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Garrard 4HF L - 5 HF
Stereomaster - TA Mk4


© Rudolf A. Bruil - Page first published on the www on February 12, 2008.

Idler Wheel Drive, Heavy TPA 12 Arm and Crystal Pick Up on 4HF and 5HF
Idler Wheel Drive and Crystal Pick Up on TA Mk4

Garrard 5 HF

At left you see an edited picture from an advertisement in a record collector's magazine from 1963. It is the beautifully designed Garrard 5 HF record player on a matching plinth. The turntable has 4 speeds: 16 2/3, 33 1/3, 45 and 78 RPM. According to the advertisement the platter weighs 2 kg. There is a knob at the front at right for adjusting the speed (+/- 5%) if there is a deviation. This facility is specifically important when playing old shellac records which were not always cut at 78 rpm, but at 80 rpm or whatever speed the manufacturer of the early days adopted. The deck has a heavy arm, suitable for a ceramic or crystal pick up. But also low compliance moving magnet types of phono cartridges can be used.

The TPA 12 Arm

Garrard's own moving coil cartridge GMC5 can certainly be fitted too. This mono cartridge was introduced in 1957 together with the TPA-10 transcription arm which had a facility to adjust the effective length. Both the TPA10 and TPA 12 had the detachable, 3-pin headshell, a welcome feature which made changing cartridges very easy.
The single 4 HF record deck is similar to No. 5. The difference lies in the plinth or trunk.

Playing Weight

There were two versions of the 4 HF. One was just a plain portable record player. The second version was a portable gramophone with amplification.

The down force (playing weight) is not adjusted by sliding a counterweight but by increasing or decreasing the tension of a spring. On the short end of the arm is a slightly protruding wheel. If you turn it to the left the down force will be less and if you turn it to the right the playing weight will be increased.

Portable Mono

This is the mono edition of the Music Master. The lid contains 2 loudspeaker units. One for the low and mid frequencies and one for the high frequencies. There are three potentiometers. At left is the knob for setting the volume. The second from left is for adjusting the treble. The third one controls the bass.

Portable Stereo

This is the stereo version of the Music Master. It consists of two portable units. One consists of the two loudspeakers. The other has the turntable plus the lid. The built in amplifier of this portable gramophone has four knobs. The fourth is for adjusting the balance between left and right channel of course. The advertisement (from which the image at the left is taken) talked about four speakers. This certainly was meant to impress prospective buyers. More is better. In fact there were the two low-mid units and the two high frequency drivers. All these versions have the Garrard TPA 12 transcription arm.

For Old Mono Lp Recordings

These Garrard recordplayers have an automatic shut off which can be disabled by pressing the small red button next to the arm base marked "non automatic".
Although this turntable was designed for turning vinyl long playing records of all kinds, it is (in my view) not advised to play modern pressings from the nineteen seventies, eighties and nineties. This machine is more suitable for the old, thick mono Lp discs and a few early stereos. I myself use the Garrard for playing the earliest nineteen fifties Remington records for example which do not always sound too well on a modern turntable, but, amazingly, get their full impact on this efficient machine.

When my dentist called me in, he noticed that I was reading an old issue of "LA NOUVELLE REVUE DU SON", the excellent French magazine, written and edited by Jean Hiraga, Patrick Vercher, and other quality audio journalists. My dentist said: "LP is no good. 78 RPM shellac records are the only true quality recordings."

78 RPM Fanatics Love This Machine

Many music lovers have evolved with the market and are used to listening to stereo long playing records and to the Digital Audio Compact Disc. A few have experienced the sound of 78 rpm direct to disc recordings from before World War Two. No tape recorder was involved. A range of cutting lathes were installed in ghe monitoring room or close to the performers. The music was cut into the laquers on the spot.
When I was 11 years old I bought a second hand portable HMV 101 wind up gramophone and also any record - be it classical, pop or jazz, I could lay my hands on - as long as it could be played on the 101 with the chrome arm and soundbox: Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Warsaw Concerto, Ray Anthony, etc. In a thrift store I found old and heavy Polydor records: Alexander Brailowsky playing Chopin's Barcarolle and Oskar Fried conducting the Berlin Philharmonic in Franz Liszt's Mazeppa. Specifically Chopin was extremely well recorded.

Wide Range

With the advent of the Compact Disc many people started collecting vinyl abundantly. And often they came accross old 78 rpm discs too and bought a suitable gramophone to play them. That is what happened to me also. There are various items worth listening to: Eduard van Beinum conducting the Concertgebouw Orchestra in The Swan of Tuonela (Sibelius), Herbert von Karajan with the same orchestra in Don Juan (Strauss), Paul van Kempen with the Berlin Philharmonic (1936) performing Les Preludes (Liszt), Withold Malcuzynski playing Chopin, Eileen Joyce on Columbia, Mengelberg on Columbia, Emil Telmányi on a 10" Tono, Ida Handel with Wieniawski's Polonaise, Yehudi Menuhin playing Mozart with his teacher George Enesco conducting, and Furtwangler with Mozart No. 40 on HMV but also on old pre-war Polydors, etc. And there are popular records of the early nineteen fifties: Jo Stafford, Rosemary Clooney, Frankie Lane, Mouloudji, Patachou, Rudolf Schock, etc. etc.

Demonstration

Excellent demonstration records are the already mentioned Barcarolle by pianist Alexander Brailowsky (Polydor 35014, 1934), and Walter Gieseking playing Variations Symphoniques (César Franck) with Sir Henry Wood, on English Columbia. It is amazing how well the piano is recorded and in balance with the orchestra. But also the early nineteen fifties hits and jazz records - though not direct cuts (direct to disc) - have a flabbergasting presence.
If you want to access the mechanism, pulley and motor, you will have to take off the spring washer which holds the platter in place. Ask someone to tick lightly with the handle of a screw driver on the spindle. And than you will be able to lift the platter.

The Mechanism

Even after 50 years of dedicated service, the mechanism is still working perfectly. (In due time I will add pictures of the 301 and 401 so a comparison can be made between the 4 (5) HF and the legendary Garrard transcription units.)
The fact that the platter is set into motion by means of an idler wheel, and the materials used for the construction of the machine, result in a very pleasant and natural sound with the appropriate weight in the lower mid frequency band. Note: It goes without saying that cleaning the idler wheel, motor pulley and other parts is imperative to keep this beautiful machine working right. If spare parts are needed the best solution is to buy another 4HF and combine the best working parts.
The alternative for playing 78s would be a His Master's Voice re-entrant horn (HMV 202). The advantage of the Garrard is that you avoid the sharp steel needles. A curiosity is that Garrard released one of the first stereo pick ups, the Model GCS10 to be used in the Stereo Master. The model 4 HF came into production in 1957 as the
Loricraft/ Garrard501 website says. And: "The Model 4HF was in production until 1965, by which time about 100,000 units had been produced". So it is not unlikely that you will find one.

2-Way Loudspeaker System

Simplicity makes sense: a two way speaker system in a quasi open baffle. An oval driver for the low and mid frequencies and a high frequency unit. The addition of the back panel improves the dynamics and gives a good reproduction of the low frequencies in relation to a firm mid band.
The speakers are driven by a small, 5 Watt valve amplifier which also adds to the harmonious sound. Positioning the lid with the speakers closer to a corner makes it possible to find the best sound balance with ample bass.

6 dB Slope For The Tweeter

The high frequency unit is a sealed unit and is connected in parallel to the low-mid driver. Just one capacitor (electrolytic condenser) of 8 uF in series provides a 6 dB slope, ensuring a correct phase. Do not swap it for a polypropylene capacitor. You may loose some of the speed of the sound and the nice mid-band. And polypropylene will influence the dynamics and the frequency curve.


A favorite position of the lid containing the speakers is in a corner on the bare floor. No carpet, no absorbing material. Just a hard floor and background. The harder the background (wood, tiles, wall), the better the detail and tangeability. Carpet and curtains as backgound will muffle the sound, kill transient response and decrease realism. Just adjust the distance between lid and walls to get the most harmonious sound and liveliness.

The Front-End is Important

Choosing the best suitable ceramic cartridge or crystal pick up is of course important. Various makes do come to mind. Ronette and Acos are the best known. At left the Merul and at right a simple Ronette.

The Scale

For the 301, 401, 4 and 5 HF, the Garrard engineers designed the SPG3 Stylus Pressure Gauge. It was packed in a small cardboard box with instructions. For todays standards with precise measuring of a cartridge's playing weight with a digital scale, the increments of 0.5 gram of the SPG3 result in a rather rough adjustment. In the early Lp days, playing weights of 4 to 10 gr. were possible. For 78 rpm shellac records a down force of 9 gr. can be necessary. In the case of shellac records the best down force is emperically found, as the Garrard scale's indication is 12 gr. maximum. For that a small brass weight of 5 gr. was supplied to calibrate the gauge.

The Strobe

For users of the early 301, the 4HF and 5HF and also the TA Mk4, Garrard suplied a neat stroboscope for calibrating the correct speed in countries with 220 Volt/50 Hz. power. It was a "stroboscopic speed indicator", a small plasic disc of about 96 mm in diameter. It gave the exact speeds of 33 1/3, 45 and 78 RPM. Such a disc was necessary if the platter did not have strobiscopic markings and after the recommended 10 minutes run-in time the speed had to be calibrated anew.

Beethoven: Romance in F played by Jacques Thibaud

Template for Garrard 301

In due time there will be more info about the Garrard 301 on this page. Nevertheless you may be interested in the real size mounting template for the Garrard 301 transcription turntable.

The cost: $10
Shipment is $5

Click to order Real Size Mounting Template.

 

And then there is the Garrard TA Mk 4

Garrard Ta Mk 4

The Ta Mk 4 is a very ood turntable for playing 16 2/3, 33 1/3, 45 and 78 rpm records. Motor, platter and tonearm are in working order.
Sold as is. Nice for playing vintage 45 rpm singles and 78 shellac records. Inclusive of ceramic cartridge in original headshell.

This Garrard TA Mk 4 is for sale.

Go to the conact page to mail me if you are interested.

 

 


Text and Images ©Rudolf A. Bruil - Page first published on the www February 12, 2008.


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