How Many Different Tables, Arms for each, Cartridges, and Phono Stages for Full Emotional Interpretation of music? Forget the Budget! What's Best?

Mike Lavigne

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Apr 25, 2010
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#21
Hi Mike,
Thanks. So what did you learn from your earlier 5 setups vs. what are you shooting for now?
my earlier "5 different turntable" experience was in 2009-2011, at the end of 8 years of owning the Rockport Sirius III turntable. i had observed others enjoying the Technics SP-10 Mk2 and MK3, as well as the Garrard 301, with updated plinths and modern tonearms, and wanted to see how close those might approach the Rockport. there was also a fun factor involved in owning a few turntables that appealed to me too. at that point i was a bit of a direct drive snob in that it seemed to me a superior drive system. working with Steve Dobbins i acquired a SP-10 Mk2 plus a Garrard 301 to begin with, then a SP-10 Mk3. next came the Dobbins 'The Beat' direct drive....a new design based on various tt's Steve had been impressed with, and then finally the Wave Kinetic NVS.

an interesting aspect of this was that the turntables i liked most at the end of this period, did not exist when i began that process only a couple years earlier. they were reactions to a market demand which was increasing for sure.

what i learned was that i mostly always played the NVS with the Durand Talea tonearm, or the Rockport. the Beat was also in that conversation, i only had the Beat and NVS together for a short time. but overall the performance difference was apparent to me from those 3 to those others, and having all those choices was interesting, but did not really improve my music listening. the exception was on certain music, the Garrard was addictive. but it was limited. i'd say i did not prefer the NVS to the Rockport, but neither did prefer the Rockport to the NVS. but i realized that owning 3, or 4, or 5 turntables was nothing i needed, if i mostly used only one of them.

then in early 2012, my priorities adjusted to acquiring the darTZeel 458 mono blocks plus the new Evolution Acoustics MM7 twin tower speakers; so culling the herd of non essential gear was the prudent thing to do to keep my wife from raising hell on the cash flow side of things. i had fun and learned a lot about turntables and related things, and glad i went through it. for the next 9 years i was a one turntable guy; excepting i had a NOS EMT 948 in my system for a few years which i liked, but did not love. but that was not a tt i owned.

fast forward to a few years ago; i came within 90 days of taking delivery of an AS-2000 from ddk. i'd paid for half in cash. then i had a change of heart. what changed is that i felt it was putting too much of my system assets into one turntable. my NVS was sounding very fine to me, and the dots just did not connect. while having only one turntable was the lesson i had previously learned, my mind was thinking different at this point. now i could see there was more than one turntable drive 'truth'.

looking back no way to ever know if that was the right move. but i think that decision essentially allowed me to add these other turntables this past year.

now we move back to a 30,000 foot view of my system building strategy; and we have to factor where i am on my path. last year i was seeing that i would be retiring in 2-3 years. i had just invested heavily in my digital and really gone all out. the previous year i had purchased my 3rd Studer A-820, so now i needed to give my vinyl my 'end game' attention so i would not need to invest much after retirement. i knew i wanted a great idler, and a great belt drive turntable to go with my NVS direct drive. this time with multiple turntables i wanted all of them to be able to reach the top level of performance. and then live with that for a few years to know i've reached the best i could do with vinyl. then if i only preferred one of them fine, i've figured that out.

so that is the backdrop of why i've added the Saskia model two, and then the CS Port LFT1 this last year.

and at this point i could not be happier. i'm listening to more vinyl than ever, and feel i can really get inside each pressing and music type and find the most magical perspective. not only do i have 3 different high level examples of the drive systems, but also high level examples of a linear tracker tonearm, gimbaled bearing tonearm, and 2 uni-pivots. i have one tt with active isolation, 2 without. now a great mono cartridge too. and.....i have 5 different phono channels; 2 solid state, 3 tubed, with 2 SUT's. so lots of different choices.

i think the lesson for multiple turntables is that people change, system priorities change, maybe you add a second turntable for one reason, then another for a different unrelated reason. we don't system build in a linear fashion. we go with our feelings and impulses. so our decision tree is new around every corner. true; in my case i did eventually have a long view perspective, but no doubt it's fluid.

for me....right now....the best part is in the last month or so i've purchased maybe 75 records, and plan on more each week. the gear stuff is behind me, and it's new vinyl time now. and i just KNOW i will have the right set-up for any pressing.

i do have a new tone arm cable i'll have in a few weeks or so, but zero other gear thoughts in my mind.

sorry if that got a little wordy, but no way to say it simply.
 
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spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
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#22
Mike, more than once you've used the phrase "...right setup for any pressing...", rather than "...lp...". Is that deliberate?
 

Mike Lavigne

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Apr 25, 2010
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#23
Mike, more than once you've used the phrase "...right setup for any pressing...", rather than "...lp...". Is that deliberate?
those 2 terms are mostly interchangeable to me. they mean slightly different things depending how they are used but pretty close. so i mean nothing significant when i use one or the other. "pressing" can be used to differentiate between multiple different versions of the same recording. Lp is more general.

OTOH there could be times when a different pressing of the same recording might work better on one tt more than another. so pressing gets more down to brass tacks than Lp. but i did not intentionally choose pressing over Lp.
 

tima

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Mar 4, 2014
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#24
OTOH there could be times when a different pressing of the same recording might work better on one tt more than another. so pressing gets more down to brass tacks ... .
Wow. That made me think...

An audiophile guy exclaims: "I have 4000 records in my collection with lots of rare pressings. Can you top that?"

Another audiophile guy: "No - I only have 3000 records in my collection with several pressings of each. However I do have 3000 listening rooms."
 

Tango

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#25
Wow. That made me think...

An audiophile guy exclaims: "I have 4000 records in my collection with lots of rare pressings. Can you top that?"

Another audiophile guy: "No - I only have 3000 records in my collection with several pressings of each. However I do have 3000 listening rooms."
I don't think Mike has any intention to show off as you seem to imply. It is what happens when a person having both different pressings of a title and multiple tts to play and hear differences at a flick of fingers. Mike's system seems to allow him to hear the tiny difference too. I am sure Mike experience and learn even further how one pressing sound good on a tt and could sound better on another tt. But we are talking a small fraction. Both tt and pressing have variations that some could possibly match better with another at the owner's preference. The luxury of having a few decks on hand let him experience that. And he was just telling us that. I can relate to what he said. But I don't think he would be so crazy to intentionally match a pressing to a particular tt.
 
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PeterA

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Dec 7, 2011
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#26
Don’t forget sample variations between the same cartridge models. Mike now has two Etsuro Golds. They may sound different on the same arm/cartridge/table. Now imagine sample variation and cartridge set up inconsistencies and pressing differences......
 

spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
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#27
...maybe some tts sound better dealing with off-centre pressing eccentricities...
 

Mike Lavigne

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#28
I don't think Mike has any intention to show off as you seem to imply. It is what happens when a person having both different pressings of a title and multiple tts to play and hear differences at a flick of fingers. Mike's system seems to allow him to hear the tiny difference too. I am sure Mike experience and learn even further how one pressing sound good on a tt and could sound better on another tt. But we are talking a small fraction. Both tt and pressing have variations that some could possibly match better with another at the owner's preference. The luxury of having a few decks on hand let him experience that. And he was just telling us that. I can relate to what he said. But I don't think he would be so crazy to intentionally match a pressing to a particular tt.
my tt choices to use are mostly a matter of music and mood, and not thinking so deep as to pressing. i mostly just play my favorite pressing of each recording anyway. yet i have played multiple pressings on multiple tt's, more 33rpm verses 45rpm than different versions of the same speed pressing. of course, now i have a mono cartridge that seems to be able to play at the highest level so we will see how that changes things. the last 2 nights have been 80% Infinity/NVS mono listening. previously my stereo Etsuro Gold's were better on my mono records than the Miyajima Premium Be mono, so i rarely played it. and then the 1.0 mil stylus Infinity should be here in a month to replace the loaner 0.7 mil.. so then i will have to see if the 0.7 mil Infinity level of playing 'stereo cutter head' later mono pressings, making them superior to the Etsuro Gold playing of those modern mono pressings, is still relevant to the 1.0 mil stylus. i have all those 45rpm mono reissues that are really amazing with that 0.7 mil version. i'll have to cross that bridge when i come to it.
 
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Mike Lavigne

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Apr 25, 2010
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#29
there is no doubt part of my decision to go for multiple turntables, arms and cartridges "again" was driven by observing Tang with his experiences. i'm a level below his perch level and doing it my own way, but being free flow and letting the music sort itself out on the choices is a real joy. 6 months in there is nothing boring about it. and i'm anxious to listen all the time.

i don't think there is a wrong time, wrong way or wrong reason to have multiple turntables.
 

tima

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Mar 4, 2014
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#30
I don't think Mike has any intention to show off as you seem to imply. It is what happens when a person having both different pressings of a title and multiple tts to play and hear differences at a flick of fingers. Mike's system seems to allow him to hear the tiny difference too. I am sure Mike experience and learn even further how one pressing sound good on a tt and could sound better on another tt. But we are talking a small fraction. Both tt and pressing have variations that some could possibly match better with another at the owner's preference. The luxury of having a few decks on hand let him experience that. And he was just telling us that. I can relate to what he said. But I don't think he would be so crazy to intentionally match a pressing to a particular tt.
Why are you saying this to me, Tang?
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
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#31
Why are you saying this to me, Tang?
i did not view Tim's post about numbers of pressings owned as targeting me at all, but i can see how it might have been viewed that way. just a misunderstanding i think.

not that i don't need (or deserve) targeting some times.:rolleyes:
 
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tima

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Mar 4, 2014
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#32
i did not view Tim's post about numbers of pressings owned as targeting me at all, but i can see how it might have been viewed that way. just a misunderstanding i think.

not that i don't need (or deserve) targeting some times.:rolleyes:
Targeting you? No way. Simply took the idea of a pressing specific table to the extreme of a pressing specific room - then exaggerated that. it was humor.
 
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May 30, 2010
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#33
Although I own more than one turntable since I got the TechDas AF1P I have not listened to the others, except for checking them. The same for the Vivaldi stack - I keep just a lot gear I am not using just because no one I know wants to pay a fair price by it, particularly in these covid days.
 

Tango

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#34
Why are you saying this to me, Tang?
You were quoting Mike. I read your comment and it appeared as I said the first sentence. If you were joking then it is a misunderstanding and I apologize for misunderstanding.
 

Tango

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#35
Although I own more than one turntable since I got the TechDas AF1P I have not listened to the others, except for checking them. The same for the Vivaldi stack - I keep just a lot gear I am not using just because no one I know wants to pay a fair price by it, particularly in these covid days.
I sold my Techdas AF1P, 2 SATs original and one Axiom. I still play the EMT 927 although not very often. The Kronos has been in the box for more than a year. There is a space now so I could try more tt if I want to. No not buying any more. I could borrow from friends. But most interested is to try Kedar's recipe on digital. If I decide to do so I will send him a ticket to fly here with his ingredients.
 
Oct 12, 2013
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#36
I sold my Techdas AF1P, 2 SATs original and one Axiom. I still play the EMT 927 although not very often. The Kronos has been in the box for more than a year. There is a space now so I could try more tt if I want to. No not buying any more. I could borrow from friends. But most interested is to try Kedar's recipe on digital. If I decide to do so I will send him a ticket to fly here with his ingredients.
That would be interesting!
 

bonzo75

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Feb 26, 2014
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#38
I sold my Techdas AF1P, 2 SATs original and one Axiom. I still play the EMT 927 although not very often. The Kronos has been in the box for more than a year. There is a space now so I could try more tt if I want to. No not buying any more. I could borrow from friends. But most interested is to try Kedar's recipe on digital. If I decide to do so I will send him a ticket to fly here with his ingredients.
I thought your axiom with GFS on the EMT did very well as an alternative sound
 
May 30, 2010
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#39
I sold my Techdas AF1P, 2 SATs original and one Axiom. I still play the EMT 927 although not very often. The Kronos has been in the box for more than a year. There is a space now so I could try more tt if I want to. No not buying any more. I could borrow from friends. But most interested is to try Kedar's recipe on digital. If I decide to do so I will send him a ticket to fly here with his ingredients.
We could have swapped your Techdas AF1P and my Lamm ML3's ... :oops: Then you could bi-amplify!
 
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strapper211

Well-Known Member
Aug 6, 2013
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#40
Hi,
I use a Walker Black Diamond V with a Koetsu coralstone platinum diamond and a Dalby Pirueta record weight.Going to a Echole Infinity phono cable to a Elrod Master series interconnect into a
Lamm LL1 ,down to ML3s and finally Avalon Saga's.
Best I heard in 45 years on Listening,that's just what I heard.
Robert
 

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