Pro-ject speedbox: Is improvement worth the $ ?


Just bought a Music Hall 2.2LE 'table. Will the addition of a Pro-ject speedbox (whatever model), control the speed SIGNIFICANTLY better than the turntable, or is the main benefit focused on changing speeds from 33 to 45 on the fly?
devilboy
They usually make a very nice difference in sound quality. But it depends on what you have your TT plugged into. The reason speed controls usually make a big improvement is that speed will fluctuate with your AC. Its like a light bulb. You can sometimes see it get brighter or dim at times when the AC varies. The speed of your TT is subject to the same types of variations. If you have a line conditioner that regenerates your AC, you may not need a speed control. A good regenerator will keep your AC at the same level all the time, so if you have your TT plugged into one of those, its probably not necessary to get a separate speed control. Some PS Audio regenerators, like the 500 are known for being used as a dual purpose TT speed control's, as well.
There is also the recently introduced option of the Phoenix Falcon speed controller, to which a Roadrunner Tachnometer can later be added for even greater speed precision. Cool stuff.
I used a Speedbox 2 on my Debutt III and 2 Xperience and in both cases sound stage became more 3d, bass articulation was tight and it yielded blacker backgrounds. I use Proac and B&W speakers which are both fairly revealing so the differences were clearly audible.

That said Pro-Ject has excellent speed and pitch stability in stock form unlike certain older Regas and a few other brands. I used Linn tables for 2 decades (Lp12 and Axis) and those were always spot on for speed and pitch so I wanted the Pro-Ject to be comparable. Of course the difference you get from something like a Lingo on a Linn is far more dramatic, as it should be for that kind of money. But I think the effect of the Speedbox is easier to hear than say the TT PSU that I use for my Rega P5.

I have not tried the better Speedbox SE but the base model is definitely worthwhile and very reasonable price wise.
The Speed Box only provides the user to change speeds at the push of a
button. It does not have the ability to fine tune the speed to compensate for
deviations in pulley, platter, and belt tolerance.

Since your motor is an AC synchronous motor, it is not dependent on stable
ac voltage like a dc motor but relies on the grid's 60 hz frequency.
Fortunately in the US, the 60hz frequency is highly regulated and controlled
and does not deviate like line voltage. A true motor controller will have the
ability to change the frequency thus allowing a fine tune of the motor's
speed.

I wouldn't purchase a Speed Box unless I frequently changed between 33
and 45 records. Spend your money on a real motor controller, not a switch
box.
I had an MM7 for a few years, and when I added the Speedbox I noticed immediately the improvment in image stability and pace. Do yourself a favor and add this essential piece of gear to your MM table.
I saw a difference with my Project Xpression, more bass
Not really, Brf said it best. You will be better off putting the money on a better cart.
Hmmm. The table will be plugged into a voltage regulator so it WILL see a steady 120V. All of my equipment draws such little power the output always shows 120V in the display, never going up or down even one volt so I should be good there. Like Kiko said, think I'll just upgrade the cart for now...... and maybe a cork mat. Was going to get the acrilic platter but am having a hard time justifying the price for a platter at 1/3rd the cost of the table. I'd rather get a cart. Maybe an Ortofon Blue.....? I have a Graham Slee coming so if a put a nice cart on the table it may be a decent analog setup.
Thanks to everyone for your opinions so far.
I should have added that I too use a voltage regulator, in this case a regenerator, a PS Audio Premier Power Plant, and even with the Speedbox plugged into that, there was an audible improvement.
Which Graham Slee are you getting Devilboy? We may be able to recommend a cart based on the Slee's specs.
"09-02-14: Devilboy
Hmmm. The table will be plugged into a voltage regulator so it WILL see a steady 120V."

No it won't. For that you need a re-generator.

"All of my equipment draws such little power the output always shows 120V in the display, never going up or down even one volt so I should be good there."

Your equipment isn't the real problem. Varying conditions outside your house make the AC fluctuate. If you call The Cable Company they'll send you a demo speed control so you can try it in your system first.
Zd542, the project's motor is an ac sychronous and is not dependent on
stable voltage as the speed is determined my the line frequency. As
previously stated, the 60hz US standard is highly regulated and monitored
and does have the same swing variance as does voltage.

The older PS Power Plants had the ability to both regenerate the ac voltage
and change the line frequency, therefore, they could be used as ac motor
controller, but their line frequency adjustment was too course for fine
adjustments. Both the Walker and VPI's SDS are good examples of a
successful implementation of an ac motor controller.

BTW, voltage regulators (good ones like Furman) do provide 120v stable
voltage. You don not need a power regenerator to produce stable voltage.
The Speed Box offers a feature set that would lower the noise floor, improve resolution, and increase dynamic range: The Speed Box sends the AC input through a regulated and shielded component isolated from the turntable chassis. The AC power supply is off-chassis as well. Add in quartz-regulated speed control and that's a lot of functionality for $129.

Of course the soundstage would be deeper and more delineated, and the bass deeper. Those are the kinds of improvements you get when you keep AC artifacts out of the signal chain and thereby lower the noise floor. It's especially critical on turntables, where the cartridge's job is to amplify vibration. Keep the vibrations you don't want off the main chassis. That's what the Speed Box does.
However it does it the SpeedBox IS da'bomb .
Sorry for the late response. I've been away for a few days.
Kiko65, I purchased the Graham Slee Era Gold mkV. I also purchased a Ortofon 2m Blue brand new but haven't received it yet. About a month ago I decided to get into vinyl for the first time. Since then I've been researching tables, cartridges, accessories, etc. I haven't spun one record yet and already I'm getting the upgrade bug. Started with a budget of less than $500. Today I almost bought a used table that retails for $1,600 new. Oh god.

The ExactPower is a waveform correction system. It actively removes high frequency irregularities from the waveform; it does not filter them. The work is accomplished by a high efficiency, pulse width modulated power amplifier.

Will a speedbox be an improvement? Don't know. Only one way to find out...
Yes it is worth the money
"About a month ago I decided to get into vinyl for the first time. Since then I've been researching tables, cartridges, accessories, etc. I haven't spun one record yet and already I'm getting the upgrade bug. Started with a budget of less than $500. Today I almost bought a used table that retails for $1,600 new. Oh god."

I thought I was bad. lol. If you haven't even listened to a record yet, you need to stop spending. Get just what you need to play some records and do some listening. The only problem with upgrading now is that you don't know if you're really upgrading. Vinyl is no different than anything else. There's plenty of good stuff out there, but you won't like it all. Just like with speakers and electronics. One thing you'll definitely need to keep in mind, is that if you bought new cartridges, they break in. A lot. More than any other component. Sometimes, new carts sound so bad, you may think its defective. Put at least 50 hours on it before doing any serious listening. 100 is better, but I can tell you won't have the patience to wait that long.
I just picked up the Phoenix PSU mentioned towards the top of the thread for my Nottingham Ace Spacedeck. I set the speed using a Kab strobe, and I am very happy with my purchase. While not a "night and day" difference there is a palpable improvement in all of the typical areas that everyone touts with a stable power supply: bass, PRAT, noise floor, and fine detail retrieval. They do work.
Well said Zd542!
Stop spending and start listening!
Your Slee is far better than any entry level phono preamp usually paired with your current analog set up(2.2LE and 2M Blue) Good! You will get the most out of it.

At one point I was "up there" spending lots of $$$$ with the likes of Linn, Conrad Johnson, Audio Research, JennaLabs, Spendor, etc.

Now I'm back "down to earth" (less money, more synergy) with a system that I love to listen to for hours!!!

There is plenty of great stuff out there at an extremely affordable price. Don't get carried away with the "advertisement syndrome" and trust your ears!

Happy listening!
LOL. Yes, I've been doing this audio thing for a long time. I've been through my share of ups and downs, buying selling, failed equipment etc, so I know what the madness is like.
Regarding the rest of my system, I have no intention whatsoever to change anything. I'm the most content I've been in 20 years. I've wanted to pull the trigger on vinyl for quite some time and I figured what the hell, now's the time.
I've not only purchased some vinyl but have been fortunate enough to have a couple friends (non audiophiles), give me their unwanted LPs, mostly jazz, some classical and other genres.
I just fitted my table with the Ortofon Blue only to find out it's too heavy for the factory counterweight. I just ordered a heavier weight from NeedleDoctor. Whow knows? Maybe this setup will satisfy me for a while....I really wouldn't mind hearing what bumping up to the $1,500-$2,000 range would be like though.