The real problem as I see it is that pressings often have off-center holes and this is the source of uneven pitch. Modern tables excel at constant platter rotation.
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I had the exact problem you describe with a Merrill Heirloom table. I could hear the pitch changing irregularly, often as the system warmed up and it drove me mad. I now have an SME 20/2 and never hear this effect. I would imagine any of the more expensive turntables would minimize speed fluctuations.
this is not so simple.
some (older) direct drives were constantly monitoring and adjusting the platter speed thus creating a pitch instability all the time. these models came even from companies like micro seiki. not to mention that some of the excellent measurements of the DD's have to do with some trickery in the measurement method.
there are issues with the string tension in the belt driven TT's as well. the speed is maintained constant thanks to the usually high platter weight. Quality motors make the difference here too.
Hysteresis motors are very stable (empire troubador was among the steadiest tables ever made) but no longer in production. pity
Idlers faced issued in this sector too, as the commonly used eddy current brake was not that precise and heavily influenced by several factors.
so the answer is: go for a good table, without excluding technologies. if you would like to provide a price range suggestions could be more precise
Thank you for all of your replies! This new table will be intended for a secondary system and therefore I'm not looking to break the bank, so to speak. However if I cannot find a relatively inexpensive table that can keep a steady speed, I'd rather not buy one at all, or wait until I have more saved up and do it right. So for right at the moment I'm hoping for around the $3K or less mark. If it can't be done, I will wait and continue saving and do something later in the year...maybe a nice Xmas gift to myself and get me something nicer. I'd be willing to hear all of your suggestions therefore.
I've been giving some thought to the Well Tempered Amadaeus table which lists at $2850 including the arm. It seems, according to reviews at least, to punch above it's weight class in many areas....but not sure of it's speed stability. I have not been able to audition one myself as of yet.
Stevecham, I am aware of the off centered holes and yes, what a pita that can be. Thankfully most of my albums are fine in that regard, but there are always those few that you'd like to listen to that are plagued with that issue.
Syntax, I see in your system list, you have both the Klyne and Lamm phono stages. How do they compare to one another?
No_regrets, Don't overlook locking into to pure 33.3. If you listen to classical music, and music with acoustic instruments played with complementing harmonies, any slight deviation from 33.3 will corrupt the listening experience.
I doubt that a TT exists that will not have some amount of speed fluctuation due to varying degrees of drag. However, there are TTs that minimize the speed change such that they reproduce music that is pleasant to hear.
I found great satisfaction with a Luxman DD that was designed by Micro Seiki. Lewm, Audiogon member, has extolled the virtues of the Kenwood L07D amongst other vintage DD turntables. From his threads, he completely understands the merits of speed accuracy and constant pitch. I recommend you review his threads.
Perform a little research on vintage DD tables (JVC, Sony, Kenwood, Luxman, Technics). They may not have the audiophile cache. However, in your price range, they offer unexpected value, especially, when compared to new DD.
Note: I have tried belt, thread, idler, rim-drive. My wife and I are very sensitive to change in pitch and true pitch.
In a perfect world, yes I'd love to be able to lock in on the 33.33333 but what I meant to say is that if the speed accuracy is to be off, I'd much rather it be that the speed is off by 1/100 of a percent and remain steady at that speed than to be 33.33 but fluctuate +/- of that 33.33 as that is extremely noticeable and irritating to me. Thank you for sharing your suggestions with me on the various direct drives.
Rlawry, Thank you for your mention of the SME 20/2. That is a very highly regarded table and I'm sure you are loving it immensely. Unfortunately, they are more than what I'd like to spend at this moment, however if I cannot find what I'm looking for in the $3K range....I have no problem waiting until I can afford something nicer such as this.
Drpank, it seems that most of the various technologies tried to address the problem from different angles, yet still struggle with the aspect of speed stability. Do you have any suggestions you would like to share?
No regrets, You have brought up the most commonly discussed issue on the Analog site. There are two or three active threads devoted directly or indirectly to this subject. Look at the current top ten threads, and you will find in several cases lively and acrimonious discussion of your topic.
DrPank, I can only agree fully with one point you made: drive technology is not the determinant of speed stability. It can be done with BD, DD, and Idlers. But not all turntables do it, nevertheless.
I build TT's and own (or owned) just about every possible technology.
A decent TT will measure wow/flutter of less than 0.08%, the smaller the better. 0.06 weighted is very good and below that excellent.
I am afraid that truly excellent tables do not exist at this price (thats for new including tonearm).
I would look out for 2nd hand and if it is ok with you i would check those vintage denon DD's, cause they tend to cost less than other famous DD's as the technics sp10 mk2-3.
some excellent tables (early 80's japanese products) can be found at this price range, check the vintage knob site for micro's, kyocera, kenwoods top model.
2nd hand tables (not vintage ones) might be found at y price range complete with tonearm. SME and kuzma are 2 of my favs
I agree w/ all that Drpank said above, except that I would advise the OP to consider a couple of things. It is equally important to (1) drive (accelerate) a platter to the right speed, then to (2) maintain it at that speed, and finally to (3) minimize or eliminate friction and other force that will slow or alter the platter speed.
Most turntable designs do a pretty good job at this, some better and some worse. Some are subject to mechanical interference and some to electronic (ex. inexpensive DD decks).
In my experience and not surprisingly, the most stable systems have been those which utilize high mass platters, often coupled to low torque motors. I have always been impressed by the Nottingham turntables for this reason, for example. Also the Acoustic Solid and some other German designs that utilize a similar design concept.
In another example, I have found that a simply replacing the ancient analog neon strobe unit in a TD-124 w/ an LED/quartz unit makes a huge improvement to the PRAT of this deck.
I strongly disagree about Clearaudio, the DC motor and servo system is one of the worst wow + flutter I've measured. Servo circuits in general are very difficult, you have to pick an error level and time constant. With audio a fast constant gives flutter, slower gives wow, and slower gives too much long term drift. It is the way it is, and higher torque gives no solution. In the Clearaudio case this is played out poorly, (or we could say the weakness of a system like this is demonstrated well) with high speed instability.
Im afraid Omsed is right. Optical speed control is a nice marketing theme but fails to give truly constant speed. It was an error of micro seiki too, continuous speed corrections created exactly the opposite effect of keeping the speed constant. and it is very audible..
as for the high torque, we could discuss the benefits for the low freq reproduction but it surely has nothing to do with pitch stability. unless it is coupled to high friction bearings, and this is not the case. (which would eventually create rumble issues but that's another story)
If speed stability is you primary concern, the late 70s DD japanese systems really had that down pat. I bought a Sony PS-x65 for my wife, due to the auto features. I has a composite plinth and a magnetic strip under the platter to measure speed which is then locked with a quartz frequency generator. Based on the strobe, it never fluctuates from dead on, at least for the pretty long time I watched it to see if it did. Even the best belt drives I have watched have some fluctuation, not a lot, and not audible to me, but not rock steady like the Sony. I suspect the other DD of the same vintage are similar. Now, get one of the high end ones for about $500, put on an SME 309 and a Lyra Delos, and you should have an excellent system.
In the above, I was referencing a post responding to Doug that was not posted.
I cited the novel design of the 47 Labs tt as a cure for belt creep, among many other things I wrote in said post. Another treatment I mentioned was use of a capstan to keep the belt close to both the platter and the motor pulley over most of their circumferences.
You have repeated this over and over again. It seems you have a real grudge against my company.
1 - TTW Audio pulls of 100% feedback on every on line site out there.
2 - We are an A+ member of the better business bureau which means we have 100% positive products and customer service
3 - There are review on Audiogon that say we have perfect speed control period, perfect products perfect feedback
4 - We have 100 of customer reviews
5 - The GEM table has more than 250 in operation and going strong.
I suggest you lack any credibility whatsoever due to your absolute lack of any feedback.
We offer 100% 60 day performance guarantee, unparalleled in the turntable industry except for VPI,they do the same on some tables.
I would not use the time line device we use a much stricter method testing.
I do not expect someone like SOS to understand any of the correct procedures to test table speed over time.
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