Great table. I think it had more torque than almost anything out there. The only table with more torque, that I know of, is/was the Technics SP10 MkIII.
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You've probably seen the "shoot-out" (hate that term) that was done by a Japanese magazine in the 80s, wherein two reviewers listened to about a dozen of the top TTs of the day and ranked them according to certain qualities. (Someone will no doubt post the URL; I can't find it right now.) In that article, the P3 was tied with the EMT 930 (I think) for top rank. Those two were ranked well ahead of all others in most categories and came out on top in net score. Weaknesses of the article were that some other top of the line TTs, such as Technics SP10 MkIII and Denon DP100, were not included, and that the tonearms and cartridges seem to have been different for each TT. For example, the P3 has it's own integrated arm that was certainly not used with any of the other tables. But there is no doubt that the P3 and the later P3a represented Pioneer's all out efforts in TT design and build quality.
Nah, pulled out unfortunately
Due to the $AUS being in the toilet, what was a good deal 3 months ago, was just a bit risky at this time.
I am looking at buying some cheaper tables to play with locally as my 2nd/3rd tables.
Yamaha Px-3 and/or Micro Seiki DL-91L
Both these seem top be reasonable tables for not so much money. Not competing with any 10K tables thou I would guess :-)
I wondered why Downunder wanted to use price (i.e., "10K table") as a criterion for expectation of performance. I have lost faith in price as a factor in sound quality of tt's. There are just too many megabuck models with obvious design flaws. Most likely the P3, like the MkIII, will sound great but will not be loved by all devotees of belt- or idler-drive. The limitation of the P3 compared to almost all other top end vintage tt's is that one is pretty much stuck with the stock plinth and tonearm, unless one wants to do a major transplantation of the P3 chassis, which would negate the built-in suspension/isolation. I guess there is a way to add a second tonearm to the existing plinth, but that's about it.
Lewm, the space really isn't there for a second tonearm on-plinth, and if one tried, THAT would require major surgery on the plinth. If one wanted to put one on a pod behind the plinth, that might work, but it would have to be a loooong arm. According to the Pioneer tech who did the overhaul on mine, the existing arm can actually be removed and replaced quite easily without doing anything to the plinth/chassis. The replacement simply needs to be a very similar arm (282mm effective length or so, as long as the base-pivot relationship is similar). I would think the long Audiocrafts (4000, 4400), the Audio-Technica 1501, the Micro Seiki MAX-282 and MA-505L could be made to work, and I bet the long Sony arms (PUA 286, 1600L), and the long Victor and Denon arms would also work. I have not tried it (not sure if I would want to - as a straight arm, it works really well). I cannot, offhand, think of any modern arms with similar length but I am sure someone could find one or two. That said, the arm on it is pretty darned good. I would think it would compete pretty well with the best of the arms mentioned above (which if I had to choose, I would say is likely to be the Max-282, based on my experience with the Max-237).
Thanks, T_bone and Downunder. I have heard good things about the stock tonearm on the Exclusive P3, also (probably from T_bone by private e-mail). Still you must admit that the choice of tonearms is limited and needs to be of similar length to the stock one. Someday I have got to hear a P3 myself in order to make my own judgment. It was significant to me that a P3 owner told me that he favored one of his belt-drive tts (a Micro Seiki, I think) over the P3, altho the P3 was his second favorite of his many turntables. Meantime, I have been happy with my SP10 Mk2A in a slate plinth with RS-A1 tonearm and Ortofon MC7500 cartridge. Downunder, I think there are many $10K tts that are very good and many others that are way over-priced and could not compete with a tweaked Garrard 301/Lenco L75/SP10/etc. But I tend to think the Exclusive P3 (not the Rega P3) is at least competition for ANY $10K tt sold today. If anyone can figure out what I just wrote, let me know.
Well I managed to pick up an Exclusive P3 and have been playing it for just over a week now.
Built like a tank, looks gorgeous and has great in built isolation. What a great table period and I am a very happy chappy.
Obviously early days, but I feel I now have two ref tables (for me) that sound different enough that I can play any of my records and be truely happy with the sound.
Both the Raven AC-3 and P3 sound absolutely sublime with the amazing new Ortofon MC A90 cart.
Hi Lewn, Siniyl - thanks
Yes I do have a P10 as well, however I had the opportunity to get the P3 and could not pass it up.
I am not that concerned about P3 or p3a as they are almost the same. s/n ratio is the same. Only difference was in 1980 was the way Japanese measure changed giving all the tables a boost in the measured s/n ratio specs
Downunder, What you say seems to be true. In ca 1980 the standard for measuring S/N ratio changed, to give everyone bigger numbers to brag on. I think then Exclusive re-defined the P3 to P3a with maybe some minor changes, if any changes at all. No one seems to know for sure just what changes would have been made at that time.
Personally, I wonder whether one CAN have too many great turntables, and I feel that I am testing the hypothesis.
thnx Jasper, you still kill me on idler tables thou:-)
If you read the vintage knob link at the beginning, it has been updated to include the diffences between the P3 & p3a - they only real audible changes according to the Pioneer techs was a change to the arm wand & phono cable.
I will be very interested in your take of SP10Mk2 v Mk3.
When the Mk3 is finally ready for audition, I will replace the Mk2 with the Mk3 on the same shelf with the same tonearm/cartridge. Then we will see. Those who have owned both tell me the difference in sound is not "amazing". Over on another thread, Dertonearm tells me that to be in the highest echelon of tt excellence, one must have at least a 30-lb platter, regardless of the drive system. This of course lets any dd table that I know of out of the discussion. (Possibly the megamegabuck Rockport fulfills this criterion.) I am not saying I agree with him or even that I know enough to have an opinion.
Just like you I have been able to pick up the elusive P3.. I just got it about three days ago. I need some help adjusting it in the right way, since I can't make up anything out of the manual.. Can you tell me what the adjustment knob on the left does? For as far as I know: the top one is damping, and the one on the right is for tracking force.. now still to find out what the one on the left does..
I have it paired with a AT-150mlx cart, since I use a eXclusive P3 as preamp, I wanted to find a decent MM cart.
Hi there, well I found it all out:
I was wrong in my first mail: I ment to note the dial on the right side: this is for adjusting the tracking force.. Now I got it all adjusted in the right way.
I have the AT-150mlx cart on it with a tracking force of 1,5 grams, and damping is on 1: It sounds wonderfull, I have to go through my whole recordcollection again!, I hears stuff which was never there before.. the detail and steadiness of the sound is amazing, furthermore the soundstage is very holographic, not like anything I heard/had before.. To give you an idea; my daily TT before the P3 was a (Pioneer) PLC-590 with PA-5000 arm.
I will certainly never regret getting the P3, it looks wonderfull, and the sound improvement is amazing!
Good news - sounds like you're on track.
You might want to experiment further with the damping. I would have figured your AT-150MLX to be on the "low" end of compliance.
According to the P3 manual (p15, bottom right), in general, low compliance carts should be set at 3-5 using the straight armpipe, and 2-4 using the S-armpipe. High-compliance carts should be set at 2-4 on the straight armpipe and 1-3 on the S-armpipe.
Thanks for the reply.
Forgive me with being so ignorant: But I suppose you are talking about the damping when you say "2-4 using the S-armpipe"??
Yes, I think I will indeed this TT for many more years. Especially since it was the last item to complete my eXclusive setup: I already had the C3, M3, F3 and 3401's to go with it.. I love the complete setup!
Yes, 2-4 is the range on the damping knob on the top of the tonearm which the manual recommends for the S-armpipe when using 'low-compliance' carts. Personally, I tend to set it at the low side of what the manual recommends, but it is definitely worth experimenting - it will change the sound more than you expect...
FWIW, I assume your AT 150MLX is 'low' because of the specs shown on vinyl engine (which I had recently looked at). I have not used one of those carts on one of my tables.
I actually bought the P3 in Japan and got it shipped... Finding it outside of Japan is next to impossible.
I like the C3 alot: the onboard phono stage sound very nice to me; quite neutral, but with a bit warmth in it.. just enough.. I actually have two sets of C3/M3; one set has seen a full revision/upgrade, while the other set is fully original, I want to do some a-b testing in the nearby future.
Thanks! I will try some different settings with the damping etc.. I might give it a try with the Pioneer PC-1000II and PC-70mc cart as well..
The P3 is 100V 50/60Hz. It needs a stepdown transformer outside of Japan - preferably a larger one (one which can handle 300W or so). The transformer inside is supposed to be quite a bit larger than most turntables' transformers, according to the repairguy "the transformer is built for a 20W Class A amp". The back panel only says the draw is 15W, but he also has said to me that the peak power handling is quite large - lots of overhead. Because of that I would suggest more overhead in the transformer than you'd normally use with something which says 15W. YMMV...
Maybe Mr. Downunder can opine...
I had a huge stepdown transformer build to power both my exclusive P3 and F3, which are both Japanese domestic 100 volts units.. the F3 tuner is a story on itself, since it also has a bandwidh of 76 to 90 mhz, instead of 88 to 108.. However: everything can be solved!
T_bone: interesting info about the transformer and the peak power handling.. I never really thought of that..
I use this Kashimura transformer in the link. It is good for 300 watts for 120volts and 200 watts for 240 volts. This is the largest power rating stepdown until you get to those big heavy ugly step downs.
I use one each for my P3 and P10. Completely silent and has worked perfectly.
T-Bone, are you saying if I buy one of those big heavy ugly transformers (see link) and maybe noisy my P3 will sound even better :-) ??
How did you solve your tuner band issue? If a tech can do that (and you can find a different number band for the tuner needle window), I would go out and find a Kenwood tuner. They can be found from time to time, but I just figured I could never get it to work in the right band...
When I move to a place with more than 100V, I will buy a big ugly thing and put it into a wooden box.
My initial plan was to get the tuner rebuild for Euro bandwidth.. I got the Japanese servicemanual etc. And thought I found a tech who could do it, but after studying the servicemanual he told me he is afraid he can't get it right, he finds the APC circuit on the F3 to difficult, he asked me to find the servicemanual for the same tuner but than with western bandwidth, however.. the F3 is japan only.. The closest thing it could come up with, is the F26 tuner, however I can't seem to find any servicedocs on that one.
So, for now I have find another solution: I use a bandwidth expander (the Merlin, can be found on that auction site) which is build for in-car use. I did a small conversion, so I could power it with a 12v adapter.. and cutted of the original connectors. It works like a charm! the sound output is very clean and crispy, no distortion whatsoever.. Ofcourse there is still the issue of the dialscale, but I can live with that for now..
My plan to get it rebuild still stands.. but I'm not sure if I will ever be able to get it done, it all depends on the availability of the right person and docs. Changing the dialscale shouldnt be to hard: I just have to get someone to cut me a glass plate in the right size, and then (after measurement etc apply the print.
There is a guy in the States who has some expierence with rebuilding Accuphase T-102's ans Sansui TU-9900 and TU-X1's.. He can do it to your Kenwood as well, I'm shure about that, but it will be pricey...
2 sets of C3/M3 you say!! You are a true Exclusive fan.
Thanks for reporting your impression of the C3.I like the vintage cool look and I would be interested to hear of your AB result later.
And I know P3 is impossible to get outside of Japan. I just sealed a deal to get one today. Looking forward to getting it in the near future.
Thanks for the advice on that P3 i'd received indirectly via Downunder.;)
Congrats on getting the P3! you will never regret it. was it from Yahoo? Let us know how you like it. Did it came with both the straigt and the S-shape tonearm?
Results on the A\B testing as soon as i get my 2'nd M3 back from some minor repair. I'm quite curious myself as well about the audible differences
OK you guys. As T_bone knows, I just bought my second L07D yesterday. I know that the P3 was rated better in the famous 1980 "shoot-out", but that was the opinion of two other guys. Plus they did not use an RF/EMI shield between the platter and the LP, whichh is recommended especially for the L07D. Believe me, it makes a difference. You might also want to try it with the P3. I used TI Shield from M Percy. This is a material developed by Texas Instruments that was not even available back then.
Another L07D? This must be a great table to buy a second, the one from Germany I assume. I have more than I can deal with even now but these classic direct drives are getting the best of me. L-07D, sp-10 mk3, P3, DP 100m, PS-X9. I'm in danger of becoming a TT collector as it seems you and T_bone already are. Oh well, you could own them all for less than the cost of some modern sota tables.
Dear Sonofjim, Becoming a turntable collector is my biggest fear. Actually, you are ahead of me, and Travis puts us both in the shade, I am pleased to be able to say. I "only" have the Mk3 and the two L07Ds among the top rank ones. Of course, I also have the slate/PTP3/Lenco, a DP80, and an SP10 Mk2A, for a total of 6. I swear to myself that two of these, maybe 3 of them, have got to go. Actually, the second L07D was an auction on eBay, and I picked it up yesterday in Long Island, NY. It's quite mint-y. So, not the one from Germany.
I am in the process of constructing a very elaborate partially slate plinth for the Mk3, which is why it is not up and running. If you have not had your L07D tuned up by Howard of "L07D Lovers", you really ought to consider it. Mine is preternaturally silent since he did the work, and throws the widest deepest soundstage I have ever heard from a tt. Get the shield as well.
That is great news,
but remember its not a contest,(we can leave that to the current tables) - but rather a celebration of 30+ year old tables that can literally compete with the best of the current production.
Personally the industrial look of the Kenwood leaves me cold - but I am sure it sounds great.
I am not sure the P3 needs any RF shield - it is silent as is, but I'll try anything once.
Can you give us a link for the RF/EMI shield - I assume you just cut it into circle and place on the platter? how thick is it? Do you put it between the platter and rubber mat??
me, I am very tempted to get a Garrard 401 so I can hear the "idler" sound.
The Kenwood is really understated and cool looking, IMO. If you see one in the flesh, you will know what I mean. The plinth is an integral part of the design and beautifully thought out with constrained layer damping, etc. IMO, each of the top line dd tables has a strong point that the others don't have; for the Kenwook, it is the plinth and the integration of the tonearm into the mix. Plus, the motor (coreless and slotless) and motor controller are unique.
Yes, I cut the TI Shield in the shape of an LP, punched a hole in the center and placed it between the platter and the platter "sheet" on the Kenwood, which is essentially a 5-lb platter mat made of stainless steel. On any table you could put it between the platter and whatever mat. I am not at all sure that other DD tables even need it. There was some scuttlebutt that it helps an SP10 MkII. Mk 3 should not need it because the platter is made of brass, essentially, with a high copper content. There is strong support for using a shield with the Kenwood on the L07D website. IME, the effect is at first subtle but then quite convincing in terms of improved clarity, wider soundstage, better inner detail. There is no "noise" per se with the Kenwood, even without the shield. The shield lowers the noise floor from low (no audible noise) to very low (wow factor).
Lewm et all,
I must appolagize for the apparent misleading nature of my prior post. My laundry list of tables wasn't a list of tables I own. It was merely a list of those that intrigue/tempt me. I currently own a mk2 and a mk3, both rebuilt and mounted in Albert Porter's new double arm panzerholtz based plinths. I appear to be in the process of obtaining another mk3 and will likely sell the mk2 and it's original wenge plinth(The combiantion that led to the sale of Albert's Walker).
I potentially have room for a third table and love DDs. The P3 or the Denon DP 100 top my list for that spot(my wife would die if she knew I were even contemplating that at this point). The L-07D looks like a real winner and would have to be considered one of the biggest bargains of the group along with the mk2 which is nearly impossible to beat at anywhere near the price it goes for.
No apologies necessary. My wife and son merely told me quietly that it was crazy to have 5 turntables (this was before I bought the latest L07D), and they've mercifully let it go at that. My SP10 Mk2A is running right next to my L07D. The Mk2A was given the soup to nuts restoration by Bill Thalmann (the same guy who probably worked on your tables, Sonofjim, via Albert's auspices). The L07D was done by Howard of the L07D Lovers. It's difficult to make a fair comparison of the tables alone, because of the integral plinth and tonearm on the L07D. The Mk2A is in a slate plinth, and I've used various tonearms. Anyway, the L07D has my vote without a doubt. For whatever reason, it's at a higher level.
I am going to mount my Triplanar in the secondary tonearm mount position on the L07D, to get a bead on the L07D tonearm, which some have criticized but which I think must be excellent. If there is anything to criticize with the L07D, I would point to the wiring between the cartridge and the phono stage; too many physical contacts. I plan to address that issue too. We'll see what the more than 2 times more costly MK3 can do next to the L07D.
I think a mk3 done right is hard to beat but also costly. What's intriguing about these TT systems such as the P3, DP 100 and L-07D is the level of refinement for the dollar. You get a top notch motor and control system, a plinth with isolation, and a tonearm system all in one package. This is what makes the P3(and L-07D) so remarkable IMHO.
Unfortanetly I cant comment on any of the other high-end turntables bespoken here above.. the P3 is the only one I have/heard.
Today I have been playing around with the setup of the P3: I fitted the Pioneer PC-1000II cartridge onto the straight tonearm, tracking force at 1,2grams and damping at two (on the lower end, manual advices from 2-4 with straight arm and PC-1000II cart) I was amazed by the sound quality: Listened to some records and was absolutely suprised that this old cart could give such a great soundquality: voices are very lively, piano sounds fluid.. that is always a good indicator for me..
This cart is unfortanetly very, very hard to find, but I is certainly worth the search!
Funny thing is; I have the original brochure for the P3, and on the pictures in the brochure, it's shown with the PC-1000II cart as well!
It's the P3a with the minor blemish on the base-foot? It looks quite allright, bigger issue to me should be the fact that the rubber mat is missing, but shurely you should be able to find a suitable replacement..
I was offered that one as well, since I was on the waiting list at hifido for a P3(a).. Since I just got one from Yahoo I passed.
Congratulations again with this great piece of engineering.
I saw the one on hifido as well. It's listed as a P3a but the front and back plate just say P3 unlike the picture of the other sold one which says P3a both places. Not that it makes much difference. They're close to the same and either way it's a great machine. Not sure the rubber mat is a huge deal. I think T_bone uses a cu-180 on his anyway.
Where do these P3s get checked out/rebuilt typically? I assume at their age they need some checkup, maintanance, and possibly cap/diode changes.
I'd be interested in hearing how the transaction with hifido goes. They seem like a good source for these.
I actually think the TT on Hifido is a P3 plinth with P3a arm.. you can read on the vintageknob about the differences between the two, which are marginal btw..
Pioneer has its own servicecenter in Japan which still services all their highend units, like the P3, C3, M3, M4, M5, F3, C5, C7, M7, M8 etc. etc. etc. Any P3 should be serviced by this center before it's shipped to anywhere outside Japan, it's worth every penny!
Jaspert: May I ask: does it come with both tonearms? If not: these arms are being offered for sale every now and then on Yahoo..