Motor Controller ugrade for Raven One Turntable

Jeff, at Highwater Sound has said that owners of the TW Acustic Raven One turntable can experience a huge improvement in sound by replacing the Raven One motor controller with the controller from the Raven AC turntable.

Has anyone tried this? Jeff is the authority on the Raven turntables, so I am sure he is right about this. I am just curious to hear from any Raven One owners that have tried this.
I think this updated controller is now standard on Raven One (per Absolute Sound review last year).
Since a motor controller upgrade can only affect the stability of the speed of the turntable, how bad can the original speed be for there to be a huge improvement in the sound. I mean, seriously, I have been hearing this a lot lately, and I have thought about an improved power supply or motor controller for my tables, but it just doesnt make sense that the original power supply that comes with a high end turnable is so poor that it can be hugely improved upon. so someone please explain what I am missing.
Hyperbole? First thought usually whenever I hear " huge improvement" used.
I spoke with Jeff from Highwater Sound today. The "upgraded" motor controller for the Raven One is the same motor controller used with the Raven AC. It is larger and heavier than the Raven One controller. The motor controller does more than just control the speed of the platter. It has 10,000 times the capacitance of the One's controller. Jeff says the Raven One has more detail, a larger soundstage, and more dynamics with the AC motor controller. Better caps do make a difference. A friend of mine modded my Ayre phono stage with better caps (among other things) and the difference in the sound was dramatic (much more open, clear, and dynamic).

Jeff has never steered me wrong. I will go for the AC motor controller as soon as funds allow.
Changing caps in a phono stage is not the same as changing caps in a motor controller. In the phono stage, the signal actually goes through it. In the motor controller, all you are doing is controlling the speed of the motor. so either you are turning at 33.33 or you are not. So why would the stock controller not turn the platter at the correct speed on a table as expensive as a Raven One? and different enough to be huge?
I've found that not only the upgraded motor control makes a huge differnce but the power cord that feeds the motor controller is of equal importance. The speed of the music, high frequency detail, dynamics,width/depth of the stage all improve dramatically. Without the correct power cable upgrade on my table I feel the music to be slow.
I've found that not only the upgraded motor controller makes a huge differnce but the power cord that feeds the motor controller is of equal importance. The speed of the music, high frequency detail, dynamics,width/depth of the stage all improve dramatically. Without the correct power cable upgrade on my table I feel the music to be slow.
I've found that not only the upgraded motor controller makes a huge difference but the power cord that feeds the motor controller is of equal importance. The speed of the music, high frequency detail, dynamics,width/depth of the stage all improve dramatically. Without the correct power cable upgrade on my table I feel the music to be slow.

Himiguel, you might want to post that responce at least one more time, not sure I got it.

Just Joking! Joking! Joking! Ha! Ha!

Okay guys so can someone enlighten me how this could be unless the speed is not consistant with the prior controller.

The controller powers either a single or multible motors, the motors have a collar ontop which the belt rests within and the other end goes arround the tables platter spinning it.

I would think there must be something going on with the speed if it's sonically making changes.

It can't. And no one yet has explained why it should in anything close to the laws of physics. And if the motor is so bad that a new power cord is necessary to make it listenable, there is much more wrong with the system.

Hi Manitunic, just to clarify the motors for TW tables don't have separate plug-in cords. They actually have leads that connect to the main controller unit which is being mentioned in this thread and has the ad on power cord.

My thoughts are it's still gotta have something to do with speed consistancy over all, what else could it be.

Niether the controller unit or motors are directly connected to the table it's self drving it, there is a belt that actually makes this connection.

Question; I know when one sets up for speed there is no record being played, I would think that once the stylus is on the record there must be some drag.

How much? and what effect does this have on the actual speed, slowing it down etc. depending on the record cut it's self and how much resistance effect.

I replaced the original aluminium color mc box then used by TW with their Raven AC-1 with the new all black battery operated mc used with the Black Knight. The improvement was nothing short of astounding. I had friends over who were amazed by the improvement. The improvements you will hear are infinitely better soundstaging, more precise focus, and a whole new world in lower frequency response. Hope this helps.
So the question still arises, how bad can the stock motor controller be that a replacement is "nothing short of astounding". And shame on TW if the stock controller is that bad on a table costing that much. since the only thing a motor is supposed to do is turn at a consistent speed, an astounding improvement is only possible if the stock motor controller didnt do that.

I am not arguing that maintaining a constant speed of the platter will not result in improved sound. I am arguing that any decent turntable of that expense should come stock with a motor and controller that does that basic function.
Hi Elinor,

how can this be? The controller just controls the motor or motors depending on which table you have.

The motor/motors have a belt attached to the pully and then the belt goes around the platter of the table.

Can anyone explain, to me it must be something to do with speed stability.
It's the modern LP12. No matter what you do, you will never reach an end.
It sounds like it should be classified as a recall and a replacement instead of an "upgrade."
I find "nothing short of astounding" an astonishing statement. I can't argue with what you and your friends are hearing but I'm curious about the reasons and if the improvement is really so pronounced. Could it have to do with noise, connection to the AC grid etc that is a difference between AC and battery powered equipment? Or is it really just speed accuracy? If it is the latter, then I agree with the "recall and a replacement instead of an upgrade" comment. Something must be wrong with the stock AC-1 motor controller though that never really got noticed in all of the glowing reviews of that table.
Hi all,

Just a reminder that if the Raven 1 retails for US$6000, then it must be costing around US$1200 maximum to manufacture. Freight plus distributor margin and retail margin. Half the US1200 is probably overheads and labour. What can you personally build for US$600. Naturally "tweaks upgrades etc" can be very cost effective - there are no margins.look at the deck - can I build this for US$600 ?
I'm not a fan of Ravens - dont like teflon spongy pudding bearing thrust plates, but its not a bad starter deck for the money.

Thanks for your response Elinor.
Slowhand mentioned in the OP that Jeff at Highwater Sound said that huge gains can be had by replacing the stock motor controller from the Raven 1 with the controller from the AC-1. Slowhand then asked if any Raven 1 owners have tried this. Elinor then shared his experience writing that he replaced the controller from the AC-1 that Jeff spoke so highly about with the battery powered controller from the Black Knight and noticed an astounding improvement. So isn't Elinor implying that their is something not so great about the AC-1 motor controller?

There seems to be a difference of opinion about the effectiveness of the AC-1 motor controller. Or is there just a huge difference as you move up the line?
As someone has said before, get a Micro Seiko and never look back.
Ha! It must be a small watch that keeps circular time....make mine a Micro Seiki and never look back.
I see by reading some relies above it's apparent you guys have a axe to grind in relation to TW product instead of just staying on topic, why is this.

Jealous! Envious!

Some of the statements made are just nonsence and non constructive in relation to this specific thread and what the OP has posted.

It's find to flavour another product but to start babbling on with silly comments in the end only demonstrats the lack of your credibility.

I'm a proud owner of a TW Black Knight, I have owned a few other TW tables prior to this one but I'm still curious in discussing the thread at hand, being open minded.

I have friends who try different belts, thread, mylar, turn off the sucktion of the platter, use different motors and on. Some of these changes are very noticable and positive, others are questionable.

I am not questioning the quality of a TW turntable and they are probably a fine product. What I am questioning is the reason for an "astounding" difference in sound by just changing a motor controller, whose sole purpose is to make sure the motor turns at a certain speed. I am questioning how much off speed the stock motor must be if the change is "astounding" and if that is true, can I get the same "astounding" change with my turntables by changing the motor controller.
As far as I understand, nothing else was changed to get this "astounding" result.
Hi Manitunc, you know how this hobby is sometimes things are heard by some and not others. I believe our minds play with us at times. I've been present with some demonstrating gadgets and they are most defiantely wowed but personally I'm not getting it.

Some post using the wrong words "astounding" could be one because they were just overly enthusiatic at the moment, I know I have personally done this.

I'm just trying to understand what is going on if this in fact is taking place, just as I have mentioned in my prior posting. In friends set-ups I have heard the differences by just changing different belt materials, belts to mylar tape, string etc.

All of these are driven by a motor which is usually powered by a controller of some sort if external, what ever the material is attached to the motors spindle and then around the tables platter.

So what's going on?
Much of that assumes a constant motor speed, which is a big assumption. But if you have a constant motor speed, what is it that different motor controllers or belt material or anything else is doing to affect the sound. By definition, a change is either adding something or removing something. So, what is the motor controller doing, other than maintaining constant speed, that is adding or subtracting from the sound that comes out. Same with the different belt materials.
Of course, you can go around and around in your head looking for explanations. but assuming the changes are real, they should be able to be defined and then reproduced. Maybe we cant do that yet with test equipment, but that doesnt prevent us from trying to understand what is happening, and thats what I'm trying to do, for my own understanding. And maybe, if I figure out some of the parts, my little brain can figure out the big picture.
Maybe the motor controller takes out little micro vibrations and thats why it sounds better. Maybe a different belt material does the same thing. I have to guess that it has something to do with vibration, because thats what the stylus picks up. Of course, there are issues of time domain and such, but that is just a shifting of when the vibration occurs in relation to others.
Again, assuming the squiggles in the vinyl groove are passing by the stylus at a constant, accurate rate of speed, the sound should remain the same regardless of other factors unless somehow other vibrations are being added or subtracted from what the stylus reads. then of course, we have what happens after the stylus sends out its signal.
I continue to be amazed at how many responses you can get that have nothing to do with the question that you asked. I just asked if anyone had tried replacing the standard motor controller with the AC controller. I only got 2 reponses that even came close to answering my question.
I see from reading some replies above it's apparent you guy's have a axe to grind in relation to TW product instead of staying on topic, why is this. : (

Jealous! Envious! : ( .....Hahahahahahaha OH MAN , Thats a good one! KaHAHAA

Im a proud owner of a TW Black Night : ( , Good night HAHAHAHAhahahaha

Hi Slowhand,

if you re-read your original posting you actually said allot more than that which opened up further discussions.

You posted Jeff saying;

"Jeff, at Highwater Sound has said that owners of the TW Acustic Raven One turntable can experience a huge improvement in sound by replacing the Raven One motor controller with the controller from the Raven AC turntable."

which opened up discussions, doesn't that have you wondering how this can be.


it's okay not to like a specific product or product line but why do you continue to troll sites posting sarcasm instead of being constructive. All one needs to do is read your PAST history of only seven postings. In reading such you mention in so many words how you did your evaluations, "EVERYONE STAND UP AND CLAP for William" you actually haven't even had any of the product in your set-up but quickly become opinionated which is okay but to me only demonstrates your lack of credibility.

The table is only a part of the set-up and for you to say they are boring sounding is just rediculous.

Only slightly off subject, I changed a flimsy power cord for a lessloss DPFC cord on the Raveen one controller and was very suprised at the improvement. The last thing I expected an upgraded cord to help , is a turntable motor. As someone else has said, all it has to do is turn a platter at 33 and1/3 or 45RPM, just how hard is that?

Well obviously it's very hard.
I wonder if the TW motor controller fucntion is very dependant on the quality of the main power supply.
Jaspert, I don't think that should be so. One of the functions of the motor controller itself is to protect the tt motor from poor quality mains supply, including ideally AC voltage instability.
I would replace it with the VPI motor unit + SDS
You asked a pretty clear question in your original post. I'm astonished by the responses you've received based on no direct experience with the products in question. If someone actually is interested in the question, they can actually experience the comparison for themselves......It's much more fun to shoot the breeze with absolutely no real knowledge or experience.
I actually sat in Highwater Sound's listening room with Jeff Catalano. No B.S. no salesmanship....".Jim just listen for yourself." And I did. We had a Raven One first using MY OWN original motor controller playing thru his system of tubes and high efficiency speakers he demos in the HiFi Shows. We listened to a couple of cuts of music i knew well.
The ONLY thing changed was the AC motor controller was substituted for my own. The effects were clearly audible. The enitre sound field grew larger and the leading edges of the notes wer better articulated. This improved the rhythm and timing.
I then took Jeff's AC controller home to my own system and experienced the EXACT SAME changes I appreciated in his listening room.
So there it is. A well constructed comparison duplicated in two highly resolving but different systems.
Hopefully this will diminish the "forum noise" on this topic.
I'm not going to editorialize as to whether thee were monumental of minor changes. That's all personal opinion. I've tried to objectively report my findings.
All the best,
Thank you very much Jim! Finally someone who has actually experienced listening to both controllers. Thank you for letting me know your findings. Dev, you have a point about my post. Posting on Audiogon these days is like being on the witness stand in a trial. You have to watch everything you say or the wolves will attack. I can remember when people really tried to help each other . These days they just say you are stupid for liking this product or that brand of equipment.


that's great you had such an experience but what's with the tone of your post. I don't want to get into a debate but if you read the opening post of Slowhand there is allot more to it than you are implying.

Slowhand, in general for what ever reason I find allot of threads in general take on this tone as you wrote;

"wolves will attack" and "These days they just say you are stupid for liking this product or that brand of equipment."

if you are going to post be prepared but that's life. I wouldn't take it personally, most haven't owned and are just trolling and babbling away.

At the same time there are allot of great individuals providing info. to assist.

Personaly I like to try to be as open minded and subjective as possible.

If you have read any of my past threads you would be aware I originally wanted to buy a Black Knight but decided to get my feet wet first and purchased a Raven One, then purchased a AC3 and I actually did the controller swap, also swapped out trying different motors (amount being used) with the AC3 again noticing differences and now as I've already wrote above I'm a proud owner of the Black Knight and loven it.

For me, I know I'm repeating myself but was just currious with what the heck is going on and if anyone knew, wouldn't you and any others?

Pick your poision, which ever it may be and ENJOY!
Slowhand the comments and reactions above should be telling you something.

"Hyper-pole? First thought usually when ever i hear huge improvement"

" So question still arrases , how bad can the stock motor be that a replacement is nothing short of astounding"

My favorite
" Something must be wrong with the stock ac 1 motor controller that never really got noticed in all the glowing reviews of that table"

Something must be wrong all right, and what else? ,can't you hear it?
So what exactly zapped you peoples brains,,,, all that glowing on-line chat and magazine review sale pitchs???

I don't care for any of these tables and along with a friend that owned a Raven ac his conclusions are pretty much in line with mine.
He shamefully admitted he got suckered by HYPE in the tune of 20 grand.

But this is normal audio business , the high end know their customers well.

Improvments verywell be found changing out the factory wimpy motors and ps to the VPI sds and motor along with a new bearing perhaps ,including getting the tonearms off the table and building a good arm pod, whatelse?
Good night
Dear Blackburn, You might think about changing your moniker to "Heart Burn".
Blackburn, we get it that you don't like any TW products and that's okay and that's your opinion but your sarcastic remarks and personal attacks towards actual owners are unnesecary and clearly only demonstrates the type of individual you are.

You seem to do allot of babbling about this or that but in the end you don't actually share facts to back such comments up. To me this just demonstrates a lack of your credibility.

What does your system consist of?

It's obvious by reading your thread above you have never actually owned or personally had any of the different models in your own set-up but only heard a AC in a freinds set-up other wise you would not have not wrote allot of the info. which you have.

If you have any first hand experience what so ever you know there is allot more to the system than just the table it's self.

Enlighten us because so far your threads posted are far from being constructive and you come across that you are the end all who knows all, help us please!


Look forward to your responce and assistance.

Quickly weeding through your postings it appears that you might own a direct drive table, amps you mentioned in one thread you own are 12 year old ML2's, kindly let us know.

If you do own a direct drive table and this type of table design is your refference and flavour that you prefer than that assists in reading some of your past comments because from what I have heard direct tables offer a different sonic flavour and thats okay, so far any tables of this design that I have heard would not be my personal refference but just a second table to offer another sonic flavour in the end neither being right or wrong but just different and a prefference.

Sorry to hi-jack this thread with this info. but when I constaintly read someone being so opinionated I try to retrieve a little more info. to assist so to be on the same level.
If Blackburn prefers direct drive, he can't be all bad.


I'm curious in relation to Blackburn's set-up because it's not just this thread but others I have read postings that allot of sarcasm is offered instead of being constructive, that being said I did read in one thread Blackburn said;

"30 plus Gs for my current front end is serious bread for anyone and right now I feel foolish."

curious to know, the norm is to share our experiences and compare, this is how we learn right.
Interesting thread.

The statement about the Raven one retail $6000 being worth $600 in build costs ? - maybe I misunderstood.

Anyhow - for those that experienced real sound improvement with a motor controller upgrade - I am willing to bet you will experience an even bigger audio nirvana boost going to an armpod. Real Raven experience on the Copernican thread.

The OP was looking for improvement in sound with this table. Reason for my post. Not trying to derail anything.

I apologize for commenting above and not contributing to the OP's question. I only have limited personal experience with the AC motor controller. I have heard it under show conditions at RMAF 2010 and have heard the Raven controller on my friend's table, but I have not compared the two to each other.

I find the subject of motor controllers quite interesting. So rather than highjacking this thread any further, I have started a separate thread on the general subject in the Analog Forum.

Again, I'm sorry if my comments offended anyone.
" Look forward to your response and assistance "
I thought I already did.

Dev I can tell your upset and tender right now maybe re-read what I said carefully and absorb it with a open and clear mind OK. Despite how you interrupted my comments sarcasm was not my intent.

Your other concerns? I do own a direct drive and a very nice one at that but I use it to listen to Rock and roll mostly but its not my reference front end.

Good afternoon
Heart Burn


suggesting I'm upset or tender is just too funny on your part and so far from being the truth, in actual fact it's the total opposite.

Again I'll ask because you have not provided;

Enlighten us on your comments made because so far your threads posted are far from being constructive and you come across that you are the end all who knows all, help us please!

Another simple question that you have eluted was;

What does your set-up consist of?

Now that you have mentioned that you have two set-ups one with a direct drive table but is not actually your reference front end that you have mentioned in another thread that you have 30 plus Gs and feel foolish invested.

You appear to be pretty SECRETIVE for some reason but at the same time very opinionated with your remarks in postings in general in relation to other gear.

Here's mine;

Table - TW Black Knight
Arms - TW 10.5 and REED 12"
Carts - A90 and MSL Ultra
Pre-amp - VAC Sig MK2a w/phono
Amps - VAC Statement 450's
Speakers - MBL 101E's
Cables - Stealth through out

Will most likely add a DD table at some point for a different flavour.

We're waiting!

The best comment in the whole Thread was the change of name from Black Night to Good Night :-)
Dear Syntax,
However, your comment about replacing the Raven controller with the VPI SDS was ill-advised. I am not familiar with any of the Raven turntables, but someone on the other newer "motor controller" thread has remarked that the Raven motor is DC, whereas the VPI unit is designed to run AC synchronous motors. So, to the OP, don't do that swap. It is always best to use a motor controller that you know was designed specifically for your turntable motor, for good or ill.
If you think so, at least the other thread started titled

"Motor Controller effect on analog sound"

started by Peterayer offers allot of constructive postings by individules minus the non-constructive postings made by some individules above who only seem to have one agenda.

Don't see any of these individules postings their silly comments over there, wonder why.

Blackburn still waiting.
Dear Lewm,
I know it is difficult for Audiophiles (specially those in analog) to read a sentence properly. And to think about that. Too much for most.
I only wrote one sentence,
"... replace WITH (hello!!) VPI Motor UNIT AND SDS"

Now I know why Digital became such a success. it is based on Drawer in/out and start. :-)