Oracle Delphi mk1 Quick Restoration

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Ant
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#1 Oracle Delphi mk1 Quick Restoration

Post by Ant »

So as you know from the other thread, I've always wanted to listen to an oracle Delphi. I love the way it looks, and the sort of 'less is more' philosophy to its design.

I mentioned this to a customer of mine who I was building a Lenco for and fixing a Thorens TD124 for, and was, in a fit of generosity, allowed to borrow a MK1 Delphi.

The catch? It has an intermittent fault and wouldn't run at 45rpm. And he couldn't find the original 27vdc power supply

Anyway, He brought the oracle yesterday when he came to collect the 2 decks, and a few hours later I'd worked out what was wrong with it and fixed it, a 24vdc wall wart that once powered something made it run.

this morning I did some tweaking of the trimpots and got it to run at 33.3 and 45 with the stand in dc supply so thats that bit sorted.

So in order to listen to the deck properly it needs to be set up properly, and everything needs to be shipshape to get the best out of it, so I've started to strip it down so it can be cleaned, rebuilt and set up according to the manual. There are different springs for different suspension towers and all sorts of freemason style hoops to jump through to get it set up correctly.

here it is in bits

ImageOracle delphi mk1 restoration by anthony cresswell, on Flickr

some ancient adhesive from double sided tape on the inderside of the perspex plinth. This has almost gone now after using meths to clean as much off as possible although some remains as it wouldnt come off without scraping, I dont want to scratch the base so had to leave it as it was

ImageOracle delphi mk1 restoration by anthony cresswell, on Flickr

One stripped suspension turret, all 3 are identical, the spring is the bit that is position dependent. All three springs are different rates and must be put in the right position to balance the weight distribution with the arm on. There is also a balancing weight theat hangs off the chassis to counterbalance the arm on the mk1, Oracle removed this on the mk2 as far as I can tell
The adjusters (the threaded rod and the shouldered aluminium tube) on all 3 were seized up with rock hard 40 year old grease so are soaking in some degreaser to get it off

ImageOracle delphi mk1 restoration by anthony cresswell, on Flickr

Some mole grips with the jaws wrapped in window lead to make sure they didn't mark the parts and brute force were required to get them apart

ImageOracle delphi mk1 restoration by anthony cresswell, on Flickr

onwards!
Last edited by Ant on Mon Jun 06, 2022 12:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Nick
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#2 Re: Oracle Delphi mk1 restoration

Post by Nick »

and was, in a fit of generosity
1. Has non working box of bits
2. Lends to you
3. You put it all back together for free
4. Profit

Not entirely generosity IMHO. But if you are happy all good.
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Ant
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#3 Re: Oracle Delphi mk1 restoration

Post by Ant »

fair comment, i am happy enough though
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shane
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#4 Re: Oracle Delphi mk1 restoration

Post by shane »

Re the double-sided tape adhesive, try a soft cloth and peanut butter. Sounds ridiculous but I’ve never known it to fail with sticky adhesive residues. Make sure you have plenty of oil on the cloth. The oil softens the glue and the ground peanuts remove it without scratching. Try it on a spare bit of Perspex first, obviously. You’ll be surprised.
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#5 Re: Oracle Delphi mk1 restoration

Post by Ant »

I'll have to try that at some point shane, never heard of that one
Don't eat peanut butter though...

after cleaning all the bits with more meths and degreaser its all reassembled. Much easier than it looked

ImageOracle delphi mk1 restoration by anthony cresswell, on Flickr

pretty thing isn't it
you can see the chassis balance weight just above the oracle logo which I'll have to set once there is an arm on it

ImageOracle delphi mk1 restoration by anthony cresswell, on Flickr

Now... Do I put the SME 309 on it, or put my 3009 on it....... hmmm

not a bad job for about 3 hours work and some elbow grease
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#6 Re: Oracle Delphi mk1 Quick Restoration

Post by Ant »

Just set the 309 up on it as it did fit on the original SME arm board.

That has to be the most trouble free installation of an arm ive ever done, an absolute doddle
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#7 Re: Oracle Delphi mk1 Quick Restoration

Post by Ant »

Plugged it in and it is still running a little too slow.

There is another coarse trim pot on the motor board which i havent touched yet so i still have options

Kids are home now though so im not faffing any more today
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#8 Re: Oracle Delphi mk1 Quick Restoration

Post by Ant »

Well that was handy, they came in, one buggered off out on his bike, and the other buggered off to a mates. Other one isn't due back until about 5.45...So I did get to do the last bit of faffing.

Took the motor cover off so I had access to the coarse speed adjust which is down the hole in the right hand corner of the visible bit of the board and ran it up to speed with a record on and the arm on to account for drag.

ImageOracle delphi mk1 motor access by anthony cresswell, on Flickr

Tweaked it slightly fast with the coarse adjust then backed it off with the fine adjust to match the strobe on both 33 and 45.
result!. The motor pod plastics have got to be the cheapest feeling plastics I have ever had the misfortune to encounter. British leyland would have felt abit guilty for using them. Only crap bit on the entire thing

ImageOracle delphi mk1 + SME 309 + DV20X2H by anthony cresswell, on Flickr

How does it sound? dunno yet, I've only played one song to make sure everything is ok. It did have to go on the big rack in the end, it is too wide to fit on the built in unit where the Lenco fits

To be continued. Tomorrow.
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#9 Re: Oracle Delphi mk1 Quick Restoration

Post by IslandPink »

That looks like fun . Good effort , as usual !
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#10 Re: Oracle Delphi mk1 Quick Restoration

Post by Ant »

Yep its all good fun :D

Chance to have a play with something cool, one to tick off the list
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andrew Ivimey
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#11 Re: Oracle Delphi mk1 Quick Restoration

Post by andrew Ivimey »

I remember, explaining to my line manager back in Brighton with whom I did not get on at all, that I was having great fun with the children with whom I was working. She couldn't get it that I enjoyed my job. It may have been difficult and requiring a great deal of effort, concentration and meticulous records but that's what I was doing. I think the children, the teachers and the parents enjoyed my input too....

Ant, it looks great. Why can't careful, hard work not be fun too!!?

Onwards!
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#12 Re: Oracle Delphi mk1 Quick Restoration

Post by Ant »

How does it sound?

Underwhelming

It has the same characteristics that i dont like as practically every other bouncy suspended deck i have used.
Its lacking focus, leading edges are abit smeared, everything seems a hair out of focus and there is a relative lack of dynamics compared to the dd and idler decks i have.
Details are there but you have to strain to pick them out.

On the plus side, it throws a nice big wide and tall image with good depth, it has a lovely airy quality to it and music has a beguiling flow to it

Bass is good ish, a little bit wooly abit uncontrolled but reasonable with a nice texture, the top end is abit disappointing. Its all there but its not very defined.

Speed is pretty stable, its not quartzlock stable but reasonable

Overall its all abit vague and lacks clarity. Like a step back in time, and the opposite of what i have been trying to get out of vinyl for years. Unfortunately its not the sort of sound i like but i can see why people would like it, the flow it has and the openness are pretty big bonuses but it displays too many of the characteristics that i have tried to get away from.

Its not the dv cart, i know what that can sound like, its been on all my decks, i dont know about the arm because ive never used one. It sounds like a suspended belt drive deck if that makes sense. I like the xerxes better

Ive got it plugged into the second input on the cole phono stage, the lenco with my arm and the vm750sh on it is plugged into the other one and moving the record over to the lenco (happens to be pat metheney still life talking) is like chalk and cheese. The grip, dynamics and detail are very different.

I need a second opinion.......
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#13 Re: Oracle Delphi mk1 Quick Restoration

Post by JamesD »

I didn't want to comment until you had tried it as its been an ambition of yours to hear one but what you have found sounds exactly what I did when I heard one against an SP10 back in the late 70s... heard them both in a Krell Apogee system and the contrast between the two was pretty much exactly as you describe - one played music as a performance and the other didn't both had Micro Seiki MA-505 arms and Supex moving coils on them.

It does look beautiful and in a Lecson AP3/AC1 amplifier & Gale GS401 speakers system would be a wonderful looking period system!
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#14 Re: Oracle Delphi mk1 Quick Restoration

Post by shane »

These are the usual findings when comparing well executed idler and DD turntables against suspended belt drives, but which is causing the difference, the belt or the springs? Unsuspended belt drives (Rega etc) generally seem not to compare well against either type, which makes me think that belt drive causes the problem but suspension improves it. It would be interesting to try a suspended DD turntable but the only one I can think of is the Gale, and you’re not likely to find one of those in a box of bits!
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#15 Re: Oracle Delphi mk1 Quick Restoration

Post by Ant »

I think the thing that is most different is the separation and clarity of everything.
The lenco, jbe and the jvc for that matter place everything in its alotted place and you can instantly follow any bit you want. Want to follow the double bass, there it is. The lead guitar, a ride cymbal, whatever, you can lock onto it and follow, and this doesnt mean you cant tell what another part is doing at the same time.
With this, and other bouncy belt drives ive had ive had to strain abit to follow a part and the whole becomes abit vague when i do.
Its wierd but i find it a little hard to listen to.
With the arm i built, i was focused on this aspect of making things individually clear, i got a bee in my bonnet about that aspect, and this was the bit i was focused on with each iteration of it.
i find the lenco and that arm easy to listen to

Perhaps i am being overly harsh on the oracle, im not sure what i was expecting but i will have had some expectation bias towards it. Plus i have never heard a SME 309 so perhaps the arm has something to do with how im getting on with it.

I really wanted to like it so perhaps my expectations were higher than they should have been

But it sounds to me like its abit flat, abit smeared and a bit uncontrolled. Compared to a one off turntable in the lenco, a really odd one off combo of a jbe and an air bearing arm and a standard jvc with an empire 1000gt.

These arent the things it would normally be compared to as they are completely tailored to me (jvc notwithstanding)

I'll have to listen to it for longer, let it and the arm and cart wake up having not been used in a long time, and reassess once i get around my own bias :shock:
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