I don't know about the Millenia vacuum, but I've got a Star Saphire that I'm really fond of. The vacuum is great, reliable and very easy to use. A terrific system.
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Sota products offer superb value,and are built to last a lifetime...Literally!
I have owned almost all of the product line(over 25 years),and currently have the "fabulous" Cosmos IV!
The Millenia should be a superb table,and the vacuum "IS" a great feature,regardless of those ststing it is not necessary.....At this level---IT IS!!!
"TODAY'S" SOTA products are far better than any made in the past,and have an amazing level of fit and finish,not to mention rediculously good sonic attributes.....Almost to the point of making any more expensive contenders irrelevant,though there are quite a few good designs out there.
You'll love the Millenia!
I had an awful experience with a SOTA Cosmos mk3 (purchased brand new) and then later on I upgraded to the mk4 (no improvement in sound at all to my ears).
I owned the Cosmos for under 3 years, it went back to the shop for warranty issues - the custom ordered cabinet cracked in many places, and was replaced under warranty.
During my ownership, I dealt with Kirk with all the issues I was having. He is the company.
Originally, when I placed my order, the turntable arrived 4 months later than promised. When the table went back to the factory for warranty service and upgrade, I was told by Kirk it would be a 2 week turn around time. I did not see the turntable for 3 months.
Overall my experience was basically broken promises and a big let down overall in product quality for a $6660 turntable. A high end price, you should get high end quality and service. That was not my experience at all.
Most of the time when I would call and ask for Kirk, he was either away traveling or not available. One time I even got "he's too busy working on a reviewer's turntable" which was pretty sad, considering I had already paid for my turntable.
Consider all the various lines SOTA has, I don't know, but he must offer 4-5 different turntables. Consider they are all build on the same basic design, but they have consistent model upgrades - mk1, mk2, mk3, mk4 for the Cosmos.
One more thing I learned after I purchased my turntable, the original founders of SOTA sold the company and left a very long time ago - back in the late 80s? I'm not sure of the exact timing, but that is a good thing to know. This was a shock to me when I learned this, had I known this before, I probably would not have considered SOTA.
It sure seems like in the 'high end turntable market' you are buying into a relationship with the designer of the turntable you purchase. I do not know Kirk's original place in the SOTA company, but the fact that the original founders of the company are no longer there...does not sit well with me.
I do not mean any disrespect to SOTA or other SOTA owner's, but if someone is asking for another owner's opinion on purchasing an expensive SOTA turntable, I have to share my experience. I don't know if my experience is common or not, there are certainly many raves about SOTA on this site. Perhaps I got a lemon for a turntable, but for that kind of money, a lemon was not expected.
James,I know from your past posts about your problems....I'm sorry of course,because you are a fellow hobbyist.
I believe you must have had a lemon,and I have had lemons in audio over the years.Just recently,a similar type of product(not a SOTA),from a very highly regarded manufacturer.I was very peeved,and lost about six months of listening pleasure.I hope to be back in listening business in the next week,but my fingers are crossed!I remain guarded.
I've owned about five different SOTA tables over twenty five years,and SO has a close friend.They have been fabulous products,and my brand new Cosmos is amazingly well constructed.THAT is an understatement actually,believe it or not!
Kirk was the original Sota's technician,and bought the company about 12 years ago,from what I know.The previous owner did "nothing" to market the tables when CD came about,and Kirk,and his wife Donna took ownership.The original table was designed by David Fletcher...a real scientist,btw.....He still consults on all upgrades!
From my "numerous" experiences with KIRK,he is "incredibly caring" about his customer base!He has gone SO FAR overboard in making me happy.I am a fanatic,and not many guys would go to the lengths Kirk has to cater to a customer,as he has with me.
This is a small company,and previously(you may not know this)SOTA had a "huge number of tables in the field".Since Kirk is such a hands on guy,he does the majority of the work,so he is basically "burning the candle at both ends".
I have ALWAYS been called back,in a timely fashion,and eventually realized that I needed to consider Kirk's time(which is spent in the shop,working on products)as a busy business owner,so he deserves some "slack" as he ALWAYS calls customers back.
My friend has his Cosmos in for the series IV update right now,and we kind of kid him a bout the exactitude of a specific return date,because other "realistic variables" can always come about which can cause delays.This has been my experience with numerous manufacturers in this hobby.
I've had a huge wait for an amp,two years ago,and other related products just recently!...It IS major a pain in the butt,but that seems to be the nature of the hobby,since so many manufacturers are really small concerns.
From my own experience,a little patience has paid of BIG time,and though I can understand your concern,and definite frustration,I have no doubt you could have been satisfied if you gave Sota some additional time to solve your problem.
They ALWAYS HAVE WITH ME,and the friends I know who use the products.
They are "real people" who have their own lives to live,along with satisfying a HUGE customer base(huge for a good reason,btw).It can't be easy,and at times some things can occassionally slip between the cracks.....Unfortunately this seems to have happened to you.....yet....
Btw,there was "family loss this past year",and sadly I believe "this" affected your circumstances( we've spoken before...you and I,and I know the time frame of your dilemma).....I know this because I and friends had been having some work done on Sota products too.
We all love our hobby,and hard earned cash,but there are real people on the other side of the equation....sometimes it pays to "hang in there".I did and was rewarded with a "magnificent" brand new COSMOS,which is absolutely first rate!
The only reason for my lengthly post is I know how "over the top" concerned Kirk really is about customer satisfaction,as I have first hand experience here.....
The guy is a "great person",and deserves the benefit of the doubt!
Sorry for your problem,and I hope you are currently happy.
Once in a while there comes along a new 'toy' that is a significant improvement over all other 'toys' of the same toy category. This new and improved toy is incredible, it performs much better than the rest and is much more enjoyable to play with. But, the new toy cost twice as much as the others, but every time I play with it, it gives me a sense of magic I have never experience with other toys of its kind.
Every time I see a new toy come out, it is obvious it is like the rest when I have a chance to play with it, and does not have what mine has, the magic I enjoy so much. But it is priced more expensive than the others, so it must be better.
Price is no indicator of good sound. You cannot quantify good sound. But as the performance benchmarks are pushed forward, prices will rise at a justified rate (in a perfect world).
Customer service and quality of workmanship on the other hand are easily quantified.
I have owned all the vacuum decks in the line with my cosmos three now being in for the 4 upgrade. Yes, Kirk can be slow getting the work out as has been previously mentioned he is still servicing and upgrading the decks that were sold before he acquired the company. Im not normally a patient man but when I factor in the quality of the product the extremely reasonable price and the fact I am dealing with a company with great integrity I dont find the turnaround time to be a big factor. They stand behind their work and make an amazing product that in my opinion is well worth waiting for. As far as the difference between the 3 and the 4 I have heard everything from "night and day" to "cant hear much (any) difference". This is typical of high end audio. I cant hear the benefits of my friends new cables but he can and thats what matters. In James case it sounds like he had a cracked base and waited to long for the repair. Frustrating I know but they didnt rip him off, they performed the service and stood behind the product. If youve got a couple hours I could share some real horror stories about well known "hi end" companys that myself and others were outright screwed by and yet many still sing their praises. I have been an audio hobbiest for 40 yrs and consider the new Sota to be one of the great bargains and most honest people in audio today. A tip to anyone dealing with Sota is to communicate with Donna by e-mail. She will get back to you in a timely fashion and if Kirks input is needed she will see you get a call from him.
Good point Sirspeedy. There are lemons everywhere. Just look at GM, Ford and Chrysler. All 3 have had lemons and all 3 have had great products in the last 50 years. As far as Sota and its 2 owners are concerned, they are just GREAT to deal with. Like you, i have owned several Sota's in the last 20 years or so and i've had great experience with every model that came to me. If it was not for Kirk and Donna, Sota would be "dead" today and that would be a real shame. The 2 original owners/founders David Fletcher and Robert Becker were getting older and wanted out. They sold the company to a "guy" in IL who cared more about his speaker line than the Sota line. Kirk who worked for Sota at the time, knew the line very well and himself and Donna were offered to "buy" Sota Turntables and essentially, saved the company from oblivion. GOOD FOR THEM AND GOOD FOR SOTA OWNERS AND FUTURE OWNERS. Long live Sota and long live analog.
On a side note, I had ordered a power conditioner from a well respected/regarded US manufacturer just over a year ago. Brand new design/product. A real lemon. Nothing but problems. Had to send it back to the factory 4 times in the last 12 months to address different issues. Customer service was awesome but still...........
Anyway, i will not dvelve on this anymore than this, but my original post still remains unanswered. Thanks
Smoffatt,It may be hard to get owner feedback on the Millenia,because of the popularity of the Cosmos,and the lack of main stream press on the table.Audiophiles are a fickle bunch,and some need to see a review in his/her latest mag issue.
I have seen,played with,and heard the Millenia at a trade show.This was the first time I had met Kirk a few years ago.It was a very fine table,if you want to go with a seperate motor type design,which is popular.
I did read a really good review of it,in a foreign on line mag(forgot which one).There,the reviewer went "ga-ga" over it,and praised it immensely!
He statedthat it was more transparent than the majority of "Euro Designs" he was familiar with.This caught my eye because he was referring to some heavy hitter/heavy tables(which are all the rage now)!
The review went on to mention the table(the Millenia)was more revealing than the other tables he was familiar with,some costing big money.
What can I say?My impression is that "like almost anything else" hard to come by "locally",many folks prefer something a bit more "rare"...
Look at the foreign auto market.Ford,Chevy are all the rage overseas,and we love their stuff.....Definitely DUMB,imo!!
My approach is to get as much info as I can(reading,asking the mfgr questions etc)and exerting some common sense.
Does the product offer what I am looking for?Is the design/execution plausible?...
Then,things seem alot clearer to me,but that's just me!
Btw,awhle back Kirk told me he knew a guy who modded his own Millenia and is now able to mount "two" arms on it....
"THAT" is something I would like to be able to do,but cannot presently!!