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Pioneer turn table way too fast

 

New member
Username: Carddfann

Post Number: 1
Registered: Sep-12
Hi everyone. New here. I dug out my old Pioneer system and got everything working but the TT. Its a PL-250 direct drive. It spins wide open at full speed like a washing machine on spin cycle. I cleaned and checked the adjustable pot for speed adjustment and it seems ok. Also, I cleaned the speed selector switch. Another forum had a similar problem with another brand TT and their fix was a new transistor in line with the motor. For this guy, a kid heald the platter and burned out the transistor. This PL-250 TT only has 2 transistors so I replaced both and it still spins out of control. Any suggestions? Maybe a capacitor?
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2882
Registered: Oct-07
How does the TT know how fast it's going? Is there some optical means using an encoder? That would be a plastic disc with black bands. It could be fairly small and would have some kind of attached sensor to tell the TT how many 'counts' it saw as the platter spun. I suppose it's even possible to have the light/dark areas etched to the inner / under side of the platter and a light / sensor 'counting'.
I don't know other systems for controlling a DC motor platter, but that's where I'd look.....try to find out HOW it controls speed and fix that.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17415
Registered: May-04
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Most direct drive tables from that era would have been servo controlled. And the problem is pretty much always in that servo network, which probably has at least one ic in it. But telling you, via long distance forum diagnosis, which component to replace? You're kidding, right? You've tried the bit where you just begin replacing parts and that hasn't worked. Unless you care to do some actual troubleshooting - which we can't do for you over a forum - you need to just replace everything in the servo network. That's a pretty inefficient way to go about repairs.

Here's my advice which you can take or not; if you know how to read a schematic, get one for the table - usually available on line for a few bucks - and do the trubleshooting on site that's required to locate the defective component. If you do not understand a schematic, do a search engine for a shop that will take on gear over five years old - most shops nowdays won't. Atlas Audio Repair in Pittsburg, I believe, used to be such a shop. Spend the money to have the table repaired or buy a new/used table that won't have the same problem. IMO you'll be money ahead to buy a new table.

Probably, if you put "Pioneer audio repair" or some such into a search engine, you'll get a hit that will direct you to someone who has the schematic and can give you few ideas on what parts to replace. This too will cost you a few dollars to have them advise you.

Otherwise, if you just want to keep replacing parts on this table, caps are the most likely place to begin. The problem there is caps seldom go out in a void and they usually take another part out with them or another part has caused their failure. But hifi gear placed in storage is very likely to have bad caps when it is pulled out of the closet and 120VAC is applied to the circuits full on. Which, if that's what you did with the entire system, you might be experiencing the same problem with the caps in your receiver in the next few days/weeks.


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Gold Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 1999
Registered: Oct-10
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2888
Registered: Oct-07
I don't know if SERVO is a subset of feedback or feedback is a subset of Servo....
Point being that the encoders I mentioned are just one of the ways to determine just how fast the platter is spinning and tell the controller to speed up or slow down.

I've worked on many such systems, including photoresist spinners in a semiconductor 'fab'. The motor had a small motor attached to it which was driven from the main motor. You used an external tach to calibrate the output from the driven motor acting as a generator. After that, the motor would maintain set speed very well indeed. Other systems used the disk system with a photo diode / transistor pair to 'count' and maintain speed in that manner. These were VERY accurate.
Since the DD TT uses a multi-pole motor, counting pole pulses against a timer would be one way to go. Look for a 555 chip.
As for a TT, I can think of a few other methods, but it all boils down to the same thing. What is the feedback loop to control speed and where has it gone wrong?
The 'you need a schematic' suggestion is a good place to start.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17432
Registered: May-04
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Feedback is a subset of servo, which is one of the biggest drawbacks to using a servo to control speed. The servo can only make a correction after something has wandered off speed. By the time the servo reacts to the feedback from the system the problem, say, stylus drag, has corrected itself by moving away from the stylus. Now the servo corrects a no longer existing problem which causes yet another speed deviation. Now the servo corrects the servo and so on and so on ...

It's typical for a DD servo controlled table to be locked to a single quartz oscillator. I suppose it could occur but I've never seen a quartz oscillator go bad.



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Gold Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 2019
Registered: Oct-10
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2892
Registered: Oct-07
Made quartz 'tuning fork' style oscillators at the start of my semiconductor career. See 'Statek'. I learned about vacuum while employed there. I cleaned baker/sealers as well as evaporators. great training.
The frequency of the feedback loop......latency.....if you will, determines just how fast a correction is made and how often.
A quartz crystal is a very good idea. You still need the TT to generate some kind of signal to compare TO the crystal frequency. And circuitry to apply the correction.
20 or 30 corrections per second may or may not be often enough, but I'm sure you can get hundreds of corrections per second....or more.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17434
Registered: May-04
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"20 or 30 corrections per second may or may not be often enough, but I'm sure you can get hundreds of corrections per second....or more."


Not at 33.3 RPm you can't. Yes, the counter is a simple "on/off" type device locked to the oscillation of the quartz crystal, which itself is highly accurate. That, in fact, was the selling point of quartz locked, servo controlled DD tables - the fact the quartz oscillator was highly accurate. Not the system itself which had multiple and severe inaccuracies, but no matter what the rest of the system did (or failed to do) the quartz crystal never varied a micro-beat. So sell what you have, not what you don't and hope no one asks any questions. Rather like a political campaign.

The "sell what you got" theory follows a bit of advice I received from another salesperson; never tell a customer what they are about to see/hear/feel, because it might not happen. (I think Romney has heard this idea.) Only tell them what they have just seen/heard/felt after it has actually occurred as planned. (OK, so Nixon didn't really have a "secret plan" to get us out of VietNam, he already had plumbers by the time the American public realized they'd been lied to.)

The quartz locked servo system on a DD table lacks a sufficient data rate at the typical rotational speed of the platter to make it a highly accurate counting device. So, garbage information in = garbage information out no matter how good the system could be. However, the fact many listeners are completely unaware of the tremendous sonic benefits of a highly accurate rotational speed under the stylus makes the cheap to produce DD tables a viable option for many buyers. If you've never heard what's missing with such a design, you simply accept that what is there is correct. And, admittedly, the high torque of a typical DD table at all speeds can be a selling point for ... who? DJ's? Not alot of concern over accuracy in that situation. In a conventional belt drive table high torque is only desireable at start up and then torque is scaled back in favor of speed stability and a quieter motor with less vibration which could find its way into the platter/bearing system and eventually into the cartridge's motor/generator.

The very well developed (and very expensive for the time) DD tables from companies such as Micro Seiki did demonstrate how to make a DD table that actually performed to audiophile standards. These were huge 100 lb plus affairs with several individual plinths containing the various components of the table all separated/connected by a master plinth set on a dedicated stand - or two. They were $10k tables in the days when a Linn LP12 would have run you $3k. As you would expect, when they attempted to bring the technology down in price, quality plummetted along with the cost of materials and assembly. Denon had the same problem when they attempted to translate their transcription quality tables used in many broadcast studios to the home consumer market. The Micro Sieki, as with many similar products through the years, illustrated the concept of being able to design and build a very high quality component with very high performance if you devoted sufficient time, money and effort towards the end result. Sort of like building a $100k Prius.



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Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17435
Registered: May-04
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"Since the DD TT uses a multi-pole motor, counting pole pulses against a timer would be one way to go. Look for a 555 chip."


Most of these DD tables - if not all of them - use a sort of stroboscopic making device to monitor speed. The number of poles in the motor would make for a very small data sampling rate vs the number of on/off flashes taken from a simple "black=off/no black=on" counting strip affixed to the bottom or side of the platter. If you look at the literature for these DD tables, I think you'll find the "highest quality" table still only use a simple 24 pole motor - about the physical/economical limit for a motor of the size used for turntables.

Still, the number of on/off markings available on the underside of a roughly 12" diameter platter is definitely finite in number. Compared to the actuall oscillation frequency of the quartz crystal, this data stream's input is no more than an integer of that frequency. So now we have data manipulation which can result in further errors in the outgoing data stream. Hunt and peck, hunt and peck and so on ...

"Mister Scott! This is Captain Kirk, I need more feedback! Incease the feedback to warp 7!!! NOW!!!"

"I'm giving here all she's got now, Captain! The whole thing's about to blow!!!"




Not a big deal considering the manufacturer is selling a flawed system to begin with but certainly one that can be knocked down rather easily by the belt drive proponents. Strawmen abound in turntable sales.



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Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2896
Registered: Oct-07
Using optics is EXACTLY what I said in my first post. An optical encoder with a phototransistor / photodiode mounted in a single 'u' shaped case with the encoder strip or disk BETWEEN the emitter and sensor. I've personally replaced dozens of 'em in various machines which needed to know WHERE something was on a go/nogo basis or how fast something was spinning.
You are limited only by sample rate / resolution considerations.
Keeping the 'impulse' small and mass high will help keep speed under better control. Taking advantage of intertia is key.
Using the INSIDE of a 11.5" platter you could easily fit over 360 data points in @10per inch. That's about 200 samples per second at standard LP speeds.
With a smaller pitch to the sensor area and taking full advantage of the largest platter possible, you may be able to get 500 or more data points and well over 250 samples per second. With a fast enough sample rate, it may be possible to have leading or trailing edge detection....

A more ingenious system may use optics and a simple NE-2 strobe and the 60hz line frequency. Everyone agrees that 60hz is IT and the system could be easily adapted for a 50hz market.

The most common quarzt crystal oscillates at 32,768hz or 2e15hz.
At least that's the one WE made the most of.....for watches, as it turned out, back in the mid / late 70s. They were mass-batch fabricated tuning forks of GROWN single crystal quartz. And yes, being man-made, they DO ocassionally go bad. However, a part was qualified with a 1000 hour burn in procedure and the parts were also stress tested on a shaker table powered by a CROWN DC-300 amp! I wanted that amp badly. Process changes were made slowly and with full buy-in from the powers-that-be. Very stable system.
 

Gold Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 2026
Registered: Oct-10
Leo, wasn't DD phased out in favor of belt drive because of the issues Jan mentioned? Or was there more to the story? I thought BD was known for being smoother too. It's been a long time, but I thought that was about how things went.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2898
Registered: Oct-07
I'll defer to Jan for the history lesson.
I had a Dual 1209, rim drive with a reasonably heavy platter and what I thought to be decent performance. I later bought a Kenwood DD which was nowhere near as good. But I DID fit it with an Ortofon LM20 which broke my bank, but was a revelation in cartridges for someone used to Empire / Stanton / Grado (pretty good) /Pickering or Shure.
I think the TT I missed out on getting was the AR belt drive, but it's been quite a while....so I can misremember easily. My brother had a Benjamin Miracord which was nice but I never thought much of. It made lots of clunky noises.

I'm just going to assert that all systems have good and bad points. Belt drive my isolate the motor from the platter better, but the belt itself can maybe stretch/contract and cause problems. Rim drive may be the weakest of the 3 common systems....DD is maybe mechanically the simplest.

And as Jan pointed out, you COULD built a 100k$ Prius, but it'd still be a Prius. Honda is building an Acura based on the Civic again. Now that's a good idea. Pretty much a cost-no-object Civic with most of the virtues intact.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2899
Registered: Oct-07
One thing about feedback for speed control:
It isn't QUITE as simple as Jan makes out in 17432, above.

While it is true that in any such circuit, time lag exists the trick is to make it work for you. An analogous problem is one of temperature control in hi temp furnaces used to make semiconductors. A couple degrees, even at 1100c makes a difference to the product and such temp deviations over time can cause many out of spec conditions.
The trick? Well, one way is to simply limit the correction to some percentage of the requested change. Temp drops (or speed) and instead of giving the furnace element (motor) +50% power, you give it only +30. When it goes above setpoint, apply a proportional correction again.
Our furnaces had several 'fill in the blank' fields for temp control. If I remember correctly...you had Rate, Reset and +- temps for zero power and 100% power. When I set a furnace up, i alway set the plus temp to like 2 or 3 degrees, so when the furnace when above setpoint, the power would ramp down very rapidly. Power would be at 100% till maybe within 10 or 12 c of setpoint, than begin decreasing, depending on how fast it approached setpoint and how often it looked. Using a chart recorder, temp would overshoot a little than damp with only 1 small swing back below setpoint than 'lock in' at maybe +- 0.1c.....certainly within our measurement limits even with thermocouples calibrated to NIST standards.
Motor control should be likewise very controllable. Especially considering the hi mass of the typical platter and the (variable) but low drag forces of stylus in groove. Previous readings of stuff Jan has written about TT suspension and bearings leads me to believe this is not unknown or wacky territory, but rather a pretty straightforward engineering problem with solutions based simply on ingeniuty and cash. Back to the 100k Prius! BTW, for the cost of one of the top tier TTs, you could buy a nice Mercedes.
 

Gold Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 2029
Registered: Oct-10
Hmm, Mercedes? Turntable? If I still had records, I'd probably go with the TT. Then again, given that kind of $ for a car, a Rolls or a Bentley would be more to my liking than a Mercedes. Just saying...

That's an interesting read Leo. I agree that all systems have their strengths & weaknesses. However, doesn't it seem likely that DD would still have a market share if their weaknesses were less severe or more easily overcome? This is all guessing on my part. I wonder if there are more precise servos available now that would give DD a chance at a come back.

A sales manager for an Infinity dealer once told me that Honda, Nissan and Toyota are made in America and that it takes 4 hours to go from raw materials to a finished, ready to drive car. Acura, Infinty and Lexus on the other hand, while made by their respective counter parts are made in Japan over 12 hrs. He went on to say that the lower end models are all good cars, but after 5 yrs, you know it's 5 y.o. After those same 5 yrs, you still think the lux model is brand new. I appreciated the fact that he didn't try to tout the notion that Nissan/Infinity was better than its competition. He simply explained the real difference/advantage of the lux cars over the generic ones.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17438
Registered: May-04
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"Using the INSIDE of a 11.5" platter you could easily fit over 360 data points in @10per inch. That's about 200 samples per second at standard LP speeds."



A few more than a 24 pole motor would provide should the counter be counting motor poles.

The issue with your statement vs realworld DD tables is the word "could". Belt drive has largely replaced direct drive as the type of table used by audiophiles in most parts of the world that cares about this BS. Japan is still somewhat a hold out as nationalistically they have a stronger penchant for what specifications say. However, several decades ago Japan was the rebirthing center for direct heated, single ended triode power amplifiers using "antiquated" tube types. Japan also holds onto the virtues of single driver, full range speakers and horn loading. And there are probably more vintage McIntosh MC275's and Marantz 7C's in Japan today than in the rest of the civilized world combined. But this is a cultish phenomenon in Japan and only a very small % of those who claim to be truly devoted to music reproduction over hifi specmanship exist in the market.

The thing to take from this is that Japan, for all its mass market, specs-beat-performance thinking BS, is probably the most influential area of the world to watch for trends in the ultra-high end market which will eventually be accepted by other national tastes. Of course, the accepted ideas coming from Japan will still only occupy a very, very tiny fraction of the audio buyers market in another country. But from that infinitesimally tiny fraction of Japan-listeners you will get concepts such as Pass's Klienhorn. If you ever get the chance to be at a magazine retailer that sells international magazines, should you come across one of the Japanese equivalents to the original "underground" Stereophile, you will see some of the most beautiful examples of the audio art which exists on this planet.


Returning to DD tables, the potential for highly accurate counting system could exist in a servo controlled, quartz locked system - and make the table not all that more expensive. Consider for a moment the fuel economy potential which exists in American made automobiles for a comparison of the "could" to the "did". By 2015 (two model years away) the average fleet fuel economy in the US must increase to a combined city/highway 35 mpg by 2020. The automakers had originally said this was doable - though they are now begging off that statement in favor of adding more sellable features such as power b*tt scratchers for each cheek. The industry "could" produce more efficient vehicles by 2015 and, logically, "could" be building many more of those vehicles today. Are they? In general, no. Other features sell more readily, especially in the luxury class which is the money maker for any auto manufacturer.

So the "could" meets the "did" and marketing wins the game.

MPG sells in the small, city car type vehicles only. For the rest of the market, features and ever quicker 0-60 times are far more important. There are Lexus hybrids and other luxury vehicles which do not gobble gas but Angelina Jolie must have some type of car to drive, no? As I experienced this summer when shopping for a new car, tell the salesperson you are interested in fuel economy and they will walk you to a car that gets 28 mpg highway and get a big smile on their face as if that should impress you.

"Could" and "did" are worlds apart.



"A more ingenious system may use optics and a simple NE-2 strobe and the 60hz line frequency. Everyone agrees that 60hz is IT ... "


I can't think of a single DD table produced in the last forty years that was not using a DC motor. Belt drives have traditionally stayed with AC "clock" motors. "Clock" here referring not to their timing device - there generally is none other than using a synchronous motor which does lock to the incoming frequency of the AC line but is also plagued by the problems of an outdated electrical grid system in the US - but to their rather puny size and amount of torque. Quite a few manufacturers are beginning to use DC motors even in their belt driven tabes.



"Leo, wasn't DD phased out in favor of belt drive because of the issues Jan mentioned? Or was there more to the story? I thought BD was known for being smoother too."



Turntables are, first and foremost, the bumblebee that should not be able to fly. No matter how they are viewed their problems outweigh their virtues. Each system has numerous failures which are insurmountable yet each designer has approached the cons and claimed to have emerged victorious.


"I think the TT I missed out on getting was the AR belt drive ... "


That has largely been the problem with turntable design, everyone has copied what has come before. Only a few designers have actually tossed out all other designs and begun with a clean sheet of paper as if they were the first to ever design an analog disc playback system. The AR 1 was such a design and it is still influencing designers to this day. Is that good? Or, is that bad that so few have also followed Vilchur's thinking and tossed away his design as if it had never occurred?




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Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17439
Registered: May-04
.

"Belt drive my isolate the motor from the platter better, but the belt itself can maybe stretch/contract and cause problems. Rim drive may be the weakest of the 3 common systems....DD is maybe mechanically the simplest."


The acceptance of a turntable system's many failures is where most designers begin their new systems. This often fails to target the successes of a turntable playback systems.

Oh, wait ... there are no real successes of a turntable playback system. It's all an illusion of performance and everyone in the industry secretly acknowledges that fact. Turntables exists because they are more convenient than 15 ips, 2" reel to reel's. After you realize that, everything else is a crapshoot.

Every aspect of a table's design is essentially a compromise of what is achievable vs what is ideal. To list the ways table designers have gone about their compromises over the years and decades would take days of typing and would occupy more territory than all the McDonalds fastfood chain owns. And each thing I said about one design I would have to retract for the next design. Even when compared to loudspeaker design, tables are the most all over the board, throw it against the wall to see what sticks components in audio.

Actually though, leo, a few of the grandaddy's of rim drive designs are still quitehighly prized possessions by a handful of audio enthusiasts who make restoration of something for which parts no longer exist an aspect of their paticipatory hobby. Check out AD's columns on restoring his various rim drive tables in the archives of the Stereophile website. A Thorens 123 has long been recognized as a superior table to virtually any modern design depsite its quite obvious "this bug shouldn't fly", Rube Golbergish looks under the plinth. VPI recently had a rim drive table in their line up and many reviewers were astonished by its performance. The "trick" to the VPI design was the rim drive "puck" itself was driven by two outboard motors in opposing position and electrical phase which were connected to a centrally located spindle (which was directly connected to the puck) by way of two very short belts. VPI credits the creation of this design to their experience with a very vintage Rek-O-Cut table. The Rek-O-Cut table has long been a garage sale diamond in the rough find. http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazine/equipment/0410/vpi_rim_drive_platter.htm


DD is certainly the simplest drive system for a table though its great number of problems - not the least of which is the central idea of directly connecting the spinning motor of the table to the transducing motor of the cartridge - should give any thinking person pause.



"Motor control should be likewise very controllable. Especially considering the hi mass of the typical platter and the (variable) but low drag forces of stylus in groove. Previous readings of stuff Jan has written about TT suspension and bearings leads me to believe this is not unknown or wacky territory, but rather a pretty straightforward engineering problem with solutions based simply on ingeniuty and cash."


Motor control of a table is rather simple and has been exploited over the last few decades to provide truly superior table performance. However, motor control is not the issue when it comes to turntables. Speed control is the most significant issue and, more to the point, extreme stability of speed is a primary requirement for high quality analog disc performance. This isn't the palce to go into all the details of why extreme speed stability is of the utmost importance to LP playback. Suffice it so say, all good things audiophile occur as more and more attention is paid to this value. This is where most designers realize controlling the motor is merely buttering the pan when they are cooking up a new batch of turntables. In each system, translating motor control to speed control brings with it multiple problems in other areas of design. As I've said, strawmen abound in table sales and for everything a designer will give you, they are likely to take away two.

IMO the difference between temperature control - even in that specific environment) is one of fairly gross averages when compared to the instantaneous and constant need for extreme speed control required in a turntable. I see similarities but also discrepancies in the comparison.


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Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17440
Registered: May-04
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"A sales manager for an Infinity dealer once told me that Honda, Nissan and Toyota are made in America and that it takes 4 hours to go from raw materials to a finished, ready to drive car. Acura, Infinty and Lexus on the other hand, while made by their respective counter parts are made in Japan over 12 hrs. He went on to say that the lower end models are all good cars, but after 5 yrs, you know it's 5 y.o. After those same 5 yrs, you still think the lux model is brand new. I appreciated the fact that he didn't try to tout the notion that Nissan/Infinity was better than its competition. He simply explained the real difference/advantage of the lux cars over the generic ones."



I would hope that salesmanager was biting the inside of his cheek all the while he was "explaining" this to you. As a salesperson, I would suggest the truth lies mostly in what he did not say vs what he did say. Or, at the least, in what he led you to believe he was saying. Being somewhat less kind, he was feeding you a pile of BS.

Just go check out where and how a Honda is made vs an Acura. (To begin with the "Acura" brand exists solely in the US market. In all other parts of the world, what we call an "Acura" is sold as just another "Honda".) First, you'll have to determine which part of that Honda you would like to know about as Hondas are built from parts which are sourced internationally. If you really break the parts down into their individual components, you'll find many of the precious metals used for the computerization of modern vehicles have been extracted from some of the most ancient lands on earth. Depending on which theory you subscribe to, this may be one reason why the US invaded Afghanistan.

Considering the number of vehicles Honda, Toyota and Nissan sell vs the number Infiniti, Lexus and Acura sell, why hurry the production of the more expensive cars? I get what the manager was trying to say but his method of saying it, IMO, leaves too much to the customer's imagination to fill in the blanks that they are buying something made especially for them. In sales we would call that "selling the sizzle and not the steak". You can't eat "sizzle".




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Gold Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 2030
Registered: Oct-10
"(To begin with the "Acura" brand exists solely in the US market. In all other parts of the world, what we call an "Acura" is sold as just another "Honda".)"

Okay, but that says that the name "Acura" is only marketted in the U.S. It says nothing of where the Acura is assembled.

"First, you'll have to determine which part of that Honda you would like to know about as Hondas are built from parts which are sourced internationally. If you really break the parts down into their individual components, you'll find many of the precious metals used for the computerization of modern vehicles have been extracted from some of the most ancient lands on earth. Depending on which theory you subscribe to, this may be one reason why the US invaded Afghanistan."

This refers to where individual parts are made. Where do these parts end up being assembled as a car?

"Considering the number of vehicles Honda, Toyota and Nissan sell vs the number Infiniti, Lexus and Acura sell, why hurry the production of the more expensive cars? I get what the manager was trying to say but his method of saying it, IMO, leaves too much to the customer's imagination to fill in the blanks that they are buying something made especially for them."

Then, comes the question: Is this what the manager came up with on his own? Is this what his boss told him to tell customers (or in my case, a guy he was talking to at the bank)?

"In sales we would call that 'selling the sizzle and not the steak'. You can't eat 'sizzle'."

Granted, but isn't hype what sells in most case? When selling audio, how many of your customers expressed interest in the steak rather than the sizzle?

Don't take any of this as an argument or disrespect Jan. Now that you've suggested that there may be more to the story than what that sales manager said, I would like to get to the bottom (or at least as close to it as possible) of this. You said that in addition to audio, you sold cars. Did you sell Honda, Toyota, Nissan or any of their lux counter parts? What sorts of things did the car dealers tell you to tell the customers? Consider my interest "piqued".
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2901
Registered: Oct-07
The NEW Fiat 500L has been shown with an espresso machine.
Top THAT!

I specifically chose temp control for the reason that ALL the same principles apply. The power to the element (or motor) is updated quite often....Not as often as a TT motor, but the difference is detail only.
I suspect a good TT platter will take a while to slow once power is removed....at least with NO active braking or other drag. A furnace? With power removed from the element and still being sealed? At first the drop will be 5c to 10c per minute in 'freefall'. At temps over say.....800c....you can take advantage of that to help prevent temp overshoot.

I have no idea about current car manufacturing practices. However, I did see a 'special' about Ferrari. It is a very highly automated ine but still has an incredible amount of skilled hand labor. The upholstry shop alone has dozens of seamstresses. Leather match and pattern cutting are both critical steps. QC is relentless.
As for Honda vs Acura or the like, you can't forget they sell almost 1000 Accords alone Per Day....24x7x365. It's a little less today, but thats the general idea. I'm not going to bother with the math, but the line balance must be maintained. Slow or time consuming processes may have 20 machines to do a certain operation. Faster operations? Might have only 10 machines. ALL manufacture even at the Ferrari level is highly automated.
A lower volume manufacturer will simply have fewer 'lines' all running at capacity similar to the orignal parent company. Don't forget that the Acura TSX is actually sold in Europe as the Honda Accord. Toyota shares Camry parts with several other lines.
THey ALL do the same thing. Heck...right now you can go to the Scion dealer and get a car 95% the same as the one sold down the street at the Subaru dealer....of which Toyota owns 20%.
It is ALL about factory utilization and perceived Value Added. An idle machine is a waste of time/space/money. As factory utilization approaches optimum levels, with minimum stoppages and time out only for PMs, profits rise if the rework rate stays low.
I put 200,000 miles + on an Accord and it used about 1 quart of oil in all that time. I added oil about 3 times. How could I ask for more?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17444
Registered: May-04
.

"Okay, but that says that the name "Acura" is only marketted in the U.S. It says nothing of where the Acura is assembled."



You can get online to find out where a specific car has been officially assembled. The Maroni sticker must list the country of origin for each large component of the vehicle.

My Fiat 500 has a motor which is being assembled in an old Dodge plant in Detroit. The motor is then shipped to Mexico for assembly of the final product. The Fiat shares certain small parts with previous Chrysler products.- the air conditioning switch in my car is the same one Chrysler has been using for several years. Fiat owns 58% of Chrysler and is using the existing Chrysler dealer network to re-enter the US market. The motor is a Fiat design but will be shared with the upcoming Dodge Dart. So what does that make my Fiat 500? A US car? Or, a Mexican car? Or, an Italian car built in the North Americas?

In reality all cars are universal cars today. It's been like that for two decades or more. When someone would say they were hestitant to buy a Honda because they thought they should be buying a US made car, we would tell them to look on the Maroni sticker for the country of origin information for that Ford they were considering.

Further, a line such as Honda has for years built certain vehicles in the US and other vehicles sold in the US market line in Japan - or some other part of the world. A US sold Accord is more "American" than a Ford Taurus. The CRV is assembled in Japan with parts assembled in other nations. Honda is not alone in this respect.

More importantly, you must consider where the individual parts come from. When I first began shopping last spring, Honda and Toyota had virtually no cars on their lots. The tsunami which hit Japan wiped out the plant which assembles the parts going into the computers for both companies. Nissan was using a differnt supplier and they had lots of cars. The materials for those computer parts did not come from Japan which is exceptionally poor in natural resources. Look up the reason Japan attacked the US at the start of US involvement in WWII.




"Then, comes the question: Is this what the manager came up with on his own? Is this what his boss told him to tell customers (or in my case, a guy he was talking to at the bank)?"


That I don't know. Salespeople make up sh*t all the time. Sometimes they think they are repeating information supplied by a manufacturer's rep, a brochure or a magazine or something they think they heard but did not really and sometimes they are just making stuff up to get out of the moment. Eventually, if it sounds good, it might become part of their standard sales pitch and they'll actually believe it's true when it's not. I will say I never knew a car salesperson who actuallty did any leg work to check out the rep's storyline. And rep's are not always the best source of accurate information.

Passing along sales information to a customer is a bit like the game of telling a story one after the other and seeing what comes out at the other end. But what that salesmanager did, IMO, was leave it up to you to reach a conclusion to the value of buying a car which has had - supposedly - three to four times the amount of attention paid to its assembly. If that story is true, think about why it might be true. Lots of Accords get sold, not many Acura TXS's If it's not about how many cars get shoved out of the factory each hour, why not spend more time assembling a car that has far more component parts? An Acura RL is built on the same platform as an Accord. The RL is a $50k car while the Accord is half that price or less. Why? It's not the hourly wage Honda pays the assembly workers that makes the difference. There's just simply more to putting together an RL.

As I said, in sales there are many techniques a salesperson can use to influence a customer's decisions. I always told any prospective employer I woud not lie for them but I was experienced enough to not say everything I knew at all times. And, in any sales situation, it is always easier to allow the client to reach their own conclusions based on what they have not heard vs what they have. No one is telling an untruth, they just aren't saying what would obviously be an untruth. We all do this everyday in our life, we say what needs to be said to CYA in the situation. Salespeople simply get more opportunites to exploit this idea than the rest of us.



"Granted, but isn't hype what sells in most case? When selling audio, how many of your customers expressed interest in the steak rather than the sizzle?"


Every client is something new and different than the one before or the one after. That is for many salespeople what makes the career interesting. I've spoken of "qualifying" a client before proceeding to a demonstration of anything. This is the process where the salesperson learns about the motivations of that particular client. When I was selling cars, if someone said they were motivated by safety, I pointed out the many safety features of the car. If they were motivated by power, we took the car out where they could open it up a bit. If they were motivated by handling, a rote recitation of wheelbase length and the McPherson struts and independent rear suspension along with wheel camber was only useful after they had experienced the handling of the car.

Sales is a procees, you don't deviate from the process much though each client will inform the salesperson about the process they wish to follow. A good salesperson can move from someone looking to buy a $10k amplifier to someone wanting information on a $300 CD player and do it with ease. But every salesperson I ever wanted to learn from had a bag of tricks they could use to close the sale.

I've spoken of the Nakamich auto-reverse cassette players from the '80's. They had a unique system which held the cassette in place and physically extracted the cassette housing from the player on a sliding drawer, flipped the tape itself around and then slid the tape back into the machine. All other players had a playback head which rotated while the user never saw anything happen. With the latter method the head asembly would bang against a set screw which was in place to establish correct azimuth of the head to tape path. With the very narrow track width of a cassette, this was a highly important setting. Eventually the set screw would be moved out of place by the constant banging of the head revolving around to slam into the screw once again and eventually performance would suffer. The Nakamichi system - along with its other benefits - never had a set screw which could move. And it was far easier to be highly accurate with the position of the tape housing than with the position of a head. So there were obvious and real advantages to the Nakamichi system. The thing about the Nak system was it was several hundred dollars more than, say, a Yamaha auto-reverse cassette deck.

So we would explain the diadavantages of doing auto-reverse in the old fashioned way and then hit the "reverse" button on the Nakamichi. The tape would slide out, turn around and then slide back into the machine and begin playing. It was so unique and so good that by way of selling the steak first, the sizzle of the player's mechanics sold the machine almost every time.

Any salesperson who doesn't have such "tricks" to sell a product is going to be far less successful than the salesperson who does. Once again, this isn't telling the customer a lie or selling them anything that doesn't perform as advertised. But most people like the idea of "sizzle" because they know they can use the story to sell their friends on the idea they chose the right product. You can bet anyone who bought the Nakamichi cassette players showed their friends the same "trick" we used to sell the player.



.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17445
Registered: May-04
.

I sold Fords for a very short while in the late '80's while I was waiting for an audio store to open with a job for me. It was a very bad dealership which didn't stay around these parts long and I got out of there as fast as I could. I'd been driving Hondas for the previous 13 years and there wasn't a Ford product I would have rather had. The dealership tried to survive by moving F150's but they weren't set up to make a good go of it.

After I stopped selling audio full time I sold, first, Hondas at the number 1 or number 2 volume dealership in the US. We moved 700-800 cars in a month in summertime with 40-45 salespeople on the floor. After I got tired of 80 hour work weeks I moved to an Acura dealership for a few years.




.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2902
Registered: Oct-07
Jan, you were apparently selling cars near the start of what we call 'platform' cars.
Audi A2 platform is also the Beetle and the TT.
In the old days, GM had the 'F' body and others. They'd share skins from brand to brand. The GM pickup was a Chevy with the upgraded trim as standard. Maybe the upline engine, as well.
Camaro / Firebird? From the same plant.
By the time the smog rules started getting weird, GM went to corporate engines. No more 396 chevy.....389 Pontiac and whatever Buick and Olds used in the same body cars. Smallblocks? Same 283 / 327 and other Chevy smallblocks morphed into the corporate motor. Before this.....GM had the Guts to make the SOHC I6 for Pontiac and the fatally flawed flat 6 of the Corvair. I rode in a supercharged corvair and it was pretty quick. My boss at work who was Nuts, had a Corvair that sounded like an airplane as it idled out of the lot. It was beautiful and looked like it had been turned on a spit with finish as perfect underneath as above....with a foot deep-look black laquer job.

700+ cars is a BUNCH. Imagine what the service department looked like? I always like to look at the service department when I first go to a dealer. The most unexpected dealership I ever saw was in NewHampshire when I came across a Subaru dealership with hundreds of cars ready to go. This place was immense. Of course, Subaru is a wonderful car for back East where in places you may live a mile or more from a paved road or have to worry about some real crumby weather with either snow...or mud....or BOTH in the same week. Saw Very Few Porsche / BMW or Mercedes compared to out here on the left coast.

Also, if you look at the origin sticker for Honda, you'll see that the high value parts are frequently sourced from Japan. Engine / Transmission usually, while other parts come from everywhere. My Brother in law worked for a picture tube assembly plant. The Guns ALL came from Japan. The rest and assembly? Locally sourced.

No more Ford for me. The Taurus? Beautiful twin cam v6. Used oil so fast you never had to change it. Door switch? a 2$ part that took 1.5 hours of labor to change. Tail lamp? Similar. Ranger? One 'fix' after another. After the fuel pump was changed, I filled it up and gas started spewing out. I PUSHED it off to the side, being scared to start it. Gave the keys to the nice person selling gas and called Ford and told 'em where it would be....and WHY. I took a cab home and got my 200,000 mile Accord for the trip I had in mind. My F150 was the final straw. Head gaskets on the 4.6? Sure. I kind'a like the truck, too. A real cowboy Cadillac. Too bad.
 

Gold Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 2033
Registered: Oct-10
Thanks Jan, that's quite an eye openner.

"I sold Fords for a very short while in the late '80's while I was waiting for an audio store to open with a job for me. It was a very bad dealership which didn't stay around these parts long and I got out of there as fast as I could."

Can't say I blame you. A friend of mine loves Toyota and worked for a bad Toyota dealer very briefly. Toyota shut them down when my friend told them what the dealer was doing. More on that later.

"I'd been driving Hondas for the previous 13 years and there wasn't a Ford product I would have rather had."

I had a few Fords and they were all crap. As far as the "American", or at least what was American once goes, GM was the only one that ever did right by me. However, now that they're owned by big brother, not so interested.

Unfortunately, time is limited. Talk to you later.
 

Gold Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 2036
Registered: Oct-10
"I've spoken of the Nakamich auto-reverse cassette players from the '80's. They had a unique system which held the cassette in place and physically extracted the cassette housing from the player on a sliding drawer, flipped the tape itself around and then slid the tape back into the machine. All other players had a playback head which rotated while the user never saw anything happen. With the latter method the head asembly would bang against a set screw which was in place to establish correct azimuth of the head to tape path. With the very narrow track width of a cassette, this was a highly important setting. Eventually the set screw would be moved out of place by the constant banging of the head revolving around to slam into the screw once again and eventually performance would suffer. The Nakamichi system - along with its other benefits - never had a set screw which could move. And it was far easier to be highly accurate with the position of the tape housing than with the position of a head. So there were obvious and real advantages to the Nakamichi system. The thing about the Nak system was it was several hundred dollars more than, say, a Yamaha auto-reverse cassette deck."

I remember reading about these decks in Stereo Review. I thought they were pretty darn cool. I was surprised at first that they were so short lived. It's very sad that cost wins out even to the point of absurdity.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2907
Registered: Oct-07
Sounds mechanically complex and a maintanence headache. Though it does get rid of the troublesome moving head.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17446
Registered: May-04
.

"Sounds mechanically complex and a maintanence headache."


It probably would have been had it been designed by a company such as Yamaha or Sony. The Nakamichi design was quite elegant, extremely simple and very reliable. What made Nakamichi's reputation as the premier cassette tape deck manufacturer was their committment to technical performance, the highest fidelity possible and outstanding mechanical reliability. They were truly unique in the audio market. There was much more to discuss in the Nakamichi decks which made them superior to all others but I was merely giving an example of sizzle that was sold along with the steak. Even Tandberg and Revox were quite honestly embarrassed by the bordering on brilliant Nakamichi designs and execution.

Though the cassette medium is well beyond its heyday and only receiving a minor bump in popularity compared to, say, viny LP's, Nakamichi remains as a name revered for its timeless products. What Studer was to open reel, Nakamichi was to cassette. A not so insignificant number of "basement" tapes made by well known artists had their origins on a three head Nakamichi tape deck. Nakamichi three head decks were often included in the reference systems of high end audio reviewers. BTW, Nakamichi offered this same auto-reverse scheme in a three head deck. No other cassette deck manufacturer would have dared try such a plan. To the best of my memory, no other cassette deck manufacturer even offered a three head auto reverse deck for some very simple technical reasons.

I still have my Nakamichi RX-303 three head machine, though I don't use it nowdays. It's in a closet along with my Revox A77. Like a vintage McIntosh MC275 or a Ferrari V-12 motor, it's a technical marvel to look at. I also have a Sony ES auto-reverse deck that I had used in another system. The comparison between the two is like comparing a Viking 36" range to a Fisher-Price Easy Bake. And the Sony ES deck was the top of that line at the time.



.
 

Gold Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 2039
Registered: Oct-10
"It probably would have been had it been designed by a company such as Yamaha or Sony."

I don't recall the specific details, but from what I remember, it looked like a simple, reliable system. The cassette sat in a slot that slid? into the deck. At the end of side one, it slid out turned 180 degrees, slid back in and play resumed. It wouldn't surprise me at all if a number of these decks were still in use and working like new.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17451
Registered: May-04
.

No slot, a regular tape holder. The only visible difference would have been in how the tape was loaded into the machine. Rather than a tape door that was hinged at the bottom, the Nakamichi slid the holder out to accept the tape.




.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2909
Registered: Oct-07
Want mechanically complex? Like Tandberg?
My 3000x is a single motor design with NO pressure pads to hold the tape to the heads. The feed reel was clutched to spin backwards with little force....thus holding the tape firmly to the heads.
It looks like a watch inside.
 

Gold Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 2040
Registered: Oct-10
Slot, tape holder, tomato, tomahto. Just sayin'
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2922
Registered: Oct-07
Jan,
Do you really have a Fiat500? Wife has targeted one of those as a good to/from work ride and OK for 2 and light shopping. Great economy and I could fit it in the garage and still have room for a home gym.

Stick or auto? Did you wait for the Abarth model? Is 100+hp enough? What color?
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