A Thought Exercise: Consolidating Analog To One Table and Two Cartridges

So this is a thought exercise only at this time. The idea has been bouncing around in the back of my head for a couple of weeks, and have discussed it with a friend but really can't come to a defninitve choice. 

By nature, my stereo system is a product of consolidation. I buy and try, sometimes get a few pieces here, eventually sell and buy the next level up until I am satisfied. In regards to my current system this has led me to a pair of Classe Omega amplifiers and a Trinnov Audio Amethyst pre-amplifier. These are long term keepers for me.

Speakers may get an upgrade in the future or not. Pair of JBL 4365 with a pair of Velodyne HGS12 subwoofers just augmenting the bottom end a little. Room is a typical living room of 16'x20'x8' that the onboard DSP of the Trinnov and some room treatments helps smooth out. 


The first plan is to keep two cartridges, Ortofon Verismo and Transfiguration Audio Proteus. That way I have one to listen to when the other is out for service. Keep a Schroder CB 1L tone arm. Keep a BMC MCI Signature ULN phono stage. Theoretically everything else goes to make a pile of money. 

What goes? Ideally both tables. the SOTA cannot be used with this arm. But as an alternate plan I could keep the SOTA Cosmos Eclipse and put a higher quality arm on it and have it be the only table. 


Scenerio #1 What Goes

SOTA Cosmos Eclipse

Scheu Audio Las Laufwerk No 2 

SME V (older generation)

Dynavector DV 505

Esoteric E-03 phono stage

Ortofon MC 2000 all OEM 

Ortofon MC2000 with boron cantilever

Ortofon MC5000

Ortofon MC3000 II

Ortofon T2000

Ortofon T5000


In theory i could raise between $16 and $18K. Much depends on selling prices of the tables. 


What could I buy? This catches the eye, although how I would get it here would be a logistics problem. 


TW Acustic Raven Black Night (REDUCED) For Sale | Audiogon


I do believe I can get the Schroder arm on it. 


Option #2 

Would be keeping the SOTA Cosmos Eclipse and obtaining a better tonearm for it. Keeping the Verismo and the Proteus as planned. If the other equipment was sold then it could go to a speaker fund. Perhaps sell the JBL and make a speaker upgrade. 


The real question becomes this I guess. The next tier of turntable, does it really have meaningful improvements to offer? I think I can climb one last tier of the ladder and then I max out. But is it worth it to go through the effort? When I listen to the gear I have, the Verismo and the BMC phono stage really do lead the pack. I loved the MC2000 before this combo came around and I optimized it. I find different "sound" interesting to hear, but for me I am content to listen to my best and have limited interest in my lower tier gear. So I could just envision myself listening to these two cartridges. I don't rotate gear, or speakers, and don't have multiple systems. 


Any thoughts? Like I said at the moment this is a thought exercise, not sure if I would want to go down this path or not. I do enjoy the MC2000s and they are difficult to obtain, so that gives me pause. But if an improvement is within reach, that is always my goal. 


In my experience, an air bearing TT is incomparable. More clarity, more warmth, less noise.

That's air in all dimensions, no contact bearing at all. Once you hear it there's no going back. IMO.

If your budget will stretch and if your floor is concrete - mulveling is right on.

@neonknight For your heavy unsuspended table, try to find an S level or better HRS platform.  They isolate below 8 - 15Hz with the correct footers.  There are a fair amount of them available used if you are not convinced and they are not ugly.  In my opinion...

@Dover had it right. Keep the CB-L and go with a Kuzma Stabi R and get two headshell plates to mount different cartridges and swap them out. That's a rig that would be hard to beat. You could spend twice as much and you'd get something different but not necessarily better.

neonknight - The core question is really this. Does next tier of tables offer tangible gains in performance? That is really what the question is, would you not say?

I have not posted in a long time. The following is my personal opinion, because this is the way I finally got to my happy place. So, in love with what I’m hearing without guessing what to do next to improve performance.

Of course next tier tables may improve performance, as long as you have already discovered the sound that does it for you. IMO, this the single most important piece of the puzzle. And, you’re working with gear that works together towards that end. If not, you’re throwing components at one-another hoping that the new mixture will discover this sound for you. Welcome to the merry-go-round.

How I personally and finally figured this out, after trying this and that endlessly, was through going to the Shows and listening. Hundreds of people exploring a hundred rooms, each producing a unique or somewhat unique sound. I realize, that Covid did a number on these opportunities. Myself, I walked into a room at an RMAF show that made me stay and listen. That was it, despite knowing that the rooms at these shows are not ideal by any means for music reproduction. I kept checking out other systems, but kept coming back to that room. I now knew the sound that I wanted to work towards and build upon. For example, I like a more relaxed sound that is detailed, highly nuanced, and alive with air. Of course, that draws me to vinyl whose engineer recorded it that way. That’s my niche, even though when I’m in the mood to rock, my system rocks, but perhaps not to the level of another system. Unless, you have unlimited funds that may possibly give you everything, you may consider concentrating on the sound that appeals to you the most.

I own a Raven One and the Ortofon Verismo. Over time, I have made upgrades to the Raven, because you can and it has benefited my sound without purchasing a new table. I also own from the past a Sota Saphire, SME arm, and even the GST 801. Those were before I figured things out, and while they were very good components at the time, there was something missing.

The Verismo is a new purchase, but I have not bought anything else in years. My Miyajima Shilabe was getting old and soft around the edges. Why did I choose the Verismo? Simple, I contacted my dealer from that RMAF room I found, who knows my ears as we gravitate to the same sound. For me, he let me know that the Verismo is more detailed, nuanced, and not as in your face as the Shilabe. He was right, and that’s all I needed to get a tangible gain in performance.

One could say, I’m not close to a show and would have to book a flight and accommodations. I say, that what you may take away from that may be the most bang-for-the-buck upgrade ever. I don’t know, you may have already done this, and maybe I was damn lucky in my discovery. I sure am grateful for it.

@kennythekey A good report on your encountering of a variety of products and demonstrations that allowed for yourself to discover a Sound that was attractive and desirable to be maintained.

I am all for 'sit in front of' demonstrations and well aware of the footwork required to have these experiences. This method does in my experiences, offer much value, and not only limited to the introduction to devices/systems in use.