Kenwood KD-500 + Grace G-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 G-707 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 the sound of records played on this deck.

What the Kenwood desperately needed was oil in its main bearing – I could 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 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 mainboard, put her back together and then carefully set up the tonearm and cartridge – an Empire in this case.

Kenwood KD-500
These are smart looking decks, the synthetic composite plinth is a particularly nice touch and sonically makes great sense
Kenwood KD-500
Kenwood KD-500
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.
Kenwood KD-500
Kenwood KD-500
Grace 707
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. The Japanese text you see written there apparently translates to “Do not overtighten..!”

4 thoughts on “Kenwood KD-500 + Grace G-707 Set-up & Service”

  1. Phạm Thanh Tùng

    Many thanks for sharing.
    Through this I would like you to help me mtj some issues:
    I recently purchased a friend’s Kenwood KD500 turntable with Grace G707 arm set. When I brought it home I wanted to make sure it was set up correctly so I checked it out. Sadly, the measured distance of pivot to spindle is not 222mm but instead is 224mm. And I also can’t set overhang 15mm but only 13mm.
    Right now the hole of the Armboard is in the middle.
    My question is, is my meter incorrect? Or to set the pivot to spindle distance to 222, must the Armboard hole be widened?
    I appreciate any answers.
    Thank you very much!

    1. Hi Pham, sounds like you have a small issue here, although measurement error is very often the culprit, so check your measurement technique and tool carefully. Use another measurement tool to verify the mounting distance, make sure you measure in a line parallel with the turntable top surface etc. If the mounting distance is incorrect, you will need to account for this, either by making a new armboard, by adjusting the current one or rotating it if it is not completely symmetrical. Note that your cartridge choice will effect on whether you can achieve the correct overhang as well.

  2. Have you noticed the Japanese writing on the side of the plastic bracket that was damaged by over-tightening one of the screws? I asked on a forum for a translation. Someone helpfully informed that it says, appropriately!, “Please do not tighten the screw too much.” 🙂

    1. Hi Jim, great detective work there! This is a common failure with these arms, many I see have been damaged. It should be intuitive to most people not to overtighten this part but alas, it isn’t. What a shame it wasn’t also written in English!

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