Review: Oracle Maintenance Kit

Category: Analog

For us Oracle owners we have seen this maintenace kit listed. I pondered the question is it really worth the $150.00. I have had the Alexandria for some time and it always sounded very good and most happy with it. However mine was made in 1982 and has not had any maintenance at all.

So I checked around the area I lived in and found a techinican that was trained by Oracle. He convinced me to get the kit and said it was worth every penny. Particular in my case as the Alexandria has not seen any service since it was new.

So I ordered the kit from an Audiogon Dealer and had it shipped directly to the tech. About two weeks later I picked up the Alexandria. Was informed by the tech.,that one of the spring towers had stretched a little to far and some of the dampers had lost the resilency, and other items that needed attention as well. The service charge was $60.00 plus the $150.00 for the kit. So into this restoration for $210.00.

Next step was to take it home and level out the base. The tech has the suspension set dead on. No adjustment needed there. Put the strobe on the platter and set for 33.3 RPM.Also had the tech install the Ortophon X5 MC phono cartridge and set all those adjustments,Overhang,VTA,etc.

So now to the music. After all that what this is all about.First up was "TouchDown" by Bob James. This was truly an incredible listening experience. The Alexandria peformed at levels that I had not heard in a very long time.In essence the table just disappears now and lets the music come through with a clarity I had not heard in a very long time.

Next up was "Natural Elements" by Acoustic Alchemy. The twin guitars of the Greg Carmichael and Nick Webb came through with a crisp transparency I had not heard in a very long time. Quite spectacular to say the least.

Next up was some rock "Joshua Tree" by U2. The Alexandria did not waver,delivered this band at depth and transparency that I did not know existed on this record.

This Alexandria has the Sumiko Premier FT3 arm with the above menetioned cartridge.

Now the Alexandria is in like new condition and performing at a level I had not heard in a very long time. It is amazing how over the years that the degradation in sound is so subtle and that most of us unknowing make compromises for this.

So in conclusion is this Oracle Maintenance Kit worth the $150.00. There is no doubt in my mind it is. So if you have an Oracle that is at least 10 years old and has never been serviced,treat yourself. It is probably the best $150.00 I have ever spent on analog. Unless damaged by myself or some freak accident,tech says it will need another kit in about 10 years.
How are you liking your X5-MC?
Tw1 the Ortophon X5 MC is one fabulous high output MC cartridge at 2.2Mv. The sonic signature is amazing. This is a very high speed and analytical cartridge with the Fritz Gyer stylus. Extracts the very last detail from the grooves. One of the few cartridges I have heard where you can hear the drummer sticks actually strike the cymbals and drum heads as well as hear valve work on reeds and brass. Separation and sound stage is very wide indeed.

Is it better than the Denon DL 103R,that I have on the Denon DP 61F. In a word no. But comparing the two is not easy,like apples to oranges. Both have their strengths and weakness's. I am fortunate to have two turntables where I can enjoy the sonic merits of both. I am very glad that I do not have to make the choice of living with just one or the other.

About the only downside to the X5 MC is at times it can be to analytical. Because of its stylus. Not all records will benefit from this. However the Denon DL 103R does not have this problem and have yet to find any fault with the 103R.

I can without question heartily recommend either cartridge. It is amazing how far analog has come in the digital age. I remember to get these kind of phono cartridges in the late 70s or early 80s, one would pay dearly for this type of performance.

Keep in mind these are not the last word in SOTA phono cartridges. There is better to be had. The Lyra,s and Koetsu and other exalted brands are indeed better in detail,clarity,and transparency, but at a cost of several hundred dollars more. But at their respective price/performance ratio,I know of no other MC cartidges that can touch the Denon and Ortophon.

Kindly keep in mind the X5-MC is new and is still breaking in. It took the 103R about 25 Hours to break in. So in order to be totally fair,final judgement on the X5 MC remains pending.
Ferrari is absolutely on the money about the X5. I had one for years in my Linn/Ittok. It did mellow out, but perhaps is a better match for less "live' arms than the Ittok. Its stylus needs to be kept clean also for best results.
I have ortophon hea om-10. I need to by a new one to my gramophone. How i can do it?