I can't think of any "quirks", except for having to spin the platter to start the table up. I haven't read the TAS review and probably won't. Can you be more specific?
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Basically, most of the beef is with the tonearm and it's lack of "fingerlift" and the "stupidity" of not having any way to secure the arm when not in use. Also, he says the interconnects produce the worst hum he's heard in 4 decades of playing vinyl. It's basically a pretty bad review. You would think that the 294 would have many of the same complaints, since the tonearm is the same.
I am usually not very critical of these write ups but this one was a little over the top. There is good reason not to use a finger lift on a unipivot design, I have gotten so used to the "kick start" on my nottingham that an on/off switch is a pain, and I have never heard a hum comming from a nottingham cable. This was a very poorly done review,in my opinion, as the complaints could be attributed to the reviewer really not knowing what he was doing. As for the plug and play mentality. That really is not very supportive of the professional audio dealer. My Nottingham was set up completely, adjusted perfectly and has worked flawlessly for the past three years.
Thanks for the responses. I was considering switching to a Nottingham because it is the brand my local dealer carries. I try to purchase locally when I can so I can keep the local shops in business. This review really made stop and think if Nottingham tables throughout the line are not that good to deal with. What really confused me was how the reviewer basically slammed the interspace but the Nottingham 294 was listed as "Our top Picks" in the same magazine? The reviewer (Paul Seydor) basically says, he wouldn't buy this table if it were his own money. The 294 is only a few models up and pretty much carries the same features. Wouldn't his review cover most of the Nottingham line?
My brother has the table that the Interspace has replaced, the Nottingham Horizon SE. It doesn't have the same tonearm issues. I don't know why they would have changed that design. They are good tables, but I personally would have to agree with what the reviewer said about the quirks. I thnk the Rega P5 is a much better bet in that price range - far better tonearm (RB700) in particular.
I own a Hyperspace and don't feel any of the Nottingham "quirks" mentioned are a downside. I don't experienced the 60 hz hum either.
I also own a Raven AC and wish it had a similar start/stop feature as the Nottingham.
I note that once the reviewer got the "quirks" issue off his chest he proceeds to praise the Nottingham for it's sound quality.
As a Spacedeck owner, I personally love the spin-by-hand starting.. it's convenient and makes me feel like a club dj. My tonearm is a Nottingham (Pre-Anna) "The Foot" (yes, it's 12") and it does hum like crazy with a low output Zyx. But it was re-wired so who knows.. as for a finger lift, let's just say that Mr. Clumso doesn't need that temptation.
I have an Interspace (for sale, unfortunately) and have never had any of the issues he talks about with hum. The finger lift is a non-issue. As far as securing the arm, get a $300 Ginkgo dust cover and nothing's going to mess with it. Nottinghams and Shelters are awesome. The 294 is truly incredible, it is rather large though. Get a Shelter 5000 or better and you are set for life.
Most of the quirks mentioned aren't really valid reasons to avoid a Nott table. As a former Spacedeck owner, my experience is that the only really problematic issue is the super-fragile nature of the tonearm wire. This is the touchiest wire I've seen, easily damaged. If you buy local, make sure that the dealer mounts your cartridge.
FWIW, the manual start/stop is a benefit, fun and easy to use. The lack of finger lift never bothered me.
Sonically, the Nott tables excel at casting a big soundstage and have good PRAT. If detail is your thing, you can do better elsewhere. Cheers,