Trans Fi Salvation rim drive tt and Terminator air-bearing linear tracking arm

spiritofmusic

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About to put in a custom tonearm wire order for New Terminator.

Ikeda 0.39mm silver w Cardas silver cart tags and Bocchino RCA connectors.

To compare against my stock silver wire w Klei Silver Harmony RCAs.

And the wire that comes w the new arm, silver plated copper going onto Eichmann Bullet RCAs, gold plated cart tags.
 

spiritofmusic

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After a little toing and froing on my vinyl periphery ring and lp weight, have decided both are best out of my system. Interestingly I've taken this decision only after so much of my sound and setup/optimisation have come together otherwise.

I tip my hat to designer Vic. He may be the only tt designer out there who actively eschews any bonding of securing of lp to platter, via weight/periphery ring or vacuum hold down.

Lps back to balancing on Delrin pods, au naturel.
 

spiritofmusic

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Andrey's New Terminator arm went in yesterday, ahead of a full day's listening today. Went thru a mix of my favourite lps, incl Shostakovich, Dixie Dregs, Steely Dan, Wayne Shorter and Magma.

My abiding impression after a long listening sesh is of a real step forward in my sound as a direct result of the arm. The critical change is of a much stronger, super articulate bass foundation, more powerful and extended, but also more agile and start/stop. This in turn has allowed way more spatial cues to emerge to absolutely enhance staging and imaging, and air around instruments.

Put on Cream "Toad" last of all, and raised a glass to champion Hell Raiser and King Of The Paradiddle, Ginger Baker. His drums have never sounded more articulate as they do now w the new arm.

I would really encourage anyone interested in getting into air LT arms to give New Terminator serious consideration. Details on my dedicated thread to it.
 

theophile

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Thanks for the report spirit.
 

spiritofmusic

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I see Lucasz Fikus of Lampizator has a Salvation/Terminator setup. Caught it on a blog brought to my notice.
 

bonzo75

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I see Lucasz Fikus of Lampizator has a Salvation/Terminator setup. Caught it on a blog brought to my notice.

I asked him about it. He said he got it in a blind trade in. Had no idea of the name or the origin ;) Needed something for testing his phono
 

spiritofmusic

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Well, he spun the roulette of life and got damn lucky.

I can well imagine someone taking a total punt on a tt. With a LT arm to boot. Done every day.
 

spiritofmusic

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Had a little chat w the owner of a recently acquired Trans Fi Salvation tt and Terminator arm. He trialled this prior to buying against his existing tt, a totr Linn LP12 w Tangerine Audio Stiletto platter, Skorpion aluminium base plate and Klimax Radikal psu. And also his PTP-plate Lenco L70 w Triplanar U12 arm. The Salvation/Terminator beat both handsomely it appears. And this is with Salvation sans the mag-lev feet upgrade.

There are about 750 Terminators floating (air arm pun intended) about in existence, but only 50 Salvations (likely 90% fitted w Terminators), so it's good to hear from another owner, and to back up what a sound choice this combination is. A top spec Linn is maybe not the current fashionable choice, but it remains a valid option and has real pedigree. And if my experience of modding Salvation to greater heights is anything to go by, I'm sure his modded Linn is a great benchmark.

Also fascinating to hear that PTP- Lenco L75/Triplanar U12 also beaten. The Lenco is a great idler in it's own right over a half century, and I know PTP takes it to new heights. Triplanar I've heard on a GP Monaco 1.5 tt, and I class that as one of the best analog rigs I've ever listened to.

For Salvation/Terminator to clearly better the PTP L70/U12 as reported to me, more power to Vic's great design of direct rim drive/air LT.
 

spiritofmusic

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Well, am I soon to take the leap to a new, super high quality motor for my rim drive Salvation?

I had been talking about a potential solution with a WBF member, and his proposal could still happen. Additionally also talking to a fellow Salvation owner and amp builder in US, and he will be coming up with an idea.

However my thread on the need for speed accuracy has, with Vienna's and Lagonda's prompting, pushed me in the direction of Bill from Phoenix Engineering/SOTA turntables, and his Condor motor, modded to rim drive. There are a few aspects of Salvation that mean this would be a custom job, and not off the shelf.

What I'm liking in what I'm hearing, other than a very manageable price (likely $1.5-2k), is that this unit is both well designed on vibration management front, and is hugely speed stable (both absolute speed, and speed drift).

A fellow Salvation owner in US is going down this route, and if it checks out for him, it'll be an instant purchase from me.

Other than an interesting little tonearm tweak (Audio Machina V8 anti-vibration damping pad installed between cart and armwand), this motor if it works out brings to an end the potential for optimising my analog rig.

My 150kg total Stacore Advanced/slate stand transformed Salvation's fortunes in rendering the tt near-immune to floorborne vibration issues, current bespoke LPS has helped existing motor perform to it's best, New Terminator LT arm knocks the original for six (custom tonearm wire to be installed soon), and bespoke LPS to Straingauge energiser has been a revelation.

On top of an already overperforming analog setup, will a true high quality super accurate tt motor truly take things above and beyond?
 
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Vienna

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You will be surprised with Bill Carlin’s rim drive. I am getting a new turntable but I will keep the Bill’s drive
 

spiritofmusic

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Vienna, the idea from my fellow Salvation owner is to slightly customise the motor pod for our specific situation and rim drive. That means precise height needs to be specced and some kind of vibration-minimising housing for the motor.

You've gone a stage further with this outboard Class A/B amp. What's the thinking in your situation, because I don't believe that's the proposal for my Salvation?
 

Vienna

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Vienna, the idea from my fellow Salvation owner is to slightly customise the motor pod for our specific situation and rim drive. That means precise height needs to be specced and some kind of vibration-minimising housing for the motor.

You've gone a stage further with this outboard Class A/B amp. What's the thinking in your situation, because I don't believe that's the proposal for my Salvation?
At my case the two new BLDC motors proved to be way quieter and smoother than the original hurst Motors. Moreover the mass of the drive was increased and now weights about 13 kilos. Since the external case was the original I didn’t have any heigh adjustment issues.
The drive is vibration free
 

spiritofmusic

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After apparent 100% positive feedback from my mate in US who uses the very same Salvation tt as me, I'm gonna order the SOTA Condor motor. He's reporting 33.33 +/- 0.01, all the upsides of more articulate and pertinent basslines, lower noise, greater musicality, albeit mixed with some reduction of drama on poorer records. Having gone to town on mag lev bearing and feet, and class leading Stacore passive isolation, the motor is really the last area to investigate upgrading on this tt.
Scope to upgrade this motor at later date with bespoke LPS/Sablon pwr cord/SR fuse, and Symposium Svelte isolation pad underneath.
 
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jw67

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Lp12 stiletto v trans fi v ptp6 lenco



I was asked to write this and share my experience, maybe it will help others decide. I don’t really have an axe to grind and this is only my opinion and of course others may have a different experience.



I bought an lp12 back in 1988/89 and went on the usual Linn upgrade route. I wish I hadn’t been sucked in by the marketing but I was, it was a good sounding deck but there are cheaper ways to get one I think. I ended up with a Klimax Radikal, Ekos 2, Kore, tangerine audio stiletto plinth, tangerine audio Skorpion base. It was pretty much as good as you could get for an lp12. It needed a Keel or the TA equivalent, I had it on good authority that the later Ekos variants weren’t really worth an upgrade.. more of a different flavour than an absolute performance improvement.



Out of all the upgrades the biggest by far was the switch to the TA stiletto/Skorpion. I had them both done at the same time so I I don’t know how much the skorpion base brought to the party. The improvement was huge, very dramatic increase in clarity, precision, I was very pleased with this improvement. The Radikal was also a large improvement but not quite of the same magnitude as the TA bits.



Anyhow, after many years not really changing much I had a second wind within this expensive hobby and started reading and came across Lenco idler drives, I bought a lenco a ptp6 and a Tri-planar UVII arm. I was trying to find a deck that would better the Linn in its stiletto’ d state with the intention of freeing up some cash upon its sale. I did hours of A/B testing with the Linn v PTP Lenco and much to my great surprise the Linn won and by quite a margin. This was disappointing and unexpected as I had read many great things about the lenco especially mated with a high class arm.



I then came across the Trans-fi Salvation/Terminator. They were not being sold anymore but I contacted Vic and fortunately he had a second hand one for sale-someone into digital. I bought this from Vic on the understanding that I would only take it if it were able to sound better than the Linn. Again, lots of A/B testing with different cartridges over a 2 or 3 month period. It was very clear that the Trans-Fi sounded so much better than the Lp12 in many ways. A lot more lively, better clarity, wonderful. I bought it, sold the Linn and I’ve had the Trans-fi for about 10 months now. The pump is quiet, it tracks perfectly, never misses a beat at all. Very easy to use. It is very sensitive to set up. When I first got it I didn’t make the effort required to set it up with precision and it sounded very average but once setup properly it sounds wonderful and no need to adjust either.



I have the carbon wand and the aluminium mounting from NZ. I couldn’t be happier with it all.



I’m not Linn bashing here at all. Mine sounded really good in the end and I think with the TA parts will compare very well to many other high priced decks. I don’t particularly like the Linn upgrade path having been caught in it but you do have to take your hat off to there business model. I think you can get an equivalent or better sounding deck for a lot less money. There is not much written about the trans-fi and I think a bit of a write up like this may have helped me. Only my opinion, I’m sure others will have different ones.
 
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spiritofmusic

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Jon, I did see a handful of testimonials on Vic's homepage describing the move to Salvation, Terminator, and Salvation/Terminator, from many highly regarded brands, like Garrard 301 and 401, Technics SP10, SME IV, Kuzma Airline, Airtangent etc.

Having run the tt and arm for 7 years plus now, it just brings a smile to my face playing LPs everyday. Manages the amazing balance of great detail retrieval with zero sterility or bloat. I have modded it extensively, and its responded to every round of changes.

I'm really happy you've joined a select group of vinylphiles to have discovered this hugely informative and entertaining outlier combination of high torque direct rim drive tt and low pressure/flow air bearing LT arm.
 
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spiritofmusic

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A little upgrade I've been meaning to do for a while, but for whatever reason got postponed a few times.

SOTA Audio Condor Eclipse tt motor/controller upgrade, now linked to previously purchased Roadrunner speed tach.

I've been spoilt by recent massive upticks in my sound, incl magic trick of simple inexpensive elimination of a major bass suck out, noise floor minimising Bocchino upgrades to Sablon Elite pwr cords, and the sheer tonal color flowering of my sound via NOS 6DJ8 preamp tubes change. So, not sure what I was expecting here, since I don't seem to be particularly sensitive to speed variations/resultant pitch instability.

Sure enough, my Roadrunner that was showing +/-0.3% running fast/slow with my stock motor, is now way more accurate, closer to 0.005%.

I would like to say it's as dramatic as previous changes, but it isn't, at least not yet. There is a greater sense of ease and air. Suspended notes waver less. Basslines and piano are more resolute and pertinent. But I can't say it's night and day.

A few reasons for that. The motor and pulley/drive wheel (custom 20mm diameter Delrin wheel instead of stock SOTA piece) need likely 50 hours running time to open up; the motor pod is not ideally isolated (my custom Symposium Svelte pad is a few mms too thin, and the slate coaster I've used to make up the difference needs a little finagling); my stock motor was powered by a bespoke Peter Downs LPS...this new motor uses a lowly cheap as chips SMPS wall wart (new LPS, Farad or Peter Downs to come); and the mainly hollow motor pod rings like a bell and needs internal damping/mass loading (my friend is IsoDamp strips).

So, an inauspicious start. In many ways at least as good as my current stock motor (only behind on verve and energy), and with massive potential to up the ante, as I sort isolation, LPS to it, internal damping, and natural performance boost after that 50 hrs mark.

I'm particularly looking fwds to those aspects of music reproduction off LP that most benefit from super stable speed...piano generally, acoustic music where correct pitch is critical, and highly rhythmic music where bass timing is paramount.
 
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Lagonda

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Congratulations Marc ! Give it a few weeks, and then try comparing by running the original motor again for a few days. My findings have been that it is really hard to predict what sounds best. Don't look so much at the decimals on the RoadRunner display, listen to the music, and see what changes the new motor brings.:)
 

spiritofmusic

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You mean subjective over objective? How very revolutionary (pun intended).

Of course, it's always the sound that matters. There is some disparity between the changed effects of this motor from album to album. Really well recorded/mastered music does communicate better and shines brighter. Poorer flatter stuff fares differently, a hint less immersion and vibrancy.

Only in this respect is the jury out. However my overall sound in the last year of major changes has been enhancing the SQ of really well recorded/mastered albums, so this early impression of the new motor is broadly consistent with that.
 

spiritofmusic

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Wow...quite the subtle upgrade this, but it's really crept up on me over the day.

I thought pitch stability might be something more tangible than it is, but I can't say anything sounds more "in tune" than it did before with my previous motor prone to wavering.

But I am very much noticing and enjoying other aspects of more solid speed stability. Imaging is really noticeably more tangible. Percussion/bassline heavy music like Al Di Meola "Tiramisu" LP just feels more palpable as percussion does not scatter in the soundfield and basslines don't drift. This is great in heavier more kinetic tracks like "Beijing Demons", but also markedly on gentler more melifluous tracks like "Maraba". The more tangible, stable feel to polyrhthmns means the emotion of the vocals and instrumentation comes thru much more clearly.

And on tracks like Little Feat "Hi Roller" off "Time Loves A Hero", I'm getting extra vibrancy as the air in the recording, and effortless layering, is brought in by this extra speed stability. So much more emotion and openness in the portrayal.

So, while some upgrades smack you in the face within moments, I'm loving this slow burn revelation of subtly more microdynamically shaded music reproduction from the SOTA Condor Eclipse Roadrunner.

And proof positive I'm really onto something with my left field choice of rim drive tt/LT air arm/LPSd Straingauge cart, augmented radically with Stacore isolation and now this super accurate (at least to what I had before) motor/controller. And knowing how much my stock motor benefitted from LPS and specialist pwr cord and fuse, there is scope for real advance going LPS w the SOTA kit too.
 
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Direct Drive

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Sounds really interesting. I'm interested to hear how the motor beds in. Intersting choice. Never thought SOTA offered such a package. Nothing wrong with rim drive!
 

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