memories tell me the ovation was a proverbial giant killer over a decade ago. i bet it still is. unless you're going to drop a whole lot of money(maybe for a table thats marginally or arguibly better), just enjoy it..its a classic.
Call Basis, you will probably speak with AJ, he'll tell you about his new belt. Believe every word. Makes a huge difference for less than $100. And he is great to talk with.
A magnificent table!!Keep it,and save for new music!!
The Ovation is a fine turntable. Its suspension is similar to the Debut's and shares a lot of the Debut's performance. For about a yr, a friend had his Ovation located on top of his subwoofer. Absolutely no sonic problems resulted, which is an amazing achievement. That suspension benefits sonic performance with superb small and large scale dynamics that you might miss moving to a different turntable technology.
Still if you owned that piece for 17 yrs I can understand thinking about a change. Things to consider: As mentioned by other posters, you will have to spend a lot to better the Ovation. Going to a different 'table lacking the Basis suspension might require use of an isolation device of some type not required with the Basis. Would installing a new arm and or cartridge on the Ovation provide the changes/improvements you are seeking? Would upgrading another component in your system contribute greater sonic improvements than replacing the Ovation? Check out the Basis review by Robert Harley in TAS that describes the benefits of using unique options for Basis turntables such as their Vector tonearm, cable isolation system, super belt, and power supply. Possibly such devices are available for your Ovation and would provide the changes/benefits you are seeking.
For further info, I 2nd that you contact Basis. My experience over the years with Basis is their advice relative to the benefits of upgrades, accessories, etc. will be on the conservative side. I loved my Ovation and only sought to upgrade as I got a bug to acquire a turntable that would be my last ever turntable acquisition. Inquiring about moving up to a Debut, A.J. told me not to bother as the Ovation achieved 95% of the Debut's performance. I went ahead anyways. Nada to the 95%. As I recall, it was more 80 to 85% of the Debut's performance with the improvements being across the board. This was the base Debut. The vacuum Debut would provide considerably more sonic performance than the base model.
Ask AJ if there are any upgrades and / or maintenance available for your turntable. I second all the comments made for this terrific table. Keep it.
Don't believe them. Get rid of this table.
Go out and buy some of this modern, hyped stuff.
Make me an offer :)
I have the Ovation and use a VPI --- external box( it's 3 am and my brain retired some time ago) You know the one, gives exact speed and the ability to play 45s. No, not the little ones with the big hole, the Reference Recordings etc. Works quite well, called Basis before using it and they approved. Use SME iv and Denon 304.
I hope you digest the information gotten here.The Ovation was a fabulous table!!
I would definitely call Basis,and have the table updated,with "maybe" a new bearing,bushings,thrust pads etc.
I doubt you will do much better than "that" gem,for less than the price of a small car.
I've spoken to AJ. The list of upgrades is not short and not cheap in the aggregate: belt, bearing, suspension, power supply, vector tonearm (to replace triplanar III) and vacuum. Still materially less than buying a new Debut, though. Not sure how much of this I will do, though am leaning toward all of the above other than the vacuum.
Unlike in the 90s, when he tended to downplay the effect of upgrades, AJ now "admits" that each upgrade is material, especially power supply, tonearm and vacuum.
His view on the vector tonearm, which has no on-the-fly VTA adjustment, is interesting. I had been brought up to think that to sound its best, every LP needs its own VTA tweak, hence the need for arms like the triplanar. I understood AJ to say that he has never heard any difference from record to record in adjusting VTA, other than perhaps records of different thicknesses. Ie, once VTA is set properly, there is nothing to be gained by adjusting on the fly, and in fact that it suggests that something is wrong, either with the setup or the arm, when improvement appears to occur when VTA adjustments are made on the fly and are different from LP to LP. I respect his judgment, but certainly this is different from many design philosophies out there.
In this regard, though, I have followed the thread on the Mint Tractor. It seems that most people who have used it now realize that their prior setup was off by a material degree. Is it perhaps the case that if the basic setup is not exactly right, then VTA adjustments for individual records might indeed make a positive difference in the sound? Whereas, if the setup is right from the beginning, then a properly designed tonearm does not need constant VTA tweaking?
I don't have the experience to be able to make a reasoned judgment. I would appreciate input from those who do.
Jim,I would keep the Triplanar,or maybe have the latest TRI update done.It surely will be cheaper(and less of a hassle,with the selling/buying)than changing arms completely.
My experience tells me the VTA on the fly is a good thing.It's up to the individual to determine how finicky he wants to be,but although I have always "wanted" to be "happy enough with a good basic set-up",it NEVER worked out that way for me.
Once I got really familiar with LP replay,and my own perception of how a specific LP should/could sound,it was "off to the races" in VTA land.I could not own an arm that did not have easy,on the fly VTA adjustment.
The TRI is too good,in performance,and on the fly VTA to move to another "supposedly" competitive pivoting design,which I'd bet is not going to be much more than a "somewhat side-grade"(compared to the latest TRI).
I feel vacuum is well worth a "look-see",and own it but I'm certainly not going to pitch it.Basis does DO vacuum to the N'th degree,but I'm sure it ain't cheap.Your call!
The table you own is worth keeping and upgrading,and if you really want an up-move go to a really good Linear Tracker(not that you need to,owning a damn good arm already).
I knew a gent(well pedigreed in the hobby)who had your table,and used the Linear Arm alternative....Analog bliss!!
Btw,I still have the original product literature on your table,and it is pictured with the "MAGNIFICENT" Air Tangent Linear arm...I'm not saying to spend that kind of money,but "boy" does that combo look gorgeous.I'd bet it sounds better than it looks too.
Thank you for the suggestions.
I think what makes the most sense is to upgrade the Triplanar arm, and then do a direct comparison on the Ovation against a dealer's Vector. I have not seen a review comparing the two arms on a Basis turntable, so this will perhaps be of some use to others as well.
If the Vector is better, then it should be easy to sell the Triplanar for more than the cost of the upgrade.
If the Triplanar is better, then I can think about applying the cost savings to the vacuum upgrade.
I confess that I am not a tweaker. For example: I had my original system for 15 years before going to some newer equipment. So, I'd much rather have a tonearm that can be set once, and not touch it for another 15 years!
Jim,a good idea,but I'd still have the table's bearing/bushings/thrust pad and belt checked out....After that you should be good for another decade,at least.
As to first upgrading the TRI,and then A/B'ing it against the Vector....I suspect this will still be difficult,even if all variables are "set" in place.
The "slightest" difference in something like VTA/VTF/AZIMUTH or any other seemingly minor factors can alter the perception of what is more convincing.
Of course it's alot of fun,so maybe you will enjoy this(unless you are the set-up man).
I'd still be willing to bet(maybe a nice Shaded Dog)that the differences between "two" latest mod,and well set-up arms like the Vector and Triplanar will not be as big a deal as you'd think....Of course,your call -:)