I own an RX-2 and Beogram 4500, used to own a Rega Planar 3. The 4500 with the tangential tracking arm is superior to both IMO, and the Rega was better than the RX-2. If you can, find a nice tangential tracking B&O table, preferably one that uses the MMC series cartridge. You will be quite surprised at how good they sound.
I feel that just about all of the B&O 'tables that are generally available in North America, and produced after about the mid-1970s, are equal or better in performance than an entry-level Rega such as the P3 or Planar 3, and yes, I have directly compared them. That is, provided that the B&O is in good working condition . . .
Having said that, some are better than others. I'm personally using a Beogram 4004 with an MMC20CL right now, and it's outstanding - better than sooo many "accredited" audiophile turntables. But this machine dates from the late 1970s, and I've seen lots and lots of BG4004s and 4002s . . . and they usually need some skilled work to bring them back to their original performance.
The BG8000/8002 are also very good, and generally a little more consistent than the 4002/4004s, but again, restoration/repair is NOT a job for a beginner. The Beogram TX is based on the BG8000, just with a simple belt drive instead of the eddy-current magnetic rim drive.
If you're not wanting to have it worked-over and brought back up to spec, I'd recommend a later-model linear-tracking turntable, i.e. the BG5005, BG5500, or TX2 to use your own phono preamp, or a BG4500, BG6500, or BG7000 with a (very good) internal phono preamp. Most of the time these 'tables are either obviously broken, or they work perfectly.
If you're interested in a 4000/8000 series 'table, then I'd recommend Soundsmith as a great resource for repair (and of course cartridges for all B&O 'tables). But I'd definately stay away from the early-1970s models with synchronous mains-voltage motors, i.e. Beogram 3000, BG1200, and BG1900.
In any case, a good B&O turntable/cartridge will give you the best tracking performance in the business, and some of the most effective suspension isolation . . . all with virtually zero setup and the convienence of automatic operation.
Kirkus-Great job. Thanx for the education. I will visit Soundsmith next week and see what they have on offer. If I asked you to provide model numbers of 2-3 B/O tables I should ask about, can you provide? My head is spinning with the several you've mentioned above. I do believe my contact mentioned an RX or TX may be available.
If you're willing to have one repaired/restored, then I'd recommend (US models):
I would consider the TX one step down from these, and the RX two steps down. But they're still good, so if you get one at a good price, it's worth it. The RX2 and TX2 are different, newer, and probably won't need nearly as much in terms of service as compared to a RX or TX, but are in general not quite as nicely built - B&O was anticipating the CD taking over when they designed these turntables. But a TX2 is still a fantastic-sounding machine, especially with a MMC1 or MMC2.
Great, Kirkus. I am now positioned to work with my contact thanx to your erudite comments.
I have a Beogram 1700 from 1983 that has been well stored for many years
Dear Kirkus: I don't want to hijack the therad but I think that Lindisfarne has the information he was looking for.
My question to you ( Kirkus. Btw, I never imagine you own B&O, at least I can't read it through your virtual system. ) is that if do you already try that MMC20CL in a non B&O TT/tonearm and how compare it?, thank you.
Regards and enjoy the music,
Kirkus. Btw, I never imagine you own B&O,
I'm a huge fan of Bang & Olufsen, and own piles of the stuff . . . actually I own a B&O store. I just don't discuss their current product on Audiogon because I like to participate as an individual as opposed to a business, and want to avoid a conflict of interest. It's also a very misunderstood company in the specialty-audio community . . .
But anyway, the I've mounted MMC20CLs in other tonearms, and been very impressed (usually SME IIIs). I also used to use a TD124, and had two armboards with salvaged B&O tonearms - one from a Beogram 3000 where I used the SP12, and another from a Beogram 3400 where I used the MMC20CL. I also used the SMEIII on the TD124 with the MMC20CL. But I've never really tried them on medium- or high-mass tonearms . . .
I generally feel that my current Beogram 4004 is the best, most balanced setup for this cartridge, and it has by far the best tracking performance. On the 124, I always felt the bass was better, and there was a bit more impact and dynamics, but it seemed to give at least as much away in terms of clarity and detail.
Dear Kirkus: My experiences with B&O cartridges ( MMC20CL, MMC1/2. ) are very similar to what you posted: great performers but instead to use it a low effective mass tonearm I use medium mass ones with very good results. I had the opportunity to heard in my system a similar MMC1 by Soundsmith and is very good too but lack the very natural music flow of the B&O originals that for me are nearer to the real " thing ".
Other than its cartridges I always admire the B&O design " look ", different for any thing else.
Regards and enjoy the music,
On a business trip to St. Louis I visited a local authorized Tascam repair shop on the premise of buying a 1/2 track BR-20 reel to reel deck. The store also repairs many other brands of audio gear and upon a tour given to me by the owner stumbled upon Beogram 8000 and 8002 tables. I picked up the 8002 with a very good MC-2 cartridge. The owner cleaned it up and fully tested it while I was there and it worked just fine. I should have it by the weekend.
let us know what's up when you take it for a test drive.
Perhaps someone can chime in here. I'm smitten with the design of the Beogram 4000 series, and, as I'm looking to get a new table, am seriously considering it with one of the better Soundsmith cartridges. The price for a good example and cartridge edges close to used Clearaudio Emotion territory, which is the other table I'm considering.
Aside from the obvious convenience features (not to be overlooked), how would a Beogram 4002 with an MMC20CL compare to an Emotion with something like an Aurum classic?
I've just acquired Beogram 8000 with MMC 20CL cartridge for under $500. It was in a very good condition, probably as good as it could be considering the age. Beogram 4000 or 4002 would cost just as much, perhaps more due to the rarity. I think Clearaudio Emotion + Aurum would cost considerably more than Beogram, and it is not a fair comparison.
As far as the sound go, it's probably hit or miss as most B&O tables are very old and the condition will vary from one end of the spectrum to the other. MMC 20CL cartridges are superb, and they are probably as good as any $500 TT + cartridge combo. However I don't think the detail retrieval is as good as good MC cartridges.
I love my Beogram 8000. It is magnetic drive, and there is no motor or belt to worry about. The build quality is great, and the design is timeless after nearly 30 years. 4000 series is another timeless classic and I don't think you'll regret getting one.
I've been using the 8002 for a couple weeks now. It is dead quiet and with the MMC-2 cartridge sounds very good.
I might have gone a bit overboard but I also just picked up an 8002 in superb condition with a barely used MMC 20CL.
I have to agree anyone looking for a "budget" table that is an overachiever should consider the higher end of the Beogram line.
On another note now I'm curious about their CD players. They use the TDA-1541 chip with 4x synchronous oversampling. Sounds like a good recipe for analog sounding digital. Might be worth a try to find out.
Sorry, that should have been 8000 with a barely used MMC 20CL.
I had a Rega table loaned from my friend before I purchased my B&O table, and I did a A/B test today. It's a Rega 25 with Benz Micro MC cartridge. Unfortunately the difference was not subtle. There was more air, more detail, and more clarity using Rega.
However, Rega 25 + Benz Micro combo is probably 4x the price of B&O table.
Also the original cartridge MMC 25CL on my Beogram is 20+ years old. It looks like it's in an excellent condition, the cantilever suspension might have been hardened after long storage.
I'm somewhat disappointed at the result. :( I might try a new cartridge from soundsmith and/or get my MMC 25CL rebuilt.
I've got a Beogram 4000 that I bought years ago on eBay just because it looked so cool--I'll have to plug it in and give it a listen!
Also, how does one mount a B&O cartridge (MC1) onto an SME III tonearm? Do they make an adaptor?
Dear Danehenas: This is the B&O adaptor specific for the MMC1 for you can mount in any tonearm including your SME III.
Btw, the MMC1 was the B&O latest top of the line and even for today standards the quality performance of this cartridge is a at the very top and a serious challenge for even the very top LOMC cartridges ( any at any price. ).
It likes to see 100Kohms on load impedance along no more than 150pf on total capacitance.
Congratulations for be an owner of this very fine and hard to find MI cartridge!
Regards and enjoy the music,
Dear Danehenas: I forgot, this is the link:
Regards and enjoy the music,
I've replaced the stock MMC 20CL with Sound Smith SMMC 20CL, and the difference is staggering. The original cartridge sounds very warm at the expense of detail. Sound Smith cartridge sounds more open and lively.
I once bought a 4002 for my Mom. At the time I had a vacuum SOTA and the Walker Gold Pros. You know? That B&O was very very compelling. It had a monsterous soundstage and great detail. It was missing a little low end, but that's all. Highly recommended. It had a B&O mount type cartridge that was, I thought, very good. I got one of these carts in a deal last year, and listed it here. Some bites but it's still around. Perhaps I should just keep it.
Anyway, these are very good tables. Don't let the highend priests tell you otherwise.