A recent encounter with a JC Verdier dealer as well as a recent Audiogon discussion thread led to the start of this thread. He was in my house updating my La Platine which had been in storage for ten years with thread and oil. While he has high regards for the deck, his newer clients nevertheless prefer a Techdas iii than an 'old' La Platine. Given the proliferation of expensive decks in the past dozen years, La Platine has become very much under-appreciated.
It's clear to me that the influence of the La Platine is everywhere to be found. Specifically, the magnetic suspension system that was employed 30+ years ago. Even SOTA offers their newer decks with mag. lev. features. And if you read this review: https://www.callas-audio.nl/Callas%20Platine%20Mod%20Kit%20Review.pdf, the Continuum Caliburn uses the same concept, which was not acknowledged in Fremer's review, albeit with more sophisticated , and expensive, execution.
It is also clear to me that there is much misunderstanding of the workings of the La Platine. I for one have contributed to this. The motor of the La Platine, for example, has been much maligned. The thread drive is another aspect of the turntable that have been described as inferior. With regard to the motor and thread drive, I have been set straight by Chris @ct0517 and Lyubomir @lbelchev. Experimenting with the different types of silk threads, the tightness to the platter and a renewed understanding of the soundness of the Philips motor have been rewarded with better dynamics and transparency.
The funny thing is that during the past two years of re-engagement with audio, I have questioned ownership of every components in my arsenal except the La Platine. It has always been a keeper. I wonder if La Platine owners would contribute to celebrating this 'old' deck with tales, advice, and insights?
The one area of the La Platine that I had assumed to be the weak link was the motor. There are numerous posts of using motors from Teres, TW Acustic, Galibier...etc as replacements. I had encountered noticeable pitch drift while listening to music with piano and violin playing. Using a Sutherland Light Strobe, I was never able to get a consistent strobe reading of 33.3 RPM. It usually drifts. Sometimes it would be very 8 rotation before it hits 33.3 RPM. In an effort to improvement matter, a Jasmine motor with an Origin Live belt was used as a test. The Jasmine motor was an not an outright improvement. Certain aspect of the music, such as the bass, seemed more stable or maybe just different. Then I started asking on the Audiogon Forum about possible thread replacement. And that is where things got interesting.
The more valuable advice was not just the type of thread ( and thread is better than belt ), but the way the thread is applied between the platter and the motor spindle. The application requires that the thread be just tight enough to not lip while maintaining the correct speed. The idea, as I understand it, is to allow the least among of lateral force on the platter. I, of course, had been doing the opposite -- applying as much tension as possible. This is such a subtle adjustment of the thread drive. But no more pitch drift.
The advice came from Chris @ct0517. And apparently this is through direct conversation with the late Mr. Verdier! The design intent of using the low inertia Philips motor with the thread was well thought out. And I for one will no longer think of it as the weak link. It just required a little patience from the user.
In the past two weeks, I have spent a lot of time refining the thread drive and doing more re-search on the La Platine. There has certainly been much discussions here and other forums on the thread drive, motor, the magnetic platter..etc It occurs to me that the title of the thread given, 2020 update, may not be the most appropriate.
The turntable itself has had no upgrades or revisions since the introduction of the MDF ( black ) plinth, from the original terrazzo, in the late 1980's. In effect there is no update to speak of. More appropriately, this is more a re-acquaintance and re-learning. The turntable was acquired in the early 2000's, used for three years, put in storage, and returned to service in late 2018, What I have learnt is that if the La Platine is optimized, or operated as it was intended, then it can be a powerful neutral platform for the delicate interaction of the cartridge and the tonearm.
In order to optimize its operation, I experimented with the thread drive. The idea is to allow a minimal of interaction between thread and platter while maintaining consistent speed. This in theory allows the inertia of platter and the braking forces of the oiled spindle to interact optimally. The platter is 6 cm in height and weighs 16 kg. There are at least three variables: the height of the thread placed to the side of the platter, the type of thread used and the distance between motor spindle and the center of platter. The most obvious optimization is the thread height. The lower the thread is on the side of the platter the better. Acting on the platter's lower center of gravity allows less wobble. And this should be the optimal application to other TTs with heavy platters. This is easily audible with a tighter soundstage. The three types of threads used are: the stock thread, Gutermann Rayon 40, a viscose thread, and YLI pure silk thread. Both after market threads are thinner than stock thread with the intent of allowing minimal action. I would say the different threads to my ear offered different sound signatures, The stock thread has a taut, lively sound, while the pure silk thread more laid back. There were no winners. As for the placement of the motor to platter, I used distances of 40 cm, 60 cm, and 90 cm. I would have guessed that the further the distance, the better the sonic benefits. However, I could not hair differences. I may have to revisit in the future.
The present set up for the La Platine is the use of YLI silk thread, with the motor spindle 60 cm from center of platter, and thread placed 3 mm from the bottom of the platter. The music that has been produced from vinyl is the best yet experienced. I have come to appreciate the vinyl play back as a co-operative effort between the turntable, the tonearm and the cartridge. It really is a team effort. Each has to be optimized for the other to play their part and sound their best. I have done some work towards optimizing the turntable. The play and influence of the Trans-Fi Terminator arm and a ZYX ultimate 1000 on the music becomes very apparent. The differences in recording, the adjustment of the VTA and azimuth..etc. Slight changes in each variable are immediately heard in the play back.
I had a ZYX air 3 ( $ 3,000 ) mounted on a SME V arm ( $ 6,000 ) in the early 2000's set up. The arm + cartridge combo now is around $ 2,500. By most measure this would seem like a down-grade and not an up-grade. However, the SQ is far superior. I now believe that it is the turntable, tonearm and cartridge in descending order of importance.
A final word on the La Platine motor: Using a Sutherland Speed Strobe to measure the speed of the table, I have been unable to achieve constant 33.3 RPM on each rotation. Typically, there would be a 4-5 rotation drift before returning to 33.3 RPM. Speed is consistent, but not constant at 33.3 RPM. A future project will be perhaps the introduction of a Speed controller, something that SOTA is now offering with its Total Eclipse Package with the Roadrunner.
It is always above or below. Such is the nature of that turntable's drive system. It will fool your Sutherland Gizmo, and this device will say the speed is good. The cheapest DD turntable, whose system uses a back and forth motion to correct speed, will fool the Sutherland Gizmo into showing correct speed. If passing this test makes one calm, I assume that is a benefit, as this may lead to enjoying the music. But if it causes anxiety ?
The better La Platine test, is to get to a level of setup where one can turn the motor off for a second, turn it back on, and/or flick the thread as the music plays ....and neither of these activities are detected by the human ear in the music that is playing.... that is the real test.
La Platine is not a plug and play turntable and depending on one’s system chain resolution, all of the following aspects affect the way the music plays. In no particular order.
1) Room humidity/temperature. The synthetic threads may be less prone to absorbing moisture.
2) Material and diameter of thread.
3) How tight the thread is applies.
4) Position on the Platter. (This for the benefit of the motor) The analogy I repeat, of helping a friend move a couch. Where does one grab ?
5) Thread distance from the pulley to the platter - will affect the torque applied. Think about a sling shot catapult length. Results vary depending on thread type and diameter.
Varying any of the above will affect things.
If your table is at 33.2 or 33.4 and the speed is consistent, that is what is important and music will sound as good as it can get. In both these cases your Sutherland Gizmo will drift left or right. As long as the drift is slow and consistent, and the music sounds wonderful, relax and enjoy it.
In one version of theory, the motor pulley should be as close as possible to the platter so as to minimize (but not eliminate) belt creep. Belt creep occurs because the tension on the belt (string or other) is always greater on the "pulling" side and lesser on the opposite length of free belt space between motor and platter. This causes the belt to "creep". A noncompliant string belt does help to eliminate the problem, I would agree, but not entirely. It seems to me that the very small improvement in transmission of noise to the platter from the motor that is achieved by placing the motor at a greater distance from the platter is not worth the increase in belt creep. You want the belt to contact the platter diameter as much as possible, which means get the pulley close up to it. The other aspect of the Verdier that does not appeal to me is its top heaviness with spongy feet. The motor would tend to pull the whole shebang off perpendicular to the deck. Besides other problems with that, that construction would also tend to be a cause of speed irregularity, as stylus drag waxes and wanes over the course of an LP..I would put solid inflexible footers on a Verdier, if later models don't already feature such.
It must have been a video like the one linked by @chakster that got me hooked. I had always assumed that it was plus & minus 33.3, until I saw otherwise. Please allow my indulgence.
But all kidding aside, with the thread drive as is, there is no drift in playback from strings or piano. I am relaxed. The on/off and plucking tests have all been confirmed. Initially, I was quite skeptical about leaving the thread loose. But having implemented it at your suggestion, it works! On more than one occasion, the platter would not move when I turn on the motor. I looked around only to find that the thread had slipped. Whether it was due to humidity or temperature or both, it showed that the thread was barely hanging on.
This is, indeed, not a plug 'n play devise. All the variables you mentioned are integral to the workings of the 'table which I have come to realize and appreciate.
Cool looking SP-10 MK II mod. I have been following a NZ forum with a step by step documentation of a SP10 MKII mod: https://darklanternforowen.wordpress.com/2020/01/04/technics-sp-10mkii-turntable-pt-4-what-weve-learnt-so-far/. A direct drive will definitely be a future 'thing' for me. BTW, I am contemplating a ET arm, maybe for next year. I'll be seeking advice from you then. @chakster Thanks for the link. I remember using the strobe when my wife came into the room enquiring what I was up to. I explained. And her first reaction was ' Why isn't it dead on? '. The only thing I could come up with was, ' It's the French, they are not German.' It's a terrible stereotype, I know. But I really cannot imagine a German, or Swiss, 'table, with so many variables.
@lewm You have a good point about contact surface. However, as I understand it, we want a small contact surface for the least amount on pull while maintaining consistent speed. This would be the opposite of what you are suggesting?
The top heavy 'table with wobbly bottom analogy is well taken. How do I defeat the suspension? By simply adding solid footers as you suggest? I believe @ct0517 commenting on this issue on one of the other threads. Chris, did I remember correctly?
Albert You need to see a $50 vintage dd turntable defeat the Gizmo then you will believe me. Blinking lights don't impress me. What I hear with my ears does. My turntable outperforms my Studer now, and the tape deck would need to be hot rodded. If someone wants blinking lights, nothing beats a tape deck.
The Music Lover uses this turntable to go through their collection, enjoying every minute, never giving it a second thought. The Audiophile. ..... hmmm......variables....
@chakster You never answered my question in the other thread. This one
Ct, Your remark, to follow, makes no sense. "If Chakster provides the answer to us, he will have also explained to Lewm why his post based on theory, does not work. " If you want to say that despite its flaws you dearly love your Verdier, that's great. Every turntable has flaws in its design, sometimes great, sometimes small. I have heard the Verdier many times, and I cannot say I hear any major problem that I could attribute to the turntable. But "belt creep" is a fact of life. When I prefaced my remark by "in theory", I meant that according to the facts of belt creep, I would expect the Verdier to exhibit some measurable manifestation of it, based on the custom of placing the motor very far away from the platter. Because I have never made any measurements of the speed constancy of a Verdier, my thoughts on it in relation to belt creep are "theoretical". I think we went around on this issue once before; you, or whoever was the protagonist, were indignant that I assumed the motor to platter distance is great. (I assume it because every home or show demonstration of the Verdier I have ever attended over a period of 30 years was set up that way.) What would mitigate belt creep is that most strings used for turntable drive are relatively noncompliant. That does help. To further minimize belt creep, you would want the motor closer to the platter. As to the top heaviness of the design, that is just another fact, along with the spongy feet. Do you agree it would be better to use noncompliant feet? And why do you think I don't love music just as much as you do?
chakster What is going to happen if you replace your AT 616 footers (which btw I also happen to own) ..... and place four blocks of slate material in their place?
I've noticed you've got those AT-616 pneumatic feet under your "naked" SP10 mkII that you're using with tonearm pod. I must say i never tried any pods or "naked fashion" style with my SP-10mkII. Also i don't have SP-10 mkII anymore, i've been using mine in a custom made teak wood plinth or very small rubber feet. Now my turntable is Luxman PD-444 and i made my metal custom racks for them.
Anyway, i can't explain anything to Lewis as he's much more experienced that me when it comes to different turntables.
However, i love all my direct drive turntables, some of them are expensive, some are not so expensive, but i can't detect any lack of speed accuracy or any other problem with Lux PD-444, Denon DP-80, Victor TT-101, Technics SP-20 and SP-10 mkII.
The AT616 are what I
would call a first level good pneumatic suspension.
They are not as effective as the feet under La Platine.
I used the slate material as an example to you, because you were
referencing a dealer on that other thread that sells alot of turntables made in
slate which I imagine he gets from a local quarry. If you replace the AT616
with the slate you create a path both ways for vibrations.
The turntable would no longer be self-isolating.
lbelchev discussed La Platine concept/design on the other thread that both of you have posted to. I believe the following post is eloquent and self explanatory.
@ct0517 yes i saw your pictures and understood construction of your SP-10 plinth system, it is still "naked" or not traditional plinth. Not sure why your SP10 II is not stable, because it is a stable Direct Drive motor and seems like everybody happy with it.
Personally i have never used a slate plinth, i even started a thread on here about different plinth for SP-10 (from Steve Dobbins, OMA etc), but i gave up and bought another DD that does not require all that mess up with a plinth. The feet on PD-444 are suspended, but the plinth is super heavy metal, no more question about the plinth for me, i am happy. My AT-616 are for Denon DP-80 plinth and for Victor TT-101 plinth.
La Platine original concept, sounds good. OMA changed the concept using slate plinth for this turntable.
What i don't understand is your criticism of Direct Drive speed stability. Lewis perfectly explained the weakness of the belt drive.
@lewm Besides other problems with that, that construction would also tend to be a cause of speed irregularity, as stylus drag waxes and wanes over the course of an LP.
Lewm, here is a nice explanation from the manufacturer
"Now, let us approach another point: Dr. G.W. explains that playing a record with a stylus consumes energy and that this energy is variable on account of the changes of musical modulation, resulting in drive speed variations of the platter.
That is absolutely correct and it is one of the basic problems facing the turntable designer. The author than explains how to remedy this: the motor must renew the energy as swiftly as possible to keep constant speed, that is the reason for using a low inertia motor. I think that if this were true, no turntable could work well, because no motor is good enough. Fortunately, we can make use of more powerful tools to settle that problem.
The first tool is well known, it is the platter’s inertia. The heavier platter, the more it works to counter momentary variations in speed, but the challenge is to make a very thick and massive platter which doesn’t ring like a bell.
The second tool is less well-recognized than the first: the constant-coupled brake system. Since the player stylus consumes variable amounts of energy, we have to mask that consumption by permanently consuming much more energy by the use of a brake. The larger the ratio between the energy consumed by the brake and the energy consumed by the stylus, the better turntable work.
To be clear: only a few models of turntables have this device. To understand the concept better, have a look at a Thorens TD 124 which uses a brake with Foucault’s current excited by a permanent magnet, or EMT 927 which has a completely mechanical brake consisting in washers placed around the axle with the capability of adjusting the pressure and therefore the braking action.
On my turntable, the brake is present, but invisible to the casual eye-it is furnished by the axle and bearing. The two parts are unusual in their very large dimensions. The two facing surfaces of about 60 cm2 separated by lubricating viscous oil form the brake."
We can see this brilliant principle in 2020 - CS Port Analog Disk Player LFT1 (£48,000.00): "In LFT 1, the rotation control is not performed, and the constant speed rotation is left to the high moment of inertia of the 27 kg platter, creating a rotation free from unnecessary vibration caused by the control. Only the positive direction force is applied from the motor, but by using a coreless motor with LESS MOMENT OF INERTIA, the influence of the vibration is reduced."
There are more hidden things, but modern audiophiles are looking for exactly 33.33333 ....
@lbelchev Regarding the 'braking' action, Let me rephrase so that I understand correctly. The 'brake' is provided by the viscosity of the oil acting between the axle and the bearing. As there is no vertical force acting on the plinth from the heavy platter due to the replusing magnets, the viscosity of the oil acts as a correcting lateral force to stylus drag. If this is the correct understanding of the 'braking' action then it may explain the drift in playback that I had heard. You see, I had thought the oil as merely a lubricant, so before reading the documents on braking, I had not bothered to replenish the oil reserve. Big mistake!
You mentioned the CS Port LFT1 where the platter floats on air rather than magnets. And it also uses a low inertia motor like the La Platine. The specification given for motor speed accuracy is +- 0.3%. That's between 33.3999 and 33.200, certainly not 33.333333. And that would be the point raised by you and Chris, no need to sweat over 'absolute' speed accuracy. Well taken.
I do have a few questions:
1. The CS Port LFT1 looks like a non-suspension plinth design, with a very heavy slate plinth. The actual resonance control is taken up by the air bearing, whereas the La Platine uses pneumatic footers. If as suggested by @lewm we defeat the pneumatic footers with solid blocks, then there would be no resonance controlling mechanism in the La Platine, as the magnets will not be serving that function. would that be correct?
2. Do you think the use of a low inertia motor only works with a design that decouples the platter from the plinth, either through air or magnets?
3. The CS Port LFT1 is a low flow low pressure design in both its LT arm and platter. Well, the Terminator LT arm on my La Platine is also low flow low pressure. Does that mean I have a poor man's LFT1? He He!
1. The CS Port LFT1 looks like a non-suspension plinth design, with a very heavy slate plinth. The actual resonance control is taken up by the air bearing, whereas the La Platine uses pneumatic footers. If as suggested by @lewm we defeat the pneumatic footers with solid blocks, then there would be no resonance controlling mechanism in the La Platine, as the magnets will not be serving that function. would that be correct?
Albert Your statement is half right as it pertains to the Granito La Platine model. On the Granito model the resonance control is performed by a combination of the plinth and the pneumatic footers.
"Granito is a material composed by little pieces of marble becoming from different origin agglomerated inside a mold with cement. And of course machined and polished to obtain a good looking result. The resonance of the plinth with its suspension is about 5Hz and it is well absorbed by the air cavities." JC Verdier
"Anyone", that suggests removing the footers and or changing out the Granito plinth - has not come to understand the design, concept, and execution of what is at play.
The Granito version was very expensive to make. The story is on the Verdier website, and eventually led to the current modern day black glossy plinth. I have an email somewhere from JC Verdier on how a secondary Granito limited run was done at one time for the Japanese market, due to demand.
************************************************************** Re: Platter System Braking Behavior
Unlike any platter systems that I used to be familiar with, in that they were ....free spinning. This platter system has what I would call, a form of active management.
"The same pole magnets play a part in providing braking action to deal with the records behavior." - JC Verdier.
Albert With your turntable at speed and no record playing. Turn off the motor. Count the seconds for the platter to come to a complete stop. Now repeat, and this time just cut the thread. The braking behavior will reveal itself to you. One comes to realize with this experiment the marriage of the Verdier Motor and Platter System, and how foolish it is to split them up.
Albert, my two cents about
1. Check the axle adjustment. If you use a steel ball check the resistance point between the ball and the spindle. The steel ball should be in contact with the spindle, almost but without pressure. If you do not use a steel ball, the axle should not be in contact with the spindle. In this case just catch the resistance point and than slightly return back the axle via the adjustment screw. Therefore some play will be necessary (60 to 80th of an inch is sufficient) .The still ball is not absolutely necessary. You can chose to remove it if you want and it is not necessary in such case to modify the adjustment of the axle. If you want to change the mat and/or record clamp it is necessary to adjust the axle.
2. "One of the Verdier’s little foibles: the bottom of the main bearing is designed to leak oil! With an inverted bearing, gravity causes lubricating oil to flow to the bottom of the shaft, leaving the top part dry. Over tune, this oil will eventually make its way to the bottom of the axle where it collects in the axle base cup... If all this conjures up visions of getting out dip-sticks to check oil levels before going for a spin, don’t worry. The oil reservoir is generous, and the rate of seepage low. Also, as the oil is thick, it tends to cling to the sides of the bearing. All the same, this turntable needs rather more maintenance than your average deck..." James M Hughes, "HI-FI NEWS - February 1999" So, every few weeks 0.5-1.0 cc of oil should be added to the reservoir next
to the spindle to keep the axle lubricated. Use the supplied oil or
When I first heard of this "ball" years ago, I immediately thought, it is no different than the stories I hear of some people actually using a belt with this thread design. I mean ...why even bother...seriously.
Go look for a belt drive design turntable.
So I asked JC Verdier about this so called "ball".
JC Verdier So I will tell you another time what is told. The possible installation of the ball was proposed to answer some customers who want to try to use the ball. At the beginning it was only optional . But later , to normalized the manufacturing , I included systematically the kit steel ball + ceramic past. For my part I am not in favour of using the ball in accordance with the original design . Probably you have this original design so you don’t have the steel ball. Don’t worry about the stories of pirates , for sure some of them tried to attract customers by copies , because they are not able to conceive a product by themselves . I don’t have any of them in hands and I have no comment on their working. For sure that should be easy if only a steel ball could let a turntable work properly! JC Verdier
So the lesson here is Business is Business even with Verdier.
The unfortunate thing is people acquiring a newer version of this turntable with a "ball" think it is normal.....do not understand the reason it is there.
fwiw - I have never had to add oil to the reservoir on my La Platine Granito. It does not leak.
Platine Verdier users have debated a lot about the advantages and disadvantages of using a steel ball. Removing it is from our point of view the best solution to preserve the turntable from noise and vibrations.
My bearing does not leak too. But it is open
oil flow very slowly to the bottom of the axle. It's just physics.
Recharging the bearing with oil should be a monthly routine. The consumption of oil is dependent on temperature an how much the turntable is used. Instructions manual
@lbelchev oh I have tried to add oil. Unfortunately, unlike my 993, it doesn't take much. 8^( I'm sure it is taking a little.
I don't see a debate with the ball. It's a Vibration Resonance (VR) activity to generate a small signal. Adding in additional points of conduit is never good. The manufacturer has done everything possible to isolate, especially in the use of dissimilar materials, to control resonances. The differing materials between the platter and spindle one example most never see.
While I have been experimenting with the stock motor / thread drive , I decided to try something else. For the last 2 1/2 weeks, I switched out the stock motor with a Jasmine ( high torque?) motor and Origin Live belt. The behavior of the platter to this belt drive obviously is quite different. Platter starts and stops much faster, it’s interaction with the motor much more immediate. My initial listening impression was a more stable bass image within the soundstage. Not a dramatic difference but different enough. I deicided to keep the belt drive for two weeks. Three days ago I switched back again to the thread drive / stock motor. What I assumed was an improvement on the bass front with the belt drive, turned out not so dramatic. In addition, with the return of the thread drive, the air around instruments and the sense of the venue were all that much more palpable, that much more ‘real’. While I still don’t quite understand the workings of the thread drive and braking, I can attest that it sounds better than after market belt drive. I still believe a thread drive with a servo motor that monitors speed stability, e.g. SOTA and Roadrunner, may be worth investigating down the road.
A final thought on light strobe. I feel that it is a measuring tool, like the use of a ruler for distances, or a Fozameter for sound separation. It’s objective! Now Lederman of SoundSmith prefers cartridges with a left / right channel differential. That’s subjective. I have no argument with someone’s listening preferences, especially when the the analog sound produced is comparable to reel- to reel. But we ought to assume that speed stability is one of the criteria for achieving such a sound quality. If that is not the case, that speed stability doesn’t matter, I would still like to the what the measurable deviations were.
My turntable is a JC Verdier Nouvelle Platine, the one without the magnetic bearing, but with the same platter and motor. I have just upgraded it with the Sota Eclypse combo,and an OL belt. Speed accuracy is better (between 33,332 and 33,336) but W&F Less precise (0,08 instead of 0,06 %) I used the Analog Magik to have the figures. The issue with the motor of the Verdier is simple,you are not able to set with precision the speed. Musical results are better with The Eclipse combo.
I must admit, today is the first time I carefully read the letter from Verdier in which he explains about the braking effect at the spindle. That is an accepted method to smooth out or drown the braking effect due to stylus drag and probably does go a ways toward stabilizing speed. Other and more "vintage" turntables did the same, including grease-bearing versions of the Garrard 301. Verdier mentions the TD124; I was not aware that it too incorporates a brake. Setting the brake just right is important to get the most out of it, I would imagine. Not having owned a Verdier, I have no idea what the steel ball does; it sounds like it adds to or is integral to the mechanism of the brake.
I've been using a Platine for over 15 years now and cannot see myself changing it. I have a GT Audio battery PSU running into a standard motor housing (with a small modification to allow a Lemo cable to power the motor) and the thread drive. The Battery PSU is excellent and drops the noise floor down even further. I briefly tried a Teres Verus rim drove out of curiosity, but went back very quickly to the thread and standard motor.
@xdr A few questions: 1. Were you using the thread drive before? 2. Will the motor spindle on the SOTA Eclipse accommodate a thread drive? I believe the reduction in W&F reading is due to the belt acting on the platter. 3. Have you tried a tape drive offered by Galibier, say? 4. Does the motor come with its own housing or do you have to build one? I meant to write to SOTA, but never got around to it. 5. What arm and cartridge are you using? 6. Would you say the sonic improvements were across the board and immediately noticeable?
@lewm Mr Verdier did indeed mention the braking as an integral part of his turntable. I assume for both La Platine and Novelle platine. And I assume the braking is achieved through the rubbing action of the oil in the spindle / shaft assembly, the viscosity of oil. Given that the Thoren was his inspiration, for me this is where it gets confusing. The Thoren is an idler drive table. Presumably the braking action should work on any drive system, idler, belt, thread...etc. However, @c0517 seems to indicate that it is a thread drive only proposition? Or does it work best on thread drive? And he doesn’t even use the oil, so what causes the braking? It’s seems to me a bit of weird science!
I would assume that adding oil to the spindle is the key. It is a lubricant. But with the magnetic decoupling of the platter from the plinth, it also produces the necessary friction for the braking action.
@topoxforddoc I don't know if GT Audio still sells the battery PSU. It doesn't show up on its web-site. I assume you had to modify the stock motor housing ( drilling few holes ) for the connecting cables, correct?
Callas Audio also provided schematics and instruction DIY a battery PSU many years ago. It is the one that I will most likely build with the help of a technician.
@ledoux1238 You could try emailing Graham Tricker at GT Audio/TRON. He is very helpful and might consider building one, if the metal work is available. Yes, you do have to drill a small hole into the motor housing.
@ledoux1238 Were you using the thread drive before?
A: Yes I always use linen thread. I made also tests with silk, kevlar thread. figures were very bad for kevlar.
2. Will the motor spindle on the SOTA Eclipse accommodate a thread drive? I believe the reduction in W&F reading is due to the belt acting on the platter.
A: Yes I used the motor and the pulley provided by Sota to test thread and 1/4 magnetic tape as a belt (like Galibier or Artemis lab). You right about W&F. I used also a long belt 150mm, not a good idea. I think a shorter will be better with the motor close to the plinth.
3. Have you tried a tape drive offered by Galibier, say?
A: yes very good figures in terms of speed accuracy with magnetic tape, but bad in terms of W&F. I try to found a kapton belt like the one provided by Galibier.
4. Does the motor come with its own housing or do you have to build one? I meant to write to SOTA, but never got around to it.
A: I made one compact wood box filled with hunting lead (around 6kg) for the motor.
5. What arm and cartridge are you using?
The arm I used at this moment is a FunkFirm FX3 (after a Schroder ) with a Sculpture A A4 silver coils cartridge (a french handmade cartridge, available by the way in NA see Artisan Fidelity or Sonare Coeli for exemple)
6. Would you say the sonic improvements were across the board and immediately noticeable?
YEs and I made measures and records (same 30 seconds track of piano solo) . I share them on a very popular forum in France and people were able to listen the difference between stock motor and Sota combo. Better bass, stability and also clarity. the speed accuracy is better also
@ledoux - do you get speed drift still? have you checked speed variation while a record is being played - especially very heavy passages - there's a great demo of a JVC direct drive with 3 arms and a laser dot that simply doesn't move when the arms are on it. FYI have you tried contacting graham tricker from tron audio in the UK? he does a motor and speed control for the platine
@xdr Greatly appreciate your responses. It’s great to visualize through photos of your system the SOTA / Roadrunner in action. I see a belt drive, but it can be switched to a thread drive, correct?
You have a lovely system / room, with lots of French stuff unknown to me...... except, of course, the French TT. I especially like your spartan listening chair. I have a Garbriele Mucchi’s Genni chair myself.
@lohanimal Yes, speed still drifts. Some days when the gods, temperature and humidity aligns, I get a few sides of records with speed spot on. I am, however, enjoying music.
Graham Tricker will be on my list of people to query. I somehow remember that he used to carry JC verdier TT’s. And he dropped the brand when he took on TW Acustic, implying that La Platine was not comparable to the German tables.
Albert, from your most recent posts, one would think you would have been better off with one of the German tables. 8^0
This post comments addresses ......BBB
Ball, Bearing and Battery **********************************
Lewm Not having owned a Verdier, I have no idea what the steel ball does; it sounds like it adds to or is integral to the mechanism of the brake.
@lewm et al
It has nothing to do with braking, it is not integral to anything on a normal La Platine, but is integral..... to knockoff La Platines.
Platine "knockoffs" exist. They use bad magnets which by themselves are not stable. The ball was introduced to make the magnets stable. This is well known to long term La Platine owners. Mr. Verdier had no choice but to try to help these knockoff (pirate) manufacturers, since the questions, inquiries, concerns from people who purchased these knockoff turntables, were being directed to his company.
His website makes this clear and is I believe self explanatory .
I noticed that many of my Platine Verdier's pirates had a problem with the magnetic system. Generally the repulsion force is not adequate and it is necessary to complete it with a ball spindle or any other samarium cobalt magnets on the top of the axel. That situation is boring because some of the customers turn away ignorant, they are facing copies and believing that the device is defective, bad designed or bad developed To give a cure, I am going to indicate my pirates how to build magnetic circuits. The problem is that they use an ordinary steel high carbon tenor. On magnetic point of view that metal is certainly provided with a weak "coercitive field", but too much important, which decreases the field provided by the magnets. The answer consists in using a magnetic alloy of suitable quality, for example TELAR 57 of ARMCO. when the tooling of the part is over, you have to realize a double fire under vacuum to eliminate the last carbon traces. And then, to finish, you can paint. the magnetic circuits or realize a surface processing as "zincage bichromatage" which gives that lovely gilded colour. of course that is really more expensive and complicated than ordinary scrap-iron, but now you don't have any excuse. Good luck pirates J.C. Verdier
Xdr et al
As this is a resonance, vibration, hobby trying to generate a tiny signal, a large part of a Turntable and Tonearm "DNA" comes from the type of bearing used in both. I have owned / own turntables and tonearms with very different bearing systems.
Nouvelle Platine and La Platine play in different leagues. Different bearings.
As far as the battery discussions go, I did speak with Verdier about this and looked into it in depth. My personal experience is this.
If one lives on a city grid, a condo, highrise, high density type of environment, etc... your power is compromised. This is fact. Go ahead and try the battery if you desire. I will say the biggest improvement to my system kits, all of them, came when I moved to the country with clean, low density power. It was a night and day difference.
I don't own an electric car, yet, but all my cars and boats depend on good batteries for starting and trolling. Make sure the proper battery is chosen if you choose this project. Drain a starting battery just one time, it becomes compromised with a shorter life. Drain it twice and it is toast. The proper batteries "deep cycle" for this project in my neck of the woods start at $250.
fwiw In the early stages of La Platine ownership and while in "Audiophilia Nervosa" phase ...8^0......I actually explored using my Technics SP10MK11 Platter/motor to drive La Platine.
My conclusion...this has possibilities with "dumb" free spinning platters. Most turntables. Not a good idea with a smart platter system, such as La Platine's, that includes braking.
The undisputed aspect with the La Platine is the magnetic bearing, allowing the platter to rotate while being decoupled. The idea was what attracted me. Having acquired it, it is the execution of the idea that truly intrigued. The metallurgy and the assembly involved are its distinguishing qualities.
The drive system was the second aspect that required study. Through informed opinions by members of this forum and experimentation, I have come to the following conclusion: the drive material with the least surface area is the best. This translate to the least amount of friction produced by the drive material. And this preserves the inherent braking action of the platter to counteract stylus drag. Thread drive therefore is the best. Of the threads used, pure silk from YLI was the best, the stock linen ( ? ) thread the least preferred. The silk thread produced a more 'continuous' soundstage with more 'air ' around instruments.
The motor is presently the most troubling aspect. And it has to do with speed stability. I performed a test suggested by @ct0517 observing the number of rotations before the platter comes to a complete stop by firstly turning off the motor and secondly by cutting the thread while still running. This test confirms that the platter is not in a state of free, un-restraint rotation. A braking action is designed into the platter shaft assembly to counteract stylus drag. I then performed the same test, but this time with a high torque Jasmine motor. The results are very similar. This tells me that a change in motor would not disturb the inherent braking action of the platter. I believe if one were to change a motor system for the La Platine, it has to be compatible with the thread drive. The spindle head of the stock Philips, low torque, motor is coming into contact with the same thread as on the platter side. While the low friction on the platter works to preserve the braking action, the same low friction on the spindle head does not work to preserve speed stability. The stock motor has a different setting for thread and belt drive. The original motor design acknowledges that different material drive with require a different electronic control. And I feel it is the electrics of the motor assembly that is at fault for speed instability. I somehow think that a motor with a servo system works best. But in the thread drive ultra-high end Japanese CS Port Lft1 turntable, it specifically uses a high torque non-servo motor. On the motor front, I am still researching. However, this in no way affect my admiration for the TT and my enjoyment of music produced through it.
There is one other aspect that I have read very little about: the plinth. I have the black MDF plinth. I would like to know more about the Granito plinth. Somehow the combination of concrete, raisin, and stone chips doesn't seem to be a good resonance damper. I would like to be enlightened.
Interesting read. I have a Transrotor Apollon with 80MM platter and Transrotor Magnetic Drive (TMD) drive assembly. The spindle bearing is some viscous oil fluid, and the platter is spun by three servo controlled motors with belts. Speed drift is a constant with be,FS when they start wearing, but otherwise, it is a stable platform and very robust. Prior to the TMD my platter would spin until it lost rotational inertia. Now, with TMD, it slows down after a few rotations before coming to a complete stop. That is due entirely because of the TMD. Is the braking you speak of on the motors happening during music playback, or only when spinning up or down?
This is my email written long time ago to my friends in Toronto. They are members of GTAA audio group and many members have La Platine and share their experience with this amazing TT between themselves. I wanted to share my thoughts and experience with them and I hope you can find something helpful for you. In original mail there were many pictures but I do not know how to pot it here.
""" I am very grateful to you and all of your friends who spent countless hours helping to improve and tweak the Verdier. The Verdier is an amazing turntable, even in stock form it is one of the very best available. Once tweaked, I believe it to be one of the finest turntables available at any price - beating my reference turntable Versa Dynamics 1.2. One of the strongest features is its unique and effective design. Design is one of the most important aspects of any HiFi component. You can extensively tweak a mediocre design and find that a properly designed, less expensive and simpler component will be vastly superior. Because of its brilliant design, La Platine can easily be tweaked to achieve analog nirvana. I have listed my improvements below:
1. Motor – one of the options was the old Teres motor. Problem is, it’s out of production and Teres didn’t respond to my emails. Furthermore there are difficulties with the Teres motor in regards to tape placement on the pulley. Placing the strobe light under the platter was another issue. I also considered some more expensive options available in the marketplace. After speaking with several respected members of the audiophile community I decided to go with the stock Verdier motor. The stock motor is excellent especially with the following improvements:
a) I made a battery power supply using a marine battery and utilizing a DC to DC converter. The variance in output was excellent +/- 0.02Volts. The Internal AC connection was bypassed including the on/off switch.
b) The stock pulley was replaced with a custom Delrin pulley to accommodate ½” Mylar tape. The pulley must have convex sides, bulging out in a way to keep the tape centered. Once properly placed it is extremely easy to put the tape on it, it can be accomplished in less than five seconds. The pulley was made to perfectly fit the Verdier motor.
2. Using 1/2” Mylar tape instead of string or thread
Using tape greatly improves speed control. Greater speed control translates into improved dynamics and tonal color. The image below shows the Feickert Platterspeed measurement on my Verdier.
3. Plinth Support – this is a big question- to use the original springs or not? Two very prominent TT designers told me that it is not good to use a spring/suspended plinth with a design like the Verdier. Their contention is that it is almost impossible to get the correct speed due to the almost constant movement of the springs. To compound the problem, changes in room temperature and humidity affected precise plinth leveling. With all of this said, the original springs produced excellent results in my system. It resulted in a beautiful lower midrange which shone when playing small jazz ensembles and excelled at reproducing the human voice.
I tried everything, Walker and Mapleshade spikes, ebony cubes, carbon cubes, Boston Audio cubes, roller blocks, etc. Springs still sounded the best, until I tried the Stillpoints Ultra SS. I typically never liked the Stillpoints in the past. A very good friend of mine is a Stillpoints dealer so I previously had the opportunity to try them under all of my equipment (speakers excepted). Didn’t like them in that application. Their effect was to increase the resolution but also lifted the tonality upward so that it sounded more HiFi. Nothing wrong with that, 90% of audiophiles would love it, but it wasn't generating the organic sound I was trying to achieve.
At this point I was ready to order the Vibraplane to try under the turntable. By pure coincidence, I ran into my friend, the Stillpoints dealer who suggested I try the Stillpoints under the table. I tried it and the results were fantastic. Increased dynamics, greater frequency extension, more detail, nicer texture, a great improvement over the springs. This was not a subtle improvement, it was dramatic.
The orientation of the Stillpoints makes a considerable difference. In my system facing the tips up resulted in a huge soundstage but I lost body and texture. Facing down gave me the more satisfying results.
Two additional things I got from the Stillpoints were: a) even greater speed control b) the ability to support two heavy tonearms with copper/ebony boards without any problems in regards to plinth leveling.
4. Copper/ Ebony board for tonearm - I liked it from the start so I did not try anything else
5. Spindle ball touching the platter - there is a lot of discussion regarding this topic. Opinions are equally divided, pro and con. I have tried both and preferred the results when the ball is touching he platter. I purchased the tungsten carbide ball with the 10mm radius. I noticed dramatic improvements in the bass and overall dynamics. The bass became much deeper and tighter while the dynamics were on a different level versus the stock Verdier. No perceived penalty, just the a aforementioned improvements. The trick is to have very little of the platter weight supported by he ball, just enough to drain the lower frequencies. The rest of the weight - I would guess approximately 95% is still levitated magnetically.The same principle is used by Continuum Calibrum Reference turntable. You can easily test both options, placing small rubber washers under the lower magnet will quickly revert the levitation to purely magnetic.
6 .Record Mat – I suggest this is very system dependent. In my system I tried the Millennium M-LP Carbon, the Micro-Seiki Copper, the Boston Audio 2 and the one I ended up preferring, the Merryll Williams – GEM Dandy RCC mat. Carbon was too HiFi for my tastes, the GEM Dandy was very well balanced with a nice natural sound.
Please note, all of these findings are based on my tastes, preferences and my system. You may get very different results in your system. """"
In meantime I bought TechDAS AF-3 Premium but I still have Verdier and I can compare it to any TT on the market nowadays
The spindle head of the stock Philips, low torque, motor....
The Verdier uses a powerful,
High torque, low inertia, core-less DC regulated motor.
And I feel it is the electrics of the motor assembly that is at fault for speed instability.
I somehow think that a motor with a servo system works best.
Here's a logical explanation from
Charles Michlin (Azzolina Audio):
the era when the Verdier controller was developed the LM317 voltage
regulator was probably an advanced device. However today there is a
greater understanding of motor control. A motor acts as a generator in
operation and this back EMI causes error in controllers like the LM317.
As a result they fall in and out of regulation erratically. There are
newer chips designed for motor control which are immune to this problem. There are also circuits of greater sophistication which can self
correct speed variations without the complications and problems of
closed loop feedback."
@lbelchev Thank you for pointing out my mistake. I believe it is not the only one I have made. See below.
@audioquest4life I had thought I understood the braking action. Because of your question, I took a look again at the comment on a past thread by @ct0517 :
"If you actually cut the thread with scissors I am willing to bet it stops in much less than 7.5 revolutions as it is the same friction principle as the magnetically levitated Platine but using oil instead"
The comment described first turning off the motor and observing the number of rotations before the platter comes to a complete stop. It requires 7.5 rotations / revolutions. This is consistent with what I observed on my TT, anywhere from 7.25- 7.75 revolutions.
However, when I remove the thread with the motor running ( i didn't actually cut the thread ), I observe about 20 + revolutions before the platter comes to a complete stop. The comment above seems to indicate that the platter should stop with maybe 3-4 revolutions and that would supposedly show the 'braking action'. My TT did not behave as such. The 20 + revolutions on my TT is more likely the platter coming to a stop due to a natural loss of rotational inertia, rather any 'braking' action of the spindle and shaft.
So in short, I am realising that my TT did not exhibit the supposed braking that was observed by others. But then again, having such a heavy platter come to a complete stop within 3-4 revolutions while in free rotation would indicate some heavy forces acting on it. That force is not present on my TT. I must have made a mistake in proclaiming that I have understood the braking of the platter on a La Platine. I may again need to be enlightened.
@vuckovic Some of your tweaks and preferences are quite different from mine. But as my last post indicated, this is a TT that seems to invite differences of operational preferences.
Using the stock motor with a custom Delrin pulley to accomodate a tape drive is novel to me. I had thought that thread drive with a more accurate motion was the way to go.
The most interesting is your spindle ball comments. The interaction of the ball with the platter would take some force off the magnetic repulsion, increasing bass performance and overall dynamics. This is consistent with a review I read regarding the Callas Audio Mod Kit. The Mod Kit was used to reduce the magnetic levitation forces in order to improve bass performance. The reviewer also made reference to the The Caliburn table with similar principles.
Finally, as one who owns both the Airforce 3 and the La Platine, I wondered if you might share some thoughts of the two table. I started this post because a local audio dealer mentioned that nowadays given a choice between a La Platine and a TechDas, his clients mostly prefers the latter. He thought that was a pity as the La Platine was as worthy a TT. I would appreciate some insights.
ledoux1238 Somehow the combination of concrete, raisin, and stone chips doesn't seem to be a good resonance damper. I would like to be enlightened.
You are forgetting about the the Air Albert.
The resonance of the plinth with its suspension is about 5Hz and it is well absorbed by the air cavities. JC Verdier
Removing the pneumatic feet defeats the design.
re; the motor
the stock motor gearing can be heard continuing after it is shut off. It reminds of a watch one winds up and one of the reasons, I assume, speed stability remains when I shut it off and on.
Your rotation numbers I am not sure of. Going by memory (I am not at the property) when motor is shut off the gearing can be heard continuing and the platter spins for close to thirty seconds before coming to a stop. When it is running and the thread is cut, the time to stoppage is much.much shorter. Braking action very evident.
fyi et al Before I even considered La Platine I was attempting to build an ultimate turntable with the direct drive project. I went through various stages. The next version would have replaced the Technics square casing with a Denon circular one. But then I discovered thread drive with the modded - VPI TNT. Decoupling of components is important. My ET 2.5 tonearm air bearing spindle that holds the armtube/cartridge at one and counterweights at the other, was already isolated / decoupled with a film of air 360 degrees. No mechanical contact. The Direct Drive mdf layered plinth with pneumatic footers was decoupled from the platform it sits on with the AT616 footers. The casing for the motor platter system I attempted to decouple using 4 stainless steel legs. Raising it high with only 4 contact points. I moved to this after I realized all platters/motors encased in plinths color the sound. Many search for the right "color" in materials . 8^0. The Tonearm brass pillar (20 plus pounds) attached to the plinth raises the ET 2.5 and allows for a happy face loop of single shot wiring.
When I became aware of La Platine, I saw it as a natural extension and progression of my own project, plus it had the decoupled and raised platter system. I could never ever have imagined this on my own efforts. Most importantly, it was designed as a thread design from the get go, not a modified belt drive like my TNT. I was not aware of the braking system at the time.
Sorry Ledoux1238 for late response - too busy elsewhere. It is difficult for me to give you exact difference between AF-3P and La Platine. I have many arms and cartridges and until you do not put the same combo on both TT you can not be sure about direct A-B outcome. I moved last week Glanz MH-124s and VdH Colibri MS from Verdier to AF and got some conclusions which mirror my previous experience with AF. AF-3P is much more quieter. This brings more transparency, more details and bigger soundstage. AF is also more dynamic and more neutral. Verdier is smoother with more body and more darker - some people would say - more natural. But do not forget that this is very tweaked Verdier. Last year I got from my friend another Verdier motor with battery power supply made by Graham Tricker ( Tron ). Since I put Mylar tape on my Verdier I have never compared it with regular belt and metal pulley. I liked it from the beginning and did not care - you can read impression about it in my previous post. But when I got Graham motor I tried rubber, original thread and some special fishing string as a belt again before I changed it to Delrin pulley and mylar tape. Difference was huge and striking. The highs were so dirty and compressed! I could not believe it. I measured speed (3150hz) and W&F ( 0.07% ) using AnalogMagik software. The only conclusion would be that these tiny thread and string transmitted huge noise to platter! Hard to believe but it is my experience. Another advice for Verdier fans would be to use use the shortest length of belt possible which should not be tight in tension. Platter should be mostly turn from its own weight inertia. AF-3P is engineering marvel. Simple, beautiful, easy to operate - real jewel! From my experience it is the best sounding TechDAS model regardless the price. Better than any old Micro as well. The only TT I would go after AF-3P would be Karmeli’s American Sound AS-2000. I think Dave helped TechDAS in developing 3P. Very similar designs but AS-2000 is a piece of art! In conclusion - AF is better but much more expensive than Verdier. If money is not object I would go with AF. In case you have to save money to afford it - forget AF. Keep Verdier and enjoy your life. I would rather take La Platine than ANY TW Akustic or Brinkmann....
But when I got Graham motor I tried rubber, original thread and some special fishing string as a belt again before I changed it to Delrin pulley and mylar tape. Difference was huge and striking. The highs were so dirty and compressed! I could not believe it. I measured speed (3150hz) and W&F ( 0.07% ) using AnalogMagik software. The only conclusion would be that these tiny thread and string transmitted huge noise to platter! Hard to believe but it is my experience.
From my experience of owning the Platine Verdier, the motor is the issue. It is tiny, and not really designed for side loads on the spindle. Ultimately it will generate noise, which is transmitted via the belt. No doubt the delrin pulley helped you in this case. If you ran a double pulley, with a flywheel mounted on the opposite side of the pulley from the platter, you could reduce motor noise by "balancing the load" on the motor spindle.
By the way, I remounted my Verdier motor into a cradle clamp arrangement inside the main housing and eliminated the rubber mounts. This enabled me to reduce the motor noise significantly by reducing noise from the motor case itself by carefully tuned clamping. I replaced the rubber mounts with teflon washers. This arrangement also improved speed stability.
As a test to get a handle on the performance of the motor, I ran my Final Audio Parthenon AC motor and controller, driven by a 60wpc power amp on the Verdier in a trial ( both with thread drive ) - the improvement in timing and drop in noise floor were significant. The Final AC motor is dead silent, even though its about 4/5 times larger, it has a proper machined spindle, oilite bushes, thrust pad arrangement.
@vuckovic Thank you for that concise summary of the AF3. It solves a year old curiosity about the sonic differences between it and La Platine. Rereading reviews of the AF3, I am struck by the contrast between the two. With the AF3, you are operating in highly controlled environment. There is even provision for a spacer dictating the correct distance between motor and plinth! And despite the sonic advantages of the AF3, you have decided to keep the La Platine. I think it speaks more for the French deck. And you are right, I won't be saving up for the AF3.
I am still in the tweaking phase. And in my last post, I have serious doubt as to a substantial 'braking' force acting on the platter. The platter is spinning on its own inertia if not acted upon by any drive material. In order to allow the platter to do its thing, there should be as minimal a force acting on it as possible. This is what you have found with the loose drive material and short distance between motor and platter. This observation is consistent with mine.
What is most interesting is your arriving at better SQ with the tape drive. Tape has the best combination of least friction and better control of the platter? Definitely an avenue worthy of exploration. I was going to investigate a Tron motor, but perhaps a Delrin pulley or a Galibier motor using tape drive?
@dover Your post should be underlined with 'It's the motor, stupid!'. I have reluctantly come to this only very lately.
@ct0517 Chris, thanks for that short excursion into your analog world. I find your table fascinating. Even more so, your experimentations on the ET 2.5 are inspirational!!
Just to clarify few things: - I was talking about AF-3 Premium version of TechDAS. It is way better than regular AF-3. It is also more expensive .. I think like 40% more. - Tron use the same Verdier motor with some upgrades I assume (?). He made a very nice battery power supply for this motor. That would be its main advantage . I did not have time and wish to compare his battery power supply with mine. Both works great but mine is way cheaper. - Verdier motor generally makes noise. I think that Myler tape actually is the main reason why is that noise is not transmitted to my platter. It is much cheaper to make Derlin pulley and use tape than to buy a new motor. Otherwise Verdier motor is excellent. My friend who has 2 Verdiers has tried several motors of very prominent TT manufacturers and was very disappointed. One of them had W&F of 0.2%!!!. If you use tape find black Mylar tape ! Silver one is peeling and leave residue on platter.
Ledoux, I decided to keep Verdier because it is not worth to sell it. For the money you can get on the market you can buy nothing which comes even close to its quality and sound. I will keep it forever. My main TT is AF-3P where I have 3 tonearms, on Verdier I have 2 tonearms and I also use occasionally Versa Dynamics 1.2 with its own tonearm. A lot of choices! Ha!
Herron VTPH-2a was my darling - it was one of the rare components I kept for long time. Sound is perfectly balanced between SS and tubes. With details, transparency and dynamics it comes very close to best SS. In addition to it, Herron adds just a touch of tube magic - perfect balance for my ears. I have tested it against very best phono stages on the market and never felt urge to change it. Also Keith's service is second to none. 3 of my audiophiles buddies bought VTPH-2 after hearing it in my system. Enough said! Eventually I replaced it with Lamm LP2.1 Deluxe. Why did I like Lamm better? Lamm has clearly deeper bass - giving some kind of real life lower frequency foundation. You know when you go to live jazz concert in very small venue and you sit in front of musician - my perception was always like - damn! this does not sound like my system. There is no artificially increased highs, sound is dark, dynamic like hell, with beauty of tone and texture. That is Lamm. It sounds more like real life than Herron. Herron might be more transparent with more details but the reason for that is ultimately lack of lower frequencies depth and resolution. Do not get me wrong - many audiophiles would prefer Herron because it sounds a little bit Hifi. Many people love that kind of sound and that is absolutely OK for me. From my experience and my tastes - up to $10K I am not aware of better sounding phono than Herron. If your listening priorities tends to be towards Lamm buy LP2 used. It should be in price range of new Herron.
@vuckovic Thank you again for the insight into the Herron and the Lamm.
I have been tore away from the La Platine experiments since my MFA Luminescence crashed with a soft 'thud' three weeks ago. This happens every four to five months with my beloved pre-amp. I have come to accept its idiosyncrasies. However, this past occurrence has led to a complete rethink. After much consternation, I have opted to go with a Lightspeed Passive Attenuator and still in search of a phono preamp. Hence my interest in your thoughts on the Herron.
Ledoux1238, I am very familiar with MFA Lumi. My best audio buddy has 2 of them. They are very reliable and I am surprised you have ongoing problem. My friend suggested you to check rectifier in the power supply portion. Also you should contact designer Scott Franklin at Wavestream in California. I am saying all of this because Lumi is still the world class preamp! It will be very difficult to match its sound.
I too have owned two Luminescence’s. Never had a problem.However it is a complex circuit, and it would be impossible to guess from a distance wgat might be going wrong with yours. If Scott Franklin is still alive and well, he is the obvious choice for you to get a permanent fix. That should not be happening. I regret that I sold my last luminescence several years ago.
Ledoux, You have a fine turntable. A small, low torque motor was used because you do not want it interfering with the steady rotation of the heavy platter. It adds just enough torque to keep the platter spinning. If you remove the string and spin the platter you will able to cook dinner waiting for it to come to a stop. Yes, you want as little tension on the string as possible, too much and the platter starts influencing the motor! The platter slows the motor down, it fights to catch up to speed and overshoots and as you have noticed you get wandering speed. Using the SOTA drive system will improve speed accuracy for sure but I am not sure you will hear a difference. Keep your feet as they are. Your plinth is just fine. The SME V is a fine arm but you will need to add some mass for most MC cartridges. People will complain about the arm having poor bass because they fail to do this but set up correctly you would be hard pressed to fine a better arm. The only arms I would desire above it are the Kuzma 4 point and the Reed 5T. The 5T in particular is very intriguing. It is a brilliant design. My hat is off to those guys. I will never own a DD turntable. Putting an oscillating magnetic device under a phonograph cartridge is the silliest thing I've ever heard of. The improvement in speed accuracy over any decent belt drive table is undetectable by the human ear. I mean wow and flutter in this regard. There are people who can hear the slightest pitch differences. Fortunately I am not one of them.