Micro Seiki Air Bearing service
Recently my MS SX8000 has been playing a small game with my music, at times it slows down not that much but enough to get those “weird” piano notes.
I was thinking that maybe this is the motor that is showing signs of it age despite the service it had received. Upon closer inspection I notice that the platter did not spin as easy I felt it should, when switching the motor off it maybe slowed down too fast, at least that is what I said to myself. In all honesty this is a subjective measure by all means
Then I recall that sometime back when I was installing and fitting the feet that some oil (maybe ½ teaspoon worth) had leaked from the centre spindle when the TT was turned upside down. This is the small stainless steel axis in the middle. At the time I did not pay that much attention to this matter. A fellow SX8000 friend who hides himself by the Bavarian hills and his turntables had experienced the same thing, we did not worry.
However in the light of the above I was wondering if this had any connection. Service and information in this domain are somewhat hard to come by.
So my question was why oil, why so much ? I set to find out and took the platter off the TT. Then I noted that when turning the small spindle with my finger it was not “super”smooth, okay but not "Japan maniac level".
With my limited technical knowledge I kind of figured that I would have incorporated an oil bath as a pressure cushion to support the spindle, along the line of the Verdier La platine that I am familiar with.
So I flip the 8000 over and take off the stainless steel central plate (the one with small allen screws that is located in the centre). This plate has some Japanese written on it, if only I could understand that!
I remove this plate and discover an oil bath under the centre spindle and maybe 2/3 full of oil. The oil was clean of a very high viscosity (fluid). Looking at this it seemed that it was designed for "supporting" the bearing spindle, like a pressure chamber much like the Verdier but of a higher volume and built to high standards.
The spindle itself moves up and down very easily and the bearing is "hyper" smooth, the best I have encountered on any turntable.
This “chamber” is air tight with sealed rubber ring (very well done!), the only leakage possible is via the bearing. The tolerance here is high, looks like bronze bushes but with the viscosity of the oil it would require quite a pressure to achieve leakage via the bearing.
So what I do is fill this chamber with thin oil, using oil that Loricraft had supplied me for my Garrard 301 bearing. the aim being to have no air, or the least possible, in this chamber.
After fitting the plate again I turned the TT over. And then I see that the spindle is supported by the pressure, a pressure cushion.
You can see some images of the extent of it’s movement here http://picasaweb.google.fr/timothygurney/MicroSeikiMS8000#
Quite a lot of pressure is required to move it down. This is seemingly a very good design indeed! This would mean that the air bearing lifts the platter and the central spindle is “floating” on oil. This kept reminding me of the Verdier that uses the same approach (copied??) as MS only using magnets to lift platter. The Verdier chamber is also far smaller.
Played records the best side of 6 hours yesterday and no more of that slowing down, so seemingly this “service” has solved that. The platter was running too fast when checked the speed, this does make me think that some friction was introduced albeit not much.
I must admit that I did not note any change in sound, however I was listening to a recent arrival of some very fine Coluunbia CX’s and SLX’s.
I performed this service using common sense (well….mine!) and wanted to know if anybody out there actually knows more about this feature and how it should be serviced?
Have I performed this service correctly?
Hoping this will invite fellow MS air bearing owners to investigate the status of their “oil bath”