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comparison of higher end turntables

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Postby duficity » 04 Jan 2011 18:44

avole,
why does asking a question in a hardware related forum automatically suggest I am not interested in the music itself. I am capable of walking and chewing gum at the same time. For me, the music gets better, the better the equipment I play it on, and I have found new meaning and emotion in many old classics that I thought I knew well after I heard them played on better equipment.

If we accept that no system equals the sound of live music, and live music is the best way to feel and understand the intent of the musician, doesnt it follow that the closer we get to live music sound, the closer we get to the intent of the musician. How can this possibly be hard to understand.

Plus, there is the simple appreciation of a craftsman expressing his craft through his product. One doesnt appreciate a Rolex because it tells time better than a Timex. It just looks and feels better and may in fact work better. I could get as much or more satisfaction watching a painter paint as I could just looking at his final product, just to witness and feel the artistry involved. There is so much more to most things than just one, absolute truth.
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Postby bastlnut » 05 Jan 2011 10:39

hallo,

i have another something to add about 'which type of turntable' to choose.
i am playing with a system for a friend and some new aquisitions.
i have had a massive TT set up for the last few days, before i had an excellent Systemdek Transcriprion TT running.....
as good as the Systemdek is, i am enjoying the precise rhythmic ability of teh non bouncy drive unit.
it adds so much more emotion to the performance other than the PRAT oriented flavour of suspended drive units.
as an observation, the Systemdek and Ariston that are here do this, the Thorens pre TD 320 bouncy ones do this as well but the leaf-spring suspension of the later models do this less, like the Michell and SME turntables.
the Little Beast that is running now adds power to the bass, in comparison to my Michell or TD 2001.
the beat takes on much more of the driving metronome quality that one hears in a live performance.

a massive turntable does take more effort to tune than a suspended one does.
one needs to pull the resonances (that are stored in the mass longer than a lighter build concept) away from the turntable for better focus.
creating a path for the vibrations to leave on but at the same time giving enough support to the record and cartridge to perform at their best so they do not lose their power.

Duficity,
you wanted to get more into the concept of what makes a TT good.
here are some thoughts of mine for helping you on the way.
food for thought and maybe a path to do some experimenting to your vinyl nirvana.

regards,
bas
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Postby duficity » 05 Jan 2011 12:25

Bas,
Thats exactly the kind of response I was looking for. Your preceptions seem to conincide with much of what is written on the sound of suspended vs. non suspended tables. Most of the criticism of suspended tables seems to be directed to those that isolate the motor from the platter/tonearm and would seem to be the result of belt stretching or platter movement. That is probably why idler wheel tables are getting favorable comments.
It would seem that you could build a heavy table with the motor and platter on the same plinth and then suspend the whole mass to avoid external vibrations from entering the signal path. I think that is what the S Cosmos does and there may be others. That would require a very smooth motor, but no smoother than any other ridgid table.

Do you know of any tables that are built that way?
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Postby bastlnut » 05 Jan 2011 14:33

there are many roads that lead to Rome,

it is not that easy.
any concept can be poorly executed and not show the merits one imagines.
i do not know if the motor needs to be mounted on the same base as the main bearing.
some isolation is needed.
even my beast has some motor isolation.
motor isolation means play. granted, very little but it is not an absolute ridgid connection.
an outboard motor can do the same as a ridgidly mounted motor, it just has more isolation.
i think that most of what can be found, varies greatly in mass. the principal is the same though.
how well it is integrated is another slice of the pie though.

there are a few who offer what you are looking for.
the Wilson Benesch
the Audio Note TT3 (Voyd) uses leaf springs like the Thorens and 3 motors for torque and good isolation.
teh VPI Classic 3 takes mass to a higher level than the Classic 1, and has had success with the results.
the Sota i would consider would be the Millenium with the option for a vacuum platter for later.
the Cosmos is too rustical looking, and it is still the same old recipe that runs out of quality and impact soon enough.
it is the Oracle that keeps pushing the envelope for suspended decks.
consider the SME 20 as well.
Teres, TW Acoustic, Brinkmann (also with a new DD development), Basis, Nottingham Analogue, teh new Audiomeca and Goldmund, the new EAR.....
the list goes on.

whatever build and concept that is used, the tweaking of what you place it on becomes more important the higher up the quality ladder you climb.

regards,
bas
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Postby duficity » 07 Jan 2011 21:04

I went back and read over some of the past issues of Stereophile and Absolute Sound to see if I could formulate any common theme from the various reviews. One review of particular interest was on a Clearaudio table which received a favorable review. Then a less expensive Clearaudio table of similar design was reviewed that had a magnetic bearing. That review opined that the lesser table was equal to or better than the more expensive product. The kicker to these reviews is that the reviewer then reviewed the original table with the upgraded magnetic platter and found that it was much better than either table. The obvious inference is that the magnetic bearing was responsible for the increased performance of the tables, since that was the only difference between the first and last table reviewed.

I also remember reading many years ago about mounting the motor on a belt drive table in line with the tonearm, thereby eliminating any perpendicular pull on the platter of a suspended table. The theory being that movement perpendicular to the stylus was worse than movement in line with the stylus. That seems to be the mounting method of the old Empire tables and now the new VPI classic which HW claims was inspired by the Empire. However, most belt drive table motors are not mounted that way and are almost universally in the back left had corner, perpendicular to the direction of stylus travel.

So, one might believe that using a magnetic platter bearing with a motor mounted in the front left corner would be necessary to achieve sonic excellence, along with all your other ideas of how a turntable should be designed.

So, if you took all the design concepts that have been proven to make a noticeable improvement in sound quality and put them all together, what table would you have? Would it have inverted bearings? Rim drive? lead platter? Air bearing tonearm? unipivot? fluid damping?. Can all the best design concepts even be put together in one table, or are some mutually exclusive. Having multiple tonearms on one table certainly addresses the tonearm issues, but you still have only one platter and bearing.

And how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?
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Postby bastlnut » 08 Jan 2011 09:07

hallo,

hm, the placement of the motor. mostly it is important for a suspended turntable that has the motor on a base other than the subchassis.
for a massive turntable, it is less important because nothing moves unless the motor is not in the plinth that houses the main bearing and the plinth uses flexible interface with what it is placed on.
if the motor is supported with flexible feet but not the main bearing then it is irrelevant because the platter will not be pulled in any direction.

you could look at a high end DD too.
http://www.brinkmann-audio.de/main.php? ... lt&lang=en

just to tease out the other possibilities for you.

regards,
bas
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Postby Colin Dunn » 08 Jan 2011 18:26

Just curious ... why is the name of a high-end turntable manufacturer (S0TA) being starred out like it's a cuss word?

Edit: even with spaces between the letters, the forum software turned the name of the manufacturer into "turntable." Replaced a vowel with a number this time.

Lawyeritis from some age-ago incident? I'd be reluctant to buy a multi-kilobuck turntable from any company that intimidates people or discussion forums who wish to freely discuss the pros/cons of their equipment. Hopefully the explanation is something else...
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Postby Alec124c41 » 09 Jan 2011 07:22

Legalitis it is. They apparently objected to anybody else supplying their manuals. So Snota it is. :lol:

Cheers,
Alec
Keep them spinning.
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Postby duficity » 09 Jan 2011 13:23

The couple running S are really nice, good people, so I dont know why or what occassioned the objection to publishing their manuals here. But thats why the name is obscured.
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Postby duficity » 11 Jan 2011 01:26

maybe we can try this backwards. What is the current state of the art in cutting lathes for vinyl. Surely the same resonances are created by the bearing and drive systems in the lathe, as well as the bearings in the cutting arm. Has much effort been expended on the cutting side of the technology lately, or is it mostly on the playback side and we are making do with the existing lathes, probably rebuilt.

Bas has given me some ideas on building my own table, with provision for multiple arms, probably 3, using one of my Sota platters with the vacuum system bolted to a slab of aluminum or lead, ridgid mount with an a/c motor, maybe rim drive, something like VPI used on their retrofitted rim drive model. I am impressed with the Sota platter/bearing. without a belt, you can set it spinning and get bored waiting before it stops, with no noise that I can hear. And I am convinced that a vacuum platter is the way to go.
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Postby bastlnut » 11 Jan 2011 10:11

hallo,

i don't know about a vacuum platter.....
it takes noisy parts to create the vacuum and many times does not hold the seal for the whole side.
warped records will not seal unless only slightly warped.
a hard Metacryl mat that is slightly dished, with the use of a clamp will do about the same and is a better surface to place warped records on.
another observation that i have made,
is that a turntable benefits from a bit of drag from the platter causing the motor and drive mechanic to be under a constant load.

Avid also makes a rim drive table. it looks interesting.
have you seen the DPS kits to build your own turntable.
Klein makes a separate motor with a complex control electronic and stainless steel housing that is all the rage here for DIYers.

regards,
bas
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Postby duficity » 11 Jan 2011 14:54

The vacuum on the Sota is only heard for about 3 seconds on startup, to seal the record, then reduces to maintain the vacuum. After it reduces, I simply cannot hear it without putting my ear up to the remote vacuum box. Plus, I dont understand the idea that a vacuum would drive dirt into the grooves. It would be the exact opposite, pulling the dirt out. And as to the pressure of the vacuum causing the record to grind down on dirt on the platter, the pressure is so much less than a clamp, and is spread evenly across the surface, not loaded at various points across the record like a clamp.

If maintaining contract between the platter and the record is a good thing, then nothing else works as well as a vacuum platter, and no vacuum platter works as well as the Sota, at least in my experience. It really is automatic and adds no compexity to the record playing experience.

Now, some may not feel that contact between the record and platter is a good thing. In that case, a vacuum would be the wrong way to go. Except it really does take out most mild warps much better than a clamp, and even larger warps if you run your fingernail along the edge of the record at startup. Once it gets that initial seal, it holds it throughout the side.

I do agree with you in theory that a small constant drag is probably better for maintaining a constant speed so long as the motor has enough torque to overcome that drag at all times. That would be better than a platter that fluctuates between being pulled and coasting. Sort of like trying to pedal circles on a road bicycle. Almost impossible to do, but is the holy grail of any professional bicycle racer for fluid movement.

Any thoughts on the difference between a Metacryl platter and a Delrin platter? it seems that Delrin is used in many areas to reduce resonance, and assuming no resonance is a good thing, Delrin might be a better material for platte construction.

I guess some of the earlier ugliness got removed by the moderator.
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Postby avole » 11 Jan 2011 18:37

Well, one tried to help fellow forum members (sigh!)

Just buy an LP12. One of the two turntables that lets the music through. The other is, of course, the AR turntable. :idea:

P.S No tongue-in-cheek, simply the two best turntables I've heard. Numerous tweaks and options for both.
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Postby duficity » 11 Jan 2011 20:36

Avole,

I have listened to the Linn, Ittok combo and it holds no interest for me. It was ok, but nothing better than any number of other combinations I have owned or heard. Same goes for the AR, which I actually think is nicer than the Linn. Besides, I have a philosophical aversion to a system which requires a multitude of factory sponsored tweaks to get it to perform as its supposed to, after being told by the manufacturer that it is the be all and end all of turntables. Not that I am adverse to a manufacturer improving their product, but Linn just seems to be correcting deficiencies. But some like that kind of sound, so they have a product that meets their desires.
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Postby ameryt » 13 Jan 2011 22:53

avole wrote:Well, one tried to help fellow forum members (sigh!)

Just buy an LP12. One of the two turntables that lets the music through. The other is, of course, the AR turntable. :idea:

P.S No tongue-in-cheek, simply the two best turntables I've heard. Numerous tweaks and options for both.


The LP12 is the 3rd best turntable in my house and about the 9th to 11th best turntable I've ever heard.

It's a good turntable.
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