Super Tweak for Nottingham Space TT


Just want to pass on to fellow Nottingham Space TT owners a superb tweak that I stumbled on by chance: Go to your nearest Bed, Bath & Beyond and grab one of those massive chopping blocks made of Canadian maple. Just replace the base that came with the unit with the chopping board. The improvement is not subtle; dynamics (both macro and micro), imaging, and noise floor are significantly improved. This tweak makes the Space look like a mini-version of the top of the line ANNA LOG! While I'm here, do you guys find the use of a clamp beneficial to the Space's performance? I bought a very expensive clamp and found the resultant sound overdamped.
Same results using two different clamps. I have my Spacedeck on a maple cutting board as part of a DIY wall mount. Sounds great. My wife prefers it on the stock plinth (looks), though I do slightly prefer the sound of it directly on the cutting board so I have ultimately overruled after demonstrating to her the difference.

Thanks for your response. Time to discard the clamp! Can you please give me some pointers on how to construct my own wall mount? I am moving into a second floor apartment with shaky wooden floors. Thanks in advance.
I responded with a general description of the wall mount in another thread on here.

I have a more detailed description, which I will try to find.

BTW, Tom Fletcher, himself, recommends a relatively high mass mount for the Spacedeck, preferably wood, and goes on to say that it will work equally well with or without the stock plinth. Apparently, it was designed to be attractive (some agree, some disagree) and that a composition material was used for best results for those who do choose to us the plinth.

What arm and cartridge are you using with your Spacedeck?

Thanks again! I presently have a Shelter 901 mounted to an Origin Live Silver 250. I now know why this tonearm is creating such a buzz! The Silver 250 is indeed a giant killer! I have heard that you can further improve its performance by replacing the counterweight with the Expressimo. Can somebody enlighten me on this? BTW, let me tell you that you and TWL have contributed immensely to my education, as far as extracting the last ounce of performance from my analog rig. Just want to express my appreciation. I'm pretty sure there are hundreds more that have benefited from your collective wisdom.
Aisip here is a thread by Tom W. Lyons, who else. He has a great Tweak for the silver tonearm. Tom also addresses the conterweight question. Great thread I know you will enjoy it.

While pleased that anything I might have suggested has been helpful, I am embarrased to have been mentioned in the same breath as Tom when it comes to depth and breadth of those things analog. I, too, have learned a lot on this site, while having been directed down the thorny path a few times as well. After some time it gets to be difficult to separate what you've learned on your own from what you've heard from others.....

The Nottinghams I do know, however, and should you wish to share ideas, let 'em fly!
Can anyone suggest a good MC low output cartridge to use with the Spacedeck/Space Arm combination? Thanks.

If you are sticking with the stock Space Arm, which is a unipivot arm, you need a high compliance cartridge. Check out the ones from Lyra or Koetsu. The low compliant Shelters (501 II & 901), are in theory, not compatible with unipivot arms; however, a lot of people are using them with the Space Arm with excellent results.

Good Luck,
Thanks Aisip. You anticipated exactly what I was thinking about, the Shelter 501. Have read much praise about this cartridge and was hoping I could use it. Another knowledgeable Audiogoner suggested it would not be a perfect match with the Space Arm but would work. If I started out with the Stock Space Arm with some suitable cartridge, would a future upgrade to a Origin Live Silver arm and Shelter 501 be easy? I mean does that arm simply go on the Spacedeck without any modifications?
Ok, I know the OL Silver is a better match, in theory, with the 501, and may very well be in application.

On the other hand, I have a 501 in my Spacearm/Spacedeck combination. The results are excellent, and I have done a comparison to several other cartridges, costing both less and much more than the Shelter, that were supposed to be better matches in terms of compliance. I know a local dealer with 30+ years of experience who recommends the 501 with that combination and has quite a few happy buyers. Over the past six months he has A/B/C/D'd quite a number of carts on this arm and very few have been the equal of the 501.

One thing to remember about the Spacearm, at least I know this is true for the later carbon versions after a discussion with the designer - Tom Fletcher has engineered into the pivot two stabilizing rods (which you can see if you look under the pivot shell). He claims that these specifically placed bars render moot some of the concerns with regular unipivot arms. I am not technically educated enough to measure the difference made by these rods but I will say that the 501 does A LOT more than just "work" with the Spacearm. In fact, and based on experience, saying the 501 will merely "work" on a Spacearm is a total understatement and a disservice to both the arm and cartridge, though I know the person that said such had very good intentions. ;-)
Thanks 4yanx I appreciate that info and may well go with the Shelter 501 MkII on a Spacearm.
Ok, I'm the guy who said to be careful about using the 501 with a Space Arm. When I said this, I was going on theory about unipivots and lower compliance. As David says, the bars on the Space Arm make it more suitable for this type of cartridge. When I make a recommendation that I am not living with myself, I always try to be very conservative, so I don't steer somebody into a bad matchup. As we now have some more information with this particular combination of Space Arm/501, we can now go on that info. Previously, there was not much info available from Space Arm/501 users, so I had to go by the seat of my pants. Any inconvenience that was generated by this statement is regretted by me. Please understand that I was looking out for everyone's best interest in getting a workable matchup. The 501 is a great cartridge, and I highly recommend it whenever possible. I'm glad that it is working out for Space Arm users.
Tom, your explanation is EXACTLY why folks turn to you repeatedly for advise. Call it a respectful curse! :-)
The 501 being a low compliance cartridge should work better with a gimbal-bearing arm than a unipivot arm.
When you apply Tom's hi fi mod to the Origin Live silver arm (gimbal-bearing arm) the difference in the 501's performance is substantial. This makes me wonder about the performance of the space arm because if you AB the Origin Live Aurora with the silver arm (with out the hi fi mod) to the Spacedeck with space arm both with 501's it is no contest the Origin live combo is better. So how much better sounding is a (HI FI moded) silver arm Aurora combo? What can you do to a Spacearm to improve its performance?
You can check the AA forum for mods to the Spaceram, though I can't agree with your assessment of the Aurora/Silver/501 vs. Spacedeck/Spacearm/501 combos. I HAVE the latter and have sat in on mutliple listening sessions with the 501 in various cartridges and arms, including the Aurora package. To my ears the "no contest" verdict was in the opposite direction. Having heard so many combinations of table and arm with the Shelter, I'd say, IMHO, that the silver can run with the Spacearm but the Aurora is really no match for the Spacedck.