I have not tried one but I have tried some of the competing tables mentioned in this thread about AC Raven tables, and of the ones I have owned mentioned there (a couple of the DD tables, and a couple of big Micros), all have been wonderful.
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I bought a Raven One tt last February and am mightily impressed! I twinned it with a new Graham Phantom II and Transfiguration Orpheus L mc cartridge at the same time and am very happy with no desire to 'upgrade the tt'. I am 53 and the Raven One replaced an Oxford Acoustics Crystal Reference tt/SMEV/Koetsu RS I had owned for 21 years (cartridge obviously changed during that time span!). My goal was to purchase a simple, non-suspended chassis tt with compact footprint, not exceeding 30kg in weight (top acrylic shelf of my Stillpoints ESS405 equipment rack is good for 34kg load). The Raven One appeared to tick all the boxes and was available in the UK for a reasonable £3K. I was impressed by all the internet chatter about the Raven One and the consistantly good published reviews. I felt confident in making my purchase without prior auditioning (not really possible anyway due to TW selling all they can produce for the UK market).
The sound is utterly natural with appropriate weight, great depth and scale to the image. I own a dCS Paganini SACD stack and the analogue front end is on a par, quality-wise.
Moving coil phono stage is built in to my Karan Reference MkII preamp with CJ SA350 power amp, Avalon Indra speakers and MIT Oracle MA-X cables.
The Raven One is simple to set up and forget. The quality of fit and finish is exceptional and the design will accomodate any make and weight of tonearm and is superbly versatile.
i own the raven 2 (and i turn 54 in a few weeks).
so i felt the same as "mid 40 guy" that life is too short and i was tired of screwing around with TTs.
in the last 10 years i have owned a music hall 5 and a 7.
then i abounded those in search of a better one so i got a thorns 135 i read it was the less fancy but same motor as the 124 from the uk off ebay that never ran at the right speed and i spend hours and days researching and messing with and with no one around to fix it for me i gave up , so i go back to ebay and after a bidding war i bought the lenco that cult is built around and hooked up a mono denon 102 and it sounded good until the angels sang or the piccolo played and you could hear it going from flat to sharp to flat .
i contacted the ebay guy i payed my nearly 600 bucks too and he suggest getting a power conditioner? he didn't care.
this sucked so i bought off of Craig s list a thorns 160 from 1980 and it was one of the top TT that year but it wasn't this year. it had a sweet sound but it was all plastic and when your shoe dropped the record skipped because it weighed about 2 pounds.
at this point i was thinking i should have stuck with the music hall 7 but it had been too dark and kind of dead sounding.
if i was a tinker i probably could have salvaged something here but i am not nor am i a systems or a number guy i am just a life long music lover and i know a good sound when i feel it.
so i spent some of my kids inheritance and bought the raven 2. its a raven one with a out side motor and 2 arms.
it is the best ten thousand i have ever spent.
the person that said money don't buy happiness has never heard my record player.
its as sure as the atomic clock.
or a baby in mothers arms.
i have a Decca jubilee at the end of a 12 inch ortofon.
the Decca its said is the closest cart to the tool that cut the record but it has no cantilever so it really needs that heavy and smooth ride (and a clean record)for it to mimic life was well as it does through my aspara hl horns.
i have not heard any other TT in this price range.
but this is what i know now , at their best a vintage TT can be great if you can tinker(or know one) but even at their best they are still vintage and they compare to the raven like a vintage Porsche or a cobra would to a new formula one or raven 2 in this case.
no purchase has ever made me happier.
I have my Raven 1 with Phantom II for almost a year now. Nice sounding new table, good price( before the price increase), build , look and smallish footprint with the option of using 2 arms which is a big plus. It's a breeze to setup and get going but i've found it sensitive to placement and imo the stillpoint feets are not that effective (sitting on a slab of bluestone) in my setup.
I've also acquired a Micro Seiki RX-5000 and slate plinted SP10 Mk2 (much cheaper i might add)recently.Now i prefer this 2 to the R1 despite using less arms on them.
So yes it may be good enough as the last table for some but not to all.
HiFitime.... Do you meajn your bones are'nt meant to groan, getting out of the chair? Mine have been for years.
Well I am 61, why is age relevant here? Lets "fess up" and admit all my turntable buys/mistakes
Thorens 160B for 20 years
Linn LP12 variously fiddled about with
Origin Live Oasis
Origin Live Resolution modern
TW Accustic Raven one, sinceMarch 08
The TW is way better than anything I have had before, well engineered, neutral, deep base. I am in the state that I can't quite imagine what much better would be and certainly I am not buying another deck. I am retiring soon, so I can't anyway.
Is it the last table you will covet or buy? I urge you to look at the TW Acuastic 3, thread running now, as a cautionary tale
I have Raven One not for long, just couple of months... Before making decision (as on as on Tri-Planar), I read many posts on many forums and bought them without listening, never had regrets. I nailed down my choice (in Europe we do not have all modern tts which you do in US) to Raven - there is no alternative (money/quality/etc). May just Platine Verdier, but that is a different story. Else - prices go up in times for similar performance...
Plus, Thomas (who makes them) provides EXCELLENT support, which I tend to believe is like lifetime support for the product. I think it is important for expensive product.
There was another chap who asked very similar question at the start of the year who's gone on to get the Raven 1 after the strong response.
It would be interesting to get his impression since his purchase.
I'm listening to my R1 tonight and i still enjoy it despite having other alternatives at hand.
I can share my experience with you. I upgraded from a VPI scoutmaster with the
9SIG arm with valhalla wire to the Raven One with Graham Phantom arm and
Dynavector XX2Mk2 Cart. I can assure you that it is a HUGE upgrade. Its' improvements cover BOTH musically meaningful ways and all the audiophile goodies.
As a former classical percussionist, I can tell you that a well recorded classical record sounds truly authentic with attack decay and tonality of the real thing.
I can't give you comparisons with the other tables mentioned, but at least for ME, my search for tables and arms is over....though maybe a cartridge upgrade in the future.
Hope this helps......Jim
I can't add much more positive to what has already been said about the Raven One. I've owned mine for about 1 & 1/2 years. I have a Graham Phantom II and Dynavector XX2 Mk2 (same exact set up as Jdolgin).
But you also asked about isolation and set-up. I never set up a table or arm before, but the Raven is simple and the Graham comes with foolproof instructions and cartridge alignment guide.
Regarding isolation. I found that slightly unscrewing the Stillpoint feet added a degree of tightness and impact to the bass. This was based on a recommendation from Jeff at Highwater Sound.
I also found that 1" slate is better than the Mapleshade platform I was using. The slate seems to result in a faster, more dynamic sound versus the maple which was a bit warmer but sluggish by comparison. I have the slate platform on the top rack of my Mapleshade Sampson rack with 1/2 isoblocks in between. Isoblocks are combination of cork and rubber from Mapleshade.
I often think of how I can upgrade my system but never even consider the Raven. The table and arm will be my last and like so many others here, I am in my early 50's.
My wife gave me a go signal for the TW Acustic Raven One TT.
But on one condition, i have to buy her the sofa set she wants... ($3500).. ouch...
Well, thanks for the head-up on this R1 table.
I'll be counting the days before my unit would arrive...
A call to Jeff would be in order in the next few days.
Just got to have that time deposit expire before i can pull the trigger.
thank you guys!! i hope this is it!!
Like like most older TT's, the Thorens TD 135 & 124 require correct AC power from your electric utility. If the local voltage is above 120VAC, it may not be possible to slow the motor to correct speed unless you buy a varistat. The old-fashioned varistats work well to compensate for too many/too few volts at the receptacle. They cost less than $100, used.