advice sought, turntables $10-20k

wbass

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Yeah, funny about the Linn not being repped too often on here. I confess that I'm a little leery of suspended TTs generally. Also, don't know much about the various Linn arms. Would probably prefer to be able to choose whatever arm I like. And already have the CB-1L and the 4 Point 14.

Thanks for the reminder about the LP12 though!
 

gleeds

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Your two tables are great vintage models of differing flavors made even better with the updates you made. With respect to a purchase within your budget that represents what's possible in a modern table/arm then definitely yes for the Kuzma 4Point. It offers superb performance, is bulletproof, and will tease a ton of performance out of virtually any of the latest flock of modern SOA cartridges. If you're going new as opposed to pre-owned on the table then the Kuzma Stabi R with the 4 Point would IMO be unbeatable. Lastly, the R easily accommodates multiple arms and like the Tech Das, eats up very little real estate.

Whichever way you go have fun with your three uniquely tailored setups: What a great time to be enjoying all that the vinyl replay world has to offer!
 
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wbass

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Thanks @gleeds ! Yes, I'm enjoying both tables. The SP10mk2 is currently getting a ton of use. It's just ergonomically a breeze. Starts and stops on a dime, always absolutely dead on speed. I've never seen it so much as even waver. I've already got the Kuzma 4-Point 14 and Schroeder CB-1L mounted to that plinth and am currently enjoying the Kuzma arm with a CAR-40 cart.

If this move to the UK happens in Sept, I'll either take the Garrard 401 with me and have it re-specced for UK voltage or I'll add another table there. The Stabi R is a great looking table. I've messed around with it in person a couple times, and it just looks rock solid.
 

wbass

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Question for any potential TechDAS AF5 or AF3 owners out there...

How solid/stable are the arm mounts? I've heard occasional speculation that the cantilevered design might not be an ideal way to mount an arm with proper stability.

I've got a couple big arms--a GrooveMaster 12-J and a Kuzma 4 Point 14--and I'm wondering if there'd be a bit of bounce hanging them off a long arm board from one of the pegs on the AFV.

Thanks!
 
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gleeds

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I assume you are talking about Tech Das model V? I have no direct experience with that table but do have extensive experience hanging three tonearms off of my vintage DDX-1000 Note, some of the arms have been quite heavy I never as an issue with arm board rigidity, even the 12" ones which extend even further out from the table. Nishikawa San (owner and designer of TD) has always designed his arm boards in this way and no one is more meticulous than he. I might add this design adds measurably to the ease of tonearm swapping and achieving a fast and accurate set-up.

Of course, if mass and stability in a compact package are what you are after in that regard the design of the Kuzma Stabi R rules. Disclosure, I have not heard the Kuzma however, Christoper Thornton of Artisan Fidelity, (who in my book is one of the best analog men in the business) has set up and sold quite a few and told me on several occasions he swears by the model R quality regardless of tonearm used.
 

wbass

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I assume you are talking about Tech Das model V? I have no direct experience with that table but do have extensive experience hanging three tonearms off of my vintage DDX-1000 Note, some of the arms have been quite heavy I never as an issue with arm board rigidity, even the 12" ones which extend even further out from the table. Nishikawa San (owner and designer of TD) has always designed his arm boards in this way and no one is more meticulous than he. I might add this design adds measurably to the ease of tonearm swapping and achieving a fast and accurate set-up.

Of course, if mass and stability in a compact package are what you are after in that regard the design of the Kuzma Stabi R rules. Disclosure, I have not heard the Kuzma however, Christoper Thornton of Artisan Fidelity, (who in my book is one of the best analog men in the business) has set up and sold quite a few and told me on several occasions he swears by the model R quality regardless of tonearm used.
Yes, thank you, the AF3/AF5 mounting system is what I meant.

Good to know. The AF5 and Stabi R are basically what I've boiled my hunt for a next table down to. The simple, solid design of the Stabi R appeals. As does the vacuum hold-down on the AF5.

That's interesting about Artisan Fidelity.
 

gleeds

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Always good to have choices...my pleasure!
 

bonzo75

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This is better than techdas IMO. https://www.audio-markt.de/market/brinkmann-audio-balance-2-tonarmbasen-hrs-basis-1425522924

and while you might get better tables on spending many times more, I assume CS Port and Saskia (not heard but well vetted) and Vyger are better, I would say make this your final table, get a good cart, arm, and phono, then just spend on quality LPs. For example, if you have 100k more to buy a better sounding table, buy this table and spend the 100k on quality LPs. And if you have more money than that, spend that on LPs too. In short, a billionaire should buy this table and spend the rest on quality LPs, because if he buys the Techdas AF0, he has just lost like 400k+ worth of LPs. LPs can be bought forever, and quality LPs on this will provide an overall sonic effect greater than playing less quality LPs on a better table

Lots of feedback here https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/brinkmann-balance-kuzma-4p.31089/
 
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bonzo75

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This is better than techdas IMO. https://www.audio-markt.de/market/brinkmann-audio-balance-2-tonarmbasen-hrs-basis-1425522924

and while you might get better tables on spending many times more, I assume CS Port and Saskia (not heard but well vetted) and Vyger are better, I would say make this your final table, get a good cart, arm, and phono, then just spend on quality LPs. For example, if you have 100k more to buy a better sounding table, buy this table and spend the 100k on quality LPs. And if you have more money than that, spend that on LPs too. In short, a billionaire should buy this table and spend the rest on quality LPs, because if he buys the Techdas AF0, he has just lost like 400k+ worth of LPs. LPs can be bought forever, and quality LPs on this will provide an overall sonic effect greater than playing less quality LPs on a better table

Lots of feedback here https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/brinkmann-balance-kuzma-4p.31089/


The above is an all gryphon tidal system. Below is a Allnic/soulution Avalon system. Doesn't matter, brinkmann is great in both.


 
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bonzo75

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Also, you said when you move to the UK you are planning to audition some horns. I would wait. Check how much you need for your SETs horns if you like them and then spend on analog, in increasing order of Nottingham Hyperspace/TD 124, STST Motus II, then Brinkmann Balance. Carts arms phono cost money, so you want to progress properly. For SETs horns, an used Bergmann Sindre (arm included) at 6k euro with Red Sparrow will sound great. Add a nottingham, play around with pivots and carts, see which among the Sindre Red Sparrow and Pivoted cart sounds good, then two years later make the jump to one table with either LT or Pivot.
 

Kingrex

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I love my STST Motus II. The second the needle dropped I loved it. I really need a better phono pre and cartridge. The STST very clearly shows the difference between my Hana ML and Denon 103 with Midas headshell and soundsmith Sapphire cantilever with line contact diamond. The Denon just pops with a SUT. I don't know much about TT. But I figure any audio device that clearly enunciates changes is a solid foundation. I could easily hear the 2 different phono stages that were hear a couple months ago. One was magical. I loved it. But it had some hum at louder play levels. The other was all around much more quiet and linear, but it did not speak to me. Again, I feel it takes a good table to tell you what you have and the STST does that. And as Bonzo says, it leaves money for records.
 
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bonzo75

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I love my STST Motus II. The second the needle dropped I loved it. I really need a better phono pre and cartridge. The STST very clearly shows the difference between my Hana ML and Denon 103 with Midas headshell and soundsmith Sapphire cantilever with line contact diamond. The Denon just pops with a SUT. I don't know much about TT. But I figure any audio device that clearly enunciates changes is a solid foundation. I could easily hear the 2 different phono stages that were hear a couple months ago. One was magical. I loved it. But it had some hum at louder play levels. The other was all around much more quiet and linear, but it did not speak to me. Again, I feel it takes a good table to tell you what you have and the STST does that. And as Bonzo says, it leaves money for records.
I heard STST do very well with FR 64s and Hana.

I also heard it various other carts at anamighty sound with Schroeder CB arm, it is an excellent table, great value for money.
 

defride

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The STST very clearly shows the difference between my Hana ML and Denon 103
I also went through both on Technics SP10 mk2 and Brinkmann Oasis then moved on to Phasemation PP2000. You'll love the Phasemation should you decide to move on from the ML, same basic character but builds on all it's strengths.
 
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Kingrex

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I am still trying to understand where the bang for the buck is with Vinyl. Does everything have to be perfect. Or is it more the cart, preamp, table, setup, vinyl. Sure it all counts. But does one good table to a very good table lend as much as a good cart to great cart.
 

jfrech

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Apologies in advance for the advice thread, but I'm hoping I can seek out some perspectives from the analog boffins on here....

I'm contemplating a turntable and/or tonearm upgrade. Here are the two set-ups I currently have:

1) Garrard 401, with the following upgrades and other components:
--Artisan Fidelity bearing and heavy stainless-steel platter
--Artisan Fidelity idler wheel
--LDA PSU and speed controller (all installed by AF tech, who also refurbished the 401)
--mass-y wooden plinth (made, I believe by Larry Spence--I bought secondhand with the 401)
--GrooveMaster 12-J tonearm
--Ortofon SPU Synergy G

2) Technics SP10mk2
--refurbed by Artisan Fidelity's technician
--Acoustand two-arm plinth
--Jelco 850L and 850M tonearms
--mix of carts: DL103, DL103R, Koetsu Black, SPU #1E

I like both of these set-ups and have put a fair bit of thought, effort, and expense into them. I plan on hanging on to them indefinitely. However, in this hobby, one's thoughts always turn to possible upgrades. Here are the turntables I'm contemplating, in the $10k-20k range:

TechDAS AirForce V
--possible pros: great company rep, up to four tonearms of any brand and length, air bearing and vacuum hold-down
--possible cons: the V Premium might be better (but out of my budget), motor and platter in same unit

TechDAS AirForce III
--same as above, minus the concern about the inboard motor
--I'd have to find one used

SOTA Cosmos (vacuum model)
--possible pros: factory is a two-hour drive from me, vacuum hold-down, suspension (though I've no experience with a suspended table), possibility for different tonearms (though only one at a time and no 12" arms)
--possible cons: limitations on what length arm can be used, I'm not 100% sure about the aesthetics

Basis 2500 or 2800
--possible pros: strong company rep, vacuum hold-down an option, matching tonearms seem well-regarded
--possible cons: possibly harder to use other-brand arms (?), I'm on the fence the aesthetics and the heavy use of acrylic, 2800 out of budget

Other possible tables:
--TransRotor FatBob, FatBob Reference
--TW Acustic Raven
--Clearaudio Innovation, various models
--Bergmann Galder
(really like the styling and the well-thought out features, probably out of my budget)
--Kuzma Stabi R, Stabi Reference 2 (also like the styling, the company rep, and the possibility of natural pairing with 4-Point arms)


I have my possible tonearm upgrade much more narrowed down. It's between:
--Graham Engineering Phantom III
--Kuzma 4-Point 9 or 4-Point 11

I like both for their good reps and their adjustability. I'm getting more serious about cart alignment and want an arm with easily adjustable and repeatable VTA and azimuth settings.

Obviously, something like the Basis will often come with its own arm. That's not a dealbreaker, but I like the option to swap around arms and add other arms in the future. Multi-arm set-up is also nice.

For the 'table, I'm looking for something that is a noticeable upgrade from the two-set-ups I already own. My questions for the group (with apologies and thanks!):
--What are your favorites from my possible upgrade list? Thanks to those who might mention other tables, but I've done a fair bit of research to narrow down to the above.
--How important or beneficial is a well-implemented vacuum hold-down system? From the above, it's probably clear that this is of great interest to me. However, my experience with other clamping methods (VPI periphery ring and Michell reflex clamp) has been somewhat ambiguous, sometimes beneficial, sometimes making LP playback a little dull.
--Are there other factors or pros and cons to the above I'm missing?
--Are the Garrard 401 and SP10mk2 set-ups I own now "good enough" already? I know there are some out there who feel these vintage tables, well restored and set up, can be a platform for almost any arm or cart. Still, I'm curious if I can improve on what I already have. One option, of course, is to add a Graham or Kuzma arm to my SP10mk2, the plinth of which should take them. But I'm also drawn to the idea of keeping the dual Jelco arms as is and building another turntable platform from scratch.

I'll figure out cartridge(s) later. The Kuzma and Graham seem to be able handle most carts. The rest of my equipment, in brief:

--Allnic H7000 phono-pre
--Audio Research Reference 40 pre
--Sanders Sound ESL monoblocks
--Magnepan 3.7i
--dual 15" subs

I plan to get out and hear as many of my candidates as possible. But for now I'd very much appreciate the experiences of the great analog folks on these forums.

Thanks again for any thoughts, perspectives, and advice!
Hi I just saw this thread. I haven't read all the replies so apoligize if someone already hit this. Don't forget about the Grand Prix Audio Parabolica. It's a GREAT match with the Kuzma 4-Point. A few reviews out there for you to consider... Good luck
 
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bonzo75

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--Allnic H7000 phono-pre

Just saw that you have the Allnic 7000 which I like. Have you changed the recti to the KR?

In UK and in EU, many of the Allnic and Brinkmann distributors are the same. DCC in Brussels owns that combo and one guy in London does, if you want to hear when you move over.
 
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Solypsa

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www.solypsa.com

I am still trying to understand where the bang for the buck is with Vinyl. Does everything have to be perfect. Or is it more the cart, preamp, table, setup, vinyl. Sure it all counts. But does one good table to a very good table lend as much as a good cart to great cart
Everything matters but each has its sweet spots.

Take the STST tables. Both models are great, and offer very good value. Many times I suggest to people on the fence about spending more for the Motus II that a modest cost tonearm like the Groovrmaster III along with the Motus II is a great pairing. In this example that's a bias in price towards the table. In other instances I have a Motus ( non suspended version ) in a system with a 4pt14 which is a cost bias towards tonearm.

Practically speaking, the vector between good and great is a bit tighter for carts ( say around $10k ) whereas for tables it's larger ( say $100k ish ) so I see people climb the cart ladder more often than the table ladder.

@Kingrex Your Motus II, and more importantly your system, can show the benefit of a better phono pre and cart; for that matter arm too but that's last in my mental list of priorities in this case. Guees I'm saying you are at one sweet spot, the next atop involves both cart and preamp ;)
 

bonzo75

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I am still trying to understand where the bang for the buck is with Vinyl. Does everything have to be perfect. Or is it more the cart, preamp, table, setup, vinyl. Sure it all counts. But does one good table to a very good table lend as much as a good cart to great cart.

Usually people are moving to experience something new. It is very hard to otherwise audition tables or carts. If you read a survey done on WBF, 95% bought the carts without hearing. One successful dealer told me the best way to sell is to not let the buyer audition the cart. Many buyers lose interest after listening, and buy the one they haven't heard, either because new or someone raved about it.

I feel that there is bad analog and good analog. Once you hear good analog, even if you hear better, I can walk away from the better. I don't feel like I need to have it. But with records it is different. I do feel like I need to own the good records. They add that much to the pleasure.

When I heard the STST at anamighty with small speakers, that was a very satisfying experience as each record played differently and i was enjoying multiple concerts.
 

wbass

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Just saw that you have the Allnic 7000 which I like. Have you changed the recti to the KR?

In UK and in EU, many of the Allnic and Brinkmann distributors are the same. DCC in Brussels owns that combo and one guy in London does, if you want to hear when you move over.
Yes, I do have the H-7000. I found one used from a dealer at a decent price. And, yup, swapped the recti, though it's a NOS RCA (recommended to me by Albert Porter), which made a positive difference. H-7000 is great. I listened to a bunch of phono stages, and the ones I liked were the Nagra BPS, the EAR 834P, and a ModWright PH 9.0 (which I already owned and still have), but the H-7000 is the best of the bunch (no surprise).

I'm not sure if the Allnic or my ARC Ref 40 are coming with me or not or if I'll just leave them in storage for a while. I'm a little uncertain about running nice 120V tube equipment off of a step-up transformer. I've considered getting them switched over to 220/240V. But, then, I don't know if I'll have room for my LPs (about a 1000 maybe) in a London flat, so just might go digital for a while. And I've no clue how long this UK adventure will last. A year or two or maybe indefinite. Hard to say.
 
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