Technics SL-Q5 Turntable – Linear Tracking on the Cheap!

I recently serviced a customer’s Technics SL-Q5 direct-drive, linear-tracking turntable. This is a mid-range linear-tracking deck from the 1980s and well worth keeping an eye out for.

The deck is typical Technics in being well designed, well made and easy to service. The issue with this deck, and many others like it, is that it has not been serviced and has eventually displayed a fault that meant it could no longer play records.

On this occasion, lubricants had dried out and turned into a sticky mess, rendering the linear tracking arm hard to move for the drive motor. Extensive cleaning was required to remove all traces of the old lubricant before new synthetic grease and oil were strategically applied to the appropriate mechanisms. When finished, the arm tracked beautifully across the full range of motion. Some tweaking of the control servos and lubrication of the platter motor completed the work.

The nice thing about this deck is that it is fully automatic – something that really appeals to a certain market segment. This deck will cue the arm, lower it am raise and return it at the end of a side. Add to this the very low distortion inherent in the linear tracking design and the very small footprint and you have an appealing package.

The SL-Q5 doesn’t turn up too often but if you find one and want a simple, easy to use deck that you can literally press play and walk away from, that also comes with a decent cartridge and stylus package, this could be perfect.

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Liquid Mike

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.

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