I understand and can only tell you what I hear. When I replaced the PLC power line conditioner with the upgraded SDS model on my VPI TNT turntable (older model) the improvement was substantial and unmistakable. More clarity and openness. Blacker silence. All the techie buzzwords. Then when I tried substituting an Omega Mikro POWER CORD for the one that came with the SDS, I was stunned at the additional improvements in the same areas. Why should this be? Beats me. But unless and until the imrpvements are confirmed by actual measurements of some sort, I'll continue in my happy ignorance.
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The motor is not separated from the platter. It is connected to the platter by the belt. Vibrations, and motor variations can be transmitted via the belt to the platter. Anything that will allow the motor to operate smoother, and with less vibration, will make the TT sound better. This includes any effective power conditioning, DC systems, etc.
The Walker motor controller is not just nice to have, it's a necessity. Having run it on three turntables now I am convinced that analog without it is not doing what it is supposed to.
I bought my first Walker controller for a Basis Debut Gold Mk IV, so I could change from 33 to 45 without having to move the belt from one pulley to the other. Imagine my surprise when I got a HUGE upgrade in performance.
Last week I had to do without my Walker controller and was forced to plug directly into a dedicated (star ground) hospital grade outlet. My performance dropped so drastically that everyone in my audio group mentioned the fact during our Tuesday night session.
To make this even more unbelievable, the Walker controller is effected by the feet under it, the brand and design of the power cord going in and out of it, the type, size and amount of weight on top of it and whether it is plugged directly into the wall or through a power clean up device.
Oddly enough, the Walker (so far) has been performance limited by every surge protector and power conditioner I've tried. I have the new Exact Power conditioner on it's way here to determine if that product effects the system in a positive or negative way.
As dopogue stated, it is frustrating that this is so evident in listening tests, yet there appears to be no logical reason. Especially true for my Walker turntable that (should) be so far removed, due to design.
The controller powers the motor, which spins a brass pulley, that turns a silk belt which rotates a 70 pound lead platter. Does not seem possible for the power cord to be heard through all this "linkage." Oddly enough, the sound of the power cord on this controller is almost exactly the same as when the cord is attached to my Soundlab speaker or my mono block amps. In other words, the bright power cords sound brighter in each case and darker sounding cords sound darker in each case.
Gotta agree with Albert, I got the Walker for my Basis for the same reason (even worse with the Ovation, you had to change the pulley to change speeds) and have been amazed at the improvement. The speed stability is a big difference, of course, but my understanding is also that the TT motor can send a lot of noise back into your power lines which can affect your other equipment's performance; the Walker, as well as the Bylux filter I previously used, puts a stop to that. Otherwise, I'm at a loss as to why it works as well as it does, but I've taken it out of the system only once to see what would happen and put it right back in again. We tend to overstate the effect of these things, so I'll just say that while an objectivist might not be able to point out anything different, there was an ease to the presentation and flow to the music that seemed just a little lacking without the Walker. Haven't played with power cords on it yet, but I'm about to after Albert's post.
So, Albert and Rcprince, and also thanks to everyone who has commented. Good stuff. Are you saying that you plug the Walker straight away into the wall using a preferred PC? What PC do you find works best in your case? What feet? Then would the turntable motor plug into the Walker? Would one not then be limited by the motor's PC,too? Seems there may be no end - UNLESS a person went to battery power.(?)Since the Walker costs about as much as my table, it may be awhile before I can make that plunge, but I do have interest.
Mot, the power cables I'm using with the Walker controller is Omega Micro blue from the wall to the controller and Omega Micro red from the controller to the motor.
I am a huge fan of Purist Audio and use their interconnect, power and speaker cables everywhere in my system except for this application. Evidently Loyd "tuned" the controller, his turntable and the Omega power cable to work together.
As for the feet, the Walker comes with Valid Points and they work best there. I have not been successful with using the six or so additional sets of Valid Points in other places in my system, but with the controller it is a winner.
Khaki8, I have owned three Walker motor controllers, I currently own the Ultimate with black gate caps and am considering the new hand wired version that Loyd decided to make available.
The difference between the standard and ultimate controller is certainly audible and if you have a maxed out system it is worth doing. Don't put off buying a controller because the ultimate is too expensive. Like most things in audio, the biggest bang for the buck is making that first step. This is true for this controller as well.
Mot, yes the Walker is designed with a built in IEC male connector, allowing all aftermarket power cords to plug right in. Makes testing a breeze and allows lots of choices.
I have to agree with Albert's comments. I've heard his system with and w/o the controller. With out it, it's really no fun. Kills the imaging, the life, just makes it average.
On Albert's suggestion, I put a basic Electraglide cord on my SME controller. (only one I had laying around). Wow, my only beef on my setup was it could be a little cold sometimes, the Electraglide added a wetness, warmth to the sound that was transformational. I guess I'll try it straight to the wall outlet instead of going thru my hydra, see if it helps or hurts. Also, I'm going to try some other cords...
Just got back from some extended golf and saw the questions. Khaki and Mot, as to your questions I respectfully defer to Albert--I have an older model, with Valid Points attached to it and a custom "bypass" feature which my seller had put in for him (to use it without the speed control, I think). I will be trying some better power cords with both the Walker and the Basis motor, but have so far gone stock without the upgrades. Albert, does Lloyd upgrade older units?
My recent experience confirms that this question is fundamental, even on the much less exalted level of my tweaked Technics SL-1200 DD, with its internal servo speed control system. I just added the new KAB PS-1200 dedicated outboard power supply, which does not replace the control circuitry inside the TT but merely its power supply (and that of the motor), thereby allowing the critical circuitry to operate less affected by the vagaries of the power line and PS modulation.
My impressions of its effect on this TT's sound can be characterized just as Albert does for his, though I haven't played with PC's or footers yet (and don't expect much at this level, but you never know - when I first ordered the mod, I was pretty doubtful all the way around). Of course, there is the confounding factor that the PS-1200 disables an onboard transformer and associated power supply circuits in the SL-1200, which eliminates a direct source of vibrational and EM contamination, something that doesn't apply to high end belt-drivers.
Still, this experience leads me to give much credence to claims about potential benefits for other devices of this general type, even with the best TT's. I suspect that the lion's share of improvements wrought by this comparitively simple device are mostly attributable to its beefier transformer, 10X increased filter capacitance, and superior regulation presenting much more stiff and stable source of DC to the onboard control circuitry.
There is probably no more important variable in TT performance than imperturbable speed control on the micro level, and given the industrial sophistication of Panasonic's sensing and correctional technology developed for their professional SP 'tables and incorporated here, I have to think the speed stability I'm now enjoying is better than most realistically-priced belt-drivers out there.
Zaikesman, I'm glad you are getting a good boost in performance from that new power supply. It must be good, because you've mentioned it on about 3 threads now. I'm sure that it is helping out alot.
As you well know, a DC motor, like the 1200 has, is regulated by the voltage applied, and is adjusted in very small increments. If there was any ripple left in the power after is was converted to DC, then it is going to cause small variations in speed on a DC motor, because that ripple is a voltage variation. Many rectification/regulation circuits still pass a small amount of ripple, and call it DC. That is not conducive to good speed accuracy on a DC motor. You want a perfectly flat DC voltage, and apparently you are getting something like that from your new power supply.
Also reduction of vibration and hum fields from the disabling of the internal transformer are an added bonus, like you said earlier.
I'll be very interested in your experiment with the Exact Power for your Walker. Please let us know what you hear.
I have the EP15A already and am about to set up a Teres with its DC motor, without the battery option (yet). Since the EP claims to control voltage +/- 1V, I'm hoping for pretty clean results from the motor. At some point I may plug the Teres directly into the wall to compare, but a new TT, arm, cartridge and stepups all in one month is way too many variables already.
I'm running the PS of my Kuzma Stabi via the PS Audio PP300 on the pure sine wave and experienced a huge jump in resolution and stability. Unfortunately, I cannot isolate the effect of the P300 on the turntable alone, as I had to run the phono/preamp via the P300 as well.
Adding the Mystic Mat took the LP playback to another level.