I am just in the process of upgrading my turntable. My system as it stands is a Pro-ject Xperience plus ortofon rondo blue, black cube SE phono stage, Vincent SV-234 amp(thats a solid state model), Vienna Accoustic Bethoven Grand speakers with QED genesis silver spiral cables.
The turntable is very good at its price level, but since i changed the amp and speakers early this year I can hear the limitations of the deck, and of course it is always good to have more of a good thing!
I have read many reviews recently and narrowed my choice down to a few for audition. So far I have listened to the Gyrodec, the Orbe and also the Avid Diva. Out of these I have pretty much made my mind up to go for a Gyrodec (in black)as being the right sort of sound i am after and the best value for money. Interestingly I auditioned a gyrodec and orbe back-to-back with exactly the same arm / cartridge (thanks to the guys at Walrus systems) and whilst it was evident that the orbe was better, it wasn't that much better that I thought it was worth double the money of the gyrodec.
I also have had a direct comparison between the avid diva and a gyrodec. The diva does sound nice and I can see how this might work well for some, but for me the bass is a bit too over-blown and I don't think it will work that well in my system.
So anyway, I am now clear on the deck but not quite so sure about the arm. My original thought was between a Technoarm, which would have been the cheapest arm choice with a good performance, or an SME 309, which although it would be twice the price seems to have been very well recommended for use on the gyrodec. Unfortunately I have not been able to audition the gyrodec /309 combination, but I would be prepared to go for this based on the various recommendations it has been given. The only curve ball is that yesterday one dealer recommended the new origin live zephyr as being a much better match with the added advantage of it being about £250 cheaper than the 309. The zephyr is a fairly new model and there doesn't seem to be much info around on it yet, and again I would be unlikely to get a demo on this before buying?
If it helps, the cartridge I will be using is probably going to be the ortofon cadenza bronze as I have been offered one at a difficult to refuse price 9although in the short term I may be using the rondo blue).
So the choices are:
1. Michell Technoarm - a good performar at the price and excellent value for money, but will it do full justice to a Cadenza Bronze?
2. SME 309 - almost a no brainer, but there have been a few who have criticised it as being too clinical (but that may not be a problem with the bronze as it has a slightly warm sound)
3. Origin Live Zephyr - bit of an unkown quantity. Could be a bargain, but there seems to be quite polarised views of OL products generally and not really sure if this is a good idea or not? I'm inclined to pass this over if I can't get a demo or get some input from someone who has used one.
Would be interested to here peoples views.