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 


I've owned AR, Thorens, Lenco, Gerrard, Philips, Dual and ProJect Debut Carbon turntables, most of them manual (that old classic AR is just a platter, tonearm and on-off switch). The ProJect was the last to be replaced—by a Denon DP-37F (so, a lower-end Denon direct drive). The Denon, with an Ortofon 2M Blue cartridge, blows all the others away in every relevant category: speed constancy, lack of wow or flutter, lack of rumble, transparency of sound...and, of course, convenience of use. It performs its various automatic functions like a ballet dancer, and the very easy to use cue button is extremely precise in where it picks the arm up and puts it down. The only reservations I have about this table are theoretical. The arm's parameters are mostly controlled by a chip; when you turn the power off, the arm floats. So, both tracking force and anti-skate are somehow provided by computer. But I've owned the table for three years now, and had no problems at all with it. And the tracking force settings are accurate, as confirmed by a scale. So are the anti-skate settings. The whole rig (minus the 2M Blue, which I bought new) cost me about $200. It sounds as good as Red Book CDs (I've got several recordings on vinyl and CD of the same thing—e.g., the famous Kleiber performances of Beethoven's Fifth and Seventh), but SACDs (again, of the same recordings) sound marginally better.

ProJect Debut Carbon Total entry level TT.

My Thorens TD145 is fantastic. Built in the 1975 and I had it professional restored with a custom plinth. Rewired the TP-16 tone arm with Cardas Clear Phono. Has MP110 MM Cart (love it).


@dover , you always make this claim about DD tables. Please provide your documentation to back up these claims. You do know that "jitter" is something that happens at a fairly high rate. I'm sure a steady test tone would reveal this pretty easy, and be easy to document with numbers. Rather funny that I haven't seen these reports.



@lewm Sorry to be obscure, but some were questioning @dover about the theoretical basis, so I thought there was an interest.

Not saying that it was worse than previous Technics DD. Just saying that there is no such thing as an instantaneous speed measurement in the real world. It’s all averages, or more precisely, means. And means don’t tell the whole story.

That’s the take-away. What is measured isn’t the totality of what’s there.

IMO belt drives sounds far better, but that’s just personal opinion. The theory on how that could be so, given the measurements, is upstream.

@billwojo it is wow and flutter. 

Here are the specs for the Technics 1210G DD TT

Rumble is motor noise.

 Type: Direct Drive Manual Turntable
Turntable Speeds: 33-1/3, 45 and 78 rpm
Adjust Range: ±8 %, ±16 %
Starting Torque: 3.3 kg-cm
Build-up Characteristics: 0.7 s. from Standstill to 33-1/3 rpm
Wow And Flutter: 0.025 % W.R.M.S. (JIS C5521)
Rumble: 78 dB (IEC 98A weighted)

Now here are the spec's for a 1975 Thorens TD145


Drive system: 16-pole synchronous motor with belt drive

Record speeds: 33⅓ and 45 rpm

Turntable platter: 12 -inch non-magnetic zinc alloy

Rumble : -48 dB (unweighted), -69dB (weighted)

Wow and flutter: 0.06%

Looking at these spec's you will not hear either.  Like I said it is a silly argument. Also someone made a comment about changing belt, how hard is it? Not hard at all. Speed on my 47 year old turntable is dead nuts on.