The beautiful and elegant Luxman PD-264 direct-drive turntable is delightfully different, in the way Luxman gear often is and would make a wonderful first ‘proper’ turntable.
The Luxman PD-264 is a deck you see often here in Australia. Sold at an affordable price, in a competitive market and when Luxman was a heavy hitter, there is much to love about this elegant, understated machine.
The Luxman PD-264 comes with a decent, low-mass tonearm, direct-drive motor and balanced platter, in a slimline chassis. There’s a hint of wood trim and the deck has a cool vintage look. The platter is heavy, which is a good thing. With much of the platter weight distributed around the edge, excellent wow & flutter characteristics and stable rotation are the results.
The tonearm is a straight design to increase stiffness and reduce resonance, something which tends to be found on tonearms designed for high-compliance type cartridges. The root section of the tonearm is of double-pipe structure, to further reduce resonance. A knife-edge bearing is employed and the head-shell is integrated into the tonearm, further suppressing resonance.
Speed control is via a toggle switch and a strobe is provided, for trimming the speed to precisely 33.3 or 45 RPM. The PD-264 is generally a very reliable deck and requires little maintenance, other than lubrication, cleaning and tweaking of the tonearm and cartridge alignment.
A key feature of the Luxman PD-264 is the automatic end of disc arm lift function. When disc playback finishes, the tonearm automatically lifts and the platter comes to a stop. This function helps prevent unnecessary stylus wear. The strobe on this deck is provided by LEDs which enable a clearer strobe indication than is common at this price point.
Luxman PD-264 Specifications
Type: auto-lift up record player
Drive method: direct drive
Motor: DC servo brushless
Platter: 1.8kg, 300mm aluminium die-cast
Speeds: 33 and 45rpm
Signal to noise ratio: 60dB
Wow and flutter: 0.035% wrms
Tonearm: static balance type
Effective length: 240mm
Cartridge weight range: 4 to 11g
Dimensions: 438 x 125 x 365mm
You can read a little more about the Luxman PD-264 here, at the Vinyl Engine.
This particular PD-264 had a problem with the mechanical tonearm lift actuator and switch. It was sticking and therefore not stopping the player at the end of a record. Having worked on many of these machines over the years, I’ve found that these mechanical switches can sometimes be sticky, causing arm lift operational problems.
There are a couple of reasons this might occur. Perhaps lubricant was used at some point, despite the service manual stating that the mechanism is oil-less. Maybe this happened for a certain batch of decks. Perhaps someone used mineral oil on this one back in the day, the volatile components of mineral-based lubricants evaporate over time, leaving a residue. Maybe someone spilled a beer on this old turntable, whatever the cause, the issue needs to be fixed.
When presented with a sticky arm lift actuator like this one, I use a solvent to remove any residue and then try to run the mechanism without oil as designed. Sometimes though, I find a drop of special thin synthetic oil can be helpful and that was the case with this machine.
I’ve had commenters mention that oil is not necessary and yes, in theory, that’s quite right. Having worked commercially on dozens of lovely Luxman PD-264 turntables and tonearms, I can tell you that the designers and technical writers at Luxman never considered how these decks might be running 40 years after their date of manufacture. They probably thought we’d all be living on Mars by now!
So, I’ve developed some special techniques and procedures to deal with this problem and many others in vintage hi-fi gear. I’ve also had to replace one or two switches in these PD-264s, due to unreliable operation. Other than that, this great little deck needed nothing more than a service, clean and for the cartridge and tonearm to be set up correctly.