SOTA Cosmos and other models - lean sounding?


I have owned an older SOTA Star (vacuum) Sapphire Series III for nine years and it's been great. I am considering either upgrading it or selling and buying a newer (not new) Star/Nova/Cosmos and if necessary upgrade it a bit. I don't want to change the tonal balance much though... more about getting quieter and maybe more dynamics.

Digging back into reviews and forum posts on SOTA, I ran across a couple of comments that the Cosmos might be "lean" sounding that some other comparable tables. This really surprises me because my Star Sapphire always struck me as very full sounding. Or at least that's how my system sounds overall. The table sounds incredibly musical.

Does anyone experienced with SOTA tables know:
1. As you move up from a Sapphire to a Cosmos, it is known to sound a bit more lean?
2. Are these "lean" comments just outliers and do most people not experience the Cosmos or other SOTAs that way?
3. If you do think the SOTA Cosmos tend toward leanness, what other brands/models in the $3-4k range used ($6-9k retail) might have a fuller sound?

My system is a Koetsu Rosewood Signature, Jelco 850M, custom all-tube Berning preamp w/ phono, Quicksilver V4 amps, Verity Audio Parsifal Encores, and Cardas Golden Cross cabling. 29' x 16' x 7.5' room with concrete floors.

Thanks for thoughts!

montaldo
I would guess that the cosmos might sound lean compared to the Sapphire  in that it would be less colored, which is a good thing. But in general, no, I don’t think the cosmos taken by itself would be a lean sounding turntable. I think it is likely a big improvement over the Sapphire. Of course, this is only one man’s opinion.
Are these the kind of turntable reviews that doesn’t spend any time trying different arm/cart/phono stage combos (properly adjusted) on the table under review, and definitely don’t compare to another table with the same arm/cart/phono? I.e. they just pick a new arm & cart that they’re probably not even familiar with, plop it on an also new-to-them table, and then write a "review" without having done any work to isolate the very large and interactive variables of high-end analog systems? But then they’ll definitely spill 1,000 works documenting their perception of each note on a boring Diana Krall pressings...yeah, those reviews are completely worthless.

I had a old Star III upgraded to Nova V status. Wonderful tables, and hard to beat the value for money in the Sapphire/Nova/Cosmos range. The vacuum hold down is great. I would’ve gone to the Cosmos but wanted to keep my old Koa wood chassis. They go great with Fidelity Research arms and Koetsu and Shelter cartridges in my experience (Jelco should be great too). I wouldn’t worry about a "lean" sound with Koetsu and a SOTA of any model.
Thanks guys. Mulveling: what sonic changes do you you recall when upgrading your Star III TO A Nova? This is likely exactly the upgrade I would do.Thanks
There were not significant sonic changes; the Star III was simply fantastic as-is, and the refresh to Nova V kept the original sound. I mainly got it re-done to get the vacuum hold working again (the older rubber lips become useless after many years) so I could play warped records, and to ensure it would be good for another 20+ years. Also the new motor power-up sequence no longer sends a nasty transient spike/pop through my system.

I'm very curious whether the new Roadrunner/Eclipse motor package will take the sound quality even further. Seems to be a reasonable upgrade for $1200. 

The newest Nova series VI also uses better metal bracing from bearing to armboard, which also could have sonic impacts, and I'm sorry I missed out on that.
Montaldo, I have owned SOTA tables since 1981. I currently have a Cosmos with a 4 Point 9 on it.
To answer your questions,
#1 Absolutely not.
#2 No way to account. Too many variables. Bad system, bad ears, who knows. Put the two tables on the same system with identical arms and cartridges and 99.9% would never hear the difference. 
#3 None
Your Sapphire is pretty recent so you should be able to apply all the new upgrades including the DC motor and drive and the new magnetic bearing. Call SOTA with your serial number in hand and ask. If your current table is in good shape just let SOTA rebuild it to current spec. It is just like getting a new table.

Mike
I thought my Lenco idler drive refurbished by Jean Nantais sounded noticeably fuller than the Cosmos IV that I also owned.
Thanks for the great feedback, all! Also pondering a used Basis Debut or an EAT turntables as alternatives to my SOTA. Any opinions are welcome.
It would be psychologically challenging for me to move away from the vacuum hold down, now that I have had it. Not certain of the sonic impact.

Since you like your SOTA, it's a probably good idea to stick with them, especially with the current upgrades offered. I bought a Clearaudio Innovation and learned the hard way just how much the SOTA suspension system made up from my bad rack & floor setup - got to keep that in mind. Now a lot of money later into a high-end rack, the Clearaudio is awesome. But I still keep my SOTA for the Stax headphone rig. No fancy rack needed with a SOTA. 
1+ mulveling. People who use idler wheel turntables either don't like bass or don't have subwoofers. They all rumble like express trains. They are why rumble filters were invented in the first place!
montaldo, we all get that urge for a change. It is that urge that has led me down the path of destruction on several occasions. Stick with what works.
All good turntables, those that do not add to or transfer anything to the process of reading a groove sound the same. Those that sound different in any way are adding something that should not be there whether it sounds euphoric or not. 
As an aside. I have a 192/24 copy of Dylan's Desire and the MoFi 45 RPM version. We sinced them up and on first listening all three of us there at the time thought the vinyl sounded better. The vinyl had this glow for lack of a better term and it made Dylan sound as if he were standing out there at some distance. The digital version sounded as if Dylan was standing right in front of you singing into a microphone and on closer inspection the digital was more detailed, the violin in Hurricane had more rosin to it. So like Nelsen Pass's amplifiers the vinyl is adding something to the process we like. Nelson is right when he says audiophiles don't care about accuracy. They just want to be happy. I think I just contradicted myself.
Mijostyn: There may be audiophiles who care mainly about accuracy to the recording, but two things I believe:1. I am not one of them.2. Chasing accuracy to the "source" is a red herring, unless one happened to be at the recording session. I would rather chase a sound that, to some degree, fools my brain into thinking I am hearing the real thing... which is, as Nelson said, chasing sound that makes me happy.

What makes others happy may be knowing that their system is reproducing what the engineer laid down on the track, even if it is poorly done. I dont begrudge them this pursuit of happiness. I guess that is what Nelson meant... there are different causes of happiness in audiophilia, and everyone chases their own flavor.
This makes for spicy forum debates as well... partly because we often dont  acknowledge that our respective roads to hapoiness are completely different! Its no wonder our systems should also be different.
Absolutely no argument montaldo. Nobody can know what accurate is because they were not there at the time of the recording as you suggest. It is chasing an illusion. "Sounds real" and "accurate" are in reality isolated from each other. There are annoyances that are common to all threads of audio enjoyment, noise of various types, IM distortion, cartridge miss tracking, wives screaming, etc, that are easier to discuss and manage in an on-line forum, the technical issues. We all see something different in an ink blot. Maybe sound is the same. I want an instrument to sound real but my real may be and probably is different than your real. 
I use a Cosmos in my second system. I would not characterize it as being lean.
Gee wspohn, what do you use in your first system:)
Yeah man! Jeez, the Cosmos is second string?