Audiomecca Mephisto

Anyone heard the Audiomecca Mephisto transport?
I own an Audiomeca Mephisto, but not the current MkII model. It is a glorious transport, with analogue sound mid-range, tight bass, and sweet highs. One of the best ever made.
I have the Mephisto II and the Enkianthus. It does not get any better period. I was especially amazed at the transports ability to separate the instruments and pinpoint imaging. Some think this combo is the best digital playback. I agree
could someone elaborate on their opinions of the audiomecca transport and dac. please compare to other products you have used in the past.
Have been using a Mephisto II for about a year now. It beat out a CEC TL-2X in A/B comparisons, because of naturality of ambience, space, and (slightly) better low-level information retrieval. I went through a love phase with this devilish seducer the first few months, but then I noticed very small things that bugged me and I realized that it is not the transport of my dreams. The wide-diameter 45mm (rather than 30mm) clamp of the High Precision Read Out Mechanism is superb, the magnetic puck is nicely machined, and the weighted Sanyo laser pickup is probaby better focused than any of the Sonys and Phillips used on much more expensive CD transports, but why--in a design which tries to minimize internal and external vibrational resonance as much as this one does--install a rather ordinary two gear motor directly next to the pickup and under the platter? In other words, why not a BELT DRIVE motor (for the elimination of motor resonances)? Furthermore, the TRACKING control does not control error-correction at all, but only solves a problem that Audiomenca created in the first place: namely, it allows one to combat at home (rather than have to ship the transport back to France) the drift of the EF balance between the two photo diodes. It can happen (although, only twice with me) that the EF balance is no longer maintained and the laser can no longer follow the tracks on the CD, and you have to find a new balance with the tracking regulator. There are other more petty complaints like: why the plastic casing for the puny external power supply? Why the cheap Japanese remote with the "Audiomeca" sticker stuck on it? Why the slightly modified CEC electronics inside and not a completely new design? Why the poorly translated owners manual? Why does the puck have to lose its magnetic force after about a year (and do we really want a magentic field here in the middle of a CD turning this fast?) And mystery of mysteries: Why doesn't the Mephisto II react more dramaticallly to expensive upgrades (I am talking NBS Statement here) in power cables (shouldn't the transport be the most sensitive to a power cable upgrade, following the Shunyata view of things)? To conclude this long lover's complaint: You can get better transparency and imaging precision from more expensive transports (the Burmester 969, the top of the line CEC), but--and for the money--the Mephisto II is probably more fun (yes, fun, enjoyable) to listen to than those other two. Call it "a poor Man's Jadis JD1" (this is overly cruel), or an overdesigned (but thoroughly lovely) Black metacrylic and chromium CEC TL-51--it still sounds better than Mark Levinson No. 37 (but not better than the No. 31.5).
Two other things (I realize I am getting cranky, so I better sign off soon): the black metacrylic casing of the Mephisto II is a real dust magnet, and difficult to clean perfectly (builds up static charge easily that can affect playing in mid-operation), and be careful to put the puck on the CD before closing the lid, because if you forget the motor will start to spin and the CD will flail around in the inner compartment (like the soul of someone possessed: Linda Blair in the Excorcist comes to mind, keeping to satanic references strictly in keeping with the name of this transport) and maybe damage things from inside (also the motor will make a horrible grind).
Slawney, Your observations are especially enlightening.
Do I detect a little buyer remorse?
So that's what that puck is for.
Buyer remorse? Spellbound, and then sort of cursed. On a brighter note: the best upgrade to this transport I have found is to sit it on a very solid support. (Perhaps a square meter of solid concrete would be best.). If the support wobbles, you can forget about it: you will have a 2-D soundstage and reduced dynamics. Yes, Khrys, that is what the puck is for: instant excorcism.
If the puck exorcizes the extra 'c' in "excorcism" then it might just be worth it.
I´ll wave the puck over my next Word Document and see if it performs a spell check. Maybe somebody should perform an excorcism on the title of this forum: it is Audiomeca (one "c") ... Re. 2-D soundstage on the Mephisto II: the rear part of the Mephisto II soundstage widens and deepens with a Shakti Stone planted on the plastic power unit. A good tweek if you want to give the timpani a little more air to breath in.
After a further six weeks of experimentation with the Mephisto II transport, I want to retract one statement I made before and give some tips on tuning and modification. First, the retraction: adding a superior PC does significantly improve the Mephisto II. I tried the NBS Statement PC again and I got very positive improvements in imaging precision, timbre, and extension. I think there was a phase or power problem in a previous experiment. --Also, I have decided that the best commercially-available support for this unit it is the Ensemble Honeyplate. Use the 4 cone spikes on the bottom of the Honeyplate support and then rest the Mephisto II on top of the three cones on top with the back cone in the slot the furthest away in the plate to create the biggest triangle. Be careful with the positioning of the transport doing this as it can easily miss one of the cones! Putting this assembly on a solid support or a TT platform with inverted spikes will yield increased presence, dynamics, and liquidity, with the only downside being a slight thinning down of the overall sound. Also, I have added dampening material to the inside of the unit between the CDM 1 and the sides of its aluminum container in order to take care of any stray resonances from the motor. Again, be careful with the positioning of the dampening material as it can impede the CD from turning if placed wrongly. And, finally, the Shakti Stone works so well on the power unit because it is largely unshielded. I would advice shielding this unit yourself--it is easy to open up and work on. I have even played with the idea of replacing the power unit completely with a better DIY one. Once I carried out the modifications I described above, I was finally satisfied with the Audiomeca Mephisto II unit.
The Mephisto responds well to revisions to the power supplies as well as clock and output....
Rcrump, what clock and output modifications are you referring to? The clock would be easy to modify, I realize, but I did not think it was a problem when I heard this unit. What output did you modify (there are three to choose from)? What were the sonic gains?
A friend of mine had a Mephisto. I had been doing some playing around inside a G&D Transforms Ultimate transport I was using at the time and I ordered enough parts to do the power supplies in both with Harris Hyperfast diodes and Muse caps and the Mephisto came to life.....My friend was so encouraged that he sent the unit to G&D Transforms who put in the new clock and output board along with their own pore supplies to run these boards with good results. G&D stopped taking in mods, but still sells clocks and output boards. The grounding in the Mephisto is all series rather than star, but it is such a beautiful unit it was worth the work and time involved to make it work a bit better. My friend sold his Mephisto and purchased a G&D UTP-1 transport, cheap upstart that was a touch better than the modified Mephisto.....If this interests you call G&D at 602-650-1155 or email at as the Mephisto is probably the prettiest unit out there and it can be made to perform with the best with a little time and effort......
Thank you very much, rcrump for the useful post. I will definitely contact G&D to get the clocks and output boards. I agree that the cosmetics of Mephisto II are beautiful... only if they could get the electronics up to the level of the design. Pierre Lurne worked for Goldmund as well, whose units are visually stunning.
Lurne is a character as a number of years ago I borrowed one his record clamps from a friend and found I just had to have one to use with my Rockport Capella table....To make a long story short there was no importer and I had to deal direct and spoke to his wife several times in the few months it took to get several clamps for the Rockport turntable owners here in Houston....Some of the parts for the clamps came from Spain and on and on, but they finally did arrive.....The point is they are artisans rather than manufacturers.....
Lurne's big passion is rose gardening. (I have often wondered if the name of ML's "Red Rose Music" was an unconscious transfer). Anyway, Lurne refuses to work on audio projects on the weekend so as to devote himself to his garden. It raises a question: Can a flower inspire an audio design? Although his designs are clearly the work of a European aesthete, Lurne in person seems rather down to earth and modest. He did extensive research and development on CD transport mechanisms before redesigning the Mephisto, and he gives much of the credit for the outcome to his partners. I am glad that you liked the record clamp, Rcrump: it trully is worth having for the Rockport. Also, thanks for the e-mail.
What sonics were changed with the upgrades. I am highly interested in the upgrades and what would the ballpark cost be.
The Mephisto is lacking in pace, dynamics and that sort of thing.....Pretty doesn't tell you how drunk the players are and the mods will get you most of the way there in terms of pace and immediacy.....G&D used to charge about $650 for the whole shooting match, but stopped taking the units in for mods.....Probably worth about $800 or so today for new clock, output board and power supply revisions and suggest you talk to G&D (see above for email and phone number) to see if they have someone they would recommend.....
How about you Mr. Crump? Would you be willing to do the upgrades. I know you can do the job. You have some of the finest cables and power cords. I have not heard that preamp yet.
I don't take in mods on unfamiliar units and the reason was rammed home again this weekend as I spent seven or eight hours getting a GamuT amp to behave......That surgery was a success BTW, but the owner lives in town......I would keep after Tony DiGiovine and he will probably think of someone who is qualified to do a mod on your Mephisto....Tony and I spoke the other night and lots of names popped up, but nobody with the experience necessary to do the work....Keep after Tony via email and maybe he will feel like taking in mods again one of these days.....

Our preamp buttons say it is "Better than sex and almost as good as Bar-B-Q", but it is probably all hype anyway :-)
Hey Bob, get off the internet and finish my Blowtorch. I'm anxious to see if the claim is true. Since I'm not particularly fond of BBQ, guess the odds are in my favor, no? Doc
A great component modifier has the ability to compress into a few hours a transformation of circuits that originally required years for their development. On most Japanese mass-market CD players, for instance, one can significantly upgrade the sound by installing a power-filter, outboarding the transformer, replacing the op amp output chips (one typically finds two standard Japanese op amp types: 4558, and 2114, which can easily be replaced by a Burr Brown OPA 2604), and replacing the output capacitors (usually in Japanese products there are Silmic 100 microfarad caps sitting right in front of the output connection, which can be replaced by a polypropylene WIMA MKP 4 10 microfarad for a few bucks, or if you want to spend more a Jensen or Hovland). I have taken a look inside the Mephisto II transport and the electronics (all situated on the left hand side) are slightly-modified C.E.C. electronics (Audiomeca outsource their electronics to Japan) and not as messy as one might think. If you find someone with experience modifying C.E.C. transports, they should have no problem with an Audiomeca unit. I have not yet got in touch with G&D, nor fully analyzed the circuit board, but my first impression is that there are definitely some places where the Mephisto II can be upgraded: power supply (definitely yes, thank god it is already outboard) caps (definitely yes) clock (definitely yes, but I think the pacing of the mK. II unit is pretty good without this) chips (yes, within limits). The C.E.C. circuits are better than mass-market Pioneer and Marantz, so the upgrade materials will be a little more expensive than an upgrade of the latter (I would say $300), but the work will require patience (caps will have to be relocated). What you will be left with (I expect, given my experience with isolation, PC, and resonance control on the Mephisto II) is a unit that is almost no comparison to the stock unit in immediacy and dynamics: just as Rcrump said. BTW, the laser is modified Sanyo still in production, so there is no chance in the near future (perhaps a little later, given the unstable Japanese economy: how are Sanyo stocks doing on the Nikkei?) that these lasers will be out of stock and Mephisto II owners will be left with a lovely piece of junk when their lasers burn out (as they will some day). In any case, the modified lasers need to be obtained from Audiomeca, since they specially weighted them and a stock Sanyo will not do.
Great information....The unit I modified was an early one and not CEC based......The one I modified had supply so small that the lights would dim when the transport started and would bear little relationship to the sound of a CEC based unit as they have much larger supplies than the early Mephisto.....