Neumann MS-52H Cutter Head with Feedback: Repair and Hot Mods

This Neumann cutter head arrived as a particularly clean example, but in need of repair. The first obvious issue was that the coil was fried.
The second issue was that the original stylus fitting was broken. Even if it wasn’t, the original stylus is unobtainable anyway. An attempt had been made by another tech to machine an adapter to take a 320 stylus, but this was wobbling around and falling out. This would clearly not be an easy task, considering that there wasn’t much left on the armature to work with.
But first, we shall attack the coil!

The original former was deformed from excessive temperature, as a result of thermal overload. A new one had to be machined. But if going through such effort, why not improve upon the original design by redesigning the coil, in a configuration permitting the use of feedback? On this head the primary resonance is damped by means of silicone grease, so the feedback could be designed to extend and flatten the frequency response at the high frequencies.
The pictures above show the reassembled head, with the new coil configuration, new wiring and a properly functioning stylus mount to accept Transco 320 or Adamant NSH-2 stylii.

This, of course, took quite a bit of precision machining effort on our fully restored 1930’s Lorch instrument lathe.

Finally, the Neumann head was mounted on our insanely modified 1930’s Fairchild lathe to cut some grooves on disk and hear the results!
We shall call this modified version the Neumann MS-52HA, the finest sounding monophonic cutter head we have ever heard!
If you’d be interested in hearing an A/B comparison, source versus cut, please do contact us! If you are wondering how to mount the Neumann MS-52H, ES-59, R-12b, or even SX-45, SX-68, SX-74, SC-99 and Caruso cutter heads on a Fairchild, Presto, Rek-O-Kut, or any other lathe, stay tuned for the next episode…

The world’s only Neumann MS-52HA has now been sent out to a DIY beat maker in San Diego, California, USA, who has been putting it to good use on his vintage Presto lathe! Check out his bandcamp page here: