Schiit Sol Turntable Review - Episodic.

Discussion in 'Vinyl Nutjob World: Turntable and Related Gear' started by purr1n, Sep 10, 2019.

  1. tranq

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    I don't have any motor rattle, but I was suprised at how light it was.

    I find getting the belt on to be a PIA, but again I'm a noob.
     
  2. toddrhodes

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    Received my beta Sol this past Monday. Ran into a couple of hiccups that I'll detail below but beyond those, setup was actually quite simple. I think having read this thread in preparation for the setup helped, though.

    Of note, other tables I've owned, albeit not necessarily all that recently on some: ClearAudio Concept, VPI Classic 2, Music Hall MMF 7.1, George Merrill PolyTable Super12, and Pioneer PLX-1000. Subjectively, the MP-200 cart and Mani preamp I'm using on the Sol are quite inferior to what I paired those other tables with, but that just makes the Sol that much more impressive IMO. And the Mani is going to get swapped out soon. I'm getting noise with it that I simply cannot fix, but it's only problematic in quiet parts which is few and far between given the music I listen to most.

    So far, I'm very impressed, even with the couple issues I've encountered. Sound is big, wide, deep - it paints a vinyl soundstage very well. I'm very much reminded of the Super12 in terms of mechanical noise isolation, "blackground" and clarity of complex passages. I feel the Sol, so far, sits between the Classic 2 and the Super12 in terms of sonic performance. That is high praise, IMO.

    Issues - my power switch doesn't appear to work. Could be the cable that connects from the plinth to the motor but I've not tested that yet. I'm just plugging the motor up when I go to listen. Other issue is my VTA knob seems to be siezed. I can loosen or even fully remove the adjacent set screw and the knob doesn't turn in either direction. I can pull it out completely, even with the set screw tightened down. Thought that might be weird.

    The new belt is a bit of a paradox. At least on a freebie "RPM app" on my phone, the old belt presents better speed accuracy, but both of the old belts "wander" heavily on the platter. I've tried various motor heights. The new belt does not create that issue. That said, with either belt, I am thinking I hear some pitch irregularity on piano sustains. And I say this as a person who is absolutely NOT sensitive to pitch, usually. That's my only actual concern at this point but I think in time we'll see improvements available for speed accuracy, whether from Schiit or aftermarket.

    Long story short - unquestionably I prefer the Sol to the PLX-1000 it replaces. While the latter is speed accurate to a fault, it sounds mushy and imprecise by comparison, using the same cart and phono preamp for a direct comparison. I have a few reference tracks for bass guitar accuracy and the Sol just craps all over the PLX's cornflakes, in that regard. And like I said, when the music gets fast and complex, I feel like the Sol does a far better job unraveling the mess. Can't wait to move up the ladder a little bit on a phono preamp. But? If I didn't have this noise issue on the Mani, I honestly don't think I'd change anything.
     
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  3. tranq

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    What do you mean when you mean noise through Mani? Is mani putting hum or buzz into your system.
     
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  4. toddrhodes

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    Definitely an interference type of sound, and behavior. I've tried it with and without ground, in various locations, away from transformers/power supplies, but the noise persists. It's definitely ground-related. If I touch the tonearm on the table (or my old one), the noise increases. If I hold the ground lead from the Mani, the noise goes away. That would be a really awkward way to listen, though :)

    Nevertheless, I have a new-to-me phono stage on the way, hoping to see if it addresses the issue.
     
  5. toddrhodes

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    Forgot to mention - I have no obvious, or even slight (that I can tell) platter wobble.
     
  6. tranq

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    Ok, that sounds like the same interference I was getting from my mani. Flipping mine over so the feet were in the air solved that problem for me.

    I have a care package for Sol that arrived from Schiit on Tuesday, so I will be installing that this weekend.

    I will also be playing around with Mani this weekend. I'd rather not have to run the unit upside down, but who knows. Currently the Mani and Sol are plugged into the same power strip/outlet, and they are the only 2 things on that outlet. I will be playing around with where they are plugged in as well to see what kind of difference that makes.

    Question for you Sol owners out there. Is it common for your care packages to show signs of use when they arrive? My platter has obviously been used before, as you can see where the belt has left a stain on the platter, and the platter shaft where the bearing slides into is scratched just like my original platter. I thought it was interesting to see the same scratches on both platters. There must be a spot on all the bearing houses that fits tightly with the platter shaft, causing some abrasions.

    My belt rode fine on the first platter, but the platter wasn't quite level. 3 stacked 1/8 inch cork coasters would clear in some spots but not in others.

    I'm wondering if the signs of use on the platter show expanded testing of the components, or if they were previously used on a TT, but met spec and we're deemed acceptable for reuse.

    I don't care as long as the parts work, and aren't defective or out of spec. Just thought it was interesting, and wanted to ask.

    Anyway, as I've been listening, I'm noticing that vinyl on Sol sounds closer to my Modi Multibit then it does to my modi 3 and Bifrost 4490. I thought that was pretty cool.

    I'll share more noob ramblings later on as I get Sol v 1.2 ish setup.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2019
  7. toddrhodes

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    Funny enough, I rearranged the gear a little tonight - Sol was right by the doorway and thus, susceptible to accidental contact. So I moved it out of the way and that meant I had to move Mani a little bit too. Now I have no interference noise, even though it's sitting right next to my XLR -> RCA transformer and a power supply for my RPi. I'm not going to touch it, even if I can't really explain it. I have no ground hooked between it and the Sol, yet it's quiet as could be now. Hopefully I get the same, with some improvement in sonics with the McCormack. Nevertheless, at least I can continue on listening and not be agitated with noise.

    And for what it's worth, I continue to be impressed with Sol. It's quite a little bit of kit.
     
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  8. toddrhodes

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    More updates.

    Figured out the VTA adjustment. I'm an idiot. There was what looked like an empty hole under the A/S hanger and I never stuck an allen wrench in there to confirm. Turns out, that's the screw to unlock it the adjustment. Thank you, setup video, for one shot where I saw what I needed to.

    Also got some of my speed issues sorted. Went back to the original belt, took one more shot at platter and motor height, and now I'm seeing this for speed, and W/F. Haven't played any music yet though.

    [​IMG]

    Also played around more with VTA (now that I can use it, lol), pivot height, and stuff like the arm height. Overall the usability is better now as I was seeing the tonearm not lift all the way off the end of the record, which was an easy fix. Tonearm is slightly tail up still.

    I'm not quite sure how/why to change the pivot height. I thought I read that it's best to set the pivot height to be the same as the height of the LP surface, but I seem to be quite a ways off from that so either I totally misunderstood or I'm not doing something right.

    Regardless, I'm having fun with this thing.
     
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  9. Ruby Rod

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    The pivot height should nominally be near the playing surface, but don't worry too much because if you change the VTA, you'll change the pivot height. There might be some tendency to compensate by moving the pivot in the arm, but don't do that as it will have other undesirable effects! With as long an arm as Sol, you have to move things further, but with a long arm it matters a lot less.

    Haven't been around much lately, sick with some virus or flu bug for more than a week. And I had a flu shot. Get one if you haven't because even if you get the flu it might not be as bad if you've had the shot.
     
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  10. seeirwin

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    I stumbled onto another cool feature of the Sol last night- the ability to play 16" transcription discs.
    [​IMG]

    If you're not familiar with these, here's how it stacks up with a regular 12" LP

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Ruby Rod

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    Yes, Sol was designed with that in mind, but we never mentioned it. The desire was more for a long arm, than to do the transcriptions discs, but it's cool to see that it actually works. Naturally you would ideally set up the alignment program for the correct inner and outer groove radius and make a template to get the maximum performance. I suspect even optimized, errors will be higher with the larger discs.
     
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  12. toddrhodes

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    Schiit sent a new pod and I now have a working power switch. Took no time at all to swap out. Now I just would like for my new phono stage to arrive. FedEx said last Tuesday, then yesterday, then today and finally it says tomorrow. I guess I shouldn't complain, originally it was next Tuesday. Go home FedEx, you're drunk.
     
  13. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    Like Microsoft file copies!

    (Yes, I do remember that there is an appropriate xkcd. Someone probably has the link)
    (OK, OK...)
    [​IMG]

    xkcd.com How can anybody live without it!
     
  14. toddrhodes

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    Well the good news it showed up. The bad news is, it doesn't seem to work. Ebay seller said it was tested to work, but unless I'm missing something really stupid (which after my VTA issue, I am not at all taking for granted I'm not) - it's gonna go back. Bummer, it's a pretty nice piece of gear. Tested the fuse and the unit is getting power, but none of the outputs seem to do anything. I'm afraid the knobs/adjustments just aren't engaging fully, so the unit doesn't know what to do. Just a guess, though.
     
  15. toddrhodes

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    Got the phono preamp working tonight. Not honestly sure if it's "fixed" but it works, lol. Going to call SMC Audio this week and talk to them about it, either way.

    That said, I thought my buzzing issue was caused by the Mani but it seems I may have unfairly implicated it. It's the Sol. I'm not sure what or how, but the Phono Drive does the same thing as the Mani - a buzzing that, to me, sounds like interference or EMI or something. I tried a bunch of things to kill it tonight and while I've made it less noticeable, it's definitely still there. I swapped in my old PLX-1000 table and it was dead quiet in operation. I got some rushing at full volume, but that was it. However, I did not swap my Naga MP-200 over to the Pioneer for testing, but otherwise it was setup the same as Sol, same cables and all. The buzzing increases when I touch the tonearm or any metal part of Sol.

    I settled on grounding the Sol ground lead to my Saga. It decreases a good bit by fitting the ground between the Sol and the Phono Drive or Mani, but it decreases more when I run it over to the Saga. I've tried having everything plugged into the same wall outlet, into a common surge protector (IsoBar, if that matters), and nothing really seems to change the behavior. With no ground lead attached, it's loud AF.

    The only other thing I keep coming back to is speed inconsistency. Is there some rule of thumb for motor placement or belt tension? I'm really not all that sensitive to pitch fluctuation but I just keep hearing it on Sol. Unfortunately here, I have to rely on either a silly phone app or my ears, neither of which I trust all that faithfully when it comes to pitch stability. I haven't checked to make sure everything is level so that's next. I kinda skipped all that since I can't really do much beyond shimming, and had other priorities to tackle.

    Don't get me wrong - I've had a ton of fun listening all night tonight. Just trying to elevate it as much as I can.
     
  16. toddrhodes

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    Well, sometimes you have to peak behind the curtains again. To solve the grounding issue, I took the Pod back off and found that unlike the original pod I received (but which did not have a working power switch), the new pod did not have a tie to ground like the old one (old on top, new bottom):

    [​IMG]

    I fashioned a strap with some tinned copper and now I have very near silence. If I crank Saga all the way up, I can hear a faint noise.

    Yay.
     
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  17. Ruby Rod

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    Sol grounding was "everything common", which works best without a separate ground wire. If you cut the connection in the pod, a ground wire is then essential. That's actually how I prefer it, but you do whatever gives the minimum hum. The RCA connectors are common on the board. I was going to try and separate everything, but it seemed like major surgery to do so. In a perfect world, everything mechanical/chassis would be tied together with the ground wire and run back to the preamp. The phono grounds would run separately. Be sure your head shell ground wire in intact. I have a scheme to ground the platter if needed, but tables with acrylic, MDF and other non-metals obviously don't have ground there, so not sure if it matters unless your body capacitance is close by. BTW, make sure the pod has paint scraped off or star washers or something, so it gets solidly grounded to the plinth.
     
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  18. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Friend

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    Thank you Conrad! I didn't see any paint scraped off the two end tabs of the new pod. I'll do that tonight. With the new, ungrounded pod (before I re-did it), I actually had to ground Sol to Saga to get even a modicum of quiet. Everything else I tried resulted in an unacceptable level of hum. Now, a ground wire between that post and my phono preamp is quietest. I definitely can hear the noise elevate as I near the table and especially the tonearm wiring, but that's not all that bothersome since I'm well away from all that when listening.

    Next thing I want to play around with is the motor, but I'm a bit out of my depth there.
     
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  19. tranq

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    I'm confused. Which one of those was manufactured correctly?

    The old one that had a ground, or the new one, that didn't have a ground?

    Or were they both correct, and reflect changes to the product between versions?
     
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  20. toddrhodes

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    Conrad or Jason can confirm but I believe it is meant to be grounded like the top part. I do not know if a change was made. After taking off a little paint on the back of the pod and connecting it all back up, I now have zero "buzz" and just a faint him with the Saga at unity gain. And to be clear, I modified the bottom part to be grounded like the top.

    Edit - both pods say Pod 1.0 on the PCB. The new, ungrounded one has a stamp on like a 9 with a circle around it that the original part doesn't have, but that could be anything.
     
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