Thanks Jim. Mapelnoll turntables were/are highly disregarded, perhaps due to some poor reviews in the past. By the way, I'm already on your list. I love my Maplenoll Airiadne Signature!
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I've owned a Maplenoll Ariadne Signature for about 10 years. I did some minor upgrades, mostly asthetic or correcting Bob Dilger's shoddy workmanship, not design parameters. I'm very happy with it although I haven't had alot of opportunity for comparison to other serious rigs. It's maounted with a Cardas Heart into a VAC CPA 1 mk2, into a tweeked Cary 300SEI LX20, into tweeked Gallo References, using all Mapleshade wire. It easily leaves the digital behind, of course.
One tweek that was very worthwhile sonically was to replace the wire with single runs of the thinnest Acrotec wire available from Michael Percy, directly from the cartridge into male RCAs, into the preamp located under the table. It was much more transparent. The output of an MC cartridge needs VERY little current capablity from the wire, so one run per leg is PLENTY. It saves on interconnects and all the requisite jacks and solder joints and is similar in design to the Mapleshade Omega Micro interconnects I use.
After recently getting a new Cardas Heart for my old one that had a worn out suspension, I reassessed my rig. I ended up tweeking the arm to cope with a less than optimal mass/compliancy match that had been gnawing at me. Evidently, low compliant cartridges aren't fond of airbearing linear trackers. Mistracking can become an issue on trying passages. I surmised that maximizing the oil trough by filling it to the gills and lower the paddle as much as possible without scraping bottom and setting the tracking force on the heavy side of 2.1 grams might help and by golly it did! Firming up all joints with super glue help significantly. Any juncture point benefitted from the natural capillary action of the glue to spread to any adjacent surface, such as cartridge/headshell, headshell/oil paddle, headshell/arm tube, arm tube/bracket, bracket/air bearing tube, counterweight/bracket, etc.. I had superglued all the arm joints previously but more definitely helped. I have sacrificed fine VTA adjustment for ridgidity since I have limited patience for attending to such things on an ongoing basis, especialy since the Mapenoll doesn't lend itself to ease of this, to it's sonic benifit. I also thought that a little resonance control via judicious (minimal) use of mortight damping might help and, once again, it did appear so. I used small bits of mortight on some of the junctures but this can be easily overdone rendering the sound lifeless. It proved usefull around the azimuth/VTA screw but not at the cartridge end of the arm. I had long ago filled the counterweight tube with mortight at Bob Dilger's suggestion. The result of all this was increased tracking ability and consequent cleaner sibilance and transparancy throughout the range.
this is the most VIVID tt ive ever heard in my system. between a noisy stock pump and a slight mishap, it needs some work.
it is one of my THREE straight line trackers, i just love tangential tracking. the spring suspension is defeated and i may just use my toysRus tweeeeek/mod to suspend it although, the air seems to be all thats necessary.
the arm is awkward to cue because of the wood side right next to it but its worth adjusting to for the resultant sound.
someone here is selling one for $700. kinda high, dontcha think?
Seven Hundred might be a little high for a used Athena, however, it is hard to dispute what the seller states, that the table is better than nearly everything under $4K. I know that I'd paid $2500 (used) for my Airadne Signature right after Bob Dilger had slipped off the face of the earth, in the early 1990's. Right now, there are few 'tables I'd consider an upgrade. Think about it.
I used to own an Athena, (actually I still have the remains of it stored away) until I designed and built a new body and tonearm for it. And before Bob Dilger dissappeared I acquired the Ariadne arm spindle block, the air bearing sub platters and a 1/2" thick lead plate. Anyway, it was a five year project and it payed off. I call it the Deconstrata named after the deconstructivist school of design and strata for its six 1/2" layers of corian laminated together. It was used by Bluecircle Audio as a front end component for the '97 CES in Las Vegas. If anyone is interested in getting more details or finding out why I undertook this project in the first place feel free to contact me.
Sorry Piedpiper, I guess I should be checking this forum a little more often. I wanted to reduce the inertial mass of the tone arm. It's now under 2" long. So I had to move the arm block to the right side of the platter. Therefore I had to make a new body.
Does anyone know the name of the manufacturer of the upgrade "Super Quiet Pump" that Maplenoll offered. It had 40psi and sold for about $600.
Due to massive growth changes in my business, I have passed the collection of names for the mailing list to Scott Leventhal. He can be reached@ Scott_Leventhal@westpharma.com
Scott, as many of you are aware, wrote tech manuals for Bob Dilger and is very knowledgeable source for Maplenoll set up and troulble shooting.
Regrettably, due to time constraints, I will be selling my Maplenoll Signature Ariadne. Anyone intrested, please Email me off line.
Roymio, you're probably aware that your arm sounds alot like Maplenoll's Apollo table/arm. The advantage was puported to be rigidity, I thought, not mass. The Apollo was fit with a vacuum hold down to go with an arm whose VTA would shift dramaticall with warps otherwise. What's your experience with cartridge compatibility/tracking/mass?