I have had a VPI Aries in my system for about 2 years now,I upgraded from an older Linn LP 12. When I auditioned the Aries I also listened to the TNT 111. They both had the same arm and cartridge(JMW 10inch and a Grado Reference)To my ears they had a very similar sound but the TNT was a better tracker and the sound was more detailed. I decided on the Aries based on price and size(the TNT has a much larger footprint). The Aries sound is probably close to 90 percent of the TNT for a lot less money. It is a very easy table to set up and use. Good luck, I don't think you could go wrong with either model, VPI makes a quality product.
Rec, thanks so much for your insight. Martin
I have an Aries and my friend has the TNT III. If you can afford to and have the extra space go for the TNT. Either way you will be pleased. If you cannot fit the TNT in your space like my situation then spend the exta on a great cartridge.
Ljgj, thanks for the helpful information. I'm new to the internet world. It is so cool to be able to send a question out to cyberspace, and answers come back!
Martin, One thing to keep in mind is that the Aries is not currently upgradeable turntable. The TNT, however, can be purchased in the Jr. version for only a little more money than the Aries and upgraded as money allows to full TNT 5 status. They are both great tables as well as the the 19 series. Good Luck, Doug
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Doug, thanks for making a really good point.
Beavis, thanks for your response. It is currently under careful review by our cryptography department.
Sorry all, my power went off so I couldn't see what I was typing.
I have owned both these tables in various applications. The TNT has the capacity to sound better if its considerable variables are attended to regularly, which I might add is a major undertaking. The Aries' utter simplicity of design and carefree maintainence often resulted in a clearly superior sound when compared to the TNT in most real world applications. Just something to consider.
Beavis, sorry, hope my response wasn't too obnxious. What were you going to say?
Khrys, I wasn't aware the TNT had considerable variables which require regular attention. I'm lucky if I get an hour to an hour and a half a week to listen to the system and don't want to spend any more time than necessary tweeking it,(which is why I decided against a Lynn). What is required to keep the TNT sounding better than the Aires?
Martin, I found the spring towers on the TNT loosened up regularly requiring frequent level adjustments. My dealer even came out once to adjust the springs. Also I found the tension on the pullies from motor to platter and flywheel seemed to slacken frequently requiring adjustment. The TNT is a bear to keep clean and dust free. I also seemed to need to adjust the arm (Graham 1.5) more frequntly. And the space requirement of the TNT made it much more susceptible to bumps from errant arms (human). All I can say is that I was constantly fiddling with the TNT (maybe because I could?) whereas the Aries just sat there and always sounded great.
Khrys, I appreciate the info. I didn't realize the TNT required that kind of attention.
MY TNT 3.5 (SME V arm) has never gone out of adjustment once I have set it. I have checked it at several month intervals over four years of use. Not once did I need to re-level the TNT or readjust the SME. Weird that my experience is so different from others in this regard.
The only part that I have had to be somewhat careful about is the tri-pulley unit sometimes moves if I have changed tone-arm cable or something. I have caused the pulley unit to shift (or the base to shift) in these cases; so, I don't consider this a TNT problem at all. Besides, a slight nudge of the pulley unit probably does nothing to hinder performance--unless the pulley shafts touch the TNT base, of course.
I find the TNT reassuringly stable and simple to use.
I have a TNT version 2.5 (close to III) and it's been nothing but steady over the short while that I've had it. Once it was set up, it remained set up. Currently using the 10.5 arm and an AT-OC9 (anyone have a good cartridge recommendation). I would highly suggest that you consider getting either a Seismic Sink or a Bright Star Rock/Air Mass assembly if you're going the Aries route. It has no suspension and the isolation devices would be a serious asset.
I am also the owner of 2 Well Tempered tables, an HW19 MkIV and an HW19 MkIII. All of these were serious upgrades from my Linn LP12 (talk about set-up problems!).
I know someone who had his TNT 3 upgraded to a TNT 5. He never mentions any adjustment problems. I will ask him specifically about the need to re-adjust next time I see him.
I had the Well Tempered (Classic) arm on a SOTA Sapphire a while back. A clever 'arm. The Morch UP4 is also a very, very good 'arm on the SOTA, BTW. In fact the Morch UP4 (with silver internal wiring) seems like a "sleeper" tone arm. For the money, it's hard to beat.