SME 20 w/ model V tonearm
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With your experience, I would suggest something in same $40K 'company'. Like Walker Black Diamond or TW Raven AC3. Reviews are stellar.
I have Clearaudio Master Ref/Master TQ1/Insider wood Ref/Everest stand, which I am extremely happy with.
Many options are available at this Price range. Recommend audition, audition and audition. Worth flying to distance for an audition to make the right choice
I'm part way there...
KAB USA modified Technics SL-1200MKII turntable with,
Cardas arm rewire
KAB USA fluid arm damper.
KAB USA outboard power supply.
Isonoe isolator feet.
Denon DL-S1 moving coil cartridge.
Benz Micro Lukaschek PP-1.
Maple shade turntable platform.
Maple Shade Triple point three footers.
BAT VK-75 Tube power amp.
AESTHETIX CALYPSO LINE STAGE
??? brand vacuum machine but about $600.
various high quality cables $1000.
Paradigm Signature 8 speaker system about $9000.00
To believe that $25,000 will get you better sound than say $10, 000 or $15,000 is a myth. The hi-end thrives on the 'more dollars buy better sound'.
Find a local dealer, within fifty miles, that has a great loaner program. Start with the speakers, ones that just sound great to your ears, not someone else.
It might take a year to put all the pieces together but the result will be more satisfy your needs. Lastly, don't neglect the room treatments and speaker set ups. I think that makes the largest difference in the end.
'no exaggerated', doen't exist, all systems, in one way or another are 'colored'. That is what life is all about.
Like Popluhv above, if I had $25K, which unfortunately I don't, I would get one of the SME turntables, the Graham Phantom arm, and a Lyra cartridge of some sort. I now have the SME 20/2 ($11K), Phantom ($4.5K), and Audioquest cartridge, an older Scan-Tech design like the Lyras. I don't think the SME 30 is in your price range, but the new 20/12 might be. Good luck in your hunt.
Dear Azjake: Reading through your threads and answers I can see that you already have a top TT/tonearm/cartridges analog rig, this fact tell me that maybe you don't need any change on that front end other that spend 25K just for fun ( with all my respect to you ) that I don't think you want it.
Btw and just for fun try a Nagaoka MP-50 or a B&O MMc 1/2 or an Audio Technica ATML 170/180 MM cartridges, it could even and in many ways surpass the quality overall performance of your MC ones, you will enjoy it and you can have/buy it for around 500.00 dollars.
Of course that if you are really want to spend 25K ( looking to your system ) there are better " audio chain links " where to spend it than at your front end, of course you can always try a different top MC cartridge that can/could give you a different presentation but maybe only different and not better one, the same for a TT ( any ) where maybe you can/could improve the quality sound reproduction is to find a better tonearm match to your ( each ) cartridges and I'm not saying that what you own is not a good one.
IMHO the " weak " link in your analog chain is at the Phonolinepreamp, if I was you it is here where I try to make a change, a change that certainly will be not only a change ( different sound ) but a bbetter quality sound reproduction that what you have today: put your money ( any kind ) where it counts more!!, this is the simple name of the game, at least for what are my audio experiences.
If you have time please read what I already posted on a different thread about:
Your front end electronics ( Phono and line stages ), IMHO, is your very " weak " link not only because what you read on those links but because the inverse RIAA frequency response deviation of the Lamm is really not up to the task ( this inverse RIIA eq. and its accuracy is the heart/soul/brain/etc,etc of any phonostage, it is the WHY exist and the need of a Phono stage . ), you need to look for a better ( way better ) Phonolinepreamp, you and the music deserve it!
Regards and enjoy the music.
First off, Lucky you! Without question the Teres Certus. Very clean lines, wonderful look and if space is a concern or an aesthetic issue, it is nicely compact.
How does it sound? The only way I can describe that is to say correct, just...correct. I found myself nodding my head saying "yes that how this is suppose to sound." to some of my favorite recordings.
Either way, 14.5 grand will get you the two arm version of the Certus 450, get a Schroeder Reference and a used Triplanar VII, which comes up often enough on the 'Gon then you've got enough for a ZYX Universe for your Triplanar. About a year and a half later your Schroeder arrives and you've saved enough for a Dynavector XV-1s, you put your Universe on the Schroeder and the Dynavector on the Triplanar and your set.
Wait is that your plan or my plan...either way its a good plan! Don't forget to audition!
Dear Azjake: There is another critical subject on your analog front end electronics: the cartridge signal pass ( unfortunatelly )through a step-up transformers, these devices IMHO are " terrible " ( for say the least ) and make a heavy degradation to the cartridge signal.
If you have time please read the next fragments of something that were posted elsewhere about:
+++++ " The SUT is an old patch for bad SS phonopreamps designs and for the inherent limitations on tube phonopreamps for handle low output MC cartridges. It is a " chip solution to a complex problem ".
Any SUT has many inherent disadvantages like: distortions generated at the core ( it does not matters if is: air core ), heavy phase discharge ( landslide ), high apt to take hum, the wide zone ( band ) can't go down to DC, severe roll-off at high and low frecuencies, the reactive impedance on the SUT is incompatible with the cartridge impedance: this cause that we never could have flat frecuency response when we are using SUT, this mismatch between the impedances promote that the signal that pass through any SUT will be equalized ( yes, exactly like the problems between tube amplifier and loudspeakers because of those impedances ).
I want to let clear that there is no single advantage, in any way, using SUT's, any of them: it does not matters their design or price.
The SUT always be a : wrong PATCH. " +++++
+++++ " Here are some facts about why exist the SUTs for LO cartridges ( at least is my point of view ):
- In the fifthies appear the MC LO cartridges ( As a fact: Ortofon invented in 1948. ). In that time all the phonopreamps were designed for HO cartridges MM/MI/etc. No one was in the design of high gain PP because no body need it.
- Ortofon and latter other MC LO cartridges never ask to the PP designers/builders to manufacture a high gain PP for their MC LO cartridges. What I mean is that never exist a cooperation job between the MC LO builders and the PP manufacturers.
- What was the comercial attitude of almost all MC LO cartridges builders?: to put on sale their MC LO cartridges along with a SUTs ( designed for it self ) for those MC LO cartridges.
- I can remember from Ortofon when they design the MC10, MC 20, Mc 30, Mc 2000, Mc 3000 and MC 5000, cartridges at the same time they offer the respective SUT: T 10, T 20, T 30, T 5000.
- Like Ortofon everybody do the same: Denon, Audiocraft, Fidelity Research, Koetsu, Micro Seiki, Accuphase, Dynavector, Highphonic, Audio Technica, Entre, etc, etc.
- In the mid-time what does the PP designers ( SS or tube ) for the development of a high gain PP?: almost nothing, almost all take the easy " cheap road " ( wrong/worst one ): that the customers buy SUTs along with their PP if they want to handle a LO cartridge. Some of the PP designers/builders incorporate in their " high gain " PP internal SUTs, exactly like today ones.
- So we all are suffering the " easy road/ wrong road " that almost all designers/builders take it more than 55 years ago.
- All those comercial attitude never take into account us: the audio customers and never take into account the QUALITY MUSIC/SOUND REPRODUCTION. They don't care about in those times and many of them don't care about today. " +++++
Azjake, as I already posted: put your money where it counts more, where really makes a quality performance improvement.
Regards and enjoy the music.
Please see the photo in the above url. Notice the microphone step-up transformers in this Altec mixer/amp. This equipment made some of the best sounding recordings. You may disagree, but this is not a "patch" to properly interface a transducer with the input of an amp in terms of impedance matching and level optimization. It is one kind of solution.
A recording studio today can still have many transformers, isolation, step-up, step-down. If you feel this must be avoided then you must be only for all solid state electronics and modern recordings that exclude these devices.
Even still, tubes can be made to operate down to microphone and LOMC levels at acceptable S/N ratios. But for me, I prefer the sound, even the distortion, of a few transformers in the chain than all one type of component distortion - transistors or triodes.
It's a preference call, not an absolute, as some seem to describe it. You have a good expensive phono preamp. That's great. The rest of us should look for ourselves what sounds right for the budgets we have. Even cost-no-object phono stages might feature some step-up transformers for a character of sound not brought to you by any other means, to the right customer. Audio Note knows this. And they even take out the resistors in the series part of the RIAA network by changing to inductors, for their best phono stages. People who own them swear they are the best there is.
Dear Kurt: You are right and I agree. " It's a preference call ", but in the subject of this tread and looking the Azjake " heavy money " audio system where he certainly is not totally satisfied with it ( I assume this because he wants to spend 25K for a quality performance improvement ) the setp-up transformer in the analog front end only makes cartridge signal " heavy " degradation, it is not matters what you or I think and before he follow investing $$$$ it is better ( IMHO ) to analyze whcih are their weak links and where he needs and can achieve a quality performance improvement changes.
Kurt, I'm only trying to help ( I don't know if I do it for sure ) to Azjake with what he already own. If you think that those step-up transformers in the Azjake's system are right well I respect your opinion but I must to disagree totally with it.
Now, I always say that the call is up to the system's owner ( Azjake ) that it is the person that must live with that audio system ( and its quality performance. ) not you, me or the audio dealer: who has to be satisfied is Azjake!.
Btw, IMHO the inductors are worst in that stage than resistors but I respect the opinion of that owners that " swear they are the best ".
Regards and enjoy the music.
Wow, I was going to post then I read Mariasplunge advice. Absolutely identical to what I would say! The Teres Certus turntable, Schoeder or Triplanar tonearm, XYZ Universe or a Dynavector XV-1 cartridges. IMHO these particular analog products all seem to be at the absolute top of their game in analog today.
I think I need to provide you with more information than I believe you have on the subject of the LCR RIAA network. There are actual real advantages that you don't seem to be aware of when you write "the inductors are worst in that stage than resistors"
First of all, only inductors there can make this kind of RIAA network operate at all. It is not just another filter. It is a specifically designed filter to have certain special properties. It is used mostly in tube preamps to complement their needs if you've got the bucks to try it. The two major advantages are: 1) The input impedance into the filter, and hence the load on the first tube, is held virtually constant all the way across the audio band and somewhat beyond. They are usually 600 ohm professional use impedances, but could be designed for other chosen impedances, like 6K I was trying to make once. 2) There is the tightest of coupling from stage to stage because it has minimized the coupling impedance from output of tube 1 to input of tube 2.
RC RIAA stages use large series resistances that degrade signal transfer control on the second tube's input grid. This loose coupling problem really does cause a loss of detail. In fact, there is another problem such that there MUST be a coupling cap added just to avoid excess bass rolloff from grid leakage when you try to "DC couple", or actually "direct series resistance couple". Now you have a dielectric distortion problem operating in low voltage swings, to many the worst thing possible.
At DC, an inductor is zero ohms, and therefore the LCR RIAA filter is well suited for DC coupling (via inductors, of course). The series resistor creates problems unique to its impact, while the coloration of inductors causes problems unique to their impact.
In either case, the RC filter will measure better and give a flatter FR, but for those that have heard the top LCR filtered preamps, they may be colored, but they excel in dynamics and detail, many people calling that dynamics and detail level "state-of-the-art", no question about it. I've read the comparisons and that's how it comes out pretty universally by the different owner's opinions. But they are rare and the lowest price LCR phono stage I've heard of was $15K a few years ago, from Audio Note Japan I believe. I don't know if they even still make it, or it was a passing fad. Phono preamps are the some of the most difficult electronic pieces to do well in stereo, and so maybe supporting the LCR filter was not practical.
The LCR RIAA filter does have C's and R's in it, but those are less critical than the L's.
I have never completed my LCR preamp, and maybe someday I will. But the technical challenges and costs are great. You need support parts that are outrageously pricey and nearly impossible to source in order to make a good implementation. So my preamp is RC filtered still.
Excellent, but still I WANT my MC step-up. I have tried pre-preamps (head amps), but they never sound anywhere close to what I'm looking for. Then again, I like Koetsus, so that'll tell you something about my prferences in music reproduction. I thought the Transfiguration Temper Supreme I had was a cool-sounding rough-riding sterile hard-to-stick-with cartridge, and same to the Audioquest 7000Fe9 I had. Other reviewers said those were "neutral".
Dear Kurt: I'm sorry Azjake ( an apology, not trying to hijack the thread. ) but I need to give some answer about.
It happen that the Audio Note dealer here is one of my best audio friends, I know well its line and I had ( in my audio systems ) the opportunity to try several Audio Note electronics including one Ongaku.
During our very long Phonolinepreamp design research we touch almost every alternative out there to achieve our targets one of them was to use inductors but its disadvantages using it on RIIA phono stage preclude that we design around it. If you want to speak about please email me because that subject maybe has interest to you but not to other people and certainly not Azjake.
Btw, this is what Audio Note has to say about:
+++++ " Real reactive components, whether inductors or capacitors exhibit losses due to DC resistance, hysteresis and other energy storage effects such as dielectric absorption. The M9 Phono stage uses a specially designed RIAA Transformer...... " +++++, Audio Note not only use transformers there but this design is transformer coupled. Like I told you I respect the Audio Note lovers but I don't compart/share its " emotion " about: too much transformer signal degradation. Of course that that is a way to design and there are people that like it and there are other people that does not like it.
Regards and enjoy the music.
You can talk about the theoretical limitations of any device. Fact is all good design is about mitigating the compromises of a component and critical listening is about finding the ones you can live with. You want nuetrality with detail try one of clearaudios top cartridges with the step up of your choice. I like sota turn tables.
my 2c Rick