Luxman PD-121


I have a Luxman PD-121 that I've been using for about four years now. I picked it up second-hand and it's been reliable and the sound is pleasant. However, I've been talking with some friends who have the Hi-Fi bug and they are getting me excited about upgrading my system.

So I took a look at the turntable and noticed the following:

1. The light for the stroboscope is broken and there's no way to fine-tune the speed adjustments.

2. Not sure what tone-arm this is:

but it would be nice to know and know how to adjust it, or at least remove it and install a new one.

3. It has an Audio Technica AT90CD cartridge. Keep it or get another?

I have the PDF version of the owners manual from Vinyl Engine but there's nothing there about tone-arm and cartridges. I was thinking of buying this manual:

but not sure if it will be the same thing that I have already.

I'd like to know of this turntable is worth saving, and if so, what should I do to make her sound better?

The rest of my system is comprised of the following:

PSB Alpha T Towers
harman/kardon DC 520 tape deck
harmon/kardon CDR 20 dual CD player
harmon/kardon AVR 20 II integrated amp

Any thoughts, advice or heckling is appreciated here.


Your turntable is capable of very fine performance. The Luxman direct drives from that era are some of the best sounding direct drives made by anyone, which is not the case for some of the later models. The tonearm you have is not stock. It would be fairly straightforward to make a new circular armboard for this TT and drill it for a Rega Rb300 or Rb700, for instance. The turntable itself justifies a tonearm improvement and a good moving coil cartridge, perhaps a Denon DL160 high output moving coil to start.

If I recall correctly, the tonearm and the arm mounting board attachment bolts are accessed from the underside of the turntable chassis. The PD121, PD441, PD444 were particularly well-executed direct drive turntables that also sported clean, uncluttered design, unlike almost all the other Japanese DD TTs of the era. It's worth keeping and putting a commensurate quality tonearm on.

Was not a bad tt when new. Hard to tell what the arm is from the picture, could be a Fidelity Research, could be an arm made by FR for Luxman. You could always do better with a newer cart. I don't recall if it is belt drive or direct drive, I presume the latter, if I am mistaken, a new belt is always a good idea. Getting parts such as the missing strobe light is not the easiest thing in the world. There are concerns specializing in turntable repairs and some in vintage equipment that could be of help, but unless you find that this table has value as a collectible, I would use it as is until I can afford a new or newer table. There are many new models out now at reasonable prices, most if not all equipped with an OEM Rega arm (250 or 300), that, coupled with a new cartridge, would provide, in all likelihood, better sound.

Good luck.
the tonearm is a Grace G-940, I'm fairly sure anyway.
I have a copy of the manual, it may also be available on Vinyl Engine.
John T
It looks like a uni pivot tonearm. You can adjust the cartridge azimuth by turning the out rigger nut locating left of the tonearm pivot. I have several PD 121 and I like the SME series III arm on them. I also have the Infinitive Black Widow tonearm on them with high compliance cartridges like Shure type III and V. I think your turtable has a circular hole for tonearm mounting and you can install a Rega tonearm on it. You can get a Chrismas light bulb or any 120 volt incandescent mini bulb and it should work with the strobe. I did this with one of my PD-121 and it worked ok. I used my PD-121 to pull my VPI Arries platter. The VPI TNT platter is too heavy for the PD-121 so I use Technics SP-25 turntable. The PD-121 is no match with even the VPI HW-19.
Thanks everybody for your responses here. I have enough information now to dial in the table and the tonearm, get a new cartridge and see (hear!) how well this machine can sound.

I appreciate the input and look forward to more audio adventures.


I filled the cavity around the tonearm and empty cavities inside the turntable with damping material. I also replaced the plastic armboard the solid wood. This helped the turntable sound warmer with improved musical definition.
I just acquired a Luxman PD-121. Did you have any luck finding a replacement strobe? I need one too.
Just get a strobe disc if you want to check the speed. You can download from Vinyl Engine or Extreme phono for free!