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Old 18th Nov 2020, 11:55 pm   #1
vonrozen
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Default BBC Turntable - possible to use at home ?

I bid today and had the folly to win a BBC Turntable (modified Technics sp10) and got it for a huge price (2200 UKP ! ).

Then someone told me that I won't be able to use it because it has no normal outputs but very specific ones (Hypertac)

https://www2.ppauctions.com/assets/l...1605004794.jpg

https://www2.ppauctions.com/assets/l...1605004795.jpg


Could you confirm to me what kind of sockets it has at the back ?

Thank you very much indeed !

Alexander
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Old 19th Nov 2020, 12:11 am   #2
paulsherwin
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Default Re: BBC Turntable - possible to use at home ?

The SP10 is a very good professional transcription record deck. Hypertac is just a company that makes professional interconnects. It's difficult to say without knowing how the deck has been modified, but you should be able to fit RCA phono sockets wired to the cartridge (whatever it is). It's possible that the deck has been fitted with a built-in RIAA preamp, which given the quality is likely to be very good.
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Old 19th Nov 2020, 12:15 am   #3
Ted Kendall
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Default Re: BBC Turntable - possible to use at home ?

It's been a while since I saw one of these, but BBC units generally had the outputs available on jacks or XLRs as well. In any case, adding a suitable output on a flying lead is not particularly difficult. The built-in amplifiers are RIAA equalised and produce balanced outputs at line level.
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Old 19th Nov 2020, 12:23 am   #4
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Default Re: BBC Turntable - possible to use at home ?

Ted, what would the BBC use these for? They seem excessive for most broadcast purposes. I would imagine the professional use would be to digitise old recordings which only existed in analogue vinyl form.
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Old 19th Nov 2020, 12:37 am   #5
Ted Kendall
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Default Re: BBC Turntable - possible to use at home ?

Well, by recent standards it might be over-complicated, but this unit is probably thirty or forty years old, from the time when vinyl was a mainstream broadcast source. Many of the features are to facilitate cueing, pre-fade montoiring and fast starts when integrated into a studio environment.
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Old 19th Nov 2020, 12:42 am   #6
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Default Re: BBC Turntable - possible to use at home ?

I did notice that it seemed to have a remote start, but I'd expect most of the facilities to be handled by the studio desk in a BBC broadcast environment.

Were these things used routinely for things like Radio 2 and Radio 3?
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Old 19th Nov 2020, 1:45 am   #7
jamesperrett
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Default Re: BBC Turntable - possible to use at home ?

This is a continuation of a thread started on the Sound On Sound forum where Hugh Robjohns has written a thorough explanation of what the various controls on the turntable do.

https://www.soundonsound.com/forum/v...p?f=16&t=75058

A few other ex-BBC people have chimed in too.
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Old 19th Nov 2020, 7:50 am   #8
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Default Re: BBC Turntable - possible to use at home ?

Iíve bookmarked SOS link, thank you, many hours of reading ahead.
John
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Old 19th Nov 2020, 7:51 am   #9
eaglework
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Default Re: BBC Turntable - possible to use at home ?

These were very much the standard turntable in use in many BBC studios from the 80s. As others have said a modified Technics SP10.
The outputs were usually on multiway connectors (hypertac) to incorporate audio and remote control into a single plug/socket so avoiding multiple plugs and sockets but some may have had XLR's as well. From memory the audio would have been at a nominal 0dBm or line level so should be relatively easy to add separate audio outputs once you have identified the audio out.
Be aware some also had a cue programme feed so the operator could listen to the studio output without taking their headphones off - especially useful when playing in sound effects for drama recording.
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Old 19th Nov 2020, 10:08 am   #10
Ted Kendall
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Default Re: BBC Turntable - possible to use at home ?

The point made elsewhere about the arm and cartridge is worth repeating - the Shure SC35C was, for a long time, the standard BBC cartridge. It was specifically designed for bradcast and studio applications where accurate groove location, back-cueing and avoidance of groove-jumping were required. Hence the 5g tracking force, necessitating a spherical tip if wear was to be kept within bounds, the fluorescent paint on the cantilever and the low compliance. All things considered, though, it made quite a nice noise. The BBC arm, similarly, was designed for robustness, eschewing refinements like bias correction, but served its purpose well. Years ago, Clement Brown pointed out in a hi fi magazine that refinement in components intended for hi fi domestic use was all very well and laudable, but "in the workaday professional world, these would be out of adjustment in five minutes and ruined in another five" - pardonable exagerration, as his logic was sound.

The SP10 won't disgrace any cartridge/arm combination you care to use - I have relied on one for vinyl transcrition for decades, with an SME iii arm and various cartridges, generally a Shure V15/V. In the BBC, when these units were introduced to replace Garrard 301s and 401s, the phrase "a Garrard that works" was uttered more than once - cruel, maybe - after all, the basic 301 design was by then over thirty years old - but the SP10 did all the fancy things with regard to quick start without solenoids and slip platters and was utterly silent and stable to boot. The EMT 950 series found favour for network self-op suites particularly, being tidier in appearance - and it could play backwards as well! - but there was little to choose between the two types on performance.

Last edited by Ted Kendall; 19th Nov 2020 at 10:18 am.
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Old 19th Nov 2020, 6:40 pm   #11
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Default Re: BBC Turntable - possible to use at home ?

I was slightly surprised to see this thread was about a Technics , rather than a Gates , with the big chunky rectangular arm , which was standard BBC fare for many years ; or indeed a Gerrard 301 , one of which I got for £1 out of BH Glasgow , just before it was bound for a skip .

https://www.worthpoint.com/worthoped...gray-423826567
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Old 20th Nov 2020, 10:33 am   #12
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Default BBC turntable RP 2/6

Many are critical of the BBC turntable. Is the EMT 938 better from the sound point of view and from the engineering point of view (solid build / simplicity / reliability ) ??

I may have the possibility to exchange the BBC one against the EMT, hence the question.
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Old 20th Nov 2020, 1:28 pm   #13
Ted Kendall
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Default Re: BBC Turntable - possible to use at home ?

The EMT arm is a fair bit better - bias correction, for a start - but the construction of the turntable is more complex and the 938 isn't quite as good as the SP10 at quick starts - this is one of the trade-offs which made the 938 cheaper than the 950. You might find the 938 easier to use as a stand-alone unit, but they are both excellent performers.
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Old 20th Nov 2020, 4:31 pm   #14
vonrozen
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Default Re: BBC Turntable - possible to use at home ?

Thank you very much. There are always a few EMT which float on ebay, hence my question...
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Old 20th Nov 2020, 5:03 pm   #15
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Default Re: BBC Turntable - possible to use at home ?

The 938 was developed as a cheaper option for those who could not afford the 948/950. Here it was supplied as a kit and and assembled in a state owned electronics factory. All radio (and TV) stations were state owned and operated during those days.

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Old 20th Nov 2020, 11:42 pm   #16
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Default Re: BBC Turntable - possible to use at home ?

As has already been said, bias correction was omitted from this BBC arm for practical reasons: in a broadcast environment it is one less thing which requires adjustment and is therefore one less thing to go wrong. The performance criteria for professional broadcast use are very different to those of domestic listening. Quality has to be high but robustness and repeatability - all day and every day - plus ease of use are the goals.

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Old 21st Nov 2020, 12:53 am   #17
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Default Re: BBC Turntable - possible to use at home ?

So, is it possible to use a BBC SL10 setup at home? definitely yes. You may have to arrange some cables and connections, but no rocket scientists need be harmed in that production.

The question mutates into one of whether you should want to.

On the plus side:

1) It has the BBC moniker on it and it therby acquires a special glamour in people's minds.
2) It looks different to normal domestic equipmentIt will grab attention.
3) It's quite well engineered and ought to last
4) It's quite well engineered to survive abuse being used by people who don't pay for its repair.

On the minus side:

1) It has the BBC moniker on it and that pumps the price up substantially
2) It looks different to normal domestic equipment and might not promote harmony of the domestic kind.
3) It's from an owner where things will have been heavily used over many years.
4) The robustness of the arm is achieved at some compromise - like no bias compensation
5) The robustness of the cartridge/stylus is also achieved at some compromise.

An interesting shedding of light was in a post higher up the thread. I think it was Ted said he used one of these a lot, but it was fitted with an SME arm and a Shure V15.

The question of whether you should want to use one is personal, but there are several factors to take into account.

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Old 21st Nov 2020, 1:06 am   #18
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Default Re: BBC Turntable - possible to use at home ?

Spot on.

There is, I think, an idea among some enthusiasts that a piece of equipment that has been designed for the broadcast industry is somehow 'better' than equipment intended for other specialist (e.g. audiophile) uses. Folks at home can afford to be obsessive so will attend to the tiniest detail in pursuit of their obsession whereas broadcasters use the stuff in an everyday capacity. Therefore I would suggest that a comparison between EMT and this particular BBC turntable using a domestic audio mindset is futile.

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Last edited by fetteler; 21st Nov 2020 at 1:27 am.
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Old 21st Nov 2020, 10:44 am   #19
Ted Kendall
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Default Re: BBC Turntable - possible to use at home ?

My SP10 came to me as a partially stripped out BBC unit intended for light duties in the Regions. It has quite a nice tabletop plinth which used to contain a modified Quad 33 and some interface eletronics. I have kept the thick aluminium top plate, which is resiliently mounted in the plinth and cut for the SME 3009 Improved which once sat there. The unit also has a wide-range varispeed, which has proved useful on occasion. I run the pickup outputs direct into an external preamplifier. As a straightforward turntable, there is little to beat it.

The RP 2 series were of their time, and very good for the job they were, too, but most of the features are redundant for domestic use. The BBC view was that the worst distortion was a missed start or a jumped groove, because everybody would hear that, whilst a little mistracking would go largely unnoticed. In time, Radio 3 continuity was equipped with a V15-equipped Technics of some stripe, if memory serves, along with a Nagra for playing trails. Quick starts, with the attendant back-cueing, are not, of course the Radio 3 way, whilst the Nagra was quiet enough to be self-opped by the announcer.
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Old 21st Nov 2020, 1:13 pm   #20
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Default Re: BBC Turntable - possible to use at home ?

I've followed this thread with interest because I have a twin version of the same thing in a console. Turntables aren't really my thing, but it does have a part in the broadcast collection. I'm intrigued to see how the OP progresses with it and what snags surface (if any). I may be inspired to fire up the twin unit!

Best regards,
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