Great question, I am contemplating the exact same upgrade, sure hope someone with direct experience replys!
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I have both Orbe SE MKII(DC motor with VC Tacho motor controller) and full Gyrodec(AC motor with QC power supply) currently.
I have tinkered around two tables using same SME arm and Shelter 901 cartridegs to see if sound difference is coming from platter or from other source. I would say that sound on Orbe platter with the Orbe record clamp(threaded) results slightly darker back ground and slightly more dynamic/authority than the standard Gyrodec platter but in expense of the airy sound of the Gyrodec platter. I also have done the experiment with the just the platter, not changing the threaded bearing housing/clamp. I would say that about 50% of the sound difference between Gyrodec and Orbe is coming from threaded clamp alone.
In my opinion, due to the Orbe platter upgrade cost, I'm not sure if this is a best money spent on upgrade.
I also have an Orbe SE + SME V + Shelter 901, and I agree with Nameci's findings. I had originally intended to buy the Gryo and Origin Live fully modded Rega arms to get me started in vinyl, then eventually upgrade the platter. I have listened to the Gyro extensively both at dealers, and also at several audiophile friends' places before and after purchasing my Orbe 4 years ago.
How do you tell whether the motor on the Orbe is a DC Motor with VC Tacho motor control or something else?
My Orbe SE MKII is European model with the 33/45 switch on VC tacho controller. Your power supply should have a label showing whether it is an Orbe controller or VC Tacho controller. Order version of the Orbe had AC motor with Orbe controller. I'm not sure if North American model of the Orbe SE ever had AC motor with the Orbe controller or not. But I'm sure full version Orbe for North America once had AC motor with Orbe controller.
This is a seperate subject but I prefer the sound of the AC motor with the Orbe controller(or QC controller for Gyrodec) than the DC versions.