Suspended vs. nonsuspended TT?

I have the been looking at both used VPI TNT and Aries 'tables and Nottingham as well. I am interested in a system with great bass extension. My system is in a second floor den with suspended wooden floors. The TNT would be on a VPI stand, the others likely on a Target or homemade maple stand with some type of MDF/sand and/or air suspension device utilized.

Any suggestions on whether to go suspended or nonsuspended?


Check and see how "springy" the floors are. If you get a lot of flexing while walking on the floor, a suspended table / arm would be HIGHLY recommended. Sean
Excellent question but I think if you are willing to spend the dough on one of these tables then an active siesmic sink or other solution may make sense.I have a an Aries extended and 12.5 but was thinking of downsizing and pocketing a few bucks (which probably is nonsensical considerting how much)but thought of a nonspring suspended tabel only because I don't want the Linn tweak it every month hassle.You din't mention if you had a wall mount option.Also a hard tabel can transmit vibration both ways as fremmer pointed out in a mini review of my table and this can be good and bad.Bad in if have the wrong material that will send vibrations from motor to arm etc but good in that you can experiment with materials.Also put an SME on your list for non-sprung and those german final Analogue Productions look like excellent values.Email me and I can give you a german manufacturers link to get to them.Lastly also think Basis.But remeber that within a line their are big differnces to wit: Aries hard points vs. TNT air towers.
TNT HR gives you the damping and isolation with the air towers resulting in incredible resolution. 12.5 arm gets alot of info out of the groove into your ears and body! Bottom line is all you need is a good solid and level area for a TNT HR, it does the rest.
if you are considering spending that kind of dough on a turntable, do investigate the basis debut. it is a real turntable, not an erector set. it is flawlessly reliable, is not tweaky, and requires no maintenance. furthermore, the debut fulfills your criteria of great bass extension better than the tables you are considering and maybe better than any other table.

going the debut route enables using the money that you would otherwise spend on isolation devices on LPs!! consider that a friend purchased a basis ovation a long time ago. no longer in production, that table had a suspension similar to the debuts. as the ovation's footprint was bigger than the vpi it replaced, there was no room to locate it where the vpi was positioned. the dealer's solution was to place the ovation on top of the subwoofer where it remained for a year. my friend listens to lots of classical with fair amounts of low end. the ovation had no problem tracking his albums. footfalls? you got to be kidding! dynamics? no problem.

i own a debut and highly recommend it! i do not have any tracking problems due to footfalls or airborn vibrations from my speakers.
Cost of suspension :
1 concrete slab (or marble cutting block for higher WAF)
1 wad of soft foam (or bicycle inner tube, or sorbothane)
Can't cost more than $50 ... even to make it pretty.

Personally I have never found that the lack of suspension on my Rega Planar 3 to be a problem. I have used concrete and soft foam and marble block with soft foam and both worked perfectly fine. I was in the same situation ... spiked speakers (big floorstanders), turntable on a rack, all on a suspended wooden floor. I have no experience with suspension tables (I've only used Rega) so I can't say if they'd be better. But I cannot see that they would isolate better than a bloody great big slab of concrete sat on top of foam.

So in conclusion I'd get whichever TT sounds best in the audition and worry about building an isolation platform if you pick the non-suspended one.
Well, I have a Michell gyrodec and I love the sound of it, but I was ready to sell last week as it needed adjustment. Damn those spring suspension systems. A lot of it probably depends on the design itself but adjusting a spring suspension system is a major pain in the butt. I am thinking about switching to an Aries and or Nottngham for that reason alone. My listening room is in the basement on a concrete floor so I don't have to worry about vibration much but I know a guy that has a spring suspended table and it's on hard wood floors that are so sensitive he has to tip toe and at times crawl on the floor to get to his table without it freaking out from the vibration. If I were buying today, I'd get the best sounding least tweaky table their is. But also think about the kind of arms that fit with it and try to get some experience with some of the tone arms you might actually use. Some of them can be quite tweaky as well.
Sean, how would one go about leveling something like that ? Some tables have both great mass and weight that is not equally divided amongst the footers. I can see the potential for GREAT problems using that method due to all of the variables involved. Sean
I have a Rega Planar 25 on a Bright Star Airmass/Bigrock combo on top of a spiked rack and you can hop around without skipping a beat. You level the table simply by shifting the Bigrock and or turntable around on the Airmass. The only potential problem with a do-it-yourself suspension is that you may have to experiment to get the optimal spring/mass ratio. A suspended turntable presumably also has damping. Maybe the soft foam idea from above can give you damping that an inner tube can't.
Ejcj, I sympathize with the problems that you and your friend experienced with turntables that have suspension systems. And I agree totally with your approach to acquire the best sounding least tweaky table there is.

I disagree with the idea that all turntables with sprung suspensions require adjustments that are a major pain in the butt. This reminds me of the a car ad years ago, maybe it was Ford talking about the Escort. They said their car handled as well as a BMW as their car, like a BMW, had a McPherson struts. I guarantee that the Escort could not approach the handling abilities of a BMW. Likewise, not all turntables with spring suspensions act and perform in the same manner. The specific design and implementation of the design affect performance and long term stability. Some tables are designed by serious engineers, whereas other tables are designed by people who tinker at engineering.

As mentioned, I use a Basis Debut which has a spring suspension, actually it is a hydraulic spring suspension. When installing the ‘table, I adjust the springs in order to level the table. There is no tweaking or adjustments required after this point. Period. I just spin LPs. Due to the well engineered suspension, footfalls are thing of the past. In fact, while an LP is spinning, I can hit the platform that the Debut is on as hard as I can without causing any mistracking. Being immune to vibrations from the outside enables the Debut to focus solely on what’s in the grooves. Thus one gains very quite background, lots of low level details and delightful low level dynamics. Most other ‘tables cannot reproduce these things. Yes, tonearms are important also. But without a stable ‘table, using the best tonearm is a waste.

So I would circle back, Ejcj, to your sound approach to acquire the best sounding, least tweaky....’table. Let’s just not assume that all sprung systems act or perform in a similar manner. I qualify myself as not having any experience with non-sprung ‘tables. Though I’d have to believe that they are susceptible to structural and airborne vibrations and the problems that those issues cause.
Thanks, all! I'll let you know how I proceed.

Here is a wall mount alternative that I have used to great effect with my non-suspended Nottingham Spacedeck that will probably make some tweak meisters cringe. I looked at several pre-made wall mounts and found those within my budget to be somewhat flimsy.

I bought a pair of Stanley "L" shaped brackets with diagonal bracing (rated 1,000 pounds bearing strength) at Home Depot for $7 each. "Scuffed" them up with wet/dry sandpaper and painted them with a $4 can of textured Rustoleum paint (available in a variety of colors to match decor)to give them a powder coated look that matches my component rack. I then affixed 1/4" X 1 1/4" strips of a rubber/carbon material that I had left over from another project to the brackets where the they would meet the wall and where they form the support for the shelf. I obtained a 20" X 16" X 3" rock maple cutting board for $75 which I attached on a 16" center to the brackets using 1/2" X 1 1/2" lag bolts and rubber washers. Finally, I attached the whole unit to the wall with 5/8" X 2 1/4" lag bolts screwed into the wall studs (being very careful that all was plumb and level, of course).

For $95, I have a support for the Nottingham that is rock solid. As a test, I placed a glass of water on the shelf, STOMPED on the floor, and saw no movement whatsoever. Because the Not has no suspension, this is a "set it and forget it" application. After intial setup and fine tuned leveling of the platter, it is basically maintenance free. I feel that I have a support worthy of those costing MUCH more and can use the cash saved for my garage sale pursuits of more vinyl!
Sean ... Mrowlands answered my question. Sure it's easier with the Rega than with others due to relatively low mass and a relatively central center of gravity.
rega is a low resolution table.
sayas ... and your point is ? (other than snobbery)
Sayas, the Rega is a fine table as used one recently in Austin at the Texas Audio Society meeting with one of our preamps and wires.....Active air suspension is fine, but your TNT merely uses air springs with no correction. Think I would rather have a Rega on a Machina Dynamica Nimbus active air base than the TNT.....See for the Nimbus base as well as what I use here at CTC Builders under installations of note......
haven't heard the rega with the goo you describe...i am sure it sounds wonderful. my point was and still is that a rega table has very little to seperate it from vibrations and consequnelty it has very poor bass response, less air than many tables and consequently less resolution. Too much outside vibrations getting into the play back is my experience. i have owned a number of rega 3's ranging from luster arms to rb300's in 50 and 60 hz motors, different colors, with and without dust covers with grace f9e's, f9rubies, koetsu rosewood and i can't remember what else. additionally, one wall mount attempt, been on cement floors, wood floors, cement walls, wood walls, drywall with metal studs and wood studs.

one set up did a particularily good job of resolution and it was a lustre arm on an older table with a koetsu rosewood in a cement room using the long wall with monitors on stands. that was the best and it still didn't give up the resolution of other tables i have listened to playing music.

if i ever get the opportunity i would like to listen to a isolation table like you are describing. i know that there are some tables designed for neutron microscopes that could do a very good job of isolation. maybe spending a few grand on something like that will get a rega floating some sound and providing more resolution than the average rig in the real world.
Sayas, the Rega isn't quite like my Rockport, but using it with the $900 Machina Dynamica Nimbus active air base makes for a heck of a bargain....The Rega I heard in Austin sure didn't look like much, but on a wall shelf it was very very musical....I was so impressed that I am planning on buying one to use at the CES this next January as we'll be sharing with Parasound, Greybeard, ACME Audio and Machina Dynamica....I won't drag 550 pounds of Rockport to the show and the Nimbus air base under the Rega will allow more information through.....Ten years ago just after I bought the Rockport I bought one of those Radio Shack portable CD players and found that it sounded so much better when placed on the Rockport with the active air suspension working....There was so much more low level detail....I recall telling Andy Payor of Rockport this and he said it must be hard to change CDs with the player spinning around on the platter :-) There is nothing like an active air suspension in retrieving low level information....I asked Geoff Kait of Machina Dynamica to join us in our room in 2001 and he said I would like the Nimbus under my transport and I was so impressed I took it home after the show....Looks more than strange with the gravity servo being barbell weights, but it works.....Guess I was a little hard on your table, but was delivered an Aries with a bad bearing for the CES in 1999....You weren't very nice to the Rega either I suppose......

Bob Crump
TG Audio/CTC Builders/DDR Mfg
I find the direction this thread is going,to be ridiculous. How can anyone compare a $300-$600 Rega to these Rockports, Clearaudios,TNT's, etc? The Rega is a very good table in it's price category. They are not competition to Rockport or TNT in any way, including price. They are totally different market targets. If you want to discuss suspension vs non-supension, then pick two tables at a similar price range. What's next, NAD receiver vs Tenor OTL?
TWL, that question is not out of line. The NAD products are quite musical and reliably built, especially for their price range. As such, i can see them being compared to the musicality of the Tenor's, etc...

Hahahaahah. Obviously, i was joking on that one folks. I think that sometimes we get carried away in wanting to believe that we can find phenomenal bang for the buck products and then hold them up to others that are SOTA ( State of the Art ) no-holds barred products.

While i agree that there is an obvious point of diminishing returns, the fact remains that some products do compete with more expensive stuff and do it quite well. This is either due to the excellent design work of a company that knows what they are doing and wants to sell a lot of product or a company that simply overcharges for a product that costs little to manufacture. A perfect example of this is the Shelter phono cartridges and the "has-been" that was retagging them and selling them for 3 - 4 times the price.

While a good product is a good product at any price, obviously, some ARE "bargains" considering what they do and how little they cost. For sake of clarity, i'm not specifically talking about the Rega TT's although many seem to feel that way about them. Sean