Just to be clear and to add to my opening paragraph. I only sold the Redpoint for monetary reasons. I much preferred it to the EMT.
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Whatever its other flaws may be, if your SP10 mk2 cannot hold pitch with piano music, it's not working properly. Have you had it serviced since you bought it, or do you know whether it was serviced prior to your purchase? Proper service should include replacing all electrolytic capacitors that have not already been replaced. Same goes for your EMT or any other vintage direct-drive.
You are probably not going to find too many responders who have actually owned a 938, or even a 948 or 950 and also owned the other TT's you want to compare to the 938. I'd suggest that you have a competent technician service both the SP10 and the 938 (if you have not already done so), and then go by what your own ears tell you to do.
As an aside, I have to wonder why you sold the Redpoint if you liked it so much. Budgetary concerns would not seem to be a factor in that equation.
If the SP10 is a "project", then you really cannot know whether it holds pitch on piano music (which any good one will do), unless or until you fully repair or rehab it.
Still, you can probably parlay your TT holdings into another new Redpoint/Teres/Galibier, if that's your real preference at heart. EMTs generally sell for ridiculous prices. Then you would have a Stratocaster and a Redpoint or its equivalent, too. Better than cake.
Lewm, Thanks for your interest in the thread. I never included the SP-10 in the list. My other tables that I have had experience with were all belt drive. I just have an SP-10 mk.2 that I have never used which I may or may not go forward with. Lets just forget about the Redpoint, it's gone. I don't know if your know this, but the entry level Redpoint Model D now retails for $29k. I'm interested now to hear some insight into EMT direct drives and how they compare to others. I see you appreciate different tables. Do you have a favourite?
Like I said, I would guess it's rare to find an audiophile who has experience with EMT of any sort, let alone the EMT direct-drive turntables. But you do seem to know such a one, Mike Lavigne. Mike probably has a wider experience, especially with state of the art direct-drive turntables in his own home, than any person in the US (or Canada). I currently own the following: SP10 Mk3, Kenwood L07D, Victor TT101, Denon DP80. These all have great potential which must be further squeezed out of them by proper maintenance, and in the case of three of them, proper plinths. (The L07D is unique in that it has a factory plinth that would be hard if not impossible to improve upon.) I used to own an SP10 Mk2A. After re-capping and after mounting it in a slate plinth, it was very good indeed, but not as good as my Mk3; it's not a close call. The L07D is in my opinion a sleeper. I love that TT and would never part with mine. I cannot evaluate the TT101, because I have not yet been able to get mine to work reliably. DP80 is not up with these others (but it may have had slight edge on my Mk2). However, PBN is making gorgeous wood plinths for DP80s and other Denons, that look like they may transform the performance up several notches, besides the beautifulness.
That's it for me.
Lewm, I don't want to hijack this thread, but I'd very much like to know more about your experiences with these turntables: 1) Where exactly does the DP80 fall short? 2) Where is the SP10 Mk3 better than the MK2? 3) And how does the L-07D differ from the others? I know the technical differences between these turntables and can make a guess based on that, but would really value your experience.
I usually refrain from such a discussion (Sampsa), because after all, it's only my opinion, and unless you've been in my house, heard my system(s), and already know that our tastes are coincident, my opinion is worthless. However, since you asked: (1) The DP80 just does not sound as good as the SP10 Mk3, which I will use as a benchmark reference for discussion purposes. It is not quite as coherent and seamless. Actually, it's been so long since I listened to mine that I can no longer recall why it fell out of favor to be replaced by Mk3 and L07D. One can only use two tt's at a time, and it's in 3rd place. However, I am very excited to see what PBN has done/ can do for re-plinthing the DP80. Mine is in a custom-made slate slab, but the kludge in the DP80 may well be the metal case that surrounds the working bits. The PBN plinth gets rid of that and also takes the circuit boards off the structure, plus they replace the transformer with a modern higher VA rated toroid. I think their work has real potential to upgrade the DP80. FWIW, before I owned the Mk3, I did a head to head between DP80 and SP10 Mk2A, both completely refurbished with new caps and calibrated, both in identical slate slabs. To my ears, the DP80 bested the Mk2A, because the latter has a very faint grayish coloration that is probably curable with the Krebs mods to the motor. I believe the Mk2A coloration comes from an overactive servo, due to structural issues between the rotor and stator. Krebs takes care of that. However, I sold the Mk2A, based on the superiority to my ears of the DP80, before I bought the Mk3. If I owned a Mk2, the Krebs mod would be a no-brainer upgrade; it's cheaper than a mediocre cartridge. The Mk3 has no such coloration that I can hear. Rhythm and pace are like no other; I can hardly wait to hear what the Krebs mod can do for a Mk3. I like the L07D just as much, and yet it is very slightly different from the Mk3. Not surprising, because L07D has a coreless motor and a very relaxed servo that does not come into action unless there is serious speed drift. Perhaps that is why the L07D does sound more "relaxed" and very musical especially in the midrange. But I am also of necessity listening to the L07J tonearm that comes with L07D tt. The tonearm is wired with Litz wire, which, while not my favorite, has always impressed me with its tendency to sound midrange-y and "musical". I have not heard the Mk3 and L07D via the same tonearm or tonearm wire or cartridge, which makes a big difference. Also, I don't as a rule sit around making tt comparisons just for the fun of it. The TT101 is out of the picture unless or until I or Bill Thalmann can fix the intermittent fault with mine.