Early SOTA vs New Something: Conundrum


In a nutshell: 

I have a Series I SOTA Star from prior to 1986. I've had it about 12 years. It has early AudioQuest B300 cartridge.  The Sumiko MDC-800 Arm is the best part of the unit. No modifications. No maintenance ever as far as I know.

The Arm was installed where a previous arm sat (not by me) and is not positioned correctly. 

It needs at least a new cartridge. But after a chat on the phone with SOTA, it sounds like after these years (plus the arm mis-location)  it needs a bit more than that. Upgrades, adjustments etc...

I could do a new cartridge, but it appears a waste without doing other needed work to the TT.

Cartridge, Tonearm board with other needed upgrades I'm looking at about the price of a new table. Such as a Technics 1200G or some such version of.

Time to jump ship? Or I could ignore it all and continue to run it as is. It honestly doesn't sound horrible. Not great either. But bad enough I don't play vinyl much anymore in favor of CD- digital

I do have an extensive LP collection and wouldn't mind listening to it...





@rwbadley , Then you are stuck just like me. You have a great turntable that deserves a much better arm and cartridge that it has. If you do what it deserves you will be spending a lot more than a new Technics 1200G. If you get a Kuzma 4 Point 9 tonearm, a Goldring 1042 a new tonearm board you will be spending something like $4500 and that does not include updates to the turntable. I never knew AudioQuest made a cartridge by the way. You sure?

If you go the upgrade route in proper fashion you will have a much better table than the Technics. Would you appreciate the difference? I have no idea. 

Thanks for the reply, yes a catch 22 indeed.

Yes it is an AQ B200. It may have been a rebadged something or other. It’s 20+ years old and then some.

Yes the springs have sagged. So the unit needs shipped back for that and then it just goes up from there. Should have a new motor I've been told. Maybe the new psu and what about the vacuum unit etc.... eek it gets big pretty fast.

Or maybe find a good used cartridge, toss it on and ignore the rest of it. 

Whether to spend big coin making the old table current, Maybe buy a new SOTA but then still need all the additional on top of that.

Or, is the Technics so inferior with a decent cartridge? It can’t be worse than what I have currently. The tonearm is 1cm back of where it should be. I have to run the cartridge at a 10 degree angle from straight in the headshell, which incredibly results in good balance L/R with a solid center.


BTW the TT goes to Luxman l595 MC phono then out to custom Altec 604 speakers with a several subs filling in the bottom. Pretty dynamic with decent enough soundstage and imaging. The 604 are not the last word in HF resolution...


Generally speaking upgrading/updating/refurbishing a good older piece of gear is less money than going out and buying something new. So you need to compare whatever Sota has quote you for the upgrades with what a new table would be. You may indeed need a new cartridge but that table is certainly doing your current cartridge, and arm, a disservice.