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What is the B&O turntable hierarchy of quality regarding the tangetial tracking models?

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auralfixation
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auralfixation posted on Mon, Sep 3 2018 6:21 PM

Hello to all,

I am a new member to this forum. I am interested to know which B&O models of the tangential tracking turntables is considered to be the best and which follow that down the model line in the way of quality. I currently own an RX2 with a MMC5 and enjoy it very much, however, I have always wanted to own a tangential tracking B&O model. Is the TX2 the last of the series, and is it as good as a 5000series? I also purchased a MMC2 cartridge that needs a rebuild ( new suspension, cantilever and stylus) and was wondering who does this kind of rebuild other than Sound Smith, I know their rebuilds are excellent, but I find them a bit pricey now days. Any information from the long time B&O enthusiasts would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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AdamS
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Answered (Verified) AdamS replied on Tue, Sep 4 2018 1:01 PM
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auralfixation:
I currently own an RX2 with a MMC5 and enjoy it very much, however, I have always wanted to own a tangential tracking B&O model. Is the TX2 the last of the series, and is it as good as a 5000series?

Don't do it!

By all means buy a TX2 as a second deck purely because you want one, but if you buy one hoping that it will be a sonic improvement on the RX2 then i'm afraid you'll be sadly disappointed - the radial tracking decks of this era sound far better, even though they are cheaper and less collectable.

If you want the best of both worlds (style and sound), hold out for a Beogram 8002.

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DMacri
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Welcome to the forum. While we’re waiting for the experts, I can tell you the Beogram 4000 may be the favorite choice. Later versions became more simplified and perhaps loss some quality and performance.

There was a guy named Axel that would rebuild the cartridges, but he has since retired and I believe turned the business over to his business partner. Search for Axel on the site and you will find the contact info. I believe there is a company in the UK that can also rebuild these cartridges.

I’m not sure about the relative quality difference between the TX and the Beogram 5005 and 5500. The TX does not have datalink capability, the 5000 series does. The later Beogram 6500 and 7000 are a bit different since they have a built in RIAA preamp and provide a line level output.

Dom

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Jeff
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Jeff replied on Tue, Sep 4 2018 2:11 AM

I think you'll much prefer a MMC2 over the 5, even if it's rebuilt. I had a MMC5 on my Beogram 3000 tangential when I first bought it, it was, frankly, pretty mediocre. It'd play a record but its sound was not stunning. So, I went and got me a VPI HW19 with an older ADC carbon fiber arm and a Sonus Blue Point Special. Sounded great, but man, what a hassle to use. I dug out my Beogram and stuck a MMC2 on it, lo and behold it no longer was inferior to the VPI, sounded different but not inferior to me and was a ton easier to use.

There are all sorts of audiophile approved reasons the Beogram should sound terrible compared with the VPI, my reaction is so what? To my ear the Beogram 3000/MMC2 combo sounds VERY good and says something about turntables and what B&O knew about them. More than the audiophile approved way to skin a cat.

 

Jeff

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Hiort
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Hiort replied on Tue, Sep 4 2018 8:25 AM

auralfixation:

 I also purchased a MMC2 cartridge that needs a rebuild ( new suspension, cantilever and stylus) and was wondering who does this kind of rebuild other than Sound Smith, I know their rebuilds are excellent, but I find them a bit pricey now days. 

I had my MMC20E restored by https://www.tonabnehmerservice.de/

Was very happy with the result. Think it was around 100 euro.

 

 

 

 

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the_o_master
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auralfixation:

Hello to all, I am a new member to this forum.

Hello and welcome to our Beoworld Smile

auralfixation:

I am interested to know which B&O models of the tangential tracking turntables is considered to be the best and which follow that down the model line in the way of quality.

IMHO:

- Beogram 8002

- Beogram 4000

- Beogram 4002/4004/6000

- Beogram 6006/8000

- Beogram 3500/4500/5005/5500/6500/7000/8500/9000/9500

- Beogram 6002 / TX2

...

auralfixation:

I currently own an RX2 with a MMC5 and enjoy it very much, however, I have always wanted to own a tangential tracking B&O model. Is the TX2 the last of the series, and is it as good as a 5000series? I also purchased a MMC2 cartridge that needs a rebuild ( new suspension, cantilever and stylus) and was wondering who does this kind of rebuild other than Sound Smith, I know their rebuilds are excellent, but I find them a bit pricey now days. Any information from the long time B&O enthusiasts would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Very good:

http://www.schallplattennadeln.de/en/home/

 

Best regards,

Theomaster

Vintage Bang & Olufsen

AdamS
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Answered (Verified) AdamS replied on Tue, Sep 4 2018 1:01 PM
Verified by Peter

auralfixation:
I currently own an RX2 with a MMC5 and enjoy it very much, however, I have always wanted to own a tangential tracking B&O model. Is the TX2 the last of the series, and is it as good as a 5000series?

Don't do it!

By all means buy a TX2 as a second deck purely because you want one, but if you buy one hoping that it will be a sonic improvement on the RX2 then i'm afraid you'll be sadly disappointed - the radial tracking decks of this era sound far better, even though they are cheaper and less collectable.

If you want the best of both worlds (style and sound), hold out for a Beogram 8002.

DMacri
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AdamS:

Don't do it!

By all means buy a TX2 as a second deck purely because you want one, but if you buy one hoping that it will be a sonic improvement on the RX2 then i'm afraid you'll be sadly disappointed - the radial tracking decks of this era sound far better, even though they are cheaper and less collectable.

If you want the best of both worlds (style and sound), hold out for a Beogram 8002.

Adam, I’ve heard this before from many members. I am not challenging this premise, I’m just wondering why it is? I would have thought the tangential to be optimum because that it how records are cut. I always thought a radial arm only is in the proper orientation at two locations on the record during playback. Is it because the tangential arm must move out of alignment before the motor allows it to move across the surface?

Dom

2x BeoSystem 3, BeoSystem 5000, BeoSystem 6500, 2x BeoMaster 7000, 2 pair of BeoLab Penta mk2, AV 7000, Beolab 4000, BeoSound 4000, Playmaker, BeoLab 2500, S-45, S-45.2, RL-140, CX-50, C-75, 3x CX-100, 3x MCL2 link rooms, 3x Beolab 2000, M3, P2, Earset, A8 earphones, A3, 2x 4001 relay, H3, H3 ANC, H6, and ambio 

sonavor
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I have most of the Beogram 400x turntables in my collection and quite a few Beogram 800x turntables. My lone radial Beogram is the BG5000. When new or properly serviced they all sound great. The most important component is the phono cartridge.  All of the turntables will turn the platter at the correct speed and the Beogram turntables feature very low mass tonearms. 

The choice between the Beogram 8000 and 8002 would be regarding your phono cartridge preference. The Beogram 8000 can use the MMC6000 and MMC-20CL which are wonderful cartridges. The Beogram 8002 can only use the MMC 1 through 5 cartridges. They are also very good. A drawback to the MMC6000 and MMC -20CL cartridges is that they are no longer produced. So your selection is strictly from old stock. Soundsmith makes new replacements that will fit but they are basically the same as their modern SMMC 1 - 5 cartridges mounted in a larger shell to fit the Beogram 400x through Beogram 8000 turntables. That makes sense to manufacture the new cartridges that way and they are good performing cartridges but they are different from the original B&O cartridges.

Yes, you can say that the tangential drive tonearm has to move out of alignment as it plays but that is really the only way a tangential tracking turntable can work and you're talking very little movement for the tangential drive motor to detect. There is no way to know the exact path the various cutting machines took to make the record. The reactive tracking of the Beogram is very good and that is part of the service adjustment...to set the sensitivity of when the tangential drive motor advances the arm assembly. With the low mass tonearm and cartridge the sensitivity is set where the change in tonearm position is very minimal when detected. It is typically every rotation of the record but importantly, that change detection is per the record grooves. Otherwise someone could just design a tracking system that moves the arm forward every platter rotation no matter what. That would be a poor design since every record is different. The tangential tracking also eliminates the need for a compensating anti-skating mechanism...which is something in radial arm turntables that will change over time and also require some sort of recalibration.

I have always felt like the tangential Beogram turntables tracking, low mass arm and cartridge have the least wear and tear on both the vinyl record and stylus. I can attest that even my most played records (since the 70's) still sound new having only ever been played on my Beogram 4002 and 8002 turntables. I will reiterate that if a Beogram 400x or 800x owner is still using one that has not been restored (keep in mind those Beograms are between thirty-eight and forty-six years old) then they are listening to degraded sound and not doing their vinyl any favors.

When I am asked which Beogram is my favorite I usually say it is the one that is currently playing a record. I would be perfectly happy with any of the Beogram 400x or Beogram 800x turntables as long as I have a good phono cartridge for it.

-sonavor

AdamS
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AdamS replied on Wed, Sep 5 2018 1:07 PM

DMacri:

Adam, I’ve heard this before from many members. I am not challenging this premise, I’m just wondering why it is? I would have thought the tangential to be optimum because that it how records are cut. I always thought a radial arm only is in the proper orientation at two locations on the record during playback. Is it because the tangential arm must move out of alignment before the motor allows it to move across the surface?

I think it is less to do with the technology per se than the implementation of it. The later TX2 type decks have the arm mounts on a basic sled and driven by a bit of string! Compared this to the solid underpinnings of the 4000/8000 types with their much more precise screw thread drive system and suddenly the differences become clearer.

I've certainly nothing agains the 5005/5500/TX2 types as they sound fine in their own way and are lovely to use. I was just a bit shocked by how much better my Beogram 5000 sounded than the 5005 that I bought as an "upgrade". I've subsequently owned a TX2, a 3300 and an 8500 and they were all the same. I've given up now - I'm sticking with the 5000 and an 8002!

And a Beogram 4002/6000 hybrid. And a 1980s Beogram 2000. And an Acoustical Beogram 3000... Unsure

auralfixation
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Hello Adam S,

Thank you for your response and opinion. In fact, I really appreciate all the responses to my question(s). I am hoping to read even more opinions as every member that has responded has helped enlighten me in my new interest in B&O and it's history and philosophy. I have been an audiophile since I built my own speaker cabinets and installed a loudspeaker kit (drivers and X-overs) from Allied Radio back in the 1960's. I have always owned radial arm turntables, and gone through over 20 turntables over a number of decades, all in pursuit of getting as close to "real life" sound as I can. I always respect the ears of professional or semi-professional musicians, as long as they play acoustical instruments (as opposed to electronic instruments), as they know what "real sound" is better than I (who don't play any instruments, but do attend live musical event's of all different types). To my ears, analog master tape at 15ips (and sometimes at 7.5ips) sound the closest to real music (assuming quality recording equipment is used), and we must remember that almost all analog records are cut from analog master tapes. Even the latest and best digital recordings (at 24/192Khz) on a Nagra professional recording deck fed without compression or mixing using some of the best mics ever made, still is missing something that analog captures. The quality of sound that comes from a vinyl record is the closest the mass consumer will get to master tapes, which in turn are the closest to "live". If vinyl records can hold information that can be measured in microns, and these are all cut using a tangential cutting lathe, than the best sound should be logically available from tangential playback turntables (assuming the highest quality construction with the closest possible tolerances of all components in the turntable chain). Linn espouses that the deck is the most important link, followed by the tonearm and lastly the cartridge. On this thread I have read the inverse line of thought. I hope to see a few more opinions before I close out this thread. All opinions I have read here have their merits. This is an excellent web site with lots of members who have many years of experience to share. I appreciate every response. Thank you for this education. Regards, auralfixation

Cleviebaby
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auralfixation:

Linn espouses that the deck is the most important link, followed by the tonearm and lastly the cartridge. On this thread I have read the inverse line of thought. I hope to see a few more opinions before I close out this thread. All opinions I have read here have their merits. This is an excellent web site with lots of members who have many years of experience to share. I appreciate every response. Thank you for this education. Regards, auralfixation

Welcome to Beoworld. To quote the great American baseball coach ‘Yogi’ Berra, ‘it’s deja vu all over again’. Your mention of Linn and their belief that the turntable is the vital component in a system has suddenly transported me back to 1970s and 1980s and the great ‘subjectivism’ debate in the HiFi press at the centre of which was the Linn Sonndek.

The ultimate expression of the view that the turntable was the most important element in the HiFi chain was a Linn fitted with a basic Linn arm and a cheap cartridge, a cheap amplifier and a pair of cheap loudspeakers. Many claims were made over the ability of the Linn to ‘make music‘ and to sound ‘better’ than a system with a lesser turntable but with better transducers (the cartridge and the loudspeaker). The arguments went on for years to no real conclusion but of course it sold a lot of HiFi magazines - and a not inconsiderable number of Sonndeks!

I was not immune - I did buy a Linn ( It replaced a Beogram 4000 fitted with an SP15). I spent the next two years regretting it as the Sonndek wasn’t nearly as effective in isolating the record from the environment as the Beogram. You could even stand on the lid of the Beogram as it was playing with no ill effects. More importantly, I was always worrying about whether the Linn was performing at its optimum as it was much more difficult to set up than the ‘plug in and play’ Beogram. Since that experience, and again to paraphrase the full title of Stanley Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove, I’ve learned to ‘stop worrying and love B&O’

I’ve had my share of both radial and tangential tracking Beograms - 4004, 8002, 6500, a 1700/1800/2000 hybrid fitted to the Beocenter 7007 and, last but not least, a Beogram 1700. Fitted with a good MMC20 such as an EN or a CL, it’s an extremely robust and reliable turntable with a performance almost indistinguishable from the 400X tangentials.

I share the view of Adam S and others that the later tangentials, all of which are essentially the same turntable, aren’t as well engineered as the early 400X and 800X nor the 1700/1800 series radials. That’s not to say they’re not good turntables - they are - and I’m very happy with my 6500/MMC2 combination. It’s just they’re not as good.

And I still regret selling the 4000!

Cleve
Jeff
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Jeff replied on Thu, Sep 6 2018 3:28 PM

The most important thing in the reproduction chain is obviously whatever it is that you're selling. And, as Cleviebaby says, most of us who "stopped worrying and love B&O" found that ignoring all the subjective arguments and just listening to the music was wonderfully de-stressing.

Really, when dealing with turntables it's a mess trying to figure out what matters most, and even if your impressions are really accurate, as it's very, very hard to do controlled, level and time matched listening tests where you can switch back and forth. Level matching is not hard, but time syncing two LPs is a bear. The whole turntable system is a mess of varying and competing influences, resonance and noise from the platter, and the platter/record interface. The arm, and cartridge, combo, compliance and mass and resonances of those items, do they work well together or not? How about with the rumble and such from the platter? Does the arm amplify that or damp it? Is the phono preamp resistance and capacitive load right for the cartridge? Is the cartridge aligned right? How about vertical tracking angle? The list is almost endless.

So, I finally just got a Beogram, no fiddling with any of that, and just put records on, pressed play, and sat back and listened to the music. But, fiddling and arguing about it was definitely a hobby in itself back in the Linn days as Cleviebaby notes.

Jeff

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Andrew
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Andrew replied on Mon, Sep 10 2018 8:57 AM

I tried a Linn (Axis I think - the mid range one) fitted with a Shure cartridge and whilst it was very good, using it compared to a Beogram was a pain. I bought it as my BG4002 had been playing up and wasn't set up properly. Having the Beogram serviced, recapped and setup properly coupled with a retipped 20CL was the best thing I ever did as it now performs as it should have done and is a joy to use and listen too. Doubt I will ever change it as it now sounds as good as it looks. 

So I think things in my opinion are not as straightforward as they seem - any old beogram bought second hand would most likely benefit from sort of overhaul - a 4002 not setup properly will most likely sound worst than a restored BG1700. And properly setting up and servicing a BG400x is far more complex than tweaking a Linn or similar deck.

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