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Manticore Mantra/RB250/ATF5, an eighties classic combination back in the groove!

This Mantra was the more expensive electronic speed change version until the electronics gave up. New Model Audio had a cure. Like Linns and older Regas, it uses a 110v AC motor and so was perfect for a fix/upgrade using the excellent Heed Orbit 1 external PSU. The Orbit not only gives automatic speed change, it also provides an extremely smooth supply to the motor. This means less vibration and so allows other possibilities for mounting the motor. This is a future mod the Spin Doctor would like to attempt, because it should be very beneficial to pitch stability and therefore to the sound.

Once the dead electronics were removed, the motor was thoroughly cleaned and lubricated. A phasing capacitor was connected to the motor cables and the Orbit 1 connected. The sub platter was cleaned, the suspension adjusted, the correct arm spacer put in and the cartridge aligned properly. The lid, plinth and bearing needed quite a bit cleaning up and after a new belt was fitted, it was time for a spin.

Mantras look and sound like the love child of an LP12 and Rega Planar. There is more precision than an LP12 (Rega genes) and more flow than a Rega (LP12 genes). Both Linn and Rega arms, and their derivatives work very happily on a Mantra, the RB250 being a good choice here.

However, let’s be honest, the ATF5 is bright and a little tiresome and actually was the only reason the sound was still from the eighties! A new more refined cartridge would let this deck sing and it would cost fairly serious money to better the overall sound today. There are plenty of further mods that could be applied of course. The engineering, if not the electronics, is good and Mantras have great performance potential. The owner was delighted with the sound and glad to enjoy it again.