Personally I believe your mind is made up.That being said,the latest Cosmos is in another league from past Sota products(including ALL previous Cosmos tables).The latest Sotas are manufacturered to much better tolerances than all previous models,and the newest Cosmos series III has been further updated,but Sota is SO low key that they don't bother to tout it.The SME's are wonderful tables,but the latest Cosmos competes with anything at,or way above it's price point.And the vacuum is greatly improved,where there is little competition, affording that very important feature.
Best of luck!
I have onwed SOTA tables for 10 years now, first a Star Series III and now a Nova Series V. I know their are many other fine tables out there but my next upgrade will be to a Cosmos. I'm SOTA all the way.
I own a SME 20/2. I wish I could offer advice on comparions to SOTA's for you. I love my SME 20/2. I've owned for 4 years now. I have 2 friends that both own Walker's. Of course the Walker is better, but I really have a killer system and my friends really love listening to that SME.
I think either table is hard to beat. Good luck !
My used sapphire gave me so much enjoyment that nervosa hit hard and I recently took the plunge and am upgrading to the Cosmos.
The SME looks and must be killer good.
I know that Paul Seydor has had both in his system. Maybe try to contact him through absolute sound or asylum critic forum and maybe he can give you some nuance.
I suspect the SME may edge it out but I know he admires SOTA stuff.
Either way, in my book, you win.
Dear Smoffatt: As Jfrech posted you can't go wrong with either TT.
Now, when you are looking for that quality level is convenient to have a wide TT alternatives.
I can recomended at least two ones: Acoustic Signature and Galibier, take a look. These ones compete with the best out there.
Regards and enjoy the music.
Not to get too sidetracked but...Raul, did you by any chance read the Stereotimes review that trashed the Analog One? http://www.stereotimes.com/turn101501.shtm
They loved the Final Tool (a table I might eventually get) but they disliked the Analog One MKII. Btw, what arms are good with these tables?
I never read them but came across it when I researching the Final Tool table.
Unlike many, I really like the metal look of these tables and yes they seem to be well built as a result of the materials used.
A few years ago Charleston Heston addressed the National Rifle Association, he held up a vintage rifle and said "out of my cold dead hands". I feel the same way about my Sota Nova. The SME's don't have a vacuum clamp which is a feature that I think everybody should hear at least once before they dismiss it. If you have the bucks I'd go for the Cosmos (or the Millineum??)
Because of the impact of CD's,and the negative advertising of competition,most vinyl lovers really have no idea how a well designed vacuum system can impact music reproduction.There are some vacuum systems that allow for the user to set vacuum pressure,which can be risky if you are inexperienced,and can risk too much pressure,which causes noise.Also it has been claimed(with no proof) that one can leach important chemical aspects from the vinyl.
In the SOTA(especially the greatly improved newer versions)this is all set by a computer chip,and the least amount of pressure is automatically selected.
I have had(as well as two friends)a SOTA vacuum system(in various models) for over two decades,without a single tick or pop,that I could blame on the vacuum system.
If digital had not become so popular,and tables still "ruled the earth",we would have heard LOADS more about the benefits of a correct vacuum system.Sorry,no amount of negative marketing could sway this inarguable fact!
I have no doubt the 20/2 is a fine table,but the Latest Cosmos IS a tour de force,both in design and sound.My last(older Cosmos)didn't even require a new belt,until I had it rebuilt(along with my pal's table),after twelve years.It operated flawlessly,yet the newest COSMOS "smoked it",in every conceivable way,when it came to performance.I had no intention of moving to the newer model,but when I heard my friend's update,last year,I was in "I'd even rob a bank,to get it" mode.This latest model designation is a powerful force,to be taken very seriously,especially at the "still" rediculously low asking price.
The 30/2,though,could be a different story!!Anything below that point is most likely going to be outperformed by the latest modded Cosmos.The problem,knowing "audio mentality",is that it's still too inexpensive.At it's current price.Hmm!!
Thank You all for comments/reflections on both TT. I have been doing some thinking and it really comes down to this. The Cosmos at $6000.00 is about half the price of the 20/2 at $11,000.00. How much performance of the 20/2 do we get from the Cosmos....85%-90%. Is the difference really worth $5000.00. As i stated in my intro, I have been a Sota owner for 20 years and i just may stay a Sota owner, perhaps with a brand new Cosmos (circa 2006). No doubt that SME products are S.O.T.A* and great value in England and throughout Europe. Not so in North America unfortunately. Sly.
* State Of The Art
I have never seen this "negative advertising" against vacuum hold-down. I have seen the "vinyl leaching" argument mentioned online, but don't believe it for a second. I've never owned a vacuum table, but harbor a prejudice that I wouldn't want to because of complexity, noise, and hassle. I've thought about trying Sota in the past, but that I would avoid the vacuum models if I did. I do like the sound of clamped better than unclamped. I also have a prejudice against sprung suspensions that are not damped, and I thought Sota was that way. Ditto for wooden external chassis (excepting the Millenium). But I haven't read anything about a newer generation of Sotas. I'm open to dispassionate arguments against my prejudices and/or misinformation if anyone wants to disabuse me...
Dear Plinko: Yes, I read that review. The own footers ( three columns ) that have the Analog one are not up to the " task ". I by-passed through Pneumatic Audio technica footers and the sound is stellar.
For the arms, you can take a look to " my system ".
Regards and enjoy the music.
Dear Sirspeedy: +++++ " I have had(as well as two friends)a SOTA vacuum system(in various models) for over two decades,without a single tick or pop,that I could blame on the vacuum system. " +++++
You are really lucky. I use vacuum system for many years ( I still use it ) because the impact, for the better, that has on the quality music sound reproduction but over those years in some of my LPs growth some " noises " that were develop by the vacuum system, I will try to explain: it does not matters how high/low was the vacuum presure we must to leave " perfect clean " the TT vacuum platter before we put the LP on it and we must to have " perfect clean " the LP side that is in direct contact with the vacuum platter ( this job is almost imposible to achieve: " perfect clean " ), if not any dust could stick permanent on the LP tracks and from this we could have " noises " on the LP reproduction.
Till today I don't have a solution for this critical subject. Now, this is a trade-off and we have to decide if we take it or not, I take it because the improvement in the quality music reproduction is " heavy " that those " noises ".
Sirspeedy, I would like to know how did you solve that issue.
Regards and enjoy the music.
Hey Raul,I can't really answer for you,though I have some theories.Firstly I always use a Decca record brush just before taking the LP off the platter.I also use a soft brush(actually a facial make-up brush)to dust off any dust(which I seldom see),which may accumulate on the platter,during a listening session.Most importantly,I am lucky enough to have a dedicated listening room.All this probably helps.
BTW-Just as a fun point of interest,I went to the VTV show today,and heard my first Allaerts.Not the top model,and not a system I am familiar with,yet,and yet it was clearly a very special "musical" experience.You are correct(based on my limited experience)in calling these really fine transducers.
Also,and this was interesting,and fun,I heard a system(one I'm fairly familiar with)that consisted of Horning hybrid speakers,Tron amps,the WORLD CLASS Japanese Audio Note preamp(more expensive than any car in the parking lot),and TWO Davinci tonearms.One arm having the Myabi Ivory cartridge,and the other Davinci carrying the XV-1s.These were on a very fine table(quite massive).We compared both cartridges using the same LP tracks.Miles Davis' Kind of Blue( I own the "six Eye original").Well I was surprised as to how distinctively different both these cartridges sounded.I knew they should,but they were really different.BOTH were quite superb.The Myabi was the more romantic and warm sounding(in a good way),with fine detail and timbrel character.The Dynavector was EVERYTHING I had come to hear about it.It was the more neutral,but was "KILLER" good at digging into the recordings we played.More dynamic, but I could easily live with either.Yet to tell the truth,based on the "littlest" Allaerts,I'd have to say that my appetite is paused to hear the Allaerts "big boys"!I have a sneaky suspicion that they might be the "ones"to cherish,and pass down to the grand kids. -:)
Thought you'd like a "good read",so sorry for my length,here.
Dear Sirspeedy: Maybe your dedicated room is the " subject " against my living room.
Yes, the XV-1 is a great cartridge but the Allaerts: WOW!!!!
Btw, nice and interesting experienced you have with Mr. King!!!!!
Regards and enjoy the music.