Direct Drive

I am firmly in the digital camp, but I’ve dabbled in vinyl.  Back in the day I was fascinated by Technics Direct Drive tt, but couldn’t afford them.  I was stuck with my entry level Gerrard.  I have been sans turntable for about 5 years now but the new gear bug is biting.  I am interested in the Technics 1500 which comes with an Ortofon Red and included pre amp.  I have owned Rega P5 which I hated for its speed instability and a Clearaudio Concept which was boring as hell.

  Direct Drive was an anathema to audiophiles in the nineties but every time I heard  one it knocked my socks off.  What do the analogers here think of Direct Drive?  I listen to Classical Music exclusively 


...and the master is cut with a tangential arm, but that will only trigger another fusillsade from the trenches that surround you... ;)

Do tangential playback arms sound any better?

A search found Clearaudio CAU-TP062 but the Clearaudio site doesn't even mention it. In fact it doesn't seem to be anywhere else. Is it a custom hybrid or something?

Yes, tangential tonearms sound better. But they are a higher end thing, and you probably won't hear the benefits until you're spending a fair bit.

How handy are you? It's not hard to make a DIY belt drive table that will be far better than anything you can buy for the same price. I had a pretty hefty budget for a TT and used the money to DIY - and the result is quite phenomenal. And the journey was a treat not to be missed.

DIY forever!

I haven't heard it yet but Stereophile raved about the Pioneer PLX-1000. Add an Ortofon 2m Blue (the Red has terrible inner groove distortion) and you've got change from $1000. Although you'll need a phono stage as well. The Yaqin MS-12b (~$300) can sound really good with a bit of tube rolling. So yeah, about $1500 all up. This is probably as cheap as you can go and still get a half-decent result.

Incidentally I sometimes record my vinyl using Audacity and play it back digitally using Audirvana Origin to Dac to Power Amp. Sounds phenomenal

"If you want to buy a direct drive turntable you might as well buy a digital front end - its the same sound."

That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard! Just because a TT maintains perfect speed as the better DD tables are prone to due doesn’t make it sound digital. 

Bill, I totally agree with you, ABSURD. what a lack of understanding displayed by that statement.

Not really.

Direct drive turntables use error correction, which includes jitter, they do not maintain perfect speed.

One could argue that digital format development has vastly outpaced the antediluvian error correction systems used in old direct drive turntables, and for this reason you might well be better off with a digital source.

My system:  

Amplification—Cary SLP-3 Pre, Parasound JC Curl Amp

DAC- Bryston DAC-3

Oppo 105 

Melco N 100, Cambridge CXN 60 NAS/Streamers

B&W 803 D speakers, REL Sub, Mini DSP R/P

All Cabling Nordstrom Valhalla


My Clearaudio Concept had a Concept MC Cartridge and the standard Satisfy Arm.  Phono pre amps by Musical Surroundings (battery) and PS Audio.  The former was chosen when I couldn’t extinguish a hum in the latter.

 THE Clearaudio sounded neat,tidy, orderly with bloated bass, and generally dull.  It was also one heck of a dust magnet.  The Rega moved me more but the pitch instability drove me nuts.  I had Wilhelm Kempff playing Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata where the famous triplets in the First Movement were distorted  to point that I had thought someone slipped acid in my coffee.

  I love my digital set up.  However I always lusted after a Technics Direct Drive.I won’t get the DJ table but I might get 1500 .  I am put off getting a used one due to potential motor noise.  This is kind of a bucket list thing.  Retirement looms and then I won’t be able to spend my shekels on whims like this without feeling overly guilty.