What are members recommendations on current turntables in the $15K to $22K price range?

Lee

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Feb 4, 2011
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Atmasphere

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Something to watch out for here is something called the Veblen Effect. That's the idea that something more expensive has more value. In high end audio that often isn't the case.

When Technics set out to do the SL1200G they apparently did a from-the-ground-up redesign. A customer of ours wanted to send one to us to see what we could do with it so I took it apart and did an inspection. This is one of those places where an enourmous R&D budget (Technics is Panasonic after all...) really pays off. The machine has little in common with their older SL1200s except appearance. For example, its one of the most speed-stable turntables made at any price.

Get a Sutherland Timeline and you'll see what I mean. You can play an LP all day with that machine and the dots will stay firmly in place on the wall. Most machines made for high end audio can't do that.

In addition the new SL1200 uses 5 different methods of vibration/damping control. It has a rigid and non-resonant plinth- which is what you want for the platter bearing and the tonearm mount to prevent vibration from creating colorations.

Its weaknesses are the tonearm (which is vastly improved over the stock arm of years ago) and the platter pad. But its easy enough to mount a different arm on the 'table, and we've done it a number of times, using the Triplanar, which is a state of the art arm.

But the Technics is priced by a formula rather than what the market will bear and so is less expensive than machines that it outperforms in nearly every way. That's what I mean about the Veblen Effect.
 

microstrip

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Something to watch out for here is something called the Veblen Effect. That's the idea that something more expensive has more value. In high end audio that often isn't the case.

How do we perceive value in the high-end? High-end is ruled by preference and small numbers, no proper statistics are possible. Some people love to always think about the poor cases and eliminate the cases of success based on their preferences. I look at the successful cases and unfortunately conclude that very often more money means better performance and even that the recent ultra expensive we often refer at WBF have reached a new plateau in stereo sound reproduction in several areas.

When Technics set out to do the SL1200G they apparently did a from-the-ground-up redesign. A customer of ours wanted to send one to us to see what we could do with it so I took it apart and did an inspection. This is one of those places where an enourmous R&D budget (Technics is Panasonic after all...) really pays off. The machine has little in common with their older SL1200s except appearance. For example, its one of the most speed-stable turntables made at any price.

Get a Sutherland Timeline and you'll see what I mean. You can play an LP all day with that machine and the dots will stay firmly in place on the wall. Most machines made for high end audio can't do that.

In addition the new SL1200 uses 5 different methods of vibration/damping control. It has a rigid and non-resonant plinth- which is what you want for the platter bearing and the tonearm mount to prevent vibration from creating colorations.

Its weaknesses are the tonearm (which is vastly improved over the stock arm of years ago) and the platter pad. But its easy enough to mount a different arm on the 'table, and we've done it a number of times, using the Triplanar, which is a state of the art arm.

But the Technics is priced by a formula rather than what the market will bear and so is less expensive than machines that it outperforms in nearly every way. That's what I mean about the Veblen Effect.

Well, what is the point of these technicalities? Does a turntable need to show the dots in the same place all the day (or any time) to sound top? IMHO the fact that you need to change the arm or the plinth to get top performance is what reduces significantly the perceived value of the turntable by the audiophile community - or in WBF, the fact it uses feedback! ;)

The Velben effect surely exists, applied mainly to luxury products. A percentage of high-end is surely sold as a luxury, but is it dominant? As far as I know from manufacturers and distributors it is significant, but the majority of customers are audiophiles looking for top performance.

The TechDas One plus offers a performance that IMHO approached my references - the Studer A80 and the DCS Vivaldi - like no other I have listened. I could assemble it in a short time and even belt the tension was optimally adjusted with ease, relying on a measurement. BTW, I was fortunate to get it used - does it free me from being a victim of the Velben?
 

Carlos269

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Mar 21, 2012
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I look at the successful cases and unfortunately conclude that very often more money means better performance and even that the recent ultra expensive we often refer at WBF have reached a new plateau in stereo sound reproduction in several areas.

Does it free me from being a victim of the Velben?

Classic victim of the Veblen Effect.
 
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microstrip

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Classic victim of the Veblen Effect.

Unfortunately your post quoting mine is an example of misquoting, editing and changing the sense of my original words. IMHO a classic example of a pitiful posting behavior, I must say was not expecting if from you. We can have different opinions, but maliciously editing other posters sentences, even needing capitalizing words to change the sense of the sentence is unacceptable.
 

Carlos269

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Mar 21, 2012
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Unfortunately your post quoting mine is an example of misquoting, editing and changing the sense of my original words. IMHO a classic example of a pitiful posting behavior, I must say was not expecting if from you. We can have different opinions, but maliciously editing other posters sentences, even needing capitalizing words to change the sense of the sentence is unacceptable.

There is no misrepresentation, those were your words.

Let me elaborate, you live in the mainstream of the audio hobby; a world of magazine reviews & recommendations and forums’ flavor-of-the-month darlings. A world in which products are presented in a hierarchy were equipment prices are inferred to correlate with performance.

Francisco get out and explore the rest of the audio world, there is more to it than what the magazines and the forum charlatans claim are the best, “WBF” or “Uber”. Don’t be mistaken into believing that this is all there is. Many factions and brilliant cutting edge developments outside of the high-end audio mainstream. Those products will not earn you “forum cred” as they are not “trophies“ but in them you will find some incredibly good and great products that are reasonably and honestly priced, which correlate with their production costs and not “whatever the market will bear“ opulence and luxury for the sake of vanity.

I will leave you with one, of many, examples who has broken through from the DIY, bespoke world to the commercial world: Thomas Mayer. I believe that one of the “pretenders to the throne” on this forum referred to his products as “garage engineering“, obviously he has never seen or heard any of Herr Mayer’s wonderful creations.

It is a brave new world out there in the corners, nooks, niches and factions of this vast world of audiophilia and I encourage you to put your magazines down and go outside of your regular forums to explore those pockets as you will be quite surprised at how much audio performance and value can be had at reasonable real world prices.

By the way, you are not alone in this misguided thinking:

“conclude that very often more money means better performance and even that the recent ultra expensive we often refer at WBF have reached a new plateau in stereo sound reproduction in several areas.”

After all, it is hard to think or feel any different when the world of magazines and forum flavor-of-the-month equipment is all you know. It’s time to break free and explore what else is out there that “others” are raving about. I did and there is no turning back. Once you have listen to the intimacy a DHT preamp you will know what I mean.
 
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microstrip

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There is no misrepresentation, those were your words.
Fortunately it is all recorded there and our readers will be able to see the manipulation.

Let me elaborate, you live in the mainstream of the audio hobby; a world of magazine reviews & recommendations and forums’ flavor-of-the-month darlings. A world in which products are presented in a hierarchy were equipment prices are inferred to correlate with performance.

Francisco get out and explore the rest of the audio world, there is more to it than what the magazines and the forum charlatans claim are the best, “WBF” or “Uber”. Don’t be mistaken into believing that this is all there is. Many factions and brilliant cutting edge developments outside of the high-end audio mainstream. Those products will not earn you “forum cred” as they are not “trophies“ but in them you will find some incredibly good and great products that are reasonably and honestly priced, which correlate with their production costs and not “whatever the market will bear“ opulence and luxury for the sake of vanity.

I will leave you with one, of many, examples who has broken through from the DIY, bespoke world to the commercial world: Thomas Mayer. I believe that one of the “pretenders to the throne” on this forum referred to his products as “garage engineering“, obviously he has never seen or heard any of Herr Mayer’s wonderful creations.

It is a brave new world out there in the corners, nooks, niches and factions of this vast world of audiophilia and I encourage you to put your magazines down and go outside of your regular forums to explore those pockets as you will be quite surprised at how much audio performance and value can be had at reasonable real world prices.

By the way, you are not alone in this misguided thinking:

“conclude that very often more money means better performance and even that the recent ultra expensive we often refer at WBF have reached a new plateau in stereo sound reproduction in several areas.”

After all, it is hard to think or feel any different when the world of magazines and forum flavor-of-the-month equipment is all you know. It’s time to break free and explore what else is out there that “others” are raving about. I did and there is no turning back. Once you have listen to the intimacy a DHT preamp you will know what I mean.

Considering you haven't read my posts in WBF, you should change your crystal ball, the one you are using is surely a fake ... :D Thanks for your time, nothing to add.
 

DasguteOhr

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Sep 26, 2013
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Email him for S9 Simon Yorke for the rest of the money buy a good second cart Zyx Universe or an Jan Allaerts MC 2
 
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Carlos269

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Mar 21, 2012
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I think Lee should see how far low five figures gets him commissioning a TT.

Micro just gave him a title for the article.

I would start with having a conversation with Larry Denham of TTWeights.

Ignorance is no excuse. Expanding your audio horizons is very rewarding.

Let me know if I can further enlighten you.
 

Solypsa

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tima

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Mar 4, 2014
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After all, it is hard to think or feel any different when the world of magazines and forum flavor-of-the-month equipment is all you know. It’s time to break free and explore what else is out there that “others” are raving about. I did and there is no turning back.

Micro lists his system. Since you are giving him advice on what he should do, perhaps you should list yours (instead of saying "too many to list") so we can see what you have done.
 

DasguteOhr

Well-Known Member
Sep 26, 2013
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I had not visited the Simon Yorke site in some time. The current text is quite inspiring..
New third version of the S9, I have loved its turntable since he started with Zarathustra S4. simple, robust technology paired with a clever choice of materials.:)
 

Mike Lavigne

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Apr 25, 2010
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Micro lists his system. Since you are giving him advice on what he should do, perhaps you should list yours (instead of saying "too many to list") so we can see what you have done.
Carlos has likely more gear than any three members here combined, described in his system thread here....with many very nice pieces.


but, alas, zero turntables. yet he is claiming the moral high ground on a tt thread. only distant memories for him unless something has changed. but knowing Carlos, he mostly likes a good dust up, but wise Francisco ("nothing more to say") has sense enough to withdraw.

been there, done exactly that with Carlos; a few times.
 
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tima

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but, alas, zero turntables. yet he is claiming the moral high ground on a tt thread. only distant memories for him unless something has changed. but knowing Carlos, he mostly likes a good dust up, but wise Francisco ("nothing more to say") has sense enough to withdraw.

been there, done exactly that with Carlos; a few times.

I learn something new every day.
 

Carlos269

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Mar 21, 2012
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Carlos has likely more gear than any three members here combined, described in his system thread here....with many very nice pieces.


but, alas, zero turntables. yet he is claiming the moral high ground on a tt thread. only distant memories for him unless something has changed. but knowing Carlos, he mostly likes a good dust up, but wise Francisco ("nothing more to say") has sense enough to withdraw.

been there, done exactly that with Carlos; a few times.

The “zero turntables” statement is simply not true. Take a closer look and you will see that I currently own a Micro-Seiki, a Transrotor and my latest an extreme custom Rek-O-Kut (ROK) Rondine BH12 turntable.. Again not trying to keep up with the latest “greatest”, never have and never will.

Regarding liking a good “dust up”, I typically only read this and other forums as a passive audience but when I come across ludicrous and uninformed statements, I just can’t close my eyes. I will ignore most misguided statements but the propagation that somehow equipment prices correlate with performance, that broke down in the mid 90’s. Perhaps most here were not involved in the hobby in the 80’s and early 90’s when the cost of a component was a good indication of its performance and production costs, but since then those assumptions and equipment pricing formula have gone out the window.

It is people like you that propagate the myth that if something is newer or more expensive it has got to be better and that just simply isn’t always the case in this audio hobby today. Great products and sound can be had at all different price points and just because something is newer and more expensive does not mean that it is better, it actually just sounds different in most cases. As others have pointed out before, you have a stable of turntables, which one is the best? There is no way of knowing. This hobby has duped a lot of people out of a lot of money and at least I will not continue to propagate the myth that the more you spend and the newer it is, the better it sounds because that simply is not always the case; as those that are experienced and have become enlightened have discovered. Break the spell of this audio Scientology and go back to enjoying the music and/or collecting Hi-Fi components but let’s not pretend something is something that it is not any longer, which is the issue that I have with Francisco’s “Micro” statement and his point of view.

It’s time for the disciples to see the light.
 
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Atmasphere

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May 4, 2010
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Well, what is the point of these technicalities? Does a turntable need to show the dots in the same place all the day (or any time) to sound top? IMHO the fact that you need to change the arm or the plinth to get top performance is what reduces significantly the perceived value of the turntable by the audiophile community - or in WBF, the fact it uses feedback! ;)

The Velben effect surely exists, applied mainly to luxury products. A percentage of high-end is surely sold as a luxury, but is it dominant? As far as I know from manufacturers and distributors it is significant, but the majority of customers are audiophiles looking for top performance.

The TechDas One plus offers a performance that IMHO approached my references - the Studer A80 and the DCS Vivaldi - like no other I have listened. I could assemble it in a short time and even belt the tension was optimally adjusted with ease, relying on a measurement. BTW, I was fortunate to get it used - does it free me from being a victim of the Velben?
It certainly does not hurt a turntable to be able to maintain its speed such that with needle drops or bass modulation, its speed is invariant day in and day out. Skating forces have to do with the fact that the arm is describing an arc and the platter is spinning; if the speed varies the arm can oscillate above the stylus as the skating forces vary- creating a variable tracking force on the left and right grooves. You certainly can't hear slight speed variations in terms of frequency, but you can hear this oscillation as a shimmer in the soundstage- something that you don't hear with tape, or with turntables that have enough speed stability. I hear that same 'tape like' sound stage with the Technics machines. Its not subtle.

(Total aside dept.: Feedback is a function of control theory. IMO/IME such is poorly understood in audio but there are a few exceptions such as Bruno Putzeys. Feedback is often reviled but again IME that's mostly because its improperly applied rather than something is inherently wrong with it.)

Veblen is an enormous influence in high end audio. Victor Lamm has said in print that he prices his amps according to the sound they make, rather than a formula based on the cost to build it. This isn't a bad thing- it just a thing. If you're into bicycles, Campagnolo who has been well recognized in road bikes for the last 70 years, has been pricing according to what the market bears all along. Performance and price are not connected, and its not price that drives high end audio (although its certainly an influence): what drives high end audio is intention and those that do not understand this fact are doomed to spending money on high end sooner or later with frustrating results. Put another way, Technics set the intention to make a turntable that is a top performer and they did so. But they price it according to a formula. If your typical high end manufacturer made that same machine it would be 4 times more expensive (I suspect such a manufacturer would have dispensed with the speed control and possibly the arm too ;) ).

Am I right that if that table cost 1/4rd its current price when new, you might not have given your turntable so much attention when one came along used? Used Campagnolo bike parts still command good prices on eBay even though you can find better parts for less money that are the same age. So Veblen is very much in effect on the used market IMO.
 
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microstrip

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It certainly does not hurt a turntable to be able to maintain its speed such that with needle drops or bass modulation, its speed is invariant day in and day out.
Ok, we agre it does not hurt. But the fact that the point can stay static forever has no correlation with sound quality. Such point only shows how subjective and unreliable can be our comments on value in the high-end. MHO, but consider the point you refer as a kind of Veblen feeling - people feel confidence in this type of misleading and abusive information, if it is accurate it should sound good. BTW, I also consider that the current Technics are top turntables - I could happily live with an SP10 R with an SME or Graham.

Skating forces have to do with the fact that the arm is describing an arc and the platter is spinning; if the speed varies the arm can oscillate above the stylus as the skating forces vary- creating a variable tracking force on the left and right grooves. You certainly can't hear slight speed variations in terms of frequency, but you can hear this oscillation as a shimmer in the soundstage- something that you don't hear with tape, or with turntables that have enough speed stability. I hear that same 'tape like' sound stage with the Technics machines. Its not subtle.

We recently had an interesting debate on this subject, thanks. It started here https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/natural-sound.32867/post-744076

(Total aside dept.: Feedback is a function of control theory. IMO/IME such is poorly understood in audio but there are a few exceptions such as Bruno Putzeys. Feedback is often reviled but again IME that's mostly because its improperly applied rather than something is inherently wrong with it.)

IMHO feedback in turntables has no relation with feedback in amplifiers, although some controllers of turntables that have no feedback use feedback in the wave generators and drivers. Confusing? ;)

Veblen is an enormous influence in high end audio. Victor Lamm has said in print that he prices his amps according to the sound they make, rather than a formula based on the cost to build it. This isn't a bad thing- it just a thing.

Now you are addressing how a manufacturer prices his line of products - it is a complex and interesting subject, but we would need real data to comment on it. But It would be great if you or someone else pointed a link to this Vladimir Lamm statement.

If you're into bicycles, Campagnolo who has been well recognized in road bikes for the last 70 years, has been pricing according to what the market bears all along. Performance and price are not connected, and its not price that drives high end audio (although its certainly an influence): what drives high end audio is intention and those that do not understand this fact are doomed to spending money on high end sooner or later with frustrating results. Put another way, Technics set the intention to make a turntable that is a top performer and they did so. But they price it according to a formula. If your typical high end manufacturer made that same machine it would be 4 times more expensive (I suspect such a manufacturer would have dispensed with the speed control and possibly the arm too ;) ).

A typical high end manufacturer does not have the structure and capability to produce such turntable, his costs would be artificial, what is the point of such comparison?

Am I right that if that table cost 1/4rd its current price when new, you might not have given your turntable so much attention when one came along used? Used Campagnolo bike parts still command good prices on eBay even though you can find better parts for less money that are the same age. So Veblen is very much in effect on the used market IMO.

I am not in bikes and IMHO such analogies only manage to spread noise and confusion. I appreciate debating the high-end with proper facts, without analogies.
 

rando

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Sep 22, 2019
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The bike reference is flawed anyways in that it refers to

a) Longstanding monopoly
b) Selling jewelry and scarce opportunities (parts/repair) when it was ending
c) Choosing to make exotic fragile products in the modern age instead of passing QC to the customer per the business activities of their second tier competitor(s).
d) Pricing as an absolute across 70 years which it most decidedly was not! Was not a luxury or market bearing pricing company most of it's existence! Not even the corkscrew. o_O

for the last 70 years, has been pricing according to what the market bears all along.
 

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