Suspension vs. non-suspension turntables???

Greetings all...

I am soon going to start the search for a new turntable. My trusty Roksan Xerxes is entering it's 15th year of operation and I think it's about time to look for something new. Having said that, I am looking for opinions on suspended tables, and non-suspended tables in the hopes of learning something about the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Surely both types have their merits, and I am trying to get a grip on which type might be most right for me. I am not necessarily looking for specific turntable recommendations at this point; let's face it we all know the usual suspects - Basis, VPI, Clearaudio, SME, Oracle, Teres, etc. I just am looking to find out if there is an advantage to either type of table.

Thanks in advance...
Hmmm. Just because something's old doesn't mean it's time to change it. In fact you might find out it's shockingly expensive to change. My rega planar 3 cost me $300 many years ago when I lived not far from Southend in the UK. I think I'd be spending well over $1000 to get a significant improvement in it now, and that's money better spent on a new cartridge and more LPs or CDs.

I'd guess you'll get better advice if you can tell us what improvements you're seeking versus the roksan.

I've only ever owned non-suspended designs, so I can't answer your question.
Yes, I have owned some of your "usual suspects". Here are my impressions of the differences between the two.

I started with the (non-suspension) Basis 1400, with a RB300 arm and a Koetsu Black cartridge. It was a very good upper entry level table. Good dynamics and fairly low noise floor. I originally had a Benz Micro Glider II on this table and when I went to the Koetsu Black, and noticed a definite drop in the noise floor.

I then moved on to the (suspension) Basis 2001, with a RB900 arm and the same Koetsu Black cartridge.
Since the arms were similar (the big difference being the upgraded cabling on the RB 900), the biggest difference I noticed in the tables themselves was the dramatically lowered noise floor of the 2001. The background is pretty "black", and therefore, I appreciate the subleties of the music more. In addition, I feel the bass was more extended as well. The treble also seemed like it was more extended, but I think the lowered noise floor may have been accounted for some of that.

My two cents worth anyway.
Both types have their adherents, obviously, and there've been some interesting threads on the topic before. Search the archives and you'll find them.

When I chose my TT I was also unable to audition. I chose by following this (admittedly deductive) "logic":

- making a good suspension is both difficult and expensive (I had an inexpensive, suspended deck as a negative example)

- assume a price point (let's say < $10K)

- consider a table of each type at that price point

- the maker of the suspended table must dedicate a significant portion of his costs to designing, engineering, sourcing and building the suspension

- the maker of the non-suspended table dedicates virtually none of his costs to the suspension (just three cones or whatever)

- therefore, the maker of the non-suspended table has more resources available to optimize other critical elements like the bearing, motor, plinth and platter design and materials, etc.

Therefore, this hypothetical non-suspended table "should" outperform its similarly priced hypothetical rival, and will certainly be easier to set up and forget.

It seems likely that a non-suspended table should be more dynamic. The less the table moves laterally in response to energy from groove transients, the more of that energy will be transmitted to the cartridge generators. OTOH, a good suspension should isolate the stylus/groove interface from structure-borne and motor vibrations better. This would yield blacker backgrounds and a lower level of detail retrieval. Nonsuspended tables rely on higher mass and a mix of materials to meet this goal.

This is all I had to go on when I made my decision. I'm happy with the results on my Teres, but so are most Basis owners!
Gee, you waited until the very last line to works "Teres" into your post, Doug? I'm impressed! :-)
Just kidding, yours is a reasonable summation...
What do you have or plan for a TT stand? Is the floor concrete or framing?

As Dougdeacon said in so many words, both approaches have their good and not so good points. But, for instance, if you have an extreme case of the "house shakes" then that might lead one to think in terms of a suspended table.

I have both, an MMF 7 with a V15VxMR and a Basis 2001 with a Vector\Glider. (It's not really fair to compare them against each other.) Either design will work for me as my listening room is in a finished basement with a concrete floor and almost no traffic, unless you count the farmer's cows plodding around in the field behind my house. The Basis is setting on a reclaimed sewing machine cabinet, light but very sturdy. The MMF 7 will soon be sitting on much more substantial, heavily damped table as I move my non-suspended TT towards a Teres. I can say that the Basis with the Vector is very dynamic to me, almost scary. I have yet to hear a Teres or any other well made non-suspension table so I won't offer an opinion as to how much more dynamic one is over the other.

I'm just offering an example here. But as with everything in this hobby, YMMV.
Good point about the floors, though I suppose a trampoline would challenge any table. I have a fairly springy wood floor. My old (cheap) suspended table on a tallish wood cabinet would skip if you just walked across the room. My Teres on a Salamander Synergy Triple 20 wouldn't skip if you dribbled a bowling ball next to it. Of course the Salamander + gear weighs nearly 400 pounds and it's supported on eight heavy-duty sorbothane hemispheres. I guess I have a suspended, non-suspended table. IOW, alot of it has to do with execution.

It sounds like we should trade tables for a month, just for fun. (You can keep the cows.)

Cool - now we're getting somewhere!

My room setup is as follows; the room is 15x14, in a basement with a concrete floor, and concrete walls on three sides (front, back, and left side where the gear is postioned). The room is drywalled on all sides, and I'm starting to wonder how securely the studs are mounted into the concrete walls.

Right now, my turntable is mounted on a wall stand, screwed into studs, but there still seems to be a heck of a lot of vibration getting to the table. This is a problem from time to time when the SW800 subs in my system decide to provide me with the odd note in the nether regions, which has given my table a heart attack on rare occasions. I do realize that I'm going to have to drill through the studs into the concrete, or give up and buy a decent floor standing rack. Any more thoughts?
It would have come out much sooner, but I can't see the T, E, R and S keys as easily anymore.


The ink's worn off them!

Gotta run, we're drilling our armboard and mounting the new Triplanar tonight. Yummy!
As you said, there's not much point mounting to wood studs when you have bedrock available. I'd plan on getting a good stand, but I wouldn't decide until I was sure what table was going on it. Different tables like different stands.

Dan can probably tell you what a Basis prefers.

A Teres/Redpoint/Galibier prefers a big hunk o' mass, bolt it to that floor if you can.

A Spacedeck like 4yanx's prefers... like... um... levitation? It's a California thing!!!!!!!!!
Your Xerxes must be a suspended table based on your wall mounting. Before spending any additional money on a turntable I'd suggest you locate your turntable on a light weight but rigid stand between and slighly behind your speakers. A good, tight, old end table would be just about perfect for this. Drill some holes in the bottom of the legs and install some threaded inserts. Make or buy some spikes for the inserts and level the stand. Not against a wall as frequencies are reinforced along walls and in corners. A reasonably capable suspension is tuned to below 8 Hz and shouldn't be affected by your subwoofer. If you get any feedback it may be more a function of the arm or cartridge than the suspension. My only suggestion would then be to spend enough money to do it right either way. I really don't think there is a best design unless you take into consideration new/used at various price points. My suspended table has been in my posession for well over 25 years AND I've had non-suspended tables selling for multiples of it's cost sitting right next to it for an A/B comparrison. I've still got the old table as there has been no compelling reason to buy anything else unless I hit the jackpot and go the cost-no-object route in which case I'd buy a Walker. Not to slam subwoofers but they do seem to be problematic and not with just turntables.
The concrete floor suggests to me that a floor standing rack would work well. My guess is that the drywall is picking up the bass and feeding it into the wall rack.

A very cheap setup for isolating my rega is a sheet of soft polyurethane foam, about 2-3 inches thick, with a large paving slab (or marble sheet if visuals are important) sat on top of it, with the rega sitting on the top.

I have not noticed any bass feedback from my subwoofer, and my spirit level says the deck is very level (the mass of the deck is much less than the concrete slab so levelling was easy). My floor is a wooden suspended floor, and the subwoofer is only a couple of feet from the Rega.

Of course the weight of this setup means it has to be on a cabinet, rather than a shelf, but it costs so little to try (about $10-$20) that it might be worth playing with before getting a new deck.

That is, unless you really want a new deck. Buying a new deck is much more fun than buying paving slabs :-). Until the credit card statement arrives :-(

I still have it on my todo list to get down your way for a listen. I'm helping my son and his girl friend move back up from New Jersey next month. We usually travel the Merritt Pkwy so it wouldn't be too much of a detour. I'll give you plenty of warning if I can make it happen. Hey, the cows are pretty good neighbors. They don't complain when I crank up the music and I don't complain when they bawl at 3 a.m.


Where is your table in relation to the subs? I'm wondering if the problem may be airborne vibrations. My 10t's pack a hefty bass slam but I haven't noticed any issues with my tables. They sit to the left of the speakers, but farther down the wall from the first reflection point.

Also I am wondering if the studs in your basement are even in contact with the concrete walls. My basement is very much the same with the three concrete walls and the forth is framed as it is a walkout. We framed it 3 inches inside the concrete walls to keep moisture from wicking into the studs and insulation. You may also want to check how the walls are fastened at the top. If they just nail to the joists then there is no load to help damp things. Your wall stand may work better on the outside, load bearing wall. Just another guess.
Levitation I leave for myself. As for the table, I used 1000Lb. rate Stanley wall brackets and bolted a pair to the underside a thick slab of rock maple cutting board. Lag bolted the brackets into wall studs. You can place a glass of water on the deck, jump up and down like a gorilla or smack the wall with your fist without inducing a ripple. I am left with only concerns of air-borne vibrations. On the other hand, I have placed it on a Osiris Giza component stand (sand-filled for a total of about 150lbs.) to similar effect, but the wall mount is easier to reach!
Hi there,
being in the u.k. I have never heard many of the american tables - I did hear an Oracle many years ago which impressed greatly.
I have ten tables most of which are 'sprung'- I won't bore you with the details.
I would suggest trying your Roksan on Final Labs Dharumas or aurios(of any type). Since it is not 'sprung' as such, these work a treat. The Roksan imo - takes some beating, I have Linns, Lencos etc,etc.The motors in the Xerxes are very reliable, any problems are more likely to be the xps/dsu - mines were just overhauled for £90 and noticed a huge difference. Spend the money on better arm/cartridge for your Xerxes - my cartridge cost 12x what I paid for the deck.
Regards Simon
PS- I have tried the Xerxes on tables and wall shelves -imo it sounds better on a table. The Xerxes mini-table is a huge improvement ! It is only a piece of 12mm MDF with spikes but improves the sound no end - mail me if you want details/template.
I use a suspension TT and a Dennensen air suspension platform. Big difference!
After years of both types, my conclusion is that the best solution is a tt without suspension mounted on a platform that weighs at least a ton. This is impractical for me at this time. I have real problems being on the second floor with wood rafters. At present I use my Garrard on a special Neuance on a Refexa base on a second level Mana stand, but deep bass is still a major problem at high volume levels.