Nude Turntable Project

I could not fit the whole story in this Forum so have had to add it to my System Page.
I am attempting to hear if a 'naked' DD turntable can sound as good as Raul claims.
Please click the link below to read the story.
Hi Henry

sounds like some fun.

first up I believe can's of mango sound better as they have a thicker syrup adding to isolation properties :-)

seriously, you need you get a correct 240 to 100vlt transformer. a friend of mine bought a micro seiki vintage table and it had an 220 stepdown and adding the correct 240 vlt made a world of difference. I use this one
see link

keep us informed on your progress
Thanks Shane,
You're right of course and if it sounds promising with the 220-100V transformer, that's the first change I'll make.

I don't think I've seen cans of mango at Coles but I'll try Ebay to hear the difference :-)
Dear Halcro: That Victor DD TT is very good ( It looks similar to a Denon DP-80 but I don't know if Denon made for Victor. ) and loks fine in naked fashion.

For begin with the tests that " can " could help ( maybe the Downunder mango can suggestion works better. ) but if you think that what you heard is something of good quality performance then you IMHO have to think in a dedicated tower tonearm board.

My Technics " experiment " is exactly like your Victor only with the AT footers instead your tip toes like ones and of course with a " mango " can arm board tower!

A friend of mine has his SP-10 MK2 with tip toes like and has successfull results..

Btw, in the other TT thread ask me for pictures of the naked SP-10 version that I can't do it because my camera is out of work but now with your picture-site everything is on " understand " status about.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Dear Raul,
Thanks for the advice.
Of course if the experiment has some success I will get some armboard Towers and will ask you for some help?

Regards and I AM enjoying the music with The Empire 4000D/III cartridge.
The formula: 4 footers + 2 towers = 1 plinth.

Dear Raul,

Please find a working camera to take pictures to post on the site. It would be interesting to see your rig to better understand of what you speak.


First problem encountered.
The Phantom II does not 'fit' against the TT-81 because of the extra 'banding' around the platter and the SME base to the Graham arm.

(It looks similar to a Denon DP-80 but I don't know if Denon made for Victor.)

JVC/Victor was one of the three major turntable manufactures, along with Technics and Sony, that made their turntables completely on their own. Other brands such as Denon had to rely on outside sources such as Micro Seiki or those "big three." It's about time people start giving JVC some credits and their DD tables are truly underrated. I'll take a JVC over Technics in the same price range any day! Enjoy the experiment.

That a bummer Halcro.

Buy a 12 inch arm wand from Bob - or use one of your other arms :-)
Up and running.
Took Downunder's advice and 'mounted' the 12" DaVinci Grandezza Ref.
Halcro. and?

You don't get away with not commenting if it sounds like pleasure or pain
Certainly not 'pain'.
In fact on first listen (despite the makeshift nature), this is surprisingly good sound.
I think HiHo may be right about JVC/Victor?
Halcro thats quiet the motor housing on that JVC Victor I believe member Tbone had one up for sale in a factory dual arm mount plinth

After listening for several hours to the 'Nude' TT-81 with various well-known albums, I have to say that it does not seem to suffer in any way in comparison to the Raven AC-3.
It's too hard to make any detailed comments or comparisons because:-
1. The TT-81 was on the floor
2. It didn't have the correct 240V-100V step-down transformer (which it now has)
3. It was played with an 'unrestrained' DaVinci Grandezza arm with a ZYX Universe LOMC whilst the Raven has a 'restrained' Continuum Copperhead with Empire 4000D/III Gold MM cartridge

What I heard was enough for me to make room on my wall-hung shelf for a permanent place for the TT-81 Here
whilst I design and build an arm-pod, find a tonearm to use and purchase a 2 metre length of low-capacitance phono cable.

The Project continues!
Dear Halcro: Good to know it's promising even in that less than " perfect " set up.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Dear Bpolleti: The set up is exactly as the Halcro only with different footers ( three of them. ).

The footers I'm using are a pneumatic ones by Audio Technica and you can see it in the picture " turntable 2 " in my virtual system, are the ones that were supporting the Micro Seiki RX-5000: in " picture 005 " you can see it too.

Those AT footers goes directly at the bottom SP10MK2 metal cover: no big deal.

regards and enjoy the music,
I have now designed the arm-pod which is being machined and have ordered 2.25 metres of Cardas Golden Reference phono cable with 5 Pin DIN and XLRs which is being made.
I have a pristine example of the Grace G-940 damped unipivot tonearm (on Raul's recommendation) Here
In 2 weeks hopefully, I'll be good to go?
Dear Halcro: Seems to me like you will have a lot of fun and enjoyment with this project, good!.

Btw, the Grace looks really nice.

regards and enjoy the music,
Well things never go smoothly do they?
After chasing some known arm-pods worldwide, I was shocked to learn that the basic cost of each one was $2000-$3000...and that's without the delivery costs, duty etc.
This lead me to design my own pods in solid brass (after all I am an Architect and solving design problems is my 'metier'?), however when I sent the drawings for pricing, I received quotes for $1500-$2000 as machined in brass and powder-coated!
Apparently this was because they had to cast the brass before machining it as there were no billets available of the correct size for immediate machining?
I then tried pricing for machining in stainless steel and still received prices of $1600!!?
I then tried a 'casting' price for brass (or bronze) and managed to get that down to $450 if I had 3 pods cast.
With the arrangement of the 'Nude TT-81', an arrangement of 3 or even 4 arms as satellites was certainly possible so I've just let that contract for the 3 arm-pods to be cast in solid bronze.
This will now take another 3 weeks.
Meanwhile, what I thought might be a relatively economical alternative to a modern high-end deck with high-end arm and LOMC cartridge, looks like getting a bit out of hand?

The TT-81 cost $350, the Grace G-940 arm was $460 and the Empire 4000D/III Gold was also $350 so for a total cost of $1160, I thought I could put together a total analogue system far cheaper than the cost a single high end LOMC cartridge?

Now the sickness has begun and with my requirement for placing the TT-81 so far from the Phonostage/Preamp, the long Cardas phono cable costs $900 and the armpods will end up costing $600 each.....and I need 3 of each to service my ever-growing 'madness'!!?

Now I have bought a Micro Seiki MA-505S tonearm and am still looking for another arm.
Additionally I'm also looking for headshells, silver wiring and additional cartridges!
Someone please STOP me!!?
At least you have the wherewithall to understand what you need and how to get it. Go for it, it's a great project!

I'm watching with interest and have similar thoughts about trying a nude direct drive table set-up.
Check out Reed arm pod.
Thanks for the encouragement Bpoletti.
I guess it's too late to stop?......but I am having fun.

I'm thinking of getting the Fidelity Research FR-64S tonearm. There is so much hype about this arm (especially among the Germans), and although it's a high mass arm and won't necessarily mate well with my MM/MI cartridges, i think I owe it to myself to hear this setup with a LOMC cartridge as well and I have a spare Universe cartridge that I can compare directly with the DaVinci setup on the Raven?

Does anyone have other suggestions for good vintage arms that I should look for?

Here's an update on some further purchases whilst I await the arm-pods
Jelco arms resemble vintage equipment. The SA-750 comes in a 12" version that would overcome the spindle-to-pivot issue. I'm currently playing with a SA-750D (9" version) that sounds pretty good with a Lyra Clavis Da Capo.
Halcro, a review of Raul's system should suggest a few good vintage arms. I bought a Technics EPA-100 on his advice - a very versatile arm. He also likes specific Fidelity Research, Micro Seiki, Audiocraft, Audio Technica and Lustre arms, but that is of little help without specific model numbers so check out his system.

Are the Jelco arms made by the same company who built the Audioquest and Sumiko Premier arms? I had a Premier FT-3 and while I would not say it was outstanding I did consider it to be very good - quality construction and finish, good bearings, adaptable to a wide range of cartridges, and reasonably priced, particularly now on the used market.
Yes, Jelco made the AQ and Sumiko arms. I have an FT-3 and it was pretty good once I applied the arm wrap from the Sumiko Analog Survival Kit. Works quite well with an AT-OC9ML.
I've just received the raw bronze castings for the arm-pods (see link).
I designed the pods to suit all the arms I'm familiar with so that the inside diameter hole is 55mm diameter which can take the thick VTA tower of the Continuum Copperhead arm whilst the cable entry/exit slot in the curved rear of the pod, allows for the Phantom II sideways connection din plug as it moves up and down on its VTA travels.

The pods are now off to the automotive paint shop for its 'piano black' polyurethane finish and the drilling and tapping of the spiked adjustable feet and the aluminium top plate.
Hopefully I will have the completed pods back in a week?

I also bought off EBay, the 'famous' Fidelity Research FR 64S tonearm (thanks Tuchan) with silver wiring and stainless steel armtube.
I will be able to hear for myself whether the hype about this arm is correct or if Raul and Ralph (Atmasphere) are correct in their assessments?
Cool. How would those pods be finished? An aluminum top plate would take care of the topside, but how about the sides? Also, how do you deal with arms which have a much smaller diameter mount?
Hi T_bone,
The aluminum top plate is 10mm (3/8") thick and comes with the correct sized hole pre-drilled for each arm and is screwed to the bronze arm-pod.
Each top plate costs a mere $90.00 so many arms can be accommodated by simply switching in the appropriate plate.
The 55 mm diam hole in the arm-pod is independent of the arm and it's top plate.
I hope this is clear enough but next week all will be revealed to answer your questions?

The quality of workmanship and finish on the Micro Seiki MA-505s which you recommended, leaves every other arm in the shade IMHO.....even the modern "high-tech"arms like the Phantom II, Copperhead and DaVinci Grandezza.
If it sounds as fine as it looks, I'll be very happy?

The sides of the pods will be smoothed and finished in 2 pack gloss black polyurethane paint.
Thanks. Kind of wondered how the side would be finished. I figured that was a possibility for the top plates but I thought I saw a singular so was wondering. I understand now and love the idea.

I like the Micro and think it 'punches above its weight' so to speak but even I would fade it against the modern "high-tech" arms you mention. That said, against its modern day price competition, it is great-sounding and great-looking to boot (assuming you don't mind the industrial aesthetic...).

We have LIFT-OFF!
Now a few weeks of heavy running in of cartridges, arms and cables before preliminary listening impressions?
Cool. Those armpods turned out nice.
Thanks T_bone. I'm pleased with them and initial listening tests are very promising.
Very cool Halcro. Nice collection of the nicest vintage tonearms and cartridges. Pls let us know how it compares to the raven.
Thanks Genesis168,
I will certainly be comparing the TT-81 to the Raven AC/3 but this comparison may be more than simply that?
Raul has helped me to realize that the great MM cartridges made 30 years ago, are more than just a match for the very latest and expensive LOMC cartridges of today. They are in fact IMHO, more natural,detailed, truthful and distortion-free than the very best MCs.

So who determined 35 or more years ago, that MM cartridges were deficient and that MC cartridges were inherently better?
And why did the audio press push this belief and why did the high end consumer swallow this propaganda?

Similarly with turntables. Who was it who decided that the simple belt-drive method was inherently better than idler-drive and direct-drive? And again.......why did the audio press (especially in England) push this concept?

And who was it who suddenly determined that 'bent' tonearms with detachable headshells were poor sounding devices and straight arms with fixed headshells sounded better?
Did anyone actually listen to the best of the 'bent' arms and compare their new fixed straight arms to them?

With so much actual feedback now available via the Internet, there is evidence that the last 30-40 years of so-called technological development in high-end audio may be nothing more than marketing, PR and promotion by people and companies with self-serving interests?

This Project may shed some light on some of these questions?
Pods look great! Excellent multi-arm set-up. Very kewl. Could you post what carts are being used on which arms? Do you have a "modern LOMC" on one of the arms for comparison to the mm/mi carts?
Halcro, Raul is correct about many things. A good mm cartridge is actually very good and satisfying sounding and much easier and less fussy than a LOMC to setup. Vintage turntables and tonearms are no worse than today's great design. The Japanese made 12" and on the fly VTA way back some 40 yrs ago and it is not anything new.

Yes, these are also many good designs today as with tonearms, carriages and tables a but it is wrong to slag off the vintage components our beloved magazines did to protect the industry. Now people are starting to wake up. Good luck in your test and let us know.
While I use and love several of the arms mentioned here, and several other vintage arms not mentioned, I think suggesting that they are 'no worse than today's great design' is not facing reality. There are some fantastic designs out there right now. I think the Triplanar is a beautiful design (not physically beautiful, but in craft-engineering accomplishment). I wouldn't mind a Talea either. That said, the sum total spent by Halcro on his three arms is, I expect, a fair bit less than one used Triplanar.

I, for one, have not completely moved over to the camp of MMs. I think lots of different carts get it right, not just MMs. But there are some nice old ones.
Of course there are many great designed tonearms today. I am not disputing that. There are also many great designed vintage tonearms as there are cartridges and tables too. Why are people going back to garrards, technics etc? Micro seikis were almost unheard by "most magazine reading audiophiles" in north america 15 yrs ago compared to now.
Dear Halcro: Looks really gorgeous that whole set up, congratulations!.

I think that even that certainly you already have a good performance set up I think that you even that have " land to explore " not only on the set up fine tunning but with some " little " changes/tests here and there. These are some experiences about with my naked Technics SP-100:

- I try those tiptoes like footers in both positions and I liked a little more in up side down position ( point at the TT bottom cover.

- Than's that I found the AT pneumatic footers I made a comparison against the tiptoes ones and in my place I like the more the AT: footers.

- My arm pod was not so pretty like the ones you own but certainly works. I test here too with some tiny footers for the arm pod. I think could be interesting that you could think about, it makes a difference.

- right now I don't have mounted/on system's place the nake Technics due that I want to make some tests with my Denon's ( DP-80/75 , that are very similar in appeareance to the TT-81. ) and the Technics but with out bottom plate/cover.
This is something that you could try in the future.

A lot of fun and I think worth to try this NUDE project.

regards and enjoy the music,
I started with the Empire 4000D/III on the Grace 904, the Empire 1000ZE-X on the Micro 505s and the ZYX Universe on the FR-64s. I then switched to the ATT155LC on the FR-64s and the AT-20ss on the 505s.
I've put back the Universe on the FR-64s and plan to attach the Dynavector XV-1s to the FR-64s later today.

Fear not........I am trying to cover all bases here?
Thanks for your encouragement. It was you who planted the idea for this whole experiment and I am enjoying it and learning a great deal about TTs, arms and cartridges.
The reason I can't turn the TipToes upside down is because the base of the cones need to be positioned directly under the centreline of the vertical metal wall enclosure of the TT-81 so that no structural 'moment' is induced which allows the turntable to 'flex'.
I tried the Tiptoes positioned inboard slightly so that they were flush with the wall of the enclosure and there was so much 'moment' induced in this off-set, that you could physically twist the turntable by holding the top and rotating.
In the current arrangement, there is no movement possible whatsoever but I am looking at maybe trying StillPoints instead but they are mighty expensive to simply 'try'?
My armpods are on adjustable steel 'spikes' which are necessary to 'level' them but also to transfer the immense load (26 lbs) onto 3 infinitesimal points so that they become immovable when using the arms.
This works a treat as I am able to pull, adjust, and change headshells without the slightest risk of even minute movement of the pods.

Regards and many thanks Raul
Genesis168, I agree with you and would go even further.
There are turntables and arms made 30 years ago that are demonstrably better than even the very top models of today's designs IMO.

Imagine an arm today that not only has VTA 'on the fly' but also has Anti-Skate 'on the fly' and also VTF 'on the fly'?
That not only has hydraulic arm 'lowering' but also hydraulic arm 'raising' and both static and dynamic balancing AND inter-changeable headshells?
Well the Micro Seiki MA505s from 30 years ago has it all and is built like the pre-war Leica cameras.
Oh....and it sounds very nice as well.
Until you hear the very best MM cartridges that Raul is helping us find, on the best-matched low-mass arms designed for such high compliance cartridges, you will not experience the sound that has made Raul embark on this campaign?

And from my experience, the very best 'modern' tonearms are simply not designed to match these high-compliance cartridges?

I have personally conversed with 3 of today's top turntable and arm designers/manufacturers (no names), and do you know what arms they invariably use to compare their designs to?.......the Graham arms and in particular the Phantom. They will also listen to the Triplanar in comparison.
Not one of them mentioned listening to any 'vintage' arms in their design comparisons nor did any of them do any serious listening with MM/MI cartridges?
They all used LOMC cartridges to 'voice' their arms with one of them admitting to 'voicing' his arms using Lyra cartridges particularly the Olympos and Titan.

Now T_bone, if you've ever mounted a high compliance MM cartridge in a Phantom arm, you will know that it is not a match made in Heaven? And yet this is the arm that some of the top modern-day designers are using as their 'Reference'?

If a current arm designer does not listen to his arm in comparison to a perfectly working FR-64s or FR-66s (with silver wiring), then progress in arm design is still a long way off IMHO?
I have been using the Technics EPC-100CMk1-4 and the EPC-101C for years as well as one of the well-mentioned Empires and a couple of the Graces. I have tried some of the AT MMs, other Empires, and the Garrott P77 (and probably one or two others) as a result of this thread. I have also been prompted to try out some of the Graces not mentioned here) and have enjoyed them immensely.

I have mounted those carts on a variety of vintage (i.e. contemporary to the carts) arms of the period, where possible specifically matching the armwand or arm to the specific cartridge where specified in the tonearm manufacturer's literature (several tonearm manufacturers specifically refer to specific cartridges (by manufacturer and model) in their manuals). I don't THINK I have done these carts an injustice. I have in the past couple of years compared some of these carts to some of the great MCs of the day as well - the top-level Audio Technicas (I like the low impedance models), Supex, Audiocraft, Accuphase, Fidelity Research, Sony, old Koetsu, etc. carts. Since discovering one of the best MC headamps of the time, I now understand that it is eminently possible MC detractors are not getting enough out of their MC cart.

Personally, my desert island top three of vintage carts (i.e. from the time of those tonearms, and assuming all were equally repairable) to match with those vintage arms would p-r-o-b-a-b-l-y include three MC carts. I have yet to get my AKG P100E fixed.

I just got the bearings on one of my EPA-100Mk2 tonearm changed to grade 3 silicon nitride (rather than grade 5 ruby) and the tonearm rewired with a silver litz run to silver eichmann plugs (i.e. straight to phono input). I am looking forward to trying some of the MM carts on this arm, as it may become the lowest-friction highest-rigidity tonearm available to me for medium-high-compliance carts.
Sorry T_bone,
I didn't intend to denigrate your experience with vintage MM cartridges although re-reading my post I can understand if that was your impression?
Rather I was dubious about your admiration for the design of 'modern' tonearms?

I too a few years ago, approached this subject thinking that the new tonearms must be better than the old due to increased technology and knowledge however my recent experiences are leading me to agree more readily with Dertonarm's view that very little new has been uncovered (as opposed to discovered) about the real principles of tonearm design since the 70s and 80s except for perhaps making them more easily adjustable?.....but even that is dimmed slightly by the MA 505 example.

My apologies again and as always, individual experiences may differ?
No problem. I use vintage tonearms and carts almost every day that I listen. I have a dozen (or more) old arms. I have two "new" ones (Phantom and Triplanar VII) but I am very happy with the Exclusive arm on my P3, the excellent Sony PUA-9 (creative name, eh?) arm on my Sony deck, SAEC/EPA/FR/Micro/Victor/Audiocraft/Ikeda arms on my Micros, and others. FWIW, I think the Triplanar is a truly fantastic arm for LOMCs. Is it better than the Micro MA-505? I think all told it probably is. But is it better value for money bought new vs buying an MA-505? Not a chance. I think the Micro is one of the best values going.
These are the two turntables under review.

Is the modern-day Raven with its three state-of-the-art modern arms, eight times better than the 30 year old Victor TT-81 with its three vintage arms?
Not in my opinion.

Is the modern-day big Raven better head-to-head with the ‘nude’ vintage Victor TT-81?
Not in my opinion.

Could the ‘nude’ Victor TT-81 DD turntable actually be better than the modern high-end belt-drive Raven AC-3?
Please read on…………

The ‘germ’ for this Project came from an exchange of Posts on Audiogon about the relative merits of different plinth materials for the ‘infamous’ vintage Technics SP10 MKIII DD turntable.
Different woods were discussed together with slate and Panzerholtz, all of which apparently, changed the sound of the SP10 MKIII.
Raul, a rather ubiquitous poster on this site, provocatively claimed that to his ears the SP10 sounded better without any plinth?

Now for several years I have been following the claims of various groups of audiophiles for the advantages of idler/rim-drive turntables and direct-drive turntables over the generally accepted supremacy (of the High-End Audio Industry), for belt-drive.
Having started in audio with a cheap Technics DD turntable 32 years ago I had progressed rapidly to belt-drive with a Rega Planar 3 and had auditioned Linns and a SOTA Star Sapphire in my system during that time.
I must confess with some embarrassment, that I have never been able to hear dramatic differences between most decently made turntables and that includes the Continuum Caliburn and the Rockport Sirius III.
In fact I’m generally at a loss to understand how others are able to differentiate the ‘sound’ of the turntable from that of the arm/cartridge combination in an unknown system?
So those readers who claim to be able to, can ignore the rest of this report content in the confirmation that I am (and always have been), a cloth-eared dolt?
I have always heard far more dramatic differences in cartridges and to a lesser extent, various arms although as most analogue lovers acknowledge, the arm/cartridge synergy is an inseparable entity?

This comment from Raul about the Technics SP10 sounding fine to him without a plinth germinated in my mind a plan, which might allow me to hear the sound of a vintage DD turntable without the expense of purchasing a respected plinthed Technics, Pioneer or Denon?

I found a 30 year-old Victor TT-81 on Ebay and the story as it developed, is described in this Forum.

I took a long time to evaluate many cartridges on many arms spanning both turntables so as to be quite sure of my impressions and conclusions.

The first thing I noticed about the TT-81 DD turntable was the distinct absence of ‘colouration’ or ‘signature sound’.
I recall in his review of the Raven AC-3 in TAS 2008, Jonathan Valin commented on its rich and beautiful sound but intimated that ‘every’ record was projected with this richness and beauty (no such bad thing?).
In other words, the table itself seemed to ‘overlay’ a euphonic colouration.

It’s not that one is aware of this occurrence unless one is able to directly compare the presentation to another table (in Valin’s case, the Walker Black Diamond).
The downside to this colouration is that differences in cartridges and tonearms are harder to differentiate. Indeed, even changes to arm geometry, VTA, VTF and azimuth are harder to discern.

With the TT-81, suddenly even the slightest change to VTA, VTF or azimuth is instantly noticeable.
Cartridge and arm differences were clearly and repeatedly discernable whilst with the Raven, they seemed subtle and often minor.

The second thing that became apparent with the TT-81 was a slightly more rhythmic presentation to the music.
This is hard to accurately describe but on ‘Easy Skankin’ from the Bob Marley album Kaya, the Raven had a more ‘laid-back’ beat whilst the TT-81 drove it forward on the ‘front foot’ so to speak.
Which one is more correct I’m not sure. Each one is perfectly listenable, but it does, over time, become apparent that rock music in particular, has a ‘punchier’ snap to the beat and off-beat. This does get the feets a’tappin.

The third difference was to me, the most convincing yet I’m at a loss to explain or understand it?
We are all aware that with live music (whether acoustic or amplified), when the volume and/or complexity increases, the “air” seems to expand to accommodate the increased volume without distortion.
With home audio on the other hand, the louder and more complex the music becomes, the more ‘constricted’ the “air” seems to become with an increase in perceived distortion?
I’d always associated this phenomenon with speaker limitations, listening room limitations, amplifier clipping or recording-source overload?
With the TT-81 however (especially with MM cartridges), when the volume/complexity increased, the “air” seemed to increase just as it does in the live event?
It wasn’t totally as unlimited as ‘live’, but it was the damn closest I have yet heard.
Could it be the torque and power of the DD turntable ‘pushing’ the vinyl past the stylus thus overcoming the increased friction of the more heavily modulated grooves of the loudest/complex passages whilst the belt-drive turntable does not have that advantage?

I am not going to describe all the ‘new’ sounds and instruments I discovered on familiar discs. Those clichés are so meaningless I sometimes wonder if the reviewer heard any instruments when he first bought the disc?
Nor am I going to tell you how wonderful all my favourite tracks sounded on the TT-81 compared to the Raven AC-3. Comparing degrees of ‘wonderfulness’ must surely be an exercise in self-abuse and in any case, a wonderfully recorded track will often sound ‘wonderful’ on many systems, even poor ones.
I have a far more revealing test which involves well recorded but demanding source material which can sound unlistenable on any but the very best systems (
Now the tracks….”Alabama” and “Words” on Neil Young’s “Harvest” album are a real favourite of mine to test a ‘system’.
So unlistenable have they sometimes sounded on various systems (including mine), that wives have literally vapourised like banshees down hallways shrieking at the pain.
The very ‘best’ I have managed to extract out of these two tracks on the Raven was with the Empire 4000D/III on the Copperhead arm with cartridge/arm geometry set to the micron.
At that stage, the tracks were listenable but still never ‘enjoyable’.

On the TT-81 with all three arms fitted with MM cartridges, these tracks were finally able to be understood in respect to their recording techniques and became ‘almost’ enjoyable…….no shrieking wives to be seen or heard.
The climax to Respighi “Pines of Rome” (LSC-2436) was suddenly understandable as his attempt at a musical ‘orgasm’ and with the TT-81 there were no distortions.
The Arnold “Overture to Tam O’Shanter” on Witches Brew (LSC-2225) was handled with ease and aplomb whilst the Prokofiev “Love for Three Oranges Suite” on Mercury SR-90006 45RPM was shocking and startling instead of ‘shocking and unbearable’.
Another test in this regard is to play side 3 of the original Apple recording of the Beatles “White Album” without squirming?

In other words it was no contest in this regard which I prize rather highly.
The TT-81 crushed the Raven.

I had read reports that suggested the bass performance of DD turntables was not generally as good as belt-drives?
With the TT-81, the bass went lower than the Raven AC-3, with more control and better definition whilst the highs were simply ethereal. Now the bass of the Raven is renowned as being amongst the best and deepest of modern turntables so another myth bites the dust?
When Michael Fremmer claimed that most turntables’ bass performance seemed to directly reflect their weight (ie the heavier the table, the better the bass performance), he obviously hadn’t encountered the Victor TT-81?

Soundstage?….front to back?…side to side?
I heard no appreciable differences between the two tables and really I find this attribute to be more related to the cartridge than the turntable.

What I really love about the TT-81 and the three vintage arms I have, is the ‘instant’ start-up and ‘stop’ of the platter and the easy switching of headshells with cartridges.
Until you experience this ‘blessing’, you won’t believe that you struggled with changing cartridges on modern arms without a word of complaint?

I really love ‘rave’ reviews….even when they seem to go OTT so here goes………
To test this $300 thirty year old turntable against the $18,000 Raven AC-3 is one thing.
Let’s bring in some real competition!!!

Here is the Continuum Caliburn with Cobra arm and Lyra Olympos cartridge which costs $120,000 without the Castellon stand and is rated by Michael Fremmer as the greatest turntable/arm combination he has ever heard.
With the TT-81 and the Grace 940G with the Technics EPC100 Mk3 and custom arm-pod, the cost is $2,360 and although it was not possible to listen in the same room through the same system, there was simply ‘daylight’ between the two sounds.
The TT-81/Grace/Technics combination trounced Goliath (much to the chagrin of Goliath’s owner).

When I began this Project, I really hoped to spend a couple of thousand dollars to hear the differences between belt-drive and direct-drive turntables and also to end up with some ‘cheap’ vintage tonearms.
What has eventuated is the creation of an analogue playing system, the likes of which I have never heard equaled anywhere.

I know nothing about the Technics SP10 Mk2 or Mk3 turntables and their similarity or otherwise to the Victor TT-81.
The fact that most users agree that they sound better in some form of plinth is persuasive (although if every plinth material and thickness changes the ‘sound’ why is that not a ‘colouration’?)

The TT-81 sounds simply ‘perfect’ naked. If anyone can explain to me (logically and scientifically) why wrapping a plinth around this turntable will make it better, I’d be interested?

For the here and now I must conclude that Raul has a valid viewpoint about his ‘nude’ DD turntable preference… least in relation to the TT-81.
Hi Halcro,

I rarely post in Audigon, I have done this just once.
This is one of the best posts ever written about TT comparison and I include all the forums. I'm in a search more or less like yours and I'll share my findings in due time along 2011.
Congratulations for the way you managed your project.



I am simply speechless. Well written post reflecting stark honesty. No cliche's, no BS.

I have been reading about rogress in building this nude TT project and it certainly seems your uncompromising dedication and $$ cost really paid off.

A lot of credit goes to Raul also, obviously

Halcro, outstanding review. I agree fully with the other two complements (so far) on your efforts.

However I must express one disappointment. You stated the "germ" for your project was the discussion on different plinth materials for DD tables. So then you found and assembled a DD system that was more satisfying than your reference belt-drive table. Fair enough. But unless I misunderstood your intentions, you ended up comparing a belt-drive system against a DD one. And this says nothing about how your "nude" Victor would compare against a plinthed Victor, aside from your comments speculating that any of the plinths changing sound with different materials would actually be colorations.

Apparently it was not your intent but I was hoping to see a comparison of nude VS plinthed tables.