I, like you at one time, was a disser of Direct Drive Turntables. I still have some skeptisism towards Tables like the new Technics.
But, I have to admit, for the money, you'll be hard pressed finding anything to compare in thr Belt Drive arena, especially, accurate speed.
Of course, I do achieve highly accurate speed with my VPI HW-19 MK-IV, with VPI SDS, where one can watch the KAB Strobe Disc for 15 minutes, and with reference line marked on the hand held Strobe Light, cannot detect variance in seed. But of course, this comes at a cost.
Wanna shell out $750-$1400 alone for a Speed Contoller that the Table Plugs into?
One can buy a Technics, without Arm, and if you like, slip a Origin Live Silver Arm on Board, a $1,000 Arm. An Arm which is reputed to be very good, but no VTA on the fly.
The Technics Arm can take a huge jump forward with the Cardas Arm rewire. and Tonearm Damper. Of course many other mods can take the stock Technics up a notch, such as external Power Supply, Strobe Disabler, which the Strobe is said to be a source of noise.
Don't be ashamed-reluctant of possibly throwing a $2K-$3K MC Cartridge on the Technics, you might be pleasantly surprised. Want a vintage look? Opt for an optional Wood Base to wrap around the Technics.
I of course apologize if I'm somehow twisting your arm to become a Technics Fan, you must of course choose your own path.
I like my old VPI, and it of course is not considered a Class A Table in any sense of the word today, but does offer very good sound. It did take a lot of hard earned money to get this Table to the point of where it is at right now. Mark
Like it or not, you are not going to get the speed accuracy of a Technics DD until you move up to about the $5000 range. Why not the Technics? They're dead-nuts accurate on speed. They are also very quiet, in spite of what the shills for the British cottage turntable industry say.
The Technics has a very sophisticated speed control, but not much in the way of isolation. If you're budgeting $1500-2000, you can easily get an SL1200 plus outboard PSU plus Origin Live armboard and Origin Live fully-modded OL-1 ($800) or Silver ($1095) tonearm. Add Isonoe or Mapleshade Threaded Heavyfeet set on a nice thick butcher block or maple plank supported by sorbothane, cork/rubber, or gel pads and you're there.
I can definitely recommend the Rega P5, with the separate power supply, which helps to keep that speed accurate, also Nottingham makes some fine tables in that price range. You can do much better than the Project tables for that money.
new dual 405 or 505...or denon
I'll echo what Mard51 and Johnnyb53 posted.
Buying on a budget means choosing between compromises. If speed accuracy/stability is primary then no inexpensive (< $4K) belt drive will provide what you seek. The brand doesn't matter. They're all audibly compromised when it comes to maintaining speed through musical transients because they all use elastic (stretchy) belts. When the stylus hits a big transient the belt stretches and the platter slows for some brief instant. Once the transient peak has passed the belt rebounds toward its original (shorter) length, speeding the platter back up again. If you're very sensitive to pitch variation this effect is audible - every time. It's more audible when such a table is A/B'd with a more speed stable design.
A good source would be the modded Technics 1200 tables from KAB USA
Take a look at the Galibier Serac
. It's above your budget, but it's the lowest price table I know of that begins to do both speed stability and resonance control at high end levels.
Another Technics convert here...
Look I left vinyl back in 1987 you know 'perfect sound forever' came back in 2003 but the snobbery of many vinylphiles steered me away from direct drives and I stupidly did not look into either a Technics Sl-12xx mkII series or a high end vintage unit. I bought a Music Hall mmf2.1 which was a very nice lil table. It was not pretentious and it did reignite my love for vinyl. From there I built two DIY belt drive table and they were fun and had decently good sound. But none had the speed control and the PraT I in the end knew I was missing. I bought a KAB USA modified SL-1200mkII with Cardas arm rewire. and it is simply a killer table in its price range and even vs higher up tables. If you want a sub $20,000 turntable which has rock steady speed stability and w&f figures that are INAUDIBLE then you really must consider among other table you are looking at a Technics SL-12xxMKII.
Not to make fun, but this is how your question sounds to me, if it pertained to something else.
"I would like a drink that comes from a cow, it is really important that it comes from a cow. I would like it to be white or chocolate, easily accessible from a supermarket,and come in a cartons of different sizes, but I am not interested in milk."
Go with the technics. www.kabusa.com (just like your speedstrobe)
How about finding a table with a sound you really like, and then adding a speed controller like the Walker? Yes, the Walker is very expensive. And, like most High End products, there is not much inside the box to justify it. However, as far as sound quality, it is worth every penny. I was lucky enough to buy one used, and the difference it made to even my pricey Well Tempered table was amazing. Even on the humble ARXA I consider it a high value upgrade. You can always get the right table now and save up for the motor controller later. By the way, I thought my Spacedeck had excellent speed stability right out of the box.
I'll ask the question again: What is your objection to the Technics DD TTs, especially since you value speed accuracy so much, and you can install the $1095 Origin Live Silver tonearm on one and stay within budget?
You started the thread and there have been nine responses. The ball's in your court.
OK. Why didn't I just buy a Technics and be done with accurate speed? Well, turntables are a very visual and there is a lot of fussing to playing records. I just don't like the looks and feel of the Technics SL-1200 turntable. I am not dissing their performance. But, why buy pure function when it comes to a turntable (oh oh, here we go. flamers please keep back). I'd much prefer the looks of a VPI or a Rega P5 or P25. Galibier is a bit more than I have budgeted. Maybe if one turned up used.
Vintage DD or otherwise turntables are potentially more trouble than I care to deal with. I am having a hard time just finding a competent repair person to work on my Thorens TD-147. And even if they could work on them, getting parts is another issue if your model has been out of production for more than 10 years.
I'm just surprised that after this many years in audio (yeah, I've been around the block and then some), turntables have not made a leap in performance unless you get into mega dollar turntables. If CD players still worked and sounded like my original Magnavox where would the format be today?
I'm ready to be pleasantly surprised with an excellent affordable turntable. The Technics SL-1200 seems to meet at least the stable speed. With the quality of many used records today I won't be spending $5,000 on an analog rig. If that floats yer boat, more power to ya. I'm leaning towards the Rega P5 with their TTPSU.
How about the Denon DP-500M
or a Technics SL12x0 series set into one of the KABUSA's walnut, maple, or cherry bases. Go here
and scroll down to the very bottom of the page. With the wood base, the Technics looks a lot like a '70s vintage TT like Dual or Thorens.
And you'd still be within budget to add an Origin Live armboard and Origin Live Silver tonearm. That would combine the best speed stability and s/n ratio under $4K with a thoroughly modern one-piece tonearm. Retro dress-up looks and modern performance.
When the stylus hits a big transient the belt stretches and the platter slows for some brief instant. Once the transient peak has passed the belt rebounds toward its original (shorter) length, speeding the platter back up again.
I'm just wondering if anyone has ever tried to see this while playing an LP. You would have to put a speed calibration disc on top of an LP and play a song near the outside edge of the LP. If belt stretch was audible I would think that a speed strobe would reveal it. Anyone?
Well Ketchup, I'm a relative newcomer, amongst the really heavy players here.
I'm in a way not too ashamed to realize that I don't even have brass ears in comparison to Doug Deacon, Paul, or many others here, my ears are actually "tin ears", really bottom of the barrel so to speak! lol
All the different drive systems I've read of which are very intriguing. Tape drives, strig drives, floss drives, velt drives, rim drives, idler pulleys out the wazoo, SAMA's, does it ever end!!!
I'm almost thinking of upgrading to a G-String Drive, when my buddies are over, just to impress them, and make my table a real conversation piece! Naw, I'm just joshing with you folks in jest! :-)
I would "assume" Platters that have heavy weight, and high mass would lessen the effect of speed anomalies, with stretch, and transients affecting speed. I wonder, how could a short few millisecond transient affect a 25lb Platter much? Can it be "heard"? Can it even be measured?
Not to ever be insulting to my good friend Doug, and Paul, because I highly respect thier opinions, and thier help they have peronally given me, but does one really want to listen this intently, as to somehow nitpick away at every little flaw, and detract from what we all try to achieve, and that is, relaxation, and enjoyment when we listen to our vinyl?
I think Doug, Paul, and all will agree, it can never be "perfect", but we all try as hard as we can, to come aweful darn close. Mark
With the quality of many used records today I won't be spending $5,000 on an analog rig.
I have over 2000 used LPs and I have no idea what you mean here. Yes, even from Sleaze-Bay. There are the occasional trashed LPs in the used bins. However, my experience has been that for every one of those "ain't never gonna' play" you will find a dozen or two that clean up and play beautifully. And you can't always tell from surface scratches how the LP will play. Cleaning techniques. That is the key.
This brings up another issue that Doug mentioned and that Tube540 may not be aware of. Many of these lower priced, post-entry level tables will also magnify the sound of less-than-pristine grooves. As Doug said, you have a choice of compromises with budget tables. You may find that you are sensitive to more than just speed stability. IMO, all of the budget tables are either overly bright: to make you think you're hearing everything in the grooves, or they are too dark: to make sure you do not hear all of the resonance issues.
I suggest to you to get out and try to listen to as many tables as you can, if you haven't done this already. Especially that Rega you mentioned. With or without the TTPSU.
If it were me and if I was sure I would not increase my budget in the future, I would seriously consider spending money on a re-plinth Lenco project before dropping any money on any table in your budget range. You can either do the work yourself or ask around for someone to build one for you. I have a Lenco in storage but you can't have it. ;-)
If you want solid accuracy in a belt drive a Rega P5 or even a P3-24 with the added PSU will fit the bill and have an arm good enough for any cartridge up to nose bleed territory.
I think a visualization of strobe is much too crude an instrument to detect transient speed variations caused by modulations in stylus drag. However, it's not too difficult to hear an obvious difference if your belt drive TT allows switching between different belt materials & tensions.
I have an Oracle Delphi III that I compare to a VPI TNT with soft belts and thread drive on this point. The VPI has a flywheel which VPI claims is equivalent in effect to a 100 lb. platter. However the combination of flywheel and soft rubber belts does not equal a relatively inelastic tread sans flywheel in terms of focus, dynamics, and LF control. In this case, the theory that the inertial mass of a flywheel improves stability is compromised by the practice of using a sloppy rubber belt to drive the flywheel. Doubtless a massive platter is better. But even in this case physics prescribes that small forces introduced by changes in stylus drag into the large inertial mass, must manifest as a change in platter speed. The only way to hear this taking place is to control all variables except for belt material and tension. With the Oracle the situation is further complicated by lateral movement in the suspension of the lightly sprung plinth.
Im with jb53 here, if you dont care for a technics the denon is a great choice. You wont beat the japanese direct drives for speed accuracy no matter how much you spend. I own (owned) a stable of high end tts and have compared them directly to my sl 1700 I got off ebay for $49. Lets just say that even though I covet my big boys I can listen to the technics for hours and not miss them. I chucked a stradivari on the 1700's stock arm and was blown away with how good it sounded, and it lifts the arm at the end of play! I have considered selling everything else and keeping the technics. Spend your dough on a great cartridge and phono pre mabey some fancy cables and feel good falling asleep to great sound knowing your rig will put itself to bed at the end of the side.
Rccc and the others are right. Buy the Rega P5, but don't come back to complain when you see strobe drift.
Like others here, I have dropped 7K and more on a high end LP play back units. They sounded good; looked ultra sexy, but the KAB blew them out of the water on speed accuracy. and if you opt for the cardas rewire and KAB dampener, the Technics gets really close to the sonics of the high end tables, and you get the rock solid speed.
While some Analog folks prefer the maple block, I'd suggest heading down to your local Granite counter top guy and have him cut you a custom piece of granite for your Table stand. Will cost you 125-150 bucks, with cutting and polished edges and will make a major improvement.
As Dgarretson said, transient-induced speed variations are unlikely to be visible with a strobe. Our strobe wouldn't pick up most of them, though it's more resolving than the KAB (Paul built it in a CAD program). We're talking about time shifts lasting only as long as a single beat.
For better or worse, we don't have to listen intently or "try" to hear this. We just do. We don't find this sensitivity diminishes our enjoyment of music played well. I believe it may enhance it. We have thousands of LP's we enjoy hearing repeatedly, though I admit we've heard many othes we'd gladly use for driveway resurfacing material. ;-)
BTW, a heavier platter does not eliminate speed variations from stylus drag. Newton forbade that when he discovered the laws of motion. All else being equal, a platter with higher rotational inertia lowers the frequency and reduces the amplitude of speed shifts. But it can't eliminate them.
Whether they're audible is up to the ears doing the listening. We hear them despite our 35 lb. platter if something's not right, or when testing an inferior belt material. The improvements we described and others confirmed on the "Upgrade for 1/2" mylar belt" thread demonstrate this beyond any doubt. Most users on that thread have heavy platters, but they have no difficulty hearing differences in speed stability made by a belt change.
Dear Tube540: Accurate speed?, IMHO almost any single TT can give it ( DD/BD) what is not so easy is accurate speed stability over time, because you want ( example ) 33.33rpm over a period of at least 20-25 minutes, this kind of stability is very hard to find on BD TT ( at any price ) but you can get on DD ones in your price range.
My advise is that if you are really serious about music sound reproduction IMHO you could go for a Technics SP-10 MK2, this TT not only fulfil your speed target but it is a great performer by any TT audio standards.
I know people that already change its BD Walker's ( 46K+ ) for the SP-10. IMHO the Sp-10 is very hard to beat for almost any BD TT and don't worry about Technics failures and parts to fix it: the Sp-10's does not know what is a failure, a very trusty TT.
Regards and enjoy the music.
Dear Doug: IMHO I think that the stylus drag subject is totally TT dependent, this subject ( as you know ) is an old one and already treat on some other threads.
My experience on my Acoustic Signature TT's where I'm using a cotton/silk thread is that I can't hear any distortion due to stylus drag and not only with one cartridge but even with three cartridges in the same track. I'm not saying that it does not happen what I'm saying is that on my TT is no audible, maybe I'm lucky about.
Regards and enjoy the music.