If you like it,......Repair
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Yes, you are showing your age and yes, you are a bit out of touch especially when you start comparing turntable prices from 35 years ago without accounting for changes in technology and price levels.
The Rabco has the linear tracking tonearm, which tracks in a similar fashion to the way that records are cut. I am not sure what refurbishing the Rabco would cost, but if you are including the price of a new, decent level cartridge as part of the refurbish, you are looking at several hundred dollars minimum and it is still a 35 year old machine.
Are you just getting back into vinyl? If so, why not just get something brand new like a Pro-ject Carbon? $400 is your investment, $500 if you upgrade the platter.
I agree with Chopin.I would start by getting an estimate on repair,and trying to figure out what cartridge would work,and for what price.My personal feeling is that what you could buy for $400-500 new would possibly look better (to some),yet likely not sound better.If you are in a large metropolitan area like L.A. used options should be abundant.
Before you give up on the old girl, why don't you join Vinyl Engine and download the service manual.
That's what I did four years ago when the speed control went on my HK T60 table and I saw what it would cost in today's dollars to get anything of similar quality. Nobody would even look at it for less than $75 and the turn around was more than 3 weeks. So I downloaded the service manual and fixed it myself. It's still a wonderful turntable.
Don't give up so easily. Or, let me put it another way...If it's toast, than you have nothing to lose and everything to gain if you can do it yourself.
Linear tracking of that vintage had a nasty habit of wagging back and forth which actually destroyed the groove walls of the record. Studer Revox used a completely different system of linear tracking which did not wag and cause this irrepairable effect. Souther was more sophisticated and also did not affect this condition.
I would guess that your collection has sustained that damage and going to a new turntable would reveal that. Tough call here as I would not recommend repair. Find a Rega as suggested and find out if the collection is still listenable.
I still have my ST-8 and it works about as well as it ever did. It doesn't compare sonically to my present rig, but my present rig cost about 20 times more (not including 30 years of inflation).
Repairs are likely to be difficult to arrange, but if you're generally satisfied with the sound when it's functioning correctly it can't cost much to inquire (except time and frustration).
Buying a different rig will be much easier and will get you playing music faster. If your time is of value, that't the way to go.
OTOH, if you enjoy being involved in a project with uncertain time frames and outcomes, looking into repairing the ST-8 may give you endless pleasure.
Either could probably be done for a similar budget, though the sky's the limit (barely) if you decide to go for a different rig.
If you decide to check out replacements, be careful what you listen to. Many rigs make an ST-8 sound pretty lame... and some of them cost more than you could possibly believe. It's a slippery slope that leads to the high end, which has no price limits whatsoever. Caveat emptor!
I have that same turntable and I still use it, If I were you
I go ahead and try to fix it yourself. If you go to www.vinylengine.com there you will find the service manual
as well as the owner's manual. You can still get the belts for
this turntable online as well as a new cartridge. Also there
is a knob on the back of the tonearm to adjust tracking. If you want the cables replaced I would have someone install two
rca jacks on the back and you can use any interconnects you like. I did this with my hk st-7. You could buy a new turntable but I don't recommend it, I would buy a used turntable.
I recommend: Revox B790,791, pioneer PL-88FS, Technics SLQL1/SL-10(p mount cartridge only).
I wouldn't recommend a Rega, I sent it back because the s's
were spitty and the speed was fast. It's your decision, you
can go either route.