Ultimate Idler Drive

I own several idler drive turntables-Garrard 301,401,501. Presto T-16, Thorens TD124 MkII, Rek-O-Kut L34.I own several DD too-TEAC TN 400, Technics SP10MKII, Monaco Grand Prix. I have to say though I heard the Saskia Idler drive TT at Oswalds Mill Audio the other day. Well if you havn't heard it you must. It furthers the art of turntable design beyond your imagination. I don't know many details, but I do know if you want rock solid music flowing from your speakers, so Louis Armstrong is actually sat about 12 feet away from you in your living room, this TT with an LP like "Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington For The First Time"|is the only way to go!
Maybe Jonathan Weiss, or the Winn Tinnon can tell us more details.
Nice design and innovative use of idler wheel drive.

Link above is to wrong site, try this one:


I think you already own the ultimate idler drive, in the Thorens 124. If my Dual ever dies, that is the one I will be searching for.

so how much do one of those babys cost?
oops, sorry, there is an interesting thread on vinylengine with the designer .
so how much do one of those babys cost?

I read 36K.......
Before anyone runs out the door with $36,000 (thirty-six THOUSAND DOLLARS) to purchase an idler wheel turntable, please consider a LENCO L 75.

It is an idler wheel drive. Fantastic high end table which a mere mortal can afford. Almost seems sinful, spending between 2 and $3k for such thing!
As a matter of fact, one of the tables presented at the Oswald Mill event had it's idler wheel designed/taken directly from the Lenco L75.

There are several L75s in my system. Have a look.
May I inquire, was that an original Roulette pressing of the LP, the Mobile Fidelity, or the recent Classic reissue?
As the person responsible for both OMA (Oswaldsmill Audio) and the events there (the Oswaldsmill Tube and Speaker Tastings, which are chronicled on our website) I should point out that we will soon be launching a slate plinth system for the Lenco tables, which will no doubt elevate them to a whole new level of performance. Nonetheless, comparing a Lenco or a Thorens TD124 to the Saskia idler wheel deck, with its state of the art true three phase regenerative AC motor controller, 200 pound solid slate chassis, and patent pending idler mechanism, is like comparing a vintage Porsche or Ferrari to something Schumacher might drive in a contemporary Forumla One race.

Jonathan Weiss
Unfortunate metaphor, JW. Having once owned a beautifully restored Porsche 550RS Spyder, I would choose it over Schumacher's race car any time, but I guess I know what you mean, and I do agree with your basic sentiment.

Robyatt, I would be interested to know how you rank your various idlers and dd tables against each other.
Lew & Jonathan,

Not sure how either car would do in the twisties of an LP, and a boring drive at speed limit of 33 1/3. But stylish to the extreme.
first the Louis Armstrong was the re- issue! I know my Garrard 501 out performs all my other tables. However direct comparison
With the Grand Pric Monaco revealed a slight coloration in the vocals. Having heard what slate can do on Saskia I have ordered a custom slate plinth from OMA for the 501. Then we can do direct comparison with my SP10 MkII in an OMA slate double plinth, the Saskia and the 501!
The mounting of any great turntable I am convinced to realize it's true potential must be mounted in slate!! Ply, glass, steel and Panzerholz all have tonal colorations I have found. The slate just allows the idler or DD to do it's best.
FYI I will use an RS Labs Tonearm with the Ortofon Per Winfield on all the tables. After trying all the well know highend arms I have found this quirky arm to outperform them all. As for the PW there is no competition.
I have high hopes for the 501/Slate/RS/PW, but if the Saskia is better as I suspect it will be, I will put my name down for one.

Thanks for your comments here. It means a lot to me for someone who isn't connected to the project, but who has actually heard the turntable at length to speak of Saskia in such a positive way. Hopefully, I will have the opportunity to build one for you, and I'll be looking for you at RMAF.

This entire affair has become an obsession for me that is life consuming. It is practically all I think about these days. My non-audiophile friends probably say "He must have got off at East Ham." Now that I think about it, they most likely said that even before I started tinkering with turntables...at least the cockney ones. ;)

Anyway, thanks again. I do really appreciate it!


Panzerholz /w colorations? But I like those colors.
Although I think I would go for a slate body for the Denon DL-103 if one of those ever emerges.

Dear Robyatt, I would be very interested to learn the results of your testing. I am on the same or a very similar path. I quite agree with you re the special qualities of the very weird RS-A1 tonearm. However, no matter what I find in my own expts, the Saskia is out of reach, sadly.
see you already know slate is the way to go! Panzerholz made a great Graham arm board for me and allowed me to never look at MDF again. However the deadnest of it robs some dynamics! The slate I find allows perfect energy flow- not dead,but no colorations. As I said before the true sound nature of the table it supports is laid bare. Then chose the best idler,DD,belt(?), mechanism you can afford.
Robyatt, the RS-A1 looks really interesting could you elaborate a little on what makes it superior to other more expensive arms apart from the price. What phono stage do you use?
When I first got my Garrard 501 Stainless Steel Inspiration I had a whole bunch of custom arm boards made to try different arms. I tried: SME V, Graham B44, Triplanar, Wilson Benesch ACT 2.0, Dynavector DV 505,507MkI, Clearaudio T1, SME 3012, and the RS A1. The speed neutrality and detail of the RS Labs consistently eclipsed all the other arms. I even tried the RS Labs Headshell, which handily outperforms all headshells and elevated the performance of the 3012, and Dynavector arms. How ever the A1 and its UNIQUE design is the way I have gone. I have an Ortofon Per Windfield in one, the best MC, and a (Decca) London Reference in the other, the best MM, IMHO!!
When my 501 is in its new OMA slate plinth we can directly compare the Saskia and the 501, by just picking up and moving the A1 arm and cartridge. Great for A/B listening.
Is it the combination with RS-A1 that makes the Ortofon Per Winfield so special or is this irrespective of arm? Any preference among the other arms and what phonostage are you using?
I have tried many MC's including the Stupid(!) expensive ones, none had the speed emotion and musicality of my (Decca)London Reference...until the PW. It is not as romantic as the London, but OH so neutral everything else sounds wrong! In terms of extracting what is in the groove with the most musicality and even handness the PW eclipses them all. That observation, is in any arm I try it. actually I recently tried a Kuzma Stogi/Stabi S table. I mounted a denon 103-very nice budget table. For fun I mounted the PW in the Stogi S. That took the table into a completly different league. It made me re-think: cheaper table, and a PW, will outperform a more expensive table with any other cartridge!
I am evaluating another MC at the moment that holds great promise. The Otono-Edison,Shilabe. I do know the Otono-Edison Premium Mono is the best I have heard. In fact it is so good I didn't listen to a stereo LP for a week, while I listened to my whole mono LP collection!
Your enthusiasm for the Ortofon caused me to try to learn more by Googling it. All I can find is text that refers to their 2M model, which apparently had design input from a person named Per Windfield. I found no reference to an Ortofon cartridge formally named after "Per Windfield", however. Can you elaborate on the cartridge, your source for it, etc? Maybe Ortofon uses a different naming system outside the US, where I reside. Thanks.
Robyatt, have you had any experience with the Soundsmith Strain Gauge system. Im going for a Garrard 301 and thinking of using a Tri-planar with Strain Gauge pre/cart combo. What phono-amp do you use with the Windfeld?
Robyatt, Thanks.
I know what you mean about Decca cartridges, there is nothing quite like them. I have the Jubilee. It sounds like a master tape at times, and I have a modest system. I have often wondered if the RS Labs tonearm would accommodate the newer Decca/London cartridges. Thanks for answering that question for me. I will now most likely purchase one at some point!
Please keep us posted on your evaluations.
do yourself a favor get the Triplanar wired with another kind of wire. The stock wire they use (Cardas?) is very soft sounding (Cardas?) the arm is great the wireing NOT!
I actually like the Gold better than all but the Reference. They fit great in the RS-but BIG experimentation, to stop gound hum! The Reference is an exact fit for the RS back holes, butslightly thiner bolts than normal are needed.
Phono stage -ASR Exclusive Basic two chassis, and a custom made unit by a Danish scientist friend. I also have used it with my Tektron MM tube(12AT7) phono stage and the new Ortofon Verto tranny-very nice!!
do yourself a favor get the Triplanar wired with another kind of wire. The stock wire they use (Cardas?) is very soft sounding (Cardas?) the arm is great the wireing NOT!

I could not disagree with you more on this issue. I believe the wire that is used by Tri is Discovery and it is very good. However, if you don't give it time to break in you may very well come to the conclusion that the wire is a problem. To each his own.
You are right to each his own, but I found a Stealth rewired Triplanar far superior in all areas to my stock Triplanar.
Interesting. Did Tri rewire yours?
Robyatt, What is "Stealth" wire? Is it silver or copper, braided or solid core? Thanks.
From what I've learned,Stealth uses "solid core"(supposedly sonically superior to twisted strands in dynamics,and stage characteristics,and from a technical stand point)"single crystal" silver and gold in their cable make up.They seem to have superb shielding as well,but in honesty I cannot understand why gold would "sound" all that good.It's not a very good conductor of electricity.

That being said,I've got it on good account,from some advanced hobbyists that the Stealth phono cable is amazing!I've no doubt is is superb,so it should hold up in their product line,across the board.

Can Stealth wire be bought as naked product, or is one forced to buy them as made-up ICs? Guess I should do my own research on that.
I have all Stealth Indra in my system. I know cable makeing is a..."black art", and some say the biggest area in audio, of shall we say,"profit". But Serguei uses extreme techniques, using technology no one else has, to produce the best cable I have ever heard! It is STUPID expensive, is it worth the premium over other real world cables? You decide. See Stealth website for full details.I have no business affiliation with Stealth, BTW.
If you read the ads, EVERYBODY uses technology nobody else has. Every religion is the true religion.
Robyatt, I did go to their website and I did see that the prices of the products are in the gulp domain. However, I am not one to denigrate a piece of gear just because it costs a great deal of money. In fact, having read up on the rationale for the cable design(s), I am favorably disposed. i especially like their dedicated tonearm cable. But like many others, I am loathe to pay the price.
Hey the Saskia will be at RMAF!!! Now that's worth the visit.
Robyatt: what ever happened to your 501/Saskia comparison? I would love to read your impressions. I have a SP10 mk3 with a Kuzma 4 Point and soon a Kuzma Airline. The 4 Point has an Ortofon MC Anna and the Airline is going to be fitted with the London Ref. I also have a Garrard 401 which is at the custom builders studio as I type this.
Robyatt, What on Earth are you doing ? Just kidding ;)
Please describe your current TT, TA and the best/finest cart you are running.
I have the Salvation direct rim drive motor with a dual layer very ┬┤eavy soapstone deck + the Terminator T3Pro linear arm.