On a $2500 budget, I'd get a Teres 245 with a Rega RB250 and a Denon DL103.
When you want to upgrade the arm, you can get the OL or Expressimo mods, and get much improved performance without having to sell the arm.
When you want to upgrade the cartridge, you could move to a DL103R, or a Shelter 501.
You won't have to upgrade the TT. It's already as good as just about anything out there.
I think this is a sensible package, that allows room for upgrading without losing money.
The performance will stun you, and if you could afford an extra $100, then get the DL103R to start with. It is well worth the extra, and you won't believe how good it sounds for the money.
Thanks Tom. If I'm not mistaken, the Teres is not suspended, correct. Is this a good match considering my room is not on a concrete slab? Or, is this not something that I need to factor in?
Mike, it's very hard to say whether it will be a factor or not. I have a traditional suspended wood floor on joists, over a crawl space. I have my Teres near the outer wall, and I have no problems with any "dancing" of the TT during play, even when I walk over to it. I don't have to tip-toe around. My large Rottweiler even rough-houses around on the floor right in front of the TT while it's playing, and there is no effect on the TT. On the other hand, I used to have a Linn LP12 that is a suspended TT, and that used to skip any time I walked across the room. And it was properly set up, because I am a Linn setup technician.
So it is very hard to predict what type of behavior will occur on a wood floor. All I can say is that I got better results on my wood floor with a non-suspended TT. I don't know what will happen in your case.
I will say that the Teres will handily outperform anything else you can get near that price range. If the wood floor is a problem, you can address the floor problems by bracing the floor joists underneath. If it is on the 2nd story, then I'm not sure how to handle it. I can only say that getting a suspended TT is no safe bet for that problem either. I found that out with my Linn.
I would be the last person to argue with Tom, but I really like the Sota TTs and you should be able to get a better model at the price range you are looking in. You can buy factory refurbished tables right from them too. It's like getting the best of both worlds. A table fresh from the factory but without the New price tag.
Check www.sotaturntables.com if you are interested.
That's good to know Tom. My room is over a crawl space also and I don't have any problems with my HW19 right now. Is there any truth to the Linns and the Nottinghams being warmer, and that I should consider that with my Innersound's?
Are there any Michell owners out there with stats willing to comment?
The "warmth" of the British tables, especially Linn, comes from a midbass coloration inherent to the table. It sounds warm, but actually lacks some of the lowest bass, and is not as tight in the bottom end as some other tables. The British tables do excel at PRaT, and sound very musical, so the colorations do not bother some folks, because they are getting a good musical presentation. I enjoyed my Linn for many years, and the colorations didn't bother me at all. But now that I have the Teres, I am getting all the PRaT of my Linn, and killer, tight, deep bottom end, and about twice as much detail, without the colorations. There is simply no contest between the two.
I think that the Teres 245 will give significantly better bottom end to your system, and it is not a "dry" sounding TT at all. It has tremendous impact and dynamics. I'm using Lowther single-drivers, which are notorious for weak bottom end, and my bass response is very good for as deep as the speaker will go(about 40Hz). I am not wanting for warmth in the bottom. The Teres will really deliver the bass. Very tonally accurate too. Naturally it helps to have a good arm and cartridge with it, also.
I have the Origin Live Silver tonearm, and a Shelter 501 on my 245, and this thing performs exceptionally well. Way beyond the norm for the price range it cost. My whole rig was only $3750. In my estimation, you'd have to pay triple for any new TT that would have a chance to beat it.
TWL -- what is your Teres sitting on? How does this affect sound quality of a turntable? Is it a significant issue, or relatively minor? I have a very heavy wooden cabinet that is VERY rigid (solid cherry, probably over 100lbs).
The reason I ask, is that I've been contemplating upgrading my Technics to a different TT, after I realized I'm getting a large tax return. Since I live in a small apartment, there really isn't any choice of where I place the TT. I could set it up on the bottom of the cabinet, or on a shelf...
I got a 2 week old Rega P9 turntable with RB1000 tonearm for $2600. For $2600 the Rega P9 is very very very hard to beat. I am not familiar with the Teres, and I am a relative newbie to vinyl, but the new Rega P9 offers the following:
1 - A platter that is ceramic and fused to the hardness of saphire. Yes saphire... the only natural substance harder is diamond.
2 - A power supply that some folks could mistake for an amplifier. It seems to have amazing control over the speed of the table.
3 - The RB1000 tonearm ($1595 if bought seperately), this tonearm is, well... better than any other Rega toneams by a pretty good margin. The tonearm is made to go with the table.
4 - A turntable that is not tweaky and will sound good with minimal adjustment through time.
5 - A turntable (when mounted with an even average cartridge) that will kick the crud out of any digital source on the market... heh heh.
If you want to see a pic of it:http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?vopin&1043544749&openusid&zzTok20000&4&5#Tok20000
Actually, I own the InnerSound Eros Mk-II and I have also owned a few good turntables, such as the Townshend Mk-III Rock, Well Tempered Classic, VPI Mk-III, Mk IV and Aries/JMW combo.
I currently own two Michell turntables, a Gyro SE with an OL Rega RB250 & Benz Ruby 2, and an Orbe SE with a Wilson Benesch Act 0.5 arm & Shelter 501 Mk-II cartridge.
My room is in a finished basement with a concrete floor, so suspension is not really an issue for me. On my Orbe SE, I have effectively defeated the spring suspension by using bdr cones and removing one acrylic spring support spider. That whole setup sits on a bdr Source Shelf and the motor is further isolated by sitting on bdr pucks. This works really well and I'm getting super results with the Eros.
Truth be told, the Gyro SE, for a lot less money is not all that far off the mark. If you get a Gyro, I recommend damping the spring covers, and setting the suspension so it rides low on the springs. I also found that the bass weight improved somewhat from using a Basis record clamp, which weighs more than the Michell clamp and probably interacts favorably with the suspension. I believe the Gyro is an excellent buy for the money and it's a wonderful piece of eye candy as well. Down the road it is upgradable to Orbe status if you want to go that route.
My guess is that if you totally defeated the spring suspension the Gyro would compare favorably to the Teres models. Although I haven't compared my Gyro or Orbe directly to a Teres, I have compared their performance to that of my Teac open reel tape recorder and the Orbe is one of the only turntables I've heard that is on par with R2R tape. I doubt that the Teres or any other TT is going to do much better, because to me, that's the acid test. The stock Gyro, on the other hand, was close, but pitch stability was a hair off, and dynamic transients were mildly diluted as was the tautness of the bass. I attribute much of the difference to the suspension issue.
Summing up, the Michells offer suspension with great performance and looks. I know first hand that they are wonderful in concert with the Eros. On the other hand, if you go for an unsuspended TT, the Teres is a top contender and costs less than an Orbe.
I would only add that there are a LOT of "suspended" turntable designs out on the market now. This does not make them all "equal" in terms of design or immunity to external vibration.
To quote John Atkinson of Stereophile in regards to the Sota design, "it is the turntable that Sir Isaac Newton would have designed". In a direct comparison under identical test conditions, the Sota offered 50 dB's more isolation than a Linn. This is not a "guesstimate" or some made up number, but actual results of bench testing in a review. In fact, in that same review, they reviewer stated that the Sota surpassed any table that they had ever measured at that time by at least 40 - 50 dB's in terms of isolation. Believe me, that is no small feat !!!
In electrical terms, that means that the Sota can withstand over 10,000 times ( equivalent to 40 db's ) the amount of external vibration as a "good" table and still be just as quiet. The reviewer in question considered it to be the "ultimate" in terms of resistance to excitation by external means. With the type of isolation that they were able to measure in direct comparison to other tables, they made that statement for good reason.
The bottom line is this: There is no other table made anywhere near the price that offers the isolation that a properly functioning Sota Sapphire or Sota Star Sapphire offers. NONE. This fact is not debatable. Whether or not you care for the table itself on a cosmetic or functional level is another matter... Sean
Dennis, the sound of a TT is affected by the type of stand it is placed on. A mass-loaded TT like the Teres or Verdier would sound good on a very heavy rigid stand like yours. A Linn would sound bad on a heavy stand like that. Linn likes a lightweight stand.
So Frank, tell me. How is the Shelter doing on the WB arm? I had another guy ask me about that, and I was wondering what your impressions are.
Tom -- Thanks as always for your comprehensive replies. You are a wealth of knowledge, and I know that you are highly respected on this board for sharing that knowledge.
One more question; How do you keep dust of the Teres?
Nrchy -- thanks for the Sota tip. They look like a very good value and I will certainly look into them.
Frank -- are you happy with the support offered on the Michell's? What is the difference (besides price) between the Gyro and the Orbe? How is the Gyro upgraded? Is it mainly a platter and bearing upgrade? What preamp(s) are you using? What is the output on the 501 -- .25? I'll also second Tom's question on the synergy between the WB and 501.
Sean -- Was this a full review in Stereophile you are referring to? If so, what issue was this in?
Thanks again to all who replied.
Tom -- I forgot to ask you what the differences are between the 103 and 103R? Where can you purchase these? I've seen them listed on A'gon, but they sell very quickly, and I've read that it is not the best decision to purchase a used cartridge anyway. Unless, of course, you know the seller.
Mike, the Teres has no dust cover. If you want to keep dust off, you have to cover it with a light cloth of silk or nylon, or something like that.
The DL103R is not imported into the US. I got mine from a member named "Martin". You can email him through the Audiogon system. He is a dealer in Singapore. He has very good prices on the DL103R($230). He is a reliable person to deal with. Mine arrived 10 days after order, and he takes Paypal too. He puts ads on the Audiogon classified for DL103R from time to time.
The DL103 and DL103R are from the same family of cartridges. They have very low compliance(5cu) and are not suitable for unipivot arms at all. The R model has 99.9999% copper coils and a slightly lower output(.27mv). It tracks better, and sounds way better. For sure worth the extra $80. I have had both on my system recently and compared them back-to-back. The 103R is a full step better than the regular 103. Either one of them is extremely good sounding for the money, and I don't think you'll find any other cartridge near the money that can touch it. But the 103R is better and worth it if you can get it. If you want to read an in-depth review, then click on my "Reviews" next to my name, and there is a complete review and comparison of the two 103 models there.
The comments about a suspended TT (eg the Linn) bouncing all over the place when you walk on a suspended floor are right on. I sold mine for that reason; I couldn't use it in my living room. However, if you place the TT on a wall-mounted shelf you should have no problems. I couldn't use this type of shelf in my living room, but perhaps you have the option. With such a shelf, you could buy any TT you choose.
I really enjoy threads about turntables, interesting to see other people's points of views on the most criticial piece of gear you'll likely ever own. For whatever reason I seem to be one of the few that love Oracle turntables, and yes they are a suspended design. When I was at CES I was chatting with Jacques Riendeau (Oracle) about the Delphi Mark V and he demonstrated how he could continue playing a record and literally bounce the platter up and down several inches without mistracking. Pretty cool. My Delphi Mark IV has a tendency to do that when people walk around in my listening room (sprung floor) and although it never made a difference in the sound kind of worried me all the same. While at CES I also bumped into Stephen (Quest for Sound) and he sold me these little footers that make a huge difference. They are about 2" x 2" and are made up ridged rubber on the top and bottom with cork sandwiched in between. I put them under the three feet of my Oracle and the bounce went away. Awesome tweek for $2.50 a copy.
In any event, if you want a state of the art turntable that also looks like fine art, consider an Oracle.
1musiclover: I combined several sources of info into that one post. John Atkinson made the statements that he did in a relatively recent article about the 100 most influential audio components.
The comments regarding the isolation and review were courtesy of either Audio or High Fidelity magazine. They did a head to head comparison with a Sota ( American ), Linn ( European ) and the top of the line Kyocera / CEC ( Asian ) table. To keep things simple, the Linn did pretty poorly compared to both the Sota and the Kyocera in terms of any type of measurable testing performed with them. The reviewers made specific comments as to how poor it was at isolation and how just anything set the stylus to skipping across the grooves. Sonically, that would be a matter of preference and have a lot to do with what arms, cartridges and type of support platform that you had them on.
Since the Sota is the least susceptable to external vibration, setting it up is a lot less finicky. On top of this, it makes the job of the stylus a lot easier so that it can do a more accurate job of reproducing music rather than being interferred with. Since it can now deal with the microscopic vibrations recorded in the groove rather than having to cope with the vibrations applied externally from either floor or air-borne vibrations, the sound is more detailed with a blacker background. Like anything else that is electro-mechanical in nature, it is susceptable to tweaks and does require maintenance though. As such, one need look at customer support as an integral part of buying any turntable.
Jeff: I like the Oracle and may have purchased one of these. The problem is the availability of parts availability, shipping to and from across the border, etc... The above mentioned statements regarding the Sota and the fact that they are located less than 20 minutes from my house made things very easy to decide what to go with.
The footers that you mention are also sold by Rcreations here on Agon. They work off of the constrained layer damping idea. I don't know if they are identical to what you mentioned, but i'm sure that they are similar in concept. Sean
To answer your question about how the Shelter 501 mates with the WB Act arm, I have to think that there is an apparent synergy going on there to get the kind of excellent performance that I've been witnessing. It seems very stable when playing a record and the frequency balance and dynamic shadings are outstanding. On the Eros system, the acoustic guitar seems particularly well-served and is rendered better than I've ever heard it in the vinyl format. Nothing sticks out as being exaggerated or out of place, and I have no complaints so far, which is unusual for me. So in my view, the combination of the WB 0.5 and the Shelter 501 II, is highly recommended.
Mike, the output on the Shelter 501 is 0.4mV, just marginally higher than my Benz Ruby (0.33mV).
I honestly can't tell you too much about Michell's customer service except to say that I did not enjoy my dealings with their US distributor and when I had an issue with the Orbe's motor, I sent it directly to England. Michell replaced it under warranty with no charge except for my shipping (to them) and about $15 in Customs' fees. Honestly, there's not much to go wrong with the Michells and replacement parts are readily available if needed.
To upgrade to the Orbe from the Gyro, the platter and bearing are changed as the basic step. To go to a "full Orbe" the motor and controller are also changed and there is a double acrylic spider assembly. I think that gets pricey because of the motor and power supply/controller unit.
If I were to upgrade my Gyro I think I might stop at the platter and bearing upgrade, then maybe fix the suspension with bdr cones. I think those two things would yield the most cost effective performance gains. But, you know, the Gyro platter is really decent and such a work of art (with the gold-plated brass weights) that it would almost be a shame to change it...
Frank, that's great. I'm glad to hear that. Now I can file that in my useful information, and be able to pass it on to others. It's nearly impossible to try everything yourself, so it is really great when I can get the opinion of someone else who knows what they are listening to, and can give a meaningful opinion.
I'll bet you are really enjoying it. I know that I love my 501. It's a real winner.
Mike. The Sota is also a very nice TT, as Sean and Nrchy point out. You would not go wrong with it either. I have my preference for the Teres however.
Thanks to all have responded. You have really been a big help.
Tom, regarding the Teres. Do you use an isolation device since you are over a crawl space? What type of rack are you using? Sonically, is the Sota similar to the Teres?
Mike, I use a mass-loaded TT stand, which has granite slabs over wood, and topped with MDF covered with formica on the surface. I don't believe in soft isolation on a TT. I think isolation is the worst thing that you can do to a TT. In my opinion, direct coupling is the only thing that allows true dynamics and bass response. I would never isolate my TT. If I have a problem with the floor, then I fix the floor, I don't wreck to sound of my TT, in order to try to band aid a floor problem. The system I use now is a makeshift stand that I threw together. But it does the job, and has no "mushy" parts between the TT and the floor.
Regarding the comparison of sonics between the Teres and Sota tables, I am hesitant to say, as I don't want to tweak anyone's nose, but in my opinion it is no contest, the Teres walks away from the Sota. Sota is a nice table, but the Teres is in a whole other league, sonically. The main competition for the Teres 245 all cost over $10k. There is one other TT that would compete with the Teres in a similar price range, and that is the Redpoint TT. You can see it at the Redpoint website. I considered it too ugly for my tastes. Also I think that their motor/contoller doesn't do as well. But sonically, it would compete, if you want to pay $850 more than the Teres 245 and get a butt ugly TT. The Redpoint is an offshoot of the Teres project, and uses the same main bearing. The guy doing Redpoint is one of the original Teres project participants, Thom Mackris. Personally, I think the Teres is just as good sounding or better, and looks 100% better, and costs $850 less. This is the only TT that could be considered competition for the Teres under $10k with arm. IMHO, of course.
Tom. I'm trying to understand why suspended tables, such as the Linn, would prefer a lightweight stand. It seems to me that all tables would benefit from a very rigid heavy stand, whether mass-loaded or suspended. Please explain. I'm considering the "entry level" Teres models but am concerned about the company's long term survival. Do you see them being around 20 years from now? You're obviously a wealth of knowledge through your passion for music. Mike.
Mike, it has to do with the frequency of the vibrations that come up the stand, and enter the suspension. I did not do the actual research on this, Linn Products did it. They recommended a light rigid stand for their TT as far back as the early 1980s.
Since the Teres is a mass-loaded design, more mass in the stand helps the TT even more, as it couples to the mass of the stand via the cones.
Nobody can predict the health of a high-end audio company 20 years down the road. That is impossible. Many companies that you now consider to be "big dogs" could easily be out of business that far out in the future. What I can say about the Teres TTs is, that all of the items in their TT will last a lifetime, except possibly the belts and motor. The motor is a Swiss made Maxon DC motor that can be obtained directly from Maxon, or even substituted. The belts you make yourself out of silk cord anyway. Nothing else will wear out as long as you are alive. I don't consider that to be an issue. I want the best sound for the least money, and the Teres is where it's at.
Has anybody changed the regular TT bearing to an inverted one that sits under the platter, the change being donne on the same turntable, and if so what was the result on the sound?