IMHO-the Well Tempered Classic is heads and heels above the Technics. Good luck
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I think it's not as simple as which one is better, because the SP10's that I have heard have been some of the best playback systems I have ever heard, when set up correctly.
The obsidian base and arm should be replaced if you want to compete, or beat your excellent Well Tempered. Some of the great bases for sale on here, when matched with an excellent tonearm (Tri-planar, TransFi Termintator3, SME, Origin, etc) sound absolutely stellar.
But it will take some time and effort. The turntable is where the value is with the SP10, it's rock solid as far as speed stability, so if it's base is stable, and the arm is great it allows you to use many differnt cartridges. I have been thinking about switching to an SP10 too, even though I love my current table. Just seems like fun to match the pieces, and they really do sound stellar.
IMO, there is no contest here; the SP10 ensemble, obsidian base and all, would cream the WT, if you want accurate unsentimental retrieval of the information on an LP. So there ya go.
And as Dmgrant1 suggested, the EPA100 tonearm is superb and highly sought after. I have serious questions re the WT tonearm(s), on the other hand. The only piece that could be upgraded is the obsidian plinth, but it is not a true liability, either.
Ok, raise your hand if you've had both. I have. The sp10, as lew says, is the better table by a wide margin. Unit should be re-capped though or you run the risk of a cap letting go and taking out a unreplaceable ic. The EPA100 is a better arm then the WT by a good bit too. Plith could be better but it is a great starting spot.
You and I have discussed the Well Tempered at length, but having owned the WTRP and now the Technics SP-15, I'm with Lewm; the Technics will beat the WT in almost all aspects. The difference in speed stability alone will amaze you. I have no experience with the EPA100, but I do know my tweaked Rega 250 equals the WTRP arm for sonics and is way easier to align properly. My Micro Seiki MA505 beats the WTRP arm hands down, so I have to believe the EPA100 would too.
Massive plinths are definitely the fashion for the SP10, but I'm guessing the obsidian is at least as good as the WT plinth. I have the SH-15B2 plinth (23 pounds of high density rubber and MDF) and once I got rid of the Technics feet and put good cones on it it's way more stable than the WTRP plinth.
I think you'd really like the SP10Mk2.
I replaced my Well-Temprered Reference Table after 12 years of believing it was irreplaceable. The replacement was a used Technics SL-1000 MK II. That's the SP-10 in obsidian base with the EPA-100 MK II tonearm. There was no comparison. The Technics surpassed the WT in every regard.
Don't hesitate to make the change. It's like moving from a hang glider to a jet.
bob - A couple of other comments - my WT was stethoscope quiet but theSP-10 had a much blacker background. The other change that I welcomed was the sense of precision and refinement that the Technics provided over the well-designed but decidedly Rube Goldberg inspired WT. The EPA-100 is a genuine contender for best arm ever made.
At it's age, the Technics you are considering will certainly benefit from R&R but they seem to work forever in the home environment since they were designed for round the clock abuse for 10 years in radio stations. I would look at the R&R as an upgrade path. Talk about the plinth is overstated. Yes, it is possible to improve upon the obsidian base but it is by no means necessary. All of this comes down to your mental state. How much do you want to obsess vs. how much are you willing to spend?
After all, have you changed your monofilament regularly? How about the silicone bath? All tables have moving parts and they all wear. They all need maintenance and they all benefit from rehab. Pick your poison. I, having experienced both would prefer the SP-10.
The factory-supplied electrolytic caps in an SP10 are now upwards of 30 years old. The lifespan of an electrolytic cap is less than 30 years. After 10-20 years, they start to leak DC and can even leak electrolyte onto other circuit elements. It is quite normal to replace an electrolytic of this age, empirically. Other than that the SP10 is pretty darn bullet-proof. Modern electrolytics are superior in performance and longevity to any that were available back in the day of the SP10, so your new caps will last even longer now than originally, until the next such service becomes necessary.
Macrojack alluded to it. And IMO, the weak point of the WT is the tonearm, as he inferred. The table itself is a very clever design. I have much (frustrating) experience fiddling with the WT Reference tonearm on the WTR that belongs to a close friend.
Bob, looks like you have sufficient response to make your decision. But I'll add a little reinforcement.
Years ago I owned an original (square motor) WTTT and arm. It played music but was responsive to improvements such as the new black platter, a clamp on the fluid cup, and damping on the arm tower. Still, as Lew suggests, the WT arm was always in question. For one example I could never get the same tracking force measurement two attempts in a row. What kind of precision does that suggest?
I replaced mine with a Kuzma Stabi/Stogi Reference table and arm. This was a significant upgrade offering extended bass, increased overall dynamics, and much better decay, most noticeable on piano. More recently I've listened to an SP-10 Mk2 and even with a (temporary) compromised plinth, it shows potential for bettering the Kuzma.
The step from a WTTT to a Technics should be a no-brainer.
OK, I have heard the SP10 II with the EPA-100 arm and it was a nice "vintage" turntable, but when I heard it with the Triplanar (can't remember the model) it was a reference playback system.
I know someone with the SP 10 and EPA arm, so I am going to go give it a listen again since so many of you find it to be so good. Maybe I was missing something.
I have been thinking about an SP10 but with a modern arm, but maybe I should just use the EPA-100 if it's that good. Does it need to be re-wired?
Ahh, I should just ask Albert Porter, he knows everything about these tables.
Dear MDT, I own a Triplanar and love it. However, with reference to the EPA100, my comments were based on hearsay. So many disparate reputable persons say it is excellent (e.g., Mosin, Raul, etc) that I have come to believe it IS excellent. I have no idea which arm would win a head to head comparison. The point is that you cannot go wrong buying an EPA100 at a fair market price; at worst you can sell it and apply the cash to a Triplanar.
As important, or more, than the tonearm is a heavy and well isolated plinth for the sp-10 tables. I currently have two identical double arm plinths. For two of the four tonearms, I use the EPA 500 system(seven different armwands in all). The other two arms are modern high end arms. The EPA arms compare surprisingly well to even the Air Tight PC-1 Supreme on the SME 312s Magnesium. For fun, I tried the Ortofon MC10 which I bought for $150 on the a501L wand with surprisingly good results.
Rewiring the EPA arms may help but I've done nothing to mine yet and they perform very well. Lewm is right, for a relatively low price, you can try the sp-10 and EPA arm with little loss on resale. I doubt resale will be a consideration however.
I don't believe anyone did either. The EPA arms hold their own quite well against anything I've tried though. The sp-10 tables likewise. I don't know how anyone could make a claim for best ever on either one but they're both good enough that only modern sota designs will surpass or even equal them, and at a much higher price.
By the way, get that mk3 up and running. It's a beast.
Macrojack said above;
The EPA-100 is a genuine contender for best arm ever made.not that i, in any way, agree with MacroJack's statement.
i've not done the comparative listening to the better vintage arms in direct comparision to the best of today's arms; but as i've been in the market for a vintage arm (as my 5th arm) i have closely investigated this issue and i'm told that the best current arms are a few levels refinement better than any of the vintage arms by trusted friends. those 'latest design' arms are not cheap, especially in comparison to the better vintage arms.
i want a less expensive arm to use with some of the inexpensive cartridges i've accumulated.
Macrojack's statement does not quite make the claim that Audiofeil wants to debunk, but it is likely to be the one he had in mind. The real question is why is Audiofeil so angry?
As regards vintage tonearms, whatever anyone tells you is just his or her opinion. A few years ago, most of us were convinced that vintage idler- and direct-drive turntables, and even the ideas behind these drive mechanisms, were inferior and passe'. My feelings are quite different now. (And of course you were ahead of the game with your Rockport table.) Likewise, I personally have had an epiphany as regards the merits of vintage MM and MI cartridges. (Pause while Audiofeil cranks up another insult....) So I am keeping an open mind on tonearms. While the engineering of many of them may seem dated, the quality of construction is often very high, higher than that of some of the current crop. I haven't heard them all, but think of the vintage SME, Ortofon, Lustre, Stax, SEAC, and older Dynavector products, as well as the Technics vintage arms.
Like you plan, I got the EPA 500 system to utilize some of my extra and less expensive cartridges. I honestly didn't expect the performance I'm getting. You may be surprised with a vintage arm. When my Soundsmith retipped 90x shows up I'll mount it on one of my a501gs. I expect it to be another eye opener. Currently, I have the XV-1s mono on an EPA 250 arm and I really don't know how it could work better.
my mind is open. until i actually have a high quality vintage arm side by side in my system along with some of these 'giant killer' cartridges i won't know.
regarding the arms specifically; my preliminary view is that the technology and build quality of the best vintage arms is right up there or maybe even better than current arms as likely the R&D budgets that produced those arms was relatively unlimited compared to the much more 'small time' development of the current leading edge arms. OTOH the improvement in refinement and overall performance of vinyl playback in general allows for greater development of the best current arms.
even though 30-40 year old tt's drive systems are competitive with better current tt's; to get that performance we do need to 'package' them in current tech plinths and messaging. i'm not sure vintage arms are able to be improved similarly.
we'll see how my perspective plays out.
this weekend Joel Durand installed my new Talea tonearm. so i have the Rockport, 2 Reed arms on my Technics, and the Talea on my Garrard. if a vintage arm can hold it's own in that company then it will really open my eyes.