This question has been discussed previously - try a forum search.
"Better" depends on your key criteria and how critically you listen to music. Set up as their designers intended, Galibiers are more convincing on rock music.
The Serac comes surprisingly close to the more expensive Galibier tables and is stunningly good value for money.
I have searched the forum and not seen the two entry level tables compared? What you tend to read is that the tables sound more alike than different but that was before the Teres versus drive. THe comment about rock is great as that is about 50% of my listening.
I leaning towards the Serac table with the Gavia platter but the the new Teres drive has me curious.
I don't think you will go wrong with either choice.
However, after owning a belt-driven Teres in the past, I found some things that I didn't like about the belt-driven design (namely the stretching of the belt-splice over time and the audible sound of the splice passing the motor pulley). YMMV.
I've been very happy with the elegant design of the Teres Verus motor. Mind you, I haven't upgraded to the latest platter design (so I can't speak specifically about the 260). But like I said before, I don't think you will go wrong with either choice. Thom and Chris are a couple of the "good guys" in the industry.
Do yourself a major favor and upgrade the platter.
I found some things that I didn't like about the belt-driven design (namely the stretching of the belt-splice over time and the audible sound of the splice passing the motor pulley).
Both of these problems do exist with the stock belts supplied by Teres and Galibier. But they're easily resolved by DIY-ing one's own belt - a 15 minute task.
My splice hasn't stretched in over two years of daily use, and a properly taped splice makes no noise going around the pulley. These are not difficult problems to solve. Ask anyone who's ever spliced video or audio tape.
The Verus is probably well suited for rock. It was intolerable in our system/to our ears for classical, or any recording of acoustic instruments and top quality vocalists, but for feedback-rich music that's heavily mixed in the production studio, it might provide a great listening experience for many.
Definitely an area of personal choice and sonic priorities.
Doug, correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't you hear an older version of the Verus? I seem to recall that Chris updated the controller (and commented on the updates) since you played with it.
thanks for the responses, I am looking for as nuetral as possible and want to minimize the tables sonic fingerprint on the music. Maybe a quick trip to Colorado?
Yeah, it is my recollection that Doug mentioned that the Verus motor he got was one of the first and it didn't maintain a constant speed.
I am very happy with my Verus. I have a 255 and upgraded from Belt Drive. For me, the biggest advantage was that the speed became rock solid, lending a wonderful solidity to the music.
I listen to a lot of classical music and the Verus really was a large improvement.
Just to follow up on the Verus I agree with Wiliamds as I compared it with silk and belt drive on my Micro RX5000 - which has huge rotational inertia with an additional Audiolife platter. The Verus gives more stability and definition compared to the belt drive - another way is to say more dynamics. I was critically expecting to loose some finesse and texture as a trade off, but that was not the case.
Flyingred, have you listened to the Serac in comparison to the Gavia. Last time I compared the Serac platter against the Stelvio platter on a Gavia table (at Thom's place) there was a substantial difference between the two platters. I would have guessed the difference between the table is quite big, although the Serac is probably still excellent value for money. My suggestion from that experience might have been a Serac base with Gavia platter. Can you elaborate some more on the comparisons in your experience?
As for the sound of these two. I would think the Serac is just a bit more neutral. Especially if a Gavia platter is used. Hard to say really.
I'll stick with the tried and true, simple, and extensively field tested tape drive. God forbid any ever happen to Thom Makris or Chris Brady, but I know I can source what I need should I ever have problems with the motor Thom supplies. Keep it simple works best for me. I think it costs about $35 for the supplies to make tape belts for a life time.
Rsrex and Williamdc,
The Verus we tried was indeed an early one, but the problem was not that it didn't keep constant speed. It kept perfectly constant speed - just not at 33 1/3.
Speed inaccuracy (not instability) is a high probability outcome when coupling a stepped speed controller with an O-ring and platter of unknown circumference. Do the math - oops! - you can't. ;-)
If one doesn't notice .16% pitch inaccuracy then it's no big deal. But we do - particularly when listening to familiar records in our own system.
Subsequent to our report CB did halve the size of the controller steps, which you apparently remembered, so any speed error is now also halved. That's nice, but it still doesn't match the accuracy we get from our modified Ref II. (We confirmed this with a diagnostic strobe that Paul made, not just our ears.)
The Verus's second, unrelated sonic problem was a smearing of HF overtones and harmonics. The systems we've heard when visiting other A'gon members would mask this muddying. Our system doesn't, not because it's "better" but because harmonic extension and accuracy are at the top of our personal priorities. Our system is tailored to get those right. That's why, when discussing the Verus, I always append a "YMMV" after my comments. It pleases you and that's what matters, but it isn't perfect. I know two others who've tried and returned one for reasons similar to ours.
We did invite CB to visit and hear for himself, but it's a long trip just to deal with the lunatic fringe. We also asked him for a belt-compatible Verus capstan, since that would have let us eliminate one possible source of the smearing (resonance storage/rebound in the rubber O-ring and feet). He wasn't able to supply that either. If he had, we might have kept it happily. Oh well...
The Verus motor allows for speed adjustment in 0.16% steps. This means that the worst case speed error will be 0.08% and the average will be 0.04%. The good news is that this figure will not change or drift over time.
The speed accuracy of the Verus motor is roughly 4x more accurate than our Reference II motor. The problem with all DC motors is that the speed is determined by voltage and load. Very small changes in load will cause the speed to change. Our experiments have shown that from a cold start that the uncompensated speed using a DC motor will drift about 3% in the time it takes to play a record side. After that table has been warmed up the drift is less, usually about 1%. So while DC motors have the huge advantage of less cogging, speed accuracy is a challenge. A servo is needed to keep the speed accurate. But this is problematic because making abrupt corrections (hunting) is detrimental to the sound. The Teres belt drive motors use a very slow correction algorithm that largely avoids hunting but the price is speed accuracy. With the algorithm used in our belt drive motors the cold speed accuracy is about 0.25% and when warmed up (1 hour of play) this figure improves to about 0.1%.
We have had 3 Verus motors returned of the 40 that have been shipped to date. One of the returned motors was purchased under false pretense and there was never an intention to keep it. The other return was someone convinced before receiving the motor that he would not like it after having corresponded with Doug. Six customers have upgraded from Reference motors and the feedback has been enthusiastic.
We have listened carefully for the smearing that Doug mentions and simply have not been able to identify anything that resembles his experience. On the contrary myself and virtually every other person that has auditioned the Verus motor find that the belt drive motors have a sound that much more resembles smearing. This discrepancy remains a mystery to me.
We experimented with using a Verus motor with 1/2 mylar tape rather than the o-ring rim drive. We thought that the sound was about in the middle between our Reference motor and the regular Verus motor. There were clear benefits from the lower levels of cogging from the Verus drive. But there were additional, separate benefits from the rim vs. belt drive.
What has the response been to your new platters?
In case you were wondering...my Verus will *not* be returned.
We have not shipped any of the new platters yet. If all goes well the first shipments will be next week. The response from those that have heard the new platter have been quite positive. A major upgrade over our acrylic/lead platters.
Has anyone experimented with tacky surfacing of either the belt and/or pulley and platter, using beeswax or the like? This would seem especially effective when using belts such as tape or silk rbbon that intuitively seem prone to slippage.
A tacky surface on belts has been tried but it ends up being quite noisy. The belts sticks to the platter and then releases making the belt vibrate. While belt slippage does seem to be an issue it seems that compliance (stretching) is much more important.
We experimented with a variety of materials for the drive capstan and heard surprisingly big differences. But there was no correlation between surface roughness and good sound. However, there is a clear correlation between a belts rigidity and sound, with more rigid belts consistently sounding better.
The 2 mil 1/2" wide mylar tape we use with our belt drive motors is quite rigid. But because of the long length (44+ inches) it stretches much more than we would like. The o-ring on the Verus motor is more compliant than mylar but given there is only 1/8" of it between the motor and platter the net result is a dramatic overall reduction in compliance.
Thanks you, Teres, for your typically clear, clean and articulate observations.