The Balrog Turntable

Diamond in the rough

The Balrog is a turntable that I made. It started out life as a granite machine base.

The Balrog in 2010

The base found it’s way from some presumably productive use, to be discarded, to a moving company, to a DIY audio freak, to a for-sale posting on the joelist, to this DIY audio freak in 2004. It was rusty, oily, filthy, 700lbs, and neglected. I took it home on a rented one ton pickup truck with a hydraulic lift gate. After six months of work, it was playing records. Six years later, everything was done. You can see the transition in these two photos. Check out the details here.

Cave Troll

The Lord of the Rings trilogy made it to the big screen during this period. The character to the left from the film made me think of the turntable so I called the turntable “The Balrog”. Someone pointed out that this was really a cave troll, not the Balrog, and that I needed to brush up on Middle Earth.


To the right is the turntable’s actual, but unintended, namesake: the Balrog that Gandalf battled in the mines of Moria.

I’ll post more detailed articles on the Balrog soon, including a photo essay on aligning the arm and cartridge using an arc protractor and a digital camera.

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