The first deck up for comparison is an Ariston Audio RD11s.
Do a Google image search for Ariston RD11 and you'll get a lot of pictures of what looks like a Linn Sondek LP12, like this one:
|Ariston RD11 with Rega Arm (but judging by the hole in the armboard, its probably had a Linn Ittok fitted at some time - image from www.canuckaudiomart.com)|
This is probably because of their shared origins, as explained in articles such as this one (note, I don't know the accuracy of content from external sites, posting here for interest):
Is It An Ariston Or Is It A Linn?
The main difference between the designs seems to pivot around the bearing design (sorry for the pun). Linn's is a very expensive to make single point design, the Ariston uses a captive ball bearing in much the same way as many many other turntables.
Anyway, I don't have an original RD11. I have the slightly later (and manufactured in a different factory to the LP12) RD11s produced by Ariston Audio, rather than Ariston - the s stands for "superior", apparently. See the link above to read a bit of history on the Ariston name /company. For £140 in very good condition with a nicely kept lid, it fits right into the plan to try a low cost but more credible turntable in the system, with scope to play.
|Ariston Audio RD11s|
This deck has a kite shaped suspended sub-chassis, three suspension springs, an AC motor, captive ball main bearing and a small circular armboard which is currently cut for the SME style mounting. The belt is square section and the speed is changed by moving the belt between the stepped pulleys. It comes with a lightly smoked plastic hinged dust cover and is in remarkable condition for something that is several decades old.
There's no arm so I tracked down a new Rega RB202 which is a low cost, "OEM" version of the RB250. This was supplied by ISOKinetic who also supplied me with some fresh oil for the turntable bearing. But then the deck is fitted with an SME armboard, so something needed to change to accommodate the Rega mount arm.
Through the help of the big hifi tent - hifiwigwam.com - I discovered Sound Supports who can supply a SME to Rega armboard converter. So this was ordered up and duly arrived. However, it's designed for the older single post mounting arms, not the 3 point mounting design of the RB202. I really must say that Sound Supports were absolutely superb in handling this. They asked for dimensions information and I sent off the pictures below:
|Arm and post mount armboard resting in place to show positioning|
Along with the pictures I returned the armboard and what came back was this, pre-drilled, threaded armboard complete with the mounting bolts which fits the deck and the arm perfectly:
|Drilled / threaded armboard in position on the deck|
|Arm and board mounted on the deck. Position is the correct 222mm from the spindle and the arm sits parallel to the side of the deck when parked|
The next post will deal with the build and set up of the RD11s - Part 3 is here. Part 4 is here