Kuzma Stabi Reference vs Avid Acutus


I have a Kuzma Stabi Reference with 4 Point arm and Dynavector XV-1S cartridge. I like this combination a lot. I have been through a few high end turntables before ending up with this set up, including the full spec Linn LP12/Ekos SE/Radikal/Keel, the AMG Viella and the Rega RP10. The Kuzma is to my ears a clear step up on all of these turntables and sounds extremely good.

But I've had the turntable for a few years and that is a long time for any component in my system. I tend to lose interest in components after 2-3 years - and often a lot sooner - and start looking for something else. I have found myself listening to more digital than vinyl for some time (I have the excellent Lumin X1 streamer). I have therefore been giving some thought to trying a different turntable, and perhaps something with a bit more character than the very neutral Kuzma. I am willing to trade off some accuracy for a "musical" sound - one which is fast, dynamic and tonally rich - and can tolerate some coloration or inaccuracy. 

The Avid turntables seem to be very highly regarded, and I am thinking of the Acutus or even the lower priced Sequel SP (I have read that some prefer the latter). I would probably keep the 4 Point arm. 

I doubt that the Avid turntables would be a real upgrade on the Kuzma in absolute terms. But would it be a significant enough change of direction, and would it be the right direction?

Getting a demo against my Kuzma is going to be difficult, so I would be interested to hear from anyone who has heard both the Kuzma and Avid turntables and can comment on how they differ. 
rossb
Our world view consist of ''opposites'' because our concepts are
so constructed. Say our linguistic orientation or limitation. 
So ''the opposite'' of Linn LP12 is Kuzma Stabi Reference. Raul
mentioned in one of his  ''innumerable'' contributions about LP12:
''if an design is good why so many upgrades?'' Well in this context
the opposite is Kuzma  which was the same for more than
25(?) years. However , speaking of ''design'', one can say that
Kuzma is actually 'improved'' Audiomeca desigend by Pierre
 Lurne. Both use inverted bearing, 8 kg platter, specific drive and 
''much''  of acrylic. Only Kuzma was not allowed to use lead (grin).
My transition from LP 12 to Kuzma Stabi Reference was like a
kind of liberation. Something ''similar'' with my transition from
an communist to an liberal society. However for an ''hifi nuts''
there is no ''perfect gear''. Otherwise the search would be over.
My only objection was/ is the limitation to 9'' tonearms. So I
was ''forced'' to order an armpod + 12 '' tonearm and put both
next to the Kuzma and get the ''symmetry'' right : two motors 
and two tonearms (grin). 
 
Thanks for your thoughts. I've actually shelved the idea of replacing the turntable. I think it was just a moment of idle boredom. I have been listening to it quite a lot over the last week after a long period of listening mostly to digital. The Kuzma turntable and arm still sound excellent - there really is nothing missing in terms of musicality, and it remains the best turntable I have owned. 
Fellow Kuzma Ref 2 owner, but with a Ref 313 VTA arm. Ross, correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe you had a Ref 313 prior to your 4 point. Do you suspect the 4 Point may have taken you toward the neutral side compared to the 313. I own both an Air Tight PC-7, and EMT Tsd 75. The PC-7 a bit more refined in the mids, but overall a bit too polite. The EMT (which I've been listening to) has more punch, and is more neutral the to source. Perhaps those differences are similar (in general) to the signatures of German versus Japanese carts. Having bought my Ref 2 just prior to the Stabi "R" hitting the market,  I'm curious about that model with no suspension and the DC motor. I wouldn't suspect this would be the direction for you though. Maybe Idler as suggested above.... maybe a wood arm (like Reed) on your Ref 2 would give you a more organic sound. You've certainly tried your share of cartridges. How about a Koetsu? Hmmm...
Is Avid still in business?
I am puzzled by this thread. I appreciate you fancy a change. What sort of change?
More bass?
better imaging?
better pace?
Where do you find the Kuzma wanting?
Why have you narrowed it down to just one deck?
For the record, whenever I've heard an Avid I've always really liked them - a bit like an SME with s bit more bass and to my ears at least - warmth. I know that everyone waxes lyrical about the Kuzma, but every one I have heard I consider to be tad dull. Why not try out different cartridges?
I spent some time listening to the Kuzma last night and it really is a fantastic turntable. I'm starting to agree with the comments that it would be virtually impossible to improve on it without spending ridiculous amounts of money, and the turntables I have been considering are almost certainly not upgrades.

On further thought, I will keep the Kuzma and possibly add another - cheaper! - turntable/arm with a totally different character, such as a PTP Solid with maybe an Audiomods arm and a good MM cartridge.
Thanks for all the comments and suggestions.
You said more musical ever consider going vintage? A nicely restored Garrard 301 or Thorens TD-124 would certainly give you a different flavor and skew in the direction of musical.
vortrex, I stand corrected. It is indeed a suspended turntable. I had thought it was designed like the M but it does have a 2.5 Hz resonance frequency. In that case the difference between it and the Avid come down to looks only. 
Love my Kuzma most of the tables the OP is looking at will be either a side move or downgrade IMHO.
Brinkmann Balance and Bergmann Galder ought to be worth a look.  Nottingham Analogue Dais too, unless it's too cheap.....
Rossb, did you really say you want “less accuracy”? In my mind that goal wouldn’t motivate me to choose the Acutus, which I think of as highly accurate, if we’re talking about speed constancy and lack of resonance. SOTA Cosmos maybe.
The Ref2 is a suspended table.

Ross, when you get up to turntables this good there are only going to be minor sonic differences given the same tonearm and cartridge, even moving up to one of the AF tables. Now because the Avid is really suspended (the ref is not) it will be better isolated from everything else going on in the room, foot falls, vibration etc. Only vibration below 4.5 Hz is going to get through. This will certainly improve the experience. I only use fully suspended turntables. I personally prefer the SOTA Cosmos because it has vacuum hold down, a magnetic bearing, a DC motor a very nice integrated and hinged dust cover and a great suspension. Get it in an exotic wood like Ebony and it is not so plain Jane looking. 
Lewm, I hate to be vivid (right) but the Kronos turntable is a bad joke. The very last thing you want in a turntable is more moving parts because it can only equal more noise and more expense. It is filigree for filigree's sake. It is unfortunate that many of us care more about what a turntable looks like than what it sounds like. Then we make the mistake of thinking a good looking turntable sounds better because it looks good. Rubbish. The AF Zero may cost $450K but at least it comes by it honestly. 
Thanks for the suggestion, but I suspect a VPI turntable would be too similar to what I have. 

I have also been through a lot of cartridges over the last few years - Lyra Delos and Etna SL, Phasemation PP1000, VDH Black Beauty, Grasshopper and Colibri, Benz Ruby and LPS and one or two others. The DV XV-1S is my favourite so far, and I have sold the others (although I regret selling the Black Beauty, which I also loved). 
No DD's?
If you're not anti VPI,  I would try and get a listen to the HW40. 
Why not a change in cart? So many to choose from.

I've had a listen to the Actus, very nice. Too many cool tables in the $15-20K range. I always wondered though at this level, isn't the choice in cart and phonostage what makes the "wow" factor?

  


I have a TechDAS AF5 now. I was going to suggest the PTP. I had a decked out Audio Grail 301 with Woodsong plinth and Reed arm before the Kuzma setup. That was definitely a different flavor.

Good point, vortrex. I was considering a PTP Solid 9 at one point. What are you currently using?
If you want something of a different flavor why go with another standard belt drive? 
Former Ref2/4Point owner here. 
Thanks for the responses. 

Mike, have you heard the Acutus and can you comment on how its presentation differs from the Kuzma?

lewm, I'm sure you are right that I would have to spend significantly more to get a genuine upgrade on the Kuzma, rather than just a different flavour. The three you mention are way out of budget - the Acutus would be the upper limit financially. But I don't necessarily need "better" - the Kuzma is certainly good enough - but would like to try something with a bit more character and a bit less accuracy. 
In my opinion, and while I do like and admire the design of the Avid turntables, the Acutus would at best be a sideways step away from your Kuzma, which is also a great turntable.  I think you'd have to spend significantly more money to experience an epiphany compared to what you experience with the Kuzma.  But if you just want change for the sake of change, sure.
Examples, in my opinion, of significant upgrades:  Doehmann Helix turntable with built in Minus K suspension (IHelix I or Helix 2) or the big Kronos turntable with counter-rotating platters.  Both cost over $25,000.  Probably one of the lesser Air Force turntables (meaning under $50K) might also qualify.
rossb, I am a big Kuzma fan but in this case I do think the Avid Acutus is a step up because it is fully isolated. I absolutely agree with keeping the 4 point and don't forget to get the dust cover!

Mike