As a follow-up to my article on servicing the Kenwood KD-500/550 motor, I bring you an article detailing the comprehensive service of this gorgeous Kenwood KD-500 / SME 3009 combination.
The KD-500 is a heavy hitter from the late 70’s, still punching above its weight 40 years on. The Kenwood KD-500 and KD-550 direct-drive turntables are well-made, great-sounding decks, and highly sought after today.
Part of the reason for this ongoing popularity is their incredible build-quality, compared with the ‘made in the back shed’ decks from Linn, Rega and others from the era. Add great sound quality, low wow and flutter, reliability, low maintenance – no buying belts and motors here – and you have a really desirable vinyl spinner. It’s no wonder a whole new demographic of listeners are discovering the virtues of these timeless decks while older listeners rediscover them!
Servicing and Further Info
I’ve written various pieces about these great decks, including a comprehensive review, plus various servicing articles, and the best way to get access to them is to follow this link to discover other articles with the KD-500 tag.
What follows in this article is a step-by-step description of the steps I follow when servicing a deck like the KD-500/550. Most of the steps are straightforward, but experience, tools and knowledge also really help.
Don’t be put off doing some of this work yourself, but please understand that you need to be somewhat confident and skillful in the use of tools. You also need quality tools to hand, basic test and measurement gear, cleaners, lubricants and service manuals to complete this type of work.
If you do have the tools and inclination, your old deck can be brought back to as-new condition and performance, so sit back and relax as I run through how I service one of these beautiful old turntables. I’ve deliberately left out the motor servicing details because that requires extra skill and care and its own dedicated article, which you can find here!
You can see some specs below, and a few more pics of the KD-500, plus manuals you might need at the always excellent Vintage Knob website.
Drive: direct-drive system
Motor: 8-pole 24 slot brushless DC servo motor
Platter: 30cm, 1.5kg aluminium alloy die-cast
Speeds: 33.33 and 45rpm
Wow and flutter: less than 0.03% WRMS
Signal to noise ratio: more than 60dB
Tonearm: static-balance type, s-shaped pipe arm, eia plug-in connector
Effective length: 237mm
Stylus pressure range: 0 to 4g
Usable cartridge range: 5 to 12g
Dimensions: 502 x 382 x 162mm
At 10 I was pulling apart electronics and by 13 I'd have Dad's hi-fi in pieces when my parents went out! Later, I started Liquid Audio, a specialist electronics repairer known for detail-focused service, repair and restoration of hi-fi electronics & turntables. Keeping classic hi-fi gear alive and well is what we do. Our mission: to deliver TLC for classic Japanese, American and European hi-fi stereo equipment. In my spare time, I ride motorcycles, travel, listen to music and research interesting topics.