Some Empire Turntable History

Discussion in 'Turntables' started by empirelvr, Jan 28, 2010.

  1. Br1ck

    Br1ck AK Subscriber Subscriber

    I need to find a tonearm for a 208. I see where a few have made wood armboards witch would, I presume, allow for the mounting of any modern arm. What has worked for you?
  2. MrTube

    MrTube Member

    I used a holesaw and a jigsaw and cut a slot into the aluminum of my 208 and mounted an SME type III arm directly on it.
  3. truck99

    truck99 Vinyl is final! Subscriber

    Empire 598

    Was inspired by this thread to try and find a nice Empire. Cosmetically the one I found is very nice. Original owner with the manuals. Found a 598 with wood case, 990 arm, 2000z cartridge with an extra stylus. Seems to have the common ailments for a turntable of this age;
    1. light is out, already removed and ordered
    2. cueing is sloppy
    3. But the one that concerns me the most is the platter spins up very slow, but does hold speed. Previous owner said he replaced the belt, but it seems loose to me, so I ordered another one. I noticed that when I tried to use my discwasher it slowed the platter down to a crawl.

    But manually playing a record, some really sweet sounds come pouring out, which just gives me more incentive to take my time and fix the tt right.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2014
  4. empirelvr

    empirelvr AK Subscriber Subscriber

    I don't recommend a clamp for the 698. Part of the design of the table is that the rubber mat only touches the record at two points. Use of a clamp would dish the disc down, causing vinyl to be in contact with the platter where there is no mat.

    If you do insist on trying a clamp though, make sure it is the kind that isn't a weight. A weighted clamp will screw up the suspension tuning. :yes:
  5. empirelvr

    empirelvr AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Nice score!!! :thmbsp: It looks like a beauty.

    Assuming you've read through this thread, you saw the tips about the cueing and you'll put them to use. That should help that.

    It does sound like you have a stretched belt. Empire spec'd the table to get to full speed in a 1/3 of a revolution. (At least with a new, proper sized belt.) I hope you get the proper width belt so you don't wind up with a case of the "Fast Empire's."
  6. MaxSeven

    MaxSeven Word Skeptic

    I do recommend getting one - and I would get it from You can get a center-clamping, collet style that wouldn't weigh very much. Or you could get a free-standing aluminum. I don't see any reason why you couldn't get something heavier either, and experiment with adjusting the suspension.

    I would also look into a way to put an entirely new mat on the 698 to replace the crap-hole Empire rubber donut. You can get one from Herbies audio labs with a custom cut center-hole.
  7. truck99

    truck99 Vinyl is final! Subscriber

    Thanks!! I have read through the thread and will play with the cueing soon.
    The previous owner actually gave me the original belt, stretched out for sure, but the one he put on is much wider than the original. So I've ordered from the recommendation here. Measured it first with string to get the length, little over 33".
  8. reister211

    reister211 Member

    Thanks for the responses regarding clamps. Two different views. I have been doing some research and people say that a clamp brings out the bass and mid range. It also brightens the high end. I agree about weight being a factor with this type of platter.
    I am open to any other opinions.
  9. MaxSeven

    MaxSeven Word Skeptic

    To me, a record clamp or weight simply holds the record flat and minimizes the possibility of resonance. So if a record is not completely flat and true (they almost never are), the weight/clamp helps to correct a convex situation. Taking it a step further, one can put a periphery ring which holds the outer rim of the record down, thus correcting a concave situation. The latter is a pain in the ass though. Then you have a clamping system like on the VPI, where a raised center hub or washer offsets the center of the record from the platter by a few millimeters, and the clamp is designed to screw down on the spindle so that it forces or 'cups' the record down onto the platter ensuring good contact with the platter. Most of all though, the record weight/clamp looks cool, and that is all that matters :D
  10. reister211

    reister211 Member

    Thanks MaxSeven for the information and entertaining comments
  11. reister211

    reister211 Member

    back to my original problem, my 698 cueing does not work. I took it into a reliable audio shop and the technition checked the voltage and confirms there is power going to the tonearm. He has removed the tone arm but after reading post #616 he is not comfortable to take it apart.

    I read on another post of a shop in Michigan called ABL Electronics that repaired empire turntables.

    Can anyone comment on these guys or have some advice regarding my cueing problem?

    Last edited: Mar 24, 2012
  12. empirelvr

    empirelvr AK Subscriber Subscriber

    If my memory serves me, the cueing solenoid on the 698 arm can be removed without having to disassemble the arm, so he could remove that part to check it out without worrying too much. I believe it's held in place by a screw or two which are easily gotten to. At least that's how I remember it.

    Hopefully someone else will be able to confirm or correct me.
  13. LesE

    LesE 110284 Subscriber

    Was your tech able to determine if the cue shaft is gummed up as empirelvr mentioned a while back or is it able to be moved manually? Coincidentally, I recently adjusted the height of the cue arm on my 698 and after I did that, the cueing stopped working. I was concerned that I may have broken something but after fiddling with it a little, I found that by setting it in the down position and applying a slight downward pressure, the cuing became unstuck and returned to normal operation. Even the user instructions mentions that the cueing can stick in the up position:

    "Note: The speed of the cueing may be adjusted by rotating the control located under the right front of the turntable. This control may also prove helpful if the cueing seems to stick slightly in the cue up position."

    I believe that turning up the cueing speed setting increases the voltage applied to the lift coil which may help unstick the cueing.

    If there doesn't appear to be a mechanical issue, I'd check the voltage between TP4 and TP2 in the up and down position. In the up position, the voltage should be 4 VDC minimum and in the down position, the voltage should be 1 VDC maximum. So while your tech may have measured voltage at the coil assembly, it's also essential that a low voltage is provided by the driver transistor (Q4) at TP4 with the cueing in the down positon in order to activate the coil which pulls down the cue lift arm. If the voltage doesn't go low in the down position, it may suggest that Q4 is defective. Otherwise, the lift coil may be open.
  14. reister211

    reister211 Member

    Thanks for the great advice. I'll pass it along to him and get back to you
  15. MRL_Audio

    MRL_Audio AK Subscriber Subscriber

  16. MaxSeven

    MaxSeven Word Skeptic

    Not sure. That is interesting. Must be a rare tone-arm, plus it's 16" which is going to pop the value as well. Did you see how big the gimbal assembly and counter-weight is? Looks giant.
  17. empirelvr

    empirelvr AK Subscriber Subscriber

    It's a rather rare 12" version of the 98 arm. It's also a gold version where the finish has held up very well. Those might be determining factors.

    I'm not sure though if the cable plug end at the bottom of the arm is original or not. The 98 traditonally came with flying leads from the bottom of the arm. This is the first 98 I've ever seen (9" or 12" length) that had a cable plug end for the tonearm cable. Historically, the 980 was the first arm to have that. If it IS original, it must be a VERY late period version of the arm. If it isn't original, the person who did it, did a great job.
  18. reister211

    reister211 Member

    I have been told by my technition that the cueing solenoid is missing from my Empire 698 (he was very embarrased). He only noticed it once he read your posts.

    I am having trouble posting pictures, but they are on my original post #569 page 38.

    My Empire that I aquired is in mint condition (other than the missing cueing solenoid)and it is a huge let down.

    Can anyone offer any suggestions where I may aquire one?
    thanks again for your help
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
  19. empirelvr

    empirelvr AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Yikes!! :yikes: So it is. Wow...I should have caught that! :sigh: Sorry, dude. I hope you find a replacement somewhere.
  20. reister211

    reister211 Member

    My technition was very embarrased. He couldn't imagine not noticing that earlier.

    I told him I had bought a electronic cueing circuit board on eBay last week (so I would have spare parts) and that I would drop it off. When I arrived he opened the box and a huge smile came across his face. Bingo! The cueing solenoid was also included. He hooked it up to the turntable and it worked. My Karma is working and all the planets are aligned!
    I am now one happy camper!

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