$6-7k to Spend on Turntable

Hi All,

My old Oracle Mark II I have had for years has developed a serious problem with the motor. It plays very fast then slow and anywhere in between. I've decided not to fix it but get a new unit. The arm mounted on it is an SME IV, which I have been very pleased with.

I don't have time to demo a bunch of setups, I'd just like to move ahead on a replacement as soon as I can firm up a good replacement. A few ideas I have come up with within my price range:

- Verdier Platine and mount my old SME IV
- VPI TNT Mk 6 and figure out how to mount my old arm or spend some extra and get the JMW 12.5 if it is an improvement over the SME

Or is there something else out there that I should be considering? I don't tend to follow a lot of the reviews. I usually buy something then use it for years.

Other gear is AR SP-8 and VT-200 driving some Final 0.4s


Have a look at these. Buy one and you'll probably never ask this question again...
Just a couple of thoughts...have you checked if your belt is OK and if the main spindle bearing lube is topped up?
This one is pretty simple. Get a Teres 340 and you are set for life.
I spent a year and a half researching and then took a leap of faith and bought a Teres 340. The sonics are staggeringly good. The table is a breeze to maintain and it is all guaranteed for life. Chris Brady is a dream to deal with.
You will probably only fine ecstatic Teres owners.
Give / email Chris and save yourself a lot of time and grief.

Perhaps we would be able to better match a table to your needs if you provided a bit of information about what you are look (or listening) for.

As is, we can only respond with what we like.
Yes, I replaced the belt, but I still have issues with the motor turning too fast. 33 1/3 is very close to 45 rpm, but it also slows down below 33 1/3. It won't maintain a constant speed at all. I've been wanting to upgrade for some time anyway, so this is sort of the push to get me to do it.

Regarding the Teres 340, I hadn't really considered that table. Interesting that both recommendations I got were for that table. They are beautiful units, but I have never seen one in person. I'll do some more research on them. Can I mount my SME on the deck or do I need a new arm?

I have a new TNTjr with a MK6 platter on a REALLY solid foundation. It sounds excellent, so much so that I'm not sure whether it's worth getting the dual motor setup or peripehry ring. I've had a good listen to the HRX and it IS slightly better but not worth the extra money.
Your SME is a great piece of kit and I don't think you can top it unless your willing to part with lots of money on something like a Kuzma airline. My Eminent technology out-tracked a JMW 12.5. Other tonearms similar to yours will not give you much more satisfaction than what you already hear,IMHO.
Those Teres tables look stunning too and could be a worthy contender considering the press they get here, but I've never been fortunate enough to hear one.
I have heard however the Verdier table and would recommend it as well, it is very resolving.
The point is when you get to this price level not much will sound BAD!!! The law of diminishing returns kicks in big time around the $3000+mark so choose whichever table gives you the greatest pleasure listening to. It doesn't hurt if it's a little eye candy as well.
I also would recommend the Teres. Good luck.
The Teres all come with an armboard and I believe that they can be drilled by Teres to allow you to mount the SME.
Email Chris Brady with any of your questions:



What am I looking for? Hmmm? I am not what one would call an equipment junkie. I tend to research a fair amount, buy something, then just hold on to if for a long time. Given that approach, I want to make sure the table I buy is going to last me a good twenty plus years, just like the Oracle. I'll probably buy a unit then I'll never research anything again unit some other part of my system goes belly up. I don't subscribe to audio rags. I just enjoy having nice equipment that allows me to 'listen' to music. In fact I spend way more time reading about and buying software than I do hardware.

I am not big into digital. I do have a decent CD deck, but my main source is vinyl. I listen to classical, jazz, blues, and rock. I am not a big bass junkie, having cut my teeth on maggies. I now run Final electrostatics, which do a very job of reproducing mids and highs. Bass is a bit weak, but fairly accurate. I don't necessarily need a table that is going to draw every drop out of the bass as I can reproduce it with my speakers.

Another concern is my preamp. I have an SP-8 that I dearly love. The phono stage requires a high output cartridge. I have no immediate plans on replacing the preamp, so I am wedded to high output cartridges. I am currently running a Grado Reference High Output cartridge on the SME IV. To keep costs down a bit, I was sort of hoping to use the SME IV arm and Grado on the new deck. But I am not predisposed to that if there really is a sonically better match for whatever turntable I end up getting.

Again, what am I looking for? I guess the turntable that most accurately reproduces the original within my $7 grand budget. I have no objections to buying used either. One thing I don't want is a turntable that takes up a bunch of real estate. I'm currently setup to accomodate 25x18, but I'll adjust to accomodate the new gear. I just don't want something that will require a lot of space. I also don't want to spend 15-30 minutes setting up before every listening session.

My local dealer carries the Clearaudio, which are nice, but I'm not particularly into all the acrylic. So I'm prolly going to buy something without having heard it first. I'm guessing most anything in my price range will sound very good. I suppose I'm just casting a net to see what some of the options are as I'm not particular well read on what's out there right now.

Thanks for your thoughts.

I'd go VPI or Teres.
Any Teres from the 265 on up is a great way to go. These tables are a great value. Hard to beat at any price.
Dear Ken: +++++ " I have no objections to buying used either. " +++++

With this option you have a very wide horizon to choose your TT: Verdier is one of the greatest TT's out there ( excellent choice ), SME 20: does not needs any presentation, Avid Acutus, Acoustic Signature, Basis ( the ones that had vacuum hold-down record.), Galibier, etc.,,,,,,

I agree with you about the acrylic TT's and I can tell the same for the wood ones, like Teres.

Now, for that money maybe you can get your TT and a better cartridge ( the SME IV is a very good tonearm, no problem here. ). In this way you can have a great quality improvement over what you have today. Think about.

Regards and enjoy the music.
check out an acoustic signature final tool or a scheu premier
I agree with the Teres 265 or better. I doubt you will have any problem using your existing arm and cartridge. Do email Chris with any questions. Also, your available real estate will work fine with this table.
Why not buy an Oracle Delphi V? Certainly fit your price range and you know it'll accomodate a SME arm easily.
I think you should consider the SME turntables. The others listed about are all good choices. The SME 20 used falls right in you price range. That TT and your IV.Vi arm will likely outlast you. It's the perfect match for your arm. Good luck.
You may also want to look at a Galibier Quatro table. These are very well made tables that sound and look great. You may want to check out their website which is very informative. www.galibierdesigns.com
When you get whatever you decide, instead of dumping the Orackle, send it to me...
Dear Ken: Take a look to the TT's classifieds here in Audiogon. You can " see " a Transrotor Fat Boy on sale at good price. This is really a very good TT, too.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Thank you all for the responses. You've given me plenty to think about.

Seems this forum thinks very highly of the Teres decks. At your suggestion, I've sent an email off to Chris. In checking his website, seems there is a very significant wait time for new deliveries. Being a hobbyist woodworker, the wood does appeal to me, but not enough to wait two to three months for a new deck. I'm already going stir crazy!

Even though I have very much enjoyed the Oracle, I've found the company more miss than hit to deal with. I've never know from one month to the next if they are going to be in business. So I had sort of ruled out the Mark V.

The SME 20 that jfrech tossed out is definately on my used radar watch. I saw one on here several months back that I considered chasing, but at the time the ol' Oracle was still working.

You've given me some good suggestions. I think I'll spend some more time researching some of the brands I hadn't considered that you recommend: the Galibier, Acoustic Signature, Avid, Basis, and Scheu. Added to the VPI TNT 6 and Verdier, I have a good selection to choose from.

Regardless of the deck, you've convinced me to stay with the Mark IV. I'd also consider upgrading the cartridge if there were a noticeable improvement over my Grado Reference. I do need very high output with the SP-8.

Maybe in the meantime, something good will pop up in the classifieds.

J C Verdier is the one that you should get...
The reason i didn't buy the Verdier is it doesn't have a threated clamp like VPI,SME,etc to flatten up a record wrapped.

80% of new records are wrapped !
Teres tables are extremely easy to use. Just spin the platter (or push the start button on the motor) and you are off to the races. I have not been down once with my 340 in year's worth of use.
A few more points to consider. Teres has a trade in/up policy where you can turn in your old table for a credit of 80 % of the price you paid and that credit can be applied to a new table from Teres. If you keep your original table, you have a life time guarantee and Teres there to do any repairs.
Sonically, I have not done a comparison of the SME 20 and a Teres in my own system, but have heard favorable comments about the Teres over the SME 20 (but I can't provide and detail or corroboration).
If you tend to hold on to a piece of equipment a long time, do try to have the patience to make the your best decision and hold out for the piece that makes the most sense. Two months goes faster than you think and it is not much time when you might keep a TT for ten years or more. I took about a year and half to decide on getting a Teres and considered the Platine Verdier and SME 20 that are great tables in their own right. I am thrilled that I ended up with the Teres and the trouble free experience that I have had along with incredible sonics.
If you ARE looking for an SME 20, I just noticed an SME 20/2 for sale today for $7,950 with an SME IV.vi arm (which you could easily sell for over $1000 thus getting this in your price range). I am an SME 30 owner but have no idea what an SME 20 sounds like, particularly compared to the highly regarded Teres - I just thought I'd bring your attention to this ad. I actually think I have sold some amps to this guy.

Good luck in your hunt.
Teres 255 cocobolo and Schroeder Model 2 arm. That's what I would get.
Dear Larry: +++++ " heard favorable comments about the Teres over the SME 20 (but I can't provide and detail or corroboration). " +++++

With my respect to you, this " rumor " is an irresponsible one that does not help to Teres or anyone and do harm to any including SME.

I have respect for every audio item manufacturer ( including Teres or ZYX. The problem that these does not be my " cup of tea " does not means that I don't respect them for what they do. ) but especially to SME: the skillfull, know-how, technology, quality building, honest designs, etc... are unsurpassed or evenn for any one in the audio industry.
I know that some people like other manufacturer products over the SME ones and that is ok. But when some one post something like you do it is better to have " the hairs in hand " before do that and you don't have it.

Regards and enjoy the music.
I was simply stating that I could not remember who had told me that they preferred the Teres over the SME 20. I was open and not castigating the SME 20 which I have never heard.
When I hear something in my own system, I make that known in my postings.
Me saying that a few people had told me that they preferred a Teres table over and SME 20 is true and that's that. The fact that you have a problem with that is your problem.
If I had not disclosed up front that I was sharing someone else's opinion and stated that the Teres is superior to the SME 20, that would be unethical and dishonest. But, that is not what I did.
Please do not respond to me further. I have no interest in getting into another one of your b.s. arguements that go no where.
Well gang, I pulled the trigger today. I purchased an SME 20/2 from a fellow audiogon member this evening.

I have done more reading on turntables the last couple of days than I have in years. Most of it spurred by your suggestions. I know many of you had recommended the Teres decks. I did send Chris Brady an email to which he replied. These are probably excellent decks just as many of you have said. However, I can't get one locally, and I am not inclined to wait a long period for one to be produced for me.

Much of the information you provided I used to wade through the decks available on Audiogon. This afternoon an SME 20/2 showed up, which fit my requirements. I can also pick up the deck locally. As I have hinted, I'm not much of an equipment junkie, but buying used does allow me the option of selling later without taking a bath if for some reason the sound isn't what I was expecting. However, given my experience with my SME IV tonearm. I doubt I will be disappointed.

In then end, there was no way I could follow everyone's suggestions, but I valued all your input and appreciate your insights.

Thanks again for the help!

Larry: Please, don't bad feelings: try to change a little your attitude about me.

+++++ " The fact that you have a problem with that is your problem. " +++++

My think is that that subject is an Audiogon forum problem: +++++ " I was simply stating that I could not remember who had told me that they preferred the Teres over the SME 20. " +++++

So, you can't corroborate that statement and this is only a " irresponsable rumor ", that do not help to anyone in this forum and in the audio industry. Remember that in this forum always come ( welcome a board ) new peoples, ones with heavy experience but many others don't.

When I give my opinion I always try to do with facts that I can corroborate and must of the time I try not to " bring " other people opinion that I can't corroborate.

Everyday I receive e-mails from the Audiogon forum peoples to comment on differents subjects and try not to use those info.

You already know my ZYX cartridge opinion. I can tell you the next episode that happens a few months ago about:

- +++++ " Subject: Audiogon listing: Van Den Hul Colibri XGP .45 mv " +++++

This classified ad take my attention because this man put on sale his Colibri doing an upgrade to top ZYX.

I send him an e-mail:

+++++ "> TO:
> Dear friend: If you really prefer the ZYX over the Colibri that's mean

> that something is wrong ( mismatch ) in your audio system. Regards. " +++++

This was his answer: +++++ " I am not sure what you mean by mismatch. The system is very straight forward Atmasphere amp and pre (with excellent nos tubes), walker tt, and wilson speakers. I think this system should be a very revealing system and able to judge cartridges well. I would be glad to hear what your suggestion is to make the colibri work better. I purchased the colibri on the recommendation of a person who also owns a linear tone arm , rockport tt. I figured if it worked well on his it would on mine. Hope you can find time to further explain your comments. " +++++

I do that and the answer was: +++++ " The colibri is very fast and I would lean the other way that it is not
emotionally envolving. I feel that it is very dry similar to the clearaudio
cartridges. The bass extension is with out a doubt better with the zyx to
the point where you hear unexpected bass response where with other
cartridges you would have missed. " +++++

I insist and give him all my advise to reach the top quality that the Colobri can, fortunatelly he do that and this was their answer:

+++++ " I opened the new colibri and put it on my walker, with out a doubt it is a
better cartridge than the zyx. Point, my first colibri was not working
correctly. I with drew the colibri from audiogon and expect it
to stay on the walker for some time. Detailed with out being harsh, and wow
what a big sound stage, imaging plus plus. Thanks for the push to try the
new colibri. " +++++

This is only one example of info that I have and that I never used when I post about the ZYX or anyone else. Why I don't do that: because I like to " work " with facts where I have control and the " hairs on hand " and don't cause misunderstood on other Audiogon members.

Larry, I repeat no bad feelings at all. I have great respect for you and for anyone else ( including Teres/ZYX ) here and every where.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Iflyfisher: Well, what does it sound like? Congrats on your SME 20!
Jfrech, I don't know yet! I just picked it up over the weekend, and my ARC VT-200 is still in the shop. The deck is definately mint, just as Johan said. I guess he only had it for less than a year. It was very well taken care of.

It may be a couple of weeks until I can really give it a shakedown as I am going to send my ARC SP-8 off to Steve at Great Northern Sound to get the phono stage upgraded to handle low output MCs. I've been talking to Sorasound here in SF and plan on picking up an Airys 3s from him.

Hopefully within two to three weeks, I'll have everything back and making music!

I need to get the Oracle and SME IV listed for sale some time this week.


If you are to retain the SME IV you should go for a deck that synergises well with it. As such you should first consider both the SME model 20/2 and the Model 10. You should also consider the Avid decks by Conrad Mas - fantastic decks that are often sporting the arm you own.

I myself have an Amazon Model One and have good authority that the SME goes well with it.

Having said all that get the Oracle fully serviced - in a recent hi fi news review the reviewer indicated that he'd get the new one had he not already got his current reference!

About the Platine - that goes well with Schroeder, Breur, and Morch Arms, as well as the old sme 3009 - so I am told by one dealer and importer of the item.

For your kind of money, and given the e-mail responses you have had, you may as well go and get some demos, it's much better than reading what people hear - trust me - I'm sure all the magazines will disagree though.
Dear Ken: I assume that your 20 comes with the SME V. This tonearm is a dinamically balance design, and works very well in that way but you have to try it in static balance way: it comes better yet.

Regards and enjoy the music.

Hello Iflyfisher, I'd consider the SME 10,made for your arm,small footprint,simple and strong build quality,much less $ than the 20,you could sell the "10" arm or keep it, and buy 2 or 3 cartridges with the change and i'm sure you'd have a great set up. Choose your favorite combo ,sell the others and just play music!
Sorry, i didn't read the whole thread, nevermind.
My personal choice is the long-standing VPI line. Go for a TNT and get a ZYX Airy Universe to mount on it.

Marty Nickison