From what I have read and experienced, mass loaded The is better than spring loaded TTs. Someone correct me if I'm off base.
24 responses Add your response
Unsuspended tables are, in general, not my favorite. (this only balances out at the extreme end of the pool, for me)
This is due to precious few people on the planet knowing how to get rid of mechanical noise effectively in a given audio reproduction device like that of a turntable.
Generally they are just noise control frequency range trade offs that are the result of the given effort. the same can be said of suspended tables, but....the mechanics of noise control are not as simple as they look, when it comes to the human ear and audio.
the numbers and formulas are fairly well worked out but what the ear thinks of all that is not the paperwork and not the formulas. To add to the difficulty, the hearing packages are individually wired and programmed.
I believe unsuspended tables are a market drive tied to simplicity and ease of use over complexity and maintenance - for the end buyer. Modern times as applied to the world of analog turntables, it is....
One might say that unsuspended turntable sophistication has finally reached an acceptable enough level that it can now be put forth as a high quality item across a swath of price ranges, whereas 40 years ago, it was not as evolved--there being precious few at that time...
If you don’t have the ability to get an absolutely massive rack w/ isolation platform and place it on a solid enough floor, then I think a proper spring suspension is your salvation. For “cost-and-obstacles be damned” folks, the former is better.
i have both. The heavy no-suspension table goes on a Critical Mass Systems rack. The sprung SOTA goes on a much cheaper Salamander.
@cakyol - although the Linn has springs, it has almost zero isolation from footfalls. Believe me. Unless you're using concrete floors or some other unshakable surface, wall shelf mounting is a must. I thought they were isolated too, until I got one. Look at it the wrong way and it jumps - if you have springy floors.
One of the biggest factors, in belt/tape/ string tables, is platter mass. This may be are ears hearing micro speed variations. Large motors are also very influential. Yes they can even be noisier (isolate from table).
Well just a couple of ideas if you build your own or things to look for when buying. All theory aside listen in a system where parts or whole turntable can be switched around. This is where the adjectives stop and the rubber meets the road.
Enjoy the ride
If you have springy hardwood floors, you need a suspension, like a good Sota. I don't think high mass without suspension corrects that problem, but might have other benefits.
I have eliminated the need for a suspension by recording reel to reel in the basement on a concrete floor; you could jump up and down next to the turntable with no effect; I have a lightweight Rega.
I think high mass costs more as opposed to a Rega; while delivering the same comparable sound. Of course one would have to audition the two in order to discern the benefits of high mass, but high mass, or low mass without suspension will not protect from foot falls.
First off, you want 2 track reel as opposed to 1/4 track; it delivers much more. When you record vinyl or CD's to 2 track, the playback is always better.
Tape is such a problem, that I wouldn't recommend getting into reel, but if you can overcome that obstacle, you can experience the pinnacle of high end audio.
In vintage turntables, I prefer spring suspension augmented by the turntable being placed on rubber isolation feet. My Technics SL-1700mk2, which benefits from a non-resonant substructure which is spring-suspended, has its feet upgraded to the rubber-isolation feet from the brutish SL-1200mk2, which has no suspension whatsoever. The result is great. For my application anyways....
Either high mass or good suspension can work, question is whether they do in a given situation.
I have one sprung table, a Sota Cosmos, and its is admirably free from environmental vibration. (A good way to test is to get out a test record with a blank side, lower the stylus on it, turn up the sound a bit and walk around the room or even stomp around - if you get nothing through the speakers you are doing a good job of isolation).
I have another high mass table, A VPI TNT, sitting on a heavy stone base about 4' high with a thick granite slab on top, situated near a wall, and it is equally unaffected by room/floor vibration. For suspension it has only four squash balls, one in each 'tower'...and no, I have not done auditions to see if orange dot (slow) or blue dot (fast) sound better than the yellows I have in there, but I intend to do so some day....
Then there are the guys that suspend their tables from the ceiling on bifilar lines so they hang in mid-air - and then stay awake at night worrying about air borne vibrations.
It’s all about trade offs. No matter what drive method, design based on suspension or unsuspended mass, or a balance in between, or multi plinthed.They ALL have trade offs in their inherent strengths and weakness’s of design. The more you pay initially, or the more you pay in tweeks and time will determine how few weakness’s are left.
Just pick the poison that suits your needs and what it needs to do and not do and how far your willing to have to reach up your backside to pay for it. A properly set up table/arm/cart that won’t damage the grooves of the record and when played through the owners system pleases her / his requirements......is all that matters.
There always seems to be exceptions to the rule in vinyl as well. Not all tables need or sound well on a mass shelf as some prefer a light support and sound better for it as just one example of the many exemptions to the rule or generalized beliefs many (incorrectly) take as gospel.
They all can be manufactured to sound good (relative), and all can be set up to sound bad. Its a personal thing,....including some with the inability to set and dial in and accepting mediocrity from under achieving set up, then believing its the product ……
I have witnessed it and heard it in dealers showrooms of all places......
also one of the biggest problems I see...is people often really don't know exactly what they want and thus accept someone else's wishes that often end up not matching their own......
My ex wife work at Teac in 1975. Lots of my friends had reel to reel tape decks. Straight vinyl always sounded more real than vinyl to tape. Now master tape before vinyl could be a whole other game. Good news about her working at teac was I got Acuphase and Micro Seiko below dealer cost.
If your vinyl system is dailed in having the tape mellow it out is not a good thing.
Enjoy the ride
Tom, you have left out too many specifics and specifications for your post to be valid.
How many reels did you own? I have owned Akai, Teac, Technics, and Otari.
The reel does not compete with the turntable, it is used to make vinyl more enjoyable with less work.
The best 1/4 track reels will duplicate your turntable precisely enabling you to listen to your records without the hassle, and danger to your precious record of being handled. Quarter track decks use half as much tape as half track decks, and deliver less quality.
When speaking of record and playback, 7 1/2 IPS is my preferred speed for home recording, 15 IPS is reserved for live or professional recording.
The size of the tape head makes the most significant difference in the quality of sound, which is why a cassette does not sound as good as a reel, and 1/4 track won't sound as good as 1/2 track, other things being equal.
The reason the playback sounds better on 1/2 track is because of the size of the tape head; what you have recorded will be magnified, made larger.