Have you listened to the VPI's?? Pesonally, they are more to my taste... the Sota vacuum system can be a nightmare to work with. The VPI ring clamp does a better job (to me)
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I used to own a SOTA Nova Series V. I had no issues with the vacuum system and the table, if set up properly, is phenomenal. Best to get it off the floor and on a really good rack or better yet a wall shelf. Being a suspension design it will be more susceptible to floor vibrations. The service from Kirk and Donna is excellent as well so take that into consideration when making your decision.
I own a SOTA, my dad owns a Scoutmaster, I think the SOTA is more musical and I love the Vac platter, the VPI sounds great but I prefer the SOTA. The Vac is much easier to use then the VPI clamp (plus they cost a fortune) and the SOTA has a suspension while the VPI has none, all in all I feel the SOTA is a better value but you would be probably happy with a VPI.
I currently have a Cosmos I and a Star III. Have owned the Nova and I think the ability to adjust the vacuum level manually is a big plus.The auto sensing circuit in the Nova and Cosmos sometimes needs to be adjusted and it is a little more difficult as you have to open up the pump unit.I have had half a dozen Sotas and the Star is my favorite.The difference in sound between this and the Nova will be negligable,and used the tables are worth about the same.The Star is what they have been famous for throughout history.
thanks for input. Yeah, I called VPI and really wasn't impressed with them. I do like the sound of the tables but SOTA seems amazing when I've called. They e-mail back are very friendly and willing. That's what I like.
Most importantly though, the sound. I'm unable to listen to them but everyone tells me go for it!!! You will NOT be disappointed with the NOVA. So here I go...
I've owned a series 3 deluxe for about 10 yrs. It began life as a Star but was upgraded in 92 at Romeoville. Last year the power unit developed a loud hum and had to send it for repairs. I bought mine used with mounted sme-v arm for about 2k. Have since replaced the original sumiko cartridge with a goldring Excel VX with good results. I recently sent the whole rig up to Illinois for a complete checkout and upgrade recommendation. The bearing was occasionally making a slight ticking noise. That was 2 months ago. I am still waiting to hear from them.
Don't fear bro, The SOTA's are kick ass good.
I have never "come back" to vinyl as I "never left". I have owned Garrards, JVC's, Thorens 125 and 126 (still have the 126), have a lot of chair time with friends and heard all kinds of working man's wages types of tables, Dual, Empire, Sony, Technics, etc, and when I got a plain old Sapphire a few years back, I found a great table at a wonderful price/performance ratio.
So much so, that I have a Cosmos in right now being brought up to the Series IV. That is it for me, I am done, and I elected not to trade in the sapphire for credit towards the Cosmos/upgrades as I don't want to part with it.
No knock on VPI as they have been in the game a good long time and have a dedicated group of adherents and by all accounts they are great tables. I would actually love to compare/contrast if I had the chance.
But from experience SOTA is a class act all the way around. A great product from a great company.
Hi All, i currently have Sota purchased new in 1999 with SME V and Dynavector XV1's. I am trading it in for the new Cosmos Series IV. Before the Nova i owned a Star Saphire. Steelhead is right. You are getting a top shelf TT for peanuts (so to speak). Look up Paul Seydor's review of the SME 20, SME 30 and Sota Cosmos on the TAS. See Paul Bolin's review in Sterophile as well. I rest my case.
I do not know how someone can live without a vacuum hold down system on their TT. The best, most effective system to flatten a warped record and i mean any kind of warps.
Indeed, Kirk and Donna are a real pleasure to deal with and if you ever have a problem with your TT they will take care of it.
You will not be dissapointed.
I recently upgraded to the Cosmos IV and have a VPI TNT Jr. The VPI is an excellently designed TT, but the Cosmos is musically and in terms of "involving" me, in a higher league. The same with the Sota Sapphire that I previoulsy owned. A word about Kirk and Donna: I noticed a crack in the wooden chassis of the Sota, which was entirely my fault. Kirk gave me a brand-new chassis, at no charge and refused my offer to pay him for the damages! How do you beat this kind of service? They are two of the classiest people in all of audio and I can't say enough good things about them and their product. Needless to say, I wouldn't hesitate for a moment if I were you, and would buy the Sota.
"The bearing was occasionally making a slight ticking noise. That was 2 months ago. I am still waiting to hear from them"
Its true they are not fast on turnaround but this is the price you pay for personalised service and access to the owners. My upgrades took about 3 mos.(including 2 weeks of shipping)However I was able to speak directly with Kirk who walked me through some setup procedures and did some inspection work for no fee. This is the tradeoff with smaller companys. I would rather wait and get the excellent service and workmanship than take my chances as another "number" with a larger service dept. It has also been my experience that very few boutique audio manufactuerers offer
fast service and with most your lucky to get service at all.
Try waiting for something from Clearaudio for example a much larger company with a large chain of distribution. Youd be lucky to get service in 3 mos.
just my $.02
I too am considering upgrading my current turntable to a Sota Nova. I have a Systemdek IIX currently. It is a good sounding turntable (that I already own) and the price and weight of the Nova are a little daunting for my budget. However, after reading all the superlative posts about Sota, Donna and Kirk, I feel like ordering one and writing them a check in a heartbeat.
Being the proud owner of a SOTA STAR NOVA V / Vacuum platter for the last 10 years has allowed me to set it up and play it with absolutely a problem free experience with no regrets Can't complain with one replacement belt in that timeframe. Donna and Co offer some of the best CS in this industry. They actually pick up the phone. The upgrade path is always available should you choose to take it. Some things are just hard to measure and describe with a component of this stature. This may sound strange however, the level of blackness in the background has to be experienced to understand it My Lps just do not sound the same on anything else.
sbank, I run an an old-school gimble bearing Alphason HR100s made with british titanium. A perfect match for a Koetsu or Kiseki etc.. at 800 POUNDS STERLING, that's 800 quid mate, this tonearm was and still is a giant killer in its heyday. Audio shows at the time would pass out one of these arms and if you could bend it you were gratis a new Alphason Tonearm. Needles to say no one could muster the bend. Tough to find this day and age, Some parts are plastic so make sure it is all there. If you look and your willing to pay overseas shipping you may just get lucky. Ebay UK may be your best bet. Johnny at: http://www.audioorigami.co.uk/archive/alphason-hr100-rewire/ is the rewire specialist and rebuilder. The re-wire can be a nightmare. Do not attempt this at home kids, unless you are a really brave soul. Most arms are foamed. Although I still have great sound with the stock wires I'm sure they have become somewhat brittle,. I have also heard good results with a high end SME on this deck.