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Thread: Reevaluating the Xerxes

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    Default Reevaluating the Xerxes

    I've had the Roksan Xerxes original deck for about 4 years now in my second system. Got it for about 450 off somebody on the 'wam. Rega arm - not sure if it's a 250 or a 300 to be honest.. and an Audio Technica AT-F5 MC cart.

    Apart from the issues with the PSU - I cant get it to run at 45rpm reliably despite changing the Electrolytics and the massive 11w resistors - it's always been a bit of a disappointment sonically. I know the Xerxes can sound really good. Just not this one.
    For the last 18 months I've been using a Rega Planar 2 / RB250 / Ortofon 520 Mk II MM instead, just sitting on top of the Xerxes dust cover. And it sounds pretty good. better than the Xerxes.

    So last week I decided to investigate, out of boredom, why it sounded so bad. Which is when I had a go at the PSU. I'd like to replace a lot of the components on the board, but in all honesty the board is of low quality and I've lifted pads and tracks just changing the caps and resistors. I think attempting a major component replacement programme will destroy it, so ultimately the options are going to be expensive. For reference, in case anyone knows about the Xerxes, when I flick the switch to 45 the thing slows down completely - lack of torque. I've got diagrams and repair instructions but I think an upgrade of the PSU will be required.

    Anyway once I'd got it up and running again I discovered that it still sounded pretty grim so I started to look a bit more closely. Being an original deck it's got the top-plate sag, but that's also pulling the bearing so it's not that. I know the AT carts can be fickle but I was convinced that I wasn't having the standard 'sonic issues'.
    Then I spotted that the VTF was well out. I mean the arm was nose up when playing a record and the back of the cartridge was close to the vinyl. And this has been the issue. Fortunately there was a 2mm shim between the arm securing nut and the underside of the armboard. I had to cut the cable tie to remove everything and move the shim to raise the arm up. I've also got round to setting up the cart - the VTF and the antiskate. It successfully played the 'Torture Track' on the HiFi News Len Gregory Test LP.

    It's not perfect, but it's a lot better than it was. I think it needs a new belt which may sort out the torque issues a bit. and I'm tempted to add another shim to see if that makes it any better again.

    But now at least it's sounding better than the Rega P2/520 I've been using.
    "It's ok your comments are noted, so if you want a war you've got one. Watch your back, ya !!!!...." in an email from Marco 3/4/09

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    Loved my mk1 Xerxes. More coloured than the Xerxes 20 I replaced it with but actually a nicer listen.
    20 years ago we had Johnny Cash, Bob Hope and Steve Jobs. Now we have no Cash, no Hope and no Jobs. Please God, don't take Kevin Bacon

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    If you have the threaded post you can adjust the height by using 2 of the Rega nuts, 1 above and 1 below the armboard. it can be a PITA, but that is how I set up my Rock.
    I have a Rock and I'm not afraid to use it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Batty View Post
    If you have the threaded post you can adjust the height by using 2 of the Rega nuts, 1 above and 1 below the armboard. it can be a PITA, but that is how I set up my Rock.
    That's a pretty good idea. any clue what the thread size is, maybe I can find one online?
    "It's ok your comments are noted, so if you want a war you've got one. Watch your back, ya !!!!...." in an email from Marco 3/4/09

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    They are the standard Rega nut that comes with the threaded post type arm 23mm from memory but I'm not 100 %
    I have a Rock and I'm not afraid to use it.

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    I purchased a washer to place between armboard and arm base, 3mm and had to purchase from a local specialist for 19p. I have a couple of spares if you want me to send you one just pm me.

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    thanks, I'll take you up on that!

    It'd be interesting to compare the 2mm and 3mm. I've got a suspicion that the 2mm isn't quite enough to get the VTA to where it needs to be with the AT-5F

    I've just ordered a replacement belt, as I try to see if I can get to the bottom of the speed issues. I keep hearing a kind of occasional rumble which I think is the motor torque springs doing it's thing,
    Can't believe that some ebay sellers want 90 for a bit of neoprene. it felt bad enough parting with 18 for one!
    "It's ok your comments are noted, so if you want a war you've got one. Watch your back, ya !!!!...." in an email from Marco 3/4/09

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    Can you please pm me your address Cartridgemangler and I'll pop it in the post.

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    In record time, the replacement belt I ordered from eBay arrived today. It seems to have done the trick, The platter will run at 45 rpm, albeit with a bit of help to get up to speed.
    Still getting a bit of acoustic feedback of the motor. I'm going to have to investigate further. Anyone got any ideas? Any tweaks for further decoupling?
    "It's ok your comments are noted, so if you want a war you've got one. Watch your back, ya !!!!...." in an email from Marco 3/4/09

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    My last two items from ebay have arrived damaged.

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    Further investigations have revealed what I suspected - the deck is actually running slow. So, I need to figure out what's causing that.
    the noise I've been hearing is from the bearing as well, so in fact it could be that I have an issue there.

    From the research I've done, I have an original issue XPS - with the toggle switch on the front. the XPS-1 as it's known is a dual class-A design that runs hot and is prone to problems. I don't think there's much mileage in attempting to rebuild the pcb, so it looks like a new psu will be required. I'm still working on the bearing issue first as if it's going to cost a fortune to fix both then the deck may not be worth spending the money on :-(
    "It's ok your comments are noted, so if you want a war you've got one. Watch your back, ya !!!!...." in an email from Marco 3/4/09

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    Speak to John at Audio Innovations...he can and has performed a miracle on my AR.

    Post a picture of the PSU, both sides...most electonics can be fixed unless you have obsolete parts.
    Last edited by mesavinylnut; 26th April 2017 at 19:40.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mesavinylnut View Post
    Speak to John at Audio Innovations...he can and has performed a miracle on my AR.

    Post a picture of the PSU, both sides...most electonics can be fixed unless you have obsolete parts.
    I've got the circuit diagram and the parts list - the board is just too fragile, and cheaply made. I've replaced the caps and High power resistors and lifted pads and tracks already, requiring me to use wires to fix those. The circuit is notoriously unreliable as well - being a dual Class A amplifier, amplifying two 50 or 67.5Hz signals 90 degrees apart in phase to 16 or 21v.
    "It's ok your comments are noted, so if you want a war you've got one. Watch your back, ya !!!!...." in an email from Marco 3/4/09

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    Spoke to someone at Roksan today... the first response was to package it up and send it to them. In the words of a well known Harry Enfield character.. "you don't wanna do it like that.." this one is strictly being done with parts. by me.
    The person I spoke with was someone who isn't as well versed in the old stuff, so I need to call back tomorrow to speak to one of the other guys.
    What's concerning me is that when I told him I'd replaced a couple of resistors on the board he got a bit twitchy about the tolerances of the replacements. Maybe these guys really do believe the esoteric bullshit that they peddle sometimes. but the originals are 5% tolerance on 330R and I did check the two I fitted.

    When he asked me how I'd measured the speed - given that I told him it was running about 3% slow, I explained that I'd used a strobe disc, played a Hifi Test record with a 1kHz tone and checked it with a chromatic guitar tuner app on my phone (resulting in 969 Hz) AND used the gyro RPM app on my phone to get a rotational speed of 32.3 and 43.8 (subtracting the 0.3 the app was showing at rest) He seemed to admit that I probably knew what I was about. He did make the point about 45RPM not being exact ( I'm aware that it's 45.11)

    the bearing is making noise still. It sounds like a worn bearing race. I know it isn't, but that describes the noise it makes. The unfortunate design of the aluminium platter only serves to amplify the noise - which makes me think that alternative design philosophies, such as those by Michell, Systemdek etc are probably better in terms of absolute best performance. Despite this, there's a certain charm about the sound of the Xerxes that nothing can come close to. even in it's saggy plinthed , noisy bearinged state where you get 3% longer to enjoy each record in my case it's very enjoyable.
    Whether I'm saying the same thing after emptying my bank account to get it back in a decent condition is a different matter!
    "It's ok your comments are noted, so if you want a war you've got one. Watch your back, ya !!!!...." in an email from Marco 3/4/09

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    Just get a Rock II, sorted
    I have a Rock and I'm not afraid to use it.

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    Or a Pink Triangle.

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    Isn't that a lady part?

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    You're on the wrong forum for that sort of thing.

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    hey at least nobody's suggested an LP12.
    "It's ok your comments are noted, so if you want a war you've got one. Watch your back, ya !!!!...." in an email from Marco 3/4/09

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    :
    Quote Originally Posted by cartridgemangler View Post
    hey at least nobody's suggested an LP12.
    And why would they?

    oops Sorry SME V.

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