Turntable in 20 K$ price range - Design & Music

I'm looking for a nice turntable in 20 K$ price range.

Nice to see and to listen !

2 turntables are in my short list :
- Simon Yorke S10
- Spiral Groove SG1 or 2

Anyone can comment on those 2 beauties ?
Come on with this, a nice TT at 20G.There are no nice TT at this price, only great tables. You could still cut your budget in half and still buy a great table in the used market, and have 10g left over to buy the largest Lp collection to spin on the darn thing for years to come.
In the most recent analog corner, Michael Fremer reviewed the VPI scoutmaster with the rim drive option. He though it sounded great and it is about 8-9K. He said you have to get into the 25K and up category to really top it.
At this price point, the minimum requirement is at least air bearing or magnetic suspension TT. I don't think you need to consider anything ordinary...non-suspense type platter TT.

8-9K for a VXX, you must be joking :). Money spend and you still don't have a WORLD CLASS TT. Wow!!! I don't know 'riming' is this expensive :) .
I own and love the Simon Yorke S7. Simon believe the S10 is better. You might also consider the EAR turntable.
nobody had experiences with those 2 wonderfull TT ?
Bergmann sindre would be my first choice , a Danish classic destined.
Yes - Bergmann is very nice too - and in the same price range.
It seems that it's a bit noisy because of air airbearing, and hard to tune (audioexotic forum)
Really a few others you should consider:

EAR Discmaster
Grand Prix Monaco
SME 20/2 or 20/12 (one being a little lower, one higher in price)
TW Acustic Raven AC1 or AC3 (both being under 20k)

Anyway, you have a very nice problem to have !

I own a SME 20/2, but will get a chance to hear the Grand Prix Monaco with Tri Planar arm this weekend in my system. I'll try and post a few initial comments.
David - to return to your question...

I know the S Yorke S10 and it's excellent. It is easily superior to its smaller brethren which, IMO are very good indeed. Frankly it's one of the best TTs I've listened to.

I can't compare directly with the Spiral; I only listened to it once with its own arm, and it was next to a revamped Garrard (it looked a bit like it, too). It was the model were you insert the arm & twist to lock.
All I can say is, it sounded better than the Garrard with an SME arm.
The Brinkman's are beautifull tables that offer world class sound, but the VPI HRX is a stunner at half the price. There is no definitive audio perfection in this field so the question is do you want a work of engineering "art" or the last word in sound quality at a fair price...
Hi Davidri:

I currently own the Spiral Groove SG1 table. I compared it to a number of contenders, it was my favorite. It transformed my analog system.

The sound of the SG1 and SG2 is quite similar, as I auditioned them at a show. From my limited perspective, the SG1 table had a bit more "effortlessness" and "bass Impact". However, both are outstanding product.

I compared with tables from Basis, Continuum Criterion, SME 20 & 30.

Here is a link for a review of the SG2 in the latest issue of tone audio magazine (make sure you download issue to read review). It won analog product of the year.


Hope this was helpful
Just one word of caution regarding the Grand Prix Monaco.

Be aware that one has to accept that there are only a limited choice of tone arms that can be used.

I was very surprised to learn during my conversation (April 2009) with owner/designer Alvin Lloyd that arm boards are "only" available for tone arms he accepts on his TT : Tri-planar, Graham and Morch.

The pupose of my call was to see if my Da Vinci Grandezza could be fitted, we never got to talk about other arms I own because Alvin Lloyd will not consider making for any other arms outside the above listed ones until he "considers" that the combo will work to his standards.

So if you have your Ikeda, FR-66s, Schroder, Kuzma...linear tracking..then your going to have to reconsider if you were temped to try them on the GPM.

One could make an "adaptor" but very frankly that seems wrong in some way for a 20k$ TT!

I was contemplating a listening session of the GPM but given the above restriction will seek an alternative way.

Davidri, Given your criteria, and since you, like most here, appear to believe in a linear relationship between retail price and sound quality, why not just pick between your two choices based on appearance? They are both excellent, and no one is going to be able to tell you that one "sounds" better than the other, if for no other reason than the fact that the tonearm/cartridge synergy has more to do with ultimate sound quality, at this level. FWIW, a person in the industry whom I trust completely told me that the SG is one of his personal favorites.

I find your comments about the lack of arm boards

positive feedback review of the Monaco turntable had them fitting a Dynavector 507 arm

Yes indeed, so I guess that Alvin Lloyd forgot that one, thanks for pointing out.

If any other have experiences with other arms that ones quoted it would be instructive.

why spend $20k when you can get very resolving sound with the Galibier line of tables


I have a gavia with triplanar arm and zyx universe cartridge and it's stellar

I've compared it with some mega tables and it didn't come up wanting

thom mackris is one wonderful audio builder
Hi Tim,

I just bought a Grand Prix Monaco. Traded in my beloved SME 20/2 and IV.Vi. I think the Grand Prix is more a set and forget type of system. If you're into expiramenting with multiple arms it's just not the TT 4 u. Apparently Alvin thought about 2 arm boards but felt it was a compromise (he's another perfectionist type-what ever that means :)

I wish it 2 arm capability.

Also, this TT is barely 2 years into the marketplace. I think the bigger thing is Alvin just hasn't had time build a board for all arms.

I have heard great things about that DaVinci arm. I don't blame you for seeking a table it works with.

I am thrilled with my Grand Prix...and the Tri Planar arm.

I think all the tables listed above are great. It's just a matter of system tuning and feature preference !
I was very surprised to learn during my conversation (April 2009) with owner/designer Alvin Lloyd that arm boards are "only" available for tone arms he accepts on his TT : Tri-planar, Graham and Morch.
The Grand Prix Monaco whitepaper on their website says (in part):
Another key element of our listening tests was the tone arm evaluations. We evaluated a number of the more popular high end tone arms; Tri-Planar, DynaVector, Graham Phantom, Morch (both length tubes), SME 4.5i, and Wilson Benesch. In order to do a proper installation and then an evaluation of performance, we had to acquire one of each. After careful inspection and confirmation of the physical dimensions and mounting details for each tone arm, we designed and produced the required arm boards. We then set up and listened to each individual arm with at least two different cartridges (DynaVector XV-1s and Transfiguration Orpheus). What we learned was that the Monaco Turntable is fundamentally free of coloration and has proved to be an ideal platform for comparing and evaluating tone arms. We can design and produce arm boards for other tone arms as required by our clients.
It looks like--in the time since that white paper was written--they've decided that the Wheaton, Graham, and Morch arms are a better match.

This is especially interesting since the (very favorable) Positive Feedback review was of a Monaco with the Dynavector arm.
I did not read the whitepaper, seems instructive.

And they have changed approach from:

"We can design and produce arm boards for other tone arms as required by our clients"

Since :

"What we learned was that the Monaco Turntable is fundamentally free of coloration and has proved to be an ideal platform for comparing and evaluating tone arms"

That is what I was expecting, like any high end TT, and different arms have different merits, just enjoying the arm/cartridge combo on the TT is important for many.

I'm looking for a nice turntable in 20 K$ price range.

There is a nice one available, from Switzerland, DaVinci Audio designed it. It is called "Unison" (I think).
Have neither seen nor heard the Bergmann but on the review that's come across my eyes, and a post or two on here, it seems to be deadly quiet. Do you have experience to the contrary?
I like the SG TTs very much but they are out of my price range. I was pleasantly surprised that the Ayre DPS set-up for which I paid $13.5K was nearly as good to my ears as the nearly twice as expensive SG set-up I also auditioned. And I believe the Ayre DPS qualifies as a "beauty" in terms of both looks and sound. You can configure it with a "better" tonearm and cartridge than I have and easily hit or exceed the $20K price figure. Worth an audition IMHO!
I have lost interest in almost all typical so called high end belt-drive turntables that has platters bigger than my rice cooker. The bigger and heavier approach is bordering on the vulgar these days. Aesthetically the Simon Yorke table is eye candy for me and the VPI HRX is an eyesore to me. There are a few BD tables that, at least, look quite elegant and seem to be well engineered, such as the Brinkmann LaGrange, et al. I am a direct drive kinda guy so all my dream machines are from the golden age of DD tables, ie, late 70's to 80's. But it's nice to see a modern DD design like the Monaco and it's also great to know someone actually here heard one and decided to buy one over the SME, which puts a smile in my face. Now, I just need to hear one for myself!
I've heard the Spiral Groove SG1 on numerous occasion, mated with EMT 997 and various Tondose carts. Very very nice...
I say get a 12K table and an 8K Halcyonics active vibration platform to put below it.

I have my Raven One on a Halcyonics, and after hearing it I think more tables should include active vibration isolation.

TT weights has just come out with an amazing all out design that I am dying to hear.