Early listening impressions.
Above photo #1: . Mounted to the wall and spinning some Freddy Hubbard, the TD150 MK II stands on the Neuance platform. I used the Neuance with the TD160 on this same location just prior to obtaining the TD150. The Neuance platform seems to improve the sonic quality of just about any audio device I place on it.
Foot print area of this deck is quite a bit smaller than that of its successor, the TD160. In the vertical, cabinet height is also smaller. What is not smaller is the sound this little turntable can produce. Compared to the TD160, the overall sonic picture seems slightly brighter. Highs are less rolled off. The Shure V15VxMR is a factor here, but I've used the same arm, cart and phono stage combo on both tables. Comparisons are valid. Dynamics seem good. Attack, sustain and decay qualities are slightly sharper in attack, clean and unwavering in sustain and then about the same in decay. Detail levels are also good for the cartridge, arm and phono stage combination in use. There is a good, if not better, sense of timbre and texture. And this is with a nearly stock table...! The arm is the SME 3009 S2 improved with fixed headshell.
The SME tonearm mounts near the extremes of the armboard. This was also the case when fitting the same arm to the TD160 but the larger, open armboard area of the TD150 makes tonearm mounting infinitely more simple. Once fitted operation is quite good. Cueing operation is more convenient with this table than with the TD160. The TD160 suspension is easily disturbed when operating the cue crank lever. The TD150 suspension by comparison is less so.
I don't think it is accurate to say that the TD160 and TD150 share the same motor. Yes, they are both 16-pole AC synchronous motors. That much they have in common. The shape of the TD150 motor housing appears identical to that of the TD125. This is quite different from the TD16x series. The motor drive pulley is lathe turned from solid aluminum. With the TD16x series you get the plastic clutch pulley. I'm not saying that is bad, it is just what you get. The motor torque is quite low on the TD150. With belt off and motor spinning at 33-1/3, I can lightly pinch the pulley between thumb and fore finger and thus stop the motor from spinning. Easily. I checked to make sure if there was any slippage between pulley and the motor shaft by marking the shaft and pulley. No slip. This motor just has very little torque. This is by design I am sure. Listening to music my ears tell me this must be a pretty darn good 'old' motor. This table is closer in sonic qualities to the Teres than is the TD160 and I haven't even started any upgrades....!
The platter bearing:
I have already determined the spindle shaft and bushings to be in excellent, unworn condition. For assembly, I filled the bearing housing nearly half full of of Phil Wood's Tenacious Oil. I then placed the spindle shaft, with inner platter attached, into the bearing housing and let it slide down to the pool of oil. The shaft floats on top of the oil at first then, slowly, the lube passes by the narrow clearance between bushing and shaft and allows the spindle bearing tip to reach home against the thrust plate. When I get some excess oil overflowing out of the bearing housing I know I have enough lube in there for the upper bushing to stay bathed in oil.
The footers and bottom cover:
This deck came without a bottom cover as well. Naturally I was going to replace that too. The footers I found on the deck are the simple but thick and solid rubber furniture feet that have a self adhesive side and have been stuck to the four corner braces within the cabinet directly over the mounting holes for the standard feet. While kind of cheesy, these feet do not suffer from any lack of solidness. I will replace these when the new cabinet with new bottom cover is fabricated. They are fine for now. Whoever put them there knew what they were doing. Cheesy but ok for now.
Above photo #2: The armboard
If you've been following this project, you know I bought the deck without armboard or arm. I would have replaced those anyway. For armboard material I am using 3/8 inch thick grade LE phenolic as the base material and then a smaller piece of 1/8th inch thick carbon fiber to mount the arm to. This results in a very stiff platform to hold the arm that also has good damping qualities. I used a similar armboard composition with my TD160 after trying a few less successful materials. I thought it would be the starting point with this deck. The only drawback is that the carbon fiber is rather expensive. Otherwise I would use a larger piece. I probably will in a later upgrade.
I have chosen to mount the board to the subchassis frame with #8-32 Philips, fillister head machine screws and nuts in black chrome. This method of attachment (nut and bolt) is chosen to further strengthen the frame by adding the stiffness qualities of the Grade LE phenolic to that of the stamped .06 inch sheet steel frame.
Above photo #3: There is enough room to fit this arm, but just.
Enough explanations. I'll just listen to this little table for a day or two before going to the next step. It's a good one...!