Acoustic Research XB turntable refurbished

KenM10759

KenM10759

Audioholic Samurai
This 1972 vintage Acoustic Research XB turntable has taken up much of my free time for the past few days. It was given to me a few weeks back by a boss who had retired. He said he felt I was the right guy to gift it to. I'm flattered.

The AR XA & XB turntables are regarded as one of the best turntables at any cost, though they were just barely mid-priced at $130 in ''72. My son made a new base of solid poplar with true ebony wood veneer, to replace the low-density plastic-laminated particleboard one. I stripped and repainted the steel top from dingy black crinkle finish to satin "Heritage White" from Krylon. It's striking next to the ebony finish of the new base
.
I made a new plate of solid aluminum for the on-off switch & cueing lever, with the help of a coworker who got the graphics converted from a photo into Solidworks. I also made a new tip for the cueing lever, a plate for RCA plug connectors so I could get away from the crispy 50yr old integral cable, same by adding an IEC power socket so I can use separate differing length power cords instead of the integral one.

The stock tonearm uses a proprietary plastic headshell which can only accommodate limited cartridge types. I bought a pack of 4 S-shaped arm tubes off eBay, from old Technics turntables. Those use a much more common "SME style" headshell so I can use the same microline and monaural cartridges I've been using with my old Kenwood KD4100 turntable. I had a fellow enthusiast in New Jersey do the arm tube swap for a heavily discounted fee in exchange for the 3 I don't need.

I replaced the smoked dust cover with taped- up cracks and 40yr old green tape for a used but like-new aftermarket one. The new one has the AR logo deep-etched into the inside of the dust cover. Looks nice.
This was definitely worth doing, as it's not only a really good turntable (which holds its own against the $2800 European Audio Team "C-Major" next to it), but it's a piece of home audio history. These are legendary for the value they bring, given that original $130 cost.
AR XB playing
AR_XB_as_received.jpgAR-XB_inside.jpgAR-XB_top_no-cover.jpg
 

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TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Seriously, I have no life.
This 1972 vintage Acoustic Research XB turntable has taken up much of my free time for the past few days. It was given to me a few weeks back by a boss who had retired. He said he felt I was the right guy to gift it to. I'm flattered.

The AR XA & XB turntables are regarded as one of the best turntables at any cost, though they were just barely mid-priced at $130 in ''72. My son made a new base of solid poplar with true ebony wood veneer, to replace the low-density plastic-laminated particleboard one. I stripped and repainted the steel top from dingy black crinkle finish to satin "Heritage White" from Krylon. It's striking next to the ebony finish of the new base
.
I made a new plate of solid aluminum for the on-off switch & cueing lever, with the help of a coworker who got the graphics converted from a photo into Solidworks. I also made a new tip for the cueing lever, a plate for RCA plug connectors so I could get away from the crispy 50yr old integral cable, same by adding an IEC power socket so I can use separate differing length power cords instead of the integral one.

The stock tonearm uses a proprietary plastic headshell which can only accommodate limited cartridge types. I bought a pack of 4 S-shaped arm tubes off eBay, from old Technics turntables. Those use a much more common "SME style" headshell so I can use the same microline and monaural cartridges I've been using with my old Kenwood KD4100 turntable. I had a fellow enthusiast in New Jersey do the arm tube swap for a heavily discounted fee in exchange for the 3 I don't need.

I replaced the smoked dust cover with taped- up cracks and 40yr old green tape for a used but like-new aftermarket one. The new one has the AR logo deep-etched into the inside of the dust cover. Looks nice.
This was definitely worth doing, as it's not only a really good turntable (which holds its own against the $2800 European Audio Team "C-Major" next to it), but it's a piece of home audio history. These are legendary for the value they bring, given that original $130 cost.
AR XB playing
View attachment 57278View attachment 57279View attachment 57283
What an absolutely magnificent job you made of that. It is gorgeous, well done and many congratulations. Audio restoration is very important. We must preserve our history.
 
KenM10759

KenM10759

Audioholic Samurai
What an absolutely magnificent job you made of that. It is gorgeous, well done and many congratulations. Audio restoration is very important. We must preserve our history.
Well, thank you! I think we might have to consider this one to be a "resto-mod", like those '60's Chevys that now have coil-over shock suspension and 4-wheel disk brakes. To a degree...it's heritage is still there and VERY recognizable by the suspension action.
:D
 
Alex2507

Alex2507

Audioholic Slumlord
I’ve got one of those. To hide the ugly I made a case for the outside. Your solution is much more elegant.
 
KenM10759

KenM10759

Audioholic Samurai
I’ve got one of those. To hide the ugly I made a case for the outside. Your solution is much more elegant.
If you're in the US and ever wanted to swap out the dingy plate for the cueing lever & on-off switch, I have two more of the plates I made. ;)
 
KenM10759

KenM10759

Audioholic Samurai
I'm in RI.

Where'd you get the cover?
Got to thank the guy in NJ who worked on the tonearm, he sent me a link to an eBay seller. I think it was a "second" or a return from someone as it was said to be used but appeared to be brand new and the seller seems to be the maker.

BTW, you're close to me, as I'm in Spencer MA and have a cousin in Middletown RI and friends in Foster so anywhere else in RI seems close.
 
KenM10759

KenM10759

Audioholic Samurai
I'm aware. I keep a file on everybody that sells gear in New England. :)
That's kinda scary, actually.

Kidding aside, I invite you to take a ride up northwest sometime and hear my 2.1 ch setup. I'm only at 410 LP's in the collection, but I do stream Qobuz and Amazon Music HD in addition to playing records.
 
Alex2507

Alex2507

Audioholic Slumlord
That's kinda scary, actually.

Kidding aside, I invite you to take a ride up northwest sometime and hear my 2.1 ch setup. I'm only at 410 LP's in the collection, but I do stream Qobuz and Amazon Music HD in addition to playing records.
Very generous. I was paying attention when you were selling your KEFs, was it, to finance the Blades(?). Craig (adk) and you were talking about getting together.

We should do that while we’re still young. I recall you pulling the ad so no Blades but killer books IIRC
 
KenM10759

KenM10759

Audioholic Samurai
The KEF R series, LS50, and LS50 Meta all got sold so I could downsize a home theater that I rarely used and my wife hated, and reconfigure my office system that thoroughly bothered our first floor tenant.

Those funded Reference 1's and a Luxman L-505uX II integrated amp in a 3rd floor bedroom that has evolved into being my dedicated music listening room that bothers NO ONE.

I don't have any room big enough to give Blade or any larger Reference any justice. The 1's are absolutely killer, PERFECT for the room they're in.
 
Alex2507

Alex2507

Audioholic Slumlord
I'm only at 410 LP's in the collection
I tried counting mine once and had to estimate that I had about 100 albums on each of 3 shelves. In other words I didn't have what it took to count past 100. Also there's close to 300 CDs. Somehow I enjoy listening to music more going through those collections more than streaming.

The 1's are absolutely killer
I bet. I just reread the ad to sell them and looked them up to see the MSRP. Dang. Yes, I would very much like to hear those. I'll find out what work looks like for me this week in case you're up for a weekday visit or one of these weekends coming up.

I'm in Pawtucket about 3 miles off I-95 and the Mass state line. Come by. Salks and another Dennis Murphy design both backed up by TLS aligned subs are the main attraction.

My favorite in Middletown is Anthony's Seafood after going to Beaver Tail.

a link to an eBay seller.
This looks like the guy!

I'm a let that one slide. My cover is on a piano hinge that somebody jerry rigged. Swerd told me about it being a 'custom' job. He's got a Model Xa. My cover works well enough. It's just not as pretty as the $187 deal. Besides that oddity, my motor died a slow tortured death and got replaced by something TLS had kicking around a parts bin. The pulley heights were different on TLS's motor so I ended up losing the ability to play 45 RPM records ... of which I own 1. It's a 12" 45RPM record. So I got another TT, I guess to play that 1 record: a Stanton T 92.

Looking for the cover I was surprised to see all the AR XBs.
 
KenM10759

KenM10759

Audioholic Samurai
I tried counting mine once and had to estimate that I had about 100 albums on each of 3 shelves. In other words I didn't have what it took to count past 100. Also there's close to 300 CDs. Somehow I enjoy listening to music more going through those collections more than streaming.

I bet. I just reread the ad to sell them and looked them up to see the MSRP. Dang. Yes, I would very much like to hear those. I'll find out what work looks like for me this week in case you're up for a weekday visit or one of these weekends coming up.

I'm in Pawtucket about 3 miles off I-95 and the Mass state line. Come by. Salks and another Dennis Murphy design both backed up by TLS aligned subs are the main attraction.

My favorite in Middletown is Anthony's Seafood after going to Beaver Tail.

This looks like the guy!

I'm a let that one slide. My cover is on a piano hinge that somebody jerry rigged. Swerd told me about it being a 'custom' job. He's got a Model Xa. My cover works well enough. It's just not as pretty as the $187 deal. Besides that oddity, my motor died a slow tortured death and got replaced by something TLS had kicking around a parts bin. The pulley heights were different on TLS's motor so I ended up losing the ability to play 45 RPM records ... of which I own 1. It's a 12" 45RPM record. So I got another TT, I guess to play that 1 record: a Stanton T 92.

Looking for the cover I was surprised to see all the AR XBs.
I have two racks for LP's that my son built for me, using the "single sheet 4x8" plans posted on the Audiokarma.org forum.

As for visiting, I work 6:30AM to 3:30PM Mon-Thurs and a half-day on Fridays. I can only have a brief visit during the week, other than Fridays. I'd be interested in hearing Dennis' work, because you know he designed the crossovers and spec'd out the drivers for Jim Salk too.

The motors on these AR turntables are known to get hard-to-start, and the fix is to flush them with a light oil (other than 3M's 3-in-1) repeatedly until they're working again. Given the age and the work required, I simply bought a higher-quality motor, a Nidec-Hurst 3001-001. That was pricey and required drilling a 2-3/8" bolt pattern. The OE screws are #4-48, but I used a #4-40 tap and good hex socket head cap screws. It's flush to the bottom of the top plate, and it's shaft is just long enough to allow running both 33-1/3 and 45. In the 45rpm position, the belt is definitely running right at the bottom of the inner platter. I have about a dozen or so of the 12" 45rpm LP's from MoFi and a couple other companies, so I need that. It's about the same PITA to change as my other table, the E.A.T. C-Major.

Yes, that's the eBay seller I got my cover from. He said it was used and accepted and offer that with shipping brought it to $100, though eBay or PayPal added sales tax. Close enough, and it's nice. I also MUCH prefer integral dust covers, so I'm going to bug a friend/co-worker of mine to help me design some cool hinges that will allow removal when desired.

LMK when a visit, me there or you here might work for you. I'm especially free any weekend it's raining because I won't be out riding my motorbike. I generally don't ride after work either, though I use it to commute the 9.5 miles each way when weather is cooperating.
 

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Last edited:
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
This was definitely worth doing, as it's not only a really good turntable (which holds its own against the $2800 European Audio Team "C-Major" next to it), but it's a piece of home audio history. These are legendary for the value they bring, given that original $130 cost.
AR XB playing
Remember, $130 in 1972 is about the same as $937 now and that was when these were being made in relatively large numbers. Nothing like the numbers of the Asian stuff, but not bad for a company with more humble origins.
 
Alex2507

Alex2507

Audioholic Slumlord
I work 6:30AM to 3:30PM Mon-Thurs and a half-day on Fridays.
Weekends it is. My girl works from home M-F. There's a dinning room wall I have to paint before my girl would allow polite company but I think I can swing that by this weekend. Fair warning about me being a condo dweller with neighbors to consider. I try to keep the really loud stuff brief-ish.

I'd be interested in hearing Dennis' work, because you know he designed the crossovers and spec'd out the drivers for Jim Salk too.
Aside from the 2 systems with SongTowers and MBOW1 3-ways is a pair of MB27 bookshelves that were surprising for a $500 DIY project. All together it's a pretty good sampling of what Dennis can do.

I'm looking forward to this. I'll keep an eye on the weather and pray for rain.
 
Eppie

Eppie

Audioholic Samurai
Really nice restoration. Too bad that you couldn't keep the original tube. It is rather unique looking but I can understand the need for getting a proper headshell on there.
 
KenM10759

KenM10759

Audioholic Samurai
Really nice restoration. Too bad that you couldn't keep the original tube. It is rather unique looking but I can understand the need for getting a proper headshell on there.
I still own the original arm tube, though i don't think it's ever going back on there because I already shipped the headshell and cartridge off to a new owner. The original headshells are a single type, all plastic. They take a limited choice of cartridges and are known to have resonance, so it's an upgrade to be able to use better cartridges and various headshells.
 

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