Perpetuum Ebner PE 3048 Fully Automatic Turntable W/Shure M70/72B Phono Cartridge

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Jul 12, 2005 (Updated Nov 7, 2005)


The Bottom Line When searching for that perfect Analog classic masterpiece...don't rule out the PE 3048! It is a bargain at any price within reason and worth both seeking out and servicing.

In the days ahead I pretty much plan to report soley on classic vintage audio gear as I am...for the most part...well fed up with the gross shortcomings of modern downsized digital electronics aside from really great current loudspeakers. The following report will begin my series of test reports on yesteryear's equipment that may very well be available from estate sales and auction web sites.

I suspect that there very well may be more than a few seasoned audiophiles like myself who are familiar with two top-name West German turntable manufacturers from the 60's and 70's. I am referring to Dual and Perpetuum Ebner...or simply PE of course! From the get-go...these two highly competitive companies offered the consumer top notch first rate analog performance although at higher cost compared to others. While turntable crafters like Garrard, BSR/McDonald and Benjamin Miracord were the popular changer creators...Dual and PE offered both audibly and visually superior performance that could easily be perceived by even an inexperienced listener such as myself back in the day.

Great attention and detail were paid to the tonearm and drive system rendering quiet smooth stable operation with pinpoint stereo separation and accuracy! Instead of the cheaper plastic bases...wooden ones were offered by said companies. I don't have to tell you what that means in terms of audibly superior sound quality let alone low acoustic feedback into the tonearm itself. Obviously such stable bases meant a more natural and detailed sounding unit.

My first encounter with Dual was when I was stationed at Eilesson Air Force Base in Alaska in October of 1972. I had ordered the Dual 1218 model through a military discount offered by United Audio in Hauppage, New York and paid $164 complete with the more expensive fancy wooden European base offered by the importer. Shipping was free to any military base in the USA including Hawaii and Alaska which only served to seal the deal for me personally given my circumstances back then.

I opted to forego the optional Shure M91ED Hi-Track cartridge that would cost me only $18 more as I already owned a fairly new Shure V-15 Type II Improved model...which was Shure's top model at that moment in time. After my good friend Sgt. Anderson insisted on performing the initial setup {he was like a kid in a candy shop...don't laugh...so was I!} we listened to the new found treasure through my AR integrated amplifier and Bose 901 Series I speakers. Our reactions were intense with great excitement as we listened to flawless music reproduction in my small dormitory room!

Anderson also owned the then top-of-the-line Dual 1219 with Shure M91E phono cartridge with a Sansui Eight receiver and beautifully crafted lattice-grilled Japanese Sonic brand loudspeakers which he purchased at a military audio exchange in Tokyo just months before. This was my first experience with really well-crafted first rate audio components but unfortunately the Dual 1218 was harmed badly during shipment a few months later as I was home on leave during the holidays. Being somewhat wet-behind-the-ears and naive back then...I put way too much faith in the post office and underpacked the unit resulting in a badly mangled tonearm.

Had I known about Transtronic Lab back then...I probably could have saved the unit but instead opted to $#!t can the busted Dual and purchase an AR XB turntable with Stanton 500EE cartridge for $86 from Sound Reproduction in East Orange, New Jersey who were also known as DC Wholesalers in our nation's capital. And so ended my short-lived experience with the great Dual/Shure turntable and cartridge combo which left me longing for this phenomenal analog marriage many years afterward!

But I'm not here today to dwell on this personally nostalgic moment from the past as I am to report on yet another equally impressive blast from the past that was resurrected by yours truly at relatively low cost.

When stationed in Alaska...I took to reading many a stereo magazine and came across an ad or two from PE on their current models and noticed that these West German made models with their similarly dual-gimballed tonearms sold for about $20 to $30 less than competing Duals at all of the popular hi-fi discounters. Even their importer...Impro Industries seemed strangely to have a similar address to Dual's importer...United Audio...also in upstate New York! I often wondered for years after that what it would be like to own the equally highly-rated PE tables.

In October of 2002 my long-time dream of being reunited with the Dual 1218 and owning a PE all came true in one fell swoop as Emily of Transtronic Lab fame offered me a PE 3048 that a customer had abandoned back in 1975 because it was missing parts and the person was given a new unit under warranty. The total initial cost to me was a lousy nine bucks!! How could I pass this up as all repairs were easy and even the missing parts were purchased by yours truly gradually over these past two and a half years.

This project has been a wonderful and pleasurable experience that required some patience on my part yet I am so much richer for gaining the education that came along with the doggone process! Now that I have been able to devise a home-grown wooden base {rather than modify a United Audio one...with a little improvising}...I am prepared to talk of the highly crafted unit's real world performance.

It was interesting for me to note that the original packaging was still very much in tact with this unit and although the manufacturer's logo...PE...was stamped on the box...so was the word "Dual"!!! Upon further investigation...I discovered that Dual had purchased PE in the early 70's.

That explained the similarities between the two. This was further verified by the fact that the motor has "Dual" stamped on it and the unit uses an identical headshell or cartridge clip to the Dual 1200 series turntables although the earlier models of this PE apparently had the same headshell with a VTA {Vertical Tracking Angle} dial adjustment attached to the right side of the clip. This enabled optimum tracking of stacked LP's when using the optional record changer spindle...which I decided to forgo as I only use the small single play one that came equipped with the turntable.

So...for all you single LP players...this is the way to go as the regular cartridge clip mounted with the Shures...will be at perfect VTA to the record!. The platter is a 4.4 pound 10 1/2" heavy die-cast aluminum one precisely the same as the Dual 1218 and 1228 models with the exception that the rubber mats differ in appearance.

Incidentally...don't be put off by the PE's slightly-smaller-than-an-LP's circumference platter as it outperforms many other units that sport larger full-sized ones. The record is supported by the 10 1/2" platter's rubberized ridges quite well and offers truly stable operation. Equally impressive are the platter's bearings! If one gives the platter a good spin...it will rotate forever...so it seems anyway.

The PE 3048 sports a slightly narrower chrome-like outer trim ring. I always loved the 1218's wider outer trim ring as it made the table look downright sexy! The PE 3048 was the top-of-the-line model in Perpetuum Ebner's 3000 series turntables and retailed here in the states for around $165 with base and dust cover. The PE 3048 was offered through Impro Industries between 1974-1975.

Still...even to this day...the PE 3048 remains absolutely lovely to behold with stunning aesthetics and listening qualities! The 3048's low mass straight tonearm...although like the 1218 and 1228 uses a dual-gimballed suspension...differs in the sense that the 3048's arm has a more oval or rectangular shaped pivoting pointed suspension as compared to the 1218's circular style. The 1228's is somewhere in between. The PE 3048 also uses a different counter balance weight that is minus the detented click-step feature of the Duals. Obviously this helped in lowering the cost of the PE. The tonearm TTF and anti-skating controls are similar for all three models but the 3048 and 1228 utilize a slider type of anti-skating control that includes a third scale for CD-4 or any cartridge with a longer footprint stylus shape other than conical or elliptical types whereas the 1218 lacks this scale and uses a dial instead of a slider...big deal!!

Regardless...the three tonearms are all wonderful with equally good first rate Geometry along with extremely low bearing friction performance rendering use with highly compliant phono cartridges that require lower forces such as the older Shure Hi-Tracks. All three tonearms track at a one gram TTF setting flawlessly and easily! All three can easily handle the 0.7 gram super low TTF of ADC's original XLM cartridge that sported a compliance figure of 50!!

All three models have identical specifications when it comes to speed accuracy, wow and rumble. All three turntables use a rubber idler wheel drive system as opposed to belt driven and direct drive types that were developed later on. They make use of identical synchronous motors that are quite heavy duty and long lasting. The 3048 differs from the 1218 in the sense that the available speeds are 45 rpm and 33 1/3 rpm for the PE 3048 as opposed to the Dual 1218's three speeds that include 78 rpm. Although the "pitch" is a dial type on the 1218...the 3048 sports a small lever for this purpose...again...big deal!

The PE 3048 chassis is identical to the 1218 and 1228 models by Dual as the two hold down screws will align perfectly when using a 1200 series United Audio base but differs in the sense that the three spring-loaded feet are located in a slightly different position. One simply must use an "Impro" base or be prepared to make some modifications to the United Audio 1200 series "H" base. Transtronic had one for $15 in good condition...so I couldn't resist! However...it just sits around my work table as I opted to build my own heavy duty wooden base.I am currently still awaiting a dust cover but suspect I will be creating my own in the near future.

Although both the well-written owner's and service manuals picture the unit with a Shure M91ED Hi-Track cartridge...I chose an M72B Hi-Track by Shure that was revitalized by purchasing an N70B beige stylus purchased from Transtronic Lab for $16. The generic replacement stylus...part # ES3003...is imported by Electronic Services of Canada and arrives in a small pill box with yellow foam cushioning. The outer clear plastic lid states "Genuine Diamond Stylus" in red lettering with a drawing of a diamond tip over the word...."stylus".

The Shure M70 and M72 Hi-Track series are identical in appearance and completely identical in performance thus making the styli absolutely interchangeable!. This cartridge tracks well at its recommended tracking force of 2 grams.

The M91ED's force of 1 gram with its .002 x .007 elliptical stylus is fine for LP's but not perfect for all 45's of which I own plenty! The higher two gram tracking conical stylus of the M70B is perfect for cuing 45 rpm singles of which many were made from a recycled material. Use of the M70B cartridge avoids unnecessary backburn when cuing a single while its ruggedness prolongs the life of both the stylus and record.

The Shure M70B is magnificent on both 45 rpm and LP's alike with good high frequency tracing...not something a 0.7 mil stylus is supposed to accomplish!

The M70/72 series carts had both an elliptical .004 x .007 stylus...EJ...and a conical stylus...B...made available in the mid 70's. The main cartridge bodies of the M70/72 carts were brown. A "Trackability" specification sheet was supplied by Shure and the cartridges were packaged in either peg hook types which sold at discounters for between $10 to $20 each or in fancier bubble clear plastic containers for between $15 and $30.

These cartridges were clearly superior to Shure's M3D, M44 and M55 series while equalling or bettering the M93E. The M70/72 series Hi-Tracks were manufactured from 1975 to 1989.

The "EJ" models sported light green styli while the conical styli "B" models had beige ones. These styli were also compatible with many Radio Shack Shure/Realistic cartridges sold by the millions over the years! I'd be willing to bet that the average audiophile purchased anywhere from three to five of these Realistic/Shures over the course of the "stereo crazed" years from 1967 to 1985. We probably never gave them a second thought back then...but oh how we long for them now as these styli are either tough to find or are much more expensive to special order!

Cartridge installation was relatively easy when using the Dual 1200 series clip but care must be taken while placing each lead onto the Shure's pins. The tiny clip's color-coded wires can easily be damaged if one gets too heavy handed while using a needle-nosed pliers. Tweezers may very well be a better choice. I also recomend having extra Dual Series 1200 clips or headshells on hand if possible.

Once the cartridge is wired and mounted with appropriate hardware it can be aligned via the small plastic stylus overhang gauge. When the stylus tip is barely visible in the gauge's "V"...proper alignment has been achieved.

If like in my situation ...this gauge is not available...simply download a free stylus protractor from www.enjoythemusic.com and virtually the same result can be obtained. The entire assembly is then placed under the tonearm head while making sure that the finger lift is pushed all the way back...then lining up the headshell's hole with the tonearm's locking nut and then snapping the assembly into place while securing it by moving the finger lift forward.

If hum or a dead channel is experienced...try putting a dab of witch hazel fluid on the headshell's spring-loaded pins to free up the sticking pin. If the hum problem persists...try tying a knot in the patchcord right before it passes through the turntable base. If the problem still persists...replace the patchcord and ground lead with a new one. It is not necessary or even desirable to spend a huge amount of money on expensive audiophile cables. Some of these cables are ripoffs and even breakdown over a relatively short period of time.

The original supplied patchcord was about five or six feet long. It was light duty stuff although it was meant for higher capacitance in order to help approach the Shure's capacitance rating of 400 to 500 picofarads for flatest non-peaky frequency response. If one's integrated amp or preamp's phono input stage already had 50 to 150pf then the six feet of cord would then add another 300pf as the rule is 50pf for every foot. However...my replacement patch being only three feet in length only adds about 150pf to the total capacitance bringing the total to approximately 300pf. Still...great results were achieved!

Some patches even sport stiff h.d. RCA plugs that will literally pull the female jacks right off your amplifier when disconnecting! Don't overspend and overdo it! In my case...Transtronic Lab sold me a brand new three foot heavy duty black insulated cable with gold plated but flexible RCA plugs that sported a nice gold-plated grounding lead that attached wonderfully underneath the turntable and to the phono inputs of my amp. They charged me a mere $2 for this simple well-made patchcord! I am amazed at the purity of the OFC wire as compared to that of the considerably more expensive Audioquest Jade patch that originally sounded great but failed a year later...or even to Dual/PE's original. Good cables can make an audible difference but a word to the wise is sufficient.

Hum rejection is quite good with the PE/Shure combo but there may be some cases where better results can be achieved by not attaching the ground lead at all or by soldering it to the outside ground shell of the right channel RCA plug going into the amplifier. Sometimes...reversing the non-polarized mains plug will eliminate any stray hum one might encounter.

When installing the new stylus in my old Shure Hi-Track...I was immediately impressed by the new stylus's clean shiny gold-plated-like shank as opposed to Shure's dulled brassy one. Since I have purchased a good number of N70B styli from this manufacturer...I have noted that some of the styli have this appearance with no markings while yet others either have "N70B" or "Shure" marked on them. Apparently some of these generics are not so generic afterall!

Oh well....fine and dandy but how does it perform? That question was soon answered when the first record was placed on the well made PE 3048 turntable as the tonearm lowered gently and quietly due to the unique muting circuit!

A long narrow-like lever is located on the front right hand side of the turntable. When moved to the left...automatic setdown is accomplished quite smoothly. During "play"...the same lever can be moved to the right to interrupt operation and return the tonearm to its rest smoothly. The tonearm can then be locked or secured to its rest.

Manual start can also be achieved by unlocking the tonearm from its rest and gently pushing the tonearm's two-tone cuing lever located slightly to its right forward to raise the arm and then moving the tonearm inward over the first groove to start platter rotation. The tonearm is then gently lowered to the record by pushing the black and chrome cuing lever backward. This is somewhat odd in the sense that it defies other manufacturers normal way of backward/up and forward/down operation! This little ditty may take some getting use to...but it does work flawlessly.

Tonearm setdown adjustment for automatic operation is easily accomplished via a common flathead screw located directly to the left of the anti-skate adjustment. One simply turns this screw clockwise or counterclockwise to ensure that the tonearm lowers to the correct point on the LP's lead-in groove. It also allows for varying tastes.

I own a copy of "Duane Eddy's Twenty Terrific Twangies" on RCA International Records that sports not only some wonderful hits by the artist but some pretty neat laser fast guitar pickin'. The PE 3048/Shure M72B combo played the vinyl record to almost perfection with good stereo separation and transient attack although the Pioneer PL-518 turntable I own with Ortofon OM5E was absolutely fantastic and superior by comparison! Although the deep bass and highs were reproduced well...the mids were impressive if not phenomenal! The opening number..."{Dance With The} Guitar Man" sounded crisp and detailed with each member of Eddy's backup singers...The Rebelettes...voice heard distinctly and almost separately.

Even more impressive was the fact that after careful alignment and TTF/Anti-Skate settings were achieved...this characteristic didn't change one bit as the tonearm traveled toward the center spindle. Inner groove distortion or IGD remained almost inaudible to the end which in itself is an incredible feat as ten tracks are placed on both sides of the record making for an end groove that is placed far closer to the center spindle than most LP's!

I enjoyed this encounter with this particular album so much that repeated playings were in order! Next was a re-issued LP of Bert Kaempfert's Greatest Hits from Decca/MCA Records that also sounded first rate but I thought I heard some minor mistracking on the muted horn portion on one of the tracks. It wasn't bad and it didn't have a crackling quality like most mistracks but more of an over modulated sound quality that all but the most sensitive and trained ears wouldn't even recognize as such. Again...this might have been the fault of the record itself...a minor quibble nonetheless. Kick drums as with other percussion were portrayed with good detail. Most importantly...the tonearm/cartridge combo seemed to have the unique ability to not only reproduce all instruments including female and male voices to almost {but not quite} perfection...but also all of the emotion of the given performance itself. This is so utterly important when trying to piece together an audio system.

But here again is where a Shure V-15 Type II or III or M91ED or M75ED Type II would clearly perform better on LP's. The 45's sound great with this Shure M70B while LP's sound very good.

You'll note that in many of my turntable/tonearm/cartridge reviews that I list many non-audiophile recordings along with a few audiophile ones. There are several reasons for this but most importantly...these high speed massed produced average Joe records were what most of us purchased over the analog years. Besides...even a low cost average phono pickup will sound pretty good on a quality audiophile pressing...outside of some possible mistracking. But what about the less-than-perfect massed produced records which so many of us bought? I can recall those great well-recorded stereo Four Seasons and Beatles albums on Philips and Capitol Records respectfully! Yet others such as the King Crimson and Led Zeppelin albums on Atlantic weren't so perfect! The PE/Shure M70B combo makes them come alive almost to the point where one has to wonder if one isn't actually listening to an expensive tonearm/moving coil combination! You get my point? Catch my drift????

I also own some high output audiophile albums including the "Professor Johnson" test record made back in 1979. These records played pretty much to perfection and tracking ability was outstanding right to the innermost groove although the African "percussion and bells" track rendered a bit of very mild mistracking but pretty much showed the Shure's superior mids which left most of us scratching our heads as the very same cart sounded somewhat reticent and less detailed along with muddy bass and only marginally well reproduced sibilants when mounted in other turntables.! What was going on here????

Even my dad who always loved Pickering...noticed the Shure's superiority in a Dual 1215 that my sister owned back in the 70's but when same cart was placed in a Garrard SL-25B...he remarked how muddy and non-detailed the sound was. Go figure!

The relatively high output of the cartridge {just under 7mv} matched up well while playing in the PE to the vintage mid 70's Fisher Studio Standard 100 watt rms p/ch stereo receiver's phono input stage quite nicely. When switching to the lower powered vintage Pioneer SX-990 and even lower powered Pioneer SA-500...the effect was pretty much the same. The same 18 Ga. OFC speaker wire from Mirasonic.Com was used on all speaker systems and receivers during these tests. I could have gone to a lower gauge on the Pioneers but the Fisher's terminals were a bit less dedicated and the tiny lock-on types would not allow for larger wire. Nonetheless...the Fisher sounded superb with the PE 3048/Shure M70B!!

Using top rated vintage Bose 901, American Acoustics or Boston Acoustics A-70 or even modern Polk R-30 loudspeakers did not change the overal superiority of this fantastic PE 3048 analog sound source. Even sibilants...S-SSSS-SSS sounds were reproduced extremely well with good detail and no splattering...even at the innermost grooves!

I knew from past experiences with the Dual 1215, 1218 and 1219 turntables that these units were able to bring out the best in the Shures while other turntables and tonearms seemed to make said moving magnet cartridges sound second rate while barely achieving their trackability and stereo separation specs. In the PE 3048...the Shure's 20 db spec for channel separation seemed to be utterly and positively understated! Comparable Stanton/Pickering and Empire carts with 30 db specs seemed to be a joke compared to the Shure M70B with its generic replacement stylus. But keep sending me your old M70 and M72 carts for under $15 ...you audio auctioneers!

Here are some guidelines for matching up old Shure Era II and III Hi-Tracks to vintage Dual and PE turntables. The following cartridges will flourish in Dual 1219, 1229, 1218, 1228 and PE 3048 tables: V-15 Type II, Type II Improved, Type III, IIIHE, IIIMR, M95ED, M95HE, M95G and M95EJ, M93E, M91E and ED, M75E and ED Type II, M75-6S, M75ECS, M72EJ and B, M70B and M24H.

Appropriate Shure cartridges for Dual 1215, 1225, PE 3046 and 3044 models are as follows: M95EJ, M93E, M75-6S, M75ECS, M75CS, M72EJ and B, M70B. Post 1977 Era IV and V cartridges are not recommended by yours truly for these turntables as considerable changes were made in the Shure's basic makeup and specs. Where proper damping was performed by the low mass tonearms of earlier Duals and PE's...this was accomplished at the stylus via the "Dynamic Stabilizer" brush of later Shure phono cartridges...so please bear this in mind. The ideal capacitance loading for these cartridges was also different.

At any rate...the overall performance of the PE 3048/Shure M70B turntable/cartridge combo is so reminiscent of the Dual 1218/Shure V-15 Type II Improved combo I experienced some thirty years earlier. The old weighted rumble spec of -59db for this unit would probably holdup pretty well by modern day standards and easily could equal or surpass a present day spec of -70db. This turntable is silent...as only hum recorded onto the groove from the source can be perceived...that is as long as the rubber idler wheel is in good shape and not worn.

The plus or minus 6% "Pitch Control" is pretty much dead on when the lever is placed in the "midway" position. So are the tracking force and anti-skate controls. When setting up the turntable...the tonearm is first zero balanced by adjusting the rear counter balance weight then adding the appropriate TTF by adjusting a well marked dial located near the right side pivot point of the tonearm. This is opposed to doing such strictly by the rear counter balance weight as is on many other turntables. The accuracy is unusually high and this fact can be confirmed by checking the TTF with a low cost Shure Stylus Force guage available from many high-end dealers such as www.audioconnect.com. The Shure guage will agree perfectly with Dual or PE. The PE's TTF dial does not alow for forces beyond three grams...which is right in the range of the M70B or M72B's tracking range of 1 1/2 to 3 grams.

The automatic operation of the PE 3048 like that of the Dual 1218 and 1228...is extremely precise and flawless although occasional adjustments may very well be required over the years. Here is where owning the Service Manual comes in handy! The PE's chrome spring-loaded button built into the turntable platter's mat is used to sense when there is or isn't a record in place and prevents the tonearm from descending onto the bare mat. I'd have to say that this Perpetuum Ebner 3048 classic...like other Dual models...is a most impressive reliable precision-like rugged performer that can last for countless years when well serviced.

Although replacement parts can be a bit difficult to find...they are available and can be purchased for reasonable prices if one does some research. A good place to start is the "Dual Classics" link I provide on my EPINIONS public profile page. You can always email me if you are really at a loss...or even if you just want to talk about your vintage equipment.

I have tried to provide some valuable information here for present and future PE 3048 turntable owners and perhaps some of you will be a bit less hesitant to purchase just such a unit from an auction or repair shop while others who already own the unit may very well now think twice before parting with theirs. You just don't know what you've got sometimes until it's gone!

As for me...I refuse to part with my PE. The modern world just has not seen a better example of good ole Black Forest Analog craftsmanship out of West Germany! As for my long lost Air Force buddy from the great state of Washington...Mr. Anderson...where are you and how are you?

As for the Dual/PE/Shure connection...well...although many other turntable manufacturers tried to offer Shure Hi-Tracks with their units...only few could bring out the best in a Shure! Outside of Dual and PE...there really was only one other turntable maker that I know of that could truly successfully accomplish this particular task. Who that is or was...ahh...that is subject for another review and another day! God bless...P2




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