The Return of The Revenge of The Comeback to A Day in The Life of The Resurrection of The Sequel to The Reincarnation of The Manifestation of The Preview to The Encore of the Return of the Ancient Mix-Master

I bought my Fidelitone, the Ancient Mix-Master, in the early 2000’s. It was originally built and designed by George K. Culbertson of Minneapolis in the late 1930’s, completely rebuilt several times from period parts by Scott & Crew at Vintage Music Co, and tuned up several times in between that by the same people.

The Ancient Mix Master

However there seems to be no more of these parts available. I’d thought about trying to rebuild the Ancient Mix-Master like restoring an old motorcycle, but the Ancient Mix-Master is now over 80 years old and deserves to rest and be revered in homage. The three tonearm, two turntable layout suited my style and past of Sound Collage radio perfectly and I’ve missed doing that kind of mixing. It’s also prevented Frames & Grooves from performing, as I haven’t had my tools, as it were. However, it was an 80-year-old system that had serious limitations, also like an old motorcycle. For the past few years, I’ve thought about making one or hopefully finding someone else to make it for me. The new one would ideally have contemporary features like pitch control and precise stopping and starting capabilities, standard DJ stuff, but also be able to play 78’s.

Three new TT’s to work with.

Recently I found a very good deal on three of the same type of turntable that had all these criteria. So, I bought them with the knowledge that one will be completely taken apart and quite possibly ruined in the process of creating a new Mix-Master.

The sacrificial TT.
Ready for surgery.
Power switch in upper right corner. Motor control in the middle. Pitch and speed control on the bottom. Power – Amplifier on the left.
See those wires? They connect the tonearm to the circuit board.
Cutting the wires was a scary thing to do.
Circuits removed.

The short version of this is that I’ll be removing the tonearm assembly & circuitry from one unit and try to attach it in the right location, so that it will play on the other two turntables when they are placed side by side.

Layout idea #1. Less cutting and moving of internal parts.
Layout #2. Tighter footprint, more internal moving of things.

I will also have to build some kind of modular box to store the circuitry for the third tonearm’s power-amplifier & output circuit board. Each unit will have both RCA & USB outs. I intend to use the RCA outs to go into a mixer so that like the Ancient Mix-Master, the new version will also have separate volume controls for each tonearm.

Cutting it close.

Seems straight forward. Stay tuned and I’ll keep you posted.

I will be seeking help and advice from those mad Circuit Benders of you out there. If you’re interested in helping out or have advice, please let me know because I know I’ll need it.

3.14.2020

When we left, TT3 was being cut up again. I’m glad to say that although nerve-racking it was successful.

TT3 after a successful knobectomy.

After cutting off the second corner, I reassembled the power and speed section with the earlier removed parts.

The reassembled power section placed on top of where it will be relocated.

From now on the second grey TT will be called TT2, the black TT will be TT1.

The power supply and speed area will have to be moved on TT2 so that the third tonearm assembly can be placed properly. On TT1 the corner with the 45 adaptor will be removed.

The center of the spindle is 210 MM from the pivot points of the tonearms, so the location of the third tonearm has to be at a place where those two arcs cross.

Layout #2. Tighter footprint, more internal moving of things.

3.30.2020

To accommodate the New Mix Master design, I had to move the power & speed assembly from one corner to another. This meant cutting off the corners and rearranging them. It also meant that the circuitry would need to be moved.

 

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Removing the 45 adapter corner.

For one set of wires, the set of two going from the power supply to the circuit board, no modifications would be necessary.

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The two circuit boards, one in the assembly, one by itself.

Unfortunately, with the new location, the set of ten wires going from this circuit board to the main control would not be long enough. Fortunately, I have a spare. By cutting the wires at the base of the clip I will be able to connect them to the other set. Nine white and one red.

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Doing this was scary, a real commitment.

By starting at one end and clipping one wire at a time I was able to keep the sequence in order and spliced the ten wires together, doubling the length of them.

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The end result, points off for neatness.

With Gaff tape and supports the power & speed assembly is moved to another corner and it all works! Both the speed & power selections work and the platter spins unobstructed!

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The next steps will be the proper placement and attachment of the third tonearm assembly and the building of the break-out box for that tonearm.

4.9.2020

Measure once, cut 17 times.

My initial idea to use the same type of tonearm that came with the turn tables for the third tonearm, might have been wrong. Again, I’m in the position of not knowing what I’m doing but knowing what I want to achieve. A potentially dangerous mix, but in this case, an enjoyable place to be.

On TT 1.

Recently I remembered that deep in my collection of misfit toys are several variations of old record players that might be helpful. This first one, a “Sonomaster” was made for the Victor Animatograph Company and is an absolute beast! Solid, detailed and very, very heavy. This dates the unit to before 45 RPM records were viable, but their idea for playing both types of records, 78 RPM & 33 1/3 RPM, was to have a dedicated tonearm for each.

A real boat anchor.

The second is a “Viewlex”. An early “multimedia system” consisting of a record player and film strip projector together in one box. This unit has more of a “kit” feel to it and looks much easier to take apart.

You’d be the coolest kid in the AV club with one of these babies…

This also has the type of rotational needle system that has both 78 RPM and 33 1/3 – 45 RPM needles included.

78 RPM needle on one side / Microgroove on the other.

The knob on the front of the tonearm rotates and turns the internal unit so that the appropriate needle is in position.

Motor and controls.

Unlike the contemporary turn tables that use circuit boards, this one has its own amplifier system built in.

Snakepit.

The wiring coming out of the tonearm is much simpler as well. I still need to find someone to build me a stand-alone gizmo box for this tonearm. It will need an amplifier and RCA outputs, as do the other tonearms. Not only a gizmo box to house the controls but maybe also for the tonearm to be secured onto.

“Basic” is an over-description.

This tonearm is longer than the other two and will need to placed further back and separated from where I cut out a space for the housing.

On TT2.

Stay tuned.

So it goes.