for tonearm.
Hello, just reading this for the first time. My dad, M. George Caracost has the Chief Draftsmen for Pickering/Stanton. It was a great company located on Long Island NY. My brother has one of these turntables in super mint condition. He got it new from my dad. The design is very unique. My Dad also got us the latest top of the line Stanton Cartridge when it came out. He would have the assembly dept pick out the one that tested the best. They also made an amazing pair electrostatic headphones. They also sold Tone Arms to the radio business. I will try to find out the price of the turntables from my brother.
I remember George quite well. He was one of the few engineers in the company who didn't fit into the category of "yes" men, and "told it like it was." Often, that got him in hot water with Walter Stanton, and if I remember correctly, it ultimately cost him his job .
Originally Posted by caracgr
Upon joining Pickering way, way back in 1976, I brought up the subject of the Dustamatic Brush on Pickering cartridges and the "Longhair" brush on the Stantons. Previously, I had worked for Lafayette Radio for 14 years, and never once had a problem with the brushes, but upon traveling across the U.S. with Pickering, was astonished at how the brushes were ridiculed by almost everyone in the business.
I said that we needed to either inform everyone of what the brush actually did and didn't do, and if in any way, it actually interfered with tracking (which it didn't), then we should get rid of it. It was George who helped the most in putting together booklets called "The Dos and Dont's of the Dustamatic Brush," illustrating what its benefits were. (With the tonearm set for an additional gram to account for the brush's weight, as well as an additional gram for the anti-skating, the brush in no way interfered with tracking, and was actually, an exceptional damping device, allowing the tonearm/cartridge to better track warped records.) Unfortunately, by then the damage was done, but it was a valliant effort.
Hi, Yes, you got the first part correct but he really retired on his own after over forty years with Co from the original location in Oceanside, NY. He had a triple BP and was never the same after that. he tried working PT but he it didn't work out and I guess that's where it was decided he had enough. Walter Stanton apparently was not the nicest guy to work for.
You're absolutely right. Your father wasn't the only one who became ill, and thus "wasn't of much use" for Walter, and Walter found ways to fire such people, regardless of the years of dedicated work they had provided him.
Originally Posted by caracgr
Your dad was a brave soul, often speaking his mind, and never succumbing to merely telling Walter what he wanted to hear, but sticking to real facts.
I worked for Pickering in the late 70's, and then rejoined the company on the Stanton side in the early 90's. The company then was considerably smaller, having been all but decimated by the invention of the compact disc ("a deliberate ploy on the part of the Japanese to put turntable and cartridge manufacturers out of business"), but a handful of loyalists remained, still ignoring reality and feeding Walter all the nonsense he wanted to hear. I found myself in hot water many times by "telling it like it was," and even won out a few times, but those were rare moments.
Your father was a good man.
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