Braun PS-500 turntable, designed by Dieter Rams

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by action pact, Sep 6, 2019.

  1. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore Thread Starter

    An interesting, somewhat rare turntable was listed on Craig's List Boston, so I went over and bought it last night. It's a Braun PS-500, which was designed by the legendary industrial designer, Dieter Rams.

    It has some interesting features, including a drive system not unlike that on the Thorens TD-124, but in reverse; the motor pulley drives an idler tire, which in turn drives a pulley with a belt that spins the platter. There is a tapered pulley connected to the belt that allows fine-tuning of the speed via a rotary knob. It can also play all four speeds, which is a nice bonus.

    It is a semi-automatic in that the arm lifts at the end of the side and the motor switches off, but it will need to be manually returned to its rest. The auto-shutoff function can be disabled via a slider switch at the base of the arm.

    The platter has an inverted bearing with an aluminum sub-platter and a heavy steel platter that nests on top of it. The arm and platter are de-coupled from the motor by a 3-point oil-dampened spring suspension. A very impressive design! The machine is quite heavy, about 7 or 8 lbs.

    The seller purchased it new in 1971, and as you can see it is in remarkably clean condition. All of the rubber parts (belt, idler, mat) are pliant and do not appear to need replacing. I haven't had a chance to spend much time working on it yet, but there are some things that will need attention. The suspension seems to be a bit out of whack, but that should be easy to adjust from the bottom. (There are adjustment screws for that.) I also noticed an oil stain inside, which is of some concern and might be related to the suspension issue. These problems aside, it runs quietly and holds a consistent platter speed.

    The headshell has a standard SME-type coupling, but because the arm is pretty short (8.75" IIRC), most headshells are too long to allow for proper alignment. The headshell that came with it is unfortunately compromised and may be repairable, but in the meanwhile I was able to source two NOS headshells from Thakker in Germany for about $50 each.

    The cartridge that was glued to the headshell is an Andante H, which I understand is an entry-level conical MM made by Sumiko. (I was able to get it separated from the headshell.)

    While I'm waiting for the headshells to arrive from Germany, I'll do some more poking around inside.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    labreahouse, jpelg, IanL and 29 others like this.
  2. gritty

    gritty Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston, MA
    ha, that caught my eye on craigslist the other day. Very cool. Nice score.
     
    action pact likes this.
  3. Tonmeister

    Tonmeister Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York
    Very cool, love Braun industrial design of this era, and looks in beautiful condition. Didn’t know they produced these for the U.S. market.
     
    patient_ot likes this.
  4. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore Thread Starter

    Thanks! I'm a sucker for good industrial design.

    I saw a bunch of Dieter Rams-designed Braun products at the Pinakothek der Moderne museum in Munich a couple of years ago, and just love their clean, timeless style.
     
    zombiemodernist likes this.
  5. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore Thread Starter

    Yeah, they are not very common, and there is very little info available in English too.

    The original owner said that back in '71, when he bought it at The Audio Lab in Cambridge (still in business!), they sold him a set of Braun components, including a matching reel-to-reel (which he is also selling) and speakers (which he no longer has).
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2019
  6. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore Thread Starter

    @Fiddlefye , if I'm not mistaken, you have or had one of these, correct?
     
  7. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney
    I quite like it too, it is certainly out of the ordinary.
     
    action pact likes this.
  8. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore Thread Starter

  9. Bill Hart

    Bill Hart Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austin
    The Braun stuff from the '70s was beautiful; i remember monitors, fairly large, they may have been self-powered, multi-stage; also, i think they did a clone of the Quad ESL which has to be extremely rare. Great design, ahead of its time in some ways, aesthetically.
     
    action pact likes this.
  10. bhazen

    bhazen Magical Mystery Tourist

    Location:
    Newcastle, WA
    Braun made the coolest-looking hifi kit, ever.

    It cries out to have Eno or Kraftwerk played on it. :)
     
  11. rich100

    rich100 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Middle of England
    Looks nice, there was a very good documentary about him on BBC recently BBC Four - Rams: Principles of Good Design , he's still involved with a furniture company based not far from me, nice stuff but eye wateringly expensive.

    He had a turntable setup at home with the amp/speakers mounted to the wall in an odd way, I think he's kind of more about aesthetics than sound maybe but I've not actually heard one so can't really comment. He was an inspiration to Jonny Ives of Apple apparently, you can kind of see that, someone made an interesting comparison to an old radio he designed and the ipod.

    I think he modernised the old consoles, moving away from wood to perspex etc, anyway well worth a watch if you can access it.
     
    mradmack, action pact and Bill Hart like this.
  12. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore Thread Starter

    "BBC iPlayer only works in the UK. Sorry, it’s due to rights issues."

    Aw poop!
     
  13. rich100

    rich100 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Middle of England
  14. rich100

    rich100 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Middle of England
  15. rich100

    rich100 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Middle of England
  16. Leepal

    Leepal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Swindon, UK
    Very nice. I was vaguely aware of these Braun design TT's as one was featured in a hi fi magazine some time ago. Never seen one in the flesh, as it were.
    Wonder why anyone would disable the auto shut off function, it's a very useful feature imo.
     
  17. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore Thread Starter

    This is the only reason I can think of...

     
    longdist01 and forthlin like this.
  18. zombiemodernist

    zombiemodernist Forum Resident

    Location:
    Northeastern USA
    Wow, very jealous! I’m also in the Boston area and Braun stuff doesn’t come up here much at all, but I do browse CL for it once and a while. I think you got very lucky! Very curious to how you like it as an audiophile deck. I’ve always admired his stuff but my fear is some of the decks seem to be form over function.

    The Rams documentary is very good. I was able to catch it at the MFA with the director in attendance.
     
    action pact and cut-out like this.
  19. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore Thread Starter

    Well, heck, after I get it up and running, you'll have to come over and have a listen!
     
    zombiemodernist likes this.
  20. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore Thread Starter

    I spent some time tonight cleaning the pulley and rim, resurfacing the idler, and I also washed and talc'd the belt. I also attempted to adjust the suspension, but I couldn't quite figure out how it works.

    I'm hearing a light ticking inside and I suspect it might be something to do with the belt, but I haven't diagnosed it 100%. I guess I'll go ahead and order a new belt from Thakker.
     
    zombiemodernist likes this.
  21. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore Thread Starter

    I figured out why it's ticking, and it has to do with the suspension.
     
  22. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore Thread Starter

    OK, I have this sorted out now! One of the three oil-filled hydraulic "boots" is leaking slightly, which over the course of 50 years has caused the suspension to sag on the right side. I was able to jack up the suspension on that side to level it, and that eliminated the ticking. There is virtually no acoustic noise audible now.

    Unfortunately it is pretty much impossible to repair a leaking boot, but I think it will hold up for for a long time.

    Take a look at the guts on this thing! German engineering is a thing of wonder!
    (Photo borrowed from another forum.)


    [​IMG]
     
    longdist01, jonwoody, timind and 6 others like this.
  23. PNeski@aol.com

    PNeski@aol.com Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York
    I got his book,lots of old Braun turntables. Love his stuff,but no topping B&O
    Turntable when giving design awards
     
  24. zombiemodernist

    zombiemodernist Forum Resident

    Location:
    Northeastern USA
    I like B&O, but the SK55 / SK61 style turntables are really amazing. Obviously nothing audiophile grade, but a masterclass in consumer electronic design, and to me feel a bit more timeless than B&O's 80s stuff.

    I am curious how many of these more useable PS-500 have ended up in audiophile hands, as you can see in that post above I think a lot of these Braun pieces go right to Braun collectors that probably don't use them as playback decks. Consequently I wonder how many are falling out of repair...
     
  25. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore Thread Starter

    The headshells from Thakker in Germany are due for delivery today... hopefully I will be spinning some records tonight on the Braun!
     

Share This Page