A project — Vestax VRX-2000 restoration

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A project — Vestax VRX-2000 restoration

Unread postby djworx » Sat Dec 03, 2016 7:37 am

Hello everyone.

A quick outline — I acquired (i.e. swapped it for some ads on my DJWORX site) a Vestax VRX-2000 cutter a few years ago directly from Vestax UK. After a brief inspection, it became clear that there were issues, the main one being the platter rubbing the chassis, and a few missing bits. So I put back in the box and left it alone.

Until last week that is, when I decided to sell it as is as a doer upper project. But my inquisitive nature got the better of me, as did my desire as a DJ to cut at least one piece of vinyl as a bucket list entry. And now having fixed the platter, replaced screws, bought a counterweight, and got the lead screw motor running, I've got a working VRX that cuts a deep and noise-free groove.

The problem is that no audio is being cut. The VU meters bounce happily, but nothing comes through. I believe that you're supposed to hear audio from the cutting head but there's nothing coming out of it. So somewhere between the meters and head there's an issue. Time to open it up I figured.


So this is the inside of a VRX-2000. It's clean, and after a cursory inspection nothing seems to be broken or burned out. I've tightened a few screws, and pushed home all connectors, but otherwise it all looks good.

But then I noticed something on the left hand side. There are screw holes in the chassis and a definite space for... something.


Below the space is a transformer. There's a connection, but it's not connected to anything, nor does there appear to be a place for it to connect to.


And then there are these spare leads. Labelled PWR, CN1 in, and CN2 out, they feel as if they should be connected to something.

I've been posting my progress on Instagram and on my Facebook page, and luckily some of my friends are former Vestax employees. They along with another guy have been very helpful, and we now believe that the preamp stage is missing, as in it has been there, but for some reason has been removed.

So I've come to the Lathe Trolls for help. I fully appreciate the lowly position the VRX-2000 holds in the scheme of things, but is there anyone out there with experience of the unit that may be able to shed further light? Perhaps there are former owners who have opened up their units for a dig around. Maybe some of you have photos of the insides that will allow me to identify if there is a missing part, or perhaps suggest another reason why the cutting head doesn't seem to receive audio. Perhaps there's even a unit in bits that I could grab the spare part from.

Bottom line - it's a massive shame that a device such as this is so close to working. I'm learning so much about the medium that I've bought for 3+ decades, and would love to see this machine making music all over again.

Any help anyone can offer is gratefully received. I'll be writing up the whole experience for my site and will happily credit and give much coverage to anyone who can help me.

Many thanks in advance.

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Re: A project — Vestax VRX-2000 restoration

Unread postby dubcutter89 » Sat Dec 03, 2016 12:10 pm

Hi Mark!
Interesting project!
I've never seen a Vestax Cutter myself and only heard bad things about it...
but the thing is that I also have not heard a record made with it so I don't know how bad it is, or if it actually is better than it's reputation!

Defenetly looks like somebody took out something of the machine - I could be a preamp (or anything else...) with the wires going near the input jacks...
But I'm afraid that you will have a hard time searching for a spare or technical documentation/schematic for it.

But I could imagine that it would be super simple to just get the cables running to the cutterhead available to an extaernal device such as a PA-amp which drives the head independent from the Vestax mechanics. Add 2 small fuses (0.5 amp or lower for testing - no warranty) to the speaker lines and use your computer to EQ the cutterhead response and add inverse RIAA equalisation - done!

Hope this helps!
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Re: A project — Vestax VRX-2000 restoration

Unread postby djworx » Tue Dec 06, 2016 10:37 am

Hey Lukas - thanks for the reply.

I hadn't thought of routing audio out of the VRX. It's probably just as easy these days to make a computer the audio source to start with and bypass the internal sound components completely to have greater control over the source audio.

That said, I'd like that would be an option but still have the VRX to operate as it should.
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Re: A project — Vestax VRX-2000 restoration

Unread postby fredbissnette » Wed Dec 07, 2016 1:34 pm

whatever amp was inside the vrx is not as good as an outboard such as a crown or bryston or any dedicated power amp you would get, i recomend a solid power amp with at least 100w per channel @8ohms

this should get you cutting asap
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Re: A project — Vestax VRX-2000 restoration

Unread postby djworx » Sun Feb 12, 2017 6:51 pm

Hello again.

Luckily for me, I know Toshi, the guy who was in charge of Vestax and he dug into his archive to dig out a bunch of material, including some internal shots of another VRX-2000. And I made this handy GIF to allow you to spot the obvious difference:


So yeah… not an easy board to replace. And Toshi, like others in this thread, has suggested running from an external source.
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