Teres Turntable/Soundsmith Strain Gauge System

I wanted to report on my new Teres Audio Certus 450 Turntable, Teres Audio Reference Tonearm, Soundsmith Strain Gauge Cartridge, and Soundsmith Strain Gauge 410 Phono Preamp. Chris Brady of Teres Audio installed my Teres Certus Turntable system and Soundsmith Strain Gauge Cartridge System a little over a week ago.

My 2 channel system consists of modified Aragon Palladium 1K monoblock amps, modified Onkyo PR-SC885 Pre/Pro amp, and totally rebuilt and modified Dahlquist DQ-10 speakers. Each speaker cabinet is mirror imaged with a soft dome Dynaudio tweeter and midrange driver and a Peerless open lower midrange driver and a proprietary woofer. The speaker cabinet crossovers have been totally redone as a bi-wire with Van Den Hul 12ga silverplate/Teflon wiring.

My personal taste in music is from classic rock, progressive rock to classical.
Where's the eye candy?!?!?!? ;-)
Here is the information that some of you will be interested in regarding the turntable and Chris Brady's and my observations. First, I want to thank Chris for coming to install my Certus 450 Turntable set-up and Soundsmith Set-up in eastern Pennsylvania.

My particular Certus 450 is now finished in the satin silver just like the Certus 460 on the Teres website. The black finish is no longer available. In addition, I have the 3rd Certus 450 that has ever be made. After a wait of approximately 10 months the turntable and the new and first and only produced Teres Audio Reference (wooden) tonearm are now set-up and in operation in my living room.

Without the opportunity to actually listen to a Soundsmith Strain Gauge Cartridge, I had followed Chris' suggestion and ordered a Soundsmith Strain Gauge Cartridge and a Soundsmith Strain Gauge 410 Phono Preamp. Chris had listened to the Strain Gauge Cartridge and had been extremely impressed by its performance.

I would like to premise our listening observations by indicating that Chris Brady and some people have previously listened to both the Prototypes of the Teres Reference Tonearm and of I presume, my tonearm are of the opinion that it sounds better than the Schroder Reference (and possibly the SQ) version of said arm. Additionally, Chris has now been using the Soundsmith Voice Cartridge for much of his listening now and likes this cartridge very much. He is usually using this instead of the XYZ Universe.

Chris Brady had previously shipped the turntable to me and it was awaiting assembly. Chris came to my home bearing both the new Teres Reference Tonearm and a set of Marigo Labs TR Mystery Feet. Chris proceeded to set up the turntable, tonearm, Soundsmith Strain Gauge Cartridge, and Soundsmith Strain Gauge 410 Phono Preamp. When the Turntable was set-up, we used the Still Points (what is usually used) under the Teres Certus Control Box and proceeded to use quite a number of discs to make the adjustments for both the Teres Reference tonearm and the Soundsmith Strain Gauge Cartridge.

The whole turntable system is set-up on a 3 tier all black Adona Classic AV45G rack system with the sandwiched granite/mdf platforms.

Much of our listening was done on some extremely fine pressings including a number of records cleaned by Better Records and in particular a number of Better Records Hot Stampers. One record stood out for much of listening experience and as a reference which was the Peter Gabriel Security LP. My Hot Stamper copy of this LP is just stunning in its sound, depth, detail, and information.

Once we had everything adjusted, we listened to several records with the Still Points under the Certus Control Box. Then, we swapped out the Marigo Labs TR Mystery Feet under the Control Box for the Still Points several times. Each time, Chris and I had the same reaction and almost immediately. Our jaws dropped as we heard a difference. We further fine tuned the adjustments to optimize the settings for the cartridge. Chris had previously found that the Mystery feet had improved the sound of the less expensive Verus Motor and Control Box. But, the Mystery Feet under the Certus Control box (at least on the Adona Rack) was just a very dramatic improvement in the audio performance.

I asked Chris his opinion, and Chris volunteered that there was so improvement in the sound of the Certus 450 with the Mystery feet that he was of the opinion that it sounded better than the Certus 460 with the Certus Control box sitting on Still Points (that is the way that I had heard the Certus 460 10 months earlier when I visited Chris). Based on our listening experience, Chris now intends to offer the Certus turntables with the Mystery Feet I presume as a replacement (and a price increase) for the Certus turntables.
Dear Rich: Interesting that the the Teres tonearm " beats " the Schroder Reference one Rich could you share more information about your tonearm. ) and " intriguer " about those Marigo feets and ovbiously that Certus " new " Teres drive TT.

I wonder why in a TT control box those feets can/could make that so high improvement, why so " delicate " that control-box? that can change the whole TT quality performance.

Chris, do you already have an answer for this or that was only a different/unique experience in the Rich audio system?, I mean so dramatic changes, or maybe the Still Points are the " wrong " road. But anyway: why so " intense ".

Regards and enjoy the music.

I can not recall the wood that makes up the Teres Reference Tonearm. It is stained the same as the Cocobolo wood of the turntable. The arm is a 2 section wooden arm that has the latest wiring and the latest rca interconnect wiring and connectors to run to the Phono Preamp. The design of the arm is based upon a 10 months or more of Chris's experimentation and I will defer to him to further describe what has gone into its design.

As to the usage of the Still Points, this was I believe what Chris had previously found to be the best performing footers for the Certus Control Box. The Still Points are an extra cost add on for the Verus Motor and Control Box as well. When Chris had first tried the Mystery Feet under the Verus Motor, I believe at RMAF, he observed a noticeable performance improvement. But, he has not had a Certus Turntable available to test as far as I know for the last 6 months or more.

When Chris installed my Teres 450 he informed me that I had what was to be the last very expensive, heavy satin silver finished brass Certus Control Box. So, as I mentioned, Chris had not had an opportunity to play a Certus unit for sometime when we installed the Mystery Feet. The Mystery Feet are "State of the Art" and have been very well received outstanding reviews. They are also among or are about the most expensive feet presently available. In any case, Chris and I both found that there was a dramatic increase in focus, imaging, soundstage, "air", openess, clarity, detail, shimmering high frequencies noted for bells and triangles, life like and relaxed sound, more micro and macro dynamics, percussive performance, controlled bass, blacker backgrounds, etc. How much can be attributed to the interaction with the granite surface of the granite/mdf sandwiched platforms I can not say at this point.

One thing that I forgot to mention was that we also found an marked improvement in the usage of Herbie's Audio large dots under the Teres 450 feet.

The Cartridge and the electronics at this point probably only have maybe 15 hours of break in and we presume that there will be a decided performance improvement at about 50 hours.

Raul, Lloyd Walker always shows his Precision Motor Controller supported by his brass tiptoe-type feet. I mount mine on a set of Goldmund cones that I happened to own, also on an Adonis rack system. For some reason that I certainly do not understand, one can "hear" the effect of the Goldmund cones. Quien sabe?

Naturephoto, that is a beautiful analog rig. I am very anxious to hear the strain gauge cartridge myself. How did you arrive at that rather vintage combo of Onkyo amplifiers and Dahlquist speakers?

I have some pictures of it. It is similar to the Schroder in that it is a wood armwand and a very low slung counterweight. Not sure how the bearing works. Some say it is better than.... XYZ means little to me. As you would say, w. what cartridge in what system etc.

I have had the Dahlquist DQ-10 speakers since 1977 when I bought them from the owner (they had been the owners) of HiFi Haven in New Brunswick, NJ when I was a Grad Student in Zoology/Ecology at Rutgers in NJ. I have had them all of this time, however about 4 or 5 years ago, I worked with Layne Audio and selected all of the best parts (for the best performance) that they had experimented with over the years to modify and rebuild the speakers. As a result, the selection of the replacement Dynaudio, Peerless, and proprietary woofer, wiring, and crossover parts and arrangement. Subsequent to that, last summer, we made some additional modifications to the speakers to bring them to even better performance. At this point they are a 1 of a kind set of speakers that have the original general sound and flavor of the DQ-10s. However, they are much faster, more open, better at imaging, soundstage, better high frequencies, more percussive, much better controlled bass, etc. They would probably be competitive with $10,000+ speakers at this point.

Ultimately the DQ-10s may be used for the rear channel speakers in my 7.1 surround system after I move. I have in mind the front speakers a pair of speakers that are presently in prototype form.

As to the Onkyo Pre/Pro, that is just the previous generation Onkyo Pre/Pro that has had substantial modifications conducted that improves the 2 and multichannel audio performance dramatically.
Dear Dgad and Rich: Thank you for the explanation.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Thanks, Naturephoto. Carry on. Your determination to improve on a speaker you already must have liked is much like mine with respect to my Sound Lab M1 ESLs. With the help of some bright fellows I met via the old Sound Lab Owners Group, I have re-configured the entire crossover network and made some improvements to the "mixer box" that re-combines the outputs of the two audio transformers (for bass and treble, respectively) that are fed by the cross-over. There is a whole litany of things to do to improve on the Sound Lab power supply. Sound Lab has since adopted many of these same improvements into their factory-built product.
Dear Lew: That you own Soundlabs is a notice to me. For years that is almost the only electrostatic speaker that I like ( well even does nt sound like other electrostatic like ML: fortunately. ).

My friend Guillermo ( he and I are on our tonearm self design. ) owns the new top of the line Soundlabs and sounds really good, highly recommended.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Teres Audio has changed the name of the new tonearm to the Illius. They have several photos for those interested along with information provided in the following link: