nice write up and sounds interesting. i'd love to hear it someday and see how it does relative to my beloved but departed Garrard 301/Loricraft.
we need pictures!
Are you using Vic's Resomat? What kind of music do you listen too?
Thanks for the thread and congratulations. I'm curious how the "vibrations from the drive are drained away from the platter and hence the stylus". With the rim drive contact, surely some vibrations hit the platter.
I read that someone is developing a turntable that uses rim drive to move the platter up to initial speed and then it disengages leaving a thread drive to only maintain proper platter speed. I presume he felt the rim drive imparted some unwanted vibration through the direct contact.
Mike, aiming to put pictures when my updated Zu spkrs/rack arrives in the 'system' section of A'gon. I worked out that to get a bit of this non belt magic I'd have to save for a few years more to get your NVS (or The Beat/ Grand Prix Monaco etc), or buy the Salvation now, so no contest. However, my admiration for your 'take no prisoners' tt is v.high. I'm glad that I managed to get across the really positive hike in sound quality I'm getting over my previous tt, which had given me great service over 12 years with upgrades. What I find fascinating is that my trepidation in removing a signature colouration of belt drive (time smear bass invading the midrange) has led to a major improvement in all aspects across the spectrum. I'm amazed by the percussive impact that high torque speed stability brings, really combining all the natural warmth of analogue with the good neutrality and stability of digital. Additionally, the linear tracking arm is, no exaggeration, making lead out grooves as uncompressed and noise free as the start of lp sides. Wow! My tech description is a bit lacking, Peterrayer, but Vic has successfully engineered a way to drain vibrations away. A link to his process can be found on the 'Lenco Heaven' website-go to 'other components' then 'other turntables' then 'from Lenco to Salvation'. Redglobe, yes, I am using the Reso Mat which comes as standard with the installation.
You are hearing the benefit of rim drive, pleased you are happy. I've read about this table and arm and found images on the web after another Audiogon post called my attention to this design.
Vic has gone thru the Garrard 301/401, Lenco L77 and Technics SL1210 and SP10 with upgraded plinths on the way to perfecting the Salvation. Independent reviews put the Salvation ahaead of a tricked out Garrard 301.
Redglobe, I listen to a lot of 70s progressive and fusion, quite a bit of acoustic incl jazz and classical, so the Salvation has to work over a wide range of genres and remain consistent. It's without doubt the most impressive front end I've yet heard.
Thank you for the reply. Are you able to determine if the pitch is off when you listen to music (essentially, is the speed stable during play so that it maintains near-perfect pitch)? Do you use any center or ring clamps?
Glad you like the Salvation TT and Terminator arm. I bought the Terminator arm from Vic about two years ago and it was a big improvement over the full modified rega 250 I had used on my Michell Gyro II TT. I bought the Salvation TT from Vice about 3 months ago and wow the best way to describe it is the combination just makes music. As much as I like the Michell they are in differnet leagues. I finally sold my Meridian G08 CD player a couple of week ago because I had not even plugged in since the Salvation arrived. I also love the practical approach, everything has a purpose and it is very intuitive. Anyway I don't know about rim drive versus belt or vibration or linear arms versus traditional arm or resomat versus clamp, what I do know is it sounds very every good. Enjoy
Sgunther, I admire your total love for the Salvation/Terminator consigning the cd player out of your home, ha ha! The grand irony with me was that the cloying bass colouration which invades the mids on lp playback I had put down to the 'romantic warmth' of analog, and since cd playback until the mid 2000s always seemed sterile and clinical to me, it was always a welcoming euphonic colouration. However on acquiring the EMM Labs CDSA SE cd player finally I had digital with a really nice analogue vibe to it, and suddenly my belt drive tt (Michell Orbe/SME V) was in second place, mainly due to the EMM being so natural but without this colouration. Endless demos of belt drives (SME 20 and 30, TW Acustic Raven AC-3 etc) didn't provide a sound to definitively better the Orbe. Then after 2 years of investigating the idler drive/direct drive revival I've finally ended up with the Salvation, and without the bass time smear banished by it's direct rim drive, analogue replay is back in the box seat, relegating digital to it's rightful second place! However I still love the EMM and half my music collection on silver disc can't be found on vinyl, so she's staying. HOWEVER if tomorrow we all went back to pre-1983 and all my cd's were to be re-released on lp, hmm...
Hi Redglobe, using a strobe shows no variation in quiet or heavily modulated passages. I'd love a Sutherland Timeline to put this to the ultimate test. Platter is up to speed a mere 3 seconds after start up and it takes substantial external force to slow the oversized heavy platter. This suggests high torque maintaining correct speed once set thru any groove modulation caused by stylus drag.
Re clamps, rings etc, there really is no need, the Reso Mat does away with the need for these. Counter intuitive I know, but there it is.
Redglobe, I can't say whether I can be sure of hearing perfect pitch, I know classical and jazz musicians can. What I can say is that the Salvation is so speed stable compared to my belt driven Orbe that lead out grooves sound totally secure, and there is no wavering on piano note decay as lp replay goes on.
I have the Trans-Fi arm and the Reso Mat. Both are keepers. The arm is superlative. The mat benefits from light clamping, at least on my modified VPI TNT.
Hi D, I bow to your preference in your system. Vic really believes that clamping, both central and periphery, deadens/dampens the sound, and certainly with the Salvation there appears no need to go beyond sole use of the Reso Mat, but all systems/listeners are not alike.
So, being such a fan of the arm are you giving serious consideration to upgrading to the Salvation as well?
Spiritofmusic, I'm a slow learner. My modified TNT is all that it can be, easily surpassing the current HRX that I've heard at shows. The Terminator arm with Reso Mat, both before and after modifications, is so good that I'm inclined to trust Vic a priori. Thanks for your review. Based on input from those I know & trust, my next step is either a refurbished Kenwood L07D or Salvation.
D, I've started learning v. fast with this rig; basically that one can have all the attributes of good vinyl ie tonality, dimensionality and transparency; with the advantages of good digital ie neutrality, stability and eveness of frequency response. How much is attributable to the tt only, and how much to the arm, I really don't know, since mine was a total upgrade as a package, whereas you will have upgraded to the arm before possibly to the tt. All I can say that for me the combination is a game changer, and I'd venture at least within a close call of tt/arm combinations 5-10x the price (in the non belt world that means custom replinthed 301s and SP10s, Dobbins The Beat, Grand Prix Monaco, Brinkmann Bardo, Wave Kinetics NVS, etc).
Spirit, what cartridge are you using in your setup. I am currently using the ortofon jubilee which sounds really good but as is the case with most of us I am always looking for an upgrade. I did try the miyajima Shilabe which was not a good match. Currently considering the Lyra Kleos or Ortofon winfield.
Hi S, currently using Zu modded Denon 103. A real giant killer at it's price, but am looking at a few alternatives. One is the Decca London Reference, main issue with this is phono loading is 47kOhms (ie MM setting) and my current phono stage doesn't have this resistance. The other two are the Garrott P77i, favoured by the tt's designer; again this is 47kOhms. I am intrigued by the Soundsmith Straingauge SG-200; pricey but it's speed and neutrality should be a match made in Heaven for this rig.
Sgunther, The short Tomahawk wand is too light for low-compliance cartridges like Shilabe. For those types I machined a heavier rear counterweight and several types of front counterweights that drop into the holes of the Tomahawk wand or slide along its flat surface. In addition, Vic has a special pivot that can be set up to support adjustable front and rear counterweights on a threaded shaft. Do something like this and the arm will work optimally with any cartridge.
I'm currently using a 14g Zu 103 with no tracking issues, although arm must be set up carefully to deal with all carts. I think a fast neutral cart needs to get the best synergy. Hence my interest in the Soundsmith Straingauge.
"Re clamps, rings etc, there really is no need, the Reso Mat does away with the need for these."
In reality, the ResoMat represents a contrary opinion vs clamps and rings. Thus it does not "do away" with rings and clamps; it represents a 180 degree opposite hypothesis about how to get the most out of an LP, one that I tend to favor too, altho I never went so far as to raise the LP completely off the platter, a la the ResoMat. It's worth a try.
Very nice review and I'm glad you're enjoying the Salvation/T3Pro. I've had mine here in the US since January with the Zu 103R and I am still thoroughly enjoying it. Vic has been great to work with. I changed my phono stage to a Zesto Andros PH1 recently and that combo is also working out very well.
I'm curious to know what other carts people are trying with success on the T3Pro as I hope to shop a little at RMAF this year for something a little different for my other arm wand. Both of mine are stock Tomahawks at this time.
In respect of the Reso Mat, it really seems to work on the Salvation/Terminator rig, and Vic believes it'll improve any tt. Not sure how it'll deal with v. warped lps however.
Hi Tom, we've been in email contact for a while. Thanks for the compliments on the review, I tried to get a balance of fact and hyperbole just right. Not sure I'd like to make a habit of writing reviews, though!
Personally I'm coming to the conclusion that the Zu 103 may be the weak link in the chain. I'm considering the Soundsmith retipping OC/CL/ Ruby cantilever upgrade $500+ to the Zu 103, top of the range Soundsmith Straingauge $6500, Decca London Ref $4500, Garrott P77i $500 or even resurrecting my old Transfiguration Orpheus.
Tms0245 are you Tom from Fort Wayne and Spiritofmusic do you live in Atlanta? If it is the same person I also talked to Tom before i bought my savlation back in March. Tom mentioned there was someone in Atlanta that was interested in the Salvation and since i lived in Rome, GA he might want to cantact me. Anyway I never heard anything but thought i would try to connect the dots.
Sgunther, no, I'm a London boy, not an Atlantan. A little further away, but a lot closer to Vic (2 hours drive to bring the Salvation/Terminator over).
Isn't it always the way? Just as I'm melting into the sound of a vastly improved component upgrade, it's highlighting possible deficiencies in another (the cartridge).
So, the quest never ends: putting together a shortlist of carts to bring out further positives in this superlative front end.
Yes, that's me. The guy in Atlanta thought long and hard about the Salvation, but decided a Rega P9 was a better fit for his situation. He should be very happy with it, as it's very much set, forget, enjoy the music.
Hey London boy let me know how your cartridge search goes, I would like to try to learn from your journey. My direct e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
When we first talked i think i remember you saying you had a modest system. I would say anything but modest. Looks great and i am sure it sound great.
Sgunther, I certainly will. I'm veering away from MMs since a change to a phono stage allowing 47k and 100k needed, and my current one doesn't accommodate.
So, reinvestigating the Orpheus, may well upgrade stylus/cantilever on Zu 103, and will do an audition on Straingauge.
Back to Salvation/Terminator: it's neutrality is a bit startling and has highlighted need to get cart choice right. Just listening to Kate Bush 'Hounds Of Love' and the low end growl on my belt drive has been cleared up to reveal separate bass and synth. This extra detail is really aiding enjoyment, a fantastic consequence being much more intelligibility in the vocals. Piano rock solid, esp. decay of notes after hammer has struck.
OMG! Consistent adjusting of tt level, cart vtf and careful maintainance of air supply to arm is really opening up the sound. This with bedding in of cart , 50 hrs+ now, is taking analogue to hitherto unknown levels compared to when I stayed settled with belt drive/pivoted arm rig.
I can't stress how much this is a game changer at the reasonable cost end of the market; I have no doubt that money no object engineering thrown at top end tts such as Grand Prix Monaco, Dobbins Kodo The Beat and Wave Kinetics NVS may provide that extra 5% of performance, but this is such a complete holistic sound that I'm really settled as my last tt/arm upgrade (cart/phono still an open question).
Spirit, Congratulations on your reaching audio nirvana. You certainly seem pleased with your choice. But are you stating categorically that you feel your current table and arm are better than all the belt drive table/pivoted arm combinations that you have heard, or that exist? That would be quite something. I ask because your enthusiasm is very clear and the list of tables you mention as potentially providing the last 5% as you say are all direct drive systems. I have not read of any of them being tried with a linear tracking arm though.
Hi Peter, in no way am I claiming that the Salvation/Terminator outperform everything out there. That would be churlish since I've only heard a limited number.
To be clear, I bought my Michell Orbe with SME V arm back in 1999. At the time I feel it outperformed belt drives in similar price range, esp. the Linn Sondek LP12 (too coloured) and the Roksan Xerxes (too sterile). Over the next 10 years I continually updated the Orbe with Michell Never Connected power supply, Gert Pedersen plinth/armboard upgrade, internal rewiring to SME V, TT Weights outer ring and various mats. Having been a massive analogue advocate over the years, generally hating the sound of digital even into the 2000's, imagine my suprise when the EMM Labs CDSA SE cd player outperformed my tt in many respects even with it's many updates.
This led me to investigating a fair number of pricey, fantastically engineered tts such as SME 20 and 30, TW Acustic AC3 and various Clearaudios. All performed somewhat better than the Orbe, but not enough for a clear knockout, and not enough to put digital back in it's place.
Reading about idler/direct drive in last couple of years interested me in that colourations in the timing domain of belt drives might be contributing to my dissatisfaction.
Not totally sure after hearing the Brinkmann Bardo DD (precise, but not overly rhythmic) and Technics SL1210 DD (a little dry) I came across the Trans Fi tt/arm, and within moments knew I had gotten to a sound well beyond my Orbe, and ahead of competing belt drives.
It's such a compelling sound eradicating the long term colouration that I took for granted as the 'romance' of vinyl, but if anything enhancing vinyl's addictive holistic nature, and actually bringing vinyl closer to the positives demonstrated by the EMM cd, with none of digital's downsides.
Now I'm not going to be able to hear the Monaco/Beat/NVS, mainly since they're not easily available in the UK and are 5-10x price of the Salvation/Terminator and yes I know these are DDs, but my deep instinct is that this tt is going to be in their ball park at least, at a level that virtually all can afford here.
I really think that it just depends on what makes you happy. A perfectly setup fully updated LP12/Naim Aro is the best turntable I've ever heard but I could never keep it set up properly for long enough and my Linn guy passed away. The GP Monaco is the closest thing to digital sound in a turntable I've ever heard. Some may like it but I didn't at all. Now the turntable that makes me as happy as the LP12 is a Shindo 301. My tastes just run in that direction. Others like a more uncolored sound. But you have to got through the process you've gone through to find out. You gotta kiss a lot a frogs....
Dhcod, I think you'd find that my Salvation/Terminator is much more in your Shindo 301 territory than the Monaco region. Vic the designer deliberately went for a non digital feedback/analogue set speed control for the motor. I am of the belief that continual speed hunting by DDs like the Monaco result in a kind of jitter appearing as a glassy colouration, very much like the worst of digital.
The Salvation is direct rim drive which Vic has derived from the idler principle of Garrards/Lencos. It is high torque, non feedback high rpm motor which sets speed and is v. difficult to vary via groove intermodulation resistance.
It differs mainly from the Shindo in using slate for plinth vibration control rather than built up plys.
Amazingly, totally eliminating the main thumbprint of belt drive ie time domain smear bass colouration clouding midrange has enhanced vinyl's superiority over digital.
IMHO, it is paradoxically closer to the best of digital, but has enabled vinyl to surge well ahead.
A matter of 'so close, and yet so far'.
Thanks for the clarification, Spirit. It does indeed sound as though you have gone through a thorough and lengthy process and can speak from your experience. That always helps one to feel confident in his choices.
If you ever get the chance to hear some of those expensive DD tables, and I'd include a fully modded SP10 mk3 in that group, it would be interesting to read your impressions.
I also embarked on a major turntable/arm/cartridge upgrade recently. The research process took a couple of years. I too became fascinated by all of the DD discussions on these forums and was able to hear the Dobbins The Beat as well as two SP10 mk 2s and the Brinkman Bardo. I couldn't hear an NVS and Monoco. In the end I preferred a massive, well isolated belt drive table and 12" pivoted arm. In the end, for me, it is as much about the handling of energy from the cartridge through the arm to the base as it is about the drive system. A well implement belt drive does resolve the speed stability, rhythmic drive issue, IMO.
Musical satisfaction, as the destination, is what drives us all. The path we take often differs. The sharing of the journey is what these forums are all about. Congratulations again.
Peterayer, exactly my point. My move from belt drive is not the solution you ultimately have settled on. Undoubtedly I'd have been happy at some stage with an upgrade to the Orbe, had I not managed to hear well executed rim drive first. I'm pretty certain DD is not where I would have ended up, and I don't think it's any coincidence that after stellar DD auditions you kept the faith with belt drive.
If you do get a chance to hear the Salvation, or even well executed modded idlers like the Shindo 301, take it, and see how they stack up against your SME.
I'm also coming to the conclusion that the Terminator air bearing linear tracker is having a massively positive synergy with the Salvation, and honestly don't ever think I'll part from this rig.
Cartridge/phono stage? Now that's a whole other discussion!
Thanks, Spirit, for your reply. I wish there was a way for me to hear the TransFi in Southern California! By the way, I had way too much money in the Shindo so I've down graded to an Amazon/Moerch combo... belt drive but I'm VERY happy. And it takes up less space! There are quite a number of great music makers out there. I just set up a Rega RP1 for a friend who's returned to vinyl after 25 years and while it's obviously entry level or whatever, I was amazed at what great music it was making for him. Vinyl just makes people happy. We are all very lucky!
Spirit, I am interested to hear the Salvation. I am already convinced that the Terminator is a great audio bargain, if you can put up with the fussiness of any air-bearing tonearm. However, I would take issue with your hypothesis that whatever it is that you did not like about the GP Monaco (or any other modern high-end DD turntable) is due to audible distortion induced by the servo mechanism. The one in the GPM is truly space age and is working much too fast for you to perceive its action on such an elemental level. (Of course, it is equally presumptuous of me to say that as for you to have posited it.) I expect the "sound" of the GPM is more due to the materials chosen for its construction than anything else. (I have yet to hear a carbon fiber audio tool that I could love.) From what I have read about the GPM, I expect I would not care for it, either, but I am a big proponent of DD. There are good and bad servo mechanisms, but I would bet the GPM has a good one. If you've heard the NVS and did not care for it, you can't blame the servo; I don't think it uses a servo feedback system. The Beat may not, either. On the other hand, the SP10 Mk2 unmodified has a very faint "gray-ish" coloration that I always thought may be due to its servo mechanism in action. It's completely absent from the Mk3 and can be ameliorated in the Mk2 by various strategies.
These accolades for the Salvation/Terminator make me curious to hear a shoot-out between it and the Amadeus, which has a huge and adoring fangroup, with nary a dissenting voice. Retail cost of the two is similar, I think.
I am curious about something I don't see on the website.
The motor is a rim drive- similar to old Presto transcription machines used in radio stations in the 1950s. How is it set up? Can the motor pivot inside its housing? Or you you just push it until its close enough to engage the platter?
Hello Atmasphere, There is a picture of how that works about halfway through the Salvation manual and is usually for sale on his Ebay website but not at this time.
Lewm, I completely take your point. I've spent the last couple of years listening to a handful of excellently engineered tts with various drive technologies, and within each I've heard common audible traits. All the belt drives I listened to (my Orbe/SME/TW Acustic/Clearaudio) had tonality in spades and good soundstaging, but afflicted by time domain bass smear leading to an obscuring of detail, blunting of timing, and homogenising of sound. The DDs I listened to (Brinkmann Bardo/Inspire Monarch modded Technics SL1210/modded Technics SP10 Mk2) had dynamics and propulsion, but a whitening of sound and lack of true relaxation. The idlers I listened to (modded Garrard 301/401/Lenco L75) had the tonality of the belt drives, and the dynamics of DDs without the time smear colouration. However there was some extra bass warmth which veered away from true neutrality.
Vic's direct rim drive belongs more in the idler camp, but he has admirably managed to eradicate the one idler weakness to provide a tt with positives from all technologies.
One caveat is that I cannot divorce the effects of his unique arm since it comes as a package, and I do believe this really boosts the neutrality of the overall sound.
Atmasphere, Vic is particularly proud of his motor since vibrations introduced into the platter-stylus interface was always the bane of idlers of old.
To engage the rim wheel, one just turns the lever on the motor pod and a delrin wheel spinning at 300rpm contacts a delrin stripe bonded into the heavy outsized aluminium platter, bringing it up to correct speed in seconds. Turning the lever again disengages the rim wheel. In effect the pod tilts to engage/disengage contact.
I'll be darned if I can feel any vibrations in the pod as the rim is spinning. Vic has used clever engineering in the pod base and engagement lever to drain vibrations away from the platter, and I feel he has succeeded. There certainly appear to be no negative colourations or obscuring of details that would suggest vibrations reaching the stylus.
To illustrate this, I've just finished listening to a couple of Rush tracks that I thought I knew backwards: on "Stick it out", Geddy Lee's vocals are clearly double tracked and you can hear each layer clearly; on "Cut to the chase", vocal phrasings are subtly but unmistakenly heard at the back of the mix. On my old belt drive Orbe, none of this was evident.
Spiritofmusic, yes, I looked through his online manual. Essentially, the motor leans against the rim so the idler pressure is maintained. The photos on YT show a rubber tire on the motor and the manual shows a delrin part.
What strikes me about this is that a similar technique could be used with an idler drive for controlling motor vibration noise.
I too am lucky enough to have a Salvation for the money I think it is amazing value
Like Marc I tried Raven AC and I also tried a Brinkmann LaGrange and used to have a VPI Reference Supersoutmaster and would say the Salvation has a lot more attack and detail than any of these Turntables
For me the sound is combines the best of DD, so great speed stabilty. it also has the torque of a really good idlier drive so very solid bass and dynamics that are very addicitive
Are there better TT out their... probarly but you have to spend crazy money to get anywhere close
Transfi has put a lot of time and thought into the design, and every little tweak that has been made has a purpose
Contact with Johnjc pushed me further in the direction of buying the Salvation/Terminator, a decision I consider the best I've made in audio. The only thing is that it's revealed a possible need to examine further need to upgrade cart/phono since these might be lagging behind the near state of the art performance of the tt/arm.
Re the Resomat. When I first saw the photo, I realized that the idea is not new; Transcriptors used it a few decades ago. But the Transcriptors platter that I could remember (because I owned one), with the raised pucks to support the LP off the platter surface, was quite different in appearance and execution from the Resomat. However, someone on Vinyl Asylum posted a photo a few days ago of a "low end" Transcriptors tt from days of yore, which I had never seen before. Its platter (the whole platter) IS a Resomat, a dead-ringer. Nothing new under the sun.
Search photos posted by "Waxxy".
There seems to be a lot of skepticism re use of the Resomat, and with good foundation; it seems all tts utilise some form of clamping/peripheral ring/vacuum hold down to force the lp flush with the platter surface.
Vic's use of the Resomat flies against conventional wisdom, and all I can say is that in conjunction with the rest of the system it really seems to work. Indeed using a clamp without the mat only leads to clouding of sound quality. But experience in other systems may have the opposite result.
Try both and decide.
The Reso mat works well with a lot fo different TT
Yes it based on similar principles to the Transcription principles but nought wrong with that if it improves sound
I know the matt has been tested against a lot of different matts and seems the results have been pretty much in favour of the Reso matt; for what it costs to buy I think it os a no brainer
One amazing aspect of the Salvation/Terminator combination, as a result of it's superior transparency and neutrality, is it's ability to resolve the differences in recording quality between lps from the Golden Age of audio (50's to early 70's) and those from this date to the present day.
All the natural tonal warmth, ambience and presence of albums like Yes 'Close To The Edge', Miles 'In A Silent Way' etc are presented in full glory, whereas the limitations of recent lps eg Muse 'Black Holes And Revelations', Rush 'Clockwork Angels' is revealed for the brickwalled abominations that they are.
But even with these, the Salvation/Terminator presents limitations in the most pleasant way possible, making this a 'warts and all' transducer but not at the expense of ever being unlistenable - neutrality and sweetness in equal measure. Unbeatable!
Spirit, With all due respect, ANY decent turntable should readily reveal important differences in recording qualities among the wide variety of LPs you mention. If not, you've got a problem, but I would first blame it on tonearm/cartridge/phono stage/speakers.
As for Resomat, I've got no problem with the idea. I am one who has found consistently that I do not like the effect of heavy record weights or even peripheral ring clamps. (I have one of the latter, but I use it UNDER the lip of the LP so as to increase platter inertial mass without holding down the LP.) IME, record weights always tend to deaden the sound in ways that do not resemble real life. However, I agree that the trend is toward such devices and away from lifting the LP off the mat, a la Transcriptors and Resomat. I tend to like Boston Audio Mat1 or 2, or a good metal mat, both types used with no added rings or weights. This is on my DD or idler drive turntables. YMMV with belt-drives.