I’m sure every regular visitor to my site knows just how much I love the old Kenwood KD synthetic composite turntables, especially the KD-600/650 series. But the classic Kenwood KD-500/550 is far more common and so I’ve written an article about servicing their direct-drive motors, for anyone who can’t get their deck into me for service, or who just wants to do it themselves.
The Kenwood KD-500/550 turntables utilise a powerful brushless, slotless direct drive motor that spins the platter directly – no belts, pulleys or gears are used, hence the term ‘direct-drive’. These motors are so well-built and so over-engineered that they are usually still going strong, 40+ years after the decks were made. This does not mean that they don’t need maintenance however.
My belief is that the engineers who designed these turntables never envisaged that they would still be in use, let alone running so well and be in demand all these years later. As a result, service documentation typically lists the motors as being sealed for life and not requiring any service. The reality is that, after 40+ years of use, these motors definitely DO need service! I’ve written lots about these Kenwood decks elsewhere on my site, so have a read of some of these other articles, like this one, or check the Liquid Audio KD-500 archives!
Motor services like this is are very common jobs for me. In fact, a large proportion of the work I do is on direct-drive decks like this Kenwood KD-500, fitted with a lovely SME-3009, a wonderful combination. For this service, I attended to the whole deck of course, but here we will focus on just the motor itself. After a proper service like this, and the addition of a high quality synthetic bearing oil – like Liquid Audio bearing oil which I will soon be selling on my site – you will have a quieter, smoother sounding deck, with better imaging and more relaxed presentation. It really makes a difference and is well worth doing every 3 – 5 years.
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.