Empire 208 turntable

Is this a worthwhile investment at $500? belt is new as is cart. Tonearm in fine condition although I've read it's best change it. Mechanically in excellent shape. Cosmetically fine. Just wondering wondering what the concensus is about this table.

I recently purchased one from an antique store in my town for $225.00. It was really taken good care of. The tonearm is very limited on what cart you can use. I replaced the original arm with a Jelco SA-750D. I am very happy with the outcome. The Jelco arm is kinda clunky like the TT so they make a good match visually and sonically. If you pay $500.00 for yours it mite not be cost effective to put a new arm on it at the Jelco's price level anyway...
Thanks, Dklk. I was wondering what kind/expense of tweaking was necessary. I've read many articles about how good a table the Empire is, but, again, lots of tweaking.
Yes, it's worth it and the arm (model 98) is better than most think. The Denon 103 & 103R sound really good on this heavy arm. Key here, heavy arm for the Denons. You really can't get away with elliptical stylus or finer because of the set geometry with this arm. Your stuck with the overhang and off-set angle. I loaded up the headshell with 4 grams of blue tac and it sounds even better. Total effective mass now at app. 24 grams. It really amazes me because of how inexpensive my Empire TT set-up is and it sounds a bit better than my TD124/Grace 840FB/103R which I have a lot more invested in.
IMO the 208 is the one to mess with because you can put a modern arm on it. We did so much tweaking to it we finally even made a new plinth for it


If you want a simple effective tweak, get rid of the 45 rpm adapter and get the lip milled down. Then install a modern platter pad on it. Finally, there is a concentric well on the bottom of the platter that can be filled with various damping compounds. You will hear an immediate improvement!
Those tweaks are effective. Another is to replace the plinth with something that ain't a gong or, at least, use more of the damping compounds on its underside.

Also, remove the motor cover when using the TT.

Interesting. So it rings, does it. I've ways of taking care of that. Plinth could be a major endeavor, but perhaps there's a median between damping and a different arm. I thought it was a really good find, and it's just down the street from me. Thanks for your help.
There are quite a few guys at Audiocircle that have modded their Empire TTs. Check the archives.
Herbie has a mat for the 208 and you don't have to mess around with the 45rpm adapter area. Heard no difference lifting the motor cover.
When we made our new plinth the difference was immediately audible. Its machined out of solid aluminum and fits all the old parts except the arm. You can treat the old plinth with damping materials, but the stiffer you can make the coupling from the platter bearing to the base of the arm the better.
Filled outer ring with plumber paste available at most hardware stores. It is easy to mold into place and doesnt dry out.Immediately took care of all platter ringing
Removing motor covermade no perceptible difference
Just otdered new belt and grommets from Esoteric.
Use rabco ST8 arm. fit is perfect this combo is not only visually stricking, it also sounds fabulous.
Are there any instructions on how to oil the bearings?