Decision time - Garrard 301 vs EMT938
Hi Everyone - Want your help on making a decision on continuing with a Garrard 301 or shifting to an EMT 938, which is a TT I have been very impressed by. Some background:
- I have a 301, which is utterly silent, as observed from either the playback noise or vibrometer and similar apps on different phones. It has a DL 103 cartridge on a SME 3009 non improved tonearm. All three pieces are in fantastic condition. The interconnect is a DIY wire. The TT is so silent that I have resisted the temptation to pull it apart, re-lube, and set it back, since at least going by my current measurements, I cannot make an improvement, unless a more sensitive measuring system reveals otherwise. Plus there is the risk of botching up something.
- I listen often, but after several years of optimizing the system including the tonearm wiring, choice of amp/phono etc. I feel I have maxed out my system. I feel it gives as much detail, sweetness and punch as an average system in a audio show. I like the sound signature a lot. In a 301, much depends on the plinth construction etc, and these are home-made, but after a lot of trial and error, it is a heavy sandstone plinth, and quite neutral.
- I wanted to upgrade the cartridge, and there are several promising suggestions in the $1000 range, some of which will go well with the tonearm. If I spend even more then perhaps a SME V or equivalent plus a new cartridge.
Now my question: Should I persist in this, or instead, transition to an EMT 938? It is a pedigreed TT, with dynamic adjustments for varying thickness of the LP, no need for spirit levels, with matched internal wiring, and a matched phono of very good quality, and also built to last a lifetime. The additional advantage is that the TTs are professionally refurbished by German sellers.
The disadvantge is that it may not be a hobbyist's delight - it is more like a CD player, in that you plonk it down, and then it plays for a lifetime. However, I have changed in my audio hobby to getting better overall sound than only tinkering with a TT, of which I have had enough, though I could not work on the innards of a Garrard as mentioned above. There is a lot to do, but I have a sneaking suspicion that my TT with its home-built plinth could be a bottleneck.
Would love to have your thoughts. This is by far the most intelligent forum of all, going by the range of topics discussed here, and the depth of the discussions.