Sunday, May 29, 2011

Another beautiful AR turntable at Vinyl Nirvana

David Archambault at Vinyl Nirvana is offering yet another heavily modded AR ES-1 turntable at his site ( This one has been modded by Steve Frosten, a gentleman who works with Dave to restore many of these vintage Thorens and AR 'tables.

This one has been fitted with a Linn Basik Plus arm. I've never heard this combination before, but I have a lot of respect for Linn and I have a feeling this is one special TT.

Here's David's description of the 'table:

"I am delighted to offer this turntable on Vinyl Nirvana on “consignment” for Steve Frosten. Steve and I have been collaborating on various AR projects for years, and he does first quality work. More than that, he adheres to the same philosophy as me: he’s not happy unless you are happy.

On to his turntable…cosmetically, this table is an 8.o on a scale of 1-10. The walnut veneer has been refinished and is in excellent shape. The metal portion of the plinth is refinished state as well. There is a dustcover in almost new condition, but for one minute scratch.

The table has been highly modified. Steve writes: “it’s dated ’87 and ser# 06069. It has a NOS motor, SS studs and wing nuts, Linn springs, Merrill subchassis, Vinyl Nirvana SS platter spindle, Platter Matter 1/4” mat, and Monster tip toes on 3/4” bottom cover. ”

All I know is it’s gorgeous and I am pleased to have it offered here. If interested in purchasing, email Steve."

These pics show the extent of Steve's mods. When I owned an AR turntable, the first mods I attempted involved flipping this table over and trying to improve the vibration control inside the base. If you have a stock AR ES-1, the first thing you'll notice is the cheap piece of MDF that is screwed to the bottom, obscuring the innards. I immediately removed this and noticed a huge difference in the quality of the sound; it was quieter and the silence between the notes was darker and more liquid-sounding. Steve has obviously taken this several steps further.

Both the arm and table are available for $1249. Just choose a great cartridge (anything but a Grado, which will hum) and you'll have an analog rig that will be very competitive with the likes of Rega, Pro-Ject and other more modern TTs. Plus, it's beautiful!

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