SOTA table owners- getting upgraded


I have an older Star Sapphire version II which I bought new back in 1986 and subsequently upgraded with a III platter. In 1999 I put it into storage when moving to London and got it out earlier this year. I thought about getting a VPI Scout but ended up sending the table to SOTA to have the springs upgraded and while there, had the platter bearing replaced, the sub-chassis stiffened and dampened and purchased a Cosmos composite armboard. The motor, the original pabst, and the vacuum checked out fine.

I use the table with a SME V and a AT OC-9 cartridge. Man, what a difference these mods have made. Speed stability has improved as the hanging turntable no longer wobbles all over the place due no doubt to the new springs. The table's background noise is now so low that music comes out from a black and quiet background. Soundstaging and clarity have likewise seen substantial increases. If you have an older SOTA, I highly recommend these changes to your table.
barolobrain
Thanks for the comments.

I was very impressed with the stock Sapphire. (probably version I) enough so, that I traded a sacd player for it to replace my beloved Thorens 126.

I plan on the level 3 mods down the road. I hate the thought of the shipping both ways.

I have the SOTA record cleaner and it is a great machine. Have ordered from Donna at SOTA and she is responsive and it has been fun to chat and tease her.

Great company and I am glad they are still in business and spinning.
I started with a used Sapphire, upgraded to a refurbished Star, which was great, but now I'm in the process of upgrading to the Cosmos. I can't wait!

Sota makes a great table, much better than VPI IMO and the prices are more than fair.

Donna and Kirk are a lot of fun to deal with too. It's a win win situation...
At LAST!!

I have felt for years,that the COSMOS was an underpriced and fabulous product.With the Boddinet's as owners,you can't go wrong!!
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Where, on the internet, can one see photos of the Sota tables (all models) ?
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Rgds,
Larry
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Where to see SOTA

At http://www.sotaturntables.com/ you can see all the current models.
SO,LARRY---When am I going to get the Schroeder review,that you promised me?No excuses!!!

Also---IMO,regarding the SOTAS(COSMOS in particular),there really is no way to make the comment that one designer's product line is better than another.Unless there is an A/B comparison.It really isn't fair to make claims to the contrary.

There are some fabulous designs out,now!The only ones I am a bit suspicious of(which means nothing,BTW,as I'm just a hobbyist)are the very pricey products,that some reviewers latch on to,and help to drive their sales(as well as to rationalize pricing).Many of these designs are wonderful,but some are short lived(remember Forsell)and compared to a good number of more responsibly priced products,like the new COSMOS III,Teres and some of the VPI's I've heard,don't really set any "Real" new standards.Their owners do get the benefit of the "Rolex watch syndrome",but that's ok with me!!
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Sirspeedy,
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I was going to write a review for the Schroder last night, but I thought it might be better to wait until I actually have it before offering any strong opinions.
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As soon as I get the Schroder in my system, you will be the 11th to know. That's assuming your email ever works and email can reach you.
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Rgds,
Larry
Larry,Ouch!That hurt!
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Sirspeedy,
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I am sorry. Was that a bit harsh (certainly not my intention).
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Rgds,
Larry
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Larry,I was kidding.I love pain,or I would not be so intrenched in this hobby!Also,who are the other 10?Kind of reminds me of when I was a kid,my friend wouldn't finish his dinner.His mom said"do you know how many people in China are starving"?He then replied---"name one"!I still remember how much that tickled me.Now "FRIGGIN TICKLR ME" with your promise,of a review/comparison w/2.2!Things like family vacations(this time of year),and other expenses should be secondary to the pushing of the audio envelope!Am I serious?Well since you have claimed to be a bit dry(but your a good guy anyway),I'll let you decipher that one.Best regards,and enjoy the HEAT(no tubes for you,in FLA,I'll bet).!Sir Speedy!

PS---It's only 94,today in Joisey!!
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Sirspeedy,
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I wasn't really sorry or apologizing. I was f@#king with you.
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Enjoy the heat.
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Rgds,
Larry
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Like you, I also have a Sota Sapphire MkII purchased in 1986. Recently, after having had it stored for 6 years, I set it up and have been astounded once again with what good analog sounds like.

I talked with Sota today about a couple of problems I am having. The service dept. is second to none. My only complaint is that they are no longer in Oakland, where I live!

They also recommended the upgrading of the springs to me. I am going to have it serviced locally because I dread packing and shipping the tt, but, I will have the techs check the spring system. I'm also suffering from a bit of hum coming somewhere from the tonearm/cartridge.

BTW, what kind of mat are you using?
NONE!!Take it off,and keep the platter clean,with a make-up brush.The intermat will only dull down the sound.
In my own experience, and, in talking with Sota, that is not either recommended or good sounding to my ears. Even with their old rubber mat, the bass fullness, tightness, and, overall quality improves. I think the sound is too thin with a bare platter.
The only reason SOTA wants the mat in use is because if the platter is not kept clean,you can get noise on the vinyl,from the vacuum pressure.This is not a problem,if you are good in keeping the platter clean.

As for the sound,I have had multiple Sotas over the years.My pals,also have had quite a few.What can I say.If you don't want to go bare,fine.The sound to ALL of my audio group,and myself is a BIG improvement going bare.

Think about it.The bare platter is SOTA's proprietary material,that supposedly mates with the vinyl to form a massive interface.Why would an intermat protect that interface?It only slightly softens the sound,and does not have the dynamics,and resolving capability of the "CORRECT" interface,which must be bare,for the "vinyl formula" platter top to do it's magic!We have compared,multiple times on a very high res set-up,and there is no contest!Sorry to disagree,but you're off on this one.Best wishes!
Sirspeedy. My table is not a vacuum model. Do you think this still applies? It is a Mk II table.
YES!!!!!!! So long as you have the "VINYL FORMULA" platter top!The only way to have the interface is to have the LP contact the actual platter top.
I just got my Star TT back from SOTA after having it upgraded to a Nova. In the process I also got rid of the black base in favor of American Cherry - what a difference in look along with the much nicer acrylic dust cover. I just added a new Benz M2 moving coil cartridge and I'm excited to hear the difference. Currently using a Cary PH-301 phono stage but will be upgrading that as well.

I'm glad these guys are still around, they make outstanding TTs.
Clio-9,glad you are so happy.You'll be even happier in the near future.As for the SOTAS of today's manufacturing,the prices,for the materials employed,as well as the newer,much higher level of fit and finish,not to mention rediculously good performance,are extremely well priced!Also,to me this is very important,the ownership is very sensitive to customer satisfaction,and will do cartwheels to satisfy.Best of luck!

NOW FOR A LITTLE EXTRA TIDBIT!!!---I hope NRCHY reads this!
If you get rid of the generic PC that connects the pump/power supply,and upgrade it to a really good one(Both I and my friend did this together)you WILL get a significant increase in overall performance.I have mentioned this to SOTA,but they want to keep prices in check.I spent 400 bucks for a custom,all silver(I'm NOT saying it has to be silver,that is what my custom cable guy felt was best,here).I gave the responsibility of finding a custom supplier to my pal,so I forgot who did the work,but believe me,it is NOT my imagination.Best regards!BTW--Use of Black Diamond Racing cones,under pump,helps in my set-up,and my pal's.
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Sirspeedy,
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A question for you: Would Nrchy be better off trying to find a way to get a battery power source in lieu of getting a great power cord (I do think power cords make a huge difference in almost all applications) ?
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Rgds,
Larry
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sirspeedy,

Thanks for the suggestions. Prior to getting the SOTA back I bought a Joule Electra LA-200 preamp on auction. It came with a Music and Sound power cord. I am clueless as to the history of this PC, but since I was sending the Joule in for a tune-up and retubing I thought I would use the PC on the pump/power supply. It sounded pretty good out of the box and I'm not sure how much it needs to burn in, but when I compared it to the stock PC it was like night and day. I may leave the Music and Sound in the pump/power supply when the Joule gets back because I have a Virtual Dynamics Nite II can use on the Joule.

The pump/power supply sits on a maple amp stand and has the rubber/cork blocks under them that you see advertised by Mapleshade. Except these came from another source and contrary to what you hear from Mapleshade, HVAC companies supply these to put under furnaces and they are not as expensive as Mapleshade charges.
Cello,I meant the PC from pump to table.Though a good PC is better for the wall to pump,as well,but the SHOCK to me,and my pal,was when we tried the pump to table connection.It was a significant improvement.Why?I really don't know,other than the stock one stinks.
BTW,Larry--I have my table plugged into a PS Audio Ultimate outlet,on a dedicated line.The PC's STILL help.My pal,since he has no dedicated line,uses a P-300,to great effect,and here the better PC's also help.A good line,as you know,is always important.

Now when can I expect my Schroeder review?
sirspeedy,

Thanks for clarifying, I'll look around at some options. I have someone who makes great power cords for me and he may be able to take on this job as well.

Also, I run my TT through a Running Springs Audio Haley. I just boxed up my PS Audio P300, even though it has MultiWave II+ that helps control the table speed, as I was itching to try something new and the Haley works better with all the other sources, as well as handles the preamp and amp.
Are you talking about the imbilical cord which runs between the electronic flywheel and the table itself. I have upgraded the pc on the power supply. Is it possible to upgrade the imbilcal cord? I have never seen this option. Where did you get it?

Cello I have never seen a battery option for this table so I don't know if anyone's ever tried it.

Speedy, did the PS Audio make a difference after the electronic flywheel? The flywheel is supposed to be a power supply similar to the PS Audio!?!
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Sirspeedy,
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A - I know that battery powered TT drive motors sound better than those run by normal AC current (my experience with Teres). I absolutely think that good properly matched power cords as compared to stock cords make a significant improvement to any component. If an upgraded power cord helps the pump motor, perhaps a battery powered pump might be an upgrade over AC power.
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B - Did someone tell you that I received my new Schroder (since you asked within the last two weeks)? I will be happy to share my reactions about what effect the Schroder Reference has on my system's sound once I actually have a Schroder Reference. I can, if it is extremely urgent and important to you, write up a detailed review and comparison of what the Schroder does for my system before I actually get it. You must keep in mind that there may be some differences between what I think the improvements might be once I have a Schroder vs. the differences I find when I actually have a Schroder.
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Please let me know how urgently you need the review so I can know if I have to start fabricating a review for you. Perhaps it would be more expedient for you to write a review of how the Schroder will sound in my system before I actually have it. This would save an enormous amount of my time and you would have your review much sooner than if you have to wait for me to receive the Schroder and write a review.
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Warmest Regards,
Larry.
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Larry, let's not let facts get in the way of a good story. It takes all the fun out of things...
Nrchy,I am talking about the umbilical(stock is dreck)from flywheel to table,as stated!Don't ask me why this was a huge improvement on both my,and my pal's table,but it was.As for the P-300,or any good power source,for that matter.I,and my pal,have tried a load of them.Obviously,as Cello states,a battery would be nice,but I don't know of any source,without a major fabrication hassle,that does this.I can only speak from our experience.The Electronic flywheel IS sensitive to the line.I know it is marketed as a line conditioner,but I'm a bit sceptical as to how far it goes,based on A/B comparisons.I think it is really more of a "very effective" speed control.A true electronic flywheel,but not so hot in eliminating all noise,coming in with the line.

I have a dedicated line,in a private home,so opted for the Ultimate Outlet,from wall to flywheel.My pal is in an apartment bldg,so went,finally,after tons of dreck conditioners,for the P-300.This has been a "gift from God" for him.He is 22 stories up,and his lines sort of stink,but are as clear as spring water now.

As for the umbilical,my pal sourced these from a custom guy,and they were not cheap(400 each).The connectors alone were far superior,and they were made of silver.I'm not advicating the silver,but a really good umbilical(don't ask me why,I don't know,and don't care)made a really LARGE improvement in the sound on both our set-ups!I had pondered this idea for a while,but only decided to have it come into fruition after sharing the idea,and selling it to my friend,who sourced it out.I was too lazy,and he is retired.I assume any good cable guy could do an equal job.As for Kirk,as I've stated,he is concerned with keeping costs down,and feels the stock cable is sufficient.I don't blame him.I won't say the Cosmos is a steal,at it's price,but WOW can it be coaxed into some amazingly great performance,with a little fotzing around.Actually,alot of fotzing around(cords,footers,rigid,damped shelving/stand,line situation,etc).It is well worth it's asking price,based on the competition,and I really wonder how much better the high priced stuff is,in comparison.I'll bet,not alot!

Larry,I thought you said you had a dry sense of humor!You can fabricate a story for me,as long as we are in the dog days of summer.Not much doing now,so I'll read anything.Of course this all changes after Labor Day!!

Best wishes to all!
Speedy I'm going to talk to Kirk, and then if all goes according to plan, I will talk to Jim Aud at Purist Audio Design and see if he can make this cable for me. I'll let you know what I learn.
Nrchy,

I'd be interested to learn what you find out as well.

Sirspeedy - Today I had to reposition my pump/power supply because of hum issues. I also am now using a PS Audio xSteme Statement pc on it and have removed the ground pin. Everything is now quiet.
Nrchy,I don't think you need to go as far as Purist.I think it may be too pricey!As stated,our umbilicals were 400 each,so keep this in mind,as cords can be expensive.

Also,when you speak to Kirk,mention Sirspeedy.He'll know who I am,and my prediliction for his talents.