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Oh the Melco platters! Now there's a thing…

Three different platters were available, 3560, 3533, and the 3520 - 35 Kg, 20 Kg and a mere 12 Kg respectively. All the platters were made of high density gunmetal, heavily damped underside and dynamically balanced after damping. There was no turntable mat as such. The record sat directly onto the platter surface which was polished and slightly concave. Why? Well, the record “clamp” was actually a 2.75 Kg brass weight, heavier than most other platters at the time. The wieght held the record down against the slightly concave platter giving superb contact and damping.

Bear in mind this is the late 70's....

The Studio Beco influence.

Studio Beco began importing Melco products into the UK around 1980, initially from a London base in Beak St, W1 and later in Chiswick, London W4. They were the sole European distributors for Melco, and apart from importing these products, they were also the first importers of Audio Note (Japan) products into the UK. This included the legendary M7 silver-wired preamplifier and huge Audio Note Class A push-pull monoblock power amps, employing 211 valves. The principal  figure behind Studio Beco was Be Yamamura, an unbelievably avid experimenter and audio enthusiast who went on to manufacture his own products, including an air-bearing turntable and amplifiers. Later Be formed Yamamura-Churchill with Robert Churchill and manufactured amongst other components, horn loaded speakers, amplifiers and highly regarded cables. Yamamura-Churchill were disbanded in the 90’s, but Be still continues to manufacture exclusive equipment in Italy. Surprisingly, only digital sources are now utilized in his set-ups.

It's clear that Studio Beco were ultra-serious about audio quality, but perhaps a little too optimistic about market expectations. They undertook some modifications to the Melco turntable primarily to increase the inertia of the platter to match that of a record cutting lathe. If you look carefully at the photograph of the platter in the complete system, you will see a brass “turntable mat”, about 10 mm deep added by Studio Beco.  It served to  supplement the overall weight of the platter by a few more kilograms, increasing the inertia. In addition, another bigger, heavier record clamp was machined from solid brass (see photo). This was the mother of all record weights, pushing well past the 6 Kg mark and providing an upper arm workout during a listening session. No rest for the wicked.

The turntable system featured here was the top of the range model produced by Melco during these Halcyon years. The arm  fitted is a Fidelity Research FR-66, a 12 inch design and contemporary of the Melco. The pick-up arm support base is not an original Melco one, but as a further advance into the audio stratosphere, this one is machined from a 35 mm solid block of grade 316 non-magnetic steel .

I cannot verify this, but I gather there are only two Melco turntable systems of this type in Europe. There are more of the lower specification models worldwide but as Melco only produced turntables for a few years, all the models remain pretty rare.

The Melco 3560 gunmetal platter, the 3256 base and 3533 motor unit. Allow 100 kg for the entire setup, excluding the extra 10 kg needed for the record weights.

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