I used to use that turntable for many years (from the mid 80's to the mid 90's, when I gave up on vinyl, and went to CD full time). I have since gotten back into vinyl, in a big way, but that is another story.
Good points: The table was mid-fi at its best. It was very convenient, as it was fully automatic, and the controls were mounted both on the inside and on the outside of the dust cover, allowing you to play it with the cover open or closed. (Pretty cool). It used very light weight cartridges, so that they did not harm the vinyl when I finally did upgrade to something decent.
(Surprisingly all of my old LPs still sound great.)
The sound was fairly detailed and neutral. It even had a light that would shine on the record, with the cover open or closed, allowing your to pick out individual tracks.
Bad Points: The table was mid-fi at its best. It did not have that good of imaging or soundstaging. The cartridge was fairly detailed, but not incredibly so. Now the cartridges are rare and getting rarer. They used to have 5 versions available MMC 1 through 5. Now they only have MMC 2 and 4 available. I used a 3, which as plus or minus 2 db. The MMC 2 costs about $250 now, if you can find it, the MMC 4 about $125. (I recommend either Ebay or better yet the B&O stores at the mall.) The MMC 4 is a general use cartridge that only sounds fair. If you do try to use it seriously, use the MMC 2 or it will not perform at its best.
A friend of mine has a Beogram TX2 linear tracker with, if I recall, the MMC2, but don't quote me on that. You can still get them NOS from a couple places on the east coast, I believe. I don't know the names but I can check. BTW the TX2 was given to my friend for free, and all it needed was a new cart. He did scoff at the price of them...however he finds it a good 'table to put in his living room: being a college guy, he doesn't worry about drunk friends and roommates ruining the stylus or damaging anyting since, as has been said, it was made to be just about the easiest TT to use--it's like cueing up a CD, it even has has big "play" button!
It sounds "OK", Kurt tank's assessment was good: mid-fi, no higher, no lower. As far as linear trackers, I personally like to drop the stylus by hand, but to each his own ;) IMO the only truly great ones are in a completely different galaxy from most folks' perception of "affordable."
Still, if it was free and is in proper working condition other than maybe a little work here or there, and since it sounds like you're not too fussy over your vinyl, it might be worth it...but if you're going to put more than a couple hundred dollars into it, IMHO you'd be better off checking out ebay or AGon for an AR, old Dual, Garrard, or the like.
Best wishes, whatever you decide-
Thanks for the thoughtful responses.
As far as sound quality, I probably couldn't tell a mid-fi from a better or worse one with my current setup. I do like to play my vinyl and know that I'm not damaging it, though. The cheap Kenwood gear that I have probably would not do the sound quality of the turntable justice. Is $125 about average for a cartridge these days? How would I know if the one that's on it is any good?
For what it's worth, I checked with my friend who has the TX2. He's using the MMC4 and said he ordered it through a link on the B&O website.
As far as the average prices on carts, I don't like to say--you can spend anywhere from $40 to over $10,000 on one. Right now I'm using a Clearaudio cart that I bought for maybe $280, and based on my experience with other inexpensive carts, it is a good start to the "high end" sound. The Shure M97Xe is a good one for about $100--tracks well, sounds clean, and the price is right. Generally, I'd rather have a ch3eap cart on a great table/arm than a very fancy cart on a poor table. I used the same Clearaudio on my old AR/Linn setup as I do on my current Michell/Origin Live setup, and the sonic difference is, of course, enormous even though I'd be perfectly jsutified in putting a much better cart on. As another example, I heard a VPI mkIII through Levinson amps and a $16K pair of B&W speakers; the VPI was set up with an inexpensive RB300 and $40 Grado cart...needless to say it still sounded quite nice ;)
One thing to consider though--I hear the the B&O carts are proprietary. Can anyone confirm or deny this? I never really studied my friend's too carefully...
You absolutely must use a B&O MMC serier of cartridge. No other one will work to the bet of my knowledge. The $125 price isthe standard price for the MMC 4 currently. (I know this because 6 months ago I sold my B&O 3000 to my brother in law and that is what he paid for his MMC 4.)
Actually, the Absolute Sound ranked the B&O parallel trackers very highly in the '80s. If I recall correctly, this was with one of the "super rubber" mats to damp platter resonance.
As most people have pointed out, though, the cartridges would likely be a big limitation (distinctly mid-fi when you can find them) and 20+ years of mechanical wear and tear probably haven't done them any favors (if you can find one in working condition - most that I've seen "need work").
I was looking on this website because I recently inherited my father's beogram turntable. My dad purchased this one in the late 80's and hardly ever used it because he became enamored of CD's. Anyway, classical music was his life and he researched this turntable with care and bought it because it was "the best". I was looking forward to trying to use it only I can't figure out how to get the arm to drop on the record. I seem to remember you just lifte it over and it would drop. Does anyone know this or have a users manual that would explain what to do? The B&O website was pretty useless. Thanks
Joyce, is that a Beogram with a linear tracking arm, or the usual pivoting tonearm?
The arm was automatic. Just press play and it should spin, position the arm and lower it. If it dosesn't, then the autoplay isn't working. Repairing might be very difficult.
i have this tabel since 1987. i use the mm4. souinds good with tube phono pre. the solid state phono pre i have makes it sound to dry n plain. its not as quite as my bassis turntabel. it doesnt have the spark and big sound stage of the 1969 AR.tabel i have. you can order the cart. at BNO of bethesda,MD.# 3019515370. good luck!
I sold that table- It's very good for a non- audiophile table. B&O invented developed linear tracking with laser feedback to keep the cartridge in the center of the groove. It's much better than your kenwood. The problem is getting new cartidges, because you have to get the B&O cartidge. If you can get a new cartidge you will love that table.
Steve - part of your resurrection will be buying 2 new rubber belts for the table. It will be worth it if everything but the needle works.
Okay, now you guys don't all start pummeling me at once here...
I recently sold my [IMHO very wicked, once properly set up] Nottingham Analogue Studio Horizon/RB300/Grado Ref. Plat. in order to purchase something I had basically pop into my head - a B&O Beogram TX2 in literally new condition, with an MMC3 cart.
I know, I know - what was I thinking!? Well, I'll tell you: nostalgia. I was 14 when I first saw a TX2 at Sherwood Audio in Houston and, as with all B&O's stuff, fell in love with its design.
So, now 17 years later I decided to go for it, figuring I would have the extra dough to do whatever with during the holidays, and you know what? I got it all set up* yesterday, and to my astonishment it sounded amazing! Yes, you heard right, "amazing!"
The sound was extremely clear, without being too bright. The imaging was, again to my astonishment, really kind of strangely 3D. And finally the bass - the bass I had been missing with the Nott arrangement - was there, and combined with the clarity of the treble, created a crisp, yet full, presentation. I was completely blown away - how could this be?!
Was the suspension that isolating? Was this tiny cart. really bettering my Grado (although sometimes I don't think it would be so hard to)? Was this linear tracking really a superior design? As with The Eight Ball, "All signs point to yes."
So, anyhow, if I were you, and you know who you are, I wouldn't knock B&O's tangentials until you've tried them. If you've tried them and dislike them, so be it, move on with your vinyl-loving selves and find what you like - remember that means what sounds the best to you...be it a Transrotor or an old Dual.
Cheers to you guys,
*It's playing through a Musical Fidelity X-LPS phono pre, into a Lexicon processor, amplified by Bryston, feeding a pair of Klipschorns, all running over DH Labs Silver Sonic cabling.