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Thread: Reference Turntable, The Step Beyond

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    [Industry Expert] ddk's Avatar
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    Reference Turntable, The Step Beyond

    Given the dominance of digital and all the new high end widgets showing incredible super powers perfecting “The Perfect Sound Forever” what’s the current resurgence of vinyl and turntables about? At every show one can see a plethora of new and old tables, arms, cartridges, phono stages, etc. in every price point, even more choices than the hey days of analog, why? Among other things audiophiles tend to be incurable tinkerers with busy hands, and share similar gear oriented hobbies like photography where one can tinker and have endless discussions about nothing too. I get it and Records can be become the tinkering audiophile’s ultimate fetish toy.


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    What about the unimagined appeal of LPs with the “i” generation? You can see it at Urban Outfitters, a Mecca for the “i”s.

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    Fad? Definitely for some but the prevailing reason behind the sudden vinyl renaissance or abundance is simple and basic economics. The silver disc is on its way out and the cloud transformed the digital business model diminishing profits. The same corporations who force fed us “the perfect sound forever” crap are now back to vinyl to bolster their lost sales and get the consumer back to physical purchases of their music. For the most part these are vinyl pressings of digital masters and irrelevant to the focus of this forum is ANALOG. More specifically about Reference Turntables as it relates to ANALOG recordings.

    Steve & I discussed the subject and this being “What’s The Best” Forums by definition these Turntables will be limited to a few ultra high end ones and couple that are even beyond that. There won’t be any reviews or comparisons made, imo it doesn’t serve a purpose here. While presentation is different individually any of these turntables is capable of recreating the intent of the original event as captured in the recording. Not as a messenger of but a conduit to. Their “Nature” and “Natural” abilities as a conduit is what sets them apart from the crowd and from each other. For everyone’s appreciation I’ll attempt to define “Natural” as we progress in the series.


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    The Reference Turntables described in the series are from my own collection, the ones I settled on after many years as the best conduits to the original event. This forum isn’t about me or my system or anyone else’s! Nor is it about the platform wars, I’ll happily engage anyone in other forums. I want to share and raise awareness of these machines and their musical experience. I’m hoping for others here who I know have some of these turntables to chime in with the same spirit.


    Friendly participation is encouraged and welcome! I’ll try to answer relevant questions along the way the best I can. Time permitting I hope to add a new Beyond Turntable installment every 2-3 weeks mixed with related topics until we’re done with all 5.


    In no special order my top 5 Reference Turntables that I found to perform at levels Beyond what most of us recognize as high end;


    - 3 tables from Micro Seiki, SX-8000, SX-8000II, SZ-1t
    - Thorens Reference
    - Goldmund Reference
    - EMT 927
    - The American Sound


    I want to give credit here to my friends and mentors Vladimir Lamm and George Walker for opening my horizons.


    Enjoy!


    david
    Last edited by ddk; 06-05-2016 at 03:52 PM.

  2. #2
    [Industry Expert] Addicted to Best! Mosin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddk View Post
    Given the dominance of digital and all the new high end widgets showing incredible super powers perfecting “The Perfect Sound Forever” what’s the current resurgence of vinyl and turntables about? ...

    david
    1) It is arguable, I know, but many people are convinced that when done right it sounds better. I am solidly in that camp.
    2) It is thought provoking. By that, I mean that it slows the listener down and occupies his mind in a way that causes him to pay closer attention to the music. It also puts him in closer touch with the artist because he is more prone to read LP liners than whatever words come with a CD. Files have nothing comparable, of course.
    3) It prepares the listener for his listening journey by slowing him down, too. In many cases the objective is to escape the rat race for a time, and visit another place and time. One has to slow down to really relax. Vinyl makes the fantasy work better.
    4) It promotes some primal instincts. One of those is the need to build something. You can always add something to a turntable that's neat, a light, a cartridge, an arm, etc.
    5) Another primal instinct is hoarding. The whole exercise is a hoarder's delight.
    6) Bragger's rights. Turntables are as individual as their owners.
    7) And, not least of all...the ability to own a truly wonderful piece of art.
    Win
    Saskia Turntables

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    [Industry Expert] ddk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mosin View Post
    7) And, not least of all...the ability to own a truly wonderful piece of art.
    You can say that again, Win! One of the episodes is dedicated to idler drives, I know why you went that route !

    david
    Audio Industry Affiliate:Lamm, Ortofon, ZYX, Keith Monks, Audio Desk, Jensen Transformers, Pheonix Engineering.
    Specialty & Unique Offerings: Vintage horn speakers, Vintage and Modern Turntables, Analog Accessories.

    System 1: Horns+Tubes+Vinyl and digital too- Listening Room 1
    System 2: Horns+Tubes+Vinyl and digital too- Listening Room 2- Near field setup

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    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best! rockitman's Avatar
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    In no special order my top 5 Reference Turntables that I found to perform at levels Beyond what most of us recognize as high end;

    - 3 tables from Micro Seiki, SX-8000, SX-8000II, SZ-1t
    - Thorens Reference
    - Goldmund Reference
    - EMT 927
    - The American Sound
    what...no love for the AFO ?
    I think DEV on this site has had most MS's and prefers the AFO...
    Christian

    System Gear

  5. #5
    [Industry Expert] ddk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockitman View Post
    what...no love for the AFO ?
    I think DEV on this site has had most MS's and prefers the AFO...
    The list is limited to the designer's ultimate expression and it has qualities Beyond merely high end. We already know that there's a Beyond model above AF-1 in the works.
    Congrats on the new car!
    david
    Audio Industry Affiliate:Lamm, Ortofon, ZYX, Keith Monks, Audio Desk, Jensen Transformers, Pheonix Engineering.
    Specialty & Unique Offerings: Vintage horn speakers, Vintage and Modern Turntables, Analog Accessories.

    System 1: Horns+Tubes+Vinyl and digital too- Listening Room 1
    System 2: Horns+Tubes+Vinyl and digital too- Listening Room 2- Near field setup

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddk View Post
    - 3 tables from Micro Seiki, SX-8000, SX-8000II, SZ-1t
    - Thorens Reference
    - Goldmund Reference
    - EMT 927
    - The American Sound
    david
    I'd also have to disagree on the EMT 927. I had one in here for almost 2yr. and it was mediocre at best. I tried to do some vinyl rips for my clients and I and the results were less than satisfactory. I got better results from MikeL's tables at the time. He has the EMT now and could probably give you a good comparison to his NVS. Mostly, it sat unused.
    As for it's other qualities... typical broadcast table. Nothing really special.
    Bruce A. Brown
    Puget Sound Studios
    Stereomojo reviewer
    Seattle, WA


    Even a blind squirrel gets a nut once in a while!

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    [Industry Expert] ddk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce B View Post
    I'd also have to disagree on the EMT 927. I had one in here for almost 2yr. and it was mediocre at best. I tried to do some vinyl rips for my clients and I and the results were less than satisfactory. I got better results from MikeL's tables at the time. He has the EMT now and could probably give you a good comparison to his NVS. Mostly, it sat unused.
    As for it's other qualities... typical broadcast table. Nothing really special.
    I have to disagree with you on that Bruce, we have a very different experience. There are parts tables out there that don't sound right and EMT's phono stages suck, best bypassed. I know Mike's 948 and have the 950 myself, very different animals, they're direct drives and sound very different, as does his NVS. I can understand the typical broadcast sentiment if we were talking about the 930 but the 927 is very different. I kept it for later for a reason.
    david
    Audio Industry Affiliate:Lamm, Ortofon, ZYX, Keith Monks, Audio Desk, Jensen Transformers, Pheonix Engineering.
    Specialty & Unique Offerings: Vintage horn speakers, Vintage and Modern Turntables, Analog Accessories.

    System 1: Horns+Tubes+Vinyl and digital too- Listening Room 1
    System 2: Horns+Tubes+Vinyl and digital too- Listening Room 2- Near field setup

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddk View Post
    I have to disagree with you on that Bruce, we have a very different experience. There are parts tables out there that don't sound right and EMT's phono stages suck, best bypassed. I know Mike's 948 and have the 950 myself, very different animals, they're direct drives and sound very different, as does his NVS. I can understand the typical broadcast sentiment if we were talking about the 930 but the 927 is very different. I kept it for later for a reason.
    david
    I'm sorry... my mistake... it was the 948.
    Bruce A. Brown
    Puget Sound Studios
    Stereomojo reviewer
    Seattle, WA


    Even a blind squirrel gets a nut once in a while!

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    Site Founder And Administrator Steve Williams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce B View Post
    I'm sorry... my mistake... it was the 948.

    My advice is to let David work through his five Beyond turntables and to read his reasons why. No one except a handful of hobbyists have such an extreme collection of all things analog
    Steve Williams
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  10. #10
    [Industry Expert] ddk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce B View Post
    I'm sorry... my mistake... it was the 948.
    No problem Bruce, they all start with 900 and get mixed up unless you actually go through the pain of owning all of them. As far as the 948 goes, I'm with you 100% on that. EMT's legendary models are the 927 and the 930 and for me as good as the 930 is, its nowhere near this league.

    david
    Audio Industry Affiliate:Lamm, Ortofon, ZYX, Keith Monks, Audio Desk, Jensen Transformers, Pheonix Engineering.
    Specialty & Unique Offerings: Vintage horn speakers, Vintage and Modern Turntables, Analog Accessories.

    System 1: Horns+Tubes+Vinyl and digital too- Listening Room 1
    System 2: Horns+Tubes+Vinyl and digital too- Listening Room 2- Near field setup

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