The Walker CJ55 “Phoenix Edition”

Phoenix Edition?  Yep, the Walker has once again risen from the dead.  The new belt arrived on Halloween, of all days, and I promptly moved the arm and cartridge from the Denon back to the Walker. I managed to get things dialed in within an hour, and was able to spin some vinyl later in the evening.

This is where things get weird. As you may recall, the problems I had with the Walker were speed related–not only did it always run too fast, it also had stability issues, and wavered constantly.  Piano music was a torture to listen to, as were any sustained notes.  I was at wit’s end.  Even with the Music Hall belt I borrowed, the speed would waver–the belt was a bit too narrow and would occasionally “hop” up and down within the pulley.

Here is what is supposedly an original replacement belt for the Walker CJ55.  But is it?  Any other belt I had always had some slippage to it.  This one doesn’t.  There is a groan as the turntable starts rotating, and then it locks on fairly quick.  My other belts never did this.  The tension of the belt is also higher than the other “official” belts I got from the importer–my motor mount modification would not be needed.  So far, so good–I’m liking this belt.

So far, the pitch seems like it is not wavering as much.  I still think I hear it wavering, but it could be all in my head.  But this is where the weirdness kicks in.  The turntable always ran fast.  Playing back my new setup, it seemed like the sound was dragging a bit.  I found a strobe online, which I printed out.  Turns out the turntable was now rotating too slowly!  Mmmm, OK.  I took off my rubber band fix from the subplatter, and tried it again.  Now, the speed is just about perfect!  If it is a hair off, I am not noticing it.

A quick summary then.  The original belt slipped and wavered, and the speed ran too fast.  A new belt from the importer did the same.  The Music Hall belt wavered because it was too narrow and sometimes hopped up and down within the pulley; the platter still ran too fast.  This new belt has the best grip, stays in place, and doesn’t seem to waver…and the speed is now perfect??

I just don’t get it.

My stylus is just about worn, so it is not too easy to give a good listen to this setup again.  I will follow up my listening comments in my next installment.

Audio/Video Hardware, Gadget CornerPermalink