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Is there a time for the Commonwealth? Are it's days of rule over, can it be embraced and what is the intent of Tax?


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If the title got your attention...... welcome to this roller coaster ride of the Commonwealth¬†ūüėĄ

 

First the back story..... about 5-6 years ago I was talking to a retired ex ABC tech Mal (RIP)in South Australia in relation to my Otari MX55 when he mentioned that he had an almost pristine Commonwealth 12D which he had also rescued from his days at the ABC and that I was welcome to start a tribal dance and courting process to TRY and cajole it out of his possession. So the music played and the dance began....jeeze some old timers can really play hard to get....

 

He finally agreed to sell it to me but said he needed to source an idler wheel first as some other ABC tech had used the idler off this as a donor to a deck that was operational in the studios. This was supposedly a spare kept as back up in the ABC store room.... (Back in the day that store room must have contained some¬†drool worthy pieces of audio equipment)¬†ūü§§

 

Leaving things to a retiree for follow up can be a slow and painful process so in order to hasten things up I trawled the web for almost two months and found an idler wheel on AGon¬†listed out of Russia and Mal was able to buy the wheel yippee¬†ūü•≥¬†

 

Unfortunately life took¬†a massive turn for me and I was hospitalised¬†and by the time I was well enough to think about the Commonwealth and contact Mal he had unfortunately passed away and his sister apparently had done away with all his equipment through an estate sale. So unfortunately it¬†was Mal and Commonwealth no more ūüėĘbut ¬†I had survived my medical episode ūüė∑

 

Last year I sold my Altecs, Otari, Tapes, Luxman and Thorens TT's and gear and started the Garrard 401 Project which many of you kindly provided me with encouragement and advice on and I thoroughly enjoyed the joy and pain that project offered me especially in pandemic fear and lock down.

 

Present day......intra covid.... and after 10 years of owning the big Micro Seiki and the FR66S it was time to downsize and sell it to a mate of mine in Texas.  All 90 Kgs of TT is sitting in 3 boxes awaiting my mate's ability to arrange cheaper courier charges....covid restrictions has quadrupled prices for airfreight..  He was quoted $5K USD ouch! But I guess that's what highend costs and seems to be ever increasing....

 

Selling the Micro Seiki and looking at these boxes for a couple of days does play with one's mind and I needed a new project to get over my lunacy of selling the Micro so it is time to question the Commonwealth.

 

 

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If the title got your attention...... welcome to this roller coaster ride of the Commonwealth¬†ūüėĄ ¬† First the back story..... about 5-6 years ago I was talking to a retired ex ABC tech Mal¬†(RI

Now some thanks in this thread to those who were willing above and beyond to help a fellow audiophile in collecting, packing and shipping such an cultural audio artefact interstate from the outskirts

Thanks!   Yes, The FR66S may be a regrettable sale. I must ask the buyer for first right of refusal if and when he has had his fill. He did sell me his Ikeda 407 which will possibly transfer

What questions do you have for your Commonwealth?

 

If there is a problem with the idler, I believe that cafelate can make one for you.

Your Commonwealth has the optional solenoid, which protects the idler from developing accidental flat spots.

The felt mat was used for radio use, most Commonwealths had a rubber mat.

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1 hour ago, deepthought said:

That's a click-bait title in the finest sense of the word.ūüėČ

Some Deep Thought went into it ūü§£

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23 minutes ago, audiofeline said:

What questions do you have for your Commonwealth?

 

If there is a problem with the idler, I believe that cafelate can make one for you.

Your Commonwealth has the optional solenoid, which protects the idler from developing accidental flat spots.

The felt mat was used for radio use, most Commonwealths had a rubber mat.

Just one Q and that is "performance?" .... as in how close will it get to or beat the big Micro Seiki.

 

But that will take some time as I am ruminating over plinth material and design.

 

The idler seems to be in good nick. The TT has never been mounted or used. Was sold to me as NOS without box.

 

AF you have studied the oils. Is it still non syth 10/40 with a squeeze of moly?

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Now some thanks in this thread to those who were willing above and beyond to help a fellow audiophile in collecting, packing and shipping such an cultural audio artefact interstate from the outskirts of Adelaide to me in Sydney.

 

Distant relo Baz for picking it up from the Gumtree seller who couldn't ship.

 

@Red MacKay who put me in touch with fellow SNA member @Tony M who kindly picked it up from Baz and dropped it off to @Grizzly who (I found this morning to be even more anal than I am at packing equipment for courier drop kicking) kindly and arduously packed this TT like a Faberge egg and here it is now in Sydney after just being dropped off by the courier who left it at the door and ran away. 
 

Some photos of Grizzly's packing in SA plus its arrival in NSW below.

D775A16A-800D-4D27-930B-227D72DB5CDB.jpeg

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Looks a great place to begin a project. :x

 

The lads in SA have stepped up to the plate yet again.  Awesome work boys!

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Selling the FR-66s? Wow, big call - a seriously drool-worthy arm. 

 

Look forward to progress updates on this exciting new project.

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51 minutes ago, crtexcnndrm99 said:

Selling the FR-66s? Wow, big call - a seriously drool-worthy arm. 

 

Look forward to progress updates on this exciting new project.

Thanks!

 

Yes, The FR66S may be a regrettable sale. I must ask the buyer for first right of refusal if and when he has had his fill. He did sell me his Ikeda 407 which will possibly transfer from the G401 to the CE 12D when I have sorted an plinth.

 

I am at a stage in life where I cannot justify having $50K tied up in a TT and its combo of arms and carts so need to rejoice that I was a custodian of the big micro and FR66S for 10 years. 

768889AF-E644-46B5-99C5-30CFA976B22E.jpeg

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@cafe latte @OLLY @audiofeline @Red MacKay

 

Gents,

 

I want to put some oil in the spindle well and down the motor pipes before connecting this the AC mains and giving it a spin.

 

A neighbour has offered me some Actrol vacum pump oil.

 

Would this work?

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39 minutes ago, Tax said:

@cafe latte @OLLY @audiofeline @Red MacKay

 

Gents,

 

I want to put some oil in the spindle well and down the motor pipes before connecting this the AC mains and giving it a spin.

 

A neighbour has offered me some Actrol vacum pump oil.

 

Would this work?

 

 

In past discussions the preferred seemed to be  compressor oil, monograde, SAE20 to 30, synthetic.

 

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45 minutes ago, aussievintage said:

 

 

In past discussions the preferred seemed to be  compressor oil, monograde, SAE20 to 30, synthetic.

 

Thanks AV!

 

Appreciate the advice.

 

Just giving it a good clean with Isopropyl and lubing the  springs. Hope to get some oil tomorrow.

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1 hour ago, aussievintage said:

In past discussions the preferred seemed to be  compressor oil, monograde, SAE20 to 30, synthetic.

That would be for the platter bearing.  SAE20 synthetic compressor oil.  I spoke to a ROCOL technical manager, who recommended "Molybond Formula 2.5" as the Moly additive.  He said the quantity isn't critical, no harm can occur by adding too much.  I bought some from Repco, it comes in a yellow box like toothpaste, for about $25 (from memory). 

 

For the motor, the 1966 Supplement to the manual "strongly recommends that only the ROCOL Molykiron SAE 5 oil be used - some household and sewing machine oils tend to become 'gummy' and trouble will eventually occur".   So for the motor, SAE 5 with some Moly. 

 

 

Edited by audiofeline
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Platter removal - note the hole through the top of the spindle, that you can thread a wire through to lift the platter.  I made a tool from a small allen key. 

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25 minutes ago, audiofeline said:

That would be for the platter bearing.  SAE20 synthetic compressor oil.  I spoke to a ROCOL technical manager, who recommended "Molybond Formula 2.5" as the Moly additive.  He said the quantity isn't critical, no harm can occur by adding too much.  I bought some from Repco, it comes in a yellow box like toothpaste, for about $25 (from memory). 

 

For the motor, the 1966 Supplement to the manual "strongly recommends that only the ROCOL Molykiron SAE 5 oil be used - some household and sewing machine oils tend to become 'gummy' and trouble will eventually occur".   So for the motor, SAE 5 with some Moly. 

 

 


Thank you AF!

 

23 minutes ago, audiofeline said:

Platter removal - note the hole through the top of the spindle, that you can thread a wire through to lift the platter.  I made a tool from a small allen key. 


Great advice. I saw those pin holes. Really good for when the chassis is plinthed. I had not thought about the holes but it is genius compared to to the Garrard 

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The plinth design project is now underway.

 

Given the industrial look of the Commonwealth 12D, I am opting for an industrial look as opposed to what I did with polished hardwood on the Garrard 401 project.

 

 

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7 minutes ago, Tax said:

Given the industrial look of the Commonwealth 12D, I am opting for an industrial look as opposed to what I did with polished hardwood on the Garrard 401 project.

 

I hope what you do gives me ideas for my rek-o-kut which is still sitting in it's original box plinth - with some rubber I added between the motor board and the box.

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2 minutes ago, crtexcnndrm99 said:

Very nice - have you considered Permali for the skeletal plinth? 

Yes I did, and also spoke to the supplier as well but given the distance to the supplier and the design and performance unknowns I decided to go with a phenolic paper alternate to the phenolic wood option which was >50% cheaper for hopefully not too much performance loss.

 

The design will allow me to play with different top plate materials later. I find there is nothing like the first listen once set up to know whether  it is a success or disaster. The materials in this plinth is going to be a couple of grand already.

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Posted (edited)

I am considering incorporating some of this Tasmanian Blackwood left over from the Garrard 401 project into the plinth of the Commonwealth 12D

C4AAD978-3648-4587-9483-27268654F798.jpeg

E9CDAE6B-C9D9-4FF4-BFE4-F1135F84627C.jpeg

Edited by Tax
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A turntable of this quality deserves a good looking plinth, and that Blackwood looks good. 

And it keeps the Australian theme - Commonwealths were originally made in Tasmania. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

This TT build has slowed down due to the restrictions in Sydney,

I have not been able to go and collect the plinth material but look at what was  delivered today.

The gunmetal pillars weighing 9 kilos.

It is going to be one heavy plinth. 

86335AEC-6E77-4A02-8564-18AF8B4BF25C.jpeg

Edited by Tax
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10 hours ago, Red MacKay said:

Are you going to polish those rods?

Red, I was going to keep things simple and go industrial chic as is,¬†but now that you have got me thinking and given the restrictions of movement in Sydney, it may be a good project to attempt to polish my rod/s ūüėč

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Following @Red MacKay's advice I polished my wet rod super hard this morning ūüėú

 

Not sure whether I prefer it raw or polished....BA72D961-DAFE-418B-9A9B-4A212A9D1090.thumb.jpeg.5b867df682bfac082ef4910e71c5d2ca.jpeg

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Just now, Tax said:

Following @Red MacKay's advice I polished my wet rod super hard this morning ūüėú

 

Not sure whether I prefer it raw or polished....BA72D961-DAFE-418B-9A9B-4A212A9D1090.thumb.jpeg.5b867df682bfac082ef4910e71c5d2ca.jpeg


It came good…

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2 hours ago, Tax said:

Following @Red MacKay's advice I polished my wet rod super hard this morning ūüėú

 

Not sure whether I prefer it raw or polished....BA72D961-DAFE-418B-9A9B-4A212A9D1090.thumb.jpeg.5b867df682bfac082ef4910e71c5d2ca.jpeg

Reminds me of a Kuzma now... we‚Äôre a long way from Australia ūüėā

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5 hours ago, Tax said:

Following @Red MacKay's advice I polished my wet rod super hard this morning ūüėú

 

Not sure whether I prefer it raw or polished....BA72D961-DAFE-418B-9A9B-4A212A9D1090.thumb.jpeg.5b867df682bfac082ef4910e71c5d2ca.jpeg

 

Much better.  I like it!

 

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Polished brings out the bling.  It all depends on whether you like that sort of thing or not, I would probably go towards understated. 

 

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1 hour ago, Red MacKay said:

 

Much better.  I like it!

 

Me too...I like the old look at me when you have summit to flaunt...

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On 6/17/2021 at 8:24 PM, audiofeline said:

That would be for the platter bearing.  SAE20 synthetic compressor oil.  I spoke to a ROCOL technical manager, who recommended "Molybond Formula 2.5" as the Moly additive.  He said the quantity isn't critical, no harm can occur by adding too much.  I bought some from Repco, it comes in a yellow box like toothpaste, for about $25 (from memory). 

 

For the motor, the 1966 Supplement to the manual "strongly recommends that only the ROCOL Molykiron SAE 5 oil be used - some household and sewing machine oils tend to become 'gummy' and trouble will eventually occur".   So for the motor, SAE 5 with some Moly. 

 

 

Not moly oil in motor, the motor has two sintered bronze bearings, moly WILL block the pores in the bronze which is not a good plan. The best oil is same as the spindle a synthetic compressor oil. I remove bronze bearings (they will be varnished and blocked, then put them in boiling compressor oil and eventually the varnish melts and you see fizzing, this is air being driven out and oil soaking into the bearing. Replace them after they cool and Commonwealth will run super smooth and quiet. I use the same sae 68 on the motor as all motor bearings by now will have some wear and the slightly increased gap a slightly thicker oil works better. It is my opinion too that for a motor running as hot as the Commonwealth does a thicker oil makes sense.

Chris

Edited by cafe latte
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@cafe latte Chris, not doubting your expertise and knowledge, but I am confused that your suggestion not to use moly is contradictory to the CE manual's recommendation, which I would normally trust.  Given the moly (as I understand it) is a lubricant, would it not be advantageous for it to be in the pores of the bronze?  Is this a reflection of better understanding of lubricants since the 1960's?

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4 hours ago, audiofeline said:

@cafe latte Chris, not doubting your expertise and knowledge, but I am confused that your suggestion not to use moly is contradictory to the CE manual's recommendation, which I would normally trust.  Given the moly (as I understand it) is a lubricant, would it not be advantageous for it to be in the pores of the bronze?  Is this a reflection of better understanding of lubricants since the 1960's?

Sintered bronze has tiny holes in it, idea is like I did in the resto you boil the bronze and it draws in the oil into the pores which is released later when needed. Moly is a solid, yes it is slippy but it will block the pores which we dont want. If it was just a bronze bearing and not sintered bronze I would agree on the moly, but as it is a sintered bronze the moly will basically turn the sintered bronze in to a standard bronze bearing by blocking the pores.

Chris

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Posted (edited)

Plinth material arrived today.

 

Phenolic impregnated with recycled paper. Closest I could find to the Pertinax used in the Schick plinths.

 

Looks like slate and is super heavy. At this stage guessing that the TT once complete will weigh closer to 50 kgs.

 

Next phase is the bespoke feet I am getting made up.

1BC56553-9034-4ACD-8BBF-EA6A6FB31054.png

98C751ED-0FC9-4C30-AE34-AF2EB12530A0.jpeg

Edited by Tax
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On 7/14/2021 at 6:24 PM, Tax said:

Plinth material arrived today.

 

Phenolic impregnated with recycled paper. Closest I could find to the Pertinax used in the Schick plinths.

 

Looks like slate and is super heavy. At this stage guessing that the TT once complete will weigh closer to 50 kgs.

 

Next phase is the bespoke feet I am getting made up.

1BC56553-9034-4ACD-8BBF-EA6A6FB31054.png

98C751ED-0FC9-4C30-AE34-AF2EB12530A0.jpeg

I have never heard of this material.

Interested in what it is like to work with and how it finishes  as I am gathering up info and bits and pieces for some projects I have on the go.

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On 7/14/2021 at 6:54 PM, Tax said:

Plinth material arrived today.

 

Phenolic impregnated with recycled paper. Closest I could find to the Pertinax used in the Schick plinths.

 

Looks like slate and is super heavy. At this stage guessing that the TT once complete will weigh closer to 50 kgs.

 

Next phase is the bespoke feet I am getting made up.

1BC56553-9034-4ACD-8BBF-EA6A6FB31054.png

98C751ED-0FC9-4C30-AE34-AF2EB12530A0.jpeg

How do you cut it?

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    • By Joshua Marrow
      Hello all - thanks for any help you may get be to an enthusiast overseas....
       
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      If anyone can be of any assistance I would be very grateful - and a great caretaker (and listener).
       
      Thanks in advance for any help,
       
      Kindly,
       
      Josh


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