Sota Total Eclipse package for VPI tables first impression
So, I got the Total Eclipse package from Sota on Saturday morning, performed a transplant of the motor on the VPI motor housing Saturday night.
I removed the switch and the captive cord from the motor housing, and routed the motor wires and the power wires down into the well at the bottom of the motor housing, and screwed down the motor It fit pretty well without having to enlarge the well or use spacers under the motor mount.
The rest of the install was pretty easy, except the mini molex connector wouldn't fit thru the power switch hole, so I removed the pins from it, routed it thru, then put the molex connector back together. I used silicon glue to hold the power connector to the motor housing. I clamped that down and let it dry for about an hour.
Installing the roadrunner was simple. Just set the self stick tiny magnet under the platter as close to the edge as possible, then set the sensor, also self stick, on the table platform so the magnet passes over the correct part of the sensor board, a two minute job.
Then I fired it up left it running overnight until Sunday morning. I don't know if I needed to, but I did anyway.
I've been listening at least 6 - 8 hours a day, and my initial impressions are positive. The soundstage seems to be more solid, a bit wider and deeper. Placement in the soundstage is more precise, and I think I'm getting more solid and well defined bass. The tone of voices and instruments see to be improved a bit. Overall, it seems to serve the music well.
Other things on the plus side, the Eclipse came set up correctly from Sota, so there was no need to go into the menus and adjust anything. They just asked which size platter I had (12") and they took care of it. It has a soft start feature which starts out slow and slowly ramps up to speed. The motor is extremely quiet, and has much less vibration than the Hursts from VPI, and the provided pulley has two slots for the dual belts that go from the motor to the flywheel on the TNT 4.
On a side note, the folks at Sota were a pleasure to deal with. Most of the correspondences were with Donna, the co-owner, and when needed I was passed over to a tech, Christian, who was extremely knowledgeable about upgrading the VPIs to use the Eclipse package.
On the minus side, if you do anything that affects the platter speed, like changing the record, using a record brush, or clamping down the record, you have to wait from 10 to 20 seconds for the roadrunner/eclipse combo to settle back to speed. Not really a big deal unless you're extremely impatient, and I can be at times ;).
I have a friend coming over this weekend for a listening session. He's going to bring a VPI 300 RPM motor and housing and an SDS, so we can swap back and forth.
Overall, I'm extremely pleased. I've been looking for a speed control solution since my PLC gave up the smoke, and for less than the price of an ADS, you get a better motor, speed controller and the Roadrunner tachometer.