Saturday, December 15, 2012

JVC QL-A2 Direct Drive Turntable

This is the JVC QL-A2, which sat at the low-end of their successful (and excellent) line of direct drive turntables.  These guys were one of the major players of the day, and their high-end decks rivaled the best.  Heck, even this model is a good turntable.  The cheap plastic frame benefits greatly from 7-10lbs of modeling clay, which adds weight and solidity to that hollow frame.  And look how cool that platter looks with gold spray paint.  I spray painted the sub-platter and feet on my old Pro-Ject Debut III, and enjoyed putting my unique stamp on my toys.

The QL-A2 features a quartz lock motor, easily the table's best quality (-73dB rumble).  The automatic function is also very nice to have, although the buttons are a bit cheap (the MCS 6700 had the best buttons).  The tonearm is standard '70s fare, not too impressive but it gets the job done.  And despite the fact it's a cheap chunk of plastic, the frame does look stylish and cool.  This is a really good looking turntable.

As I've said, the modeling clay mod boosts the QL-A2 up a notch, and there were times where I enjoyed it more than my Sony PS-X5.  I think this table handled internal resonances better, thanks to that box frame and a ton of Gumby clay.  With some quality feet or cones, it would really be impressive.

Sadly, my table suffered problems with the speed control, and started playing at slower speed.  Perhaps some Deoxit over the speed pots might have helped.  In retrospect, I would have taken this table into the shop for a tuneup.  It would have been worth saving.  Then again, perhaps this model was prone to breakdowns and endless hassles, which would mean throwing good money after bad.  Ah, say la vee.

I would recommend any of the QL-A series, and you can find one fairly cheap.  If you can rewire the tonerm, pack the inside frame, and replace the feet, you'll have something really nice.  If you can score one for $50 and everything works, consider yourself very lucky, score a quality budget phono cart, and enjoy your records..

No comments: