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Kenwood KD-500 / Grace 707 Set-up & Service

A customer recently delivered a Kenwood KD-500 direct-drive turntable, with Grace G-707 tonearm and a couple of cartridges, for me to service and set up for him. I see quite a few of this particular turntable/arm combination as it was a classic partnership that was very popular at the time and sold very well in Australia.

This particular KD-500 was in good condition overall, with the exception of some damage to the fragile plastic section of the Grace tonearm that holds the arm lift mechanism to the arm body. A piece had cracked and broken away, as you will see in the photos. That being said though, the rest of the deck is good and this should not adversely affect sound of records played on this deck.

What the Kenwood desperately needed was oil in its main bearing – I could literally feel the wobble in the platter when testing for this. To perform this part of the service I needed to open her up, disassemble the rotor from the motor, clean out the old dried up lubricant remains and add premium synthetic oil to added to the bearing assembly.

Once the motor was serviced I turned to the speed controls and switches which needed a clean and lube, touched up the master speed adjustments on the main board, put her back together and then carefully set up the tonearm and cartridge – an Empire in this case.

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These are smart looking decks, the synthetic composite plinth is a particularly nice touch and sonically makes great sense

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Here you can see the cute Empire cartridge in the head-shell of the Grace G-707. The Grace G-707 is a very low mass arm, popular at the time, and really needs to be mated with a high compliance cartridge. This is critically important – get it wrong and the thing will sound awful and be bouncing out of heavily modulated grooves.

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Damage to the plastic bracket attached to the arm pillar can be seen here if you look carefully. Unfortunately Grace did not design this part well and it is subject to over tightening, which will invariably cause the plastic to fracture. I have seen many broken in this way.

Thanks for reading, leave a comment and let me know what you think!