If you're comparing belt drive versions, I can tell you from experience that the sound of either table can be softened or made more accurate by your choice of belt materials. I've used perhaps a dozen different belts on our Teres rigs and others have done the same on their Galibiers, with results ranging from downright mushy to razor tight. (The same belts give very similar results on each, since both use very similar motors.)
Fine tuning this sonic parameter is so easy with either of these tables that I'd recommend choosing between them based on aesthetics and budget, not tonal differences.
The Teres Verus (rim drive) is a different animal. It's softer than the tightest belt drive setups and the controller includes an adjustment that lets you adjust this still further. Speed accuracy and tonal clarity do not match the very best belt drive setups, but if you truly prefer softness then those may not be big priorities for you. For your stated priority it's worth a look.
My preference is for the Galibier range, or the Teres acrylic platters as I didn't like how their wood platters sounded.
However, since you are keen on either range of TT, it would be best to pay a visit to both manufacturer's in Colorado and listen to both.
Cmk: What did the Teres wood platter sound like to you in contrast to the acrylic or the Galibier ?
Well the wood platter sounded very diffuse, whereas the acrylic (lead filled) and the Galibier produced much more stable soundstaging.
I think they are more alike than not. I find them both to be very accurate to what is on the LP and both have a very low noise floor. It is very hard for us to know what a relaxed, softer sound means to you. When I first read that I thought that perhaps you are looking at the wrong tables, but that is based on what I consider relaxed and soft. I don't consider either of these tables relaxed and soft but Doug makes excellent points about changing the sound with belts.
Cmk's advice is spot on. If you are considering investing in either of these table you should really try to visit Denver and hear both for yourself. I don't agree that the acrylic platters sound better than the wood, but that is personal preference.
I don't doubt you heard the differences you described, but why attribute them specifically to the platters? Were the other components in the Galibier and Teres setups you auditioned all the same?
If you compared Thom's and Chris's systems in CO, you were comparing apples and oranges. Few valid, table-specific conclusions could be drawn from that. Dan_Ed made the trip you suggested, heard the differences you described and bought a Galibier. Then he visited us and learned that the diffuse-ness and softness he heard in Chris's setup had nothing to do with the turntables. In fact, Dan had to replace his entire system to begin to approach the performance of ours. The only component he didn't have to replace was his TT. The Gavia and the 320 are far more similar than different, as I said above.
Dan and I have traded a number of visits. We use identical tonearms, the same cartridge set up by the same guy, the same amplification, the same wire and we've been able to hear fairly similar speakers. My setup images and soundstages at least as well as his, and I think he'd agree. Until he replaced his amplification and wire, his Gavia was actually miles *behind* our 320 in every sonic parameter you could name - but that had nothing to do with the tables.
I think what you heard was due to differences in components or in the cartridge setups.
You could be entirely correct, but I was merely describing what I heard at that one demo, that's why I suggested he make a trip to Denver and listen to both TTs before deciding. Maybe that particular demo I heard wasn't representative, I don't know. Chris played one track on the acrylic, then switched the platter to the wood, same TT/arm/cart.
If Opus goes and actually sees/hears the systems, he should be able to get a feel for the TTs, but more importantly, know the people and what goes into their TTs, which I think is more valuable.
What you describe about the systems after the sources, I agree fully. There's no point having the best TT only the muck up the sound through the amplification/speakers.
Perhaps on my next trip to the US, I could pay you a visit?
Having recently traveled to Colorado to listen to these tables in addition to the TW Raven, Redpoint, Grand Prix Monaco and Ayre/Schroeder, I strongly agree that you should visit Colorado and audition for yourself. Understand that you will be listening through different and unfamiliar systems which will undoubtably influence the sound. However, you will get a good sense of the Galibier and Teres 'house sounds'. Despite the differences (and they do sound different) they share the ability to convey the essence of the music.
More importantly, you will meet Chris Brady (Teres) and Thom Mackris (Galibier). Since these tables are handmade, it is important to meet the people behind the product in order to understand their philosophy. Chris and Thom are great guys who share a passion for music. They are happy to spend the time necessary for you to feel comfortable with your decision and will help you achieve the maximum performance from their tables.
If you have not already done so, read through the multiple threads discussing this and similar topics. Folks on this thread such as Dougdeacon and Dan_ed (as well as Chris and Thom) have shared their extensive knowledge with others. Their advice is extremely helpful and often entertaining. (BTW, thanks guys!) I could be happy with either product.
FWIW, I am awaiting delivery of a Galibier Stelvio.
Did you listen to a Redpoint? Any thoughts vs the tables in this thread or the Raven?
Dan_ed: Maybe I didn't choose the best terms to describe the kind of sound I prefer. I was relying on a somewhat outdated perception that has remained fixed in my mind for quite a few years. It involved an experience I had in shifting my SME V tonearm and cartridge (can't remember which one) from my VPI to a Sota Sapphire turntable. To my ears, the VPI had a warmer, richer, almost stereotypically tube-like character, while the Sota projected more of a neutral, clean, seemingly etched quality then commonly associated with solid state sound. Maybe I should also add that I don't care for something that seems almost excessively lively.
Incidentally, has anyone yet had the chance to familiarize themselves with the Galibier Serac ?
Doug Deacon, If you don't mind sharing; What exactly are you using for belt material? IOW, Is it 0.001" or 0.002" thick mylar? Are you using a tensioner?
What material is the pulley made from? I've seen numerous posts regarding the degree of importance you state when it comes to belt material but I have no idea what exactly you are personally using.
Opus, where are you located? Perhaps there is someone close to you that owns one of these tables?
Based on your description of your experience with the VPI and Sota, I think you will very much like what you hear. The Galibier and Teres are not warm and dark, nor are they bright and etchy. You quickly realize that you are not really listening to the table at all.
As Doug mentioned before, we have assembled very similar systems. We still haven't done the ultimate of having both tables in exactly the same system. But, hey, it's tough to lug 120+ lbs. of 'table around. ;-)
Dan_ed: I'm in western North Carolina, not far from Asheville. I know of only one other Audiogon member nearby, and he owns neither table. As for those who suggest I make the trip to Colorado for auditions, I realize you mean well, however "separating" from the entire system and identifying the sound contribution made by the turntables exclusively is a formidable task to say the least. I suspect I'll just have to go with my gut feeling and assume that either will not likely disappoint.
I feel confident you will get a good handle on the strengths and house sound of each table by visiting Colorado. Unfortunately, since it's impossible to listen to the Teres and Galibier at home in your system (not to mention some of the other fine table out there), visiting Colorado is the next best alternative.
I was fortunate to hear the Serac at the RMAF and in my opinion it is a great value because you get almost all of the performance of the Stelvio at a fraction of the cost. I also had the opportunity to listen to the Redpoint Model D and it is also excellent, sharing many of the qualities of the Teres and Galibier. To my ear it sounds more like the Galibier (no surprise) and the purple anodizing is very cool! But for me, the Stelvio offered a greater value at its price point. I'd be glad to email/talk with you offline...
Ha! I used to own a cabin in Glenville, N.C. Anyway, I'd suggest contacting Thom and Chris. They might be able to put you in contact with someone. There are many audio folks who don't spend time on the 'net.
No question getting to know the makers is important, and visiting them in person would certainly help. I'll only say that Chris is taller but Thom has more hair!
We've tried multiple belts and have swapped with both Teres and Galibier owners. All reported similar results.
If you search my answers you'll see I've listed them in the past, ranked in order, but to summarize: on these tables the best performing belt material we know of is the 1/2" holographic mylar sold by McCormick's
. Item # 6033665.
This material, which is slightly thicker than .002", is what Galibier uses for their belts. Teres supplies belts made from .002" clear mylar. The holographic is slightly better than the clear .002" at maintaining pace through transients. Either one is MUCH better than .001".
One minor problem with the holographic mylar is that it can shed the silver backing material over time, onto your platter and/or motor capstan. I'm working on a fix but haven't gotten 'round to trying it yet.
I don't know what Galibier's motor capstans are made of. Teres used to use delrin but newer motors have another material. I'm not sure what it is (maybe resin-impregnated glass fiber?) but the surface is a little rougher, which might make for less slippage.
No tensioner (yet) though it's an interesting idea. I assume you've seen Frank Schroeder's prototype table? He showed one at RMAF that incorporated that concept.
BTW, as someone who is 'follicularly impaired', I resemble that remark (...sigh...). Thanks for the tip on the belt. I was fortunate to hear the Schroeder prototype at RMAF and it was excellent sounding. If I remember correctly, they were showing with Artemis Labs and Verity.
I just noticed your remark about visiting during a future visit to the US. You'd be most welcome of course! We're in Connecticut, about 2 hours from NYC or Boston. Where are you? We visit family in the UK every couple of years...
Sorry for the folicular folly. I inherited my mom's (luscious) hair but also my dad's (puny) physique. Please feel free to tag along with Cmk and beat me to a pulp, unless my 135 lb. frame scares you off.
Enjoy the Stelvio. That's a killer table.
Thanks for the invitation. I'll contact you once I've more definite details about my trip.
Does anyone have experience using the SME IV,V,or IV.Vi tonearm with the Galibier or Teres tables ? Could you please comment on the sound synergy, and were there any problems underneath with fitting the DIN ended tonearm cable ?
It can be easily done. But I think you would need the custom mount, not the standard SME mount. Best thing is to contact Teres and Galibier. The only issue I know of is with the Galibier. Thom offers 2 types of armboards. The standard model has a hole drilled through to accept arms with cables running down, like SME and Graham. Then there is a Stelvio armboard which has a large damping canister-like thing under where the tonearm attaches. For obvious reasons it would not be possible to mount these arms on the Stelvio armboard.
In a conversation today with Chris Brady, he assured me he could provide an SME armboard with no problem. Incidentally, in the course of a very interesting and pleasant discussion I had with him, I sensed a strong similarity the two of us had regarding sound preferences.
Chris cut out a cocobolo armboard for use of my SME Vd on a Teres 255 (lead loaded acrylic platter). When I upgraded to a Teres 320 I kept the same armboard. It is not a simplistic cutout and cocobolo is an extremely hard wood, so I'd definitely suggest having Teres make the armboard for you.
As you know, the SME IV and V do not have slotted headshells - instead the stylus' overhang geometry is set by a unique sliding base capable of very fine adjustment. On the sled the entire arm moves, including the underslung post containing the wire feed to the DIN connector. This means two things: i) because the arm's post and DIN receptacle hang partially below the underside of the armboard there must be enough wood cut out to allow the post to move freely, and ii) in the case of Teres armboards mounted directly on the plinth (such as with the 255 and current 2XX models) the backside of the SME's right angle DIN receptacle almost butts against the plinth when using a short lengthed cartridge such as a Shelter 901. That is, it comes within less than a hair of hitting the plinth when the arm is moved forward on the sled and thus comes that close to not allowing proper cartridge overhang. On even shorter cartridges such as a vdh Colibri, the only way to move the arm close enough inward is to cut a notch in the plinth itself to make room for the sliding DIN receptacle. (I hope that is clear - at least for SME owners.) If your cartridge is not short, none of this should be an issue.
In the case of the larger (no longer made) Teres turntables such as the 320, the armboard sits on a lead pellet filled pedestal that raises the DIN receptacle above the height of the plinth, which eliminates any clearance issues.
Having only heard Teres TTs with the SME V, I have no basis for comparison of sonics with Galibier. Mounted on the 320 the V allows my Transfiguration Orpheus to offer its musical virtue unhindered. Heh.
Since Teres appears to be moving away from large wood platters, and with that (at least for now) comes both a sonic and a price point void between the $4300 model 260 and the $14000 Certus, I would inquire about Chris' plans for an upward migration path, or otherwise filling the spots occupied by the 320/340/360 series. I doubt you can go wrong with either table and suggest taking a careful look at workmanship and materials quality along with customer service.
Tim: Thanks very much for the heads up on the potential problem with particularly short length cartridges in combo w/ the SME placed on the Teres. In my discussion with Chris he did touch on that issue with the Colibri, which by the way I've never used. So he seems to have things well in hand. Just to make sure, though, I will bring it up again when I next speak with him, since I've decided to make the move to the 265, and I'm very excited about that. I'm finally making the break from the same table I've had for a long, long time---an upgraded VPI HW-19, whose stand alone motor with rubber band around-the-pulley mechanism has become more and more vibrationally cantankerous. Thanks to Chris, I will be able to audition both the Signature and Verus motors and decide which one I prefer. Can't wait !
Cmk - Artisan Audio will have a Galibier Gavia on demonstration at the Heathrow Hi Fi Show next weekend.