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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Beogram 4002 (5514): Final Adjustments and a Test Drive with Chico Hamilton on Auto-Repeat!

It was time to do the final adjustment on the Beogram 4002 (5514) that I am restoring right now. It is always a delightful moment to adjust the platter and sub-chassis, the arm lowering limits and then finally the tracking force. Since after that it is the moment when the deck gets its first post-restoration play, and I nervously watch the beautiful electromechanical ballet unfold that so nicely brings out the best in vintage vinyl!
This particular Beogram posed an unusual challenge with regard to the sub-chassis and platter adjustment: The platter was too close to the right-front side of the cutout of the aluminum plate that encloses the platter. Usually the platter may be a bit too close to the motor end of things and this can easily be countered by bending the adjustment rod of the sub-chassis spring on the back right side of the enclosure. Not so here. In this case the counter force on the left back spring needed to be increased a bit. Since I am not really a friend of the service manual mandated rod bending procedure, I decided to come up with a more elegant fix.  Bending rods of delicate mechanical equipment with big adjustable pliers is not really Beolover's cup of tea. I like things to be precisely tunable and reversible.
So this is my solution: I designed small 3D printed parts that stick on the blade springs and that allow to pull the metal 'strings' that levitate the sub-chassis from the springs laterally:
This shows one of them in action on the left-back spring assembly:
The 'ramp' integrated in the bottom part pulls the levitating string a bit back generating the right amount of counter-force that results in a centered platter:
There are two videos on my YouTube channel that show the basic procedures how to adjust the platter bearing and the subchassis (in a Beogram 4000, but the process is very similar in the 4002). After that it was time to do the tracking and arm adjustments. This shows the adjustment of the tracking sensor sensitivity using the light intensity trimmer of my LED based tracking sensor light source:
A good opportunity to present my new least liked record: Henry Mancini's movie score of 'Gaily, Gaily'. I bought it as a combined-shipping $1.50 add-on to another vinyl order. Big mistake. While I am usually a Mancini fan, this is just too much! So it is perfect for the tracking sensor adjustment procedure where sometimes the needle gets dragged across the record if one is not careful.

After that I went on to adjust the arm lowering limit:
An important adjustment that makes sure the stylus misses the platter ribs in case of a sensor malfunction. There is another video on my youTube channel that shows how to adjust the lowering limits. Once the arm is adjusted the tracking force can be calibrated. I usually use a B&O tracking forge gauge:
There is also a video about the tracking force calibration process.

And then it was finally time to give this deck a spin. I selected a recent acquisition, the 'El Chico' titled release by Chico Hamilton of 1965:
I was able to get it as an early Impulse pressing. I simply like my covers without barcodes...;-)!!

Unfortunately, it was not really 'near-mint' as advertised. Instead it was maybe 'very good' with some audible scratches. The ebay seller, however, was very cool about my complaint and simply refunded the money and let me keep the vinyl. So I am still enjoying it after a thorough clean with my CleanerVinyl ultrasonic cleaner attachment. The scratches somehow even emphasize the awesome raw emotional power of this record. This music is just a prime example why one wants to listen to analog sources. My favorite track is 'People' on the A side.  Guitarist Gabor Szabo is just at his best on this track:
This photo is from the gatefold cover of this great record! I am enjoying this record right now on auto-repeat, courtesy of the Beogram 4002 Commander MkII remote that I just updated with an auto-repeat function.

The final step is to polish the hood of this lovely Beogram 4002. And then it will be ready for its trip back home! This is Beolove!






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