It's an AR Model Xb from Walter. I've had it about 10 years. It's the 2nd TT I have owned and it was free. When the motor died ... free from TLS. A spare headshell ... free from TLS. A previous owner attached the cover with a piano hinge, the free motor has a shorter shaft so the pulley for 45 RPM can't quiet reach the platter so it's 33.3 only now. Fine by me for the most part. 12" singles at 33.3 are pretty rare although I have one or two. The free headshell has screws from the bottom while the one on the TT went from the top.
This thing has worked the whole time. The old motor needed more and more coaxing to start spinning as time went by but it spun. A local guy that deals in old electronics on CL that my original headshell looked like it had been drilled through for the screws to go through the top and bite into the cart. There are no nuts.
I was buying a $75 replacement 300 CD changer from the CL dealer when we got to talking about these ARs and their idiosyncrasies. I mentioned the rec I had for a $100 phono pre-amp and a $100 Ortophon 2M Red cart. Well, he just happened to have an Empire 2300 E Improved
cart for $30 that he said he'd buy back if I didn't like it as it would fetch more on eBay. A friend had given me this Pyle Pro PP-99
pre-amp for zip so ... the cost cutting continues.
This is the first time I've actually removed the old headshell. Installing the new for me Empire into TLS's headshell with the screws on the bottom I noticed the micro repair TLS performed to keep the screws on the bottom. I believe he actually mentioned a need for shimming when the cart went in. Connecting the wires I noted that my original cart doesn't follow the same color/letter scheme as the new Empire cart. I also noted how tiny all that stuff is. Eye glasses, magnifying glasses and lights all came into play. Now I finally get that a stylus goes into a cart.
The CL guy said he didn't like the way Ortofon sounds. He knew about the Xb 'drift' as he called it, he knew about the headshell stripping and guessed at the screw anomaly. I don't know what Ortofon sounds like but the Empire sounds a little more 'full'/'fat' on an otherwise bright system. It was suggested that I could use a pot scale to set the weight on the arm. Is that tracking force? Anyway I got a pot scale from a nearby degenerate and set the arm to 2 grams just beside the platter at the same height as the platter. The 'drift' is gone now. The old cart was set to 1.3 grams and drifted if the lowering lever got used.
And when all this was happening the 300 CD changer took a swan dive off the bed (where I had set it on edge) with a half flip for a reverse belly flop, landing flat on its back from about 30". I may now be the owner of 2 broke 300 CD changers. Or the original broke one might only need to have the laser wiped and the new one might still be okay. I never plugged that amp back in because the last room in condo land is getting the business.