I have almost the same set-up as you (my Ovation was updated to a Debut vacuum, and I use a Graham 2.2). If I could afford it, as good as this combo is I would probably replace it with a Walker, as the Walker seems just a bit better in all respects, most noticeably in the detail it digs out from the grooves and a sense of "liveness", for lack of a better word (it could be that the Basis is too good at damping out vibrations, for all I know). Ultimately the Walker makes a record sound a little closer to a musical event rather than listening to a recording of one. I couldn't tell you for certain how "major" the differences are, particularly since I've heard the Walker in a completely different system than mine, but at this level, the differences in components tend to get smaller and are more a reflection on the designer's philosophy and taste than anything else. So, objectively I'd say that the differences are probably subtle, but subjectively they mean a lot to me. I really think that you really have to hear the Walker to understand what I'm talking about, and then you can decide how much the difference means to you.
I think, the Walker would be the next level. But I think, that their Arm makes a huge improvement, too.
I changed from Graham 2.2 to Phantom and this difference is NOT subtle. It is huge.
I do not sell Walker, Brinkman or Basis. I do sell Grand Prix Audio.
While I like all the tables you mention, I would probably recommend in this order:
1. Brinkman - Easy to setup, excellent build quality and sonics.
2. Walker - Excellent sonics, very difficult to setup unless Lloyd does it for you. Very tweaky. If you move or paint your room, could be very frustrating. If you purchase, you get, as a bonus, Lloyd's wonderful sense of humor.
3. Basis - Not quite at the same level as the previously mentioned, but rock solid reliability.
I would be remiss to say that I feel the Grand Prix Audio rivals the best tables I have heard. It is a direct drive table that keeps, probably, the best speed and pitch of any table on the market. I feel this is the most important function of a turntable.
The good news is there are no bad decisions on your list :)
I will echo Russ' comments about needing to listen to the Walker turntable in order to really appreciate what makes it so special. I'm clearly biased in favor of the Walker having made that decision several years ago, but with the overall level of your system today, you really ought to hear the Walker for yourself. Lloyd is very accomodating and he's just a little ways west of Philadelphia: might make a very good day trip for you to arrange a listening session with him.
Thank both of you for your input,it seems that the next logical step in my system could be the Walker black diamond.
There is also the Kuzma Airline reference turntable.
Like Rushton, I'm a Walker owner of long standing (9years). I have a friend with the full blown Brinkman system but have had no experience with Basis.
A couple of personal observations would be that the Walker is not really that fussy to set up but is revealing of changes in setup. Not every change is night-and day for better or worse, just different. I guess many would claim that there is only one optimal final setting but I don't subscribe to this. At any rate, I defer to Lloyd.
Without going into extreme and exhaustive descriptives, I would say that the one thing that the Walker table imparts unlike any other source in my experience is a sense of gravitas, of informational density, of musical mass. As the table itself is massive, it passes on this substantiveness and foundation in its delivery.
But this quality is most definitely not burdened with a plodding pace or inertia. I hope you get a chance to hear one sometime. BTW, I do not feel qualified to discuss the Brinkman setup because I've only heard it during audio club nite, which in my locale amounts to nothing more than a fraternity smoker with power conditioning thrown in.
I own the Brinkmann, (actually, I have a LaGrange, because I wanted two arms--I previously had the Balance) and owned the Basis (and an SME 30, Rockport Capella, and some others). I've kept the Brinkmann for 3 years now, and have no intention of changing. I guess I agree with Jonathan Tinn then, but, I have no experience with the Walker--I no longer want to deal with air bearing arms, I'd just rather listen to music
All tables you mentioned are top tables, the Basis being the one I would consider the least desirable sonically. You should also look into the new Grand Prix Audio Monaco table. I previously owned the the Basis Debut Gold, SME 20/2, and now have the Grand Prix Monaco. It looks simple, but is very innovative and brilliantly engineered. It is a direct drive that is done right. I did not hear the drawback of belt driven tables until I compared it to a state of the art direct drive with the best speed accuracy available. The improvement is not subtle. Vinyl sounds AMAZING on the Grand Prix / Dynavector 507II / XV1S front end. The level of purity, resolution, transparency, 3D spacious layered image, focus, dynamics, presence, separation and quiet is incredible. Everyone who has heard this front end has had the same amazed reaction. It is something very special.
Like the others above - I am a Walker owner, so my comments should be taken in that context. The Walker is the least fussy playback system I have ever owned. It holds its VTA, speed, VTF settings rock steady. Music does get altered in presentation by minute adjustments to VTA. While the VTA adjustment is not on-the-fly, it is quick and easy. The air bearing arm is no fuss and the compressor pump is as good as it gets, very stable and reliable. Best of all, when you purchase the Walker Proscenium Black Diamond, Lloyd and Fred come and set it up. They don't leave until it's right and they are satisfied. In the year I have owned mine, no adjustments have been neccessary, not even to the speed. All I have changed is the VTA, to suit different LP thicknesses.
The above is my personal choice, but your other choices are world class turntables as well...
Agree with the other Walker owners, I've had mine for 8 years and adjustments are a set and forget affair. Tracking force is something I check every few months (Winds 1/100th gram) and variation is less than 1/100th of a gram this past year.
The pressure pump is adjusted when the table is initially set up and it remains accurate to a fraction of a pound until it dies. My original pressure pump was in near continuous duty for more than 7 years and when it died last year, Lloyd replaced it at his cost.
I think all too often the excellent air suspension designed into the Walker is overlooked. This has evolved over time and is perfectly matched to the mass of the table and compliments the air bearing arm.
I believe the Walker's superior suspension will provide better long term satisfaction than any table with rigid suspension. This is especially true with a suspended floor (pier and beam foundation) or you play music with large dynamic content.
My background experience with other turntables tables. Before I purchased the Walker, my reference was the Versa Dynamics with it's linear track arm. When shopping for the Walker (and in the running as candidates) were two Basis Debut Gold tables (MK4 and MK5) with Graham 2.2 and Air Tangent 10B tonearms.
As for current experience, my best friend and part of my music group bought a Kuzma Stabi XL with Airline arm and set it up along side a Walker that is identical to mine.
His goal was to displace the Walker with the less expensive Kuzma and put the money elsewhere in the system. He and I have tested this for months with various cartridges and cables and as of this week, the Kuzma is up for sale and he has ordered the Black Diamond Arm for his Walker.
I still remember the first moment the needle hit the groove on my Walker. The gain in performance over every other turntable was so great, it took several months before I stopped being amazed at the improvement.
Thank all of you for the time that you took to post your responses.I gather from all this information that the winner by a pretty wide margin is the walker.A complex beast to set up but once set up and dialed in pretty much trouble free and stays put.I will have to talk to lloyd about the black diamond table,it seems like a vinyl lovers last table.
basis if you have a really big vinyl collection.
Just to add one more possibility to the list, George Merrill has come up with a new, no-holds barred turntable that I hope to audition soon (a friend of mine is the distributor, I believe), if only just to see what an old master has come up with. This one might be worth your auditioning as well, and it will be available for audition in the NY/NJ area, so it's within reach for you.
It's funny to hear people putting the Basis at the bottom of this list, as I think most of us would agree that it is an excellent table (that has served me well for over 15 years, I might add). The Ovation's (and I'm sure the Debut's) suspension, in particular, is absolutely superb at isolating the platter from vibrations, and with the Walker Motor Drive its speed stability is beyond reproach. That is why I feel that the other tables I've heard that I like better (the SME 30, the Transrotor and, of course, the Walker), while I can clearly hear that they are special products, offer what are probably, on an objective scale, comparatively subtle improvements. However, the subjective difference is what keeps me trying to figure a way to afford one of these beauties.
No one here has mentioned the Continuum.
Probably because it costs more than the Brinkman, Walker and Basis combined! I think Strapper decided to limit his budget to what he could get when he sells his 2002 BMW M5! :^) Me, I don't think my 2001 New Beetle GLX can get me a Rega, let alone a Walker.
What's the basis for Basis suggestion?
I think Albert makes a great point,regarding a "valid/valued" suspension.It amazes me as to how this important parameter is so easily dismissed.No suspension can match a good air bearing design,and the Walker seems to be a great,thoughtful design.Sooner or later,a good suspension becomes necessary.Ever feel or sense a truck or airplane while your "massive" table spun discs?Those looking for an air bladder(active,or passive)to put under their massive table,only complicate things since these are not tuned to the design.Yeah,Basis,Walker,Sota and the host of other well thought out designs.
As to ultimate performance of the host of great tables out there,the actual ultimate performance will still come down to how well it is "tuned" into the set-up.A dealer,or designer can only take us so far.It will ultimately rely on the "hands on" of the hobbyist/owner,and his sense of audible perceptions.Not really easy,with many designs!A nice challange,that can be fun.
That is actually one appeal of "analog" to many.The hands on,tinkering,that allows one to think he/she has a bit more "feel" for the table/arm/cartridge set-up!
BTW,in case I am coming off as some kind of know it all,assuming I have my set-up "right",I have never been totally happy with my own skills.The "best" clearly lies elsewhere!
Best to all!
I hope Strapper211 is not considering selling a BMW 2002 M5 to cash in on a new TT. As good as music system gets there is nothing more fun than the feeling you have connected to the road while driving a M5. He may regret that choice. IMHO, always have the newest and best M5 you can own (DynanM5 or Alpina) 1st and then the best music system you can second.
My bias is go for the Brinkmann (less $ than Walker) and keep the M5.
Actually, Gerrym5, I was kidding about that, I have no idea what Strapper drives. I had the chance to drive one of my colleagues' 2001 M5 on which he had removed the governor (he took it and raced it competitively) and souped up even more at a local speed shop, and can agree with what you said about it--nothing else I've ever driven can come close to it. He offered me that car for a great price when bought his new 2007 M5 (that's why I used that car, about the price of a Walker), but a lack of funds did me in on that one too.
Although Lloyd Walker claims that one person sold one of his Porsches to buy a Walker TT.
That last post is funny
I thought you were kidding Rcprince, but I always like to talk about my car and music systems. Have a good weekend!
I actually have a e320 mercedes,but luckily won't have to sell it to buy a Walker.If Rockport came out with a sirus v who knows.
Bkonig, you need to disclose your position as a Grand Prix/Dyna retailer. Anything less is unfair to the readers and highly unethical.
strapper221 owns one. my opinion is, since its a very, very refined and well made table, and he has lots of records, don't throw the basis under the bus. it is an overlooked gem.
Dear Strapper211: +++++ " Thank both of you for your input,it seems that the next logical step in my system could be... " +++++
What do you not like on your Basis performance? do you think that as good as it your Basis the other TT's could meet in a better way your music sound reproduction priorities?
IMHO and experience, I think that with a decent TT ( and your Basis is a lot more than a decent one ) the biggest improvements in quality sound reproduction could come from a better match between tonearm/cartridge and from the Phonolinepreamp than for a change in TT.
Your Basis is a very good TT and has two desired points: you can change the tonearm at any time to match any cartridge you want today or in the future, the other one is the LP hold down vacuum system that in my experience always makes an improvement in the quality sound reproduction all over the frequency range but specially at the extremes of the audio range frequency response.
Btw, I love/like your great speakers: congratulations!!!
Regards and enjoy the music.
Audiofeil - You have a point, but I did not want to disclose my postition as a Grand Prix retailer because I did not want people to dismiss my opinion because they may have thought it self serving. My opinion is based on my vast experiences with analog and I would not have that table if I truely did not believe in the product. I use it in my personal reference system due to its incredible sound or lack there of. At the time, I felt it more self serving to state I was a dealer with the possibility of someone contacting me regarding the product. I just wanted to state my honest opinion as a fellow audiophile.
That is one of the biggest cop outs I've ever heard. Consider running for office; you'd be right at home.
Dear Robert: I don't have experience with your tonearm but I have experience with the Koetsu Platinum series ( in my own system and in other great systems, with pivoted and linear tracking tonearms: all first rate ones. ).
I never heard ( anywhere ) a better sound from the Onyx Platinum that when was mated with the Ikeda tonearm and very close to this in the Dynavector with a medium weight headshell in my own system ( and this experience was not because my system is better than other ones, no it is not: it was because that cartridge mated in great way with those tonearms and not so well in other ones. ). I already heard your Jade in two different systems one with a pivoted tonearm and the other with a linear tracking, in both times the sound was very good but nothing close to what I heard to a very similar cartridge in the other two tonearms. A friend of mine ( Dan, an Agonner. ) that own the Jade with the Ikeda tonearm report/inform/speak to me that this combination is marvelous and he is extremely happy with that.
IMHO, this simple tonearm change could make a bigger difference in the quality sound reproduction that the TT change.
Now, I don't know for sure if the Walker could work with the Ikeda tonearm but yours, Brinckman and Kuzma can do it.
Regards and enjoy the music.
BTW,Raul...just curious,but,what cartridge is your personal favorite choice,as of today.I do remember you being extremely enthusiastic about the Allaerts MC-2 Finish,but you stated you were selling it.Are you enamored by a new design.Maybe the Formula One?PLEASE,no copouts,if possible!You must lean towards "one" or two "specific" designs.Very interested here,as I am now putting aside some money for a new design,possibly next summer.Obviously(due to trade in,and familiarity at a friend's)I am leaning towards the Orpheus,which is clearly better than my Temper-V,but not by a huge margin.
Also my phono section sports 75 db of clean gain.
Dear Sirspeedy: I'm still enthusiastic with my Allaerts MC2 Finish, if I will put on sale it is only because I need that money for other audio " toys ".
Along with the Allaerts the XV-1 and Colibri in the MC side and the Technics U205CMK4 and Audio Technica ATML 180 OCC in the MM side.
Regards and enjoy the music.
Raul,but do you have a preference???Just curious.
I have ordered a Walker Black Diamond table.I have been to Lloyds house which is about 80 miles from me and heard the table and was absolutely floored by it.It is a pleasure to use and the finest sound I have ever heard from a front end,I believe you can find a different sounding front end but none truer to the source.I did not believe analog had come so far.A true work of art,I cannot wait till it arrives.Will report after Lloyd sets it up and I have a chance to listen in my own system.
Congratulations! You will not regret your decision. I have had mine for just about a year now, and still get goosebumps every time I listen to LPs. Lloyd and Fred are great guys to work with and I consider them to be good friends as well.
Have you made a decision on a cartridge for it?
Yes,I am keeping my Koetsu Jade platinum Diamond from the other table.I really like that cartridge.I hope it mates well.
Dear Robert: +++++ " .A true work of art " +++++
Yes, it is: congratulations!!!!!!!
Regards and enjoy the music.
It seems that you were already predisposed to buying the Walker, but you needed some reinforcement: hence the thread.
The Walker is indeed an excellent turntable. However, I would be curious to know how it compares with the Basis with the same auxiliary gear in your system.
Hi,I cannot say for sure how it sounds in my system yet,that will have to wait till I get it installed and listen for a bit.But don't get me wrong the basis debut mk 5 with the basis power supply and the phantom is a super set-up,if not for the walker I would probably stand pat.But after hearing my albums on the walker I am positive the walker is the last table I will buy,it just sounds better than any front end I have heard,for 40,000 without cartridge or platform it is an adult dose.
Congratulations, Strapper!! My wife and I have never regretted making the commitment to purchase the Walker TT. I hope you will get as much enjoyment from it as have we. Welcome to the family of Walker turntable owners!
Congrats, Strapper, now we have to get you to join the NJAS and host a meeting! Gotta hear those speakers of yours as well. One thing, though, from the pictures of your system it looks like your listening room is on an upper floor of your place (I'm guessing from the sloped ceiling). I trust that you've determined that your floor can handle the additional weight of this turntable, which is substantially more than the Basis, and that you have a separate room in which to house the air compressor unit, which is pretty quiet but still does make some noise. If not, don't worry, I'll let you borrow my house to hold the TT while the necessary structural changes are being made... ;^)
be sure to check out Lloyd's other products when you get your table, particularly the Reference High Definition Links, Velocitor and Mapleshade/inSound cables. You may be getting rid of the Bybees, and Transarants if and when you do.
Have you discussed with Lloyd the cartridge/arm compatability of your Jade?
Hi,I think my floor can handle the weight of the table.That Rix rax I have is filled with sand and must weigh about 250 but the floor is pretty sturdy up their,if not the table will be in my living room.I have a smaller room next to my listening where I keep the vpi typhoon for record cleaning,thats where the compressor box will go.I really love my bybee stuff and transparent opus cables.I doubt if they will be going anywhere.I will defintely use the Jade platinum with the Walker,I see no problem.The Jade is the finest Koetsu I ever heard.
You may be doing yourself a disservice by not trying an alternative given an easy opportunity. I know Lloyd does not like the Bybee and Transparant products after having tried them. As you know, much of this is a matter of taste and system balance but when you get further and further into the upper eschelons of truly high resolution and neutrality, you zero in more and more on somewhat of an objective truthfullness that reveals more of the music.
I'm sure the Jade is glorious and that the Koetsu/Walker combo will be stunning. There is some concern nonetheless for optimisation of effective mass of arm and cartridge and stylus compliancy. Some knowledgable people think that an airbearing linear tracking arm does better with low mass high compliant cartridges. The Koetsus are neither. I know that Lloyd has ideas about how to compensate for this in the arm counterweight position and air pressure. Just curious whether this has been discussed.
I have the Walker and choose the Jade Platinum.
There are no problems whatsoever. Lloyd visited me recently and listened to my system. We experimented with tracking force and VTA and he said the sound was excellent.
In fact, rare for LLoyd, he had no suggestions for changes.
I talked to Lloyd about the Jade platinum and he said that one of his tables with the Jade platinum on it was some of the finest sound he ever heard out of his table.The transparent opus cable I belive is the finest cabling on the market today,what that has to do with the walker,I have no idea.The bybees are debatable,I believe they improve the sound of any system,some people don't.That,s what makes the world go round.
Hi,After living with the Walker for 3 months I have nothing but positive things to say about it.The first thing that strikes you after living with it for awhile is regardless of how bad the recording is or how loud or long you listen you never get listener fatigue,yet it is super detailed and transparent and just hangs the instruments in the air.Some kind of inherant distortion in turntables is removed that fatigues the listener,a real pleasure to use and works flawlessly.