I didnt think it would sound the same, but I didnt think it would sound so different, in a good way, to me. Most high end stuff gets things pretty much right, so while there may be small variances between turntables and arms of a certain quality, I would not expect them to be vast. The improvement with the Helius is more and different than I expected. I have a few SME 309s,a 345 and a IV, so I wanted to try something different, got it at a good price, and I think the engineering theory behind Helius bearings is sound and unique. Plus, I have more tables than high end arms. With a Sota, for instance, once you have an armboard/tonearm/cartridge set up, you can switch out the entire assembly in a couple of minutes and its ready to go. So, if the mood strikes me, I can just change things out for a few months of slightly different sound.