Two years ago, I wrote a little diddy on why to not get into vinyl (turntables and records) playback. In fact, it's stickied here:. Between that time and now, I've also been encouraging people behind the scenes to get into vinyl. So what gives? What's up with the contradictions? The fact is, there is no contradiction. It's a matter of where you are, what you are willing to deal with, and what your expectations are. If most of the music that you listen to is modern using digital chains, then the the reason to get into vinyl is one of curiosity, novelty, and with more exposure, the realization of one's ability to tweak the sound, a lot for free. I will quote @Armaegis: I think part of it is that it's easier for newbies to grasp the tweakiness of analog. You can see and feel it, and there's great satisfaction in that. Plus there's the psychosomatic connection; you get to change something physical, and you think it sounds better. Digital is still magical pixie dust for all intents and purposes, and there's a greater disconnect. Or for non-newbies switching over from digital, well, maybe they ran out of things to realistically/financially tweak in the digital realm without breaking the bank... but Analog? well when you're starting from ground up, it's easier to get started into a new hobby when it's cheap, until you climb the ladder again. I know quite a few people who still subscribe to vinyl playback even with modern "DDA" recordings, not only for the presentation of vinyl playback, but also because they can easy tweak the presentation of playback on a single platform more than any one DAC, from record to record even! Others will have a record player handy because the record will be differently mastered from the CD (or stream). Not necessarily better, but different does offer us more choice. Now if we are willing to explore the immense catalog of recorded music from the 1950s to the 1980s, then there could be huge sonic advantages over digital. Full analog chains may have analog errors, but they won't have the quantization errors of digital (including the AD) and associated additional circuitry chains of both AD and DA. I know someone locally who picked up one of these cheap Drop tables, was flabbergasted, and immediately sought out the local used record stores. I don't think everyone will have this reaction because it depends upon where we are in the hobby. Vinyl is full of surface noise, ticks, pops, scratches. These things could be hard for someone used to digital to overlook. Lower cost entry level players will suffer on the low-end, could suffer from horrible wow and flutter, or many other ailments. This is why I wrote the article two years ago warning people of getting into vinyl, hoping to set proper expectations. Although I have to say that some of these latest entry level record players from the likes Audio Technica are pretty solid - far better than the vinyl dark ages when Pro-Ject seemed like the only entry level choice. Getting back on topic, this person who picked up the Drop table was at the point where he understood that "music lived in the mids", so he could overlook the problems on the low-end on this table. At the end of the day, if one is willing to deal with the manual aspects of vinyl playback, an entry level table today with a modest cartridge upgrade has the potential to beat the pants of any DAC in the mids and the highs, particularly if the record is AAA, that is recorded, mixed, and mastered through a fully analog chain. Any worries about impermanence or the fragility of records is unfounded. My most worn copy of Emmylou Harris - Quarter Moon in Ten Cent Town from 1977 sounds better than any digital version from any DAC. Anyway, all I wanted to say is that there are reasons for vinyl and even more reasons for not vinyl. Those who have reasons for not vinyl should turn the page or click the back-button. -- The BL-91 is a belt-driven table and as such not my initial intention. I had originally wanted a direct drive table. I chose Micro Seiki because of what I perceived as value after studying their designs and noting the poor values of used tables on the 'gon. No one seems to know that Micro Seiki tables are, so I guess that's a good thing. This particular BL-91 caught by eye because of the substantial platter, the copper plate record mat, and the SAEC 407/23 tonearm. The wide band as the drive belt reminded me of what I did on my Classic 4 where I ran three belts to get a more focused sound closer to direct drive. After my experience with the Ikeda tonearm, I felt the 9" SAEC would give me the drive, the heft, which the 12" VPI unipivot arm on my Classic 4 lacked. The long unipivot arm has certain strengths: smooth sailing, fluidity, refinement, grandeur. But drive, boldness, heft - it didn't do these. Different not better. The Ikeda arm on the BL-91? Now that would interesting. Heck, maybe the longer Ikeda arm as a complement to the shorter one the Classic 4 (if I can figure out how to mount it on the BL-31). The SAEC 407/23 isn't in the same class as the Ikeda IT-345, but knowing that these were often paired with SPU cartridges back in the day, I figured it would do the job with the low-compliance DL-103 - which it does. I've got an SPU on order from overseas, but I have no idea when I will receive it. I noted that the Micro Seiki BL-91 and VPI Classic tables have some similarities. Both have heavy plinths, heavy platters, a tight coupling of the arm onto a metal mounting plate screwed to the plinth (as opposed to a wood or acrylic armboard, which in turn is coupled to the plinth). The difference is that the Micro Seiki motor mount has much more play and the VPI goes full brute force with respect to material and mass. While light a tap on the Classic 4 barely or if at all registers on the speakers, they do a little bit on the Micro Seiki. Still, what Micro Seiki pulled off in the early 80s was ahead of its time, considering that Toyotas sucked back then. The Micro Seiki is about refinement vs. brute force. I believe the motor is servo-controlled. The mounting plate appears to be steel. The drive belt or band, feels like a very high-tolerance piece manufactured to a precise thickness. Here's a photo of the bearing shaft. The platter is machined to fit over the tapered area. I'll take a look at the bearings when I get a chance, but after all these years, I don't think anything is off given my recordings with RPM Speed app. The little control panel is a solid industrial design. We have a simple on/off and 33/45 switch with a dial for fine speed adjust. The plates hide the motor shaft, which is a nice design. The sound of the BL-91 is vintage, but good vintage. It's far cry from the mostly plastic plinth mid-range turntables from the likes of Technics and Sony that my high-school friends and I owned back then. I think the Cu-180 copper mat moves the sound a bit more toward the modern direction with clearer transients, as does the off-brand center weight I'm using. At the end of the day, I'm happy with what it does and where it fits. I have a modern sounding table with a long unipivot arm and a short heavy arm. This vintage sounding table with some modern sensibilities provides a great compliment. Now I just need a Garrard right? Actually, I'm fine, I will have my hands busy with a lot to tweak and a lot to play with in the next year or so.