EMT turntables as good as other great vintage TT?

Are the EMT turntables as good as the great Micro Seiki turntables, or the Pioneer Exclusive P3, or any of the other great vintage turntables. How would they stack up to today's modern turntables? I realize there are many different turntables in the EMT line. I have been reading that the 930st or the 950 seem to be the one's to buy with the 927 being quite rare and very expensive. Could someone take the mystery out of this line? Are they more collectible than sonically relevant?
The famous japanese Audio magazine multi review of 30 years ago would seem to say Yes.

The EMT 930 was tied first place with the Exclusive P3.

My P3 certainly stacks up with my TW Acustic AC-3, so my guess would be YES, assuming it is in full working order.

hopefully an EMT owner will chime in
Well, it depends. On one side we have those who prefer the old units (better quality, Studio Standard, all of today is not worth the money ...) and you find others who say, Studio Standard has nothing to do with sound quality in first place. Reliability and speed had much higher priorities. Deep Bass ability is also far away from the top of what a Studio needs. You see it with the EMT carts, they had to work on specs from the first second, they didn't last long and where thrown away when a change was needed.
I am not mad about them. But they have their Fan group like all other brands too.
Go for that one which is most complete.
Just look at the prices for good examples. The 930st, 950, and 927 are sky high, which is an indication that they are held in high regard by the cognoscenti. I don't know the range very well, but I believe the 927 is the king of idler drives, Jean Nantais went bonkers trying to compare a 927 to one of his restored Lenco L75s, and the 950 is a direct-drive turntable which fits in the pantheon of direct-drives somewhere, but I don't know where. There are sites devoted to EMT, so you should be able to educate yourself quite easily. Many of these models have built in phono amplification. Having the phono stage directly connected to the tonearm is an advantage in terms of preserving the phono signal integrity, but keep in mind that the electronics were designed many decades ago using then available solid state components, so the sound may be dated, at best. Downunder, there are many things un-scientific about that famous turntable comparison test, so much so that I think the outcome is impossible to interpret (different tonearms and cartridges, for one thing, no SP10 Mk3, for another thing). It made for a good magazine article, however. This is not to say that the EMT and P3 are not wonderful turntables. I think the EMT table that tied with the P3 was a 927 idler-drive, but perhaps someone will correct me.
Thanks to all have contributed to this thread. I guess that I am in the minority in never hearing any of these great tables. Lewm, aren't you around NYC somewhere? I travel there sometimes and would love to hear your array of turntables. I think the EMT in Stereo Sound was the 930st. Pricing itself is not always the best indicator. My experience is my former vintage audio collection. The most expensive items weren't necessarily the best. While I immensely enjoyed owning the JBL Paragon, it wasn't the best JBL speaker that I owned (old Style Hartsfields which were also expensive.) I couldn't tell you that the Marantz 9's were better than the 2's or 8b. I have combed the internet for data and have exchanged emails with Stefano Pasini who I must thank for his speedy response. It was my hope for people who have heard a much wider array of the best turntables to express their thoughts.
Baranyi, You have put your finger on a truism. The market value of vintage audio items is a product of two factors: excellence and collectibility. Sometimes it's more about the latter than the former. If you are looking for excellence, you need a good eye to tell the difference between it and collectibility as a basis for value. As for me, I live in the Washington, DC, area. You are welcome here any time, if you give me a few days notice. But I have never even seen an EMT turntable in the flesh. Nor do I have first hand experience with a P3. Among the top tier of vintage direct-drives, I own an L07D and an SP10 Mk3. The latter will be up and running within a week, I hope. But I need to find the cash to buy a 10-inch or 12-inch arm for it.
I have an EMT 930, EMT 927 and SME 30/2A among some
other turntables.I prefer both EMT's over the SME,
which in turn I like more than many other modern tables.
I listen the EMT 927 daily for many hours.
Also with the EMT cartridges the truth is just the
opposite, they were used since they last forever.
I have several EMT TSD-15, but the one I use was
bought used and I have used it for more than 3000 hours
and it seems to go on and on.
EMT tables are amazing works of engineering. Especially the 950. I own several 930s, 950s, 948s and even a 938. I studied these tables while I was working on my new table. Of the 45 or so tables I studied for this project, the EMT 950 is the stand out when it comes to build quality and they taught me a lot. I would say the 950 is one of the most accurate and silent tables ever made. The sound is slightly a bit light weight, otherwise VERY little to criticize, especially when compared to current tables. The 929 arm and built in phono stage are another story. Unfortunately EMT did not do their homework on the 929 arm. It looks and sounds like they copied the Ortofon they were selling previous to having their own arm. Don't get me wrong, it is not a bad arm but certainly not world class like the 950 itself. The built in phono stages EMT made were not bad either and probably were fine for their intended purpose of radio station use. Again, it is not up to the sound quality of the table. Bottom line, install a top notch arm and cart on a 950, run it through your own phono stage and you will have a world class table. A 948 is not too far behind.
We have an EMT 948 in here with custon vDH cartridge and it's pretty amazing. We do all our archive work for labels with it. Can't beat it unless you spend major $$
Great thread. I have had quite a few EMT turntables and currently own 5 948's and 2 950's. The 948 and the 950 are very similar. I enjoy them more than the 930 or the 927.

If you are looking for something easy and built to lasty for many decades, I strongly suggest the EMT. The Garrard 301 and the Technics SP10MK2 or 3 are also terrific but they will require much more work to get them to sing.
Jtinn and Vetterone,
Why do you emjoy the EMT direct drives over the idler tables?

Can these still be found outside of specialty dealers in their native environments like studios etc.? Lastly, is there anyone who services these in the USA? To someone who has never seen these tables outside of the internet the questions seem unending. Does anyone use these in Chicago or even in the USA? Bob
The 948's come up for sale every now and then. I would venture you will pay 3500 and up depending upon condition. I paid $11000 for a brand new one I found in Europe. I have never had a service issue on any of mine and they are really built like tanks.

I totally agree with Steve that changing the arm and armboard and bypassing the internal phonostage really elevates the performance greatly. All of this is fairly simple to do.

BTW, I think the reason that the 930 and 927 are more expensive is only the rarer nature of the tables, not the performance.
It would be informative if one of you EMT owners could clarify the nomenclature. I know that the 950 is direct-drive and that the 927 and 930 are idlers (or I think that is the case). But where do the others fit in? And what is the accepted gospel on which of the direct-drives and which of the idlers are the best in terms of performance? (I gather from Vetterone that the 950 is tops among the DD EMTs.) Thanks.
I am currently using EMT 927 with ortofon arm and 139st phono stage.
First of all my opinion.I consider the 927 the most musical turntable I have heard.Since using the 927,I am not interested in hearing the last nuance of the 3rd oboe in the fifth row,i quite simply enjoy the performance.
Some turntables are more `hi-fi`,but none more musically satisfying.I find the EMT idler drives more musical than the others.
The phono stage on EMT`s is of paramount importance;the 139st is quite simply the best.The limited variable EQ is also of huge benefit.
I have previously owned SME 30,Forsell AFO,Goldmund Reference,Versa Dynamics 2.The last two were the best I had previously owned;I have also compared these with Rockport Sirius 2 and many others not worth mentioning.
It is very amusing for me to see modern turntables been touted as `worlds best`,at exorbitant prices,which do not hold a candle to the Goldmund and Versa,let alone EMT.
The EMT 927 is not cheap,do not confuse e-bay items with a properly serviced EMT from a reputable dealer.EMT 927`s in top variations sell for over 50,000 Euro`s in Japan,they know what quality is.
Do yourself a favour,ignore the opinions of others,and make the effort to hear one.If you value musical enjoyment over Hi-Fi detail,then there will be no going back.
I have gone overboard and bought a second one!
Hi Channel10,You are speaking my words.I have the same
setup as you do.EMT 927,Ortofon arm and 139st.I have
also the other preamps 139 Mono,155st and 153st, but
they are not even close.
I bought also the EMT 997 arm just for the good looks,
but I don't think I'll install it since everything is
so good now.
I've been close to going overboard too.
Some words to defend the EMT 929 arm earlier on the thread.
929 accepts only the diamond pattern EMT TSD-15 or some
small enough to put on the EMT cartridge adapter.
The one I could fit was a Denon DL-103.So basically
if you don't like these you are in trouble.
To me it was a revelation to hear EMT 930 with TSD-15,
I liked it so much that when I tried to get more out
of the SME 30, I stripped a TSD-15 out of it's shell and
put that on the SME V. I liked it more than with Koetsu
Rosewood and others, but still no go compared to EMT 930/929/TSD-15 combo.
So tastes may vary...
I heard the EMT 930 idler-wheel drive on Cyprus (fully restored under the supervision of A.J. Van den Hul himself among others) when I and it basically parachuted in at the same time, and I was awed at the master-tape-like quality I heard at that time, in terms of tonal correctness or lack of editing/addition, an amazing, powerful and musical record player to boot. I did not attend the comparison between the EMT 927 and my own work, which was organized by others without my knowledge, having been informed only a couple of days before the event, I hardly "went bonkers" (but I did - on my annual peregrination to the Greek islands - bring a 'table over to leave against some possible demonstration, which some might consider "bonkers", which I won't deny ;-)). The outcome of the vote was e-mailed to me after the event, which was posted unedited. Like my landing in a living room on Cyprus (also with a 'table) just as those fellows were setting up their newly-restored EMT 930 (which I only discovered as I got there), so the owner of an EMT 927 (who also owned an EMT 950, but was nevertheless and idler-wheel fan) simply popped up from out of the blue and offered (being an idler-wheel fan). Wish I could have been there, the 930 was a thing of beauty sonically and in terms of engineering. I seem to have some EMT-karma, and glad of it, I look forward to the next bolt out of the blue :-).
Dear Jean, Sorry to have mischaracterized your response to the EMT 27/Lenco comparison. I thought myself when I wrote the sentence that the word was not quite accurate. I meant to convey that you were excited to find that the two tables were in the same league, which is a lofty one.
Any of you EMT owners in the USA, Where do you get these tables serviced? Bob
Since they were made for radio stations to run 24/7,
there isn't much more than checking the oils once
a year in the motor and platter bearings.
This is for 930 and 927 idlers.950 is a direct drive
and more complicated.There you'd need real service
which is available in Europe.
That is one reason why 930 stayd in production so
long after 950 came out.
We have a BBC Wide Body EMT 950 in our soon to be open DUMBO Brooklyn, NYC showroom for OMA (Oswaldsmill Audio) precisely so that audiophiles can hear the real thing, and A/B to the turntables which OMA manufactures (both direct drive and idler drive.) Although we don't have space for this at our now open SoHo, Manhattan OMA Showroom, we also have a dead stock, complete Technics SP10 MK3 system (Obsidian base, EPA 100 arm, EPC 305MK2 cartrdige) at Oswaldsmill, in Eastern PA, also to use as a reference, and to allow customers to make informed comparisons with our products.

I like to let customers judge for themselves which is superior, which probably answers some of your questions.

Jonathan Weiss
Well, when you listen to it and you think you hear great Bass, *ahem*, it is not the Kingsway Hall. You hear the vibrations from the rim, some call it PRAT, others call it distortions. The main reason why the German Broadcast Studios sold them pretty fast when they were able to get Direct Drives lots of years ago.
Sorry to say, but I don't understand where these
rumours creep up.930 and 927 have the best bass I've
heard.Studios always get new stuff, but 930 was still
in production 5 years after the 950 came.
Anyway, as Channel10 said, listen and then you'll know.
I am going to be taking delivery of an EMT 948 soon and I am hearing a lot of differing opinions about how to get the best out of this table. I know this is par for the course in the pursuit of this passion of ours, but I would like to hear a discussion amongst all of you as why you hold specific views.

I’ve been told, for example:
-no plinth is best
-you must have a plinth and it must be made with certain materials (but those materials aren’t revealed because it would be giving away trade secrets - this I do understand from the business man’s perspective, but I’d love to hear from some of you hobbyists what you’ve learned works best with this table re: plinths)
-the only tonearm that will really work is the stock arm
-you must get rid of the stock arm
-the Tri-Planar is works great with the proper arm board
-the Tri-Planar doesn’t work well at all even if you do build an arm board for it - it would be better to use something like the Reed. What other arms work well, I’d like to know?
-you don’t want to use the stock phono stage
-the stock phono stage is very good
-this is one of the all time great turntables - just about everyone agrees on this one (except Syntax) including folks outside this posting that I’ve spoken to!

This is a new pursuit for me so I hope to learn a lot from those of you who have posted so far (and hopefully others) so I can get the most out moving deeper into the world of vinyl. I currently use a Merrill-Scillia MS2 belt driven table (with an upgraded power supply from a MS21)with a Tri-Planar arm and an Ortofon A90 cartridge. Prior to this table I had (and still have) a Well Tempered table purchased when they first appeared on the scene decades ago and were the hot ticket at the time replacing my trusty Linn Sondek. I also have a Koetsu Rosewood and a Van de Hul MC-1 cartridge. I’m using an Audion Quatro Premiere preamp with phono stage built in, or a Tom Evans Vibe/Pulse preamp with a Sanders Phono stage.

I want to thank the people I have spoken to so far. I’ve learned a lot already thanks to you!
Jake, All of your presuppositions are correct in the mind of someone out here. I will only say that if you decide to make a plinth, it is not such a black art. Baltic birch, panzerholz, and mdf are wood or wood-derived materials that others have used to make plinths for idler- and direct-drive turntables with some claimed success. Slate works too. No-plinth may work, as well. Sadly or fortunately, you will have to make up your own mind. These things are controversial even for the more commonly restored vintage turntables (e.g., Lenco, Garrard, Technics), and there are just not a lot of folks with EMT 948s that they want to modify. Most owners appear to want them to remain totally original. Suggestion: Start with a totally original set-up. Make sure it is mechanically up to specs. Get used to its sound before you make any changes, and don't do anything to the table that cannot be undone.
Thanks! I realize what you say is excellent advice. I was just hoping to gain some knowledge from folks about why they were making the decisions they were making and what they learned from doing so
Hello Jonathan,

I own also an EMT 950 BBC. What set-up do you have currently in your DUMBO Brooklyn, NYC showroom for OMA (Oswaldsmill Audio). I'm interested in your tonearm, cartrigde and amplication.


Hello Broederen,

The BBC EMT's used moving magnet carts, not the EMT MC carts. Our deck is entirely original, and I intend to keep it that way. As EMT did not make MM carts, we are using a moving iron cartridge from Soundsmith, which we represent. The amplification is of course the original EMT 950 amplification. OMA (Oswaldsmill Audio) also makes idler and direct drive turntables using slate as a plinth material, and a full line of tube electronics, from phonostage to power amplifiers. I'm sure you will find our website easily with any search. At the Dumbo space which I'm hoping to open in April (we already have our Soho Showroom open) all four of our horn systems will be available for audition as well.

Regarding other posters asking about plinths, as for the EMT 948, although OMA has made many slate plinths for nearly every idler and professional level direct drive turntable, about the only brand we refuse to make a plinth for is the EMT. None of the EMT decks was designed for use in a high mass plinth, and the EMT 950, for example, has an extreme low mass platter, even though the overall deck weighs several hundred pounds. The idea of trying to redesign or improve on the performance of an EMT is ludicrous. You either like the sound or you don't, but you are not going to make it better with a plinth from the usual suspects.

Oswaldsmill Audio
I've got an EMT 948 that I originally played "naked" / without a plinth and it sounded great. I later built a plywood, in this case premium oak plywood, plinth- 23W x 22D x 7.5H which the 948 drops into. There is a rim around the perimeter of the 948 with a small tubular rubber gasket which is in about 1/2 inch from the outside edge. The unit was designed to be placed into the dedicated metal stand for studio use. So- a drop-in perimeter mount, at least for the 948, is the way EMT designed the table to be operated. My 948 sounded noticeably better in the plinth. BTW- I'm replacing my plinthed 948 w/ Reed 2A tonearm with a new direct drive table whose price is SUBSTANTIALLY more than the EMT. The new table will be here in a couple of months and the EMT will be up for sale. If anyone has an interest in the 948 let me know.
Jweiss: I totally disagree. Fbhifi is correct. The EMT 948 is designed to drop in and hang. A purpose built plinth allows the turntable to work more the way it was designed.
Whoever has an EMT I suggest you should try the new Tondosen from EMT-Studiotechnik GmbH. What a difference to the old carts. Go for a TSD 15 lzi or for an Anniversary TSD 15. It is worth a try and I promise you will not believe any people anymore stating always that EMT carts are not Top Notch.
The 950 was fitted as general rule with MC boards.

MC boards were the standard (EMT did not produce any MM cartridges)

Clients that used MM boards used various MM cartridge makes (various solutions to adapt load to specifics)

The 950's that host MM boards are of a lesser value than those with the MC ones. Often studios sold their 950s without the MC board replacing it with MM one, keeping the MC ones...

For the "reference" points:

The equalizer amplifier consists of 3 circuit boards:

Amplifier supply board 7 950 037
Equalizer amplifier 7 950 038 / 088
Line amplifier 7 950 039

The version of the equalizer amplifier (038 or 088) depends on the pick up to be used:

MC: 7 950 038 version is equipped with two input transformers (haufe) to be used with MC pick ups (EMT T-series).

MM: 7 950 088 This version has no transformers, input impedance 47 kOhms. It is to be used with MM pick ups.

As we all know the boards are interchangable without need of any adjustment short of VTA/VTF...as the MM carts may not have the same height/weight as the T range (all same height and weight).

All fun!
I heard a rumour that someone is trying to rebuild the 927 and plans to produce 100 units at least. The original Hammertone finishing will also be part of the production process. Just a guess if one unit is going for 20.000 Euros will there be a market?

Best & Fun Only - Thuchan