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So I found myself taking some back roads home yesterday and while driving though a neighborhood I spotted what looked like a turntable and an office chair just sitting out on the curb. The lack of a moving van or obvious signs of someone meant this was the universal sign of "here's some free stuff". What caught my eye was the thickness of the plinth and the almost glass-like wood finish; so I stopped the car.
Denon DP-37F with the Dynamic Servo Tracer tonearm.
The owner popped his head out of the door and said "it's just had a new stylus put on, but I think it may need some other adjustment. Thanks!" as I was stuffing it in my car.
I don't know anything about these tables other than the tonearm has some really funky servo controlled "suspension" and the fact the stuff that controls all this isn't repairable.
It doesn't have the original cartridge on it, it appears to be an AT95E. I don't know how or if it's properly aligned. I'm going to print up a protractor and align it that way; but I did find the proper overhang gauge on eBay and have that arriving from Japan. I also had to order a cheap preamp and a few other things from Amazon because I got out of vinyl a couple years ago and sold everything.
Anything to watch out for with this table in general and when I go to put a new cart on it? I've been thinking about getting back in to vinyl and spending the money on a nice TT with a nice cart; this is not exactly as nice of a TT as I wanted and I'll probably be upgrading. But if it's worth sticking a good cart on...maybe it'll work as a "stop-gap" till I find a Revox B970 or similar I want to pay for.
The one thing that could spoil your party is the arm. The "servo tracer" arms are complex electronics with PCBs underneith. I don't recall at the moment but I believe there are some electrolytics that require replacement due to age. If you are really into it you can get the service manual that Opus, I think, was good enough to link. This will help with trouble shooting and tuning.
The arms, or in your case the head shell are expensive to buy if you intend to swap cartridges.
I have a Dp59l I use for a moving magnet cart rig.
The only tweak I did to my Denon, was to disconnect the cheap RCA cables, and hardwire a set of higher quality, (to me at the time), decent, Audioquest cables with gold RCA's. Doubt if it made much difference, but it made me feel good. I did enjoy playing my LP collection on the Denon/Ortofon table. Thought it gave very nice sound for the money.
Any vintage turntable could have a problem with bearing wear, so let's leave that out as a problem peculiar to this direct-drive. In fact, I would guess that a direct-drive bearing may last longer than that of a belt- or idler-drive turntable, because there is no side force pulling on the shaft, as is the case for the other two technologies. So, if the turntable is working properly, it would be prudent to replace all the old electrolytic capacitors as a precaution, if that has not already been done. For Denon direct-drives, all the transistors and even the one IC that is used in the higher end models (I don't know about the DP37, because it is a basic model), are still available to any savvy tech. (There are actually superior replacements for the OEM transistors.) Which brings me to the point of suggesting that you might want to identify such a person to help you in case of unforeseen problems. Bill Thalmann in Springfield, VA, is one.
Info and both User manual and service manual available at link below. Wendell is correct. It's a good deck but there are areas that can cause issues.
Opus 33 1/3
I owned one in the late 80's. Used an Ortofon high output moving coil with it. MC1, or MC3, forget which. It was the first time I heard my record collection sound really good. Previously used Duals. I never had any problems with it. Kept it for many years, then got into Rega's. It is definatly worth mounting a decent cartridge , and re-exploring the joys of vinyl with. IMHO.
My ultimate goal is to "archive" LP's to 1-bit DSD; so this thing will be a decent start while I play around with the process.
I'm gonna see what the AT cart sounds like with the various alignments as well; then maybe invest in a HOMC.
Verify acceptable bearing play and platter speed accuracy. These were somewhat complex tables and much can go wrong. If it checks out it is pretty good interim solution.
I'll get a disc on it tomorrow and find out what it's doing.
Speed instability can be easy to fix (if you have basic electronic skills and are lucky...) or it can send the table to the junkpile. It can be pretty subtle, so listen with headphones to some music you know (something like piano, with long resonant sustain and no vibrato) before you buy, if possible.
Risking over-generalizing, I find the old Denons hold up well over time. I put a DP-47 together for my Boss, so I trust them pretty completely. The bearings are robust but anyone's electrolytics can fail.
Well it wasn't a buy scenario; it was sitting on the side of the road.
My experience with Denon, is that their equipment is very reliable. This is a nice sounding table and is worth some effort to rehabilitate. Capacitor placement is likely fix it if speed instability is the issue. It should sound very nice with a AT95. Great find!
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