Raven AC3

I am considering this table. Would love to hear from owners, current/long term. Some threads refer to the table as colored/dark - others refute. Do you think this is set-up driven or truly a reflection of the table?
The Raven is an excellent table, however, I would not limit myself just to one table as there are a few other tables which are new contenders to being some of the best sounding tables on the market:

The new Merrill Williams is dramatically less expensive than the Raven, yet can easily compete with the Raven, the recent review in the Absolute Sound was spectacular, this table employs a radical new concept instead of relying on mass use energy absorbing materials, (the entire plinth is comprise of a composite of different rubber materials and aluminium) to eliminate and dissipate the energy in the first place.

It is an amazing sounding table and an incredible deal at less than $8k! vs $20k for the Raven and it is made entirely in the USA!

The other table I would consider as a game changer is the new Kronos at $28k. This table also employs radical concept in design two platters: one which spins in a counter rotational way, the two platters with opposing motion cancel out any wobble or vibrational energy that a high mass platter would generate, and the entire body of the table is damped via a similar suspension system to what SME uses.

This table at $28k is being compared to the $90k Walker!

The other thing I would look at is upgrading to a Stillpoints rack which will make a dramatic upgrade to your system.

I am a dealer for both of these tables, which is why I know about these products, just do your own research and then let me know what you think.
Wonderful table very musical,great bass, stage, depth etc.I have AC1 battery power supply,Tw 10.5 arm etc,Dark i dont think so.Very well made with great customer support.
If your looking for a TT in that price range I would try and hear Steve Dobbins The Beat as well. The Beat would be my choice. I have only heard the Raven at RMAF. It did sound a little rolled off but that could have been the choice of cartridge or something else in the system.
Raven AC3 made in Germany in house accept for motor and belt.
EBM just because something is made in Germany doesn't mean it is better. Swiss made products or Italian, or British or American, or Japanese made there are numerous examples of fantastic workmanship and precision manufacturing in this industry as well as the automotive industry and many others.

I like BMW and Mercedes however, Audi which is made in Austria, or Volvo, or Ferrari, or Lamborgini, or Bugatti, or Aston Martin or Jaguar are hardly inferior products.

I would look at design more than just hype. Personally I find the Raven to be a competent design I just don't see why all the hype. The Raven does use fantastic materials but employs nothing other than high mass to make the table quiet.

A table such as the Merrill is a much more fascinating design and is a complete rethinking of modern turntable design I would also add the Kronos as a rethinking of table design.

I would consider strongly the design integrity and ingenuity in the way a particular product tackles the problems inherent in the issues of playing back vinyl, as one of the most crucial things in determining why a design sounds good or perhaps better than any other product.
I also really like my Raven AC-1. The sound character will also depends greatly on what arm you will use. I have Graham and Reed mounted on the table and they really sound quite different and you can hear the attributes of each arm clearly.
However, I did not have much chance to compare it in my system to other turntable of similar prices though.
I used to think that with Reed tonearm, it could not quite match the punch and slam of VPI Classic (both with JMW 10.5 and Reed arm using Reed arm pod) but once I have Graham arm mounted, there is definitely no deficiency there. On the other hand, it does not exactly out perform my Micro Seiki BL-111/FR64s/Koetsu combination either. By the way, I never could get Koetsu to sound great on TW for some reason.
I have had the Raven AC-3 for 5 years and consider it a fine turntable.
I have read reports from various sources suggesting a 'darkish' or ''coloured'
character and can only assume that the set-ups in question were subjected to
structure-borne feedback?
If you are able to support the Raven on a sturdy wall-hung shelf (as I
have)....structure-borne feedback will not be a problem.
As good as I find the performance of the AC-3 to be....there are two tweaks
that raise it to another level IMHO.

Firstly.....the 3 motors produce an eccentric (and small) belt contact point on
the platter which always worried me?
By removing one of the motors and relying on two diametrically opposing
motors.....you create a much larger contact area for the belt on the platter
without the 'eccentricity' created by the 3 motors. And this is important if
using a 'belt' as opposed to a 'string-drive' or 'thread-drive'.
Incidentally I have tried both 'string-drive' and 'thread-drive' on the Raven but
its 'grippy' Delcrin platter material allows both thread and string to 'slip'. One
needs a metal platter I believe....to allow successful implementation of both?
The main problem with belt-drive TTs IMO....is their less than stellar 'constant
speed control' and immunity to 'stylus drag'?
In direct comparison with my Victor TT-101 DD turntable.....the two motors
on the Raven deliver a better performance in this regard than the 3 motors.

Secondly.....Thomas Woschnik recommends the Millennium turntable mat
without a record clamp and, after trying alternatives..... for the first four years
I ran the Raven in this configuration.
Again in direct comparison to the TT-101......I found that removing the mat
completely and resting the record directly on the copper top-plate with a
good brass or bronze record weight (not clamp).....the performance very
nearly matched the Victor in most respects.

With good arms and cartridges.....it is now hard indeed to hear the differences
in performance between my two decks.
Well...if you believe Jonathan Valin it's either the AC or the Walker Proscenium for budget priced musical nirvana. :)

I'm not running an AC but a Raven One and, echoing Halcro, it's important to optimise a turntable until it either reaches its full potential or matches your expectations e.g. by choice of mat, table, shelf, tonearm etc.

I don't use a shelf but a progressively decoupled 3-tier tripod table (2" thick laminated oak shelves) mounted on a solid concrete floor.
I dont have a AC but a Raven One with a Kuzma 4point tonearm and the sound is nothing but dark.

But it is important that you place it on a hard surface. I have mine on a plate made of slate.
I dont have a AC but a Raven One with a Kuzma 4point tonearm and the sound is nothing but dark.

But it is important that you place it on a hard surface. I have mine on a plate made of slate.
I think TW may not be the leader in innovation as much as refining the existing one to an nth degree. Material science behind the platter of TW is probably nothing to sneeze at either. I am not familiar with Kronos turntable and I have no idea how long it has been around. However, the idea of two platter in counter rotation to each other is also used in Lab 47 Koma which has been around for a number of years already. Suspension as you said is similar to SME so it also looks like refinement of something that has been around for awhile already as well rather than new innovation.

In the end, it is the sound that is the matter. Whether it is a good old technology and new innovation, I suppose. German made product certainly will have some price point disadvantage in comparison to US product if you are in the US.
Ok MR dealer i said in house is the key.
I have had many turntables over 40+ yrs i just like the TW RAVEN AC1 best.
Anyone else feel that a dealer should not be trying to sell his own TT's in a thread about a TT he doesn't carry? Seems very rude to me.

I can't comment on the sound of the Merrill but the look is very unappealing to me. The feet in particular are ugly. The feet look like they are some sort of rubber. IME rubber feet tend to soften the sound too much.
I don't have a Raven AC-3 but do have a new Raven AC-1. The build quality is second to none. If your musical tastes include black velvety backgrounds, smooth refined (but not rounded) highs, and solid bass extension then this is a good table to audition. I also have the TW 10.5 tonearm and highly recommend it. TW customre service is also excellent.

I'm sure there are other fine tables out there, and I have a friend with a Merrill. It's just not my cup of tea. I've seen the Kronos. Sexy table. Just not much track record for it yet. Personally I wouldn't want to be a beta-tester for that kind of money.
It is black, it is heavy and you can whip your feet while listening to Chamber
music ... don't get me wrong. I really enjoy listening to it.

When someone pays me for that...
Anyone else feel that a dealer should not be trying to sell his own TT's in a thread about a TT he doesn't carry? Seems very rude to me.
I agree. It's obnoxious.

Dear WRM57 the gentleman is questioning if he should purchase a Raven or not? Therefore it is not rude to mention other tables.

If I was that gentleman I would gladly welcome any information on other products that I might want to consider.

You guys should get off your dealer is a bad guy soap box and consider the facts that a dealer has way more experience than most of the posters on these sites, and in most situations their is no real sales motive, as many perspective clients are not in the same part of the country which would make a direct sale impossible or there may be another dealer that would be servicing that part of the country.

Consider if you are actually shopping for anything the best way of gathering information is to talk to a whole group of people and do a lot of research and if possible experience the product for yourself.

I have been doing this professionally for over 25 years and in that time I have discovered many products that became audio all stars many from different emerging new companies.

I look at design rather than hype, and I can tell you that invariably a better design will usually lead to a better sounding product.

Way too many audiogoners are too dogmatic to even consider looking at anything else than what they are inquiring about.

New products are always coming into the market and a good dealer will always look at these new products to see if it is possible to offer better performance to their clients instead of towing the same old line.

I am not saying the Raven isn't a great table, what I was pointing out is that there are a couple of radical new tables that this gentleman may want to consider, that may offer more performance for the same money or for less money.

The Merrill isn't pretty in pictures but looks great in person, it is the best sounding table I have every heard for a reasonable amount of money it is scary good, and I have sold and setup most of the major tables out there.

It is not possible to compare anything to a Raven as Raven is sold direct by one man who does not believe in sharing his line with dealers, this is a total mistake as it limits the possibility of people being able to hear the table across the country, if that was the case I would have gotten a Raven years ago and then I could easily tell you if these other tables are way better or not.
I agree with Wrm57. This thread is about the Raven AC3.

I've heard it in the distributor's room at two audio shows. It sounded dark and and less than neutral to me each time. However, this may have been the tube electronics and horn speakers. In other words, the set up. An audio buddy has the Raven One (I believe) with Wilson Sashas and Lamm electronics and his system does not sound dark at all.

I think the Raven would benefit from isolation on a Vibraplane or other serious isolation platform.
Audiooracle -
The new Merrill Williams is dramatically less expensive than the Raven, yet can easily compete with the Raven
It is not possible to compare anything to a Raven...if that was the case I would have gotten a Raven years ago and then I could easily tell you if these other tables are way better or not.
Seems to be a contradictory comment here - you are saying that the MW is as good as a Raven, but you have never heard a Raven in your system.

In the Raven AC price range I would look also at the Spiral Groove & Basis turntables. Halcro's comments above are on the money re the Raven.
I have owned a AC 1 in various avtars for close to 2.5 years. To the OPs query is it dark sounding, most emphatically not IME.As Halcro rightly points out you can tweak a TT to optimise its sound in various ways, record clamp, mat, isolation etc.If by dark sounding you mean that the highs are muted or rolled over, its possible to achieve that with the TW by placing rubber dampers under the feet, as I discovered. I had my tone arm, a Talea 2,initially mounted on a wooden armboard. Switching to the TW supplied SS arm mount has led to clearer and cleaner definition of notes almost as if the TT has picked up speed.
I am somewhat sceptical of generalisations, particularly in respect of TTs, that a particular model or brand is bright/dark sounding, given the large variables at play. For example, when you demo a TT at a dealers what is the likelihood of the cart being precisely aligned with a Mint tractor or equivalent ?
The TW AC is one of the truly outatanding TTs available today. I am not saying its the best because there is no such thing. Having heard a pile of different TT setups at the Adelphi in Singapore over the years, I can say that the TW is among the handful of must audition TTs for anyone contemplating a TT at this price point.
As an aside, if you do go the AC3 route, you may like to consider, the TW BN single 3 motor unit as against the 3 separate motors of the AC unit. I am not sure but I suspect that there is not much of a price difference if you order it as a package. Additionall, the battery powered PSU does lower the noise floor though I suspect this is of a lesser magnitude in terms of improvements as the unit runs, at least IME, for less than 4 hrs on battery power before switching to the mains.
All the best in your vinyl journey
Dear Dover,

Read the reviews on the Merrill it is being compared to the most expensive tables on the market, and George does have several new customers who have purchased the Merrill after comparing to their tables which were much more expensive, tables that were over $20k!

I am being honest I never had a Raven in my system I can tell you that the sound of the Merrill is way better than my customers $50k Basis, as per the Spiral Groove I have heard that table and it is nice there is nothing magical about it. Go find a Merrill and Listen to it, it sounds amazing and for the money is a bargain, look at Merrill's background and you will see that almost all modern table's borrow some of the ideas Merrill started incorporating into his table in 1981!

The new Merill REAL table blows away the Merrill Scalia which was a $24k table.

All I am saying is to look at a design and see if it makes real sense in terms of solving a problem, with most of these tables I see more hype than originality in coming up with real solutions.

The entire reason an analog rig sounds the way it does is how energy is stored or removed, lighter weight english PRAT tables tend to sound that way due to lighter materials with higher resonant frequencies and a faster removal of resonances, higher mass tables tend to have the big bassy quiet sound due to a slower movement of energy and heavier materials resonating differently.

You can draw your own conclusions or look at reviews the Merrill is a real breakthrough the Raven is not, again I am not saying the Raven isn't a good table there is nothing unique in the design, just a well executed conventional design with very good materials and superb construction.
Audio Gallery was a Raven dealer!!
Ad stew,

I have viewed your system. Very nice at that. What is your dissatisfaction with your Frank Schroeder Artemis Labs Table?
I have a TW BN witha Schroeder SQ matched with a Titan I. I stopped changing my analogue front end ages ago. I am just happy and listen. You have a great combination in arm & cartridge (if you know how to set it up).

All turntables need the right isolation. And all turntables need some tweaking, as does, tone-arms & cartridges