This is one of the finest Garrards we have ever built, and is an amazing sounding deck!
Woodsong Audio has been specializing in creating top quality plinths, restorations of the Garrard 301/ 401, and Thorens TD 124 for the past 14 years. We are also a retailer for an ever growing number of top quality tonearms, cartridges, electronics, etc.
If you are looking for a top level turntable, , we think you will have difficulty finding anything near this nice in terms of sound quality and quaity of construction. This is a seriously fine turntable, capable of 'holding it's own' with the best, it is a true heirloom and a work of art. We pay extreme attention into quiet, correct operation, and refuse to cut any corners. This single tonearm plinth will accept 9" through 12" tonearms.
This exact deck is available now. It is complete, and ready to ship after an armboard is machined for your choice of tonearm. Additional armboards are available on request. The Schroeder CB tonearm, and Miyajima Labs 'Madake' cartridge are not included in this sale price, but are among the options with which we can equip this deck if you need.
A google search for 'Woodsong Flickr' (the photohosting site) will lead you to the hi-resolution photos of this deck. The audiogon photo engine does not display photos very well, so this is worth looking for even if only for some visual stimulation. Our new website is nearing completion, so the current, outdated one is a bit neglected.
This listing is for the Garrard 301 motor unit, the plinth, 4 Track Audio Footers, and the gun metal 'Tenuto' mat. If you need a tonearm, or cartridge, please contact us directly. Stillpoints are also available, should you prefer them. We like thet Track Audio footers best for most situtions.
This Garrard motor unit has been fully serviced from a complete strip down to the bare chassis. Careful attention throughout the finishing process, and an aluminum specifiic finish schedule culminating in a 'color sanded' top quality PPG Urethane clear in the Ferrari color 'Grigio Silverstone', a more modern take on 'Hammertone', if you will. Motor coils are checked, motor shaft polished, thrust end of the motor shaft turned down on a lathe when necessary, sintered bronze bushings carefully cleaned of the old lubricant, cleaned, and recharged in a vacuum chamber with the correct lubricant, ready to run for many more years. The motor is re-assembled, carefully aligned, and checked for correct speed. The linkages are chemically stripped of the poisonous Cadmium plating, and re-plated in gleaming yellow zinc. New springs, grommits, spark supressor,new Woodsong Eddy brake disc, etc, are fitted, as well as a new wiring harness made from a highly flexible wire to minimize motor vibrations from transferring to the chassis. This motor unit has our main platter bearing, with improved tolerances over the original, as well as a thrust bearing design that is long lasting, and providing greater speed stability. We know how to bring these decks up beyond their original spec, and condition them for many more years of troublefree operation. We know how to make them very quiet, and also how to make them sing.
The plinth is finished in old growth Cocobolo from a really nice board that has been in our private stash for quite a few years now. Cocobolo, Dalbergia Retusa, a true Rosewood, is now very quickly on it's way to becoming 'unobtanium', as it is no longer being logged or exported from Mexico, which is where the majority of the recent cut stock has been coming from in recent years, and it is no longer being imported into the United States, at all. Due to recent changes in international laws as of this year, this plinth, or any other Rosewoods for that matter, we cannot ship this out of the United States. This is beautiful Cocobolo.
The finish on this plinth is catalyzed polyester, the exact finish used on almost all current high end pianos. For a high gloss, surface building finish on a wood based plinth, catalyzed polyester is the best finish option available for a number of reasons. This polyester finishing system is designed for wood, and includes in the system, an adhesion promoter for oily woods, working with the resins in most woods to ensure an excellent, long lasting bond. Polyester is incredibly tough, and much harder than automotive urethanes. And, polyester does not shrink nearly as much as automotive urethanes, one of the important reasons why catalyzed polyester is the superior finish on wood based plinths. For polished high gloss finishes, the main options are automotive urethanes, catalyzed polyester, nitrocellulose lacquer, and conversion varnish. Of these, Urethane and polyester are the better choices. Catalyzed polyester is compatable with automotive base colors, metallics, pearls, clear shading bases, so any finish is possible, filled and topcoated in polyester.
A few days after finishing, side by side, most people could not tell the difference between polyester and automotive urethanes, though an experienced, professional eye can tell due to the fact that polyester polishes very slightly better, closer to optical glass than polished urethane. Both finishes are beautiful, and they both can be polished, or 'color sanded' to an amazing finish. No one is going to complain about the urethane, as it can be a beautiful finish, however, side by side, the polyester is noticeably better, noticeably 'more perfect'. We use both of these finishes in our work. Each has it's own strengths and weaknesses. I have over 30 years of professional high end finishing experience, our opinions are based on this experience, and also through communication with professional peers and friends, more than one of which are among the highest regarded of instrument finishers in the United States. After a week, the urethane begins to shrink, very subtly, and continues to shrink for several months, as it finishes curing. Most all finishes continue to cure for many months after application. After a month or so, most anyone can see the difference between polyester and urethanes, if they look carefully at the sheen, as the urethanes will shrink back slightly, revealing some texture in the previously polished surface. Polyester is ready for handling after a few days, while urethanes are still fairly easily damaged. Urethanes are far more susceptible to 'swirlies', the fine scratching that occurs when dusting, and as both of these finishes take a mirror polish, this is kind of a big deal in our professional opinion, and is also a main reason why polyester is used on the finest grand pianos. Many 'car buffs' with their fresh paint jobs (urethanes) on their street rods, will put the freshly painted car into storage for six months or so before exposing it to the elements to allow the finish to cure more fully to avoid 'swirlies'. Cured polyester can be wiped hard, and will resist these fine scratches extremely well, where automotive finishes will develop 'swirlies' quickly and easily. In case of impact, accidental dents, etc, polyester is more resistant to chipping, and also to the separation that can occur between clear, surface building finishes and the more flexible wood substrate when it is impacted.
One of the main reasons for choosing catalyzed polyester on wood based plinths, is because it does not shrink appreciably, not nearly as much as automotive finishes, or nitrocellulose lacquers. Most woods have a porous grain structure, some being very open. Prior to any finishing with surface building finishes, wood must be grain filled, otherwise the finish will sink into the open pores and look terrible. Among high end wood finishing, there is not a consensus on what is the best method for grain filling, as none are easy. Simply shooting an automotive finish over it, thick enough to 'fill' the grain, is not a good solution, as it will quickly shrink, and in our opinion, look terrible. Polyester does not shrink significantly after it's catalyzed cure, thus it holds its mirror polish very well for a long, long time. This is a main reason why polyester is used on the finest pianos. Polyester is designed for wood, where automotive urethanes are designed for metal. Catalyzed polyester, in the opinions of many professional high end finishers, is the king when it comes to polished gloss finishes on wood. It is extremely durable, highly resistant to scratches and damage, and will hold it's gloss like nothing else.
Neither Urethane, nor polyester are easy finishes to apply. Polyester material is less expensive than automotive finishes, except that the shelf life is very, very short, making the price of polyester material fairly expensive. The labor invloved in the 2 finishes is comparable, with polyester requiring more effort due to a number of reasons, however, part of this results in the grain being completely filled in a manner that will not appreciably shrink back. (meaning that the amazing gloss stays that way!) The methods of polishing the 2 finishes are exactly the same, ever finer grits of abrasives and polishing compounds, and buffing wheels, though, due to the hardness of polyester, there is a very narrow 'window' of time for polishing, and it is slower going. The application of either of these finishes is very comparable, each one with it's own peculiarities and 'rules', though Polyester requires more effort, and dedicated spray guns. Catalyzed polyester as a high gloss finish on a wood based plinth will give a long lasting beauty, quality, and durability that automotive urethanes simply cannot touch. Again, think of the finest grand pianos, as that is exactly what we are discussing.
Beneath the finish, is genuine Cocobolo, over a time proven CLD core that we have developed, improved, tuned, and tweaked over the past 14 years. It is extremely well thought out, and supremely musical.
We never use commercially produced veneers which are almost ubiquitously used by most other makers, as well as being the 'status quo' of the common 'Ikea' furniture industry. We make our own veneers, 'in house', and surface them from between 1.8- 2.5mm.Commercially produced veneers are typically 1/42" thick, sometimes barely thicker, basically 'paper thin'. Buying veneer this way has the disadvantage that, after wood is cut, it quickly begins to oxidize, changing color, losing some of of it's innate depth in color. Commercial veneers generally look bland when compared with fresh cut solid wood of the same species. Commercial veneers bend easily around corners, which is why they are commonly used in this application. We use the old world method of skillfully bending on a bending iron, exactly as guitar sides are bent, and at that same thickness, too. This is a tricky process that takes years to master. I you have ever held a classical guitar in your hands, the sides of Woodsong plinths are that same thickness. Commercially produced veneers are like thick paper with almost no structural substance.
We bend our sides on a bending iron, and bond them to the core using a vacuum press and structural epoxy. Epoxy is a superior method for achieving a permanent bond between the outer layer, and the inner CLD plinth core substrate, though is not a good option for thin commercial veneers due to 'bleed through, eliminating any issues with delamination that can occur with conventional veneering methods. Our veneers are thick enough (sides at about 1.8mm commonly) to sand well into un-oxidized, gorgeous, defect free wood. This is one of the numerous 'unseen' differences with Woodsong plinths that sets us apart from all the rest.
This is how quality is done.
Thicker veneers also allow for a smoother transition where the top meets the sides, being thick enough to cut a gentle radius. Look closely at how the top transitions into and joins with the sides, as that joint tells a lot about the construction of a veneered item.
We ship worldwide (except for Rosewoods and a few other items).
Thank you for looking.