Systemdek IIXE 900 / Roksan Tabriz: What cartridge and other questions.....?

Rob998

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Nov 19, 2008
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I've just aquired, for very little money, a Systemdek IIXE 900 with a Roksan Tabriz tone arm (not sure if it's a ZI, I doubt it though). That's the good news.

The bad news is the arm is minus a cartridge and the lid is broken.

I don't have a lot of money to spend on the new cartridge, and was considering the following: Goldring 2100, Ortofon 2M Red, Grado Prestige Red and the Audio Technica AT120E, all of which are available around the £80-85 mark. I have a rather catholic taste in music, so I'm looking for a decent all round performer rather than one that excels with classic rock, but is useless with jazz funk, for example. Opinions?

As for the lid, are replacements available at sensible prices? If so, where from? If replacements are silly money, I have a friend who can make me one from carbon fibre for mates rates (he's not sure exactly how much, but the words "A drink" were mentioned, whether this means a slab of lager or a couple of bottles of decent malt whisky has yet to be discussed...). I like carbon fibre.....[:$]. I'll probably superglue it for the time being, but I won't be able to live with it like that for long...

The platter is glass, any problems associated with glass platters? I've read conflicting opinions (like with everything HiFi related...[;)] ) on the merits of Glass vs Acrylic... What kind of mat is best for a glass platter? I presume a felt one would do for the time being?
 
Hi Rob,

Welcome to the forum.

Nice deck! You can tell if arm is Zi version or not by the counterweight. If it is cylindrical and attached directly to the rear of armtube then its an ordinary Tabriz.

I can certainly recommend the Grado prestige or the AT120E, there is an AT at a very reasonable price here:-

http://www.soundhifi.com/AT120E.html

Hope you can get your lid fixed. As for glass or acrylic I'd stick with the glass and simple felt mat. I had a Rega planar 3 once and replaced its glass platter with acrylic and could hear no difference whatever. It may be a personal thing!
 

Rob998

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Nov 19, 2008
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Hi Alears, thanks so much for that link, that really is a great price!

The arm is indeed a standard Tabriz, but I dare say I'll be more than happy with it for the forseeable future! I understand that there is an upgrade kit available if I ever feel the need to spend more money.

I am going to stick with the glass platter for the time being, and get a new felt mat. However, I have been told of a XII with a U/S motor & no tone arm, but with a decent lid & an acrylic platter, so if I can get hold of that I might experiment with swapping them around (assuming they have the same sub-platter design of course). Knowing me, I'll like certain aspects of each platters performance & get confused as to which is best! Or even make a purely subjective decision that one is best with one type of music and the other with another genre...


Any advice on general maintenance of the turntable, ie lubricating the bearing etc? I'm very wary of "snake-oil" and the like, and have heard that lot's of people use EP90 gear oil, or even fully synth motor oil rather than some of the very expensive concoctions available from audiophile suppliers. I did however stumble across this kit for £14.99: http://www.audioorigami.co.uk/F_Sale/ForSale.htm (scroll down to "Booster Oil Turntable Main Bearing Kits") which seems reasonable value? Or do I just nick some of Mrs Robs Q-tips to clean out the old oil & use a little 5ml syringe to put a few drops of Shell Advance Ultra 10W/40 in there....
 
Great. The Tabriz upgrade kit is very good but obviously quite expensive. I would stear clear of that for a while. Any funds available in the future would be better spent on a cartridge upgrade.This would make a more noticeable difference than the arm upgrade.

Glad to hear you may be able to source a lid - very few of the modern decks actually come with one. Mine included!

I would keep away from using any 'motor oil' on you deck. The proper stuff may be expensive but you are only using a few drops between quite lengthy 'service intervals'.

Audioorigami are a very reputable company so I would acquire some of the stuff from their website as you have mentioned.

The Ultra 10W/40 should definately remain in the cars-only domain!!
 

floyd droid

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Sep 5, 2008
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Johnnie (audioorigami) does a couple or so different grades of oil Rob. Drop him a line and he will tell you which one to buy for the Systemdek. Top bloke by the way.
 

Rob998

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Nov 19, 2008
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Thanks guys, I'll give him a call. As you say, it's not like I'll be changing the oil every 6 months. I was only half serious about using the Shell Advance Ultra (Alears, it's a motorcycle oil, and a good one at that! Only the best for my bike, the car gets whatever is on special offer at Halfords...), but I'd be lying if i said that I hadn't been considering it, I always seem to have an odd half litre of the stuff hanging around!

I pick the TT up tomorrow, getting excited!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Great to see a fellow Systemdek user!

Mine has, I think, a Moth(?) arm, Goldring stylus, but I can't remember what cartridge it has. It has a glass platter with a felt mat, I've never had a problem with this combo, and I've had the deck nearly 13 years! The lid is grey perspex, in fact, overall, it still looks stunning, and I'm about to get it looked at when my new kit arrives (see my recent bump on the main hi-fi forum).

ÿThe fella from the hi-fi shop I have just bought the kit from, is going to look at my 'dek at some point, as I've hardly done any servicing at all to it, and he may well offer some upgrade advice. If this gets done, and within a decent price, in the next month or so, I'll revisit this thread and post the details.ÿ
 

Rob998

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Nov 19, 2008
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Well, I picked the 'dek up today, and am very impressed with it! The previous owner obviously didn't know exactly what he had, because what he thought was a frosted glass platter was indeed an acrylic one, and the standard Tabriz arm was indeed a Tabriz ZI, albeit an early one with the rectangular weight rather than the newer version, with the interchangeable cylindrical weights. Not that I'm complaining of course! Apart from the lid it's in mint condition, and even the lid should be repairable in the short term, and won't look too bad.

Caffer, that would be very kind of you!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
All great replies - this forum is just the best. I have a Systemdeck IV i got way back in the eighties from the factory - I live nearby in Kilmarnock, it has an Alphason tonearm and an ATOC7 mc cartridge and I love it. So basically I dont think you could go amiss with AT. I listened to it back then through Musical Fidelity MA50 pre and monoblock power amps and Celestion sl600 si (gold tweeter dome speakers) The amp and speakers I couldnt afford to match nowadays and wish I had kept them. Also look out on that well known auction site for reconditioned MC/MM cartridges for even more bang for your buck.

Good luck with your purchase.

Regards

Will.
 

Rob998

New member
Nov 19, 2008
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Hi Will. I agree, this is a great place to come for advice!

I decided on an AT120E cartridge in the end, as it's regarded as a good all rounder, and it was the cheapest......
Just waiting for it to arrive now, and then I can embark on the task of setting the turntable up properly. This'll be a new experience for me as I'm used to plug & play stuff (although I always tend to upgrade the interconnects). I'm a bit nervous of cocking it up, but I suppose that's part of the fun!

I'll probably upgrade the cart to a MC one eventually (thanks for the tip about reconditioned ones, I didn't know you could do that!), but that will probably require an amp upgrade too, or a phono pre-amp as the Arcam can only work with high output MC carts, and I've not heard much in favour of them?

I've repaired the lid, and it is at least solid even if it doesn't look particularly pretty at the moment, (saying that, it doesn't look horrendous). I'll be able to live with it for the time being, and if it does bug me too much I'll either buy a replacement or I have an idea that covering it in carbon fibre sheet will add strength, and satisfy my CF fetish!

I'm actually suffering from some "Bargain Finders Guilt" at the moment, as I really did get a fantastic bargain: a great 'dek and a high spec arm for less than I'll be spending in the pub tonight (probably...)!
 

Rob998

New member
Nov 19, 2008
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I am a very happy bunny!

The cartridge arrived yesterday, and I was off work today, so I set to, re-installing the arm, installing the cartridge & making sure everything lined up properly.

It all went very smoothly. Downloading the instructions & protractor for the arm from Vinylengine helped enormously of course.

Anyway, it's all working well, and sounds fantastic!

My old, cheap, direct drive Marantz always sounded very bright, and no matter what I did it was very sibilant with lots of splash on cymbals etc. It was very tiring to listen to for any length of time.


The Systemdek is a different kettle of fish altogether, cymbals sound like cymbals should: crisp and clear. Bass is tightly controlled, punchy and dynamic.

I've just spent a very happy afternoon and evening rediscovering some old favourites, and not a hint of listener fatigue!

Watching the "intelligent" counterweight swing around when playing a record that's a bit warped is quite disconcerting
, but it all sounds good, so I just stopped watching it...
 

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