Red Diamond Audio

Discover those classic audio gems.


The legendary Melco Turntable Systems


Melco Inc.was established in Japan in 1975 as a manufacturer of the highest-end of turntables. Production was started in 1978, but the models didn't hit UK shores until around 3 years later. Melco's design philosophy was to produce turntables of indisputable and unsurpassed quality, seemingly with cost considerations not too high on the agenda. The design was achieved by extensive auditioning tests, supplementing the engineering expertise the company had.

Melco turntable system 3560

All the turntables were “belt driven” in so far as the belt consisted of a thin, silk thread that ran around the perimeter of an oversized platter of extraordinary weight.

Melco turntable motor unit 3533 top view


The motor.



The Melco motor unit, a heavy duty 24 pole hysterisis synchronous device was incased in a separate thick walled aluminium sided case, unattached to the main base. The silk thread belt ran  around the deep platter, then wrapped around a brass pulley fixed to the spindle of the motor unit.


Speed change between 33 rpm and 45 rpm was possible with a “switch” which physically slid the motor unit slightly nearer or further from the turntable base/platter, enabling the silk thread to take up a position on a different part of the spindle pulley. So sweet, just so you could play a “Leader of the Pack” single at will.

Melco turntable system, bases and platters. Promotional leaflet 1980


The base.


The selection of bases available for the “turntable system” were equally beyond what the market had ever seen in the UK, and in fact wasn't to see until decades later. All the base options, except for the 3202 model which had a wooden frame, were made of non-resonant graphite cast iron. Depending on the model, the heaviest was 50 kg and the lightest (the 3202) was 12 kg. All the cast iron bases could accept no fewer than 3 arms. The arm supports as supplied by Melco, were made from 30 mm thick aluminium alloy, and could accommodate 12 inch arms if necessary.

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© Reddiamond Audio 2013

Melco turntable base 3256 bearing shaft


Below is an extract from a leaflet produced by Studio Beco about the Melco turntable.


The bearing  was a precision assembly. The shaft was made from precision ground tool steel running in phosphor-bronze liners supported on patented anti-vibration rings. The shaft tip and thrust pad were made from extremely hard, heat-treated titanium alloy. The pad is made slightly softer than the shaft tip in order to reduce wear. The liners are bored in-line to very close tolerances. This in conjunction with an extra long shaft (102 mm) ensures a close coupling of  the record to the arm for maximum information retrieval. No other currently  made turntable has a bearing as smooth and as precise as the Melco patented bearing”.

Melco Synchronous Motor Unit