Micro Seiki

DirectDrive Museum - Micro Seiki

DirectDrive - The Hows And Whys
DirectDrive - Owning a DD
DirectDrive - Museum
DirectDrive - Tech-Talk
DirectDrive - Tonearms

Micro Seiki had its roots as a fine-mechanical company in Japan founded in 1961 and specialized itself in building turntables and tonearms in the early 70s. When introduced in 1976 the Micro DDX-1000 soon became the darling of all HiFi-journalists with its unique possibility to mount up to three tonearms that made comparing arms and carts a breeze. In the beginning of the 80s Micro buried their Direct Drives but continued to produce monstrous Belt-Drive decks like the RX-5000.

Micro MR-711

This is the Micro that started it all back in 1972. The 10" tonearm is the MA-202. This is a very heavy deck made out of solid metal, platter weighing around 4pds the whole deck around 40pds. Speed control was achieved by using a moving coil that was induced by the platter. You can vary the speed by +-6% by opening a little box under the deck which houses the control knobs. These beautiful decks are rarely seen today so I cannot tell anything about prices.

Micro DD-100

Introduced in 1976 the DD-100 was the first quartz-controlled Micro Seiki. Build quality of these decks is simply exceptional as with most top-of-the-line Micros. These decks are rarely seen in Europe or the USA but are quite often seen in Asia.
Here you see the control-unit of a DD-100. The quartz-lock can be switched off like with the later DQX-1000.

Micro DDX-1000 / DQX-1000

The DDX-1000 was introduced in 1976, 1978 the DQX-1000 followed which featured quartz-control. Unique with the DQX-1000 was the fact that you could actually shut off quatz-control with a button on the control-box - a feature which some users obviously prefer. You cannot mix them as the DQX-1000 pictured above has only one strobe-ring whereas the DDX-1000 pictured here had two engraved into the platter. The DDX-1000 featured a very high torque motor that was manufactured for Micro by JVC. The design of the DDX-1000 was unique and the possibility to mount up to 3 arms on the deck was used by many audiophiles in Japan and Germany. Here in Germany almost every hifi-freak in the 70s harbored dreams about having one and fitting some SME, Audiocraft or Grace arm on it! So there are many people around that couldn't afford the deck then but now are ready and able to plunk down as much as 750,- to 1000,- Dollars for this deck.
However - nostalgic reasons aside - the sonics of these are not free of faults. The chassis and the platter tends to ring a little and the tonearm-bases weren't tight enough causing some more unwanted resonances. If you come across your dream make sure that it comes with three (fitting) bases as they are now highly sought after and very expensive. AX-1 was the name of the base with round cut-out. AX-2 the name of the base with SME-cutout. Both were made out of aluminium alloy. There were also zinc/brass alloy variants of these bases which has a G after their name (i.e. AX-2G). A tabgle which shows you which arm for which base is here. Also take care of the feet as the rubber tends to break up after 20 years. Early DDX-1000 seem to corrode very easily depending on the athmosphere the table was stored. Later DDX-1000s and all DQX-1000s were coated with some kind of anti-corrosion sealant.
Good isolation is very important when using a DDX/DQX-1000. Wall-shelfs or sand-filled boxes make a good isolation stand for those beautiful machines. As for mods dampening out the aluminium plinth with tar-sheets and dampening the platter were the most common mods in the 80s.

Micro DQX-500

This is the pretty, little brother of the DQX-1000. It came out in 1984 and featured a carbon-arm the CF-1. Costing 500,- Dollars then many decks found their way in the home of audiophiles. Today many people buy this deck mostly out of nostalgic and for looks, so it's not cheap at around 350,- Dollars. Take care about the rubber feet, too.

Micro DD-100 / DDL-Series

Most turntables of the DDL-Series never made it to Europe or Northern America. The DDL-100 and especially the DDL-150 are nevertheless very fine turntables which look like a hybrid of the earlier DD-series and the popular belt-driven BL-series. All of them featured a heavy wooden-plinth and quite massive platters.

This is the DDL-100:

Here's a DDL-150 with Fidelity Research tonearm:

And this is the DDL-61 with an Ultracraft-arm. Take a look at the huge plinth:

Micro DDX-1500

The DDX-1500 was introduced in 1985. It is a very heavy deck with a metal plinth based on the belt-driven RX-1500. The platter of the DDX-1500 is cast aluminium not a machined platter as on the RX-1500. The DDX-1500 was the last Direct-Drive deck from Micro-Seiki and thus marked the end of an era. Nowadays if you get one be prepared to spend at least 1000,- bucks for this machine as these are real rare birds now. Sonically keep in mind that this model was quite an "Entry level RX1500" and hardly any improvement against a DDX/DQX-1000.

HOME The Hows And Whys Owning a DD Museum Tech-Talk