Post your turntable setup...can't get enough of those spinners!

Discussion in 'Vinyl Nutjob World: Turntable and Related Gear' started by shaizada, Sep 28, 2015.

  1. bazelio

    bazelio Friend

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    Thanks. It seems "softness" is a common attribute of the "less expensive" suspended designs? I've heard the same of the Kuzma Stabi / Stabi Reference for example, which is really only in the "less expensive" category when you start considering used IMO. Though, being only one element of the overall system, to what extent do you see cartridge selection being able to compensate for this?

    I'm going to take @drfindley 's old Classic 3 off his hands shortly, and I'm certain it'll make me very happy for years to come. But the engineer in me just can't help being absolutely fascinated by the design elements of the suspended plinths.
     
  2. MuppetFace

    MuppetFace Sultana of Seafoam Green - Moderator

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    These days I am increasingly of the mind that a turntable and tonearm should be treated as a singular whole: the SME tables with their own arms, Kuzma with theirs, tables from Thales and AMG which are built around specific arms, the higher end Basis that heavy-duty mounts the Super Arm, the hotrod TNT that directly mounts the arm, and even crazy ass Well Tempered with their golf balls lmao.

    Rolling tonearms and upgrading can frequently produce drastic improvements, but you really have to carefully dial things in, and how securely a tone arm is mounted and how well calibrated it is should not be underestimated.

    You'd be surprised how many people buy tonearms that cost as much as their table itself and then don't even properly install them. Or alternatively, who buy the most expensive table they can but the cheapest arm they can find.

    Those who are new to TTs should definitely budget for a good tonearm. I don't wanna be too specific and say "40% of the table" cuz it really depends. But it shouldn't be an afterthought, and definitely consider packages: turntables where the designer has paired it with one of their own arms. It might seem like a ploy to get more money, but they often design the two with each other in mind.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2016
  3. Azteca

    Azteca Friend

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    That looks great but I'm just thinking about what happens when that touchscreen or the computer behind it dies.
     
  4. MuppetFace

    MuppetFace Sultana of Seafoam Green - Moderator

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    A lot of high end TTs use computers these days to monitor and regulate speed stability. The downside is yes, it's something more to potentially go wrong (granted a touch screen is easier to fix than a speed stabilizer).

    Usually a manufacturer of high end decks has a network of dealers who are trained to set the turntable up in your home. I imagine they come to your house to replace the parts or, worse case scenario, pack it up and ship it off for a repair.
     
  5. MuppetFace

    MuppetFace Sultana of Seafoam Green - Moderator

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    Nice! I heard the Schick arm with a Lenco idler drive in an OMA slate plinth, and it sounded really good!
     
  6. Chris1967

    Chris1967 Friend

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    Hi MuppetFace!!

    Have you considered a cheaper alternative such an Audio Grail Garrard 401, combined with your existing Kuzma 4point and good a voltage regulator?

    You know this is something that i considered a while back, but my budget never could stretch that far. This is a combination that i listen to often (New old stock late Garrard 401, Custon CNC Birch Plint, Kuzma 4point, ZYX R1000 Airy 3 {among others}, LencoHeaven Voltage/Speed regulator, on an 100Kg custom made turntable stand), and this thing sounds absolutely sublime.

    I have to be content with my Lenco, but if i had the funds i would look no further than the above.

    I have heard many of the magnificent tables mentioned in this thread, but the value for money and the pure musical performance of this setup is unparalleled.

    Just my 2 thoughts maybe biased by my budget (if you can call "budget" my recommendation) orientated mind (and pocket), yet this could save you some money and add a lot of music pleasure.

    Happy listening!! \/
     
  7. insidious meme

    insidious meme Ambivalent Kumquat

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    Just a quick non glamour shot of my turntable in action. This is it's temporary home until I get a new rack. And also to show @shaizada that his efforts weren't in vain.

    Denon 103r cart -> Rega RP6 turntable

    (Excuse the mess of cords in front.)
     
  8. bazelio

    bazelio Friend

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    @brencho babes' spinner and associated gear from the meet. Beautiful sound, broheim!

    [​IMG]
     
  9. brencho

    brencho Friend

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    @bazelio thanks brohamus, glad folks got to listen and not to beat a dead horse but thanks @drfindley @shaizada @Marvey for continuous advice and spiritual guidance, and the nontrivial task of taking everything down there and setting it up!
     
  10. MuppetFace

    MuppetFace Sultana of Seafoam Green - Moderator

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    I've heard quite a few modified idlers and direct drives of yore. I actually prefer some of the modified Lencos compared to the Garrards, though the Shindo Garrard really is special in its own way. It would probably come down to a modified Lenco or, more likely, a modified SP10, as those old broadcast decks are really something else.

    The best results I've heard are those using slate plinths. The ones from OMA are really spendy, but daaaaang do they sound nice.

    It's something I'm always considering, having advocated modified vintage idlers and DD since back in the days of Changstar.
     
  11. Chris1967

    Chris1967 Friend

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    As far as i know the brake was not removed and the voltage has not dropped. It is purely for voltage stabilization, but i can find out for you from the friend that owns the setup.

    On my Lenco i haven't tried it yet (i have to build it first, i have the board but don't have the time to do the soldering) but in my case it will have voltage drop.

    On a hunch (i have no experience with the Eagle) i wouldn't use it on an idler.
     
  12. Chris1967

    Chris1967 Friend

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    I have two Lencos, the one with birch plinth, and the other (the bigger one i posted photos here) has a sandwich of marine ply and mdf. A friend of mine (that helped me with the construction of the larger plinth) has a very heavy slate plinth. On various auditions it has been evident that the difference in sound is definitely there, being that the slate plinth sounds a little flatter (more accurate?) but the wooden plinths sound more musical (maybe some slight mid frequency boost). This test obviously isn't very accurate because not the same cartridges were used and the tables where not on the same systems and also not on similar stands.

    Despite this i have a feeling that our subjective findings are true, and that the slate is more CD accuracy sounding, while the different woods are less flat but more musical (a term i use not knowing exactly how to describe the musicality i hear).

    Jean Nantais definitely believes this also, and does his tables from a sandwich of birch(?) encased in solid wood and veneered.

    Maybe it is a personal taste thing, but i prefer the wood combinations in the end of the day.

    Another point i would like to add is that the Garrard needs no modification to the actual deck, and due to the top plate heavy and rigid construction is very easy to place in a plinth.

    The Lencos on the other hand need some modification to sound their best, such as: bearing modification or change to an aftermarket one, additional rigidity to the top plate via various means, and much attention to the motor, which although very significant not on par with that of the Garrard.

    A positive thing about the Lencos is that they are still quite cheap to acquire, although this is rapidly changing.

    I have very limited experience with the SP10, only in shows for very limited time. Surely the least finicky deck off all, if it works right it works superbly, end of story.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2016
  13. Wfojas

    Wfojas Friend

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    @MuppetFace What about phono stage/cart compatiblity? I know of cart/arm compliance and mass considerations, would be interested in reading your experiences on matches you feel worked really well.
     
  14. MuppetFace

    MuppetFace Sultana of Seafoam Green - Moderator

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    I tend to be a fan of heavier (and longer) tonearms and higher mass, low compliance cartridges. In a relative sense, phono stages is one area of turntable ecology with which I'm still somewhat inexperienced: my memory is just not reliable enough to keep track of all the various models and cartridge pairings I've heard over the years. I tend to cheat and ask the designers what they were using primarily when they developed their tonearms.

    One standout from memory was the Miyajima cartridges with OMA's phono stages and the Frank Schroeder tonearms. Match made in analog heaven.

    The Eddie Current phono was nice at its price point, and I remember liking it with a wide array of things. I liked the Lamm phono pre when I tried it in my Kuzma / ZYX system. The Doshi phono stage was also quite nice with a wide array of low output MC cartridges.

    Generally low output MC cartridges sound best in my experience, but there are some high output / medium output cartridges like the moving iron designs from Soundsmith that are quite good.

    I've also toyed with the idea of strain gauge cartridge systems now and then. Results have always been a mixed bag for me, sometimes sounding really impressive (a revelation of a whole 'nother way of doing things, like when I heard e-stats for the first time). Other times they've been less than stellar. As in so many cases, I think it really depends on implementation.
     
  15. Wfojas

    Wfojas Friend

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    Would you recall where the Schroeder's were mounted? Just casting around for synergistic setups.
     
  16. MuppetFace

    MuppetFace Sultana of Seafoam Green - Moderator

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    @Wfojas

    The Schroeders were used on a modified Lenco using the OMA slate plinth, as well as another modded Lenco that used a wooden one. I've also heard one on the sadly out-of-production Artemis Labs SA-1 turntable with the matching Artemis Labs phono stage.

    The SA-1 was a cool TT....
     
  17. MuppetFace

    MuppetFace Sultana of Seafoam Green - Moderator

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    I'm thinking I should stop cluttering this thread with my musings on TT design and reports of my on-going upgrade quest. Will probably make a new thread for that soon, for those who are actually interested in reading about it.

    On that note, I'll make this my "final report" here for the time being. I got a chance to audition a few high-end decks this past week, along with a few *really* high-end decks.

    First off the NVS: what a machine. This has to be one of the sexiest looking turntables of all time. Reminds me of the Goldmund reference, only with more of a space-age look. Clean. Simple, yet lavish construction. I vastly prefer its aesthetics to something like the Air Force 1. But that's just me.

    Without a doubt, the NVS + Telos + MC Anna combo is one of the nicest sources I've heard, anywhere, in any system. The biggest strength was flawless speed stability, and thus pitch and timing. I'd actually say---for my preferences---this combo was tied more or less with the Basis Inspiration + Superarm 9 + My Sonic Lab Eminent, which I had hitherto considered THE closest to master tapes I've heard in vinyl playback. The two systems are very different, especially given that the Inspiration has vacuum hold, sophisticated suspension AND mass, and is belt driven. Also the Inspiration has one of the best non linear tracking tonearms ever conceived IMHO which is mounted more securely to the chassis than anything I've ever seen. The Telos with its base was certainly exquisite, but the Superarm 9 was more or less designed to be ONE with the Inspiration, and you guys know how I feel about the tonearm and table being seen as a singular body.

    Where the NVS outshines the Basis is in PRaT, no doubt due to the direct drive. It's more or less on par with the Grand Prix Monaco, but the sense of weight and emotional depth on the NVS is in a whole 'nother realm. It's up there with the Inspiration for sure. I'd say the Inspiration and Superarm 9 still have the leg up on clarity, imaging, and extracting every last ounce of detail from the grooves. But it's close. Really close. In fact I'm not sure I could declare either an outright victor overall. I just know that if I were to spend that kind of money on a source, it would very likely come down to the NVS or the Inspiration.

    That being said, allow me to lavish praise on two substantially less expensive combos: the AMG V12 and the Thales TTT Compact (the one with the chopsticks tonearm). These [relatively] compact and very handsome tables surprised me with just how powerful they sounded. Especially the Thales with its bizarre tonearm, around which the table was apparently designed. Looking at the size of this thing, you simply wouldn't expect it to have the weighty sound of a humongous mass loaded design. And it doesn't. Not entirely. But wow does it come close! It also runs off a battery, a trick that used to be all the rage with those Red Wine Audio amps, but one which makes sense for a turntable the more you think about it. Mains power is often dirty and can be inconsistent, and for a turntable that can manifest in audible dips in performance. The battery is one possible solution to safeguard against this, without having to go all out investing in multi-$k power conditioners with special magic crystals or whatever.

    The chopsticks tonearm is kinda silly looking, but the theory behind it is rather interesting. Thales, primarily a tonearm manufacturer, has been obsessed with trying to harness the benefits of linear tracking without all the cumbersome issues of running a linear tracking solution. I honestly have no idea if their tonearms come close to achieving their design goals, but the Simplicity did perform quite well one the few occasions I've seen it. This latest was no exception.

    TBH if someone were to ask me if linear tracking was worth the fuss, I'd be inclined to say no. Yet I still recognize the benefits of it. Right now the only tables I'd bother with (aside from the IMO overpriced Walker stuff) are Bergmann's. Again, you get a table and tonearm engineered together, both using the air bearing approach. The Kuzma LT is nice but pretty damn hard to setup from what I've seen, and honestly I'd be more inclined to take the 14" 4Point over it now.

    But I digress.

    The AMG V12 has been on my radar for some time, and finally getting to see it in person---in a system I'm somewhat familiar with---has made all the difference. Before it just seemed like another overhyped FOTM deck in a sea of similarly priced turntables, but up close you really get a sense of the craftsmanship involved in this thing. Like, SME and Basis level craftsmanship. The platter is a lot heftier than I assumed it would be from pictures alone; it weighs about as much as the entire Thales TTT if I'm not mistaken. The bundled tonearm is an AMG design and rests on a very solid foundation, and both it and the platter are coupled to a plinth-but-not-exactly-a-plinth. It's a design that distills the essence of what a turntable is into a minimalist and visually pleasing arrangement. Personally I prefer it without the optional wood trim.

    Sound-wise, the AMG was exceptional at hiding its presence. Nearly on the level of significantly higher cost tables in terms of transparency. Reminded me of the SME tables to some extent. This lack of distinguishing characteristics made those of the particular cartridge stand out even more to me than I'm used to at the time; switching between a Benz and much pricier Clearaudio Statement, for instance, resulted in an even bigger improvement than I experienced with the Clearaudio table that was also present. Compared to that table, music from the AMG just sounded so much more lifelike and effortless when paired with the Statement cartridge.

    Important to note that very expensive, tricked out vintage field coil speakers were being used, and that could have a lot to do with the wow factor. I actually came away wanting those speakers more than the source, but there's no question in my mind that the AMG V12 belongs on a "must audition" list for anyone searching for a TT in that price range. Same with the Thales.

    I could own either and be perfectly happy. Especially the Thales which I felt was priced nicely and complemented my Stabi Reference 2 well. If I went the AMG route I'd probably find it harder to justify keeping my current TT.

    Of course, the Inspiration and NVS exist, and in a world of audio nervousa my mind keeps gravitating back to them. Their price with respective tonearms is well beyond the range of "justifiable to myself" however. Even with the thousands of reasons for taking the plunge I've got in the other room. Large, disc-shaped reasons.

    Vinyl reasons.
     
  18. numbersixx

    numbersixx Friend

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    Pioneer PL-570 with a Denon DL-103R cart
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    The turntable is actually going into the Sansui AU-D907 which has a MC input.
     
  19. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Well, I'm a bit in shock. I wasn't expecting this but Music Direct was offering a one-two punch I could not refuse: An interest-free financing deal and a Black Friday sale on a special edition VPI Classic 2. This version comes with the metal arm from the Classic 3, not a 3D-printed one, a ceramic coated platter, and an isolation clamp. It's currently $2,999 at Music Direct with free shipping. I'm going to have to sell some stuff as a result of getting this but it will be worth it.

    Since this is the photos thread, here's a photo:

    [​IMG]

    They're shipping it out on Friday; I'll probably have it next week. Going to pop my Denon DL-103R cartridge onto it. This will probably be the last turntable I ever buy (which is nice as it's also only the second turntable I've ever bought).
     
  20. dmckean44

    dmckean44 In a Sherwood S6040CP relationship

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    Highly modded Techie 1200, Zu DL-103R and Tavish Vintage 6SL7 phono
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