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Sourcing new motor for SOTA turntable?

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Sourcing new motor for SOTA turntable?

Postby soundbug1 » 09 May 2012 23:45

Anyone found a cost effective source for a replacement motor for a S O T A turntable?

Motors tend to be cheap to buy but this crap company has the audacity to charge $500 for one. It's the old Pabst motor I need to replace.

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Re: Sourcing new motor for SOTA turntable?

Postby soundbug1 » 10 May 2012 00:04

Quick correction...$755 dollars for a motor. !!!!!
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Re: Sourcing new motor for SOTA turntable?

Postby duficity » 10 May 2012 01:37

I too am surprised at the cost of a new Sapphire motor, 3 times the cost of the Comet, Have you asked what replacement entails, such as a new power supply perhaps. I own and have worked on a number of Sotas, and have gotten great service from Donna, even a few freebies. Maybe contact her and see if they have one around. I would look at my Cosmos IV, but I think it is a different motor than the Sapphire. There are a couple of parts Sotas for sale on Ebay now.
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Re: Sourcing new motor for SOTA turntable?

Postby soundbug1 » 10 May 2012 01:56

I have a difficult time believing that replacement motors need to run $750 dollars on a table worth slightly more than half that (used retail). Motors are generally not expensive and I'd be VERY surprised if S O T A was using something that was proprietary and made especially for them.

The fact that you could sell something to your customers with a FLAWED motor and then not offer a cost effective replacement is just asinine especially when the solution costs more than a high quality turntable (different brand) in its entirety. It does a lot to damage a reputation especially considering the high number of vintage and often much OLDER turntables available that have NEVER needed a motor replacement. It suggests that the engineering is not quite worthy of the praise these turntables receive and the unavailability of specs suggests that S O T A has more concern for their wallets than for their products and customers.

The most expensive turntable motor I've ever purchased was $150. $750 is FAR outside the realm of what most would consider reasonable.
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Re: Sourcing new motor for SOTA turntable?

Postby audiopile » 10 May 2012 04:45

Not sure what the cause of this is - but the Pabst motor has not been available for any of the turntables that used it for 10 ? maybe 15 years.This is a problem for SOTA - but they are not alone. Does anyone know what the reason this quit excellent motor disappeared ?
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Re: Sourcing new motor for SOTA turntable?

Postby duficity » 10 May 2012 12:58

Soundbug1
Quite a harsh posting with so little information. I have had nothing but good results and experience with SOTA over the years and its nice to have a manufacturer that will update its product from the first one ever made to the present, especially when the current owners were not involved in the business back when the Sapphire Series III was made and sold.
You dont say what is wrong with your motor, or what model and series you are dealing with. The older models used a 24vdc motor with a small power supply. I believe the newer Sapphires use a different voltage and therefore a different power supply, so just replacing the motor wont bring it up to new spec. Oracle ran into theh same problem with supply of 24vdc Pabst motors and had to switch a few times to get to their current vac motor. Obviously, most turntable manufacturers dont make their own motors and are at the mercy of their suppliers.
I have owned more that a half dozen Sotas over the years, and have never had a motor problem. Those tables were as much as 25 years old, so I dont think this is a SOTA or Pabst problem.
What evidence do you have that the SOTA motor is FLAWED, as you claim. Are you saying you bought this table directly from SOTA and they are not honoring a warranty? Or are you disgruntled because you bought a used table from someone that doesnt work, and now blame SOTA. More info needed before you disparage a long time quality turntable manufacturer.
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Re: Sourcing new motor for SOTA turntable?

Postby soundbug1 » 11 May 2012 23:39

A good manufacturer supplies parts for their products. McIntosh for example. You can still get most all parts for vintage McIntosh products...where McIntosh can't supply them, they are available sourced from private suppliers.

The problems associate with the Pabst motor are GREATLY exampled online through he MANY people looking for replacements. This isn't something imagined. The motor was undersized for the massive platter and didnt have nearly the torque required to get the platter up to speed without generating a LOT of heat. I've owned 4 SOTAS. At minimum...each needed new suspension springs. I've owned over 50 AR's. Never needed to replace a spring in one. On the one occasion I needed to replace an AR motor it was easily sourced and cost $50...NEW.

CLEARLY...the turntables are over engineered in plinth weight due to the fact that the suspension wears out far to quickly and clearly to me, the undersized Pabst motor WAS a definite problem. The FACT that SOTA supplies no drop in replacement or is WILLING to offer direction in their sourcing...only to state that you must rebuild the entire power supply to accommodate a different motor/design...is a load of crap directed at generating profit over providing reasonable service to previous products and accommodating past customers. Having a different ownership group means little to me besides providing a convenient excuse to tell owners of turntables that are 25 years old that they can take a hike...and for that matter...a 25 year old belt driven turntable really shouldn't be needing the kind of service and attention that SOTA's do. As a repair person, I can provide hundreds of examples of high end turntables that have and will last longer than 25 years.

I'm not sure what the used versus new/warranty refers to. Are you suggesting that reputable companies should not be held accountable for the poor engineering of their past (and current) products and lousy customer service? If you are...I don't agree. A company with SOTA's written and reviewed reputation could do FAR better.

I think I've got all the information as well as experience in repair/service and sales that I need to make these statements and quite frankly don't need your approval to do so...Who the hell are you?
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Re: Sourcing new motor for SOTA turntable?

Postby soundbug1 » 11 May 2012 23:55

I would like to add...that as a repair person and someone who has at his own expense, had items manufactured for items who's companies no longer exist, I can EMPHATICALLY state that getting something made is QUITE easy and cost effective to do when done so in quantity. I've had hundreds of transformers wound for late model Dynaco PAS 4 tube preamps manufactured to replace the undersized originals (so I could repair and sell the hundreds of defective units I bought from Dynaco in the early 2000's). I currently have bulbs manufactured in Germany to be drop in replacements for the Philips 212 Electronic turntable which I order 1000 at a time.

I've had Dynaco ST 70 cages reproduced when no one else was doing it and currently...by hand, build replacement cables for Empire 598 turntables.

Providing service for older products is something that someone WANTS to do and when done in quantity...is quite easy. The real question is...if the PABST motor was NOT a problem and if the Pabst company is STILL in business (which they are), then why is SOTA not ordering the motors? Making something that was once made is FAR easier than re-engineering something new. I'd find it very difficult to believe that SOTA could not be supplying these motors in better form either from Pabst or another supplier.

Their right to protect intellectual property is understood...but when you can't even get specs from them in order to source it out yourself AND the only answer is a $750 job...someone needs to call "Bullshit".
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Re: Sourcing new motor for SOTA turntable?

Postby analogaudio » 12 May 2012 00:02

it is ok, this will sort itself out, the second hand market value of old used SOTA TTs will drop to reflect the unavailability of service support at affordable cost.
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Re: Sourcing new motor for SOTA turntable?

Postby audiopile » 12 May 2012 01:05

Based on the number of manufacturers who used Pabst motors quit successfully as far as I can tell ? And can't get replacements for these now - I'm not sure that this is SOTA's fault ? I'm going back to my original question - does anyone know why this relatively ubiquitous belt drive motor just disappeared some years ago ? I'm assuming that Pabst disco'd it (them?). I know I've sacrificed a H-K in order to repair a older Oracle - wouldn't have done that if I could get the original motor.
As far as suspension failures go - I own and use both a 1979 manufactured. LP-12 and a TD-125-II that's a little older than that.Any time I'm buying OLD suspended tables - I anticipate that the suspensions may well need some work- the 125 required all three springs replaced .My concern with newer suspended tables is "were they ever shipped by either the uncaring or stupid?". I really like the sound out of the more massive suspended tables like the SOTA's and old school Thorens - but over time they are going to require some (possibly extensive) service and parts replacement.
Not really wanting to start some sort of slagging contest - but as someone who has repaired a few dozen AR turntables and a handful of SOTA's over the years - it seems sorta weird to compare parts from the two (very successful) designs.
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Re: Sourcing new motor for SOTA turntable?

Postby duficity » 12 May 2012 13:12

Soundbug1
The SOTA company of today, is not the SOTA company of the 80s which distributed through Sumiko. The new owners did not buy the old SOTA's liabilities, just the name and design. They had no obligation whatsoever to service or warranty the pre-buyout tables. Go talk to Sumiko if you have a problem with one of the tables they made and sold. The fact that the new SOTA will even service something they didnt produce or sell is a testament to their belief in the inherent value of their products. Oracle is in the same boat. They bought the company in the 90s, and while they can service older tables, they dont have to.
To give an example of a company that I dont believe stands behind their product, or at least keeps spare parts, I tried to order a new face plate from Simaudio for an LP5.3. It has been out of production for less than 2 years. My answer was, no parts. The Simaudio cost as much as a refurbished Sota.

I dont know what you are talking about with Sota stating that you must replace the entire power supply. If you want to bring it up to current specs, then yes, you need to use the current product. They have no obligation whatsoever to stock parts for something they didnt build or sell. See Fletcher or Sumiko.

So, why not take your great expertise and tap into this market for all these non functioning Pabst motors and find or build a new one. Sounds like a profitable business to me. Thats not the business SOTA is in.

Analogaudio,
While I can hope the price comes down so I can buy a few more SOTAs, how many manufacturers of turnables have an upgrade path that can take a 30 year old table up through their top of the line, and even take your old one in on trade if you want. Their refurbished tables are a true bargain in high end turntables.
And again, I have never had a problem with any of my SOTA motors, even on my Series I, black top model. Or with my multiple Oracle Delphi IIs and Alexandrias that also use a pabst 24vdc motor.
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Re: Sourcing new motor for SOTA turntable?

Postby Chris Angel » 05 Jun 2012 17:13

This is a bit of a dead horse by now; we have two opposing views of what customer service should be required of companies like SOTA.

On one hand duficity thinks companies like SOTA should be given a pass when they buy an old high end name and produce new high end products. Anything produced before their takeover they are not responsible for. Any service they extend to those older products is by their grace as they have no obligation what so ever to do anything at all.
I have a couple of problems with this. Outside audio equipment I know of companies who regularly use Canadian bankruptcy laws to avoid past liabilities, stiff suppliers and escape some taxes. Others regularly go bankrupt then buyout the company within the same family or ownership group. These usually follow a 6-8 year cycle, often in business memories are short, but not mine.

If these models have not been applied yet to an audio company they will. When a high end company is bought and new high end products are offered, obviously the new company is building on the heritage of the old. Otherwise pick a new name and enter the market.
According to duficity the new owners while capitalizing on the reputation of the old owe nothing in service continuity to owners of the older products. If this is the case the new owners should be compelled to state up front that they are under no legal obligation to do so and that they will not do so. It would also be helpful if they stated which designs or aspects of the heritage they intend to emulate.
No company will do this though because they want you to assume continuity. They just don't want to provide such service because it might not be profitable (debatable).

On the other hand we have soundbug1 who apparently thinks if such companies capitalize on the original companies reputation for quality & service, they have an obligation to previous buyers to continue providing such unless otherwise noted. As a follow up soundbug1 has demonstrated how a one man show can do the equivalent and do so profitably. This takes skill but I have done similar and I know many others who are equally as capable in this regard.
The lack of profitability / cost of providing such customer service is therefore highly questionable. One good employee who's contribution to profits far outpaces the cost of their employment is likely all it would take. One employee (who likely generates a profit) and you keep service continuity and boost the reputation of the company tremendously.

The alternative as accidentally illustrated by duficity is Simaudio telling him "no parts" after less than 2 years out of production. His point was by comparison SOTA's service is great.
I don't see it that way; to me Simaudio's service is so awful I would actively discourage people from buying their products. SOTA on the other hand needs to upgrade their service to the level a company with it's heritage should have. It would not be difficult to fix at all. One good employee is all it would take.

Lastly please don't settle for garbage customer service, if it is bad complain loud, complain often and complain on line. Too many companies today are run by people who graduated prepared, ready, willing and able to be unethical in their personal business interactions, and in creating company policies. Unfortunately it appears they were not taught the flip side. They will not be honoured by their employees or trusted by their customers. With few exceptions each will disappear when a more ethical hence more trustworthy substitute appears. Supporting quality service helps put people back to work (as long as its not outsourced). I have seen an erosion of such quality service over the last 10-15 years. It seemed to me to start with the software industry and has spread from there. It does not have to continue and it should not.
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source for Pabst motor?

Postby audiopile » 06 Jun 2012 17:28

I've looked ( not real recently) for a source for replacement Pabst TT motors and haven't found one ? I can see why with the inherent problems with some arms and some cartridges picking up some noise from these motors - the switch to DC motors makes sense. So -while these Pabst motors do fail ( to my sorrow) - not real often.Two things seem to be the case here: 1.) Pabst doesn't make this motor anymore - apparently hasn't made them in many years ? 2.) Whatever stock of replacements SOTA had is exhausted ( some time ago).
I've kluged together both mechanical and electrical parts to keep things working -but building a motor from scratch is clearly beyond my talents - why should SOTA be expected to make the significant investment required to design and either manufacture themselves or get manufactured for them a Pabst type motor ?Now - if this is a part that is still available from Pabst or their distributors/successors - that's a entirely different proposition and SOTA should stock these to repair their older turntables.Again - I've looked -I can't find a source for these motors - if someone knows of a source PLEASE post it.Or even something that could be a reasonable "drop in" replacement.
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Re: Sourcing new motor for SOTA turntable?

Postby duficity » 06 Jun 2012 19:33

Chris,
Sota, the company as it exists now, is essentially a husband and wife operation. Wife handles paperwork, husband is a furniture builder who decided to build turntables. As I understand it, in the early 90s, the then Sota and Sumiko, its distributor, decided to stop making the turntables. Husband and Wife saw an opportunity to start a business in something they love and purchased the name and basic design from the original owners. They then proceeded to redesign both the internals and externals and offer additional models. Because the basic footprint size of the Sota has not changed, they can gut older models and put new internals into an existing Sota, saving the customer the cost of the plinth, which is considerable. They didnt buy a bankrupt company for pennies on the dollar, nor did they bankrupt a company, screw suppliers and keep the profitable pieces.

As a Canadian, like me, think of Oracle, who also went out of business in the late 80s and was resurrected by the founders nephew, jacques. May be his brother. But in any case, they are clear that they are not the same company, and that the new Oracle has no obligation for the old Oracle. However, because the footprint and design principal remains, the old ones can be retrofited to almost current standards.

Chris, I guess you think it is better that these companies just died, and their designs disappeared and left their owners without any support, and that the new Sota and Oracle used a different name and design. You seem to think that just because they bought a name and design, that obligates them to fix all these tables they did not build, do not have parts for and did not profit from. I mean really, if there are no parts, there are no parts. They didnt cause that situation, and now you want to chastise them for making any attempt to offer customers some means of salvaging their turntables.

There are plenty of examples of large and small audio companies ripping off customers. Oracle and Sota are not such examples. Go try and find parts for dozens of British turnables made in the 70s and 80s. Ask Lnn what it cost for a motor upgrade. As much as you paid for the table in the first place. Even VPI stopped supporting their HW19 series, a model that was a contemporary of the Oracle and Sota that the OP is trying to fix. How much does VPI charge for a power supply or SAMA motor?
This is a low volume business. Anyone that thinks SOTA's owners are getting rich quick is delusional. SOTA is well regarded as the most cost effective means of obtaining high end sound. Their $7500 Cosmos IV is compared to tables costing over $30,000.00. They could just charge that much and justify it by their competition. But they dont, because they know what their costs are, and they are in it for the long term. The current Sota has been around for more than 20 years. Who would have though that starting a turntable company in the digital 90s was a good idea or risk. This is the kind of company that North America was built on. Building a better mousetrap at reasonable prices.
I dont have a financial interest in any of these companies, but I do appreciate what they stand for.
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Re: Sourcing new motor for SOTA turntable?

Postby KentT » 17 Jun 2012 14:28

From what I understand, this is a Papst issue who no longer make turntable motors. SOTA is at the mercy of their suppliers. So, don't be too hard on SOTA. But it would be nice to see a plug and play Sota motor upgrade which would work as a package. As the turntable is otherwise very nice.
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