New TT ideas please

I'm doing a major upgrade to my system with the new electronics likely to be Audio Research REF3/110/PH7 (though may be PH5 in the interim)/Verity Parsifals. My Roksan Radius 5 is going to find a loving home, but I need some ideas of what to look at. Here are a few that appeal to me visually and reputationally, and a few that I've heard (all similar $$ roughly, budget seems to be about $6-$7.5k for table and arm):

1. Clearaudio Ambient (looks simple to setup and use), unify arm
2. Rega P9 with the 1000 arm (again, simple setup)
3. Michell Gyrodec or Orb (with the acrylic platform and cover)
4. Transrotor Atlantis with Origin Live tonearm
5. Redpoint turntable (a long shot) - looking for opinions

Excluding VPI, what else should I consider? I would like a company with a long standing history (Redpoint is questionable on this front), excellent build quality, not too finicky, sounds lively, involving, quiet background, controlled and detailed. I don't mind a touch forward, as I think the rest of the system could use a slightly forward source. Simplicity is preferred - I don't want to have to adjust things too often or it won't be used.

I have a fascination with Koetsu cartridges, so I want a TT that would suit an Urushi / Rosewood Signature cartridge. I also think transrotor is interesting, but their web site confuses me (only 3 models? I thought they had many more).

I will try my very best to hear them so what I'm asking is your best ideas and a little brain storming. I will only buy what sounds best to me and works with my system - no question about that.
Verdier is the only name that you need to know.
The Once Table, With an SME V, and a Koestu Cart is an awesome, combo. I heard the combo in my own room a month ago.
Galibier. Of course, I'm gleefully biased.

I'll second the Galibier and also admit to being biased. I'll also through in a recommendation for Teres. I've not heard a Red Point but I'd guess it would be almost a good as Galibier. :)

I've owned several Basis tables which are similar to Clearaudio. The three tables above are a much, much better bargain in my opinion. Forget any table that uses a rubber belt or fishing line for driving the platter. My $.02.
If you like some eye candy you should consider an Oracle Delphi. If a turntable can get you laid, this would be the one.

It is a local (if you can call Canada local) company and you do get timely responses and support. Some of the other companies mentioned I have waited more than a month for a response at times – not where you want to be if you are having problems.

I use a Delphi with a Graham/Koetsu and once setup correctly they sound and perform very well. Setup is not the easiest but it does allow plenty room to tweak and fiddle to get the sound just perfect.

Try a Basis. I have not had any problems and it go's well with the cartridge you want to use.
TW Acustic Raven One. Fantastic table in theprice you are looking and there is an upgrade path if you choose. You can mount up to two arms at any lenght. No mantainance set and forget setup.

Look at

HIgh Water Sound in USA and Canada.
Arthur Salvatore's site makes for exciting reading on this topic:

And don't listen to Pauly. I had an oracle table and didn't get laid ONCE!
I'm a Canadian, so Oracle is a local company. I'm not as smitten with the looks of it. I seem to like the look of the Transrotor Orpheo, Clearaudio Master Solution with the AMG wood plinth... that type of thing. LOL

Teres: sound like a great deal (with your dollar ;), but I'm not a fan of the all wood look. A tad too organic for my living room decor (wife ruled it out).

Verdier: am looking into it

Transrotor: does this make sense - I checked out the Orpheus on the web and a German site has it for 5000 euro (about $6700). The US distributor has it for $13K. Allowing for duties, I can't imagine it's more than $8500 equivalent and, as much as it is, I'd really consider stretching the budget for this baby.

Keep the suggestions coming gentlemen and thank you.
what kind of sound are you looking for?
what are your'e musical preferences?
we can all recommend a specific tt
but will it suit your needs?
give as much info as you can
getting it nearly right will be an ear opener
getting it right will be a total revelation
all the best
I agree with Hevac1, the Basis tables are very reliable and the Vector arm is an excellent performer with many cartridges. Good Luck.
Here's what I'm looking for: Clarity, detail, accurate timbre, clear and realistic imaging, quickness, depth, neutral, pitch black quietness, beauty and musicality. I don't want any darkness or anything that is laid back. I want something that can work with detailed cartridges (dynavector etc.) and with gorgeous cartridges (koetsu etc.).

I'm not sure how helpful that is, as it's probably what everyone looks for in every audio product they look at. As the hair thins, my musical tastes turn to that which is most musical... acoustic, jazz, classical, blues, vocal anything highly involving rather than loud and jumbled. I'm originally from eastern Africa, so I listen a great deal of "world" music (ali farka toure, hugh masekela, angelique kdigo, South African jazz, baba maal etc.). I do however love Pink Floyd, U2, Sarah Mclaughlin, and various other more modern rock music. I guess I'm a fan of just about anything other than opera (tried, but just can't listen to it).

Thanks & cheers.
Have you considered a Lenco? I have owned 4 and they float my boat in every department you mention. I love Masakela, Zimbabwe, Mali, Streets of Soweto, Buena Vista, Los Lobos, Brazilian, Rock, Bluegrass, jazz, Django. some Classical.
You can have one custom built and laquered, any arm from linear tracking air bearing to Rega, RS 1 to JMWs. Dynavector, Denons and Koetsus. The sky's the limit.
Only issue might be size, the recipe is to build these big with massive plinths (20" X 20") at 70 lbs. But, they look and sound fabulous, not much tweaking once properly set.
Email me and I will send you some photos.
Good luck and have fun.
I've got a Rega P-9 and I think from your description of what you're looking for the Rega P-9 is right there. Easy, set it up, level it and forget about it. Lively, detailed etc. (with the Ringmat). I use cardas wiring in the tonearm, Benz Ref silver and Benz phono pre.
I am clearly biased, being a dealer, though I am just an audiophile like you who decided to morph into a business. I started a similar search last year for a new line to carry. We do carry verdier and it is great, classic design and awesome sound but industrial looks to some (particularly my wife). I chose dps from germany - very easy to operate and set up, small footprint, upgrade path and great sound (in my biased opinion). Price is in your range and it comes with its own phono cables directly wired. We are in Calgary, not sure where you are based but you are welcome to drop by or drop me a note. Here is a link to some pictures and info.
Good luck.

I know Pauly quite well and even an Oracle Delphi couldn't get him la**


A musician friend of mine introduced me to some of the African jazz music. Abdullah Ibrahim, Dudu Pukwana, Louis Moholo, Chris Mcgregor, Wintson Mankunku, Sipho Mabuse. Really enjoyable music. I think much of it would be hard to find here in the states.

Good luck with your table search.
just looking at the classifieds and there is an oracle mkv with turbo power supply for $2500
add to this a graham phantom and you will have a first class front end that will work very well with a koetsu.
imho the oracle is very underrated.
this combo will play any kind of music due to its neutrality and also sounds very fast and 3 dimensional
surface noise will also be quite low.
highly reccomended.
good luck
Dan_ed: Addullah Ibrahim used to be known as "Luck Brand" in the early days I believe, and I have but one CD of his (bought in Cape Town some years ago). I don't have anything from the other names, so I'm adding them to my shopping list.

Westside_music: I will take a look at the brand you recommend. I'm in Toronto.

Here's what I'm looking for: Clarity, detail, accurate timbre, clear and realistic imaging, quickness, depth, neutral, pitch black quietness, beauty and musicality. I don't want any darkness or anything that is laid back. I want something that can work with detailed cartridges (dynavector etc.) and with gorgeous cartridges (koetsu etc.).
Good list.

What you're seeking is a TT that will "always" spin at at exactly the chosen speed while simultaneously sinking as much resonance energy as possible away from the vinyl/stylus interface. Therefore, there are some turntable "features" you should avoid:

- suspended tables (unless very expensive); they sap speed and bass energy, soften dynamics and raise the noise floor by feeding false (non-musical) energy back into the cartridge

- belt drives that use stretchy (rubber) or slippery (thread) belts; TT makers normally chose such belts to "protect" the platter from motor noise, which tells you they prefer bandaids to applying good engineering to minimizing the problem at the source; elastic and slippery belts are invariably vulnerable to stylus drag, which slews transient leading edges and robs the music of lifelike speed, snap and energy; even the rotational inertia of my 35 lb. platter is not enough to make belts like those sound acceptable

- low mass plinths that can't sink lots of resonance energy; resonances raise the noise floor and this masks the low level details which deliver realistic timbre, sharp images and realistic soundspaces

"Beauty and musicality" are in the ear of the beholder of course. Neither I nor anyone else knows what those terms mean to you. Your technical requirements are easier to address, as above.

Spend some time researching and thinking about these approaches, which avoid the above pitfalls better than most:
- Galibier
- Teres
- Redpoint
- modded Lenco or similar

Happy hunting!
Woah there Doug.

+++ [Avoid ] suspended tables (unless very expensive); they sap speed and bass energy, soften dynamics and raise the noise floor by feeding false (non-musical) energy back into the cartridge +++

How does my suspension do all these things?

I had an unsuspended table not to long ago and it was less dynamic, had less bass impact and had a much higher noise floor than my Oracle. (It also cost more than my Oracle).

I suspect the sonic shortcomings were directly related to the fact that each and every micro vibration was dumped straight into the cart, something not happening with my Oracle.

+++ elastic and slippery belts are invariably vulnerable to stylus drag, which slews transient leading edges and robs the music of lifelike speed, snap and energy; even the rotational inertia of my 35 lb. platter is not enough to make belts like those sound acceptable +++

I tried both stretchy and zero compliant belts on a couple of DC motored tables. In both cases (stretchy and non compliant) I could detect the same noticeable drift. It has little to do with the motor to platter coupling, but everything to do with a puny DC motor that cannot cope with stylus drag.

Rotational inertia the most capable way of keep consistent speed without introducing noise. It is most certainly more capable than a puny DC motor trying to chase its tail in a closed loop system.

I respect Doug Deacon's knowledge and contributions to these threads.

However, it is unfair to paint belt drive and/or suspended turntables with such a wide brush.

There are belt driven suspended turntables that will stand toe to toe and even outperform the brands on his list based on the parameters he's chosen. Some of them even cost less.

Disclaimer: retailer
Hi Pauly,

How does my suspension do all these things?
By obeying Newton's Third Law of Motion.

I had an unsuspended table not to long ago and it was less dynamic, had less bass impact and had a much higher noise floor than my Oracle. (It also cost more than my Oracle).

I suspect the sonic shortcomings were directly related to the fact that each and every micro vibration was dumped straight into the cart, something not happening with my Oracle.
I suspect you're right. There was clearly something amiss with a more expensive table that couldn't match a less expensive one. I did mention that a well designed, high mass plinth is needed to damp resonances on a non-suspended table. Maybe your previous table lacked that?

Motors & belts:

You're right about motors of course, they're vitally important. Clearly a "puny" motor, whether DC or AC, will have more trouble resisting stylus drag than a more robust one. And a noisy or cogging one will be unsuitable for direct torque coupling to the platter. (Can you imagine a direct drive with a noisy or unstable motor? Ewww.) The best of all motors would be powerful, quiet and would provide constantly linear acceleration, not a simple task.

We may have to agree to disagree on motor/platter coupling. I have experimented with at least 10 different belt types, on two tables and with three different motors. This was with platters weighing 25 and 35 lbs. respectively, far heavier than an Oracle's.

Despite these hefty platters the differences between one belt and another are invariably audible. Elastic belts ALWAYS stretch on leading edges of transients (that's what "elastic" means of course), and a more powerful motor simply exaggerates this. After reaching full extension, the elastic then seeks to return to its resting state on the trailing edge of the transient. This is also audible. Slippery belts (silk thread, silk tape, etc.) also degrade the sound. When a transient increases drag on the belt/pulley interface, a slippery belt slips. The effect is pretty similar to the leading edge stretch of an elastic belt, though there may not be any rebound on the trailing edge.

High rotational inertia cannot overcome stylus drag. That's a physical impossibility. All it can do is lower the frequency and amplitude of induced variations in rotational velocity. That may dampen stylus drag effects but it will not audibly eliminate them. A strong motor with a linear torque coupling to the platter is the only way, at least IME.

One thing I've learned in my DC motor travails is that there is a correct torque for a given platter mass.

When I experimented with higher torque motors - everyone in the multiple evaluation sessions I conducted agreed with me that the sound took on a harsh edge.

From this (and other experiments) I concluded - puny, but not too puny.

Now, as I've written both on this forum as well as my Motor FAQs page, every element in the moving system is a variable (belt, platter, bearing, lube, motor specs, etc.). Change any one of them and you need to start over with your evaluations.

AC motors are completely different kettle of fish, although I'm comfortable in asserting that there is a correct torque specification that will balance in a musically coherent manner ... IOW, you can have too much as well as too little torque.

There's quite a bit involved in optimizing these power to mass relationships, and like everything else in audio, the numbers are but a departure point.

We're a finicky lot, and our hearing has evolved over tens of thousands of years in a sophisticated manner which we're just beginning to learn how to measure.

Thom @ Galibier
Doug: thanks for taking the time for your response. I purposely left beuty and musicality as features there - knowing that only I can determine those :) But you certainly did address the rest. What about platter? Do you have a view as to whether a solid acrylic platter (a la Clearaudio Master Solution) or a metal/hybrid platter affects my desired outcome? Also, the belt thing is always interesting as so many pretty "high end" TTs have belts (again, the Clearaudio Master Solution - rumoured to be quite a lively table, BTW).

So your view would be that a Clearaudio Master Reference (same price as these names generally) would lose energy/liveliness and muddy transients relative to those brands mentioned. Are there European brands that fit that bill (ie Transrotor Fat Bob?). From a design perspective (and it matters) Redpoint is the only one that works for me from this bunch. We do, oddly, have a local Redpoint dealer.

+++ How does my suspension do all these things? By obeying Newton's Third Law of Motion. +++

With all due respect Doug, your response is no more than a cop out. The type of one liner I'd expect in a Micheal Moore documentary.

Newtons third law states “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction” and it acts upon all turntables, whether suspended or not.

Vibration (floor borne + stand) need to be controlled and damped before it gets to the record-cartridge interface. By introducing a suspension you can both control/convert vibrations to be less troublesome frequency AND turn some into heat.

A fine example of this principle is suspended high rise building in earthquake prone zones. By using suspension the energy of the quake is managed so that the building suffers a lot less damaging energy. The energy transferred to the building is at a frequency the building can withstand and tolerate.

On my Oracle, the floor/stand borne energy transmitted to my stylus record interface is converted from a spectrum of audible frequencies to 5 Hz ... way below what my system is going to responding to, and a lot lower than my cart/tonearm resonance. On an unsuspended turntable you'll get vibration throughout the frequency range.

As for the notion that the suspension interferes with the record stylus interface, that is equally bogus. The arm and stylus is a unit, and the suspension does not come into play.

+++ I did mention that a well designed, high mass plinth is needed to damp resonances on a non-suspended table.+++

Yeah, I had one. No low level detail until I put an air bladder suspension under it. Oops yeah, don't suspended turntables do that all in one?

"Luck Brand" no. His name is "Dollar Brand."
Dougdeacon has hit- what I'm talking about- on the head. The Lenco is a fabulous machine in every respect to timber, rhythm, pace, tapping your feet, lovely clear highs, seperation of instruments, nuance of voice and feeling. It seems to do evrything right.
The Lenco platter is 8 pounds of machined aluminum, and, as opposed to belt drives, is engaged when an idler wheel comes in contact with it and a spindle which is spinning at a high torque provided by the small, powerful Swiss motor. Vibration of this motor should be absorbed ny tthe plinth design and materials.
Dougdeacon has the words to articulate what it is that makes this table a WORLD CLASS player, when properly plinthed and armed. Your Koetsu just might fall in love.
Sorry, that was a mis-type. I might have even put Lucky Strike in the state I was in this am... Thanks

Sorry for not explaining the Newton reference in my usual mind-numbing detail. Still, let's keep Michael Moore out of this. I don't know what kind of tables he likes and you probably don't either.

The problem I've noticed with suspended tables (again, not including the more expensive ones, which I haven't heard) had nothing to do with floor- or air-borne vibrations. It resulted from the suspension allowing plinth movements in reaction to cantilever excursions and arm movements. This sapped energy from the cartridge, slewed and slowed transients, muddied bass, etc. Sorry, but that's what I've heard. More than once.

Just yesterday I received this email from a friend who just received one of Thom's tables (switching from an Oracle, actually):

Toms bang more. Kick drums hold their decay but the low end and transient response is lightning fast especially for such a massive table.
I chuckled at that last, since it is the precisely his new table's mass and stability which give his arm a stable platform, which allows the cartridge to perform better.


I have a friend with a Clearaudio Master Ref (I think, the one with three motors and three rubber belts). He replaced all three with one Teres motor and one non-stretchy belt, and reported better pace and cleaner, faster transients.

Acrylic? Any stucture (platter, plinth, whatever) made from a single, homogenous material is going to resonate more than an identical structure made of a mix of different materials. Materials boundaries break up and reflect energies, so more materials can result in more energy dissipation. Different materials also absorb and release energies at different frequencies. With proper implementation all the above is to the good, since it will lower the noise floor of the table. Acrylic is used because it's easy to machine and relatively cheap - and many people like its looks. Teres used to offer all-acrylic plinths and platters. They stopped because they couldn't get the performance they were seeking.

The only weakness I can think of in a Redpoint (which I haven't heard) is that floating arm pod. Puts you at risk of unintended and possibly major cartridge realignments, possibly without noticing. ;-) If you can deal with that, I'd say give one a listen. Having a dealer near is a huge benefit, better than all the internet chats in the world!

I am sorry I cannot agree with your assesment of suspended tables. Basis units will give you plenty of slam and low end. I have also found them to be quick, nimble and very natural sounding. I have owned both fixed and suspended and the Basis has ended up being the best. I think maybe it might be the bearing on the table and the arm.
While I agree with Doug's comments I also agree that they may be a bit oversimplified. As is often the case it's all about compromise. A stretchy belt does have all of the problems that Doug points out. But the flip side is that isolation from motor cogging and noise is also very important. For a given motor and platter combination there will be an ideal amount of coupling. And that ideal will vary widely.

The important factor is how much cogging the motor exhibits. When you start with a motor that has low cogging the motor can be more intimately coupled to the platter resulting in some major benefits. Motor isolation is only good if it solves a bigger problem than it creates. Much better to start with a motor that does not need isolation, or at least very little.

It's a similar compromise when it comes to torque. High torque is a very good thing when it is tightly coupled to the platter. It's the only effective method for eliminating the effects of stylus drag. The higher the torque the better. However, in the real world higher torque (good) almost always comes with higher cogging (bad). So as Thom pointed out the challenge is to find an ideal compromise. As with isolation using a motor with lower cogging moves the ideal torque higher with it's associated sonic benefits.

A good unsuspended table addresses the problem of floor and room vibration. It just does it differently than a suspended table. This is a common misconception. There is a big difference between "high mass" and "highly damped". Simply making a turntable heavy is useless and often makes resonance problems worse. A highly damped turntable is able to dissipate vibrational energy internally. So external vibrations are allowed to reach the turntable but are then dissipated once they arrive. The big difference is that energy emanating from within the turntable is also dissipated in a highly damped turntable. It is important to have a mechanism for dissipating internal energy as well as energy from external sources. Suspension has both beneficial and detrimental effects. And like motor isolation is only good when it solves a bigger problem than it creates. A highly damped turntable needs less isolation so in many (but not all) cases isolation ends up being detrimental. This is why most highly damped turntables tend to be unsuspended.

Doug This may a double post – I cannot see my prior response.

+++ Sorry for not explaining the Newton reference in my usual mind-numbing detail.+++

Actually you offered zero explanation and you still don't.

+++ It resulted from the suspension allowing plinth movements in reaction to cantilever excursions and arm movements. +++

Okaaaay. A couple of misconceptions here.

Cantilever excursions cannot make the plinth move. The plinth is hard coupled to the stand. In my case, the stand is on a concrete floor. So unless the tonearm has more mass than dear old earth, the plinth 'aint going nowhere'. Need to do some rethinking here Doug.

The LP rests on the platter, not the plinth. Relative movements between the plinth and platter/tonearm assembly are only relevant if they have sufficient energy to upset the tonearm/platter assembly. That would would require something like an hard thump on the rack; something that would send an unsuspended tables arm flying across the record.

Real movement of the platter + tonearm assembly is important. In real conditions, there is absolutely zero movement – the suspension is at rest (equilibrium). When sufficient energy is dump on the table to cause movement, a suspended turntable ensures said movement to be at a frequency that does not do harm. Unsuspended turntables feed all frequencies directly into the platter and tonearm. That will include all audible frequencies AND your tonearm/cart resonant frequency. Not nice.

Relative movement between tonearm and platter is important. Cantilever excursions will dump identical amounts of energy on tonearm platter interface on both suspended and not suspended tables. Any downward movement of the platter (which will be minute) on a suspended table is compensated by LESS upward movement of the tonearm. This is Newtons law. “For every action there is a EQUAL and opposite reaction.” Emphasis on equal.

A non-suspended turntables cantilever excursions effects the tonearm platter interface with EXACTLY as much energy as a suspended table. That is not black magic, but pure science. Due to the higher mass of the platter assembly, the energy dumped into it from a cantilever excursion translates into less movement. (again, no black magic but Newtons second law).

In other words, the energy is better managed by a suspended table. On a non suspended table the tonearm needs to deal with 100% of the energy, and being so much lighter than the platter assembly, will exhibit the maximum movement.

As for your friends comments, I can echo that coming from a unsuspended table to my Oracle. So my response would be to chuckle also – seems not everybody knows how to set up suspension (although I did find it straight forward)

BTW, I still have an unsuspended table. It sounds better on air bladders.

Kind Regards
To dismiss suspended turntables out of hand is in my opinion a bit like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
The JEM Blue Pearl is reported to be a good contender for state of the art performance.
and YES it is a suspended design.
I changed from an older Oracle Delphi to a Scheu Premier 11 and although the Scheu had its strengths I preffered the Oracle in my system.
I now use Townsends new Rock mkV and can apply all of your'e friends comments against the Scheu and Oracle tts.
and the Rock is a high mass suspended design.
A well designed tt is a well designed tt
suspended or not
all the best
Pauly, while I agree with you that there are very well implemented suspended tables I think you have overstated a few things to make your point.

The platter is directly coupled to the plinth via the bearing, unless the bearing is of the magnetic/air type. The plinth on suspended tables are not directly coupled to the stand, but rather floating on the suspension. If there is sufficient drag on the platter during dynamic passages there actually could be a rotational twisting reaction on the platter/bearing/plinth as well as the drive. I do believe most higher quality suspended designs have addressed this to the point where you would probably not hear it.

As for thumping a non-suspended table and making the cartridge fly, I can tell you that that is much easier and more likely to happen with a suspended table. That is exactly the reason I moved from suspended a (Basis) to non-suspended (Galibier) table. It is not the first moment of impact that caused the stylus to jump. It was the second moment when the suspension jerked back to the steady-state position that the stylus left the groove because it wanted to keep going in the original direction of motion. Bodies in motion tend to stay in motion unless. . . yada, yada.

We can all look around and find good and bad implementations of both approaches. I don't think it is so easy to dismiss either when the implementation is well done. I still have a high regard for Basis tables but there are some things I would never try to do with any suspended table. Like adjusting VTA and AS while the stylus is in the groove. I realize this isn't important for everyone but it was for me. Lucky for me that I'm in a position that I don't have to have a suspended table.
I've gone steeply up a curve on this thread alone. I know there are differing views and nuances, but you lot seem to handle such things in a very gentlemanly fashion (apologies to any ladies).

Many dealers lambaste the web, but those are the ones that don't like an educated customer.

Many, many thanks to all here.

I used to have a Garrard 401 on my mono system in my home office. The 401 is dead mint and I constructed a high mass 7 layers Birch plywood plinth and quite happy with it.

The plinth was 22 x 24in. in size and weight approv. 40 to 50lbs. I also used a stethoscope on the plinth near the motor housing or on the tonearm base to see if I can heard some noise but I can't detected any. It sounds quite nice.

One day I bought the 401 upstair to my main system....The comparison was fair...Everythings were the same, the only difference was the tonearm wire inside the SME 3012 S2 tonearm. Same TT stand, same catridge, same setting in volume, same phono interconnect. When compared to the Verdier, The Garrard 401 was noisy. very noisy. There are alot of 'stuff' in the music background. Without the comparison with the Verdier, I cannot detected it. I sold the 401 the next day and I would say no more idler wheel TT for me.

If you have a Lenco, Garrard or even EMT 927 or 930, you should buy, borrow or steal:) a Verdier and compare it to your favourite idler wheel TT. You might have the same result as mine:) !!!!! The Verdier that I'm talking about is the one with the magnets.

Before you posted I stated clearly - twice - that I have not heard and was not commenting on the more costly suspended tables. For you to leap to the conclusion that I, "dismiss suspended turntables out of hand" was a considerable overstatement that ignored what I actually wrote.

So, why bring an $80,000 JEM Blue Pearl (12x Hatari's budget) into the discussion as a counter-example to something I very carefully did not say? I'm sure a $300K Ferrari would outperform my $25K Mazda and whatever car Hatari drives too. We knew that.

Suspensions are difficult to do well. Some very costly implementations may succeed, or not. I don't know - for the third time.

The ones I've heard within Hatari's budget did not meet his stated priorities (which are very similar to mine) as well as the four brands I mentioned. I've stated my relevant experiences and my understanding of them. Please share your own of course, but save the Michael Moore wisecracks.
Dan, my understanding of plinth is the non suspended 'chassis'. My apologies if I used the term incorrectly.

I do not slate non suspended tables. Suspension plays a very small part in my choice of table. It is all down to implementation. My posts were in response to Doug slating suspended tables and then motivating with one liners.

There seems to be this commonly accepted 'truism' that suspended tables are soft on bass and transients because their suspension allows the platter to 'give' way. That is simply ridiculous considering the effective mass of the platter assembly vs. that of the tonearm cart combination. Any movement caused by a rise or depression in the record groove will be manifested in the tonearm moving up or down. As such, both suspended and non suspended tables suffer this phenomena equally.

+++ If there is sufficient drag on the platter during dynamic passages there actually could be a rotational twisting reaction on the platter/bearing/plinth as well as the drive. +++

Dan, the drag required to cause that would probably cause the stylus to be ripped out of my Koetsu. I can report my Koetsu is still fine.

+++ Bodies in motion tend to stay in motion unless. . . yada, yada +++

Actually they do not. If they could, we would have perpetual movement machines that actually work. I can assure you, my TT is dead still ... always. It doesn't budge. The times I have (accidently) bumped it, it returned to equilibrium in second, with no stylus sliding across the LP.

BTW, I adjust my VTA on the fly every time a play an LP. In fact, I adjust a couple of times per LP and would consider buying an arm w/o this ability. Cannot fathom why you consider it an issue on suspended tables as I most certainly do not have the steadiest hands (or best eyesight) by a long shot.

I've tried both sprung and unsprung suspensions on the same TT (VPI TNT III.) The best result was achieved after converting the TT to a hard-mount suspension & coupling the plinth to a large dump for internally generated vibration(sandbox). The vibration dump was then decoupled from earth vibrations using heavy springs. This combination of coupling & decoupling made a larger difference than any other upgrade I've thrown into my analog front end. This includes comparing SME to Graham, Oracle to VPI, and BAT to Atma-Sphere.

Doubtless the sprung vs. unsprung debate will continue. A sprung TT is probably a manufacturer's best bet to accommodate the widest range of rack & room variables. An unsprung TT that is freed from rack & room variables is probably more difficult to design and more expensive to manufacture due to exotic laminate construction & massive structure. Fully integrated rack/TT system like Rockport are very expensive.

But in the end any TT is probably only as good as its platform.

Please could you explain to me who Michael Moore is?
Here in the UK this man is not a household name like he may be in the US?
I appologise however if my wording/sense of dialogue offends you.
My point was not so much about the blue pearl but about the Oracle versus Scheu in my own system.
I concluded that in my own system I obtained better results via the Oracle than i did with the scheu.
I was not however saying that it is a conclusively better deck,just that with what i use my preference was with the Oracle.
conversely i do agree with much that you say.
I choose to drive my Rock with an external motor using a non rubber belt?
This i feel gives greater security and solidity to the sound.
the result is quite subtle though.
There are instances that come into play which i feel we may have nearly all ignored!
Without reading this whole post again, has Hitari told us anything about how he intends to site the turntable?
this could have as much influence as the deck itself!
Where in the UK can i get to listen to one of your designs?
I'd love to hear one.

No offense taken. My request to leave Michael Moore out of this should not have been included in a response to you. Sorry if that confused things.

I haven't heard a Scheu, just its larger and more capable derivatives (Teres/Galibier/Redpoint). Those tables began life as a DIY Scheu knock-off project, but they've spent years refining and upgrading every component. There's little about any of them that's comparable to a Scheu any longer. They're now in another league in virtually every respect, including price of course.

Glad to hear you've tried an external motor and non-elastic belt and agree on the differences, more or less. ;-) My partner and I happen to be acutely sensitive to transient skewing, so for us it's one of those big deals. YMMV of course.

100% agree with your question about how Hitari plans to site his table. Could make a huge difference. I once tried some very thin rubber discs beneath the feet of my 80 lb. table, just to protect the wood rack surface. They softened transients in a way we found intolerable. Everything matters...

You mentioned that your listening group found that "too much" torque in the motor-platter coupling made the sound harsh. Chris's group has reported similar findings.

In our torque experiments (8 or 10 different drive belts, of which the familiar holographic mylar provided the maximum) we heard the same thing. The torque-ier the belt, the more the sound had a tendency to go "harsh".

However, our crazed habit of adjusting and recording SRA/VTA settings for each LP quickly led us to an important discovery. The problem is not "too much" torque. The problem is that different amounts of torque require different arm height settings. Get SRA/VTA right and there's no such thing as too much torque, at least up to the limits of our experiments to date. We'll test this further when Chris's rim drive motor arrives.

We have produced this result consistently and repeatably across many hundreds of LP's, with multiple drive belts. If you checked the notes on our oldest, most-played records, you'd observe a series of arm height settings. They're coded for the different belts we've advanced through. IN EVERY CASE, a change from one belt to any other belt required an identical change in arm height. If I pull out a record today that hasn't been played in a year or two, and so was last played with a less torquey belt, I can reliably calculate and dial in a new arm height based the old one, because there's a constant differential between each belt and the next.

The torque-ier the belt, the lower the arm must go, and by the same amount. We all know that lowering the arm reduces "harshness". This has worked consistently, with every belt, on every record.

We haven't yet heard too much torque and I'm not sure such a thing is possible. The exception would be if higher torque came with higher cogging, as Chris mentioned, but that wouldn't create sonic harshness. It would create waveform slewing and rebound, quite another thing to our ears.

Any thoughts?
The TT will be on a rack for the time being, but I will work diligently at isolation, be it on the rack, or on a dedicated shelf.

Anyone have an opinion on Acoustic Solid turntables? The One-to-One catches my eye. What little I can find is positive. Any thought here or via e-mail would be appreciated.
Intuitively, I have always thought that every technology has it's place, even within a given design. I have always had a hard time trusting a designer who espouses a one size fits all approach. It seems to me that implimenting layering of harder/lower mass to softer/higher mass plates with increasingly compliant interfaces as you get further from the plinth would be the way to go. This would allow evacuation of internal resonances to be optimized closer to the plinth, and disipation of them, and isolation from external resonances, further from the plinth. Somewhere, probably further from the plinth, the external motor would be coupled, but not so far as to inroduce too much compliancy between the motor and the platter.

Any thoughts on how best to minimize motor resonances in an external motor assembly? Is it better to decouple the motor from its housing with compliant material or to ridgedly couple the motor to the mass of the housing and isolating further downstream?



How is it possible that VTA is affected by belt torque? It would seem that truly proper VTA, as opposed to tonally judged VTA, would be a separate issue. It sounds like you're using a tone control to cover a problem.

Great question, which I've asked myself many times. Wish I had a good answer. I was hoping someone would come up with one!

Geoff Husband's theory is one possiblility. He believes tiny VTA/SRA changes are audible due to specific resonance frequency points in the arm/cartridge system. As torque changes it's likely those behaviors would change, requiring adjustment to re-minimize certain resonances. This doesn't really explain everything we hear, but neither does any other theory.

Regarding tonal balance, our reference cartridge does not change tonal balance with changes in arm height. Any ZYX UNIverse owner will tell you that its bass/treble balance do not change with VTA/SRA. Some lower resolution cartridges (like my Shelter 901 for example) do that. I could have used arm height as a tone control with that cartridge if I'd wanted to, though I never did. With a UNIverse it's not even possible .

With a good cartridge what changes with VTA/SRA, in Frank Schroeder's words, is the temporal integraton of fundamentals vs. harmonics. Paul calls it "temporal smearing" (or preferably the lack thereof).

When arm height is just right, each tonal component of a complex note occurs at just the right time relative to the other components. Temporal smearing is reduced and the note sounds integrated. If arm height is off, the fundamental occurs too early or too late relative to the harmonics, making the note sound either fuzzy (HF's too early) or dull (too late). In addition, peak amplitudes are reduced and waveforms are unnaturally extended in time, making each note sound slower and more rounded. This effect is most audible with LF notes.

Whatever we're doing with arm height, it has nothing to do with tone controls. Our ideal setting for an LP reveals more of the music, not less.

FWIW, the magnitude of height changes from one belt to another is not large. From the weakest belt we kept records for (1 mil mylar) to the strongest (2.2 mil mylar), the differential is 32/100ths of a turn on the TriPlanar's dial. That's an arm height change of just .0224". What's notable is the absolute repeatability in both direction and distance. I can't explain it, but I can hear it and repeat it.
Thanks Doug, for the clarification. I always thought of correct VTA in terms of focus, which is a simple way of dsaying what you describe, relating to the perfect mating of the sylus to the groove, which, at least with the fancier stylus designs, should be quite specific and seemingly independent of any other non-cartridge-alignment issue such as VTF and azimuth.

World without end...