let's get it straight the Nakamichi TX-1000 out of the Box was and remain an outstanding TT.. The Pioneer Exclusive P3 out of the Box is a superior TT, the Luxman PD-555 (I think real designation escapes me ), I had the opportunity to listen to it compared to a Goldmund Studietto, was a superior TT, the Sony PX-3, the Kenwood L-07 were and remain superior TTs.. However much we may want to obfuscate it remain an undeniable point , we have been unfairly putting a negative patina on products which deserve more. This may be a quixotic mission. The High End Audio scene is full of prejudices and of falsities that are repeated so often that they sem to become the orthodoxy ... that I don't expect this to change quickly. i will however say tha the tide is slowly turning .. it has become routine now that those with the best systems here or elsewhere have great rooms .. Coincidence? Not really.. Some have been honest enough to own some of the items I am talking about and respect or love them .. I know mep had an experience with the Yamaha C2 and I would like him to repeat what i think of it compared to the very highly esteemed Counterpoint SA 5.1. I also know Mike Lavigne had an SP-10. I believe Albert Porter is a member here and I would like him to chime on the SP-10.
If you believe that any properly modified TT can become great then by all means go for Frank's tales ... he tweaked an HTIB as to be the best Audio system on the planet
"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."
"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction."
ó E. F. Schumacher
(mis-attributed to A. Einstein)
The last upgrades I had done were the power supply, umbilical cord, and DACT volume control. I had to wait months for this work to be completed (that is another story) so I bought a Yamaha C2a to use while I was waiting because I thought it appeared to be a very serious Class A SS design with a phono stage and two sets of main outs. It would fit the bill and the price was cheap. I also thought I could move it back down the road when I was done with it and not lose any money.
As a *former* dyed in the wool tube lover that believed SS was the spawn of Satan, I was perplexed at first when I listened to the C2a. The damn thing sounded great with both digital and analog. The SA-5.1 sounded very good with analog, although I had to use the SA-2 head amp for phono which raised the noise floor more than I liked. The SA-5.1 didnít sound good with my server though. I thought it was the cheap E-MU 0404 DAC that was causing the *problem.* I have said it numerous times that this DAC has a reputation as a giant killer and our own Steve Williams said it sounded very good in his system when Larry Toy brought it over for a test drive. When I heard this DAC with my 5.1/Jadis Defy 7 MKII combo, it sounded like ass and I told Steve what I thought. Steve could only shrug his shoulders because he knew what it sounded like when he heard it.
Imagine my surprise when all of a sudden digital had to be taken very seriously with the C2a in the playback chain. I just never saw that coming. The phono stage has lots of gain, is VERY quiet, and sounds really good. I just wish the MC side had adjustments for loading. I will tell you this, I bought the McIntosh C2300 preamp and even though it has more features than a Swiss Army knife, I didnít care for its sound (or one too many colors on the front panel), and I would take the C2a any day over the C2300. So now both my digital and analog are sounding great with the C2a. My noise floor with vinyl was lower than it had ever been with the C2a in the mix.
Bottom line was that I didnít feel too great about investing all of the money I had spent on the 5.1 only to have it get spanked by a Yamaha C2a (over $5K vs. $300). And for those of you who think that major new advances come out every year in the sound of preamps and power amps, you need to rethink that position. Passive parts such as capacitors and resistors have improved over the years with Teflon caps being all the latest rage, but circuits either SS or tube havenít changed drastically over the years-and certainly havenít made major advances on a yearly basis.
Many tube products on the market are based on 1950s/1960s designs with updated passive parts. In the case of tube amps, there are only so many ways and so many tubes to spilt the phase and drive the output tubes. Many of todayís *tube* preamps really only have a single pair of tubes that are preceded by FETs and have SS buffers on the output to lower the impedance. The ARC LS-17 that I owned was a classic case of that. It sounded more SS than good SS sounds.
I havenít had the nerve to put the C2a back in my system since my Krell KBL preamp came back from the factory last October. You would think that a preamp that sold for $4500 wouldnít be a fair comparison for the C2aÖ
I decided my great sounding Santa Cruz system deserved the vinyl leap. I have a vintage Sony PS X70 turntable on the way. I plan to pair it with a vintage Yamaha preamp for the phono section, probably for a total cost for the two coming in below $400. I can compare it at home to my SME30 setup before bringing it over.
I remember comparing my old Yammie preamp from the 70's to the Manley Stellhead when I got it, and didn't find the Steelhead was markedly superior, so it will be fun to check out this vintage system when it is place.
I was going to keep the Santa Cruz system digital, but, as usual, can't avoid the vinyl temptation.
I got the Sony PS X70. It wasn't shipped optimally, but OK, at least the guy took off the platter and taped down the tonearm. The horror of getting vintage stuff, especially turntables, is that there is at least a 33 percent chance that the shipping will kill or destroy it.
The tonearm weight shaft was bent down, either from this shipping or a prior mishap. However, the functions of the turntable seem to be intact, and the tone arm bearing seems free and clear. The weight shaft just means that a gauge must be used to determine the cartridge down force, because the tonearm weight determining mechanism is no longer accurate.
Setting up an Ortofon Kontrapunkt A cartridge with the arm and running it through the phono input of the Yamaha RX Z9 AV Receiver resulted in very nice headphone listening, much better than I expected.
However, running the phono output through the much more resolving Allnic H 3000 phono amp made the shortcomings of the Kontrapunkt A cartridge vividly clear. A very nice cartridge, but a kludge on subtelties compared to its higher end brethren.
I have been suffering through my knee jerk audiophile OC disorder setting this up to test, she is like a martinet schoolmarm making every nasty rejoinder possible.
Placing the Allnic Verito cartridge on the sony deck and playing it through the Allnic H 3000 resulted in quite amazing sound through my main system, even though the turntable is set up on the floor right next to a big subwoofer. Headphone listening without speakers through a Stax Headphone setup is near faultless. Tonal stability on piano tones is quite decent, and much better than many mid fi belt tables I have heard.
The Sony deck on a vibraplane or some such would be a decent high end table, it is easily worthy of the Allnic Verito cartridge.
The Sony PS X70 certainly does not have the Stygian depth and subtlety of the SME 30/ Da Vinci/Allnic Puritas, but it is not so far off as I thought it would be.
It does what vinyl is supposed to do, emotional summoning and vivid music hallucinosis, I am really pleased so far with my slightly wounded 34 year old Sony turntable.
It will ultimately be paired in Santa Cruz with another unheralded, amazing phono stage, the Yamaha C 70 preamp. The combo without cartridge came in at about $400, Vintage Bliss.
The retail value of the Allnic Verito cartridge is about 6 times the actual cost of the delivered turntable/arm/ Yamaha phono section, but the Sony PS X70 does justice to the cartridge and vice versa.
When vintage is not a train wreck, with careful selection and shopping it can be great!
Last edited by cjfrbw; 03-27-2012 at 04:58 PM. Reason: correction
I've been considering taking an old Direct Drive TT and converting it into my own work of art for a long time. The plinth would be a sculpture of wood of my own making, the arm would be best if 12" or longer for it to look like I want.
Here is the motor/controller donor list some on-line friends help me form.
Denon DP-59 thru DP-80...
Technic SP line...
Pioneer PL series 50L/70L and PL-L1 .....Pioneer P-3/P-10,...
Denon DP-100.... PL-L1.....
My criteria included being able to add some dampening mass to the plater or casting/lathing my own as an option.
I will look into the other tables mentioned in this thread, thanks to all for posting on this topic.
M/L Aerius + Tubes + Vinyl
Aren't you missing the EMT table?
In the Lamm Industries room was a beautiful EMT 927 F transcription turntable.
M/L Aerius + Tubes + Vinyl
The Technics was an early 1980s SU-V6 amp, another big steel box, 50wpc, but though good never felt like it delivered the goods fully. Never quite worked out what I liked or didn't like about it, but it went after six months or so.
Much like the current crop of equipment "out there", there'll be the good, the bad and occasionally, the truly great. For me, the AU217 was the good, the SU-V6 was the "not bad" and the AU-717 truly great. YMMV.