Suspended Basis vs Nonsuspended Teres


I am preparing to upgrade my TT and I am seriously considering a Top-of -the-Line Teres with Basis Vector Arm or Graham 2.2 and Shelter 901 combination. In researching the arm, I had some e-mail exchanges with AJ Conti from Basis.

It was kind of him to correspond with me and I am appreciative of his input. Of course, he endorses his own TT but he was very negative about others except SME. I have excerpted a couple sections to illustrate. Is he correct that nonsuspended tables are inferior unless you purchase a Vibraplane platform. And, do we believe that the Basis has 50 dB less environmental noise infiltration than other TT. My lack of hands-on experience with these TT and their strengths and weaknesses leave me wondering. I have no doubt about the quality of Basis TT but I am seeking input from several sources I trust. Audiogon is one.
see comments below.

"The 2001 with Vector is clearly superior to the SME 20 with any arm. The only turntables I would consider, if I were buying out on the market and knew all I know about all of them, would be Basis Debut series, 2500 series, 2001, SME 30, SME 20.

"Once you own the Vector, after you place it on something else, you will wish you bought Basis, especially after you see one, see the platter turn but have it look so stationary you don't think it's turning, such is its rotational accuracy, and they you note the platter on yours
going up and down as it rotates..........or after you realize that even the 2001 is TOTALLY isolated from all room vibrations, including its own motor, while any Teres, VPI, Nottingham have 50 DECIBELS MORE outside world garbage
getting in than the 2001. Yes, 50 decibels. ... That means NOISE, every unisolated turntable, including our own 1400 and 2000 (only offered to get in a lower price range where
all of the competition is unisolated) are full of noise, changing the tonality, losing and obscuring detail which you can never get back. It is pathetic and ridiculous to offer the $3k plus turntables that are offered without isolation, pretending cones and mulitple layers of actylic and other materials can "isolate" (proving the incompetance or dishonesty) of the designer or sales guy at the company. I love what Teres said to one of their dealers: "We can't
compete with the expertise, fixturing, tooling that Basis has, but here's why we are great-we listen to each one and throw away an entire unit if it does not sound good." What a great statement of "We don't know what we're doing, but
we try hard to not let poor product out the door."

Teres doesn't use dealers. You have to order direct.
You are trying to recover microscopic vibrations from within a groove. How many more micro and macro vibrations do you want coming up to the platter from the floor and rack?
Not sure I would put much faith in a company that promotes its product by trashing the competition. Never heard any of these hi-end TTs, so take what I said with a grain of salt.
glad someone else loves my sme 20. however, when I place it on a symposium ultra shelf, it get's much quieter...more detail. something is still getting in...or not getting out with out this "added". maybe it's better than the rest...but those are strong words above. I know folks are happy with those other tables. besides the sme 20 is a little pricey for some people.

i've read great things here on the teres, but they shouldn't bash others so hard...promote your strengths...and let your customers ears do the trashing !
Having talked with him at length in the past, I don't think AJ's trashing the way other tables SOUND as much as he is saying that he is a strong proponent of, and a fan of, sound engineering practices in design and machining to exacting tolerances in realizing those designs. That's why he admires the SMEs, as do I. In point, the only table I've heard (and I've not heard the Walker or the Rockport) for which I would trade my upgraded Basis Ovation (it's essentially a Debut Vacuum now) could I afford it is the SME 30, which is the best TT I've ever heard by a good margin. I think AJ's comments are likely correct in a theoretical sense, although in practice I can also state that many unsuspended tables, such as the Nottinghams, can sound excellent, more so when you use some additional attempts at vibration isolation such as a Vibraplane or the Symposium stand Jfrech mentions, or keeping the table in another room. Tables do sound different, and any chance you get to audition them should be taken.
As Rcprince states, I think AJ was speaking in engineering terms. Not in terms of sound. BUT that there is a clear difference among the tables AJ mentions and a few others (Rega, Teres 255, Basis 1400 and 2000 or 2400.....) in terms of background noise - both macro and micro.

Also as AJ states the Vector in the Basis TT's really is synergistic - although I bet it would be killer in my friends Teres or a local dealer's Orbe. But the Vector is such a killer arm, that all inner groove issues and ANY and ALL tracking issues are non-existant for me. There are no more "sweet spots" as in where the 2 points on a Wallytractor are that the LP sounds its best (Like my previous Silver Taper). It really sounds the same (F'in spectacular) from start to finish - 33 or 45 alike (esp on 7" 45's!!!) - no distortion, clean clear, dynamic, tracks everything, boogie, even on super thin grooves or near the lable..... like the best linear arms I have heard . So stating that the Vector with a 2001 beats out on a sme20 IV.VI would be how I hear it as well IMHO - but my ears, room, system...... The SME is a Killer setup as well! But the Vector is all that and the real difference.

Devil is in the details, and getting those highly machined Basis(and SME) parts to VERY tight tolerances is where the price difference is in the Teres vs Basis. But bang for the buck is off the charts for the Teres high mass models (good lookers too). I see(hear) both sides of the coin on this one. Just audition them, let your ears and system synergy decide - and enjoy the music for all that it gives to you.
Having spoken at length with AJ, I cannot accept some of the remarks you ascribe to him. He is NOT a trasher of other peoples equipment! He is very enthusiastic about his product, and rightly so - it's extremely well made and incorporates production values and tolerances that would make NASA flinch - but AJ is far to circumspect to trash others equipment, and would certainly not do so when speaking with an unknown person on the telephone.

I sincerely hope you simply have quoted him out of context or have misinterpreted something he said to you - I would hate to think that a pot was being stirred for recreational purposes.

As for the vector, it is a killer arm on it's own, but certainly is a synergistic match with Basis' own turntables. And yes, the isolation on a Basis table is as good as AJ claims.
I have heard the Vector now on several tables. It sounds uniformly excellent. I would give to it a slightly higher mark on the Basis tables but not by much. Sounds spectacular on the 'Not line, too, but some adjustments beyond a different collet ring are necessary. I've not heard one on a Teres. Seems like some prefer either unipivots or gimbal arms on the Teres, so it should sound great.
Thank you all for your input.

Esoxhntr,I have only excerpted part of an e-mail exchange with AJ not a phone conversation. Also, I clearly understand where AJ is coming from and I appreciate and respect his honest opinion. He should be supportive of his own equipment and other equipment he admires. The issue is not AJ for me but whether a nonsuspended table like a Teres is the best decision for me. AJ has provided one perspective.

I am simply trying to get a cross-section of opinion on these TT options in order to make the best decision. I think the Teres has strong supporters but it may benefit from the use of an isolation platform, such as the vibraplane. Does it require it for top performance?

I think the sound of the Teres wooden platter and base maybe acoustically preferable to acrylic. I will need to listen for that answer. I am not sure if the engineering of the Teres platter and bearing and speed control ae not the equal of the Basis.

The last issue is whether the best engineered table is the best sounding table. Where does the art factor fall in to play.

And certainly there are other well engineered table to consider beyond Basis and SME.

Thanks again for the discussion. It helps me to dig out the issues so that I can make a better personal decision.
I own a Basis 2001 / Graham 1.5 T/C arm and a Benz Micro Ruby. My buddy owns a Teres 245 / Orgin live Silver and a Shelter 501 we both own a Audible Illusions mod. 3 with the gold moving coil board. I have VTL 125 mono block amps and Alon 5 speakers . My buddy has a Audio Research VT 100 amp and Alon elite signature speakers so are systems are somewhat alike ? They do sound different the Teres may be a little sweeter sounding with a wonderfull soundstage in the mids and highs . The Basis has great power in the bass and is maybe a little fuller sounding and more dynamic. I like both systems and could live with either for a long time. My ruby is getting a little long in the tooth so a retip may bring the differences a little closer ? I if I was looking to buy a turntable now would look at the Teres 245 /Orgin live arm and Shelter 501/ 901 and the Basis 2001 /2500 and Basis Vector arm with the Ruby 2 but the cost diff I would go with the Teres with no thought on cost I would go for the Basis . This is just My 2 cents I like folk music and classical and My buddy is more rock , blues and other things try and find someone who ownes one of each and see what you like both are great turntables. Marc P/S E mail Me for more info and I will put you in touch with My buddy so you can get more info
Thank you very much Lake513, very helpful. I will e-mail you to expand the discussion briefly later on tonight. Thank you again.
I have a Vibraplane under my Redpoint TT and it does make an excellent base for an unsuspended TT. I do think though that other less expensive base materials such as granite slabs can do a very good job. As far as unsuspended tables in general there are too many variances IMO to make a statement such as that. My unsuspended TT weighs well over 100lbs without the base. There are other unsuspended tables weighing closer to 40-60lbs. These will react much differently to vibrations and I would suspect that the lighter turntables will need increased isolation in comparison to heavier ones.
Hmm, an interesting thread. First I need to point out that AJ's reference to "what Teres said to one of their dealers" is bogus. Teres does not have dealers and I certainly did not say any of the things he mentions. Perhaps he confused Teres with some other manufacturer.

Regarding the suspended/unsuspended debate, I can offer my experience along with some theoretical musings. I find that Teres turntables are not particularly sensitive to how they are sited. They sound better on a rigid, high mass stand but they perform very well on even a cheap lightweight shelf. Nothing new about this. I have never seen any turntable suspended or otherwise that did not benefit from a good stand. If anything I find that Teres turntables are less sensitive to siting than most suspended turntables.

I think that there are some good theoretical reasons for why this would be the case. Perhaps the most important aspect of any turntable design is elimination of vibration and resonance. But we need to be concerned with both internal and external vibration. A remarkable amount of energy is generated by the stylus riding in the groove. That energy is transmitted into the record and also into the tonearm. I suspect that in many cases there is more vibrational energy eminating within the turntable than from external sources. If anything isolation hampers dissipation of energy from within the turntable.

Our approach at Teres is the polar opposite of isolation. We use damping in the form of loose lead shot to dissipate vibrational energy that enters the turntable, regardless of where the energy comes from. Our experience with Teres turntables would seem to indicate that it is the energy from within the turntable that is the most important to dissipate. It is my experience and I think a fairly consistent consensus amoung Teres owners that coupling and dissipation works better than isolation. With few exceptions I find that rigid coupling all the way to the floor sounds best. Any isolation along the way generally does not work well. The idea is to provide a path for dissipating any remaining energy.

A good illustration is the granite surface plates that I have been experimenting with recently. I bought a 154 pound 18x24x3 chunk of granite to put a turntable on and was shocked at how resonant was. I had the plate on some rubber feet and it had prominent, high pitched ring. Placing a turntable on the granite was predictably bad. However, simply removing the rubber feet was a total transformation. Just coupling the granite to the wood shelf I was using nearly eliminated the resonance and it went from a very poor to excellent sounding turntable shelf. With the rubber feet there was no where for the energy to go so it remained undissipated in the granite, wreaking sonic havoc.

So much for the musings. My theories may be bunk, but fortunatley the only thing that really matters is the sound. Whatever the reason, Teres turntables generally do not need or benefit from isolation. And while isolation no doubt has benefits, in some cases it evidently does more harm than good.

Hi Chris,

I currently have a Basis 2000 and was considering replacing it with a Teres 245. Then I read this thread and started thinking about the suspension and thought what it might do to my 2000. You see, the suspension costs about $1000.00 and a 245, double that plus some. Makes deciding which way to go a trying effort, right?

At any rate, it looks like I'm back to square one: finding answers to help me find a table that will last me a while.

Did someone say the SME is a good design?

George (confused but okay)
cardiackid I did a search on the Vinyl Asylum but did not see any postings at all there from you.

Anyway, you may want to try this question there. There are some individuals with very good engineering backgrounds there that will perhaps respond to your question, which of course has been asked there in the Vinyl Asylum on many occassions. MOST of the time the responses come from those with little background in the study of the technical reasons such decisions are made by a given manufacturer.

To wit: the type of vibrations we are talking about isolating and, almost equally as important, WHY we are trying to isolate them.

A good example of this is the more simplified reason a suspended deck was developed in the first place: Its suspension is tuned, or should be tuned, to somewhere around 3Hz. This means resonances above that freq are isolated from ever reaching the table, so long as the installation is optimized (e.g., a springy floor can spell disaster).

AIRBORN vibrations, such as those coming from a pair of JBL's at 110dB SPL, are of course not isolated from reaching the cart/arm combination. So there are those who will only put their table, isolated or otherwise, in an adjacent room.

The point here is that we must be sure we are talking about specific vibrations that occur in a specific environment (what happens when you live in a flimsy flat in the inner city and trucks roll on by hourly?; Here the ADVANTAGE clearly goes to the suspended deck).

There are those who have taken issue with Mr. Conti's engineering, and are backing this up with their own examples. I am not one of those individuals b/c I am NOT an acoustical, electrical or mechanical engineer, the latter being perhaps the most important in matters of bearing design, the former in helping one with acoutic vibrations.

If you want sound engineering based on mathematical equations to reach some end, and then sophisticated measurements to substantiate the theoretical engineering which is finally substantiated in the listening room, well you may have a hard time squeezing that out of some of the non-suspended deck makers. Perhaps not!

I personally had so much trouble discerning these differences for myself, I ended up buying both a suspended deck and nonsuspended one (modified Gyro SE and modified Scheu). I will not reveal my preference here b/c it would be unfair, as I am not convinced that I have completely optimized either installation, although I've sure done a lot so far.


Thank you everyone. I had not given the suspended vs nonsuspended issue enough thought until recently. I will be making a decision soon and I will factor in all of the info provided. Thanks.

Goyescas: I read the vinyl asylum regularly but I have had trouble getting my posts to go through in the past. I am sure it reflects some ineptness on my part. However, I am more of a reader and buyer than a poster to either Audiogon or Audioasylum. I guess I feel I have more to learn than I have good info to share. I am learning from you all and that is fun.

One fact is sure, this suspension issue is very complicated and challenging to many of us. I will be taking an open minded approach to the problem and giving my ears the benefit of the doubt.

If you can audition both designs in the same or similar systems, by all means let your ears decide. Just make sure the differences you hear are actually due to the TT's.

FWIW (not much) I chose a non-suspended Teres 265 because:

1) a former Linn dealer, pretty well known and respected around here, said his new Teres destroyed his (suspended) LP12;

2) defeating the suspension in my old, low fi TT produced better results;

3) for my $4K budget it didn't seem like any other TT, suspended or not, could compete;

4) it looks so damn good (sorry but that matters, it's in our living room).

I realize this says virtually nothing about top tables from the likes of Basis or SME. Still, even if a suspension is better in theory, implementing it is complex and maintaining it may be too, depending on the design. If I had more money and time to spend on a TT, then a top Basis, SME or Walker might have been my choice. As it is, I could not be happier with the choice I made. After four months we continue to be astonished by new musical insights and pleasures every evening.

Please let us know how/when/if you answer this question in a way that works for you.
Hi Dougdeacon:

Thanks for the input.

You are absolutely right about listening to different systems. For instance, I have listened to an SME 20/ SMEV/transfiguration set up several times and enjoyed it every time. But, the speakers were large Dunlavys with BAT electronics, all first class. I have Avantgarde/Cary 300B system. So how much can I infer about the TT relative to my system - in particular how dynamic is the sound, how defined is the lower bass, how sweet is the midrange, how spacious and transparent is the imaging. It is really a guess IMO.

I wish there were a centralized venue where one could pay someone to set-up and discuss different components for A-B comparisons. I hate to bother dealers because their time is valuable and I may not end up being a customer for whatever reason. Also, most are trying to sell home theater and time spent with me may be interesting but not profitable. They are in business to make sales.

After all of this discussion, I will post my final decision in Feb sometime. I expect to make the purchases early that month. I am sure, regardless of the decision, there will be disagreement. But, a little controversy makes life interesting.

Thanks again for the help.

You know, I was just about ready to change my table until I got the RS-A1 arm. (Hmmm, talking about changing what was not originally planned!)

Anyway, this arm (RS-A1) changed the whole spectrum of my analog set-up. (It replaced the Basis supplied RB-300.) It's faster, more dynamic (like, very dynamic), better focus and has more detail.

Goes to show sometimes you can hit the nail without looking!

Next stop: a better cartridge.

Just thought I'd share what I have done.

I'm not at all surprised about Chris' experience with the granite slab, but I see it in slightly different terms than he does. I don't think that removing the compliant feet gave the slab a 'pathway' for resonant energy to 'dissipate', so much as the full-surface contact between it and the underlying wooden rack-shelf provided very much more damping, needed to kill its strong ring. Think of it this way: Wouldn't the same thing have basically happened if he had placed the shelf *on top* of the slab, only to a lesser degree due to the shelf's lesser weight?

My non-suspended TT is placed on a Symposium shelf atop compliant footers, but that shelf is not massive and is fairly well internally-damped and so doesn't ring much on its own, unlike the granite slab. High mass alone is not always our friend in this area, especially depending on how its shaped (think of an equivalent mass shaped as a block and as a slab, for instance, and then imagine a gong and an anvil made of an equal mass of the same metal - the gong rings much lower and longer, the anvil much higher and quicker).

All vibrational pathways are two-way, and I don't want my unsuspended 'table not to be isolated from floor vibrations or from airborne vibrations that are transmitted to my audio rack. If everything is rigidly coupled, then acoustic feedback becomes a real possibility with an unsuspended 'table at high playback volumes, especially in the case of a suspended wooden floor.

Chris mentions 'dissipating' self-generated vibrational energy from the TT on one hand - and how compliant isolation can supposedly thwart that goal - but then goes on to describe how Teres intends to damp this vibration internally through their chassis design. My belief is that these two statements are somewhat contradictory, and that for dealing with energy created at the bearings and stylus/groove interface, damping is the only way you can realistically go (through the use of nonresonant TT construction - which since TT's are rigid means damped, either by using relatively self-damped materials like acrylic or by constrained-layer mixing of unlike materials - and an appropriately compliant full-contact mat with clamp, though some will argue that).

To me, the reason non-suspended TT's can work well in the real world, and the reason less-ambitious suspended designs might not always be unequivocally superior, has largely to do with damping. Many less-expensive sprung-chassis designs are essentially undamped or only rudimentarily damped in their suspensions, so that even though they are resonantly 'tuned' as low-pass filters, this is like a choice between a car with no springs, and a car with springs but no shock absorbers. Clearly, though it will be more complex, cost more, and require more precise engineering, the best ride will ultimately be gotten with both springs and shocks, and I do agree with AJ that a premium TT ought to be both fully suspended and that the susupension needs to be effectively damped.

But on the budget end, where I live, I agree with Chris that unsuspended might often have the potential to be best in practical terms, although I'll demur about rigid coupling as a rule. I think an unsuspended 'table that's internally well-damped, coupled with a non-resonant rigid shelf that's mounted on appropriately-chosen compliant footers, can emulate to a useful degree both the low-pass isolation and overall system freedom from resonance that you would expect from a more expensive suspended design. In fact, if we disregard for a moment the question of where you put the motor, it seems to me that there might be little intrinsic difference between a 'table that carries its own sophisticated damped suspension, and setting an unsuspended 'table on a platform such as a Vibraplane that can perform largely the same function. But - perhaps unlike the manufacturers under discussion her - I've never put that proposition to a practical test, and neither have I ever owned a competently suspended/damped premium TT.
You're missing an essential point in this discussion. In order to fairly compare ANY two turntables you must use the same associated equipment with each. That means ALL components-tonearm, cartridge, phono stage, amp, speakers, stand, cables, etc., have to be identical. You must even use the listening room. Otherwise you are comparing apples to oranges. Any comparison done with different equipment in a different environment is meaningless. The most important link in the audio chain is the cartridge. That's where the signal originates. No amount of money spent on any components down the line can make-up for a flawed cartridge. Also, the quality of reproduced sound is so subjective as to be nearly impossible to qualify. We all have ideas of what sounds best to us and have psyco-acoustical prejudices. Really folks, forget the engineering and all the other stuff. You've just got to LISTEN to what you are thinking of buying and decide based on that. I would never spend thousands of dollars on ANY turntable without listening to it first with my own equipment. If a dealer or manufacturer is not willing to allow you to do this, I suggest you shop elsewhere. If anyone is interested, all else being equal, in my experience spring-suspended turntables almost always sound better than non-suspended ones.
Table before cartridge. I would argue that the sound starts with the vinyl spinning on the platter of the turntable. Then it goes to cart/arm, then phono. Our table upgrade was much more "jaw dropping" than our cart upgrade. YMMV.
In general, I agree with Aroc. In my thinking, I concluded the table must be of very high quality first to allow the full benefits of the cartridge to be appreciated. The cartridge selection then must be selected to match the arm-table combination and the phono preamp. I already upgraded the phono preamp to a Steelhead in my particular case.

Gjpgamer, describes an ideal situation not available to me in St. Louis. We seem to have a dearth of High-End Dealers involved heavily in analog. The retailers must market primarilly home theater to survive here. Therefore, the option of trying several in my home is unlikely unless I ship one in with a 90% assurance to buy. It would not be fair to the dealer to do otherwise IMO.

I have also concluded from this other threads, that the requirements of the TT stand will be related to the TT choice. Trying out an unsuspended TT on my Atlantis equipment rack may not be appropriate. I plan to optimize a dedicated TT stand to the TT I select.

Analog reproduction is truly a multivariate problem with many elements that must work together. However, the effort is well rewarded. I have enjoyed the input and look forward to making a choice and enjoying the music.