Saturday, 13 May 2017

BSR UA14 "Monarch" Record player repairs and upgrades!!

I had one of these in a record player as a child. It was my father's from when he was young ...

... then my good friend Colin posted one up for sale on facebook.

Nostalgia flooded in and a deal was done....

The one I had as a child was a sort of blue/grey colour...

It's a 4 speed autochanger, made around 1962. At some stage in it's life, the original "flip over" cartidge (to select a stylus suitable for LP (45's and LPs's) and 78) had obviously failed (it was most likely a crystal cartridge), and someone had replaced it with a ceramic cartridge.. all mono of course..

Mechanically it was all complete, and the usual solidified grease problems were very minimal.

Now a ceramic cartridge is a nasty thing. Even the best track heavily, and will chew through records, not good.

Checking the tracking weight with the tracking weight spring on minimum (there's no counterweight here!) gives encouraging results...

(excuse the thumb)

This deck was never designed to track with modern light tracking carts of a few grammes, so a suitable stereo cart would need to be found.... digging around in the box of record player spares turned up a nice Shure SC35C broadcast cartridge, moving magnet, designed to track between 4 and 5g and a nice spherical stylus, so alignment shouldn't be too fussy... perfect... except it has the standard mounting using two holes... the arm on the BSR has one central hole... an adaptor plate would need to be fabricated. Even tracking at 4-5 grammes, the Shure won't damage my precious records because it has a very large diamond.

Thankfully, back in the 60's, the lovely people at BSR had thoughtfully wired the arm for stereo.

Now the cartridge doesn't look central in the arm, does it? I carefully made the adaptor plate, and it's spot on. I checked the alignment to the pivot, and it is spot on!

A quick tweak to the alignment with a "Stupid protractor" and check the weight...

Spot on the optimum weight! It's a pure fluke! One spring hole either way and it's 2g or 6 !!!

Lash the output into an amplifier, out with the K-Tel Rock Classics workshop test record....

Surprise of all surprises, it doesn't sound half bad! .... Then the rest of the afternoon was wasted playing records....

Now I'd better do something with the cardboard box plinth, and make something proper up!


  1. i've just got an old Monarch 'Standard' hi-fi player, it's a little portable thing, prolly from the early 60's, but no power lead with it, need help finding a lead

    1. Connectors varied, as BSR didn't specify anything. In the UK, most were Bulgin plugs or those nasty two pin "bush" plugs that now fetch a fortune on eBay... sorry I can't be of more help...

  2. Can you reccomend a replacement needle for this player please with a mono speaker. The cabinet I've got it a radio and radiogram which is cool. It's just the needle that came with it is worn and doesn't play the record

    1. A call to the stylus lady will sort you out !