nice table indeed.rega or nottingham arm. cartride is purly up to you..more good ones than bad ones....
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I have a 294 with shelter 901.I had a regular spacedeck with shelter 501.The 294 seems to trounce the old set-up:speed stability seems better,problem records seem to play more smoothly,surface noise greatly reduced(maybe cartridge has alot to do with that),overall it seems much more like Cd playback,in a good way,less analog artifacts,just more trouble free music.
Plus it looks absolutely killer in person.
I have the Space Deck 294 set up with the 12" Ace Space arm and the new Dynavector 17D3.
This set up was selected based on several auditions of various deck/arm/cartridge combo's put together by Jay at Audio Revelation (an audiogon merchant).
This combo suited my ears, equipment and budget best.
I recently auditioned a 294 and a standard Spacedeck side by side.
The 294 was fitted with the 12" Ace arm and a Koetsu rosewood cartridge. The Spacedeck was fitted with the 9" Space Arm and a Lyra cartridge (not exactly sure which one, but I could figure it out if you really need to know).
I originally came into the store to compare the Spacedeck with the Horizon. I didn't realize the Horizon is being discontinued.
I listened to the Spacedeck first, and it sounded excellent. For someone who's not really listened to vinyl in many years, it was an eye (and ear!) opening experience. I guess I just didn't realize how much fuller vinyl sounds compared to CD in a high-end system. The test LP was jazz -Coltrane (but not one I had familiarity with). I was sold... I thought.
Then I saw the 294 and inquired about it. We played the same LP on the 294 and it sounded like a whole different record. It was just a much fuller reproduction. The base was deeper and more defined. The sound was bigger and more musical, more forward sounding. And there was more dimension, definition and air around the instruments. It was just a bigger sound all around.
We then played the same LP back on the standard Spacedeck one more time. The music sounded much leaner -a bit more dry, not as defined. I think the Spacedeck is a beautiful sounding table (don't get me wrong!). Hell, I was ready to buy it before I walked in the door.
But having listened to the 294 and the Spacedeck side by side, my purchasing decision was made. I ordered the 294 on the spot, but with a slightly less expensive Koetsu Black.
I think it's important to note that the same electronic (tubes)/speaker setup was used.
Though, I'm sure the cartridge pairings biased the sound, and ultimate my decision. I really didn't plan to go with such an expensive cartridge. But the sound was so liquid and warm, I couldn't resist.
[Fellow audiogoners know.... this stuff's like heroin.]
I have Maggies (3.6) and big VTL tubes at home. I feel confident that the 294 with the Koetsu Black is going to raise my listening pleasure to a whole new level.
I agree with Jbcortes. I have not personally heard the 294, but have owned two versions of the Spacedeck. I now have the newer version with the taller platter and Ace-Space arm. This table benefits greatly from placing it on a Neuance shelf instead of the faux marble platform. Two more things I have found that improve the performance are the Boston Audio Mat-1 and moving the motor to the front as opposed to the left rear.
I listened to the 294 and Ace Space when they first came out. Both with Shelter 501 going through an Aesthetix Rhea phono stage and the same system. Had to think awhile and was not sure I heard a significant difference so I ordered an Ace Space. Upon waiting for the Ace space I had a chance to hear it against a space deck with the upgraded Ace Space arm, again did not hear a diffence so changed the order to the Spacedeck. I think that perhaps the 294 does have more to offer when going to a more reveiling cart. than the 501 but with it they were all pretty even. I think that the last of the SpaceDecks with the new arm were the best buy noting that as everything else went up in price with the drop in the dollar the Spacedeck has not seen a bump up in the last few years. Oddly I recently listened to a hyperspace with the new 12" arm, Dynavector cart and much more expensive equip. (except the phono stage) and it really disappointed. I liked each of the individual components of the demo system but they did not play well with each other. SYSTEM matching is the key.
PS, mine came with the box though set up by the dealer. No special markings.
Just purchased 294 yesterday, still have not decided the cartridge yet. What you guys think about Zu 103 DL (US400), 14 Grames? Do you hink the 294 tonearm can handle it ?
It has got a rave review in the Stereophile lately.
I have a limited budget at the moment, but may straight up to Dynaveor 17 D, or Sheletr 501 MKII, if it is worthwhile.
Thanks a lot.
Just to share with you.
Found one on Vinyl Assylum:::
Posted by jbcortes (A ) on March 5, 2008 at 03:47:56
In Reply to: Nottingham 294 Tonearm Options posted by selfdivider on March 4, 2008 at 18:09:37:
I use a Brinkmann 12.1, I've always been a big fan of Brinkmann products. It's expensive, but makes the 294 sound absolutely state of the art. I listen to the same kind of music as you. Nottingham's tonearm can still be used provided you don't mind approximative build quality, VTF changing each time you touch the arm, too much movement at the pivot and an ill-adjusted counterweight. Despite all of this, it still managed to sound musical. But it won't do justice to the 294, which is a great turntable provided you give it a little bit of attention. I also replaced the mat with a Boston Audio and removed the plinth underneath to place the TT straight on a very solid rack. It went from sounding good (stock unit) to very good (with Boston mat and without plinth) to absolutely stunning (with the Brinkmann). The Moerch is also used quite often by dealers who feel NA tonearms are not built up to the same standards are their tables. I've never heard one though.
Anyway, the 294 is indeed great, very beautiful, a joy to use and built to last. Treat yourself and get one. You can upgrade arm et cartridge in the future, this table will accept very high-end partners.