AVID ACUTUS SP TO SP REFERENCE or new Arm or what?

howiebrou

Well-Known Member
Jun 29, 2012
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I am quite embarrassed to say I had my first cart mounting mishap with the DS. The DS's body is a bit short so I had an adapter made to compensate. With the Thales, the cart is mounted on a jig. Managed to break the tiny tip of the cart. USD2k to fix. Right now, it is back in Japan as I detected a channel imbalance. Anyway, while I had it mounted and channle balance adjusted on the preamp, I liked it a lot. Enough to persist and see this through. Very nice (sorry my vocab limited). I hope to get it back soon. However, I am a bit miffed that in less than 6 months since acquiring the so called top of line from DS, they have a new top of line coming. Always a bit behind chasing.
I think your timing was just unlucky as they don't announce new carts that often.
 

Loheswaran

Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2014
367
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I had an Avid Acutus SP with SME V and Koetsu blue Azule. Maybe my setup skills not good but I could only get slow and thick sound from this setup. Sold the SME V and tried Thales Audio reference chopstick arm with the Koetsu. Better but still not experiencng the lush and emotional vocals that the Koetsu is supposed to be famous for. Swapped out for a Benz Micro LPS. Very nice. Swapped out for a DS Audio Master 1 - even nicer but DS 1 had other issues some of my own making. So, it went back for repairs. Now using the LPS - very nice. I am still hoping one day I can get my Koetsu to sing. From research, Koetsus need heavy effective mass arms. Still head scratching for the moment. Does not help that Acutus can only take 1 arm at a time

Dear Joeling

I commend your system - very british I must say. I've had an SME V that I tried on a couple of decks (amazon model one and my Sony DD). It had a 'heavy' feel. In the Amazon the Moerch was a better match but it was made with it in mind. My biggest improvement when I fiddled was to use a Helius Omega. Geoff make a newer higher model now. The bass weight and depth were tehre - although not as juicy and I thought it painted a more articulate picture (i don't have the V now). I have read that the graha, works very well on SME turntables - why not try a Graham arm?
 

joeling

Well-Known Member
Jan 8, 2014
101
9
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Have you considered whether the Koetsu for all its strengths might be bettered by a different cartridge?

My main table is the Sleipner with a Benz Micro LPS. I am also falling for the DS Audio Master 1 even though I have self sabotaged the cart due to my own clumsiness. Well, the Grand Master is coming my way after trading in the Master 1 :mad:.

This brings us to the Koetsu. I have 2 Koetsu Blue Azules (long story) that I felt I have not done them justice all these years. So, I want to make it right. In the medium term, I will also need to work on the Goldfinger o_O

So, call it a personal challenge to explore / maximise the potential of this cart.

PS : I have also just realised that the Soundsmith Strain Gauge is low compliance ! No wonder it never sounded right all these years. Need another heavy arm...:oops:
 
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3125simon

Member
Apr 26, 2020
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Thanks for all the replies.
I’ve not progressed too much on the TT front as I have replaced my speakers with a pair of Tidal piano G2 which has dramatically improved things and my Acutus/SME IV/ Urushi is now really singing........
Still a little soft in the bass, and not suited to all music (good on jazz and female vocals not so happy on classic rock!)
Now as I think about cooler weather and a return to listening, I’m thinking again about upgrading my TT.
Current options:
- keep Avid and upgrade the IV to a V and the cartridge to a Etsuro Bordeaux ?
- keep the Avid and add a second arm - sme 12 or 3012r keep the IV and urushi and add the Etsuro?
- replace the Avid with a Kuzma stabi m with 14” 4 point and keep the urushi?

1 & 3 are roughly the same investment cost after part ex. Option 2 is a nice idea, but vinyl is a weekend hobby for me and I’m not sure two arms are really necessary....

So it more 1 or 3.
My only issue with 1 and staying with the Avid is the nagging question about the power supply - I cannot get my head round power amplifier money for a speed controller.......

3 and changing to the Stabi looks like end game. No more messing.....??????
 

Nemal1

Active Member
Dec 9, 2018
134
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I was sceptical about adding a clock to my CD player, until I heard it.
same with the standard and reference supplies for the Acutus. I’ve has the former and own the latter.
you can always come to my house and listen to see what you think!
i think I commented earlier that changing the arm to a triplanar is a significant upgrade on the SME, again from ownership end experience.
i have a personal affection for Koetsu that isn’t likely to change for the Latest flavor, but that is solely my own choice.
good luck with whatever of the several options you choose
 

howiebrou

Well-Known Member
Jun 29, 2012
1,745
1,577
550
Thanks for all the replies.
I’ve not progressed too much on the TT front as I have replaced my speakers with a pair of Tidal piano G2 which has dramatically improved things and my Acutus/SME IV/ Urushi is now really singing........
Still a little soft in the bass, and not suited to all music (good on jazz and female vocals not so happy on classic rock!)
Now as I think about cooler weather and a return to listening, I’m thinking again about upgrading my TT.
Current options:
- keep Avid and upgrade the IV to a V and the cartridge to a Etsuro Bordeaux ?
- keep the Avid and add a second arm - sme 12 or 3012r keep the IV and urushi and add the Etsuro?
- replace the Avid with a Kuzma stabi m with 14” 4 point and keep the urushi?

1 & 3 are roughly the same investment cost after part ex. Option 2 is a nice idea, but vinyl is a weekend hobby for me and I’m not sure two arms are really necessary....

So it more 1 or 3.
My only issue with 1 and staying with the Avid is the nagging question about the power supply - I cannot get my head round power amplifier money for a speed controller.......

3 and changing to the Stabi looks like end game. No more messing.....??????
i Like my Acutus an don't think a Stabi M is necessarily an upgrade. The SP should be good enough unless you really want to go Acutus reference level.
I was sceptical about adding a clock to my CD player, until I heard it.
same with the standard and reference supplies for the Acutus. I’ve has the former and own the latter.
you can always come to my house and listen to see what you think!
i think I commented earlier that changing the arm to a triplanar is a significant upgrade on the SME, again from ownership end experience.
i have a personal affection for Koetsu that isn’t likely to change for the Latest flavor, but that is solely my own choice.
good luck with whatever of the several options you choose
Do you have the Reference Mono version? That PSU is a beast!
 
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3125simon

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Apr 26, 2020
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i Like my Acutus an don't think a Stabi M is necessarily an upgrade. The SP should be good enough unless you really want to go Acutus reference level.

Hi Howie, I see from your system that you have an Artisan Fidelity Garrard 301 with an Ikeda 407.
How does this compare to the Avid? I’d love to have such a beauty.......
 

howiebrou

Well-Known Member
Jun 29, 2012
1,745
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My armboard just arrived from AF so it’s being drilled for the Ikeda as we speak. I’ll let you know once it’s up and running!
 

audioguy1958

Well-Known Member
Feb 8, 2015
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215
I remember hearing an Avid Acutus with some other really nice equipment, it sounded veiled and not what I expected. I suspect that table requires pretty careful setup and fine tuning to sound great. A high precision power supply is mandatory for great sound on belt drives.
 

Nemal1

Active Member
Dec 9, 2018
134
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That’s not how mine sounds thankfully. Set up is very easy and requires very little attention post installation. I agree that the power supply is a significant component in all equipment, not just belt drive turntables.
 
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3125simon

Member
Apr 26, 2020
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Not my experience with Acutus....easy to set up and stays that way, not veiled at all.....

I’ve changed my tone arm to SME V and cartridge to Etsuro Bordeaux- big improvement in resolution, space, bass and “speed” and the Bordeaux only has 8 hours on it......

Sure speed control very important, on ALL turntables..... issue with AVID is that the Reference upgrade is £10,000...... 70% of the cost of the basic SP Turntable which in my opinion is crazy.......

I can by a very very good pre-amp, power amp or phono stage for that.......
 
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hogen

Member
May 15, 2018
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Oslo, Norway
Not my experience with Acutus....easy to set up and stays that way, not veiled at all.....

I’ve changed my tone arm to SME V and cartridge to Etsuro Bordeaux- big improvement in resolution, space, bass and “speed” and the Bordeaux only has 8 hours on it......

Sure speed control very important, on ALL turntables..... issue with AVID is that the Reference upgrade is £10,000...... 70% of the cost of the basic SP Turntable which in my opinion is crazy.......

I can by a very very good pre-amp, power amp or phono stage for that.......

I agree, I have mine with SME V, Lyra Atlas SL and Nordost Odin2 phono cable, nothing veiled about this combination at all:)
 

andy2020

New Member
Jan 2, 2020
13
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Thanks for your feedback. I spoke to Conrad and he was very helpful - still have difficulty to think about 9 k£ for a power supply...
I’ll probably get a SME V to tighten the bass. I find my Vitus phone stage to be good - I previously has a Allnic h1500 which had great presence but was noisy and soft at the frequency extremes....
thks

A bit late to this thread, but only just came across it.

I’ve got the Acutus SP Reference - took it to Conrad for a full service and also had a listen at the difference between my SP Ref PSU and the Mono PSU. Like you I simply can’t get my head around how/why the PSU could make a £10k difference, but the difference was astonishing - utterly amazing - Antoni Forcione like never, ever before... a final destination. It does make me wonder if the mono PSU is the one it should come with in the first place! But if/ when priorities allow, it will be an upgrade I‘ll be making.

Anyway, on the subject of arms, I’ve got the SME V... sent it back to SME for the full service inc silver rewire last year, but still think it’s my weakest link right now Of affordable upgrades. My mates ClearAudio Innovation Basic, TT5 and Stradivari cart annoyingly seems to outperform my set up (Acutus, SME V, EMT JSD VM into Tidal Preos and Piano’s with Argento flow cables) - could of course be room acoustics/size!

My next move will be to get the Thales Simplicty II arm (couldn't possibly get the same arm as my mate).... and then the Mono PSU... Be interested to hear if anyone else has tried the Simplicity II on the Acutus?
 

3125simon

Member
Apr 26, 2020
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23
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A bit late to this thread, but only just came across it.

I’ve got the Acutus SP Reference - took it to Conrad for a full service and also had a listen at the difference between my SP Ref PSU and the Mono PSU. Like you I simply can’t get my head around how/why the PSU could make a £10k difference, but the difference was astonishing - utterly amazing - Antoni Forcione like never, ever before... a final destination. It does make me wonder if the mono PSU is the one it should come with in the first place! But if/ when priorities allow, it will be an upgrade I‘ll be making.

Anyway, on the subject of arms, I’ve got the SME V... sent it back to SME for the full service inc silver rewire last year, but still think it’s my weakest link right now Of affordable upgrades. My mates ClearAudio Innovation Basic, TT5 and Stradivari cart annoyingly seems to outperform my set up (Acutus, SME V, EMT JSD VM into Tidal Preos and Piano’s with Argento flow cables) - could of course be room acoustics/size!

My next move will be to get the Thales Simplicty II arm (couldn't possibly get the same arm as my mate).... and then the Mono PSU... Be interested to hear if anyone else has tried the Simplicity II on the Acutus?

Thanks for the reply.... I also looked at Thales Simplicity - Conrad was not too enthusiastic!
Surprising your friends Clear Audio betters your Acutus... I listed to the Innovation with the same arm and Cartridge as your friend when I purchased my Acutus - I found the latter more musical and involving, hence I bought it...!!

On another note, I see you are using Tidal Preos with Vitus SM10... I’m currently looking at the new Prisma with Impulse through my Piano G2... overall it’s a highly resolving neural sound which I like, but I miss some of the Vitus warmth (SIA25)... can I ask about your experience and why you paired the preos with Vitus??
Thanks
 
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andy2020

New Member
Jan 2, 2020
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Hi Simon, don’t get me wrong, with a good quality pressing, I love the overall sound of my set up, it’s just that when I go to my mates he has an incredibly detailed and natural soundstage where you can ‘see’ where the musicians sit /float across the room - I just don’t have anything like that.

If I could get wife approval I’d have gone Tidal all the way, as it is, I’ve had to build a piece at a time. I got the Piano’s and Preos from Tidal’s Used list (I bought from the owner facilitated by Tidal). I did have the opportunity of a pair of Tidal mono’s but I just could not get them through my approval process :-( The Vitus came up second hand, and I bought based on reviews I’d read (and if I’m honest, the thinking that if people buy them at £30k+ they had to be good!). They’ve been back to Vitus for a recap and upgrades so good as new.

The more I learn from reading, I suspect the difference I’m hearing between my system and my mates is 1. His valve amps and 2. He has more GIK room treatment. My Autumn projects will definitely include some more bass trapping and deflection/absorption on front wall and ceiling.
 

3125simon

Member
Apr 26, 2020
37
23
8
56
Hi Simon, don’t get me wrong, with a good quality pressing, I love the overall sound of my set up, it’s just that when I go to my mates he has an incredibly detailed and natural soundstage where you can ‘see’ where the musicians sit /float across the room - I just don’t have anything like that.

If I could get wife approval I’d have gone Tidal all the way, as it is, I’ve had to build a piece at a time. I got the Piano’s and Preos from Tidal’s Used list (I bought from the owner facilitated by Tidal). I did have the opportunity of a pair of Tidal mono’s but I just could not get them through my approval process :-( The Vitus came up second hand, and I bought based on reviews I’d read (and if I’m honest, the thinking that if people buy them at £30k+ they had to be good!). They’ve been back to Vitus for a recap and upgrades so good as new.

The more I learn from reading, I suspect the difference I’m hearing between my system and my mates is 1. His valve amps and 2. He has more GIK room treatment. My Autumn projects will definitely include some more bass trapping and deflection/absorption on front wall and ceiling.
Room treatments can make a big difference, I have some base traps and GIK absorsion panels and first reflect and on the wall between the speakers and this made a very big improvement....
But not at all Wife friendly - I could only use them once I took over one of our spare bedrooms and am now converting part of my garage (Covid restrictions allowing) into a dedicated sound proofed listening room..
 

DetroitVinylRob

Well-Known Member
Dec 29, 2016
31
28
85
Metropolitan Detroit area, MI
I have the Avid Acutus SP (love this table so much that even with a Brinkmann Balance I’m keeping it in play) with a SME V with Kondo-San’s silver fairy hair internal wire (instead of the VH copper), Lyra Kleos, Nordost TYR 2 phono cable.

I say swap out the arm. Even my V, though sounding very nice on this table is a bit antiquated. Lack of VTA/SRA on the fly and no azimuth is a total PITA imho.

And the world is rich with tonearm choices that could accommodate.
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
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I heard a basic Avid with the SME V and the vdh master signature Stradivarius. It so eclipsed his other table combinations including three carts on the Bergmann Galder and one Garrard. He mentioned the reason was the SME V and the vdh, and whenever he places it on a table it sounds that way. Since you already have hurt SME V on your Avid, you should try the VDH Stradivarius
 
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