Continuum Caliburn - really the best TT on earth?

I have read so many good things about the Caliburn but also figured out that this table needs some care (software, o-ring, air suction etc.) To my knowledge they have improved the table over the last three years.

Is there anyone out who has experience with this table besides of audio shows -meaningly having tested the Caliburn with the Cobra and e.g. a Lyra system within a very good chain? Is there any reason not to go for a Caliburn?
The only group I've heard about who have had the Caliburn and several top turntable competitors in the same system for comparison is the Singapore Audio Group. I believe their members have had an opportunity to hear the Continuum Caliburn, Clearaudio Statement, Kuzma and Walker Audio Proscenium all within the same system (in the home of the Audio Group's president), but not necessarily all at the same time.

Check with Jay at Jay Audio, but remember that he is a Walker dealer:

Anyone who has not made the comparison of the turntables at this level of performance in the same system will just be guessing, including me.
There's simply no "best" turntable. I've heard the Caliburn and it is wonderful. We all don't like the same sound so calling any the "best" makes no sense.

I agree with Narrod and Rushton, but I will add that even if you auditioned the top tier of tables simultaneously, with the same cartridge in each, with the same electronics, with the same stand, it would be impossible to make precise comparisons since tracking force, anti-skate, VTA, etc would probably never be exactly the same on all tables. I have heard most of the top tables at shows dating back to 1996 and I have found something to admire in all of them including the Continuum. Could I say with certainty which one is best? No. Only which one I prefer and that could change depending on the system and cartridge in use. If you are going to spend mega $$ on a table and you want to make the right decision, seek out a dealer or an owner, buy a plane ticket, and take some of your favorite LPs and listen for as long as they will permit.

Best of Luck
At the top level you are chosing ergonomics, looks, pride of ownership, and touch and feel. I think with your experience you know that all tables have some sonic signature.

Thuchan, I believe it would be a grand addition to your collection. Also, you should own a Walker for some time to hear what ultra mass designs can accomplish. I would go after the Continuum, the new Goldmund and put a deposit with Andy Payer for the new Rockport.

Rushton, thanks for your advise. I will give Jay a call and tell you about my assessment.

Peter, you are right. I am interested in the technology and maybe Continuum offers more than the simple modern attempts which are in my eyes more a less a marketing campaingn in the top notch.

It is not about spending money but looking for convincing technolgy solutions.

I doubt whether the magnetic field of the Caliburn is an advantage or disadvantage? Some people tend to avoid magnetic solutions due to their possible impact on the cartridge.
Narrod and Elinor, of course you are right too and I do see from your statements you have quite an understanding of analogue business in this segment.

we might see some improvements, also on the design side, in this week. So it is an ongoing journey...
The best Turntable is ALWAYS the next...
no, the Saskia is....
Don't confuse me, some say: LP12...the 1. Generation, touched from Ivor before leaving the factory...
Before all TTs are listed here, pls. wait two more days.
But what is so special with the Saskia except of good looking?
Don't know about that. But here are some pricier options:
Just a thought, the only other table that Michael Fremer feels is in the same league as the Continuum is the Rockport Sirius III. I mention this because he has almost singlehandedly created the market for this table. But for his favorable comments, few would have been sold. I would add that Andy Payor is very close to introducing the Sirius V which will probably be in the same price ballpark as the Continuum and will incorporate a number of improvements over the Sirius III.
All I can tell you is that I've had my Caliburn (an original early sample) for almost 5 years now and as a reviewer I beat the crap out of it. Not on purpose. It's just that I'm busy comparing things and stopping and starting it (etc.). So in all that time I can tell you that it has been flawless. Nothing has gone wrong with it and nothing has broke either. Continuum has a tech on-call should anything go wrong but so far all that's been done was an "oil change" and a belt change after 3 years--and the belt really didn't need changing. It's built beautifully. Other owners report similar reliability though one I know had a bearing issue that needed to be resolved but the tech flew out and fixed it pronto.

I hope Andy has the System V at CES or soon thereafter. There's a guy in N.H. who has a System III Sirius on one side of his rack and a Caliburn on the other both connected to the Boulder 2008....lucky guy.

They are both great 'tables but different. I don't think anything is built and engineered like the Rockport, which is not meant as a slam against the Continuum, which after 5 years now rivals the System III Sirius in terms of build quality....

I have come to not favor air bearing arms....just my preference.

Skeptic visit but leave understanding what the Caliburn does. It's not subtle. I wish i could say that other tables I've reviewed come close (other than the Rockport, which is on the same field but different) but nothing else does so far.

But I've NEVER said the Caliburn was "the best turntable in the world." I think that kind of talk is really lame. I haven't heard every turntable and there is no one "best." In my experience there are a few among the best. However my personal favorite for now is the Caliburn...

The people who have bought them (more than you might imagine) including a reviewer for TAS who visited before buying, are all very happy with them. One guy as a Ferrari or two but says the Caliburn is his favorite material possession. It is mine. I feel very lucky to have it. Given the current price, I wouldn't be able to afford it even at the accommodation price for a cosmetic 3rd, which is what mine is. -Fremer (off to CES)
I have heard both the Rockport Sirius III and the Continuum Caliburn in the same room and system (but different speakers) sounding rather poorly.

A 'great' turntable is no guarantee of great sound. The other fundamentals must be in place firstly IMO:-
Good room
Good speakers suited particularly for the room
Good amplification suited particularly for the speakers
Halcro, pls. let me add good stands for the TT, amps etc. -meaningly vibration control and decoupling treatments!
Thucham is already in TT bliss; I mean who can ever recall having listened to, and in a great system, tables such as the SX8000, SX8000 II, Naka......

So what have we got here? Great air bearing, great air bearing and vacuum platter, the best (only besides the smaller Naka?) self centering TT with space technology speed control (from the 80's).

What TT's offered any significant technological advance over those 3 ? Except better bearings, better etc....nothing really new? we would all like to know about them.

Does the Continuum in that context makes sense, does it have true technological innovations applied to TT's?

To contemplate the idea of having any Continuum ontop of the other 3 is just marvelous, to do it is out of this world. If Thuchan takes the step and gets one he will probably be the only man on earth to talk with authority about the differences.

Hey Thuchan any spare seats in that room?
I have tried to track through some of your prior posts to determine your basis for this statement and I must admit that the answer has eluded me. Could you enlighten me?

TW fanboism..;)
Fcrowder, you may not get too much enlightment, how should you - but I do like your positive attitude. Stay positive anyhow...
Continuum is the best but TW BLACK NIGHT With battery power supply is close!!
Before making the investment I would just make a trip to either Singapore or down under to audition the Continuum in person. Be sure that - with contenders around or not - will be set-up according to manufacturer's specs.
Get an empirical first hand impression.
The money spent for that listening trip will be very worthwhile and a wise investment anyhow. And either spot is much more comfortable regarding climate right now.....
And if you want to test Ebm's comment for its sonically content - TW's place is only a 3-4 hour drive from your door..............
Melbourne, Singapur, Las Vegas or Herne - where to go first?

the problem is all those important guys are at CES right now and lay foundations for the analogue future, hopefully...

as I am very much addicted to the Far East I will start with Melbourne !
Do make a round trip - start in Vegas and cross the Pacific to Melbourne/Singapore. After that, Westfalia may no longer be worth the - short - trip..... and you should see (hear ?) TW's "nuit noire" in Vegas anyhow - don't you?
good idea! I have been in Vegas three years ago after the RMFA in Denver having met Thomas there too- but this time it should be a bit quiter.
I heard there should be an upcoming analogue event in Portugal (analogue only), maybe before I touch down in Westfalia I have a short look at this event. Looks like I have to visit a travel agency first - oh dear!
I think its nuts spending that kind of scratch on a turntable. Go get a Porsche and burn off some of that energy...
Thuchan is already well past Porsche...... his 4 wheel mobile toy just have to wait for snow to melt and spring to come. And with money - its all relative.
Thuchan would never spent so much money on just one table. So maybe when I have finished my suggested show-schedule prices have melted down as well - Australia is the country of dreams I learned...

Stringreen, my friends at Porsche always try to sell a Panamera to me which is not a bad car at all. It comes with a Burmester-system. I had to finish the discussion when I was offered only the Bumester system as a first installment of my services for Porsche...
After you guys finish trading bon mots, perhaps someone can tell me what unique sonic benefit one could possibly get from a $100,000 turntable that one cannot get from a $20,000 to $25,000 turntable, or even a $50,000 one? Surely there must be words to describe the wonderment. At the "six-figure" price level it's all about cosmetics and exclusivity, IMO.
Dear Lewm, I will show you in about 4 months, that not all $100k+ turntables are about cosmetics and exclusivity only. Sometimes its a matter of guts, material and consequence. And these mere words will be followed by facts and evidence soon. By hard and very heavy facts.
The problem is, that words have nothing to do with reality. Ask a Rega owner what he thinks about his last purchase and he will tell you, that this thing is unbelievable good. Or a Raven 1, LP12, Dual...or whatever

When you want to know what is going on, the best way is to travel and to listen to other Systems you are interested. Some will be awful and some can be a surprise, That's the normal way. Sooner or later you will be able to hear something which is unique when you meet the interesting tables. They have a different kind of presentation. The holographic picture is different, the "view" into the soundstage is different, the dynamic impact based on vibration control is much sharper and more clear than usual. But when you never heard it, it is hard to believe, because everyone writes about. Even a Rega P3 owner.
Dear Lewm: I agree in part with Syntax. I always try to hear as many audio systems I can, every kind of audio system no matters its price and I do it for many reasons.

Money was/is made to spend and if you are " insane " wealthy then you can spend that money even in a not to rational way.

One " advantage " of people like you and me that don't have enough money ( I wish I have. ) to spare everywhere is that we take audio item decisions/choices with more in deep " investigation " due that we can't give us the " luxury " to make mistake$$$ about.

If I was Thuchan ( and other than to have the fun on trips to hear it ) what I do first is to buy or borrow from the TT manufacturer the Cobra tonearm and test in my system with different cartridges and see what differences against other set ups in my system.

No one here yet address the fact that the Cobra tonearm has a " weight " in the Continuum overall performance, more than what we can imagine.

Thuchan: +++++ " Is there any reason not to go for a Caliburn? " +++++

no one in the same manner that there is no reason to go for the Raven or SME or Mónaco.

Regards and enjoy the music,

Thuchan...The Panamera is probably the best of its type, but I have a Cayman S in my you're talking...
Stringreen, this is of course a statement and you maybe be very fast. My vintage Z8 will stay a little behind you...

Raul, to be honest: Raven, SME or Monaco do not push my emotions very much. They are good machines but what is so special regarding technological inventions?
Dear Thuchan: I name it only to say that there is no reason to buy one.

+++++ " but what is so special regarding technological inventions? " +++++

I read (m maybe I'm wrong or not read all about. ) what the manufacturer of the Caliburn has to say and I don't find nothing " special regarding technological inventions " either.

IMHO a technological invention ( any kind. ) is not always a synonymous of better quality performance but sometimes only " different " quality perfromance.

I'm a little confuse: what are you looking at: true better quality performance above/over what you own or a new technological TT invention?

Maybe the Cobra alone could give you a better performance that any of the good tonearms you own with any of your TTs and in the other side the Mónaco ( in many ways ) has " technologicals inventions " even that " dono push my emotions very much ".

Now, if what you move are more " emotions " than facts then IMHO you must go for what are pushing your " emotions ". At the end of the day it does not matters what any one of us think or try to help you but that you be happy and certainly our each one emotions and the way to achieve them is perhaps the most critical an important subject/target for you enjoy and be happy!!!

Regards and enjoy the music,
"The problem is, that words have nothing to do with reality."

This is the truth of the matter. There are those of us here who design turntables, and while we can expound on their merits endlessly, the best any of us can hope for is to find those who agree with our vision. There are many different techniques used to reach our goals, of course, but everything is subject to opinion.

The best advice is to seek out and audition those turntables which interest you because we have all been down that path to audio nirvana, only to feel the need to continue it a bit latter. Talk is cheap, so your ears need to make the decision, not some salesman or overly enthusiastic fa
Oops! The last of the sentence should have read "overly enthusiastic fan."

I suppose I suffer from an overly enthusiastic mouse finger because I posted before I finished writing. ;)


it's not a trifling thing to consider a product like a Caliburn. your comment that certain tt's "do not push my emotions very much" tells all. looking at your already formidable array of analog beauties which i'm sure you highly enjoy, what will it take to go to the 'next' level?......"to push my emotions"? you already have excellent tt's, but how to get to the top of the heap?

i can relate. although 7 years ago when i purchased my Sirius III there was less a question about 'top dog'. not that there was or ever will be universal agreement on performance with tt's. cars, or most anything.

what will be interesting will be to come back a year or so after your purchase decision and see how you then view things in terms of your other tt's. did it 'push your emotions?'

it's fun to see people who clearly are 'all-in' on the hobby pursue the best.

Heck, if you can afford to buy the best - why the hell not. One just needs to listen to ensure it is best for you.

I for one would much prefer to spend my hard earned money on hifi than a Porsche :-)
rauliregas---Your suggestion regarding testing the tonearm alone is a wise one. Have you heard it yourself?
Dear Jimjoyce25: No, I did not but seems to me by its designs that maybe the most important " weight " in the overall Caliburn performance comes/culprit by the Cobra tonearm, who knows?

regards and enjoy the music,
Downunder, I would re-phrase your opening statement: "What the heck, if you can afford to buy the most expensive- why the hell not?" After looking at Thuchan's collection of gear, I can only think that the addition of another megabuck turntable will not stave off boredom for very long.
Thuchan, In my opinion, the factor most responsible for whatever you may not like about your present "sound" is likely to be those speakers, not any of those great turntables. I am not saying this in criticism of the Wilson speakers per se, but I am suggesting that the Wilson's have a certain strong "flavor" that I expect might dominate the sonic signature. I admit this reflects my own personal bias against large, inefficient, low impedance, multi-driver arrays that require lots of amplifier power.
Lewm, the Omegas have 2000 Watt per channel, maybe enough power for the Grand Slamm III ?

I do understand and you are all fully right in the way asking why does it need a new table? I come back to this - need to shovel snow outside...
To me, a turntable is part art, part performance.

I too collect and I love the pursuit of the acquisition as much as I do the day to day enjoyment of it.

Why do I need four simultaneous working tables in the main system? Why do I need five classic tables in other rooms? No reason except for the enjoyment of ownership of what the audio artist created.

Jay Lenoism... it you can indulge in it why not? What is better than enjoyment, happiness and fulfillment?

Peter, not sure how long you have been on this earth but do you really think that happiness and fulfillment comes from owning stuff - any stuff? I'll concede enjoyment but really that's about it.
For me, yes. I am happy when I see, touch and experience all the great pieces of audio art that grace my home. I truly relish in it all. I collect art as well and feel the same way. It brings me happiness. I've been smitten by audio equipment since being a boy and I make no apologies about it. My Bozaks bring me the same joy as my MBLs... they don't argue, they don't talk back, they don't divorce me, they don't sue me. I challenge you to tell me what can bring such pure joy notwithstanding breathtaking sunsets, love making, financial success and family?
but seems to me by its designs that maybe the most important " weight " in the overall Caliburn performance comes/culprit by the Cobra tonearm, who knows?
I know......having heard the Caliburn/Cobra extensively and having the Continuum Copperhead mounted on my Raven AC-3.
The Caliburn's performance owes far more to its DNA design innovations than simply to the tonearm mounted to it.
Ask Mikey Fremmer. he has the Graham Phantom mounted on his Caliburn as well as the Cobra?
01-09-10: Breuninger
"To me, a turntable is part art, part performance."

it is of course an extreme hobby and maybe we all are not judged by average parameters as it is the case of other extreme hobbies too - also regarding prices and money! I just had a book in hands called "Toys For Boys", the Caliburn is displayed carrying a not connected Lyra Olympos...

as we are human beings living together with humans & good friends our hobby does have a certain impact on their life too. My dog loves the music but not all of my family members regard the TTs of "that afficinado" as a sane issue.

When it comes to buying the next TT this could become not only a matter of pleasure as Breuninger described it (agree completely!!!) but we are responsible to define the conditions how it may become a joyful enterprise.

Raul, I was going the path you followed and considered bying the Cobra tonearm or maybe the Copperhead as Halcro did. Then I thought why should I add another arm without having the mounting space. Of course I could dismount one of my arms. I am currently so happy with this armada (sorry!) I would not like to change anything.

Lewm, I am also very happy with the sound. The Wilsons are matched with the Omegas and the ML-32 using Stealth Dream and Crystal Cable Dreamline silver cables. It sounds warm but with a punchy background especially when you are using a FR-7fz in a FR-66s.

Nevertheless the Caliburn is a big instrument incoporating very interesting technolgies in TT-building. Michael Fremer has described this very well in his two articles on the Caliburn and Criterion. What I don`t like is the old fashioned looking Castellan stand. It is not a plug & play table. Some people say you need two days to build it up.

So maybe looking for a smaller solution?