Own a TW-Acustic Raven One?

Do you own a TW-Acustic Raven One? What are your impressions so far? What did it replace? How does it compare to the VPI tables; the Aries 3, SuperScoutMaster?
No owners of the Raven One around? How about opinions on this table vs the VPI tables? Heard these tables and able to voice some comparisions?
VPI do not make a table that will compete with a TW Raven One....
i have one and i heard an aries 3 but not in the same environment. i chose the raven. there's alot more info on pink fish. most of those listeners are european so not many compared to vpi. many of them are ex-linnies as i am.
Stiltskin is correct.

The Raven One is heads and tails above anything VPI makes.

And you're not stuck with a VPI tonearm.

what were the differences you heard between the two? What was it about the Raven that you liked so much better than the Aries?
Bill, you know that you aren't "stuck" with VPI's arms on their tables. All can be ordered without an arm. That being said, I've never heard the Raven but have heard good things about it.
I understand that TW-Acustic will be at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest; guess that I will get to hear one myself (if I can get through the crowd)!
I guess I have the specific experience you seek. I had fully accessorized scoutmaster with the motor controller, center weight and ring clamp and the 9 signature arm. The VPI was very enjoyable, buy when I heard top shelf analog front ends like the Basis Debut, SME 30, Raven AC3, Walker I realized there was so much more music than I was hearing with my VPI. I upgraded to a Raven One
( couldn't spring for the extra $ for the AC) with a Graham Phantom and the difference was hard to believe!! The Raven was just so real in its' musical portrayal. It was the first time in my 30 years as an audiophile that any component accurately portrayed real instruments and voices as I heard them as a concert percussionist in my earlier years. It's not a matter of audiophile goodies (although they're there), but a true and authentic portrayal of the true essence of instrumental and vocal tonality, attack and decay of real notes and
timing and pace of authentic musical performance. A stunning achievement in a 5-6K table. I can assure you, the upgrade is the most musically significant change I've made. You can be most comfortable in the value of this table.
the biggest difference was in the density of the tones and bass foundation of the music. the vpi has a much lighter presentation and to me a bit analytical but some might prefer it. vpi has a broad dealer network and parts and service is likely readily available. there's probably a dealer in your home town. the same isn't true for the tw line but then again jeff catalano and tw have excellent customer service. the brass armboard is a worthwhile upgrade and i have changed the millenium feet with bdr cones so the stillpoint upgrade is likely worthwhile as well. with a phantom or other top flight arm you're looking at a $9k combination though.
Speaking from experience.
The differences between ANY VPI table and TW Acustic entry level Raven One are miles apart, performance wise and built quality.

What VPI do very well and are probably the only record player manufacture on the planet that succeed in this, is repeat business from their constant upgrade path.
Marketing genius.

There is a SHOCKING difference comparing a HRX to a Raven One....No contest.
First thing VPI need to do ,is get rid of the motors they use and especially the silly RUBBER DRIVE BELTS.
There are many other glaring problems with a table at this price point.
However I'm sure future upgrades may address these also.

Stickman ,If your serious about analogue play back, TW Acustics would be a great choice.
First thing VPI need to do ,is get rid of the motors they use and especially the silly RUBBER DRIVE BELTS.

Stiltskin,isn't the Raven One using a rubber belt as well? Can you run the Raven with strings or tape?

The issues of belts is a controversial one. Both the Raven AC I heard as well as my DPS use rubber belts. The DPS has a different drive system with a friction bearing, that puts a constant load on the rubber belt and removes some of the belt problems.

Otherwise, I agree with the above - I haven't heard a VPI that can touch either one (owned a Scout, heard Scoutmaster, Aries 3, HRX).
I am currently experimenting with 1/4" mylar tape. I am quite surprised with how much more bass, microdynamics and increase in soundstage you get with this.

One might analogize and say rubber belts are the MP3 of the drive belt world: lossy. Mylar belts simply don't stretch and the economy of energy really shines through. There is an epiphany reached when hearing a table driven with a Mylar belt for the first time - it comes so much closer to 15 or 30ips open reel analog tape that it suddenly makes rubber-driven tables sound squishy and dopey, especially in the areas you mention: LF dynamics and control, microdynamic contrast and tone color.

I would never go back to a rubber belt driven table so profound is the difference. Good listening,

I don't know the Raven that well...I only heard it once in an unfamiliar system. I was just wondering however, if anyone compared the Raven to the VPI rim drive. I do know that the rim drive moves the VPI to a much higher level. I know Raven owners are very proud of their turntables, however, I am interested in an unbiased comment...if such a thing exists.
Palasr Richard,

Epiphany is the right word. I didn't want to oversell the concept. Many listeners in Europe feel that TW spent alot of time researching belt materials so I didn't want to be too harsh but the reality is that the performance gap is quite astonishing. I have a Digistrobo on its way to me so I can fine tune the speed. Right now I am playing CDs to try and match the pitch by ear.
The drive belt that TW use are not rubber. Apparently they are a mix of compounds specifically made for TW Acustics.

I have read how much you enjoy your VPI table and I hope you don't take my comments on VPI to heart...

However, when you spend 8, 10 or even 13,000 dollars on one of VPI's record players, they should at least have addressed a few basic design problems at these price points.

Just to name a few.
They need to source a better line of motors and get rid of those rubber drive belts.
I know you have the rim drive and I bet its a revelation to what you had before.

Screws do not fasten into MDF well at all.
Gently grip your arm base and give it a light twist left to right, did it move? I would be surprised if it didn't.

The optional super platter should come as standard equipped.

On a lighter note,
heres something for your vinyl collection that will truly astonish you...

Go to posting here in the analogue section titled...
Does The Step 4 Final Rinse For Walker Prelude Help?
Lots of good feedback. It seems though, that many feel the TW-Acustic is worth a serious listen. This I will definitely do! My intention in this thread was not to drum-up bad thoughts on VPI tables; I have had a VPI Scout and for the money I believe that it was a very decent table.

What I am lookng for is the next level up; a table that pushes the current state of the art and that is above everything else, emotionally satisfying. That's why I listen to music! Obviously VPI makes very good products or they would have gone out of business long ago.

From the above, it seems many of you that have had personal experience with both VPI, TW-Acustic, and other tables, agree that the TW-Acustic tables are something special and warrant a personal evaluation!
My VPI 10.5i is solidly affixed to the turntable. There is no movement...I tried hard to move it. I'd be interested in knowing if anyone reading this with a VPI arm has play in the base of their arm.
The drive belt that TW use are not rubber. Apparently they are a mix of compounds specifically made for TW Acustics.

Stiltskin, I guess DPS is sourcing their belts from the same place - from my examination they were awfully similar.
Stickman451, if you are considering alternative tables, take the DPS turntable into account as well. Different flavor than the Raven but equally good. Also, the Galibier and Verdier tables are impressive.
I changed from another table with a strong reputation, the Origin Live Resolution with Illustrious arm and the TW one is way ahead in the ways described. The point seems to be attention to detail and solid engineering. It is just well made, seems right. Looking at the belt, Thomas says he spent years looking at different materials.
The core of it's strength to me, is the motor and power supply, it runs rock steady, which seems the basis of its neutral, detailed performance. As an example of build quality, the bearing needs a tiny spray of oil only and the platter took 5 minutes to sink on the spindle, tolerances are so tight. I have been using the basic Jelco arm, but am having the Ortofon 212D fitted next week. That is the arm Thomas uses and recommends for the one.
I spoke to him at the UK Heathrow show and he is coming to Rocky Mountain, hopefully with his new arm. Unfortunately, it is going to retail for 5 to 6000 Euros, too much for me.
I'm patiently waiting for my Raven One to turn up. Last few weeks has not been easy and i have a few more to go.
Reading this thread has been reassuring as i'm buying it unheard due to lack of dealership in town.

I contemplated getting a Scoutmaster (US$4200) at one stage but the high price charged by the importer was a turn off in the end.

Melbourne, Oz
TW products have been intiguing to me based on other's accounts although I've never heard one. I'm sure they're great. It's hard to make a judgement though based on a comparison with VPI made by someone who expresses evidence of a pre-existing bias against VPI products. In my opinion, that undermines the credibility of the comparison from the get go. Yes, I'm a VPI owner and fan. What we're dealing with in the end is personal preferrences and taste. When attempting to objectively describe a subjective experience, lack of bias is essential for the comparison to have any meaning. Sorry, just my opinion.
Has anyone compared the TW tables to other mass loaded tables like Teres or Galibier? I have a Teres 255 and may pursue an upgrade if I thought it would be worth it.
I've had two VPI tables and neither had any problems with build quality or finish. They are solid, well made, and the Aries 3 is a true work of art, beautifully built and a solid 85lbs! No loose arms or anything like that!!!

This whole thread for me is about real differences owners have heard and hear in their systems that contain a new Raven One vs. VPI tables like the Aries and the Super ScoutMaster that they may have owned or actually compared side by side. I am just curious about the differences they have noticed overall. If you feel the Raven One is a step above the VPI tables, then that's fine. This thread is not about bashing VPI...

I have read all over the net that the Raven One and the Raven AC truly sound as good or better than tables costing five or ten times as much. That gets my attention! I don't believe everything that I read, so if you have a Raven One and you know it is truly that good, then let us know!
I don't believe that there is any "musically meaningful" differences between many of the "better" tables out there!I'm talking about the host of really good ones on the market(which there are quite a few).
If the product is designed and made well,it will be the arm/cartridge/set-up persons skill level,that will ultimately determine how good your analog system will sound.

I've heard the Raven,and had no reason to doubt it's appeal,but the bad rapping of VPI is absolutely rediculous.I am speaking from a performance aspect,which to me means letting an LP sound as it should!

My experience with the latest VPI TNT/12.7 arm/Lyra Titan-i,all in a fabulous system at a very close friend(ART pre/phonostage etc),totally "speaks to the music"!....It is very reliable too,and holds it's settings!

Everyone is going to have their own preferrence(I own a Sota Cosmos IV and love it)but to bad rap an existing,and proven table(like the VPI's)because the designer continues to improve the product(at pretty fair pricing,btw)is rediculous!

Yes,as with ALL types of products,there will be the occassional lemon(don't I know "this"....don't ask),but VPI is NOT one to make bad stuff often enough to cause concern.

I'll bet a nice Transfiguration cartridge,that an A/B of the top VPI designs against the Raven is NOT going to be a big deal...assuming the other component parts are of high quality and the set-up man is "skilled"!

Just my opinion.


I have compared the TW Acustic to the Galibier and Teres (and many others). All three are excellent. It's not a question of better. It's really all about how each table matches your personal taste. To my mind, auditioning is critical prior to a decision. Sorta like choosing your favorite amongst three very good red wines.

ever compare the Raven to the VPI tables?
You think this is bashing VPI?
Calm down and reread my comments, you completely missed my point.

Obviously you do not understand as of yet why other table manufactures like Galibier, Teres, TW Acustics and others use the type of motors they do.
Including why they would never use rubber for drive belts.

You owners of Galibier and Teres, imagine swapping your motors and tape drive for one of VPIs motors and the rubber belts they use.
Or how about mounting your tonearm on a arm board made of MDF...
Regarding VPIs HRX and TW Acustics Raven One.
Both were side by side, both had the same cartridges and the same music was played.

The comparisons weren't even close.

Even with the Graham Phantom arm on the Raven, it sells for thousands less.

How much is the rim drive and super platter for the HRX?...Hmm

A year ago I almost bought an HRX.
If I did ,then learning what I know now about turntable motors, rubber drive ect. My comments sure would of been a lot different.

Like I said, VPI need to source some new motors and stop using belts made of rubber and thats a good place to start.

The extremely accurate motor speed control and motor used by Raven operates like a fine Swiss watch.

The moment you turn it on, the massive platter is up to speed within one revolution.

Beyond the absolutely flawless fit and finish, the table will play your favorite music like you never heard.

Before you spend thousands of dollars on a table made of MDF. Go to the web pages of Teres, Galibier and TW Acustics.

See for yourself whats available for a truly high end table at a reasonable cost.
Fine Swiss watches are pase... Twelve dollar watches keep better time, and don't need oiling and referishing. I think my Rolex sucks.

which VPI are you using?

oh yes...stiltskin...I find that your listening to these fabulous turntables a/b ing with the same components ...a little far reaching to accept.
Stickman451...I'm using a VPI Superscoutmaster with a VPI 10.5i arm. The table has the heavy platter, the SDS of course, the mini-feet, no anti-skate, Benz LP cartridge with Anti-Cable balanced (XLR) output. I also have a Gingko dust cover which makes it all look like a museum piece and is the 1st thing people come over to look at more closely when I have visitors. It gets lots of oooo's and ahhhh's

I am curious, did you compare the Superscoutmaster to the Aries 3? I think that the Superscoutmaster is a really good table; maybe better really than an Aries 3???
At the time I bought the Superscout, size was important to my wife (I guess to all women....) Anyway, my dealer had both on display, and the Superscout sounded more like my idea of what real music sounded like. Of course, the SS had 2 motors, the heavy platter, the mini feet and the SDS, whereas the Aries didn't. As you know the SS can accomodate the 10.5 arm, however, if your intention is to get a different arm than the VPI, the Aries can accomodate all arms. I suspect equally tricked out, both tables sound similar.
Stiltskin,I hope you don't think I am criticising you for your tastes and experience.You're a great hobbyist and I enjoy your posts...but...

I personally respect your enthusiasm,yet once a hobbyist makes a buying decision,and likes "his" new product(which you definitely should)the natural tendancy is to "lean a little" in this direction!....

I do it too!!

I am sure you have a good approach to things audio,but even though you claim to have heard an almost identical table/arm/cartridge comparison it is still very hard for me to believe the differences between the "particular" VPI mentioned was a cause of the "perceived difference",which was supposedly "significant".

The only way I could buy that,is if it was an older VPI table,or not such a good set-up,or lower in the product line.....The top stuff is too damn good!How do I know this.....because I've heard "them" way too many times,and I tried(really,really hard)to not like them,since I own a competing design,and my friends are "SO" in the VPI camp!!

No doubt you did hear the claimed differences,but I'll bet other factors were at play!VPI does not use an MDF armboard(on the tables I have heard at friends)and the business of rubber belts is "way" overstated.Sorry!-:)

I mean...if the vta/vtf/or cartridge age was off even the slightest(not to mention table level,or speed of platter,etc)this could easily influence the differences you say you heard.....Not to mention the two individual table's set up!

It is really hard to A/B a table/arm cartridge against a competing design,at this level!The "slightest" difference in a "single/subtle" parameter can be the deal killer.

I've heard the VPI TNT's way too many times,at numerous friends' homes and believe me,these guys are absolutely "as or more" serious than "many"!

There is NO way the tables would still be in these "serious" systems if they did not "do" music naturally!!

We are talking about some of the "best" LP collections in a hobbyists home(yeah,software that most of us so easily dismiss,because we are "SO" in love with hardware)on the premises of "these" particular VPI owners that I am referring to,so there is real credibility here as far as I am concerned!!!

One friend of mine has been priviledged to actually do all the Mercury,and a good majority of the RCA LP reviews for TAS on "his" VPI table/tables.This has been updated numerous times,and I have heard them "like a zillion times" over the years,on these discs.The tables are are worthy of their appeal,and have proven themselves to me....Yet,like your experience,there were times I could find "perceived" problems.These worked themselves out,in the long run,and were NOT the tables' problems in the long run!

BTW,a nice HRX with tonearm,pricewise, is a damn good deal,IMO....Not to mention "local support" if needed....Something too many folks easily dismiss,until they "need" a dealer's support!

A long wait(for service,or parts,or a dealer who does not support the stuff he sells,particularly if from abroad)for product problems will easily cause one to "find sonic" problems previously unheard.

I have NO axe to grind,and don't even own a VPI(but know them very well)but hearing the "classic LP's" we all have cut our teethe on over SO MANY YEARS on VPI tables,leaves me in no doubt they are "damn accurate"!!

One does NOT need to prefer the product,for whatever reason,but it still does not take away the fact they are accurate tables......

I am only attempting to be fair and balanced,and this should take nothing away from anyone liking the nicely machined Raven(another good table).

No doubt you have a wonderful table,but even "it" can be picked on,if one wanted to go in that direction.Like anything else the hobby has to offer.

i would think most listeners have to take a leap of faith with tw tables since there is no local dealer unless you live in ny or know a tw owner nearby. i can assure you though that if you want a robust, dense, visceral presentation with powerful bass then this is the right table for you. did you check out the stereomojo and tone audio reviews? i think there is a forthcoming tas review as well. put your order in early,...there's quite a waiting list.

I have listened to the VPI's in a variety of systems and had the opportunity to directly compare against multiple turntables. My only opportunity to compare the Raven and VPI was at RMAF. Obviously not the ideal way to compare, but the best I could manage.

The VPI is a great table. Both the Raven and VPI provide an upgrade path as funds permit. If you are looking to make this level of financial commitment, don't rely on anyone else's ears, try to find a way to listen to both.

Good luck,
Sirspeedy makes the most sense of anyone here. Comparing these tables is difficult to do objectively when you've already bought into one camp or the other. In the end, I'm sure they're both great and obviously it comes down to a matter of taste. Stickman, I agree with Jazdoc. You owe it to yourself to hear them both for yourself. I'd like to as well. I love my SSM ref but the Raven One looks like a great choice too.
I agree; I am going to the RMAF in October. Maybe Jeffrey will have a VPI on-hand for direct comparision.

I have had both a Scout and an Aries 3; my current feeling is that they are both very good tables, but I think the Aries is a little too 'analytical' for my taste overall. That doesn't make it a bad table!

Bottom line is that Jeffrey at HighWater Sound has told me that he would give me a loaner and if I didn't like it, I could get a complete refund! Now that is real customer service!
Naturally owners will favor their purchases...they not only voted with words, but with their checkbooks.
Just to interest those who like to continue the education route,and simply from a "very good read" standpoint....

I'd suggest you(whomever)take a look at the white paper that is on the "Grand Prix Monaco" web pages.

This is just hobbyspeak to me,and I'm not trying to push the table,but "boy" do these guys make a great case for the way they designed that product.Not only the direct drive capability,but almost all of the important factors in "supposedly" getting accurate LP play.

I loved it......maybe the fact that I read it while on jury duty(and bored stiff,just sitting around)had something to do with it's appeal -:)

It really is a fabulous white paper,if one considers themselves to be open to learning as much as they can,on the analog subjest,and it just might cause some to be a bit more enlightened with regards to what actually matters...and what does not seem too plausible!

Good luck
Yes, Sirspeedy, but keep it "interesting" and not truth. There are those (not necessarily in your read) that easily can provide very logical explanations for untruths. Sometimes things are not what they seem. For instance...did you know that when landing an airplane short of the runway, the pilot pushes the nose DOWN for a safe landing.
I have Raven One as it's great table.Build is excellent although i still feel SME finish rather than build is somewhat better

what did your Raven replace? What arm/cartridge are you using? Over-all, how would you describe the 'sound' you get with your Raven? Also, what is the rest of your rig like?

I have just replaced my Jelco arm with the Ortofon 309D, 12 inch arm, on my Raven one. As you may know, it is the arm Thomas the designer uses and recommends on the Raven One. It really is very good indeed. The sound was a little soft, lacking definition, crispness. With the ortofon, the sound is immediately more sharp, defined and dynamic. In fact it is dynamics and imaging which is most obvious. The Jelco was not good at imaging. Listening to Verdi's Otello yesterday, with the Ortofon, you could clearly hear one singer was slightly to the Left and a few feet behind the other. In fact it represents the best defined imaging I have heard in my system.
The ortofon seems a good choice, if you are not going for a cost no object arm. I have'nt heard them all, but I have heard the Arro, SME 5 and Phantom, the latter on the Raven AC. Thomas again, said he feels the Ortofon is a few percentage points down on the Phantom and other top arms, at a lot less than half the price, at least in the UK. I am not sure of US pricing
If I go with a Raven at some point, I will most likely use my DV 507MKII arm... have you audtioned that arm? However, it may be a bit too 'neutral' overall. I have heard that the Phantom is a little more lively as compared to the 507?

The Raven replaced a Michell Gyro SE with SME IV arm and Ortofon MC30 Cart.The SME is on the Raven and I now have a Benz wood M2 into an Artemis Labs PH-1 phonostage.

Sound is extremely musical and flowing, very 'solid' with better bass than the Gyro set up.
Sounds good; looking forward to auditioning the Raven One at RMAF in October...
Is it the SME IV,Vi you´ve got.

SME IV,Vi has Magnan Vi-wire. It has good reputation for being very accurate and neutral but without harshness.
Stereophile (2003) gave it excellent review together with SME table.
I´m interested getting this wire (can´t find internal wire at Magnans homepage), if You know where I´d appreciate.
I use Cardas on my SME V/Raven combo but i like to test others.
I belive internal wire is main issue of improvements, not only on SME but in general. Considering transporting signals of tenths of micro volt you need a good conductor, a damn good one, for minimum distortion.

Many thanks and happy listening!