EMT 927 vs. Micro Seiki 5000 or 8000 - different?

Did any one test those machines in the same set up? What was the outcome? Idler-Drive in its best built quality vs. the well rated heavy belts from Japan.
As no one responded on this question I was wondering why? maybe there are not so many audio friends out there discussing about these machines. Could it be true? Am I searching in a too much specialized region? No, I couldn`t believe this is the real answer.

I decided to start building up my own opinion. I was lucky to discover a very rare EMT unit, an R80 of which only four units were built in this configuration in 1961.

Here is my conclusion:

Well, may I say that it is written so much nonsense about the EMTs, at least about the one I am able to compare with other TTs. My EMT - and I am not in the EMT church at all, look at all my Micros which I like very much- is such a musical instrument that you forget all that bullshit about inproper idler bass reproduction and studio imperfection.
Hey all you guys out there - go and listen to a proper installed EMT !!! make up your mind yourself and take off your sunglasses...

... will be continued
Not many visitors here can even get close to any single source that your room hosts. You have trained yorself to the best, experiencing pieces that are from dreams. Therefore maybe not easy to join views in this arena? We are both fortunate enough to expose resource to forge our own views based on our precious ears and needs. To jump into the past with no support from glossy magazines or buring forum posts is an act of faith, congratulations! Few R80's or 927's populate rooms on this planet. Very few of the fortunate owners browse these alleys looking for answers. Perhaps they remain focused on the primary and only true source, the recording.
Dear Thuchan,
You are a very lucky man and as Soundlistening correctly states.....there are very few on this earth who are ever in a position to hear just one of those famed vintage turntables in your possession?......let alone compare them side by side.
I was just speaking to Mark Doehmann who designed all the Continuum turntables and tonearms and he told me that an EMT 927 turntable with EMT tonearm and EMT cartridge will outdo just about every analogue source he has ever heard.........including the Caliburn/Cobra combination?Cheers and enjoy
Mark Doehmann knows about TTs -this for sure. The Continuums are very sophisticated and well build machines too. I don't like the massive magnetic field of the Caliburn, also not the lookings of its stand. Nevetheless it is a proper way of isolation and damping.
All Continuums face a small problem with the original tonearm cabeling. You can change this very easy as you should do with the great old arms from SAEC or Micro Seiki as well.

Now let us have a short look on the investments you are facing going for a well preserved EMT 927 or a Caliburn resp. Criterion. You know that there is still a big difference although the value (!) of the EMTs is continously rising. I now know why.

okay, maybe I forgot dreaming away myself a little :-) But seriously it is only my crest for listening to some units I heard so much about first hand in my own system and not as a visitor in a different environment. This may be good for a first impression. Not more!
When I did my journey to Australia nearly crossing the whole planet and finally succeeding in discovering the perfect matching Continuum it took me lots of preparatory work. Many friendly audiophiles joined me on this trip. The same happened with the EMT. First I had to cross the minds full of prejuduces, my own ones too.

There were not many good friends supporting me in my idea to go for a very rare but simple looking R80 - indeed it is not. This machine is fully packed with beautifully designed and perfectly produced technological details you will not find in other TTs - except of the 927s. The R80 is a kind of 927 but without internal phono stage - just great for my usuages.

But maybe I am telling stories everyone knows. in the end I was really surprised how musically the "927" plays. the sound is not studio like as some people in it's bad meaning think it is. The new EMT carts are just gorgeous. I really feel sorrow for those audiohile friends who never went into a good experience with the "Tondosen".
okay, maybe I forgot dreaming away myself a little :-) But seriously it is only my crest for listening to some units I heard so much about first hand in my own system and not as a visitor in a different environment. This may be good for a first impression. Not more!
When I did my journey to Australia nearly crossing the whole planet and finally succeeding in discovering the perfect matching Continuum it took me lots of preparatory work. Many friendly audiophiles joined me on this trip. The same happened with the EMT. First I had to cross the minds full of prejudices, my own ones too.

There were not many good friends supporting me in my idea to go for a very rare but simple looking R80 - indeed it is not. This machine is fully packed with beautifully designed and perfectly produced technological details you will not find in other TTs - except of the 927s. The R80 is a kind of 927 but without internal phono stage - just great for my usuages.

But maybe I am telling stories everyone knows. in the end I was really surprised how musically the "927" plays. the sound is not studio like as some people in it's bad meaning think it is. The new EMT carts are just gorgeous. I really feel sorrow for those audiohile friends who never went into a good experience with the "Tondosen".
How close is the more readily available EMT 930 to the 927? There seems to be a more available supply of those in North America. Another question is whether there is any person to service them in the USA or Canada? Thuchan, I have always found your posts quite interesting. Your passion for this hobby is quite impressive. How would you compare the Micro Seiki tables which I have been drooling over to the EMT? Best Regards, Bob
Dear Bob,
this is the very good question I will answer when I am back from Vietnam, also being able comparing the sound between the Micro 8000 s and the EMT R 80 by using the same carts and tube phono stages on nearly the same level. I will audition with my new 4 way horns and the two matching subs.

BTW i do know two guys who are owning a Micro 8000 and an EMT 927. I am interested to hear an opinion from them and everyone else who does a comparison in the meantime.

Servicing EMTs is always done by former EMT stuff. As EMT had their own sales organization also distributing STUDER machines there should be some guys out there in North America doing this. I will ask some senior EMT people in Germany.
For servicing EMT's in the US I would contact Dusch directly, he will be of assistance http://www.emt-profi.de/welcome.htm

But in reality look at these PDF's http://www.hans-fabritius.de/en/emt.html at the bottom of the page and it gives the service to be performed.

In reality the EMTs are simple and the schematics are readily available. Best is service by Dusch but then things can be done by competant technicians.

In regards to the 930 vs the 927 I would say that they are in different ballgames, I auduitioned the 927 vs the 930 very briefly in Italy and that was enough to hear a significant difference (both had the 139st). The 930 has less weight, presence an PRAT.

The 930 is without doubt good so long as you get it with the 139st not the 155st. Therefore care must be taken on getting one that has the correct PS. Voltages for the tube phonos are not the same as the later SS phono stages. Van Vliet in Netherlands does make a PS for the 139 phono ic case you do not have one, no idea if it is good.

Even if Thuchan and I disagree (we also agree on many things) my view is that any EMT should be considered as a "plug and play" with its phonostage, Thuchan is using the TT part of his R80.

I have done a/b between the 927 direct to Kondo phono stage and ANJ amps etc....horns....vs the 927 and its 139st (mine is original fully serviced by Dusch and kitted with following serial numbered Telefunkens), well it is quite amazing to see (hear!) how this technology from >50years ago performs.

I also have the SX8000 with FR66s and FR7 cartridge, the a/b SX8000 FR66S:FR7 into Kondo phono vs 927 with 139 is on the agenda in the next weeks.

I lived with my 927 for sometime then switched back to the SX8000, missed the 927. Now back on the 927 I do not miss the SX8000 what doe that tell me?

All fun!

one of the secrets of the 927 lies in its higher platter mass. In this respect I think people are right when saying that a higher platter mass is crucial for a good TT.

of course we disagree! why not. I need to show you how excellent a R80 plays without EMT phono stage. You will not believe it.

Did you try an external Kondo phono stage with your 927? The 927 seems harmonizing not so easy with external phono stages as the R80 does.  

Have you tried the 927 with the plexiglass-plate? That does decrease the weight. Some people say that glass on platters is "wrong" but the studio turntables EMT 927 were delivered for the disc-recording industry as a measurement studio turntable the EMT 927 D equipped with a glass-plate instead of a plexiglass-plate.

When you tap on the plexiglass-plate it is not that solid, a bit flimsy to be honest. Okay it offers the added brake, but know needs that at home??? The total mass of the platter is not that high even with the glass platter plate, much less that our cherished SX8000’s. I have from good sources learned that the 1st R80’s platter was heavier, that the 927’s were even less than the R80 and the last 927’s even less.

I would like to talk about a few other aspects that are, from my modest perspective, important.

1) The torque of the motor: This is one 3-phase workhorse and when you attempt to slow the platter with your hand you see how strong the drive is. Do this on a belt drive and.....you know! When done on a Garrard you can slow it quite easy, and other idler drives are in same category. The 927 has a huge torque and power and as such does offer a great control on rotation. Once documented you realize that the 927 offers rotational stability that is amazing, in fact far greater that that of the TT used for the record making!

2) Bearings of the idler mechanism: Look at those bearings and levers...this offers very solid and stable basis for the power and stability of the motor to get to the platter

3) Distance of idler from stylus: Well the 927 was made for 16” records but we only use them on 12” or 10” (those good mono ones!) and this offers another advantage; the stylus is further away from mechanical contact point of the idler and the inside of the platter.

4) Chassis construction: The cast aluminium is a very solid and high mass base for the tone arm. The fact that the motor is mounted on isolation supports prevents it from transmitting energy to the tone arm. The motor is overpowered; the variations in drag generated in the groves do not strain the motor and introduce the potential adverse consequences.

5) The bearing: It is large diameter and very long offering an extremely stable foundation. Apparently the next best thing is a Neumann lathe that the “ultra hard core” analogue boys use as a TT, your next step?

But to conclude: All of this means nothing in reality. The 927 sounds spot on. Is that objective or subjective? We always attempt to come to rational answers to understand why, I offered some above. The rarity of the 927 (and even more so the R80) make these hard to come by. Many have not been serviced and show the toil of time, I have seen quite a few of those! Thuchan, we both went for fully serviced and as per factory specification machines that work as they were designed, this is the only way to go and it requires a particular dedication. You know that I jumped into the "927" following advice from around the world and from one person in particular with whom I share taste in music, “but” I needed to experience it in my setting and to my agenda. I am glad that at this stage we agree; that you considered that my ears were a valid enough reason for you to jump onboard...

And "YES" I am looking forward to engaging my ears with your R80 & Lamm etc……Maybe we will have another pair of EMTied ears with us?

The Kondo testing is on the agenda, work for the time being guess this hobby needs funding!

All fun!

I am very thankful for the good advices on EMTs I received from you.

I am wondering why people have written a lot of nonsense which led to an image that Studio EMTs are non musical machines just being used to transport a quick & dirty signal into the air.

These guys of today do not know anything about the Radio Stations and the Studio Work of the 60ies and 70ies managed by people who loved their work and were addicted to quality.

I am often confronted with the opinion that those vintage studio tables are not designed for home audio users and do provide features which no one needs today. This is nonsense again and I could discuss it in detail. Of course some of the features did support fast access and easy adjustments, the latter maybe a no nonsense invention.

Heiner Jacobi writes in Sound Practices, Issue 16: the 930 sounds similiar to the 927 but with less authority and more speed. It is the question of whether you prefer to drive a top  Mercedes or a top BMW! - A Garrard 301 is a good  Austin Minicooper.

Maybe this funny comparison hits the mark a little.
"A Garrard 301 is a good Austin Minicooper".

Thuchan, you said it right and I do agree with you 100%.
Hi Thuchan,
I`m glad you have `seen the light`.There has always been negative views of vintage gear,mostly from dealers and manufacturers who are trying to push lesser products at higher prices.Vintage?,Ha,not Hi-Fi,too expensive,common comments.You now have hands on experience of an EMT;Have a look at the prices been charged for some `high-end`turntables,and the build qaulity;how much would an EMT927 cost in todays market?,100K,200K,more?
A top example is not cheap,but is still a bargain compared to what is currently available.
As for the phono stage,the 139st is highly sought after and commands high prices on the second hand market,(9K).It and the EMT are designed as a unit,and I have not heard better.But you know my stance.See you in May!
best wishes
Dear Channel10, this hobby is all about learning, experimenting and assessing. If I meet guys addicted to a certain church and looking for new church members I am always suspicious. It might feel well being welcomed in an audio church as it does in a therapeutic group. My target is always keeping independent from the so called gurus or any misguided influence. In reality it is sometimes hard to detect what is going on.

Nevertheless I do count neither you nor Soundlistening as a guru but a well informed (by your own experience) audio enthusiast & expert, maybe also on special fields. The discussions with you - and we do it since three years - was and is a very fruitful one. Having said that I still have to be convinced by my own ears that the 139st will beat some of my separate phono stages. Therefore I am looking forward to the big experiment we will do in May.
what do the well cared for EMT 927 turntables sell for these days? Bob
Dear Baranyi,
the question is how much would you like to spend .
in Japan you might follow Yahoo and you see it is in between a range of 35-60T$, depending whether it is fully equipped 927 with a phono stage, tube, mono, stereo, Ortofon arm, EMT arm etc.
As Channel10 mentioned the value is continously rising. So if you intend to keep the value you do the right thing.
I would be cautious when securing any EMT R80 or 927. the guys who have them tend to hold onto them....so those out there are hard to come by or there is a reason attached.

The last ebay ones were in very bad condition. Remember that the 927 has the dedicated PS for the EMT 139st Phono stage (it must have that...). Many capacitors in these parts and yes they can be upto 60 years old so stable DC to the all important phono cannot be guarenteed let alone the phonos stage equalizing circuits (3 in all as you can choose).

Two ways in my view: get a low priced one and have it serviced by Dusch or get a serviced one. FYI I have taken both routes and in all honesty they come out to approx the same amount. Another alternative is the Thuchan route taking on the TT part and not using the phono. Then Van Vliet makes the replica EMT 139st that I have heard and you would be hard pressed to tell any difference with an original that I have. VV also does a PS for it so this is an alternative to house in a 927 or R80 TT base.

Many routes I guess....but it will cost serious money to jump onboard. But what is serious? Think the price of a good familly car.....or for Europe verging towards 2 X the average annual salary. Add to that the increased buying of records....the "necessary" cartridges TSD15, TMD25 and for the hardcore 78ers one of the 65 range....

In my books? Best thing I ever did and wished I had done it earlier.

All fun!
Hi Thuchan

Sure, I have had the chance to compare these tt's. I think I wrote to you once about them.

The 927 could be said to be 'more musical' than the Micro Seiki 8000. The Seiki gives a more incisive performance, the 927 interprets the music in a different way. Taken differently it is easy to see why either turntable would be a serious contender for anyone's setup...depending on their sonic preferences.

After all, most hifi is a specific interpretation of the original sound...rarely is anything 100% pure signal, but you know this.

The Pioneer P3A system is a similar turntable to the EMT, above the performance of any Technics sp-10mk3. I have one running with an Audio Note IO-Ltd.

As a complete system the 927 is really cool...the resonances and input/output sensitivities are all calculated for you. Its a fit and forget monster.

Hi Bourse,
thanks a lot. This is a very valuable assessment, also extending to the Technics SP10 MKIII and the results which I would underline as well, having tested a MK II in my set-up (not a MK III yet).

I will be ready for my final assessment at around 20th of March.
is it possible to watch your set up somewhere?
At the moment I am moving 1000kms to my new home in western France...otherwise you would be welcome to visit. Intuition tells me that you live within driving distance.

I have owned almost every large Japanese highend turntable, supplied 5 Technics mk3's for famous USA project/products...lol...and had a few nice EMT machines.

I am currently planning a 5 way architectural horn system using Audio Note compression drivers, so this will be a good test for allcomers. I have around 2/3 of the components.

The MK3 is a good turntable but the hype surrounding it has grown exponentially over the last 3 years. The prices paid now are very high, although they do reflect an ongoing move away from more risky audio assets (like gold and silver)! :) Perhaps they also reflect the relatively mediocre performance of more modern equipment...

Depending on rarity I certainly would not pay over the odds for a 927...I think you have my private email.

Hi Bourse,
Yes we are meeting here...going from east to west! How are the French lessons going? May need to learn German myself as all this hammertone stuff is well documented! Need to hear the 5 way YL/AN horned system....
Take care
your intuition is pretty good Bourse. We are not so far away in Europe. Currently I am exploring remote islands in the South China Sea. When I am back and did survive I will check my e-mail lists.

So we are both building up horn systems, I decided to go for TAD Berryllium drivers. A very well known German technology advisor supports me in this challenge to match better with my nearly completly tube based system.

I guess 1000 km west means at the sea side? not a bad location at all.
The EMT 927 is very similar to other professional 16" broadcast turntables- large platter, large powerful motor, large bearing, idler drive.

The hype around the 927 is the typical hype around EMT. I own an EMT 950 BBC Widebody, by the way, along with most of the other decks discussed in this thread.

The people jumping onto the 927 bandwagon have no experience with the big Fairchilds, Gates, Rek O Kut's, Commonwealth and other more obscure 16" broadcast tables, and so their enthusiasm may be excused, but there is nothing very mysterious about the performance of these decks compared to belt drive.

The downside of the EMT 927 is pretty steep, though. The price is ridiculous, but worse, you have to use the poor EMT 997 arm, or the earlier Ortofon. Because the arm must be mounted to the chassis of the 997, your flexibility is gone. And, as another poster has said, you just spent the equivalent of a nice new family car on something that really just earns you bragging rights on forums like this one.

The EMT phonostage is not a contender, either.

Jonathan, I thought so too before I went into this experience. I also could not imagine that the old Studio idlers and these old Ortofon tonarms may be able to produce more than a very poor vintage sound.

you need listening to a R 80 or 927 which has been revised by a real EMT expert. The inner tonearm litz needs to be cleaned carefully, the contacts should be soldered newly, the pins need to be cleaned and the wire is to be soldered directly - without connectors in the tonearm socket - to the external cinch terminal or to the phono stage. This is only about the tonearm.

I would not compare a fully revised 927 with a 950. You are right the price is pretty high but we should keep in mind that there is no differerence to the cost for the Studios in the 60ies and 70ies. The value is still the same. Of which modern turntable you can say this?

The "poor 997" happens to be a very good arm. Of course things are always subjective but to call it "poor" can only mean you've heard a very worn out or improperly set up example. And those early Ortofon's, if reconditioned properly, are quite good as well. Most examples I've seen are well past their prime.
My point regarding the stock 997 arm is very straightforward.

To spend $25,000- $60,000 on a vintage turntable where you are stuck with the stock tonearm, which is only so so, and also to be stuck with having to use EMT cartridges, because of the special diamond pin pattern, does not seem so smart.

As I mentioned, much if not all of the EMT 997 performance can be had from other 16" transcription decks, but they don't carry the EMT name, and thus are overlooked. And most of those decks allow you to use any arm you want.

I have a good friend in Tokyo who literally grew up in the vintage hifi scene there, and used to help a family friend who had an important audio company do demos at hifi shows. He recounted doing a show in which a Garrard 301 and an EMT 997 were set up side by side, with identical Ortofon long arms and SPU's. For days he would go back and forth DJ'ing the show with these two decks, so you can't really get a better comparison than that. He found the Garrard to be very much in the same league as the 997, which had a bit of an advantage, but he never could figure out why Japanese would pay so much more for one than a Garrard. He chalked it up to the rarity/cool factor.

Thuchan I have nothing of real value to add to your interesting subject other then a few comments.
Your system I find overwhelming and you are obviously not just a wealthy collector of equipment that was hypnotized by "A" list magazine reviews including online hype.

Your goals are clear to me and I wish you the best.
Myself,after raising six kids, five daughters & one son all of which are adult now I just recently am able to devout more time for myself and to this hobby.

I have read where some in this hobby are shocked at what it can cost, they should see the bills for five daughters, fashion trends, university then marriage, though such is reality and I'm certainly not crying in my soup.

Anyhow I find the history of some of these vintage turntables is enlightening to say the least be it belt, direct or wheel drive, all of them are noted for re-discovered virtues.I would like to note that I'm not in any one drive camp, I have Micro Seiki 1500 , panzerholz SP 10 mkii and a stock Kenwood LO7D.

I suppose no big deal here on your thread but these used re-furbished tables out performed a couple of brand new expensive tables with no trouble at all.

Anyhow, looking forward to your discoveries and by the way, these horn speakers you mention, I'm guessing, are they from Cessaro Acoustics?

Hi Jweiss,
It seems that you are making opinions on
somebody elses experience.
Thuchan has a Caliburn turntable which costs
around $80.000 and if he says EMT 927 in good condition
is better, then $25.000-60.000 is cheap,right?
I have a Garrard 301,Garrard 401 and SME 30/2A
and as good they are, EMT 927 is in a different class.
You also mix EMT 997 (tonearm) and EMT 927 (turntable)
I guess your opinion of "stuck" and "so so" is also quite subjective. I kinda remember the TSD15 was your or one of your favorite cartridges at one time or am I mistaken? The 997i is standard mount i.e. square pins, can work with most good cartridges (MC of course) and can be dropped right into a 927. Not so "stuck" anymore. Although as many know, the TSD15 and the OFD series of cartridges are up there with the best of them.

For what its worth, the 927 and 950 are quite different and can not be compared. The 927 is a whole different level of sonic performance compared to a 950. The 950 is/was great at what is was designed for- extremely fast starts for a radio station. Same can/should be said of the Technics SP series... they leave much to be desired sonically IMHO. To compare other high quality decks to a 950 is not so meanigful for me, its a good table but not "great." And you know how I feel about the 301 so no arguments from me. I'd still say the 927 is a really great table- much better than most, if not all, of the other 16" decks you mentioned- to my ears. Technically we have no contest. A EMT 927 is an engineering marvel and with the very rare exception, nothing has ever been made at this level and probably never will be again. Thats worth something or a lot depending on your personal take. Me, I'm happy to have my 927 and its not going anywhere anytime soon. I guess I'll just have to keep suffering which is better than falling off the bandwagon and risking my cueing arm.
Hi Vinyljh,

As the importer of the reproduction EMT 997 arm (Tone Imports) you have a cock in the ring on this. I don't. I'm also not comparing an EMT 950 with a 997 either. Just wanted to say I'm not against EMT- I also own one. I keep a lot of decks around as a reference.

As a huge fan of idler drive turntables, I think its great that people on this forum are discussing the EMT 997. I think its great that someone who owns a Continuum Caliburn likes a 50 year old idler drive turntable, too, perhaps even more than his $100K deck. That makes me smile.

As for the EMT carts, well, not my favorite, but nonetheless good carts.


Blue_Nose, thanks for your input as well as from Ipp, Vinyljh and Jonathan.

some of my gear may look expensive but somehow I was able to pick it up for very modest prices, even the Continuum Criterion ( its not a Caliburn, I would not have gone for it and do describe the reasons in the Caliburn thread).
My biggest bargain was the Micro SX 8000 II which I was able to buy when I returned from Tokyo under 10.000 some 15 years ago. But I do not wanna express how good I am in buying, I also bought some things for
too much regarding the value they have now. As I did own some TTs and tonearms in the last years listening to the gear in my own system I do sell them from time to time. Dertonearm does support my efforts.

Why do I mention this? I think the fascination in this hobby is listening to audio items in your own environment. There are many good tables out there. The discussion about the different drives is very funny, I have some
experience with all of them. When it comes to the idler drive there are some audio friends who will never accept a table of this kind. What a

If an idler concept is well implemented, you see it also with the
Anastase,and also well serviced it is more than just transporting deep frequencies.

The Criterion built up to the extension as I did is a very good example how excellent TTs can be designed and produced even today. The superior sound quality of a 50 year old R 80 might be a big suprise to
many among us but not for the guys who are already owning a well serviced 927. I fullly understand Vinyljh that he will never depart from his EMT. The 950 is a very good car but for having fun you better use your convertible in the garage...
i forgot to answer Blue_Nose on the horn question. No, not from Cessario. I am building my own 4 way Horn system including two additional & exceptional Subs. Two guys are supporting me, a very well known German technology advisor in High-End Audio and a splendid carpenter. We will use TAD berrylium drivers for some of the installations. Launching date is end of March.
At 1990 for a brief period of 4 months, I use to listen via the EMT 950 that comes to me as a trade for my Piere Lurnee J4/SL5. To my personal taste, this TT failed to please me with it's perspective performance. But then, the same failure at these present days exposed by the Shindo 301 also! It seems to me that these 2 TT plays the music without the usual hi-fi trends, but mostly in a plain & unpretentious manner that shamelessly trascends the flamboyant & glitzy reproduction by refusing to analyse the signal into myriad pieces of innermost details, in favor for a more humble, naturalistic & coherent performance.
There are not any similarities to their way they play music, other than the above mentioned AND ...
... their dull, dark, clumsy, cloudy & veiled character.
IMHO there are quality layers of this holistic view & uncontrived perspective, depended by the offered clarity, transparency, speed & dynamic impact. An analogy between a 92db paper cone full-range driver & a 106db compression driver. Or between the Grado wood body cartridges & the London Decca Reference.
I agree that the EMT 950 was designed for practical studio priorities & not for top performance. I remember clearly my preferance for my Denon DP 80 / SME V / Grasshopper III M those days, that it was better overall, being more genuinly honest & balanced in it's own monitor way.
I can't say a thing about the 927 or 930 as I've never seen them in person, but I like the Idler drive sound even more than the finest Direct drives, for the emotional involvement that can engage when critically executed avoiding overdamping that can mask & veil their clarity.
Today I've found peace of mind with a Thorens TD124mkII and I'm almost done with my Lenco GL75 project and what I've found so far to be the most important thing in our hobby, is the learned & practiced skill that comes after many wrong decisions & disappointing results :
There are many paths to find pleasure in building a successful system. ... And the certain way to discarce this hobby is by having high expectations for ANY project in order to justify your expense. So, the rest of us with modest length of pockets, lets get over this giant iconoclastic EMT 927 & put some love & devotion into our formal way to fight our demons. Me too I've had the Studer C37 and I was staying ecstatic upon it's innards, but I felt OK when I substitute it for the Teac Z 7000 tape deck and even better the day that I got rid of this also, in order to dismantle my worries about their repairing needs.
You see the peace of mind only comes when you can listen to your fav music without such worries
.... unless of course your budjet is unlimited.
My point is that :
There are conponents that in pursuit of the art of music reproduction, are designed without compromise. But the cost & the difficulty of purchase, of maintenance service, of repairing service & even handling them without problems could be a serious insulting factor to our state of calm.
And there are some humble but inventive & sophisticated (ie: Lenco L75/Technics EPA100, Denon DP80/SME 312S ) that could bring a careless enjoyment without breaking our nerves & our bank account.
Are we having fun by collecting these mythical titans or we just care for a more faithful & puristic perpoduction ?
Can you answer honestly ?
Hi Geoch, I see you have quite an experience with TTs and idlers as well. You are completely right when you are indicating listening to fine music is possible without owning special top notch gear. If you are carefully selecting and maybe modifying some fine pieces of audio gear you are on the safe side. It is only about a few additional improvements which I rate as of some importance for me, nevertheless it is also fun investigating and playing with such units, not counting the adventurous crest searching in the lost market for such a TT if you decided going for one.

I do remember when I imported my well preserved old Nakamichi 1000 which spent its life in Hawai finding its way via the States to me. Having arrived at me I had to look for a solution on an electrical part only one guy in Germany could repair. I had to travel with the Naka from Munich to the North Sea crossing the full length of Germany.

Your point on service hits the mark. Nevertheless Studer, EMT or MS products are build for eternity. I never had a problem with my Micros. Luckily around me are some wise men having worked for Studer, EMT etc. trying to continue the tradition of these quality addicted philosophy. When it comes to servicing I may count on them.

Having Fun? Yes I do!

I'm so grateful that you did'nt get me wrong.
Thank you for your kindness & intellectual plurality.
Well at one time I played a/b between Micro Seiki SX8000 and fully serviced well plinthed (slate) good armed (FR66s or Davinci Grandezza) finely tipped Garrard 301. Some advised me "now way" oh are you crazy, never....well it was close for me. Oh not from the "high end" perspective on no the MS shinned in that arena...perfect reproduction? No idea really. The only thing is that the 301 got me to listen to more records. The MS was slanted towards lets analyse the record. Do not get me wrong the MX SX8000 is a fantastic TT by all means and made for very serious analogue playing. In the end the MS had me overall. I notwithstanding missed the "enjoy" factor of the 301. On soprano vocals the MS had that "inner" image that the 301 missed. The 301 misted that side of the interpretation. The 301 does let the " atmosphere" of live jazz come to you in a way that the MS does not, the MS cuts through that into the performance. Can live with a 301 and any good TT so long as I have my records and have access to more of them. We all know of audiophiles “audiophiles” that host “glossy magazine” kit, hoping for deeper pockets, yet own next to no records…. Well the price of any “high end” silver litz cable that adds little vs a “regular” cable can get you one hell of a lot of records. But this is a hobby and I respect all of its facets.

I am not one who can accommodate (or want?) to have more than one TT so I am in single partner category. The MS was that one. Until…I had the opportunity to go to Italy and at that time stepped into a “good” room that has 301/EMT997 & Thomas Schick, EMT 930/EMT/139st and 927/Ortofon/139st at a good place in Italy near to Parma, birth city of Verdi… a museum dedicated to sound reproduction and really worth the visit showing the most ancient and exotic vintage kit to the Ipod. Anyway the 930 betters the 301 whist still having that “idler” sound, the 927 takes it all to another level adding the detail and resolution that the MS has.

For the idler “ears” the 930/139st/b is the “bargain”…Indeed, you can get a fully refurbished one with phono stage for 35/40% of a 927. It will cost less than a Garrard 301/decent plinth/arm and separate phono stage of similar calibre, takes up far less space (if that is of concern), enable “true” mono with the TMD25 and 139st/b setting to mono…and yes you will listen to more records, buy more of them…

Okay if those “idler ears” get to hear the 927 they will tell your brain to find a way to getting one. Oh yes! no choice of arm, no variations on cartridges, no choice of cable (short of the one from 139st to amp or preamp)…so you are stuck? No… simply at the place one should “be” accepting the limits (choice entails that) and enjoying the rest of it!

All fun!

You bring me memories from the :

Shindo "Latour" 38000euro (EMT 927)
Shindo "604" 18000euro (EMT 930)

Unfortunatelly I choose the Carfrae LBH instead, in favor of the higher level of permitted experimentation.
By this same logic I went to the side of Lenco L75 to explore the possibilities, and my latest purchase was the SAEC WE-308SX to satisfy my secret project (changing the armtube!).

I'm a DIY junkie. I'm addicted to the flexibility of personalize my demands upon everything.
I don't care to build it by myself. That is not the point.
I have this obsession with the custom & unique crafts to the point that it scares me when I realize the short time that left to enjoy the music (after all these projects).
I can't escape of myself, but at least I do try not to keep very high expectations, by compromising my demands to the most feasible & unsentimental down to Earth humble plans.
But the most necessary & important thing that I have to do, is always -always- advise money wise. 'Cause it really matters what remains in our soul, not right after a new purchase, but when we can relax and live with it in the long run without regrets & conflicts about it's value in our life.
By this point of view, the fully loaded EMT 930 and (I insist to add) the Shindo 604, may are the safest way to carelessly enjoy the music without taking the endless & tiresome path of exploring the possibilities.
But then, how many of us can manage to escape and make the shortcut ?
Hi Geoch, how do you like your SAEC arm? I am an aficinado of the SAEC arms. I changed the inner wirings into silver litz leading the wire directly to the SUT - what a great sound these arms are able to transport!
Thuchan, I agree. The SAEC arms are pretty well-made. I especially like the' higher' model numbers. Who did you get to do your rewiring?
T-Bone, Je suis d'accord pour tout! With my Continuum arms I did the rewiring by myself. But this is somehow easy. With my SAECs (506/30 and 1000), EA-10 and the MS 282 Dertonarm supported me. He is a real expert on doing this. We are using Ikeda silver litz.
Thanks. I am not familiar with a SAEC 1000 model among the "higher" numbers, just the 407, 506, and 8000. I will have a think about this. It would make sense to run wire all the way from cart pics to phono stage but that would require knocking out two parts.
I think he ment the WE-8000ST.
I'm waiting for the courier to deliver it within the week.
This model WE-308SX has about half of the required offset angle in the armtube and so, I have to twist the cartridge on the headshell.
But I was advised by Dertonarm that :
"If the line of your aligned cantilever is off-line compared to the offset angle of your tonearm (or a fixed offset angle in a fixed headshell ( SME V for instance )) then you have another - an additional - breakdown torque moment in the static force model of your tonearm.
In most cases it will result in an increased skating force - resulting in higher unlinear distortion figures".
I'm sure the 407/23 & the 8000ST are having the right angle.
In my case of 308SX I really don't know how to proceed differently & I have some thoughts of changing the armtube.
After Derto's advice, I'm reluctant to twist the cartridge on the headshell & I'm thinking about this drastic modification. A interesting & highly experimental project, that requires some skill & knowlege & I'm not qualified for.
If I had a chance I would trade the WE-308SX arm with the WE-8000ST but unfortunately all this info comes to me after my purchase. Anyway maybe something good & inspired arise from this uncomfortable situation.
Do you mind to comment about the SAEC in general? The 308SX have the ruby bearings as the higher numbered models, but I don't know anything about the level of performance in the models that the cart twisting is a must : (308, 317, 506)
Do you have any idea about the matching with Decca Ref or the EMT JSD5 ?
Thank you in advance.
As far as I know, the only SAEC arm with remotely normal offset angle is the 8000, with the 317 coming next. I too would trade the 317 for the 8000 any day of the week, but I don't know of any 8000 owners who would make the trade. The 8000 is the most sought-after SAEC arm I know of. FWIW, the 407/23 does not have the 'right' angle for anything other than SAEC's special geometry, but it does sound nice - especially with the SAEC headshell.
The 407/23 is manufactured especialy to hit the market outside the Japan, after Allen Wright's recommendation when he was the SAEC's importer for Australia. The 23 is refered to the offset angle that indeed is the right equivalent of the arm's eff. length by the Baerwald alignment.
But what about the other models of the SAEC's geometry ?
How one can align the cartridge & what cartridges are accepted in general ? Have you ever notice any problems with resonances or whatever the Dertonearm has refered ?
Geoch, that is interesting. I am not sure it is completely accurate. The 407/23 was offered in Japan for a couple of years before Allen Wright became the Australian distributor, and I see far fewer 407/23s outside of Japan than in Japan. I am almost certain it was not specially manufactured for non-Japanese markets. It is possible that the '23' came from Allen Wright, but I am not even sure of that. Perhaps it had the name 407 (without the 23) when it was first sold. I do not know and the only way to confirm that would probably be to check an old copy of Stereo Sound.

Personally, I had always assumed the 23 was for ~23cm length (the way the 506/30 has a ~30cm length). It is true that at 233mm, to get Baerwald alignment, it almost has to be 23 degrees offset angle, but that won't get you the cart straight in line with the headshell. And there is no way that the 506/30 is going to have a 30-degree offset angle...

I am not sure of your question. You can twist the cart in the headshell on all the SAEC arms (and it might make more sense to change the mounting distance too) to bring them to Baerwald. All but the 317 have original mfr geometry specs which are more aggressive than Stevenson alignment as far as I remember.

I have not had the problems Dertonarm has mentioned. I can understand the concept, but I think that the change in resonance from setting the cart off-line in the headshell is going to be substantially less of a problem than one's choice of headshell, one's cart match, and/or the resonance inherent in the arm itself.
Excellent ! Great news.
Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts about this.
My 308SX comes with the ceramic 18gr ULS-3X headshell & I can't figure the possible cart compatibilities.
Can you help please ?
Are there any known things that you suggest to avoid ?
Have you noticed any particular preferences ?
With ongoing apologies to Thuchan for dragging his thread off-topic... the 308SX is supposed to use a "cart" (which includes the headshell") of 23.5-33.5g. I have never seen a number for effective mass but have always had better luck with low-ish compliance carts. It sounds nice with a Koetsu wood-bodied cart, I have enjoyed it with the FR PMC-3.
TAD is ok, it is not the most beguiling solution. I have worked with the TAD distributor/s in Bavaria and Germany :) They come from studio supply background and so they think that this works also for domestic audio...however the studio requirements are different to what most people think they want for domestic audio...again we come back to interpretation. The 2002 and 4003 are fantastic drivers however.

I had the TAD 2402 and 2401 speakers. Good speakers...but all roads lead to 5 way horns. :)

Yeah, sea side and settling down.

''So we are both building up horn systems, I decided to go for TAD Berryllium drivers. A very well known German technology advisor supports me in this challenge to match better with my nearly completly tube based system.''
I am sorry, yes I meant the 8000. The sea breeze must have some impact on my registers... Indeed the 8000 is the only SAEC which comes as a straight 13" design with the angle provided by the special headshell. I have two headshells of this kind and they are not very easy to get in the used markets. The 8000 in a very good condition is hard to get as well. I tried to find one in Japan but at that time I was not successful. Be prepared to pay a really high price for this rare item.

The 506/30 you may get easier and rewired it is on a pair with the FR-66s. Geoch if you are considering exchanging your 308SX go for a 506/30. You will face no problems with geometry at all.
T_Bone no problems at all with changing the subject a little. When I return I will report about my assessment regarding the difference between
the two TTs.