Revamp Garrard 301, keep Oracle V or move along?


I have an Oracle V with turbo,SME V & Koetsu RSP cartridge cable is Hovland Music Groove.

I also have a very nice condition cream Garrard grease bearing 301 for which I built a CLD plinth weighing in at some 60lbs with a modified Rega300 for experimental purposes. Image here:

Preamp is a Aesthetix Io Signature w/volume controls and 2 power supplies. I also use some restored vintage pre's used from time to time: Marantz 1,Arc SP8 etc. Amps are Berning Zh270, Wyetech Topaz, and vintage Marantz 2 or Citation II.

Whats my best bang for the buck?: invest into bearings and commercial plinths/platters and a 12" arm with the Garrard or sell the Oracle and Garrard and move on: thinking TW acustic or SME20?

I like the SME V because its easy and I have less time now to fuss around but am open to a clearly superior piece that's not astronomical: Phantom or Triplaner?... would love a Breur or Gradenza but the $ must get much stronger for that.

This solely for a change and to consolidate and make room nothing very wrong.. I use Quad ESLs so dynamics are not a strong point...(that's another thread!...looking for HE single driver speakers eventually)..So on the front end those experienced with the revamped Garrards do you have a opinion or advice?...

Thanks, Nkj
first, you can't go wrong whichever. the Oracle V is quite a good tt. your 301 is quite the beauty too. nice job on the plinth. it does not get much better than the Io Sig.

if i were you i would find another arm board for your Garrard and mount the SME V on it with the Koetsu RSP. this should tell you quite a bit about which tt rocks your world better. my opinion is that your Rega arm is holding back the 301.

personally; i have a Garrard 301 with custom Steve Dobbins (about 90 pound constrained layer) plinth, a Triplaner, the Kokomo bearing upgrade, and i use the Loricraft PSU 301 AR power supply. i did have the Koetsu RSP on it until recently. it was a killer combination! my opinion is that the Oracle V would not be in the same league with a fully optimized 301.....but i'm guessing a little......i do think your Quads would sing with the energy from a fully tweaked 301.

my only concern would be the combination of the Koetsu RSP, the SME V and the Garrard. all three tend to have a bit of mid-bass fullness (the Garrard more a general roundness--particularly from what i hear about the grease model of the 301) and the combo might be too much of a good thing. i think the SME/RSP combo works with the leanness of the Oracle V. the neutrality of the Triplaner was the balance in my system.

synergy is always key to musical magic.

i know you asked questions i'm not answering but the first thing is to settle on which tt to focus on; then you get into where that goes.
Thanks Mike,

I was hoping you might chime in. You certainly have a admirable main system that I have envied for some time.With the addition of the Garrard and Technics you have a perspective that most of us will never get close to. I understand what you're saying about synergy. The Oracle/Sme/RSP combo was put together with the consideration of flattening our the potential bloat of the sme.

I can certainly afford to try say, a Triplanar on the Garrard and go from there. I have a lightly used Helikon that migh work with the combo. I must get from you contact infromation for Steve Dobbins...his work is gorgeous. Have you though of any 12" arms?


Nkj, thanks for the kind comments.

Steve's e-mail address is

i have not yet had a 12" arm in my system. Steve is nearing completion of my Technics SP-10 Mk3 plinth and i'm leaning toward the 12" SME 312s for it initially (Albert Porter's feedback has been influential also).

the Triplaner i think is 10.5 inches.

the more i read about the pro's and con's of 12" arms the less i'm feeling a need to go that way.

i will have room for 4 arms and cartridges plus the Rockport. sorry to say my budget won't allow for all the cartridges and arms i would like......for quite awhile (i would love to add an Aesthetix phono stage too when budget permits).
Well I have the ESLs and an Art Audio Vinyl One phono stage and I'm using a LP12 which I just dropped a Roksan Nima on and it's awesome... so I'd suggest to you an LP12 with and a Naim Aro arm (the Nima is a low cost knock off of the Aro,) they are even producing an Aro Keel now. I know many people who use this combo and feel the LP12/Aro and ESls are incredible together.
Nkj, I would not downplay the quality of your Oracle, it is a very good deck and competes with the best out there.

In my system the Oracle is just as nice my Micro-Seiki RX-5000 (comparable with the Raven), albeit each deck has its own sonic signature. The RX is very dynamic, but can be a little strident, the Oracle is extremely musical - cadence is very integrated and of course it is totally immune to external vibration. I don't know why this deck remains under the radar? Enthusiasts that come over to listen are always so surprised at well my Oracle / Dynavector / ZYX combo sounds - and they can compare directly with my RX-5000.

The SME ams complement the deck nicely as well. I also have the IO-Sig and am very happy with this combo. I also have an SP-10 Mk2, Lenco 75 in heavy plinths for comparison and the Oracle is better for me.

The SME V is a good arm and effective with most carts. I did move up to the Dynavector 507 Mk2 on the Oracle and it has more "soul" than the SME and just about compatible with most carts old and new - fabulous with my ZYX UNIverse. The constraint with the Oracle is that only 9" arms are compatible with the mounting and you can't really use very vintage arms with heavy stabilizers .
Nkj, All I can say is, "Gulp!"; your Garrard is gorgeous. Unless you need the money to apply to your next purchase, I would say never sell that. It is as good as money in the bank and may be an appreciating asset. I see above that you like to keep vintage electronics that are similar in asset value, so think of the Garrard in that category. But I also agree with Mike, you are not getting the most out of the Garrard. Try the Kokomo bearing for starters and a Triplanar if you can manage it.
Thanks for the replies so far,

I think I may trick out the Garrard and see where it goes. I'll probably sell the loser and re-evaluate. This might take a while...

I would like to add my comments in reaction to Mikelavigne's characterization of the Oracle MKV as “lean” sounding. That may well be Mikel’s experience based on the associated equipment, etc. But in my system, the Oracle MKV SE (granite base)/Helikon/Phantom combination is certainly not lean sounding. In fact the Oracle MKV is a much underrated turntable. Its strong points are its mechanical quietude, coherent musicality and huge sound stage with surprisingly taut and tuneful bass. This is a super performing table that is reasonably priced. To me it’s a keeper.
I would definitely keep the Garrard, but I am prejudiced, as I make slate plinths for the Garrard (Oswaldsmill Audio or OMA) and we are now the Garrard/Loricraft representatives for the US. So, with that disclaimer out of the way, the plinth is of course very important. Dobbins makes a good one, and OMA makes one from slate that weighs a bit more than one hundred pounds. We will also be coming out with a new Loricraft Garrard power supply for the 301 in a month or two, and that should make a big difference and a substantial upgrade.

As for 12 inch arms, I put a lot of Schick arms onto 301's (disclaimer- we distribute them), which is wonderful with heavier, low to medium compliance cartridges, but that is what you would be wanting to use with the 301 anyway. And the Schick is still a bargain. I use it myself, and my other deck and arm are a Saskia and Schroeder Reference SQ.

Jonathan Weiss
Jonathan, can you tell me more about the new power supply for the 301. Is it better than the PSU301 Loricraft has now?
The difference most likely = marketing plus 120V compatibility.
since my Garrard is 50hz/220v i have only heard it with my Loricraft UPS 301 AR.....although i understand it makes a considerable difference in the performance. i certainly like how it sounds but have no context of not using it.

obviously it plugs into my 60hz/110v power grid already.

Jweiss; will my Loricraft power supply be upgradable to the new version?

When I visited with Loricraft in England in December, I asked what the differences were between the two power supply units (PSU 301/Archivist and PSU401), given their vastly different price. The answer is too long to recount here (if anyone is really interested, feel free to give me a call or email) but the result was an offer by Loricraft to create for OMA a single new supply that has the performance of the more expensive unit, but at a much more reasonable price. Most people don't need the speed control that someone archiving 78rpm shellacs would want. This new unit will be useable by not only Garrard 301 and 401 owners, but Lenco and TD124 owners as well. That is the way it has been presented to me by Garrard's engineer who created the PSU line.

The new supply will be configured 110V or 220V in or out, but the settings are done at the factory, and not changeable by the user. This does mean, though, that you can buy a UK or Euro 301, keep it 220V and 50hz, but still use it in the US. And according to Garrard/Loricraft, that is the optimal configuration for performance.

Mike, as to your question whether your present unit could be changed, I do believe this is a possibility, as the beta tester for this new design was an earlier PSU which went back to Loricraft for conversion.

This is a fully new design. It is not an "upgrade" with some changes in boutique caps and such. Considering that the price goes down by several thousand dollars, but the performance is supposedly equivalent to the most expensive unit made by Loricraft, I would say this is a good thing.

I hope to have this online in the next couple of months. If I don't hear a big improvement in sound from the new supply, I won't carry it.
Jonathan; thanks for the response, i appreciate it.

if i am reading your post correctly it seems that what your 'new' version will offer is a simplified and less expensive version of what i have (with the current UPS 301 AR) with equal performance. what will be lacking is the adjustability for certain unique speeds.

then at the end you add that you are anticipating a big improvement in the sound. is that expected improvement over not using the Loricraft at all or is that anticipated improvement over the current UPS 301 AR that i have.

sorry; maybe i'm just slow and thanks for putting up with my questions. i do think it's great that the 301 gets all this attention to make it better. we all gain from that.


Hello Mike,

If you have the PSU301AR you have the top of the line supply and controller, with all the bells and whistles. I do not anticipate the new Loricraft OMA controller to exceed the performance of your unit. The new supply does not use the same technology as your unit, but should offer similar performance at a much lower price, and without all the adjustments of the AR model which are so expensive to produce.

With the new supply, the technology for creating a whole new PSU design had existed, but no impetus was seen by them for doing it until OMA became a distributor for their products in the US.

My comments about the anticipated improvement in sound refer to using the new supply against using nothing but the mains to power one's deck. If the new supply does not provide marked improvement than I won't carry it, as I think you better get something substantial for that kind of investment.

Hope that explains things better.
thanks Jonathan for the clarification.
I have an older Loricraft PS in use for my 301. Although we have very clean 230V/50Hz here in Germany - compared to the US, the PS has a major impact on sound quality: all the bass region cleans up, timing gets considerably better, and the faint hint of one-note bass, which might be detectable on one or other record, disappears completely.

best regards, Hartmut