Denon DP-2550 turntable... Or, "How I beat the pawn shop"

Discussion in 'Turntables' started by kylemac, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. kylemac

    kylemac New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    Southern Minnesota
    Last week I had some free time, so after coming up empty while combing the thrift stores for vintage components, I was drawn to a well-known nearby pawn shop franchize. I still don't know why, but pawn shops are sad, sad places to me... Hard luck stories seem to fill the shelves.

    That said, I have been in the market for a vintage turntable to replace my Pioneer PL-400, which is developing "a noise." I have always secretly loved Denon turntables, but wanted to spend no more than $250 on a replacement for my beloved Pioneer.

    Well, as I turned down the pawn shop aisle, I noticed a big Denon. It had lost a strip of its side veneer, but looked in great shape. They wanted $350. No freakin' way, I thought, especially for an obviously damaged model. Still, someone must have known its worth, or potential.

    After finding an associate, I started to haggle -- something I loathe. I hit him with $250, because of the damage, which was right about my budget sweet spot. Maybe my offer was too high? I didn't want to insult anyone, so who knows... I was pleased with the offer. He talked to his manager, who agreed to my price. Still, I was taking a huge risk if the Denon didn't work.

    I don't know much about the huge Denons, but I recognized this as having a DP-2000 direct drive motor. I also noticed an aftermarket tonearm had been installed, which was out of my knowledge wheelhouse.

    Upon arriving home, I studied my new find. The table is actually a Denon DP-2550, as it has a more sturdy plinth. It also came with a Grace G-707 Mark II tonearm, which alone sell used on eBay for nearly the cost of my entire table. Added bonuses: An Audio Technica AT6006 headshell safety raiser and an Audio Technica LS400 cartridge from the respected Lab Series.

    Got home. Plugged it in, and bam... perfect speed. The stylus isn't perfect (under my microscope, I grade it a "C.") I have already sent off for a replacement ATN12XE. I noticed the table isn't level, so that's going to be an upcoming project. I've also grabbed some two-inch veneer for the side, as well as some walnut stick-on vinyl which actually matches very nicely. That's a project for another day.

    After hooking up the turntable, I find it's quieter than my Pioneer, and I believe the Lab Series LS400 cartridge (Caramel stylus) to give both warm and crisp sound... just like my Shure M97xe. I thought about upgrading the cartridge, but I can't find myself to give up on this LS400.

    However, a Grace tonearm is something else entirely. It takes a lot of work to set up correctly... I pulled it out, gently took it apart, and reassembled it. Within a few moments, I noticed the silver notched base plate was installed incorrectly on the bottom of the plinth. Getting the lift to function properly is taking some time to position correctly. Worse yet, the monofilament line that attaches from the arm to the bias tracking force counterweight was broken. Well, I studied it... and I thought I was going to need to tie a cinch knot, which wasn't going to be easy. After reading a few posts on AK, I realized the knot had only come apart from its small crimp. A trip to the Walmart craft aisle found little metal beads "findings" that could be crimped into the necessary loop. Done!

    I looked at the AT6006 and scratched my head. It's clearly been installed in the wrong spot. Thankfully I found the instructions on Vinyl Engine, and its only attached with adhesive (thought it had been drilled in) . I'll reposition it ASAP. A few youtube videos showing it at work are already helping.

    Whomever parted with this Denon can rest assured it's being taken care of, and will soon be restored to its former glory.
     
    beatcomber, ETI_5000 and ranch 22b like this.
  2. LoStrings

    LoStrings Active Member

    Messages:
    124
    I really enjoy my Denon DP-59L...it is my Holy Grail table. I love the dead on speed of these Direct Drive tables, and with a great arm as you have on your Denon, and with that cartridge, it should play and sound wonderful for many, many years.
     
  3. gary7

    gary7 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    :needpics:
     
  4. kylemac

    kylemac New Member

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    Location:
    Southern Minnesota
    Photos of how the turntable was found...

    IMG_20170315_150806557_HDR.jpg IMG_20170315_150812348.jpg IMG_20170315_150818972.jpg IMG_20170315_150824729_HDR.jpg IMG_20170315_150831988_HDR.jpg IMG_20170315_150844160_HDR.jpg IMG_20170315_150849723.jpg
     
  5. gary7

    gary7 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Thanks. Nice.
     
  6. w1jim

    w1jim I can fix it but good... Subscriber

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    I dare say that, with all of the aberrations you found, you'll be restoring it to it's former potential glory.
    The larger Denon's are beauties fer sure.
     
  7. kylemac

    kylemac New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    Southern Minnesota
    IMG_20170315_184140709.jpg IMG_20170315_184154349.jpg IMG_20170315_184221664.jpg IMG_20170316_210922661.jpg
    These represent my initial attempts during the setup process. Work is continuing...
     
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  8. gary7

    gary7 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Never find anything like that at my pawns. An occasional Gemini or such.
     
  9. kylemac

    kylemac New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    Southern Minnesota
    Does anyone know how to remove the Denon logo badge from the front of the turntable?
    If I'm going to repair the veneer, the badge has to go.
    Heat?
    Prying?
    Anyone?
     
  10. kylemac

    kylemac New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    Southern Minnesota
    That wasn't too hard. Basically, you pry up with a screw driver or flat edge, and the two prongs find their way out.

    Looking to add the iron-on veneer on the side as soon as I can scrape off the remnants of the old laminate still glued on...
     

    Attached Files:

    ETI_5000 likes this.
  11. kylemac

    kylemac New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    Southern Minnesota
    An update...

    In my post I noted the previous owner had installed the tonearm's base plates incorrectly, basically having them on the wrong sides of the plinth.
    Well, today I also noticed both neoprene base dampers (they go between the base plates and the plinth) were not installed at all. Well, I have ordered
    a 1/16-inch thick neoprene sheet off eBay and will make my own. I looked at some photos, and this thickness appears to be a possible guesstimate.

    Hopefully... hopefully... the diy dampers won't be too thick and prevent me from getting the tonearm on. I'm praying the tightening process will get them about 1/32.

    I am having difficulty obtaining the proper spindle to pivot point measurement. Grace wants 222 millimeters. I'm at 221... I may have to look a tad more closely,
    or think about doing some light sanding.

    Another difficulty in setting up this tonearm properly is the arm's lock lever that basically steadies the whole arm in place. The points that allow finger tightening are in the way of the cue lever base. It's hard to get it tight, causing the whole cue assembly to go askew! Grrr...

    Lastly, I've been hunting through the process of adjusting the offset angle to 24 degrees. This is just going to look weird.
     
  12. kylemac

    kylemac New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    Southern Minnesota
    It's been a long weekend of turntable work. I spent Saturday removing the leftover veneer on the left side of the plinth. Ugh. It wasn't too bad, except I needed to gentle chisel off the veneer remnants, and smooth the surface. I then placed and sanded some wood putty to fill in any gaps. Next, I ironed on a strip of veneer. I must admit, it wasn't that hard.

    The hardest part is cutting the vinyl walnut strips, and putting them in place. I'm pleased right now, but I reserve the right to re-do the front. Not totally pleased with the front corner. Also, the vinyl walnut's wood grain goes opposite of what I want. But then again, no one is going to see this but me.

    I installed the Denon badge after spending more than a few minutes trying to find the old holes.

    Next up is getting the LS400 adjusted to my liking...
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 27, 2017
    Bootbox likes this.
  13. BilboBaggins

    BilboBaggins AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Looking great! :thumbsup:
     
  14. MannyE

    MannyE Exterminate! Subscriber

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    I love a good resto thread!
     
  15. kylemac

    kylemac New Member

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    21
    Location:
    Southern Minnesota
    The turntable today...
     

    Attached Files:

  16. Hajidub

    Hajidub He's a beast! Subscriber

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    Kyle, it might the angle of the photo's, the tonearm base looks lower than the head-shell.
     
  17. kylemac

    kylemac New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    Southern Minnesota
    That's just because the Grace 707 tonearm rest is mounted high. There's no way to adjust it downward. The tonearm is even when playing an LP.
     

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