Who will survive? One last table til I die.


I want to buy a final turntable (call it 25 years worth of use until I can't hear or don't care). I want to be able to get parts and have it repaired for the next quarter century. I would also like the sound quality to be near the top or upgradable to near the top for that time period. I don't necessarily require that the manufacturer be solvent that long (the preferable situation), but otherwise the parts would have to be readily available and the design such that competent independent repair shops be able to fix it. I won't spend more than $10,000 and prefer (but don't require) an easy set up that doesn't need constant tweaking. I'm willing to pay for the proper stand and isolation needed over and above the initial cost.

I've got 9,000 LPs, and it doesn't make sense to start over replacing them with CD/SACDs (although I have decent digital equipment) even if I could find and afford replacements. Presently I have a CAT SL-1 III preamp and JL-2 amp, Wilson speakers, Sota Cosmos table, SME IV arm, and Koetsu/Lyra Clavis/AQ7000nsx cartridges.

Thanks in advance for your input. Steve
suttlaw
A Linn LP-12, of course! It's lasted two decades, and will probably last another two, if only out of pure, scottish stubborness!
You have a fine analog system, and since Sota is still in business, why not contact them about about bringing your table up to current standards if it isn't already. Then purchase whatever parts they predict may wear out in the next 25 years (motor, bearings, ????) and purchase a few of those.

I think that would have to be a lot less than the $10,000 you have in your budget. That leaves you with plenty of money to play with some different arms and cartidges and buy some new vinyl.
In your price range, you should get a VPI HR-X. Then get a separate phono stage. With the number of records you have, it's more than justified. As good as the CAT phono stage it, it doesn't stand up to a separate like ARC, Manley, etc. I had the Linn; it's not even close compared to other tables like VPI, SME, etc.
I agree with Herman. Other than the basic "wear & tear" items such as belts, bearings, springs, etc.. you might want to think about purchasing another arm and / or the parts to repair the arm that you have. Depending on which way that you go, you may need another armboard too. I would advise against "stocking up" on phono cartridges as these DO deteriorate with age. I'm primarily talking about the rubber / plastic materials used in the suspension. If you can find a way to keep them "air tight", they may last quite a while though. Sean
>
I've had a Basis Debut Gold since 1989. Great table, easy to set up, stays set and the company is still around.

As far as phono stages, I directly compared the Klyne 7 PX 3.5 phono stage to the CAT that was current back in 1996. No contest. The Klyne was in another league compared to the phono in the CAT. My Groove was better than my Klyne. I recently purchased the Steelhead which is better than the Groove (although the Groove is a superb unit). Moral of the story is that a better phono stage is important to get the most out of a top flight analog system. I am of the opinion that a phono stage upgrade would make a bigger difference than the table. Good Luck.......
sean...regarding deterioration of phono cartridges over time, I think it is the elastomer (rubber) in the stylus mounting that hardens over time, and if left unused (unflexed) for a time. I can't think of anything in the cartridge body that would age.

I suspect that storing your spare stylus in the refrigerator or freezer would preserve it. Just thaw it out before use.
Stereophile July 2003 details Paul Bolin updating his SOTA Cosmos
http://www.stereophile.com/contents703.shtml
The Technics SP-10 MK II or III is a classic: bulletproof
construction, low rumble/noise, excellent sound quality,
high torque, stable speed control.

Check the following:

http://www.xs4all.nl/~rabruil/sp10page.html

They pop up on Audiogon and eBay periodically. I'm using
one with an SME IV arm and Denon DL-103D (another classic)
and I have no intention of changing any of them.
Would you consider laser turntable? No wear to your records (they will last forever :-). Please take a look at the link:
http://www.elpj.com/
I know nothing about the built quality of this equipment, maybe other Audiogon'ers could help...
I was at house where the owner had the $20,000 laser turntable. He stated that on a perfectly clean record, the sound is incredible. But on a less than perfect lp, the system has a hard time tracking. It doesn't sound like this product is perfected yet.
Thanks for the responses to my post. To refine the discussion, perhaps I should comment on some of the suggestions.

For example, I agree that the Linn will probably be around in one incarnation or another forever. The company has also been very stable over the years and seems likely to stay that way. There must be more LP12s out there than any other table, and the availability of parts, mods, repair persons and such is likely to be strong for many years, which is exactly what I want. Unfortunately, I have owned this table, and it is not sonically competitive with today’s better efforts.

I have had a couple of SOTAs, culminating in the Cosmos (very early version), and have been pleased with their performance. I have talked with the present personnel and am seriously considering their available modifications and upgrades. However, SOTA has had a spotty history of financial stability, folding and resurrecting itself with new ownership several times. The present operation seems to be very small and vulnerable to extinction if they had a one car crash. I’m not convinced they will be around in five years much less twenty-five. Continuity is important.

I do like the idea of the VPI HR-X. The company is stable. Even if the top guys retire, it seems they have adequate backup to keep things rolling for years. There is a good product base out there, which insures enough demand for parts and such to make it worth someone’s time to provide them over the decades. Their tables are very good sounding, of course, and I assume the HR-X will be their best effort to date. I have never owned a VPI so I don’t have first hand knowledge of their reliability and longevity. The pictures of the HR-X are interesting. Is the machining and parts quality and design good enough to last twenty years? Is it finicky to set up and does it maintain its setup or need constant tweaking?

My comments about VPI would probably apply to Basis also.

I believe the Technics table is not belt driven, which seems to me to be essential to smooth out speed variations and obtain top sound. Wasn’t it a favorite of DJs because of its quick startup?

I’ve always been intrigued by the laser turntable. The reports I have read, though, echoed Henry10023’s: perfectly clean records are a must. The sound was also said to be okay, but not the very best. There is also the problem of company stability and longevity, if there is a company.

I like the idea of stocking up on parts for whatever table I get, whether it be armboards, pulleys or whatever. I recall a review of the Walker which pointed out the maker’s contention that some of the major components were easily available from mass market sources. That idea appeals to me. I’d like to be able to gut my sewing machine to keep my table running.

A better phono section is always a good idea, but that is a different discussion.

Steve
Steve- being on an identical quest some time ago, I came up with the following criteria (for what they're worth):
* simple design meaning user-friendly servicing (which ruled out Goldmund, for example)
* if possible, easy to replace parts subjected to wear
* very simple set-up
* a manufacturer that provides "life" guarantee & parts, &/OR freely gives specs for user replacement of parts (bearings, suspension, belt...)
* Of course good sound is a must...
I believe that you'll narrow down the manufacturers using these criteria. I doubt you'll need to spend $10k for the TT (cartridge not included).

The ONLY issue I could NOT address was (and is) the arm: how can I service the arm if heavy damage occurs? 15 yrs down the line, I still haven't cracked that one (other than taking care not to break the arm!!!) I do have replacements for all other wearable items for the arm.

BTW, my choice was a Simon Yorke TT. There's virtually no set-up (ok, you have to plug it into the mains, affix a cartridge to the arm & set overhang & vta; levelling the TT is also recommended:) That's it). All the metal parts are rugged, the belt is replaceable (by S Yorke -- but other belts can also apply), the three springs (suspension) are replaced for free -- BUT you can also get the specs for these & buy industrial grade replacements... & so on.
We think alike, Gregm. I like the concept of a lifetime guarantee, providing, of course, that the company life surpasses that of the turntable.

The tonearm is problematic, although one could conceivably just buy a spare or two, given the cost relative to the table itself. BTW, I think much the same criteria should apply in picking the tonearm as the table, which means no linear tracking arms.

Easily the worst longevity problem in the vinyl playback chain lies with the cartridge(s), of course. I've broken too many too easily, and they don't seem to be getting cheaper. Their other big difficulty, mentioned earlier in the thread, is that cartridges have parts that deteriorate (even when just sitting on the shelf) and that are not easily replaced by the consumer. Thus stockpiling them is not a good option, and I accept that I shall have to budget pension money for new cartridges over the years.

I don't know much about the Simon Yorke table, but since it fits your criteria, I shall certainly look at it. What other tables did you consider and how close was your choice? What finally made the Simon Yorke the winner?

Steve
Give a look to this. Not much famous in USA (yet)
http://www.avidhifi.co.uk/
How about a turntable which has all of its design criteria in the public domain? The Teres turntables were developed by an international consortium of audiophiles on the internet. All the engineering data and parts specs are available on the web. Also, the participants and designers names and email addresses are on the web. No matter what may happen to the company(which I believe is growing and will be around), all parts, dimensions and materials are available from the vendor companies, and even suitable alternative parts may be substituted, when you have the specs. The platter, bearing, and plinth are virtually bulletproof, and the motor is in a separate housing. I doubt Maxon swiss motors is going out of business anytime soon, but even if they did, you could even substitute any outboard drive system alongside the turntable and just swap pulleys. The main parts of the table(platter, bearing, plinth) are stand-alone, and will never wear out. The only thing that might wear out is the motor/controller. Since they are outboard, you could even buy a few of them, and keep them as spares. The whole motor/controller/pulley/housing system is only about $400 and you could keep a couple of them in a shoebox.

The Teres tables are robust and very good sounding. They are overbuilt and simple. All parts and specs are available to you, no matter what would happen to the company. No secrets. This is about as safe as you could get. And the only part that is subject to failure is sourced from a very major industrial motor company which is much more likely to be here than any turntable company 25 years from now. And even if there was a problem with that, many outboard motor units from people like Walker, VPI, Verdier, or any standalone motor/controller unit can be substituted easily, with no disassembly. Or you could get a cache of spare motor units. I think that having access to all parts easily is better than depending upon the solvency of any audio company.

They will accept any arm. They have no springs to sag or go bad. No air bladder suspensions to leak. No mats to deteriorate or degrade. The belt is made of silk cord that is available from any sewing or beading store, so you don't have to stockpile rubber belts that may deteriorate with age either.

Basically, you have a turntable that has just about no breakable/wearable parts, and a separate motor housing that has all of the breakable/wearable items inside it, by itself. You can stockpile these or source the contents yourself any time you want. I'm sure Chris will give you a complete parts list of every single component in the system, along with their vendors, if you want a compiled list, so you don't have to make it yourself off the internet. He can also sell you separate replacement motors, control boards, or whatever you want.

I think it is best to be in control of your own destiny, instead of relying on any company being in business.

The Teres turntables are very reasonably priced and factory-direct. The performance is as good or better than most tables priced far higher. I'd pick my Teres over any table that has been mentioned in this thread so far.

So, there's a different angle for you to consider.
Steve, when I was looking there wasn't much available that fit the criteria: among those considered was the big P Lurne (too complicated & many lacquered wooden parts so, vulnerable), the P Triangle Export (too finical & I wanted "better" sound), Oracle (it seemed too complicated too, although robust looking), Townsend Rock (irreplaceable parts -- I liked that one though), VPI (good construction, but too many wooden parts & "complicated" set-up to get the voiving I wanted)...

The Teres (a good idea from Twl who's researched these things) wasn't around.

So, the somewhat expensive (then; nowadays "reasonable") S. Yorke, looked good; with a bog-standard outboard motor (easily replaceable), no wood apart from the basic board that serves as an armboard, no "belt" problem (being outboard, the motor is placed wherever you like; in fine, you only need a thin rubber band of reasonabley large diametre to make the platter turn -- sorry this doesn't sound very hi-end, but it's true, I've done it), it looked promising.
It also sounded good (better to my ears than the Lurne+parallel arm+ the good'ole Grasshopper), which was heart-warming.

Strangely, the cartridge doesn't worry me; I have a feeling (i.e. no corroborating evidence) these will be around for a while... the fact that products like Shelter pop up, are a consolation. Clearaudio also seems set to last for some time, and others -- I can't vouch for the VdHul Colibri, but who knows?

As to the arm, I've decided to get an extra one, when finances allow -- a VERY user-friendly unipivot, hopefully available for around $ 1k. Hopefully, I'll make do with that & my present arm (I only have ~3000 LPs now, nothing like your collection!)
Cheers
Pretty hard to predict who will be in the analog biz 25 years from now! Consider the SME 20; it's pretty solidly built and you can keep your tonearm.
I've let this thread sit for some time while I've been checking out the various excellent suggestions you all gave. I am extremely intrigued by the over all concept, design and parts replaceability of the Teres/Redpoint/Galibier cousin (estranged?) companies' products. Has anyone had experience with all of them? Or any two?
I have a Teres 265, thanks partly to the heavy legwork and excellent argumentation of regulars like Twl. Well, actually there's nobody quite like Twl, but you get the idea. He's already made all the cogent arguments, the gist of them being that a Teres/Redpoint/Galibier meets all your criteria to a "T".

Two Teres project participants founded Redpoint because they wanted to push the design and especially the materials further. They subsequently split into Redpoint and Galibier simply due to the geographic distance between the two principals.

All three companies have continued to refine their designs and materials, though in different directions. About the only similarity between them now is their basic reliance on a simple, high mass, non-suspended design that is trivially easy to set up, maintain and repair if necessary.

For absolute stability over the long haul, a Redpoint or Galibier would be very safe choices due to their materials. The top Teres models are made of various exotic hardwoods, which makes them stunningly beautiful and they sound magnificent, certainly better than any suspended deck below $10K by all reports that I've read. Whether that will make them less stable in the long term, only time will tell.

Give these three companies a hard look. You wouldn't be disappointed with a deck from any of them. I've only heard my Teres so can't offer a comparison.
The laser table COMPLETELY DEFEATS the purpose of why we enjoy vinyl as an analog source in the first place. This is just another A/D/A converting unit. And for $20,000 the choices for a complete top notch analog setup are great. Contact between a properly aligned and maintained stylus and vinyl surface does not cause appreciable wear. I have records from the late 60's when I was a kid played on real funky equipment that, once cleaned and played on a moderately nice system, sound excellent still.

My choices for purposes of longevity and sonics
VPI
Linn
SME
Stevecham,

You're the first person I've seen claiming that the ELP laser TT does an A/D/A conversion. Their own website very clearly states that it doesn't. What makes you think so?

BTW, if you'd said it looks uglier than a cheap CDP I'd agree of course. But that's another topic. ;-)
I sat hear last night reading all the posts and I know you are interested in the Teres but I just wandered what happened to the Simon Yorke idea. I know if I ever upgrade that would be the direction I would go. I am a current owner of a VPI product TNT JR not to say VPI is not a fine company that I know will be around a long time,though I did read through the post thinking one last referance TT. Simon Yorke was the first to come to mind not all people drop around 10K on a TT for that kind of dough you SHOULD get one of the best. Just wandering David
Dougdeacon: This quote from their website on "features"...

"Built-in Analog Noise Blanker
These circuits help reduce pops and clicks in real time, as you listen. This feature may be easily turned off with the front panel buttons by users that are restoring old recordings. Pops and clicks are then removed with editing software after the transfer to digital"

Digital ain't analog last time I checked.
Stevecham,
Please re-read the paragraph you just posted. It is clearly addressed to someone who is playing a record on the ELP and THEN transferring it to digital.

The ELP itself does not perform any A/D conversion. It does not have the capability because it contains no DAC's. They say so in their FAQ's and nothing about the passage you quoted contradicts that.

And I quite agree, digital ain't analog.
David: I liked the Simon Yorke (as originally suggested by Gregm) and visited the website and read some reviews. The Teres/etc's just seemed to carry the longevity design a bit further (more available outsourced parts, if necessary; more easily replaced modular parts; more design detail disclosure). I haven't ruled it out.
I also admit to being intellectually pleased and attracted to the idea of a bunch of technically competent audiophiles sitting around in the basement and coming up with something of superior design and quality. (Wish I'd had the balls twenty-five years ago to do something similar; tho actually, my balls didn't matter because I never had any technical abilities anyway; I'm just content that I've learned how to set up my table/arm/cartridge with some skill, which only took me about 15 years.)
I am also seduced by the Teres wood. I love beautiful wood. I just don't know if it is the best material for so much of a turntable. But then I think of those Strad violins that have only gotten better over the centuries. There is a resonance to wooden instruments that always seems particularly involving.
Nevertheless, the bottom line is the sound, and I haven't heard any of these tables yet, so...
Steve
This is in response to theELP- ADA remark about the ELP laser T/T. My understanding from the reviews, & the site is that it's an all analog system, similar to laserdisc players which lost out to the 'digital compact disc',(CD),. The least exspensive model was around $13,000.00, but included a VPI HW17.0 cleaner. The 'laser element'(?) was expected to last 10,000 hrs. with a replacement cost of $1500.00, about the cost of a high end cartridge. Anybody get 10,000 hrs. out of a cartridge? Thanks, Greg
The Platine has been in production for almost 25 years now. It is rated as one of the best TTs ever made. The GT Audio battery PSU (www.gtaudio.com) drops the noise floor even further to increase the dynamic range further and enhance low level music retrieval. You have two arm boards as standard to allow you to indulge yourself. There is virtually no maintenance (big plus for the next 25 years). I've had mine now for 2 years. What have I done - add a few drops of oil to the bearing; make a few new linen thread loops for the belt - oh and I've drunk a fair bit of classy wine to help my evenings go by whilst I listen to my LPs.

I can say that I won't be buying another TT ever.

PS Mine has a Schroeder model 2 arm and Allaerts MC1B cart.
Dear Steve: There are many alternatives: Basis, SME, Acoustic Signature, Avid, Verdier, Simon Yorke, Pluto, Transrotor, Sota, VPI, etc..... But this is not important, the important issue is: What are you looking for ? only a TT that last for ever? or a better analog sound reproduction. If you are looking for the last then you have anothers choices: a better phono cartridge that matched well with your SME tonearm, a better phono stage preamp and/or a better amplifier, etc.....
If you really like the music and want to know how it sounds what is recorded in your 9,000 LP's, you have to change your electronics, specially your amplifier: this amplifier, like all tube amplifiers, is a nice an expensive equalizer let me to explain it:
many people, like us, love music and through our analog system we want to reproduce what is in the recording ( there are many people that does not care about it ), that is that we need a system that can do that job: that can be ACCURATE TO THE RECORDING. The tube amplifiers can't do it, it is impossible by the physics laws), only can function like an equalizer sound reproducer. All the tube amplifiers change their frecuency response with the changes in the impedance of the speakers and this speaker impedance ( normally ) change with the frecuencies, so what are we hearing through a tube amplifier?: a hard make-up sound, a " clown " sound, not what is it on the recording. I think that almost all of us have a duty: take care for that the signal sound reproduction be the less degraded signal in our system.
So, if we want to hear what is in the recording first we need an accurate audio system and the electronics ( like the amplifier ) are a very important step to get that target. Now, if your target is other than to hear what is in the recording then you can do anything you want.
Regards and always enjoy the music.
Raul.
You may want to check out Galibier's Quatro turntables. I have one of the earlier Redpoint versions and these turntables sound tremendous with build quality to last a lifetime. You can see at www.galibierdesign.com .
I finally bought a Garrard 501 after looking at 301s and 401s a long time ago. I have had some very exceptional tables, many mentioned earlier, but think the Garrard especially with the Schroeder and Decca are the best I have heard.
FWIW, I finally got the VPI TNT HRX with the JMW 12.5 arm.
Congrad`s on the HRX a very fine peice of equ. I`m glad you reported back to us with your purchase.How`s the ZYX mate with it. I`m still holding out for a Simon Yorke. David
Nice table, suttlaw. Congrats! BTW, how do you like your Airy 2? What types of music do you listen to>
Congrats also.

Have you heard the Airy3 yet? There's quite a difference from the already wonderful Airy2.
I haven't heard the Airy 3 yet (didn't know there was an Airy 3 and what are the differences?). I haven't even heard the Airy 2 broken in yet, and I am still living with ongoing changes in the cartridge. In a couple more weeks, the cantilever and suspension will probably have had enough playtime for me to start the fine tuning of the LP system. Then I can comment more accurately on the Airy2 and how it mates with the JMW. Right now I can say it has a wide and deep soundstage, great imaging, incredible low level detail retrieval, good transients, good tone. My bass and impact seem a little lacking, but I think that is cartridge setup and speaker positioning changeable, so...

I should also admit that I committed the cardinal sin of critical component listening: I changed more than one piece of equipment at the same time. In fact, I changed four. I had just installed the Airy2 1000RS cartridge, and played about three records total, when I got a great deal on a VPI TNT HRX. The HRX comes with arm already installed, the JMW 12.5. This arm has a terminal box and does not take din/rca phono cable like all of my previous arms did, so I had to get another interconnect to use as the phono cable. The original owner of the HRX was using a Cardas Golden Reference IC, so I just bought his.

Thus, in a matter of weeks, I changed cartridge, arm, table, and cable, going from the Cosmos/SMEIV/Koetsu/Cardas('96) to the HRX/JMW/Airy/GoldenRef. Given those changes and the set up and break in period I'm still going through, I'm not really sure what I'm hearing yet. And other than the cartridges, the system parts are not interchangeable and can't be switched back and forth to isolate the specific changes caused by each piece.

Another bit of the puzzle, the support for the turntable, is also in transition. Previously I had the Cosmos on a seismic sink on a wall stand. The HRX seemed too large and too heavy for that, but I was assured the wall stand could hold up to 500 lbs. I still needed a platform large enough to place the HRX on, though, and finally got a Black Diamond Racing The Source shelf (32x20). Once I reinforce the connection to the wall, I will put the tunrtable on the Source shelf, the shelf on BDR cones, and the cones on the wood platform of the wall stand. Sometime after Thanksgiving I hope to have a better idea of the actual sound of the new equipment. Then I can start adding the BMI power cords I have burning in the basement.

I'm now soliciting opinions on Airy set up tips, phono stage (now internal CAT III), phono cable (now Cardas Golden Reference).
Suttlaw, if you are looking seriously at alternative phono stages, I encourage you to listen to an Aesthetix Io Signature.

For a phono cable, I'd encourage you to listen to the Omega Mikro Ebony. It's not shielded, but if it works in your environment, I think you will be very pleased with the neutrality, speed, resolution and transparency of this cable. http://www.walkeraudio.com/omega_mikro_cables.htm


.
I've read great things about the Io Signature, but$2735 for one meter of the Ebony IC? Wow.
Ah, but the sound is "Wow" as well. When we first tried it here my wife was listening and really liked it, but we were still tuning the system and we swapped it out for a while: was she ever an unhappy camper until we put it back. Everything else we did, she kept saying: "But it's not the Omega Mikro Ebony, you've lost the magic." And she was right.
.
Since I believe the phono cable is the most important wire in an analogue based system, and the one I am most likely to be willing to overpay for, I shall now have to add the Omega Mikro Ebony to the short list. I admit to being totally ignorant of this line of wires until Rushton's post.

A website I found did not mention any phono cable, only the Ebony interconnect. I am assuming that this interconnect is used for both phono and line, which I always find troublesome since I have assumed that the signals from each were different enough that a cable should be optimized for either phono or line.

(As a barely related aside, oddly enough, I miss the little din connector I've always needed on my tonearm cable; its delicacy seems more symbolically suited to the subtle art of coaxing music out of microscopic scratches in dead wax than the cruder RCA plug that replaces it.)

Just out of curiosity, Rushton, what were the runners-up to the Ebony? And what other wires do you use in your system?
Suttlaw, the Omega Mikro Ebony comes as an "interconnect," there is no phono vs. line alternative in this cable. Please note that the Ebony is a more delicate cable than many people are used to handling. The design objective is to minimize dielectic so there is no sheathing to grab onto, just the woven net stocking (insulated fine copper wire) to which a bias voltage is applied. The bare conducting ribbon inside the stocking is a very thin copper foil to which a silver layer has been hand annealed, and these conducting ribbons are screwed, not soldered, to the RCA connectors. For a little extra care in handling, the sonic rewards are very high.

As to "runners-up," I'm going to ask to beg off that question. None of us can hear everything, and any discussion of alternatives will offend someone who really likes the other cable. For example, Albert Porter will tell you that he really likes the Purist Dominus cables, and that he's tried the Omega Mikro and did not think they were as good. At this level of performance, choices can become more matters of listening priorities than absolute performance differences. For me, the ability to resolve complex, large scale music, particularly orchestral, is important. I've tried other cables that sound very good on small ensemble jazz or single vocalist (in some respects better than the Ebony), but just do not continue to resolve detail well on orchestral or more complex music (like Count Basie's "88 Basie Street"). The strength of the Omega Mikro Ebony is that they sound good across that range, but they are outstanding when the music gets more complex and the demands of resolving multiple instruments and multiple musical lines come into play: this is where they clearly differentiate themselves from many other cables. At the same time, they are neutral, not at all bright or edgy (like some highly resolving cables), extremely revealing/resolving and always allow the harmonic overtone structure to come across without change or interpretation.

One last comment: Lloyd Walker makes it easy to hear these cables in your own system. If you're not completely satisfied, return them in original condition within 30-days for a full refund. He doesn't get many back.
http://www.walkeraudio.com/omega_mikro_cables.htm
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Suttlaw,

For about $665 more than Micro ($3,400), you should really heard and consider the New Siltech G6 Avandole. It's by far the best and the quietest phono cable i have ever heard.

It's expensive for phono cable, but you are done.
Suttlaw,

First, you are forgiven for your multiple sins! Nice find for your one last analog rig.

RE: Airy2

Right now I can say it has a wide and deep soundstage, great imaging, incredible low level detail retrieval, good transients, good tone.
Your impressions exactly mirror ours. As our Airy2 broke in we moved from a back row seat to the front row, since HF extension, speed and detail kept improving. This change was fairly steady and predictable from about 5 hours until about 50 or so. It seemed pretty stable after that.

My bass and impact seem a little lacking, but I think that is cartridge setup and speaker positioning changeable, so...
Somewhat, but it is also somewhat the character of the Airy2. It will rarely be a rocker's cartridge, unless everything is set up perfectly, the stars are aligned and the drinks are aligned too.

The Airy2's dynamics are very affected by SRA and VTF. Higher end ZYX's are all sensitive in this way. Fortunately your sin-ful JMW allows easy height adjustment so start experimenting with that. Very small adjustments become audible once you're attuned (by very small I mean .01mm in arm height or less). Getting SRA just right puts maximum weight behind the frequency center of each note or sound, which increases the apparent dynamic impact and focus.

Optimal VTF in two systems I know of was between 1.88g and 1.93g. It needs a bit more downforce OOTB but that range seems about right after break in, depending on temperature. Too heavy and the life is squashed out. Too light and HFs start to go fuzzy. The VTF sweet zone is always very small.

Impedance loading is also very critical when running through trannies. You're not, so maybe it won't be as critical for you, I hope!

I haven't heard the Airy 3 yet (didn't know there was an Airy 3 and what are the differences?).
The Airy3 is brand new, MSRP isn't even published yet. Check out SORAsound's ads for details.

Compared to the Airy2, the Airy3 is more dynamic and detailed. After break-in, which takes at least 75 hours, it has virtually all the Airy2's "integration" or "wholeness", but with more body behind the instruments and air between them. Harmonics, decays and overtones are nicer too. It will probably sell for $500-700 more than the Airy2, and it will be worth it. A slight veil of control over bass and dynamics are the only bad things anyone has ever said about the Airy2 AFAIK. The Airy3 corrects that.
RE:
>>>"A slight veil of control over bass and dynamics are the only bad things anyone has ever said about the Airy2 AFAIK. The Airy3 corrects that."<<<

That would be very good news,indeed.
Airy 2's lack of bass tunefullness & articulation and reserved dynamics were a dissapointment after all the early praise and recommendations.
The issue seems to be longevity of the company and Linn and the others mentioned certainly qualify. Heresy from a brit, but I think the LP12 has lived on a deserved reputation for years. A number of UK suppliers outperform it now. Avid has been mentioned, a beautifully designed and engineered deck. The Michell Orbe and my own recommendation, the Origin Live Resolution, plus illustriuos arm. Again beautifully designed, well engineered and simple, so less to go wrong. It completely trounced my admittedly aged LP12 in all areas, detail, base retieval, soundstage. There is even a top of the line Sovereign deck I have not heard. The problem, they do'nt have a long track record, but so many of the best decks now seem to be from small, new companies, Teres fot example. But I would go for Origin Live myself
Audio999: does the Siltech G6 come as RCA to RCA?
Suttlaw,

Yes,mine is RCA to RCA.
Dear Steve: I agree with Caterham1700 about the ZYX. You will see through time. If you are serious about invest 3,400.00 on a phono cable, my advise is that put that money on a better phono preamp or better cartridge/tonearm combo or a subwoofer, before you change that cable.
Regards and enjoy the music.
Raul.
If you are serious about invest 3,400.00 on a phono cable, my advise is that put that money on a better phono preamp or better cartridge/tonearm combo or a subwoofer, before you change that cable.
I agree with Raul. The phono cable can't play what the cartridge doesn't provide. If you like the ZYX's neutrality but the slightly muted dynamics and bass of the Airy2 become a problem, think about the Airy3.

Raul made another good point about cartridge/tonearm synergy. I don't know if a JMW can handle the Airy3's intense dynamics. A Graham 2.2 can't, not even with careful adjustment of the damping. A TriPlanar can.

I actually heard the Airy2 sound strongly dynamic once, but that was on a very dynamic system in a small and lively room. It was easy for this system to overpower the room, so the Airy2's "politeness" was not noticeable. That was an exception of course. Few people willingly pair a small and lively room with a highly dynamic system.
"If you really like the music and want to know how it sounds what is recorded in your 9,000 LP's, you have to change your electronics, specially your amplifier: this amplifier, like all tube amplifiers, is a nice an expensive equalizer let me to explain it:
many people, like us, love music and through our analog system we want to reproduce what is in the recording ( there are many people that does not care about it ), that is that we need a system that can do that job: that can be ACCURATE TO THE RECORDING. The tube amplifiers can't do it, it is impossible by the physics laws), only can function like an equalizer sound reproducer. All the tube amplifiers change their frecuency response with the changes in the impedance of the speakers and this speaker impedance ( normally ) change with the frecuencies, so what are we hearing through a tube amplifier?: a hard make-up sound, a " clown " sound, not what is it on the recording. I think that almost all of us have a duty: take care for that the signal sound reproduction be the less degraded signal in our system.
So, if we want to hear what is in the recording first we need an accurate audio system and the electronics ( like the amplifier ) are a very important step to get that target. Now, if your target is other than to hear what is in the recording then you can do anything you want."

Raul, while I heartily defend your right to say things ( I am a lawyer and firm beleiver in the first amendment) I think you went a little overboard on two points. Too much emphasis on the importance of the cartridge and that comment about tube equipment.
Every component in every system either adds or subtracts something to or from the signal.
We have not come anywhere close to being able to measure all the characteristics of a music wave. Let alone measure the electrical signal that it has been converted to.
A tube is a natural device requiring much less trickery than solid state to convert or amplify a musical signal. Tube amps are usually very simple designs. Solid state amps are based on a transistor that is basically a switch. Just getting it to work involves major trickery.
Solid state guys always try to hide behind accuracy.
Flat frequency response, low distortion, megawatts of power etc., just doesn't get you alway the way home.
IMHO I have never really heard a horrible tube amp. I have heard some horrible solid state. In the early days solid state was a bad as cd was in its infancy. People tried to deny how bad ss was because they could not measure it. Both tube and solid state preamps and amps can be filters(equalizers). Anyone who has been involved with tube amplification is well aware of its abiltiy to be extremely euphonic sometimes intentionally. SS is more likely to be sterile and cold. Since music is not sterile and cold we can conclude that it too has left something out or added something.
The truth is both designs add and detract from the music. Both devices do somethngs easily and have to work really hard to do others. Getting them to do everything usually requires lots of money and designer trickery.
In creating the illusion of live music there is considerable trickery involved. RIAA phono equlization is a trick. Stero imaging is a trick. The lists goes on.
I wonder if any of has any idea how ragged the (you guys are smart, so I know some of you do) the final frequency response curve is for your system being played in your room. And that is after all the tricks that have been played at each and every stage of the music chain. Most of the curves we see are weighted and manipulated by the speed and response of the machine making them.
Every component in the chain is extremely important, things reproduced properly in one component can be easily lost in another.
The ultimate evalustion is the final result. Does a trumpet sound like a trumpet. You will know. You may be impressed by sonic wow in the beginning. In the long run if it does not sound like music, you will see it for sale on Audiogon
Gregadd, nicely said.
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