Since they are available locally I assume that you can actually listen to them even if in very different systems which of course would complicate the matter.
Also while you are visiting the dealer try to work the tables and arms by yourself to get a physical feel fot the things. It might just come down to your preferences. Nottingham sounds big, emotional and confident; a little on the warm and dark side of neutral. Spacearm will not like heavy low compliant moving coil cartridges.
I have original Spacedeck/Spacearm and like them a lot. Not familiar with Wilson Benesch. My system and music I prefer are quite different from yours.
I would agree with the description offered by Inna for the Nottingham. I have a spacedeck with the newest arm and an odd but great bearing and like it a lot. I was really surprised by benefit of the heavy kit. I also upgraded the base it sits on with a Silent Running Audio base that was designed specifically for this TT. So, a lot of options for growth if you see fit.
Another happy Nottingham owner. I originally bought the 294 with heavy kit and have since upgraded to the Ana-log. As mentioned, the Notts are not the table for those looking for extreme neutrality. They have a romantic sound that is slightly dark. Some like the Nott tonearms and some don't. I use the spacearm with a mono cartridge in a dual tonearm configuration. My primary stereo tonearm is a SME 312 which I prefer. I think Notts are extremely well built, musical and provide good value.
Many thanks for the helpful and informative replies. It is noteworthy that the first 3 are from happy Nottingham owners!
Aside from Nottingham and WB, would you consider Avid or Thorens (td-350) in the same league as the NA or WB?
Another Nott head chiming in. My sonic evalution of my Hyperspace pretty much fits the descriptions already given in this thread. I mate it with a Basis Vector 1 arm and Transfiquration Temper Supreme cartridge. The addition of the Wave Mechanic speed control was a must for my area.
Yes, Wave Mechanic motor controller can make a big difference. I don't have it yet. One can get it directly from the UK with no or insignificant customs fees; divineaudio.co.uk
For myself I would see no reason to consider anything else within this price range. Nottingham Spacedeck has been around for over 30 years and has a cult following.
If you go much higher, say, $10k for new table/arm, then yes I would listen to a few including Fletcher Audio Omega 5 table with Zero arm which were the latest creations of Tom Fletcher, the designer of Nottingham, though I am not sure it is sold in the US.
Another Nott fan here in Virginia.
I had the original Spacedeck/Arm and now have newer version with the Ace-Space arm. I am using a (now out of production) Neuance shelf in lieu of the standard supplied platform. I love this table and have no forseeable plans to move into something else.
I have never tried the Wave Mechanic, but a few years ago I did try a VPI SDS motor controller. I thought it degraded the sound and didn't seem to have enough voltage to keep the low torque motor moving. You could literally stop the platter with a carbon fiber brush. I didn't keep the SDS long.
VPI controller is no good for Nottingham. Walker might be excellent, I don't know.
Does AceSpacedeck/Acearm sound significantly better than the originals that you had? What cartridge did/do use use?
I wouldn't say it's a significant improvement, but it was noticeable. I am using a Benz L2, and used this on the original deck.
Thanks for all the useful info! It looks like the current NA Ace Spacedeck is the sweet spot in the NA line, and definitely on my short-list.
Any opinions regarding Ace Spacedeck vs. Space 294 (and the tracking advantages of a 12" vs a 9" arm), or is choosing between them closer to splitting hairs? The difference in price easily pays for an Ortofon M2 Black:-)
I bought some vinyl today for the first time since the 1980's - a Rhinovinyl 180g pressing of 'John Coltrane My Favorite Things', and a 180g Doxy pressing of 'Thelonious Monk & John Coltrane at Reeves Sound Studios in NYC'. I guess I'm committed!
Next comes the TT:-)
Ortofon may be a little lean and bright for your taste of music. Also consider Goldring 1042, again from divineaudio.co.uk, Garrott dynamic coil, a few models, from decibelhifi.com in Australia, Nagaoka 500 - maybe a little too warm and not dynamic enough, and yes Benz cartridges if it is compatible with your phono stage. The cheapest and light Lyra might work well too and should be very clear and dynamic.
I cannot answer your question but instinctively would go for the improved original Spacedeck/Spacearm.
Be very careful when putting the cartridge in the arm if you do it yourself, tonearm wires are very fragile. Hold the tonearm wires and move the cartridge towards them not the other way around.
For what it is worth, I live a few miles away from the North American Distributor (The Analog Room in San Jose)and hang out there quite a bit. The owner (Brian) thinks the "sweet spot" in the Nottingham line-up is definately the 294. Great bang for the $. You can then add the Heavy Kit and Wave Mechanic power supply down the road and you should be all set for a long time.
I had a 294 (with heavy kit) and traded up for a Ana-log. While I believe the Ana-log is a better table the 294 is IMO the better value and is the table I have recommended the most.
One more thing. If you decide to get Nottingham you should definitely try Boston Audio Mat-1 or Mat-2 record mat instead of that stock foam mat. They have a return policy so no risk. Many Nott owners use it, me included.
As you can see, even in this short thread there is a community spirit among Nottingham owners.
Another recommendation for the Mat-1. I have had one for years and it is far superior to the stock foam cell mat. Thanks for reminding me of that Inna.
Many thanks again! The Mat-2 sounds like the perfect addition to a NA Space 294 TT.
NA owners seem to be a very collegial group indeed - it must be the soul soothing effect of good music played well at 33 1/3 rpm :-)
In terms of carts, my dealer carries Benz Micro, Ortofon, Sumiko, and Van den Hul (plus I think Clearaudio). This will be the next learning curve...
I am on my third Benz L2. I love this cartridge and just keep coming back to it every time. I tried the Shelter 501, and that wasn't a good match. I tried an Ortofon, too lean. The Dynavector DV-20 is nice too.
Shakeydeal, if I may ask, what kind of music do you prefer?
I was about to replace my enty level Dynavector with something better but ran into Redgum integrated amp and spent all my available funds on it. So cartridge upgrade has to wait for a while. I seek full, coherent and dynamic sound.
I listen to blues, classic rock, jazz and bluegrass. Occasionally I will listen to classical.
I'll chime in on the mat issue. I tried the Boston Audio Mat 1, a cork mat, a copper mat from TT weights, and no mat. In the end, believe it or not, I prefered the cheap felt mat that came with the Nott TT's. My (subjective) impression is that the more expensive mats added some detail and clarity at the expense of some liquidity. I'm sure this is very system dependent. Overall, I spent about $400 trying different things out and ended up back where I started. Live and learn.
This is interesting. But you have Anna Log table and high resolution speakers. So..live and learn, right.
Strange. I found that using no mat at all and adjusting for VTA came in 2nd place behind the BA Mat. The foam cell mat was a distant third to my ears.
I have to keep the table on the floor between speakers and for now use stock platform with Mapleshade rubber/cork feet. Not much of the external vibration, but I am sure this set-up can be improved. SRA must be very expensive and Neuance is no longer made. Anyone using maple or some other wood platform? Or Symposium platform?
As a sideline, I use Boston Audio tuneblocks under spiked speakers, integrated amp and cd player to excellent result.
In terms of carts for the Space 294, some options available to me would be:
- Sumiko Blackbird
- Benz Micro Glider
- Ortofon M2 Black (which some have already advised against).
Any thoughts on the above choices (or others by the same manufacturers at similar or lower prices)?
I would choose Benz Glider, but that's me. It is not exactly that I advised against Ortofon, I just said a word of caution. Also, I am unfamiliar with Luxman's phono. In any case, give a cartridge at least 50 hours to break in.
I owned a Glider for several years and later experience has taught me it was nothing special. I also owned the predecessor to the Sumiko Blackbird, the Blue Point Special... feh. In general, I have come to prefer MM or MI cartridges to high output MC cartridges like Sumiko and Glider. In the same price class, you might consider Clearaudio Virtuoso Wood. Though I have never heard it, it has received rave reviews on the MM thread. Plus, it will have a high output suitable for your phono stage. Also, I am a fan of Ortofon, though I have not heard the 2M Black; I bet it's good. Finally, do not ignore SoundSmith MI cartridges in that price range.
Owner of Hyperspace and Spacedeck (with heavy platter) here. I love these guys and that's why I have both of them. You can't go wrong with them.
I'm using a Living Voice Mystic Mat on the Hyperspace but I wonder if that is really necessary since the graphite platter should do the job. Any one use a mat on their Hyperspace as well?
Shsohis, I've never used or even tried a mat on my Hyperspace. I guess a trial run wouldn't hurt. What did you hear you gained and or lost if anything with your mat?
When I setup the Hyperspace, I simply did so with the mat but I'll like to hear without the use of a mat.
Problem is both my digital and Shure gauges are higher than a typical record so that makes fine adjustment of loading force almost impossible. Any ideas?
Silly question, but is the VTA adjustment on Nottingham arms sufficient to accommodate the 5mm thick Boston Audio Mat 2?
This is not a silly question at all. You would want to adjust VTA depending on how you want your music to sound, it will also depend on chosen cartridge and thickness of records which varies. Some people even want to be able to change VTA during the playback. So..Boston Audio has a 30 day money back guarantee, at least if you buy directly from them. No risk really, you will just have to try. You might even order both Mat 1 and Mat 2 and compare. In fact, that's exactly what I would do if I planned to buy new.
The BA Mat 1 or 2 sound like a better option than the stock felt mat supplied by Nottingham, and it sounds like the VTA adjustment can accomodate the additional 3 to 5mm of extra height.
Mat 1 would be a direct replacement of the stock mat in terms of height, both are 3mm thick.
Some company, don't know who, makes a device for Nottingham arm to be able to adjust the VTA "on the fly", that's while the record is playing. I personally never bothered.
It may actually come down to personal preferences whether you like Mat 1 or Mat 2 more.
Something very new to consider: Inspire hifi 'Monarch'
I have finally ordered a TT - the Nottingham 294 with matching 12" arm.
I have listened to several carts and narrowed the choice down to either a Benz Micro L2 wood (or a BM Copper), and an Ortofon Cadenza Black. I heard these in two different systems but could not compare them directly. I was able to listen to 2 or 3 carts in each system and thus narrow the choices. I was able to listen to a Transfiguration Axis, VDH Grasshopper, and a Sumiko - but did not like any of these as much as the BM L2 and Ortofon Cadenza Black. I also heard a Transfiguration Phoenix in a third system, but there were too many variables to come to any conclusion other than the whole system, including the cart, sounded wonderful.
I am very close to making a decision - does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions regarding the above carts?