I’m not exactly an audiophile, but I do have a fondness for vinyl and some of the old, analog equipment. Back in the seventies, when I was in Clear Creek High School of League City, Texas, I bought my first stereo system with my own money. The friends I hung out with most were much more into high-fidelity sound than I was, so I tended to follow their lead.
The shopping center in our neighborhood had a moderately high-end stereo shop. They carried Klipschorn speakers and some other really expensive amps, tuners and turntables. Of course, that kind of gear was way outside of our price range. But we all did have some money saved up from working at fast food joints, gas stations and other jobs.
The sales people were tolerant and let us listen to our favorite music in their listening room. I’ll admit, the Klipsch speakers sounded great, but so did the Advents. And after much listening, debate and counting of money, I decided to go with an Advent 300 tuner-amp, Advent bookshelf speakers and a BIC 960 turntable.
I still have that system and use it often, although there was a long period when I did not have it all setup in working array. In particular, I had put the turntable into storage. With kids around the house, and limited space, there just wasn’t any safe place to have a turntable hooked in. Also, I had switched to CDs some years back and I tended to use my CD component for most listening.
When I did have an opportunity to take my BIC 960 turntable out of storage and set it up, I found the drive belt had snapped. It was the original belt, and 30+ years later, the rubber had finally gotten brittle. The last audio repair shop in Fort Collins, Colorado, my current home, sold me a belt and I was in business.
Disappointingly, the sound was not exactly what I remembered. There was a distinct wobble in frequency. It was like the turntable rotation speed varied. When I investigated, I could indeed feel a slight stickiness at certain points around the circle. Not having the time or money to take it further, I just put the turntable back into storage.
More years passed and I felt the urge to play some old records again. But when I got the BIC 960 out again, the platter wouldn’t turn at all under power. It was so stiff that I could not rotate it easily by hand.
This is where the investigative journey began. I have written three articles about the disaster, the repair and the subsequent results. If you have a BIC 960 turntable or a similar model from the same time period, these articles can help you avoid my mistakes.
Fix A Stuck BIC 960 Turntable – The platter on an old BIC 900 series audio turntable can lock up when the original grease dries out. Freeing the platter is a matter of applying penetrating oil to the right location and having great patience. To avoid additional damage, do not forcibly rotate a frozen platter.
Repair a Damaged BIC 960 Spindle Mount, page 1 – The platter on an old BIC 900 series audio turntable can lock up when the original grease dries out. Forcibly rotating the platter damages the spindle by enlarging the hole in the spindle mounting base. This can be repaired by using a center punch to make the hole smaller again.
Repair a Damaged BIC 960 Spindle Mount, page 2 – I damaged the spindle mount on my BIC 960 by turning the platter by hand before I realized I was destroying the spindle friction-fit in the base. This can be repaired by using a center punch to make the hole smaller again.