DUAL CS-530 TurnTables

DUAL CS-530 TurnTables 


Dual Fully Automatic Turntable fitted w/Grado Prestige Silver


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[Dec 09, 1998]
Joey Vela
an Audio Enthusiast

This deck was purchased for my re-introduction into vinyl. Sure I had owned a turntable (Technics BD-222) before the CD revolution, but I kept most of the 125 or so albums, 7" singles, and 12" singles that I collected up to around 1989, when I sold my Technics for around $25. I was glad that I still had those treasures.
The CS-530 is a table from the early 80's, and it doesn't have the rugged construction or heavy wooden plinth of the classic Duals. However, it does have a heavy platter, and its specially designed feet provide much stability. This unit is also noteworthy for its strange pitch control setup. On almost all tables with pitch control, the strobe shines into the side of the platter. However, on the CS-530, the strobe shines within the chassis, and the tracking lines are reflected from underneath the platter and viewed from a little window at the very front of the plinth.

I purchased this unit used via online auction. When it arrived, I gave it a full maintenance upgrade which included cleaning and lubing all bearings and pulleys. The belt was in excellent shape considering that the table was 14 years old. The stylis on the Dual cartridge was worn completely. I consulted the experts at Audio Concepts, and I told the manager what I had just acquired. He told me that I could not go wrong with Dual as a budget table and noted the ULM tonearm being one of the best budget arms around. He noted the smooth laid back sound that Duals were famous for, and he stated that the Grado Prestige Silver cartridge would be a perfect fit for the ULM.

After fitting the cartridge onto the tonearm and balancing, I immediately noticed the nice detail of the Grado Silver with amazing highs that were not shrill or distorted. The overall sound was nice and full, and yes, very much laid back without a hint of fatigue. After breaking the cartridge in fully, this table rocked. Deep full bass and clear vocals highlighted the ever robust sound of this German marvel. Rock, jazz, and even classical were ever to musical. I especially enjoyed the sound of the timpani on Hindemith's "Symphonic Metamorphasis".

Now for the bad stuff, which there really wasn't much of. Bass did tend to overextend from sometimes, and highs periodically sounded too harsh. But the midrange always remained true. The soundstage and imaging were impressive but nowhere near that of a Linn or Rega. This table's weaknesses show that it is definately not in the same class as the Regas or the Linns or even other more classic Duals, but it is a super cost effective way to enjoy the benefits of vinyl.

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