Are more turntable motors better?

I did a quick search of the archives and couldn't find a thread about this, feel free to show me if I didn't look hard enough. Question is: are more motors better in a belt-driven table? Seems like pricier models are always more likely to have more motors, and manufacturers offer addtional motors as upgrades, but does it always result in improved sound? Theoretically, additional motors may tend to cancel out each others speed fluctuations, but overall noise may be higher. Thoughts?
Yes more motors are better in my experience. There are two camps here. Camp one: use a single low torque motor coupled to a very high mass platter. Camp 2: 2 or more high torque motors turing a low mass platter. I have been in both camps in the past, and I can honestly say that multiple motors turning a low mass (relatively) platter produce a much more involving more soulful, more punchy presentation that is at the top of the PRAT scale.

Yes more motors make more noise. Yes coupling 2 or 3 of them to a lightweight platter provides more opportunities for hum and vibration to reach the platter. Thats why the platter is low mass. Its like a bell. A large diameter bell transmits more collected energy into sound pressure waves than a smaller diameter bell. Thick massive platters tend to just collect, store and transmit more room energy into the stylus than with a low mass platter. Low mass platters don't collect or store nearly as much energy. There is less platter to do so.

I know common sense would tell you that a more massive platter will isolate the record and stylus from freewave airborne energy more effectively than a low mass one, but this assumption is incorrect.

That low mass platter being driven with high high torque is what produces some of the most involving analog I have ever heard anywhere.

I am not a physicist so I can't give you the numbers. What I can say is that hearing is believing to me. Oh yeah.....there was a question here. More motors is better!
Using a flywheel to smooth out the drive is probably better, but not applicable in all cases. I remember seeing Micro Seiki using one of their massive tables as a flywheel to drive an identical table, using silk thread from the motor and between the tables. That was nearly 30 years ago, associated equipment then was not up to revealing how good the sound probably was. I use a single motor flywheel on my VPI Aries and it works very well. Whichever system is ultimately superior is not as important as how well the individual design has been executed.
More is better (for the Seller) =)
in Reality:
there are only 2 kind of motors out there
-good ones which do the job right
-and the bad ones (they compensate each other, but it looks serious =))
Syntax, I could not have said it better.
Thanks, Guys. I see the new TW Acustic for $$$$$ has 3 motors, so maybe there is some advantage if everything is properly controlled, but, like so many things in our hobby, the answer is probably "it depends."
05-10-09: Klinerm
Thanks, Guys. I see the new TW Acustic for $$$$$ has 3 motors, so maybe there is some advantage if everything is properly controlled, but, like so many things in our hobby, the answer is probably "it depends."
what I noticed about the TW Acustic Raven 3AC was Thomas was using 3 motors to effectively create a platter rim drive. I saw this TT at the RMAF2007 show & I heard it in the dealer's room (Highwater Sound?? - the dealer had a prick of a personality IMO). I cannot comment on the sonics after just hearing it for 10-15 minutes but I noticed what the 3 motors were trying to accomplish - the platter rim drive.
I also notice that many other manuf like Teres & VPI have gotten into rim drives.
Apparently the notion is that the less the surface area of the belt that touches the platter rim, the better as people feel that too much surface area "chokes" the TT sonics. Well, I have no personal experience but am only recounting what I've heard.
yes, probably too much rubber from inferior quality can decrease sound quality. To minimize the contact area will help =)
To move it away from the platter via more motors has a lot of advantages, more money for the manufacturer and better sound.
But with a better belt ($100) you can save a lot of money (honestly, the most).
Or with a better motor.
But you need for everything a good and important explanation.
But please, not from an engineer =)
One direct drive motor is better.
A point not yet mentioned is that the typical belt drive solution suffers from inherent belt creep which causes loss of dynamics and accuracy. (The key word being "typical") Mark Kelly has outlined this at various places on the Internet. You will find the appropriate math along with those explanations. There are workarounds to reduce belt creep however, and a three motor implementation is one approach. There are at least three other clever approaches to the problem that I have seen that connect the belt in various ways, add components, etc. It is a given that belt condition matters, and although it is an important aspect, it is not the only primary concern.

*Disclaimer...I manufacture turntables that do not use belts. I mention it, not because anything I have said here is controversial, but so it won't appear that I am attempting to promote any agenda.
"One direct drive motor is better."
It can be better than some other individual designs, depending on the implementation. Then again, it may present yet another set of problems. For example, if the direct drive motor uses a correction loop, an analog sort of jitter can be detected. That may cause a noticeable lack of dynamics, or even smearing, in some setups. Another example would be that if a motor is used that is too noisy or weak, the result wouldn't be optimum. My belief is that any drive type has certain caveats when carelessly implemented. A turntable, like your system, is a whole entity that is as strong as its weakest part. The drive can be near perfection, but if all the other aspects of the build are not properly addressed, the end result isn't the best it could be.
I will say that when I added the Micro Seiki HS-80 passive flywheel to my (obviously single-motor) thread-driven RX-5000, the background was as quiet as ever, but the solidity of piano notes was even more impressive. A clever solution to keeping it simple yet providing even more system inertia.
Dear Klinerm: Each motor is a different kind of distortion source three motors are three distortion sources.

Anyway, you have to try in your TT and decide if it is better or not.
I try it ( two motors ) in my AS and MS TTs and I can't detect a quality improvement ( I'm using a thread of aramid fiber to drive. ), but as always is system dependent.

Now, there are some TT designs that are/were designed taking in count more than one motor, these TT dsigns certainly will peform better with more than one motor.

I think that there is no one Universal/absolute answer on the subject and like almost always your ears are the best judge, it does not matters other/different opinions about.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Same experience with me by adding a second platter as flywheel and rim drive, using the same motor.

the point some of us are trying to make is that extra motor may solve/mask the issue of a single motor. However, if the single motor had been had been a better choice the additional motors would not be needed. As Mosin posted it all depends on the implementation. Sometimes if you add additional motors and belts the effects of motor cogging are spread out so they are less audible.

It is a nice solution for particular motor/drive issues, but it is a solution the manufacturer is asking the customer to pay for because they do not supply a motor/drive that works well on its own.

Dear Kipdent, if you do change position of your HS-80 and put it on the right side of the RX-5000 - in mirror position of the RY-5500 - you will even be more astonished about the increase in overall sound quality. By doing so you will almost eliminate any horizontal force on teh RX-5000 bearing and that will pay off.

Any discussion about one motor vs multiple motors is totally off point.
The answer is simple and obvious.
Same for direct drive vs belt drive.
Look exactly what are the demands and than think what really happens and what physical forces are involved when platter spins and rotates......
The answer is clear - even if it won't find everybody's appluse nor approval.
BTW - Dan_ed and Syntax are on the "right" path.
The answer is quality.
Not quantity.

You wouldn't think about using multiple cheap motors for your car to improve its performance - you would go for the "big block".
Same here.
Quality may be much more expensive than quantity......
Dear friends: IMHO I think that to know if one TT motor is better than 2-3 TT motors in a TT design is totally useless in the practice for several reasons.

Mosin and Stanwal point out that that sole factor/characteristic in a TT design can't determine its quality performance because the TT design is not only a motor factor but a whole/series of adding factors/characteristics that along a high quality implementation/execution ( like the design on almost any audio device. ) define its final quality performance.

If we see of what we have out there on the TT overall subject we can attest that each TT designer has its own aproach ( valid or not, good or bad. ) to give his " best " answer to our needs, some ones achieve the targets or are near the targets better than others.

The differences in how each TT designer " see " the " right answer " are really wide: from one motor approach to several motors, from BD approach to DD one, from acrylic build material to a blend of build material elsewhere, from massive platter approach to low mass platter one, from suspended TT approach to non-suspension at all, from DC motors to ac ones, from air bearing design to magnetic one, from almost no-plinth to heavy plinths, etc, etc.

Now, if we ask to any one of those commercial TT designers the why's of their approaches they have , part by part , answers on it: answers that go with what they believe about, what they find on their design research, what they find on " day by day " TT work ( like any customer will hear it. ) in an audio " real " system, trying to choose the " best " trade-offs, obviously what they like and of course between a price range.

This is part of our reality that we can't make " disappear " on this thread/forum.

In the same way, if we ask to the one motor TT owner if he is satisfied ( Walker, Rockport, Galibier, VPI, ) the answer will be almost yes and if we make the same question to a three motor TT owner ( TW Acustic, Clearaudio, Transrotor, brinkman, ) he will say yes too. Even if we ask to this 3 motors TT owner if he likes more than the same model one motor his answer will be: yes I prefer the three motors approach.

This, like it or not/fortunately or not, is IMHO where we live, nothing is perfect. The good news is that we ( manufacturers, audio dealers and customers ) have a lot of " land " to improve in our future and this ( between other hings ) is a reason why we love our home audio music/sound reproduction " hobby ".

Regards and enjoy the music.

I believe the test is whether the majority of listeners of a designer's product are genuinely moved by the passion of the music it produces. If they are, he has succeeded. If not, he has failed. At the end of the day, the number of motors, weight, etc., etc. are only talking points because the performance of the piece stands on its on merit. One cannot hide behind features when discerning ears report back to their owners.

Yes, Dentoarm, I am desperately wanting to set up the HS-80 flywheel in the correct "mirror image" position. Initially I had to set it in the less-than-ideal position due to WAF issues. However, I think I've figured out a way to juggle all my components in my cabinet to allow the mirror image positioning and I will report back once this is completed.

Many thanks to all contributors to this thread. FWIW, I have just received a new Alpha power supply, two motors, and a variety of belts for my Final Tool from Otto, the new proprietor of Acoustic Signature. After I install a Triplanar VII and ZYX Universe on it, I will do some serious 1 vs. 2 motor comparisons, and report back. By the way, I'm going to start a new thread about this, but I can't say enough good about Otto - I had given up hope of ever getting my Final Tool working again, but Otto has really come through.
will do some serious 1 vs. 2 motor comparisons, and report back.
Unfortunately, it will show nothing new, because you don't know, how good these motors really are.
That's why multi motors from same manufacturer always sound different to single motor. When they have flaws, it is not so obvious. They compensate each other.

A real comparison would be, to use a real good motor as comparison (for example from Micro Seiki..)
In Germany I know a few who replaced- for example - the Raven motors, no matter how much (1 or 2...) with really high quality industrial motors and they told me, THAT is an real improvement....

Do you know the details (models, sources)on any industrial motors that were used successfully? That would be great to try. May even cost less if they're not originally intended for audio!
Hi Klinerm,
not really, some use the big motor from Micro Seiki, some have DIY motors (but very professionally made because they know some technicians) and one gave the Raven motors to a factory, they used the housing to implement their own design.
But even that Raven will be on sale the next time, the owner has some other turntables and will let it go, even with improved motors.
A - real - good turntable design is not so easy in our modern time, I guess.
No wonder, digital became such huge acceptance.
Well, I guess I'm going to finish up my own thread. I've now had the opportunity to listen to my Final Tool through a quite high end system with 1, 2, & 3 motors for a few weeks, and it's in my opinion a no-brainer that 1 motor sounds best. Of course, this finding probably will not generalize to all turntables on the market.
From my experience, having had only one 1 motor and then upgrading to 3 later on with my Transrotor turntable, I think the merits are both from what the designer puts and what the customer wants. I decided to go with a 3 motor setup after upgrading to a 80MM platter which was twice as heavy as the other stock 40MM platter that was on before. I wanted to go this route because I wanted to add extra torque capacity at startup to enable to platter to spin-up to speed from a cold start. With one motor and one belt, it took some time and it was noticeable, with the heavy platter upgrade, the manufacturer suggested the 3 motor route...the motors did not change, I mean it was the same motor either with one or 3 motors, but there is no noise at all, and the Transrotor speed controller allows me to monitor the variances in speed and make on the fly changes as needed in case I need to.

I know some state that a high torque motor is capable of driving a heavy platter with no problem but the Transrotor motors, I am not sure who makes these are so quiet and work great for me and I am not sure if they are high torque or not. That is where the ultimate decision lies, what works for you as a customer, it is your decision based on your own parameters. Good luck.

That is where the ultimate decision lies, what works for you as a customer, it is your decision based on your own parameters.

Absolutely. We all have different ideas on what we can or cannot live with. I.e., start up is not an issue for me since I have come to prefer leaving my table running during an entire session. I get off on details of the music so I prefer the resolution of a single motor with tape belt. But I do admit that there are many multi-motor setups I have not heard. FWIW.

I would suspect that a multi-motor solution from the turntable manufacturer would give the best results with such a configuration. Adapting across lines can get tricky, but it is certainly possible.