DPS/Schroeder Ref. Turntable

Is there anybody uses DPS/Schroeder Ref. combo? Any opinion? I listen to it once and I realy liked it very much. What about vs Verdier platine/Schroeder?
Best regards in advance.
I recently purchased the DPS/SchroederDPS combo. The cartridge is the Allaerts MC-1B. The turntable is relatively small compared to other reference tables, however, the sound is big and very dynamic. I have not compared it with the Platine Verdier.
underrated table and overrated arm...but if you buy used, its worth it.
The DPS is an interesting table but falls short of the performance of designs from Galibier, Teres and TW Acustik.

When I auditioned the DPS/Schroeder Ref/Airy3 the detail and imaging were good, however timing and dynamics fell short of the others mentioned above.

The Schroeder Reference is virtually unobtainable new (ask anyone who has ordered one how long they have been waiting). The Schroeder is at its best reproducing small ensembles of acoustic instruments but is bettered on rock/pop (where bass guitar and drums feature) by the Tri-planar and Dynavector DV507 (although the latter isn't the best at imaging I prefer it to the Schroeder for rock music).

The Verdier is widely respected although I get the impression that many owners upgrade the motor/speed control units in pursuit of better attack and speed stability. There are better options available for your money IMO.
Thank you very much for your advice. I must say that I have the opportunity to buy this TT/TA combo for about the half of the retail price (~ $8500) and I don't really think any other option. By the way, what are the better options you're thinking of?
Best regards,
Before you pull the trigger, check out service, support and warranty for the DPS - their motor controller is proprietary and complex. I chose the Galibier, not just because it sounds better, but because the motor controller is a simple circuit using very common components. The only part with a failure risk is a regulator costing $2 that will be available indefinitely. The rest of the table is built like a tank and will last for ever.

A Tri-planar is all the tonearm that anyone would ever need ($4k) so with $4500 left to spend you could have yourself a new Galibier Gavia with Serac platter. I know the Schroeder new retails at $5500, but that just makes the Tri-planar even better value in my view.

The great thing about the Galibier design is the mylar belt which delivers rock solid speed stability (compared to the DPS's rubber). The DPS has an AC motor (vs DC) so will be prone to cogging and it needs that stretchy belt to counter this - the result is you don't get the dynamics and absolute pitch stability of the Galibier. Also compare the bearings between the two tables.

And you would have the pleasure of owning a new piece that was built especially for you.
Hi All,

I look at this tonearm thing just a bit differently. I'll stay out of the turntable discussion for obvious reasons ...

I truly believe that if you lined up an optimally set up Triplanar and Schröder Reference (not necessarily identical cartridges - I said optimal), you'd get one person preferring one tonearm over the other. It's definitely a Porsche vs. Bimmer sort of thing and the results / preferences could easily be reversed.

If you've read my rants on this forum and on my website, you'll know my stance - that between the Triplanar and the Schröder, the one you relate to best on a mechanical level is the one you'll set up the best, and the one you set up the best will be ... the best. No surprise here, and people fall on both sides of the fence on this issue.

I have a few owners who own both arms, as well as a few who have a Triplanar and are waiting on their Schröder. My advice to customers trying to decide on one verses the other is to get a Triplanar now, and in 14 months when their Schröder is ready. In this way, they can decide for themselves. Invariably (unless finances are an issue), they end up keeping both and loving both tonearms for their unique virtues. Of course, the upside of this is that they get to enjoy their Triplanars now, while visions of sugar plums (err ... Schröders) dance in their heads.


About two months ago, I had an eye opening experience. Lynn Olson's Karna Amplifiers were guests at my house while he was evaluating some recent changes made to them. For those who are wondering, development and any final commercial product is still quite a way off, because Lynn has become involved in his first calling - speaker design. Lynn is working on a high-efficiency coaxial, hemp-cone driver that builds on the expired Tannoy patent.

One evening Lynn brought over an AC sine-wave generator from Monarchy Audio.

We used this supply to run the AC heated filaments of his Karnas (2-45's and 2-300b's per amp). The Karnas have an accessory IEC connector that Lynn installed in the amplifier for just this purpose. Of particular interest is that the Monarchy provides the ability to vary the "wall voltage" from 100 to 120VAC. Of course, we couldn't resist twiddling the dial (well ... truth be told, it's a button).

I had two identical Gavias set up. One 'table had my Schroeder and the other had a Triplanar. Both arms were hosts to Dynavector XV-1s cartridges. The first thing we noticed was that somewhere around 106 to 110VAC everything sounded better in every way.

The second thing we noticed was that we had a sort of "tonearm button" - that 108VAC with the Schröder and 106VAC with the Triplanar brought the two tonearms to sound remarkably alike.


Warning! Technical analysis follows ...

Now, keeping in mind that the filament transformers on the amplifiers are wired to convert 120VAC into 2.5VAC for the 45's and 5.0VAC for the 300b's, we created a situation where the tubes' filaments were seeing about 88% of their specified voltage - about 2.2VAC and 4.4VAC respectively.

Even more provocative is that we were hearing musically significant differences in a roughly 2% change in wall voltage (108 106). Read this sentence again.

For the technically inclined, Steve Bench writes quite a bit about this operating condition which is referred to as starved filaments. You can link to Steve's site by clicking here. By means of introduction, Steve has built a world-class phono stage which is in the class of the Artemis, Nick Doshi's Alap, Raul's Essential (we'll verify the Essential for ourselves in February when Raul spends Valentine's day with us). Steve's is not a commercial product, and I'm not hyping anything but rather trying to convey my respect for his innovative designs and his technical insight.


So, when someone tells me that component A sounds this way or that way, I smile quietly to myself and remind myself that I have no idea how component A will sound when optimally set up or when set up in my system. We're all in this together of course, and dialogs like this help us to triangulate in on absolute truth such as it were.

Thom @ Galibier
I had the DPS and loved it. Very dynamic and lively. I know Willi Bauer who makes the table and I'm sure you would have no problem if you needed a repair.
I compared the DPS to a Kuzma Reference. Same arm and cartridge No contest. Sold the Kuzma right after that. Kuzma was dead sounding in comparison
Re: tables I agree with Flyingred. The Galibier is an excellent table.
Re: arms I am one of those lucky few Thom referred to in his post. I run the Tri-planar and a Schroeder Reference SQ. Thom's remarks on choosing an arm that you most identify with on a mechanical level is exactly what you should consider when it comes to these two arms. ( I do prefer the Tri for rock music) Sonically these arms can both sound excellent. It is a difficult pick. Set up is the key and the one that you are better able to set up will sound "best". While they both sound great they completely differ on set up. The Tri is a breeze to set up. The Schroeder is not necessarily more difficult just more intuitive. I once compared these tonearms to firearms. Both can hit the exact bullseye. The Tri is like an a modern bolt action rifle while the Schroeder is like a fine black power rifle. Both will get the job done but set up is the key.
Dear Pentatonia: 8.5K is a very good deal for that combination taking in count that that tonearm is very difficult to find on a " hurry ".

It seems to me that the DPS is a good TT, how good? I don't know because I never had the opportunity to heard it.

I agree in the comments about the Galibier TT's, very good ones.

Now, that combination could sound great or could not ( like any other ) all depend with which cartridge you want to mate with.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Warning - reading this board may damage your wealth! :)

It's nice to be in like-minded company where it's okay to own a choice of arms and cartridges! A couple of years ago I was attempting to make the choice between Schroeder's DPS or Reference, it was an either/or situation. Lead time on these made the Tri-planar a no-brainer.

Notwithstanding Thom's claim that he can tweak his filaments to make the arms sound alike, I have yet to be fully convinced by a Reference on rock music, particularly bass guitar. Although for its looks and tactile pleasure the Reference takes some beating.
Hi Red, Doc ...

I agree with both of you. Let me explain / clarify.

Regarding my comments about filament voltages, I can see where some might infer that I was claiming to have discovered a magic "tonearm dial" with this filament voltage adjustment - that this "dial" could make a Schröder and Triplanar sound identical to each other.

Differences between the two still exist and their essential characters were still evident.

I was however amazed at how startling was the convergence between the two arms, and this was my main point. I was fine tuning a single system while the differences between our collective audio systems are far greater than what I did that night.

From this perspective, you might well find someone to prefer a Triplanar in one system and a Schröder in another.

Perhaps this is why we have more trouble with our chosen hobby than the folks I reference in this thread have in picking out technology that can save their lives.

Given how close the two arms are, one can make a powerful dollars and cents argument in favor of the Triplanar. Those who know me realize that I would not criticize this decision. Of course, we all define quality differently. I won't belabor this point, because we can all fill in the blanks - consistent with our priorities and aesthetics.

Finally, there's the human interface factor, and Doc uses a good metaphor in his firearm example. One or both tonearms will make "sense" to you. The one that makes "sense" is the best arm for you.

Thom @ Galibier
Wonderful discusssion and a succession of insightful points, especially from Flyingred and Thom. I've experienced all they discussed re: the choice between TriPlanar vs. Schroeder (both Reference and DPS). We chose the TriPlanar for exactly the reasons they mentioned: comfort with setup and adjustment. For our priorities the TriPlanar was the easier arm to set up and use accurately.

The result has been, as Raul observed during a recent visit, that we play our arm/cartridge "on the edge", meaning that the tiniest adjustments are instantly audible. We don't do this for the "thrill", we do it because that knife edge is where everything sounds best, most lifelike, most real. Our choice of arms made it easier for us to discover the optimal setting for each parameter, which gives us the best musical reproduction.

Flyingred's mention of the non-elastic belt used by Galibier/Redpoint/Teres should be re-emphasized. This apparently subtle point is easily overlooked when trying to assess TT's from a distance. It would never be overlooked by someone who's tried different belts for themselves.

The difference in transient speed, dynamics and bass strength and accuracy between non-elastic and elastic belts has to be heard to be appreciated. There are many beautifully built tables on offer today, but when my advice is sought I will not recommend one which employs a significantly non-linear torque coupling between motor and platter. The damage this does to musical liveliness and accuracy is too great, at least to our ears.
Dear pentatonia: Yes, the Tri is really a great tool about VTA: I agree with Doug where I had that TRI lovely experience.

regards and enjoy the music.
Interesting stuff re: avy beacons. For reference, I am in the snow 180+ days per year and DO use a beacon as a life-saving device.

I keep tabs on current technology but also know why I continue to use my preferred choice of beacon.

I think a key difference is that here we discuss something subjective (what sounds best to our ears), whereas with beacons we have something truly measurable (time required to find someone buried). Now, the complication is that an experienced user who knows what his beacon can/cannot do can get close to the theoretical minimum -- or at least know where the "gotchas" are.

For tonearms, an experienced user can get closer to the theoretical maximum performance -- but that it STILL subjective.

And, yes, it is amusing how life-saving devices can be discussed with more sterility than tonearms, but when we're talking about $4k and more for a tonearm, it's a safe thing to say that we're in the "leisure class" and fairly far removed from battling for daily survival.

Me? I chose both my tonearm and current preferred beacon based on objective (as close as they can come for tonearms is, maybe, comparing vs other options) and subjective measures. While I'm very, very fast with my beacon and it is great with multiple burials and transmits a very strong (long-range) signal, it's not what I recommend to everyone.

If you knew someone lived out in the sticks and had no help setting up their TT.... which arm would you recommend? (Rhetorical question)

Would a poorly setup "reference" arm that is notorious for challenging setup be bested by a well-set-up "lesser" arm that is "easy" for those fat-fingered?

It's a different question when we have this group of more folks who are more capable of properly setting up most arms (or is that being too generous in stating the skills of those on A-gon? .... $$ does not necessarily equate to facility in setting up a mechanical device) -- but it still comes down to subjective criteria.

Also... I had it from a good source that Schoeder tonearms really aren't available any longer. Can you shed any light on this? When did the last one you ordered come in? I know someone on the waiting list for more than 16 months with no known "start" date.
For what its worth, going back to the original post regarding the dps and verdier I can make a few comments. First and most important, we do run a store which has both verdier and dps, but we don't internet sell to any degree and my partner and I are both long time audionuts that decided to set up a business. All this just says, I don't believe I have much of an axe to grind and I don't care if you buy one or the other, or neither. My partner has used the verdier for a long time, we recently started to carry dps. II have not heard them in the same room together and its only so likely this will happen. I have however listened to both quite extensively. Also for the moment I am using the rb250 modified by DPS.

First the tables couldn't be more dissimilar in physical structure. The dps is small in size and footprint, very minimalistic and looks kind of like a line. The verdier is beautiful from an engineering point of view but quite industrial. It is also very big. I know that spousal acceptance is going to be different for the two.

As for the sound, I think they are not wildly dissimilar. Both are very musical with great rhythm. I can't say a huge amount more about this because it is very dependent on the system and the room.

One final note regarding the arms. Willi feels the power supply is as important, and indeed more so, than arm choice. I have just put in the dps3 power supply and it really is quite impressive about how much it improves the sound. Even more solid, with greater substance and authority. Not subtle at all when you switch back and forth (much easier to do than changing arsm).
I hope this is of some help

Don't take this personally Gary, but I'm always amused when a dealer/manufacturer says something along the lines of "the power supply upgrade makes a real improvement."

I don't understand why they don't just make their design sound as good as possible in the first place. Instead they box up a few hundred bucks worth of bigger transformer, regulators and caps then add a zero on the end of their costs to get to the selling price.
Hi Ebalog

Also... I had it from a good source that Schoeder tonearms really aren't available any longer. Can you shed any light on this? When did the last one you ordered come in? I know someone on the waiting list for more than 16 months with no known "start" date.

My most recent delivery was an arm Frank hand delivered to Docsavage at this year's RMAF in October.

Frank certainly continues to make tonearms, but your friend on the list is not a statistical anomaly (16 month wait). For example, the next two arms I'm awaiting delivery on were ordered in November of 2005.

From what I've seen in the past year, Frank has regained equilibrium - neither falling further behind, nor catching up. While the difficulties that resulted in him falling behind last year appear to be history, we have yet to dig into the backlog to return to the good old days of 4-6 month waiting periods.

Thom @ Galibier

I don't take it personally and understand the comment. Like I said I was a long time audio nut before a dealer and I raise my eyebrows a lot too. Fortunately this is not my major (or even minor) source of income (my daytime job is thoracic surgeon), I do it because a lot of interesting gear was unavailable in our region.

As for the better powersupply I would recommed you take a look at the dps website for a more technical explanation - its not my strong point (my partner in the business is much more technically oriented) or drop Willi a note. I would add he is really very passionate on the subject- I think he really believes this to be the case.

From a practical viewpoint what I have done is I am giving the customer the ability to chose. He gets to listen to both and if he doesn't think its worth it, he will stick with the dps 2. The risk to him is zip - he listens in his system and his ears are all that counts. I do understand, by the way, that human nature is such that many will think if something costs more it must be better but I can't prevent that.

It is an interesting thread and I have been cautious about replying to a lot of threads because of the issue of dealers making comments. Again no offense taken and none given

Take care

Hi Gary, Red ...

I think you're both right ...

My take on Red's comments is that they have more to do with manufacturers letting their customers become their beta testers ... releasing update after update instead of doing their homework and releasing a mature design. I grow very tired of this sort of philosophy as I would guess you (Gary) do to.

As I understand your (Gary) comments on the DPS, it would appear that the upgraded power supply represents a significant financial commitment by the customer, and is therefore offered as an option - similar to my offering a range of platters for the Gavia.

Thom @ Galibier

Sage words and much better said than I could.

I took flyingred's comment a bit different than Thom (i.e., not related to manufacturers letting customers be beta testers, which I think is a valid point).

I believe that (some) manufacturers design the very best product they can. Unfortunately, sometimes the price turns out to be higher than a market can support. Therefore, perhaps they trim some areas that will enable them to lower the price and give up a bit of performance.

Perhaps, then, the manufacturer offers the full-blown system with the "best" power supply... but then if you can't quite afford that (or think it doesn't matter), you have the option of getting the table with the lesser power supply -- and maybe getting 95% of the way there with the ability to upgrade later on. I.e., you won't have to settle for a maxed out but "lesser" overall design (lesser TT + lesser power supply), you can get the better TT + lesser power supply.

This is all irrelevant if the power supply in question was designed purely in response to customer issues/problems -- I'm not familiar with the DPS power supply.

Also, sometimes new manufacturing options become available with the passage of time, so it's not necessarily a conspiracy (and it's tough for me to say that as I am a HUGE skeptic myself).
Thanks, Thom, for shedding some light on delivery of those tonearms.

I'm glad to hear they're not out of production, although it does sound like in addition to a substantial waiting period, there aren't many arms coming out, period.

I've heard stories (reliable) of some folks being told that at this point they should not wait any longer, which was a sad realization for them.

I do wish the man very well with his recovery, as it surely would be a shame not to see any more of his arms around.

I'd have gone on the list myself, but I did not have the luxury of time (i.e., I "needed" (who really "needs" a tonearm) a better performing tonearm than what I had "desperately" -- I couldn't wait 16 months or longer/forever).

All the best to you.
Hi Ebalog,

I'm glad to hear they're not out of production, although it does sound like in addition to a substantial waiting period, there aren't many arms coming out, period.

Paraphrasing Mark Twain, rumors of Frank's death are greatly exaggerated.

Perhaps I wasn't clear. Frank is back on track, producing and delivering tonearms on a regular basis and at his previous rate.

Any backlog relates to him falling behind last year (in 2006). Stated another way, production dropped off in 2006 but has returned to normal.

The way I see it, Frank has a few options:

1. To put a moratorium on orders until he brings his backlog back to a 4 month waiting period

2. To continue taking his normal order volume and somehow work to eat into the backlog

3. To continue with his normal production and accept the increased waiting period.

When I last checked, Richard Sachs was running a 39 month waiting period for his bicycles. You will not convince Richard, Frank, (or myself, for that matter) to hire a second shift to do work that we put our names on.

I've heard stories (reliable) of some folks being told that at this point they should not wait any longer, which was a sad realization for them.

I am puzzled by this comment, as I am equally puzzled by general statements made in mainstream media "we understand from reliable sources ... ". The only realization to be made is that some good things are worth waiting for.

Surely the decision to order a Schröder and wait is a personal one. As a dealer for Schröder, Triplanar and Dynavector tonearms, it's certainly in my best interest to sell the latter two, cash the check, and be done with it ... leaving aside any auditioning issues and which arm you'd prefer.

As an aside, I make it very easy for purchasers of Galibier turntables to work their way into a Schröder tonearm.

I look at it this way: In a world of instant gratification, not everyone has the makeup to wait for a hand-built product like a Schröder.

Don't get me wrong, it's great to reach a decision, write your check and get to come home with the goods. I would not argue against this in a perfect world. At the same time, reality dictates otherwise, and everyone has to make their own choices.

I guess I'm unclear as to why someone would not get on the waiting list - even when you discount the notion that owning a Schröder tonearm is like collecting fine art. A Schröder tonearm will not depreciate and will not wear out.

I'd have gone on the list myself, but I did not have the luxury of time (i.e., I "needed" (who really "needs" a tonearm) a better performing tonearm than what I had "desperately" -- I couldn't wait 16 months or longer/forever).

In this age of Audiogon sales, I find it difficult to believe that you cannot own an interim tonearm at little to zero net expense to you - an arm that you can subsequently sell when your Schröder arrives. See my comments above about how I make it easy to transition into Schröder.

Now, if you don't own a flexible turntable architecture like a Galibier, then perhaps changing tonearms presents a problem for you. I'd take this up with the dealer who sold you your turntable. What? You can't get service from him? I can't speak on behalf of other manufacturers, but the ease (or expense) of swapping armboards has never been an issue for Galibier owners.

Thom @ Galibier

It's a Costco/Walmart world. Instant gratification and mass production are what people expect. Lasting quality, workmanship, and attention to the finest details are a thing of the past.
Your post is an interesting and informative one, but it also makes a few points that beg clarification.

I know of at least one individual on the waiting list for, so far, more than 15 months -- and he's not heard a word that he's even near to the start of the "4-6 month waiting period". I would only say this is a "reliable source" as it is someone I know personally with no vested interest in the outcome.

He was told be individuals that, perhaps, live in the same region as the manufacturer that he should not expect anything. Of course, he could be pleasantly surprised one day when he gets the call for his payment and for production to "begin".

No one in this situation was trying to sell anything, and it is people that i know personally.

When I said "I don't have the luxury of time", it is not to say that I could buy a good (excellent!), used (non-Schroder) tonearm and basically pay nothing for it if I were to sell it down the line.

That said, we both know that certain tonearms NEVER come up in the used market. I happened to select one such tonearm as my choice, and it's the best I've ever heard. I have no intentions of selling as it, too, is a work of art and produces amazing music (most importantly). I think it blows away anything that I've heard...and anything I've seen on the used market.

Caveat: I have never had the good fortune to hear a Schroder reference.

So, you see, for me, I *could* go on the waiting list and sometime in the future (maybe in 6 months, 16 months, or 6 years) take delivery on it, but it is still unknown to me, and I could not say for sure that it would be better (or "different" but in a more pleasing way) than what I have. Also, I know that owning a tonearm at this level -- one tonearm -- is a dream come true. When I am in a more practical mood, I recognize that owning my current tonearm (as I'd never sell it) AND a Schroder just ain't gonna happen for me. :)

And (repeating myself here), while your strategy to buy something for the present (which could wind up being years) to sell at minimal to no loss is a good one, I saw no reason to "suffer" (being dramatic here) with a lesser arm than what I got. Does that make any sense?

To restate: If you found you wanted one of Mr Sachs's bicycles, for instance, (on a hunch because of what you *expect* them to turn out like...not because you've ridden one) but you needed something to ride in the interim (3.5 years)... would you (a) buy a used bike that was 85% of what you wanted and sell it at no loss or (b) buy a new bike that was actually the best thing you'd ever ridden to date? Effectively, I chose (b) in that case -- realizing that my selection may (or may not) exceed the "vaporware".

This would all be different if one knew the Schroder was the be-all and end-all in their own system, and it was just a matter of waiting it out. Many suspect it could be, but few, I would bet, have tested it in their system and also compared it to some other scarce (but less so than the Schroder) tonearm.

Also, while I appreciate that you are a solid manufacturer and quite dedicated, your implication that other manufacturers and/or dealers are less flexible is true for some but not all. The particular manufacturer I selected can supply an armboard drilled for any tonearm in short order -- that is not a constraint.

One thing is certain: No matter your dedication and or quality of service if one is a one-man shop (a la Frank or you for that matter), if one should ever have the misfortune to fall ill or experience some issue, that very high level of service one has provided may go by the wayside.

We all agree that Frank's medical treatments (rightly so!) should not suffer... so the question is what happens when one cannot dedicate as much time to their craft/passion?

If you had an extended stay in the hospital (this is hypothetical and -- god willing -- I hope you live a long and healthy life) or suffered from Frank's afflictions, is your turnaround for an armboard or a part for your 'table going to be affected? No one would hold it against you, but such things need to be recognized.

This is altogether different than a manufacturer/dealer providing poor service by choice, but the net for the customer is the same.

I do hope that the tonearms Frank is currently capable of producing are up to the standard of his legendary work of yore.

I'd love to be on his list, but it seems that one needs to purchase a TT as a "hook" to get in.

All the best, and I mean no disrespect whatsoever, as you seem like a stand-up individual and, I'm sure, manufacture a product that provides musical pleasure to many.
Hi Ebalog,

This is a great topic, and you raise some very important questions that span well beyond those of Schröder, Galibier and other small manufacturers - falling into two broad areas: extended waiting periods, and working with small manufacturers in general.

I've thought a lot about the latter issue from both sides of the fence - both from the perspective of a manufacturer as well as from that of a customer - probably dating to my purchase of a Merrill Turntable in 1991, and most recently with the Aurora Guitar Amplifier I ordered last month from Mission Amps.

Maybe I'm a sucker for a small guy who trades punches with the big boys. I don't know. Bruce Collins (Mission Amps) has a very helpful presence on a guitar amplifier forum I frequent and I sensed a genuine passion as well has high level of competence in the man.

I touch on some of these issues in my About Page, but perhaps it's best to discuss them here, in the context of your comments.

Your point about ongoing manufacturer support is an important one - whether in the context of a large corporation or a one-man shop. I think it's extremely important that everyone pick their comfort zone in this regard.

Let's look two extremes in manufacturer size - Micro Seiki and Merrilll.

Micro Seiki ...

Micro Seiki closed their doors in 1991, and people began scrambling for replacement parts. Thanks to the Internet, there is a Micro Seiki group on Yahoo Groups.

Now, most parts on Micros are fairly difficult to come by and no Internet group is going to help you replace some critical parts. On the other hand, several machinists frequent that group, and there has been talk for example about co-manufacturing armboards. Large companies go out of business. Others cease to support older models. It is not risk-free.

Merrill ...

When I purchased my Merrill turntable in 1991, it was with the understanding that the day would come when George would roll down is blinds for the last time. I purchased a spare motor controller, knowing that this was a part that was the most likely to fail over my lifetime of ownership.

It so happens that Anthony Scillia has partnered up with George to form Merrill-Scillia and Merill is as alive as ever.

Who would have figured in 1989 that Merrill would "outlive" Micro Seiki?

Now, I can't speak for other manufacturers (large or small), but it was my ownership of the Merrill which guided my design philosophy at Galibier. I don't want to hijack this thread into a sales pitch, but suffice it to say, that I worked hard to "future proof" my designs so that the end-user could keep his turntable running with local resources.

All of this is to say that large manufacturer or small, you are running a risk as far as the ability of the manufacturer to respond to your needs for one reason or another - whether it be due to business continuity (longevity), support of discontinued models, etc.

In the end, I think it is critical for the customer to feel comfortable with their purchase and I'd be the last to argue that any single business model is superior to all others.


I don't know what to make of your friend and his waiting period for his Schröder. Surely, communications with his dealer would be helpful for him, although frankly there's not much to be said from such communications - other than to say "yes, your arm is on order, sir".

I do know that in working with Frank, I don't even consider getting a status for more than the next two arms on my list. I accept that any such estimate is meaningless. My reasoning is based on the assumption that I'm perhaps one of a dozen dealers world-wide. To ask Frank to predict more than two arms out is to expect him to predict beyond 24 tonearms which is plainly not possible.

I would estimate that 70% of the Schröders I sell are to people who have not purchased a Galibier turntable from me.

When I speak of the service I give to my turntable customers while they are waiting for their Schröder, I hope this wasn't construed as preferential treatment in terms of order fulfillment.

I was trying to convey an expression of gratitude for peoples' business by loaning armboards, sourcing arms where possible - that sort of thing. I maintain a list of orders and forward it to Frank on a monthly basis - as a "tickler file" if you will. I do not change the priorities based on what a person purchased from me.

It sounds as if you have found a marvelous tonearm and you are thrilled with it. This is great news. I have a Micro MX-282 which is on loan to a friend. I demand that this arm stay in my extended audio family, so I understand your comments about the arm you acquired being a "keeper".

I sense that on some level however, that you are curious about Schröders. Perhaps this is intellectual curiosity about the unobtanium, and nothing more. I understand. If you're ever in the Colorado area, feel free to arrange a "no obligation" comparison of a Schröder and Triplanar. Please note however, I just sent may personal arm to Frank to swap out the arm wand and the wire. Maybe I can pull some strings to get it back by the end of the year. Sorry, I couldn't resist injecting some humor here.

Your question about a Richard Sachs bike is a good one. Usually, when we're at the level of considering either a Schröder Tonearm or a Richard Sachs bike, we already own a fairly fine tonearm or bicycle.

Assuming this weren't the case, I'd obviously have to purchase a bicycle in order to get through the waiting period. My path would likely take me to another small builder like Tom Nobilette or Eisentraut. Alternatively, I might purchase a production Moots, which I'd equivocate with purchasing of a Triplanar Tonearm in our example - not exactly chopped liver.

Like yourself, I could find myself keeping the Moots and pedaling happily ever after ... or a Triplanar over a Schröder. We are talking about very fine pieces in these two examples, and given tastes and such, one never knows which one will prefer.

Thom @ Galibier
Ebalog, you are astute in picking up the sentiment in my post. Power supply components are not massively expensive and it would be possible for a manufacturer to incorporate a better specification for minimal increase in price.

On your point about the risk of buying a piece made by a small volume manufacturer, I think it's minimal. In the case of Frank's arms, because there are no bearing surfaces there is nothing that can wear out. In the case of Thom's Galibier turntables, the mechanical parts are massively over-engineered and are likely to never wear out and the few electronic components in the motor controller are generic.

I have a Lenco that must have been built over 30 years ago and nothing on it shows any sign of wear, although it's reassuring to know that there's a small company in Sussex, England that keeps a stock of most of the parts! The point I'm trying to make is that, apart from stylii, nothing else on a turntable ever wears out or fails.

Contrast this with the Technics SP10 MkII - arguably the most advanced turntable ever built - many of the ICs in the controller are out of production and unavailable. Also, most cassette decks still in existence (built by large corporations like Sony, Aiwa, Technics, Nakamichi, Denon, etc.) can't be repaired because parts are no longer available. It's not the longevity of the manufacturer that's the issue - it's the life cycle of the components the manufacturer incorporates in his design that's significant.

I have a Fidelity Research FR64s tone arm that I bought nearly 30 years ago that's still going strong - the fact that Fidelity Research disappeared decades ago is irrelevant. Because this arm has a great reputation and is still in demand it would be worth having a specialist replace the bearings and rewire it at some stage (if necessary).

I also have an old Grace F9 cartridge that I could have rebuilt indefinitely (should I choose to) like George Washington's ax, because it is designed in a way that enables other skilled cartridge builders to maintain it.
Dear Thom.

You certainly made a Moots point,

I have been waiting till I could afford a Colnago for so many years I've gone through two Serrotas.

I Imagine I still have alot of fun spinning my wheels. I really love to watch em roll. My first record player was a Barbie and Ken model from Enemee. Joey Dee and the Starlighters could never sound better, The name of the dance is the Pepperment Twist.

123 kick 123 go

Thanks Thom

Groovey Records