Tweaks for Garrard 301/401Tweaks for Garrard 301/401





What´s the Kokomo Kit Mk2?

The Kokomo kit is a new hydraulic design thrust plate. It’s a one piece design from bronze, that means the bottom plate and the dome with the bearing is made in one solid piece. The result is a perfect synergy of all rotating parts. Many years of research and development have created a bearing assembly that brings about vastly improved performance.

The construction is changed to a hydraulic design, the means the spindle axis runs on a oil film and has no mechanical contact to the thrust plate. It´s more high tech interpretation of the vintage 301 thrust plate. The Mk2 version sounds more “garrardy” and has more of the urban groove.



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Why is the Kokomo Kit MK2 the better choice!



Near to all 401´s and some 301´s have a flat top worn out thrustplate, this is like brake and some Garrard´s have problems with the speed control and can´t hold the speed. Those flat bearings avoid the full performance, the Kokomo kit fix these problems and the Garrard can run again with outstanding
performance. The installing is a easy job, all srews and parts fits with this new part.



FAQ:

How difficult is it to install the KOKOMO KIT Mk2 on my Garrard 301/401?
Installation takes approximately 10 minutes. Each KOKOMO KIT Mk2 includes a manual complete with detailed step-by-step instructions and pictures.

Are the KOKOMO KITS Mk2 for the Garrard 301 and the 401 the same?
No. The platter bearing dimensions for the Model 301 and the 401 are different. For the best possible performance we’ve developed kits specific to each model.

Can the Kokomo Kit Mk1 upgrade to the Kokomo Kit MK2?
Yes, the Kokomo Kit can upgrade to a MK2 version, the upgrade is 5 minutes job!

Can I use the KOKOMO Kit MK2 on my grease bearing 301?
Yes, the KOKOMO kit works quite well with the greased platter bearing on the Garrard 301. Some customers have tried bearing grease in place of our special bearing oil with good results. Performance over the original bearing assembly is obvious. Your 301 will run quieter.

Why should I use the special bearing oil?
Our KOKOMO bearing oil is a perfect match for the thrust plate and bearing used in the KOKOMO Kit. Performance is improved and bearing wear is reduced almost to the vanishing point. While some experts have recommended and offer automotive motor oil, we advise against oil substitution because of the potentially corrosive effects of the additives used in engine oil.



Itemexcl. VATincl. VAT
Kokomo kit 301 Mk2 incl. Special bearing oil 91,60 Euro 109,00 Euro
Kokomo kit 401 Mk2 incl. Special bearing oil 91,60 Euro 109,00 Euro
Special bearing oil 7,98 Euro 9,50 Euro
Flydisk for Kokomo Kit 7,98 Euro 9,50 Euro

All prices plus shipping costs. You find detailed informations about an order and the shipping costs here.


HI-FI World, UK - December 2007


Adam Smith: Even more impressive was the blissfull silence between the tracks...


It is well kown amongst vinyl aficionados that the quality and health of a turntable´s main bearing contributes greatly to ensuring that it performs at its best. When applied to Garrard 301 and 401 decks, this is even more important because, as our very own Noel Keywood found, this contributes greatly to the age-old rumble problems suffered by these otherwise superb units.
Of course, quite a few specialists have now cropped up that will sort this problem out for you, including Dr. Martin bastin, whose bearing modifications magically silenced Noel´s 401. Until, recently, however, there has been relatively little that the home DIY-er could do to their own deck in this area. This has now changed, however, thanks to Germany´s Analog Tube Audio.
Available for both 301s and 401s, the Kokomo kit consists of a brand new , one-piece bronze alloy thrust plate and a ceramic ball bearing that replace the original Garrard items. The kit also includes a bottle of a special bearing oil that can be purchased separately for Euro 8,50.
Using my own 301 as the test bed, I stripped out the old bearing and cleaned everything thoroughly with isopropyl alcohol, before commencing fitment of the new item. The instructions are very clearly and, half an hour or so later, the job was done. The first aspect I noted was that, with the 301s brake disconnected, giving the platter a good spin sent it merrily spinning for a very long time – a good sign!
These continued when spinning a few choice tunes. That fabulously deep and solid Garrard bass was still present and correct, but there was a definite tightening of upper bass and an improvement in detail in this area. Altough the old Garrard could still make the walls shake if required, it seemed to have gained something of a velvet glove to cover that iron fist and was exhibiting a lightness of touch that had been missing previously.
Even more impressive was the blissfull silence between the tracks. Obviously, poeple tend to notice an increase in noise less when they live with them day to day and it was only hearing a 401 a few month ago that made me realise my own deck had become a little more rumbly than it should be. With the addition of the Kokomo, however, it is quiet once more.
All in all, the Analog Tube Audio Kokomo kit is a simple and easy to fit upgrade for Garrard 301 and 401 motor units that works a treat.


Review Positve Feedback Online #32


Roger Gordon: This new bearing really works…Highly Recommended…

...Once everything was reassembled, I used my hand to give the platter a spin. The platter kept spinning and spinning. I stopped it, spun it again and looked at my watch. Two minutes later the platter was still spinning. Obviously, the new bearing had far less friction than the old thrust plate. With that visual confirmation that the new bearing was far lower in friction I started to play music. The first record I put on was one I had been playing a lot recently, The White Stripes Elephant. A very well recorded rock album, made entirely in the analog domain. As soon as the needle hit the vinyl I know that there had been an improvement in the sound. There was a clarity to the sound that had not been there before. I was hearing things that I had heard before, but instead of them being slightly fuzzy or blurred, they were now clear and distinct. I played all four sides of the two LP album. On every cut I was hearing clearly things that I had heard before, but hadn’t realized how veiled or obscured they had been. Amazing. The next LP on the platter was Nirvana Unplugged in New York. This is an album I take with me to the audio shows. I know it very well. Again I was hearing details I had not heard before. What was most noticeable was the subtle changing of the textures of Kurt Cobain’s voice. This was not something that I had really noticed before. Now the changes in texture were perfectly clear. Next up was the 45rpm reissue of Louis Armstrong’s St. James Infirmary. I’ve played this LP many, many times. Again I was hearing subtle little details that I had not heard before. I spent the rest of the afternoon playing album after album. Classical, rock, pop—it did not matter what the genre was. The sound was always clearer with more subtle detail. This new bearing really works… Read the full article on Positive Feedback Online


Feedback


...it has just got better and better… (M. Littler, Dubai)

Product(s): Kokomo Kit 401 Mk2
Dear Robert, I just wanted to express my thanks for al your help in securing the Kokomo bearing for my Garrard 401. Last time we communicated I mentioned that the deck speed was wandering all over the place. Well that turned out to be because the lower main shaft bearing sleeve had been pulled right up the shaft and was sitting directly below the top one. Once that was fixed the turntable began to run very smoothly indeed. I ran the deck for a few days before fitting the new bearing. Fitting the Kokomo was very straight forward following the excellent instructions. How does it sound – I love it! The music is delivered with lovely structure and depth. Bass is full bodied, crisp and clear without being bloated in any way. Midrange is incredibly musical with female vocals and piano sounding extremely natural. The top end is lovely and crisp and I did not appreciate the tweeters in my Genesis speakers until the Kokomo was installed. Over the past couple of weeks it has just got better and better. I am sitting here listening to Jazz At The Pawnshop and it has never sounded better. I was gong to send you my 3009 but after hearing the SME 312S on the 401 I am going to try and find a good 3012 R for my 301 which I am working on now. I will be needing another bearing and hopefully a number of SME upgrades when I find an arm. I can unreservedly recommend the Kokomo as an upgrade that truly transforms the 401, what more can I say.

...es war die oft zitierte Handbremse welche gelöst wurde… (P. Delvo, Germany)

Product(s): Kokomo Kit 401
Ich habe heute das Kokomo-Kit in meinen Garrard 401 eingebaut. Der Einbau ging echt locker, auch dank der guten Bedienungsanleitung. Nach dem Ausbau des Laufwerks hat es gerade mal 3Minuten gedauert bis der Kokomo-Kit drin war. Das Erste was sofort auffiel war, das ich die Drehzahlfeineinstellung nachregeln musste, weil er jetzt mit neuem Lager leichter läuft und dadurch auch schneller. Dann die erste Platte aufgelegt und was soll ich sagen: es war die oft zitierte Handbremse welche gelöst wurde. Die räumliche Tiefenstaffelung nimmt zu und die Musik fliesst lockerer und natürlicher. Alles in allem ganz grosser Sport, Hut ab.

...Excellent tweak… (J. Munlin, USA)

Product(s): Kokomo Kit 401
The bearing for my 401 was slightly worn so I decided to try out your kit. First, the installation was a piece of cake. It literally took less than 10 minutes. There is an increased resolution now…finer detail and I feel that the bass particularly HITS. Excellent tweak. Thanks.

...Kokomo is genius… (J. Noble, South Africa)

Product(s): Kokomo Kit 301 on a Garrard 301 grease bearing
Yea the Kokomo is GREAT …. It makes an OBVIOUS improvement to highs … which are more extended … I was hearing a new release of VIBRANCY, ENERY and NUANCE in the highs … upper freq tones are now more vivid, and came alive … the flute was flowing out from the speakers last night, with more air and articulation than ever before … and on Michael Hedges ‘Arial Boundaries’ (do you know this great album?) snapped guitars sting had more precision, and fluidity, and I was hearing deeper into this ambient recording, also subtle percussive effects were clearer in terms of start-stop resolution, and articulation … so I have to conclude that the Kokomo bearing not only allows for more vibrant energy on top, but ALSO improves timing, and micro dynamic effects as well. Through time I have realised that tonal effects, which are to do with balance across all frequencies, are one thing (lets say a vertical thing) …. Whilst, timing and dynamic resolution is another, because dynamic resolution is in the millisecond region where note attack, development, ringing and decay takes place (lets say a horizontal thing) … music is both vertical + horizontal … BUT in audio technology, what works in terms of tone hardly ever works in terms of tempo and time …. these two are almost like opposites … and one is nearly always juggling between. If you make a change where BOTH improve together … then this is cause for CELEBRATION … because you just got something seriously RIGHT!!! Kokomo is genius … because it improves on both fronts, in equal measure … without any draw back, from what I can tell. Robert … thanks for a brilliant product … at a brilliant price …

...the Kokomo kit transformed the old Garrard workhorse into a true thoroughbred!... (I. Khan, USA)

Product(s): Kokomo Kit 301
A couple of months ago I received your Kokomo replacement bearing for the Garrard 301 turntable and i promised to give you feedback after installing and listening to it. I finally got around to making the change – in itself pretty painless- put on Afro Cuban Moods by Dizzy Gillespie with the Machito Orchestra on the Pablo label, and sat down in my favorite couch to give it a listen, not knowing what to expect. Well, in short order it became abundantly clear that good as the stock bearing is, the Kokomo kit transformed the old Garrard workhorse into a true thoroughbred! The biggest changes were the top to bottom improvement in transparency and resolution, a better defined, tighter and more powerful bass, and a more nimble quicker negotiation of transients. The net result is that the music flows more effortlessly, nuance and ebb and flow more easily appreciated, and the total experience more enjoyable. We owe you a debt of gratitude for a wonderful upgrade to the Garrard turntable. This is a must for Garrard aficionados.

...Overall a fantastic tweak… (J. John, USA)

Product(s): Kokomo Kit 301 on a Garrard 301 grease bearing
Incredible tweak for the money! If you own a Garrard, do yourself a favor and just BUY this. It’s that good. Makes everything much quieter (both physically and musically) and really opens up the level of detail from the Garrard. Also gives a more even frequency response. Overall a fantastic tweak. Thanks Robert!!!

...The excellent dynamics… (J. Kokkola, Australia)

Product(s): Kokomo Kit 301 on a Garrard 301 grease bearing
I did not use the recommended special oil provided. The reason for this decision is that the thrust pads on Garrard 301 grease bearings are pressure lubricated by means of the screw down grease lubricator in the side of the turntable spindle housing. I did ensure that the Kokomo ceramic ball and the area above it was packed in grease before assembly, to ensure air pockets did not hinder grease entry when loading grease through the grease cap. I used a high quality grease made for use with roller bearings, friction bearings and toothed wheels.
Observations:

  • The platter spins more freely (brake disengaged) and speed stabilises quickly, only requiring a couple of small initial adjustments (I use a Slate Audio Garrard Power Supply and strobe light).
  • High resolution system in use using line contact stylus and DV507 Arm.
  • Sound performance very dependant on correct SRA/VTA setting, now easier to recognise with the Kokomo 301 bearing.
  • Detail, definition, transparency, soundstage improved.
  • A slight troubling grain, most apparent on voice was removed.
  • The excellent dynamics, transients, pace and rhythm of the original thrust pad were retained.
  • Bass was full, extended and defined but I thought was in better balance than the more prominent bass previously.
  • Although not matching my Pierre Lurne Audiomeca J4 T/T in refinement, if I were somehow left with only the Garrard 301 with (Kokomo bearing), I would be quite content.

...The tweak is terrific!... (T. Lester, Canada)

Product(s): Kokomo Kit on a Garrard 301 / 401
The tweak is terrific! The Kokomo thrust plate is a thick, single piece design with a ceramic bearing. The metal material in the thrust plate is a proprietary composite which SUBSTANTIALLY improves resonance control over the stock thrust plate assembly on any Garrard 301 or 401 regardless of the table production date. The Kokomo transforms 301 and 401 tables from good sounding to great sounding tables with better resolution, greater extension in the lows and highs and blacker, more silent background. In my view, its an absolute STEAL of a tweak at 3-4x’s the money he’s asking for the tweak. Highly recommended.

...Compliments… (M. Ramali, Netherlands)

Product(s): Bronze knife edge bearing|Bronze Groundplate|RCA Conversion Kit|Kokomo Kit 401
All SME bronze tweaks + Kokomo 401 kit. First was the knife edge bearing. A complete different sound: Big, more presence, more and tight bass and a better placement of instruments and voices. All the other extra tweaks added the same experience. The total sound of my Garrard 401/SME 3009 serie II set is put to a very higher hifi level. The Benz Micro Glider LO MC cartridge sounds much better than in my former Thorens 160VB/Mission 774 set!! To reach the same improvements with a new hi-end recordplayer or tonearm needs a lot more Euro’s!! Compliments to Robert for his great job.

...ein absolutes Must Have… (R. Bayer, Germany)

Product(s): Kokomo Kit 401
So sehr mir der sprichwörtliche Punch eines Garrards bei so manchem Jazz-Stück und generell bei Rock- und Pop-Musik auch gefallen konnte, so sehr benötigte mein Hörempfinden für kleine Jazz-Besetzungen und vor allem für die Reproduktion klassischer Musik immer noch eine andere Laufwerkskombination, um mit der musikalischen Wiedergabe vollends zufrieden zu sein. Ja, sogar der Wunsch nach einem einzigen Laufwerk, welches alle musikalischen Genres gleich gut wiederzugeben im Stande war, kam bei mir auf. Während ein Garrard mit original belassenem Tellerlager eine leicht diffuse Bühne zaubert und deshalb eine Grace Jones nicht nur über zwei Meter hoch sondern auch noch fast ebenso breit erscheint, erhält der mit dem Kokomo-Lagerupdate ausgestattete Garrard nicht nur eine klar definierte Mittelposition der Bühne, sondern gleichzeitig nimmt auch die Räumlichkeit und Tiefenstaffelung merklich zu. Mit dem Lagerupdate kann man an der Bühnenmitte den sprichwörtlichen Meterstab ausrollen und die Position von Sängern oder Musikern fast zentimetergenau bestimmen. Ebenso reduzieren sich die Rumpelgeräusche des Antriebes merklich und der Gleichlauf wird ebenfalls merklich erhöht. Selbst das Timing, welches ja bekanntlich eine der ausgewiesenen Stärken eines original belassenen Garrards sein soll, verbessert sich hörbar und wird derart akkurat, daß selbst großorchestrale Werke und klassische Musik von nun an nicht mehr die Domäne anderer Laufwerke sind. Gepaart mit der deutlich gesteigerten Auflösung im Bass- und oberen Grundtonbereich, höre ich von nun an auch klassische Musik mit Vorliebe über den Garrard. Das Kokomo-Lagerupdate hat mir meinen sehnlichen Wunsch nach dem einen und einzigen Laufwerk für alle musikalischen Genres somit erfüllt. Deshalb ist es für mich ein richtig großer Wurf, der aus dem Garrard ein wirklich sehr großes und fast unschlagbares Laufwerk zaubert und es stellt für mich ein absolutes Must Have für jeden ambitionierten Garrardisten dar.