The Sound of Analog, the Sound of Digital

213Cobra

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A very interesting update, Phil! Thank you!

You mentioned the cost of the digital source components. What would you say is the cost of your analog source components you are using to compare to the sound of the digital?
Ron,

There's not a straightforward answer because we'd be comparing new digital @ 2021 retail with analog that is the result of spending spread over more than 40 years. On my primary hifi, my digital front end, not including streaming subscriptions, presently includes an 8TB RAID drive + one 12.9" iPad Pro + Auralic Aries G2.1 wifi streamer + Bricasti M21 Platinum DAC. Control software is Auralic Lightning DS, which is included with the Aries. I have a Roon software installation (permanent license) but haven't been using it because Lightning DS sounds better and is more stable. But if I did I'd have to add about $3000 for the Roon license + the PC dedicated to running Roon Core. So that's about $27,000 - $30,000 in toto for the equivalent of an analog chain consisting of phono cartridge + tonearm + turntable + phono pre to get an output suitable for input to the same linestage the digital front end feeds.

My primary analog front end is difficult to value in comparable terms because the turntable is 45 years old. The Luxman PD-444 cost $800 sans tonearm in 1976. On an inflation basis, that's equivalent to about $4000 today. But this turntable cannot be made for $4000 today. It sounds better than the $4000 Technics SL1210G, although that does come with a tonearm. And small high-end hifi companies could not make that Technics for a $4000 retail either. The Luxman is a direct-drive turntable so its performance, with the feet upgrades I've made is, in modern SQ terms, in the realm of Brinkmann Bardo to Grand Prix Parabolica. Let's say to replace the Luxman today with something equivalent requires at the moment ~$15K. Let's use that as a modern turntable value. The Luxman accommodates two tonearms and I have two on it, but I'll only include one for this purpose: Thomas Schick 12", $2000. Phono cartridge is either Ortofon SPU Meister Silver or SPU Synergy G. $100 difference between them so I'll just go with $2000 there. Phono preamp is a Nagra BPS. You can't buy this new today, but it was $2300. I could find something suitable today in the $2000 - $3000 range. The Nagra has built-in SUTs. Its output equates to the output of the digital gearchain. So, current performance value on my analog side is ~$21,300. To-date, it has cost more to get a digital front end that delivers musical satisfaction similar to analog and it still does. With hi-res streaming sidelining the cost of a high end disc player on the digital side, and DAC engineering steadily improving the musicality of at least a few vendors' DACs, that cost differential is narrowing. I duplicate both front ends on my secondary system, with the exceptions that tonearm(s) are vintage Japanese, the Bricasti DAC there is the M1LE Gold (sigma-delta only), and the streamer is an Auralic Aries G1.

Now, I spent much less than outlined above, on the analog front end, because I bought the turntable more than 40 years ago, the tonearm more than a decade ago, the Nagra from a dealer liquidating and upgraded the Luxman's feet circa 2008. Only my three SPUs each cost the same as now, more than a decade ago.

Of course, even if one accepts $15,000 as the basis for an equivalent turntable, such a front end can be assembled for much more. It's no trouble finding $6000 - $10,000 tonearms suitable for such a turntable, and same could leverage a $5,000 - $15,000 phono cartridge. And it would be no problem to find a phono preamp 5X the price of the Nagra or more, though some would be inferior, some no better, and a few preferable over it. And then there are the variables in source material. If like me you love the sound of an SPU, will you spend $15,000 for a phono cartridge? Probably not, but then again there's Koetsu up there. It would be easy to throw $10,000 at a phono pre. Easy to make that current-value analog front end ~$42,000+ instead of $21,300 by going to the moon on the cartridge & phono pre. Toss in a four figures MC SUT if you want to spend still more. All this, without venturing into the $75,000 to infinity turntables realm. The Bricasti M21 will still live in such a system as a digital peer, keeping in mind that it does PCM in sigma-delta and R2R, plus decodes DSD 1-bit in analog or DoP. That's new. It wasn't long ago that a $100K stack of digital could be easily beaten on musicality & engagement by analog rigs assembled for 1/10th that.

Phil
 

morricab

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Ron,

There's not a straightforward answer because we'd be comparing new digital @ 2021 retail with analog that is the result of spending spread over more than 40 years. On my primary hifi, my digital front end, not including streaming subscriptions, presently includes an 8TB RAID drive + one 12.9" iPad Pro + Auralic Aries G2.1 wifi streamer + Bricasti M21 Platinum DAC. Control software is Auralic Lightning DS, which is included with the Aries. I have a Roon software installation (permanent license) but haven't been using it because Lightning DS sounds better and is more stable. But if I did I'd have to add about $3000 for the Roon license + the PC dedicated to running Roon Core. So that's about $27,000 - $30,000 in toto for the equivalent of an analog chain consisting of phono cartridge + tonearm + turntable + phono pre to get an output suitable for input to the same linestage the digital front end feeds.

My primary analog front end is difficult to value in comparable terms because the turntable is 45 years old. The Luxman PD-444 cost $800 sans tonearm in 1976. On an inflation basis, that's equivalent to about $4000 today. But this turntable cannot be made for $4000 today. It sounds better than the $4000 Technics SL1210G, although that does come with a tonearm. And small high-end hifi companies could not make that Technics for a $4000 retail either. The Luxman is a direct-drive turntable so its performance, with the feet upgrades I've made is, in modern SQ terms, in the realm of Brinkmann Bardo to Grand Prix Parabolica. Let's say to replace the Luxman today with something equivalent requires at the moment ~$15K. Let's use that as a modern turntable value. The Luxman accommodates two tonearms and I have two on it, but I'll only include one for this purpose: Thomas Schick 12", $2000. Phono cartridge is either Ortofon SPU Meister Silver or SPU Synergy G. $100 difference between them so I'll just go with $2000 there. Phono preamp is a Nagra BPS. You can't buy this new today, but it was $2300. I could find something suitable today in the $2000 - $3000 range. The Nagra has built-in SUTs. Its output equates to the output of the digital gearchain. So, current performance value on my analog side is ~$21,300. To-date, it has cost more to get a digital front end that delivers musical satisfaction similar to analog and it still does. With hi-res streaming sidelining the cost of a high end disc player on the digital side, and DAC engineering steadily improving the musicality of at least a few vendors' DACs, that cost differential is narrowing. I duplicate both front ends on my secondary system, with the exceptions that tonearm(s) are vintage Japanese, the Bricasti DAC there is the M1LE Gold (sigma-delta only), and the streamer is an Auralic Aries G1.

Now, I spent much less than outlined above, on the analog front end, because I bought the turntable more than 40 years ago, the tonearm more than a decade ago, the Nagra from a dealer liquidating and upgraded the Luxman's feet circa 2008. Only my three SPUs each cost the same as now, more than a decade ago.

Of course, even if one accepts $15,000 as the basis for an equivalent turntable, such a front end can be assembled for much more. It's no trouble finding $6000 - $10,000 tonearms suitable for such a turntable, and same could leverage a $5,000 - $15,000 phono cartridge. And it would be no problem to find a phono preamp 5X the price of the Nagra or more, though some would be inferior, some no better, and a few preferable over it. And then there are the variables in source material. If like me you love the sound of an SPU, will you spend $15,000 for a phono cartridge? Probably not, but then again there's Koetsu up there. It would be easy to throw $10,000 at a phono pre. Easy to make that current-value analog front end ~$42,000+ instead of $21,300 by going to the moon on the cartridge & phono pre. Toss in a four figures MC SUT if you want to spend still more. All this, without venturing into the $75,000 to infinity turntables realm. The Bricasti M21 will still live in such a system as a digital peer, keeping in mind that it does PCM in sigma-delta and R2R, plus decodes DSD 1-bit in analog or DoP. That's new. It wasn't long ago that a $100K stack of digital could be easily beaten on musicality & engagement by analog rigs assembled for 1/10th that.

Phil
A friend of mine has a PD444 and it is very nice...until you compare it to a Yamaha GT-2000 with outboard PSU and vacuum platter...then you hear a better DD from that era...
 

Lagonda

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Yes these turntables are a steal, and can be had for under 5K all day long ! :)
 

spiritofmusic

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Phil has certainly waved the Luxman at me as a quality alternative to my rig. It's seriously tempting, from a design aesthetics view as much as anything.
 

Lagonda

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Phil has certainly waved the Luxman at me as a quality alternative to my rig. It's seriously tempting, from a design aesthetics view as much as anything.
At those prices, you should pick up both a Yamaha GT -2000 and the Luxman PD 444, you have enough room Marc, you spend more on tweaks every 3 month ! ;)
 
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spiritofmusic

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Haha Milan, is it so obvious? Actually I'm busy with my Permali TT plinth project, but maybe another day.
 

213Cobra

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A friend of mine has a PD444 and it is very nice...until you compare it to a Yamaha GT-2000 with outboard PSU and vacuum platter...then you hear a better DD from that era...
We usually think of the 1970s and 1980s in hifi as different eras, at least those of us old enough to having lived them. The Luxman and Yamaha didn't overlap in the market. The Luxman PD44X tables were all built between 1976-1980, after which Luxman became a very different company in the US. Some of their old luxuriousness was still available in the Japanese home market after that, but not here. The Yamaha GT2000 was made beginning 1982 up to 1992, mostly for the home market in Japan. The top X model in the series was only made for two years, 1985-86. I don't think the GT2000 series was sent to the US at all. Every one I've ever seen has been 100v, per Japan. The US got the lesser GT-1000 for 120v.

Both the Luxman and Yamaha were connected to Micro-Seiki, the Yamahas essentially having been outsource-engineered by M-S and M-S having been tapped for input on the PD-44X and PD-555 turntables. I once had one of my Luxmans side by side with both the great Yamaha GT-2000X from the mid-1980s and the GT-2000L, without the vacuum mat accessory. A collector I knew in Boston had imported both. The Yamahas had energy and drive more like a Garrard or Thorens idler drive but the Luxman had more nuance and finesse. Somewhat different sounds from two tables that also had not-dissimilar engineering principles packaged quite differently. It was one of the things that got me thinking about the sound of the Luxman's feet. But at the time I was living in the Boston area in a three story Victorian with suspended wood floors, so the damped-springs feet made sense. My first house in Los Angeles had a suspended wood floor over crawl space, single story, so I just back-burnered the whole matter. Then we bought and moved into a concrete slab foundation house in the 2000s. With concrete, ply mat and engineered wood underfoot, I took up an extended series of experiments for improving the Luxman's footing. Where I ended up was just short of shocking wrt how much phantom musical energy was recovered. The change to brass + bearings brought a lot of that Yamaha's added drive without losing the Luxman's native finesse. And along with that came more extended bass, more expansive soundstaging, more fine detail retrieval, more tone. Just more.

For whatever reason, today's used market values the Yamaha 2000 series less than the Luxman. The Luxman is scarcer and it accommodates two tonearms, one of which can be broadcast-length. Not sure whether there is a market perception that SQ drives higher resale for the Luxman.

If I had to replace the Luxman today, the 47 Labs Koma, one of the Reed friction drives or a Brinkmann direct drive would be the primary candidates......unless I found another pristine PD444. Love its svelte form cloaking considerable mass, owing to its foundational iron plate.

Phil
 

morricab

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We usually think of the 1970s and 1980s in hifi as different eras, at least those of us old enough to having lived them. The Luxman and Yamaha didn't overlap in the market. The Luxman PD44X tables were all built between 1976-1980, after which Luxman became a very different company in the US. Some of their old luxuriousness was still available in the Japanese home market after that, but not here. The Yamaha GT2000 was made beginning 1982 up to 1992, mostly for the home market in Japan. The top X model in the series was only made for two years, 1985-86. I don't think the GT2000 series was sent to the US at all. Every one I've ever seen has been 100v, per Japan. The US got the lesser GT-1000 for 120v.

Both the Luxman and Yamaha were connected to Micro-Seiki, the Yamahas essentially having been outsource-engineered by M-S and M-S having been tapped for input on the PD-44X and PD-555 turntables. I once had one of my Luxmans side by side with both the great Yamaha GT-2000X from the mid-1980s and the GT-2000L, without the vacuum mat accessory. A collector I knew in Boston had imported both. The Yamahas had energy and drive more like a Garrard or Thorens idler drive but the Luxman had more nuance and finesse. Somewhat different sounds from two tables that also had not-dissimilar engineering principles packaged quite differently. It was one of the things that got me thinking about the sound of the Luxman's feet. But at the time I was living in the Boston area in a three story Victorian with suspended wood floors, so the damped-springs feet made sense. My first house in Los Angeles had a suspended wood floor over crawl space, single story, so I just back-burnered the whole matter. Then we bought and moved into a concrete slab foundation house in the 2000s. With concrete, ply mat and engineered wood underfoot, I took up an extended series of experiments for improving the Luxman's footing. Where I ended up was just short of shocking wrt how much phantom musical energy was recovered. The change to brass + bearings brought a lot of that Yamaha's added drive without losing the Luxman's native finesse. And along with that came more extended bass, more expansive soundstaging, more fine detail retrieval, more tone. Just more.

For whatever reason, today's used market values the Yamaha 2000 series less than the Luxman. The Luxman is scarcer and it accommodates two tonearms, one of which can be broadcast-length. Not sure whether there is a market perception that SQ drives higher resale for the Luxman.

If I had to replace the Luxman today, the 47 Labs Koma, one of the Reed friction drives or a Brinkmann direct drive would be the primary candidates......unless I found another pristine PD444. Love its svelte form cloaking considerable mass, owing to its foundational iron plate.

Phil
I will comment more on the bulk of your post later but I would not go with the Reed TTs. We tried the Reed in Friction drive configuration with a very nice Reed arm (not the linear but next best) and it got beat by every TT we had on hand. That was the Luxman, Yamaha, a big Transrotor with three motor magnetic drive and a refurbished and replinthed Lenco L75. It was very dry sounding and weak bass. Not much subtlety either. Brinkmann Bardo is very good.
 

213Cobra

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I will comment more on the bulk of your post later but I would not go with the Reed TTs. We tried the Reed in Friction drive configuration with a very nice Reed arm (not the linear but next best) and it got beat by every TT we had on hand. That was the Luxman, Yamaha, a big Transrotor with three motor magnetic drive and a refurbished and replinthed Lenco L75. It was very dry sounding and weak bass. Not much subtlety either. Brinkmann Bardo is very good.
I have been interested in the Reed conceptually, and am certainly open to disqualifying input. Haven't heard it. The Bardo I am extensively familiar with and it's been a Luxman-death goto for many years. The 47 Labs is exotic and conceptually legit to the point that I'd take a flyer on it risking failure.

Phil
 

morricab

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We usually think of the 1970s and 1980s in hifi as different eras, at least those of us old enough to having lived them. The Luxman and Yamaha didn't overlap in the market. The Luxman PD44X tables were all built between 1976-1980, after which Luxman became a very different company in the US. Some of their old luxuriousness was still available in the Japanese home market after that, but not here. The Yamaha GT2000 was made beginning 1982 up to 1992, mostly for the home market in Japan. The top X model in the series was only made for two years, 1985-86. I don't think the GT2000 series was sent to the US at all. Every one I've ever seen has been 100v, per Japan. The US got the lesser GT-1000 for 120v.

Both the Luxman and Yamaha were connected to Micro-Seiki, the Yamahas essentially having been outsource-engineered by M-S and M-S having been tapped for input on the PD-44X and PD-555 turntables. I once had one of my Luxmans side by side with both the great Yamaha GT-2000X from the mid-1980s and the GT-2000L, without the vacuum mat accessory. A collector I knew in Boston had imported both. The Yamahas had energy and drive more like a Garrard or Thorens idler drive but the Luxman had more nuance and finesse. Somewhat different sounds from two tables that also had not-dissimilar engineering principles packaged quite differently. It was one of the things that got me thinking about the sound of the Luxman's feet. But at the time I was living in the Boston area in a three story Victorian with suspended wood floors, so the damped-springs feet made sense. My first house in Los Angeles had a suspended wood floor over crawl space, single story, so I just back-burnered the whole matter. Then we bought and moved into a concrete slab foundation house in the 2000s. With concrete, ply mat and engineered wood underfoot, I took up an extended series of experiments for improving the Luxman's footing. Where I ended up was just short of shocking wrt how much phantom musical energy was recovered. The change to brass + bearings brought a lot of that Yamaha's added drive without losing the Luxman's native finesse. And along with that came more extended bass, more expansive soundstaging, more fine detail retrieval, more tone. Just more.

For whatever reason, today's used market values the Yamaha 2000 series less than the Luxman. The Luxman is scarcer and it accommodates two tonearms, one of which can be broadcast-length. Not sure whether there is a market perception that SQ drives higher resale for the Luxman.

If I had to replace the Luxman today, the 47 Labs Koma, one of the Reed friction drives or a Brinkmann direct drive would be the primary candidates......unless I found another pristine PD444. Love its svelte form cloaking considerable mass, owing to its foundational iron plate.

Phil

MS might have had a hand in both the Yamaha and Luxman but they are still very different machines. The Luxman motor is not a brushless, slotless coreless motor and the Yamaha is just that (like the Kenwood L07D and Brinkman designs). The Luxman uses some magnetic repulsion to reduce the bearing load and the Yamaha doesn't. The platter of the Luxman is relatively lightweight whereas the stock platter of the Yamaha is 6Kg and there is an optional gunmetal platter that is 18KG. The bearing is designed to handle the extra weight, the X version had a larger bearing than the normal and L versions. The Yamaha used JVC's "bi-directional" servo for the speed regulation that eliminated "hunting" and other tight speed regulation issues. It is not clear to me what Luxman used beyond a quatz locked PLL with some kind of frequency generator (like Denon's tape strip concept but not that...nowadays optical encoders are used).

When you compared the 2000, did you have the outboard, optional power supply? If not, then you only heard about 60-70% of what the table could do.

In summary, the combination of advanced, no cogging, motor, advanced speed regulation and additional smoothing from a relatively high mass platter gives the Yamaha advantages over the Luxman, which were audible to us as superior in terms of drive and precision and yet it has a flowing musicality full of nuance and subtlety. The Luxman, while very good, was simply a step behind.

I also have an Exclusive P10 motor that I am (still) working on putting into a plinth...I am very curious how this will sound as the motor is VERY advanced but I am not sure how sophisticated the speed regulation is and the platter is relatively lightweight; however, the P3, which has the same motor and control design has been widely regarded as one of the top 3 or so classic Japanese tables.
 

morricab

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I will comment more on the bulk of your post later but I would not go with the Reed TTs. We tried the Reed in Friction drive configuration with a very nice Reed arm (not the linear but next best) and it got beat by every TT we had on hand. That was the Luxman, Yamaha, a big Transrotor with three motor magnetic drive and a refurbished and replinthed Lenco L75. It was very dry sounding and weak bass. Not much subtlety either. Brinkmann Bardo is very good.
BTW, we found a very good way to compare TTs so we could use the same cartridge. My friend has a Nakamichi ZX9 tape deck and we found that we could record each TT, with the same cartridge one after the other on the tape. This didn't impact the outcome of the evaluation (it seems aural memory is not as poor as some claim ;) ) but it did make for a nice immediate feedback from one table to the other and the ability to quickly A/B if unsure. Evaluation both ways made it clear the Reed was well behind the others.

In order to tell how good the recordings were, we A/B'd one of the TTs playing the record and then the recording. We also did this taping output from the Aries Cerat Kassandra DAC on to the tape and then playing that back simultaneously and switching between the sources going through the Aries Cerat Impera II preamp. It was hard to distinguish the difference between tape and DAC...the ZX9 is really good at not editorializing what comes into it...or out of it. My friend had two other Nak tape machines (an older high end one and a newer lower end one) that both added their own character a bit too much to be used for this purpose. I also made some 24/192 recordings that were equally transparent (I have a good TASCAM recorder) but since the ZX9 worked a treat we kept it that way.
 

Ron Resnick

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Ron,

There's not a straightforward answer because we'd be comparing new digital @ 2021 retail with analog that is the result of spending spread over more than 40 years. On my primary hifi, my digital front end, not including streaming subscriptions, presently includes an 8TB RAID drive + one 12.9" iPad Pro + Auralic Aries G2.1 wifi streamer + Bricasti M21 Platinum DAC. Control software is Auralic Lightning DS, which is included with the Aries. I have a Roon software installation (permanent license) but haven't been using it because Lightning DS sounds better and is more stable. But if I did I'd have to add about $3000 for the Roon license + the PC dedicated to running Roon Core. So that's about $27,000 - $30,000 in toto for the equivalent of an analog chain consisting of phono cartridge + tonearm + turntable + phono pre to get an output suitable for input to the same linestage the digital front end feeds.

My primary analog front end is difficult to value in comparable terms because the turntable is 45 years old. The Luxman PD-444 cost $800 sans tonearm in 1976. On an inflation basis, that's equivalent to about $4000 today. But this turntable cannot be made for $4000 today. It sounds better than the $4000 Technics SL1210G, although that does come with a tonearm. And small high-end hifi companies could not make that Technics for a $4000 retail either. The Luxman is a direct-drive turntable so its performance, with the feet upgrades I've made is, in modern SQ terms, in the realm of Brinkmann Bardo to Grand Prix Parabolica. Let's say to replace the Luxman today with something equivalent requires at the moment ~$15K. Let's use that as a modern turntable value. The Luxman accommodates two tonearms and I have two on it, but I'll only include one for this purpose: Thomas Schick 12", $2000. Phono cartridge is either Ortofon SPU Meister Silver or SPU Synergy G. $100 difference between them so I'll just go with $2000 there. Phono preamp is a Nagra BPS. You can't buy this new today, but it was $2300. I could find something suitable today in the $2000 - $3000 range. The Nagra has built-in SUTs. Its output equates to the output of the digital gearchain. So, current performance value on my analog side is ~$21,300. To-date, it has cost more to get a digital front end that delivers musical satisfaction similar to analog and it still does. With hi-res streaming sidelining the cost of a high end disc player on the digital side, and DAC engineering steadily improving the musicality of at least a few vendors' DACs, that cost differential is narrowing. I duplicate both front ends on my secondary system, with the exceptions that tonearm(s) are vintage Japanese, the Bricasti DAC there is the M1LE Gold (sigma-delta only), and the streamer is an Auralic Aries G1.

Now, I spent much less than outlined above, on the analog front end, because I bought the turntable more than 40 years ago, the tonearm more than a decade ago, the Nagra from a dealer liquidating and upgraded the Luxman's feet circa 2008. Only my three SPUs each cost the same as now, more than a decade ago.

Of course, even if one accepts $15,000 as the basis for an equivalent turntable, such a front end can be assembled for much more. It's no trouble finding $6000 - $10,000 tonearms suitable for such a turntable, and same could leverage a $5,000 - $15,000 phono cartridge. And it would be no problem to find a phono preamp 5X the price of the Nagra or more, though some would be inferior, some no better, and a few preferable over it. And then there are the variables in source material. If like me you love the sound of an SPU, will you spend $15,000 for a phono cartridge? Probably not, but then again there's Koetsu up there. It would be easy to throw $10,000 at a phono pre. Easy to make that current-value analog front end ~$42,000+ instead of $21,300 by going to the moon on the cartridge & phono pre. Toss in a four figures MC SUT if you want to spend still more. All this, without venturing into the $75,000 to infinity turntables realm. The Bricasti M21 will still live in such a system as a digital peer, keeping in mind that it does PCM in sigma-delta and R2R, plus decodes DSD 1-bit in analog or DoP. That's new. It wasn't long ago that a $100K stack of digital could be easily beaten on musicality & engagement by analog rigs assembled for 1/10th that.

Phil


Dear Phil,

Thank you for your extremely thoughtful, specific and detailed reply!

I definitely agree that "it wasn't long ago that a $100K stack of digital could be easily beaten on musicality & engagement by analog rigs assembled for 1/10th that."
 
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213Cobra

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MS might have had a hand in both the Yamaha and Luxman but they are still very different machines. The Luxman motor is not a brushless, slotless coreless motor and the Yamaha is just that (like the Kenwood L07D and Brinkman designs). The Luxman uses some magnetic repulsion to reduce the bearing load and the Yamaha doesn't. The platter of the Luxman is relatively lightweight whereas the stock platter of the Yamaha is 6Kg and there is an optional gunmetal platter that is 18KG. The bearing is designed to handle the extra weight, the X version had a larger bearing than the normal and L versions. The Yamaha used JVC's "bi-directional" servo for the speed regulation that eliminated "hunting" and other tight speed regulation issues. It is not clear to me what Luxman used beyond a quatz locked PLL with some kind of frequency generator (like Denon's tape strip concept but not that...nowadays optical encoders are used).

When you compared the 2000, did you have the outboard, optional power supply? If not, then you only heard about 60-70% of what the table could do.

In summary, the combination of advanced, no cogging, motor, advanced speed regulation and additional smoothing from a relatively high mass platter gives the Yamaha advantages over the Luxman, which were audible to us as superior in terms of drive and precision and yet it has a flowing musicality full of nuance and subtlety. The Luxman, while very good, was simply a step behind.

I also have an Exclusive P10 motor that I am (still) working on putting into a plinth...I am very curious how this will sound as the motor is VERY advanced but I am not sure how sophisticated the speed regulation is and the platter is relatively lightweight; however, the P3, which has the same motor and control design has been widely regarded as one of the top 3 or so classic Japanese tables.
I agree the Luxman and Yamaha were different machines regardless of being influenced by the same domain-expertise partner. I had a Kenwood L07D way back for a short time. I liked many aspects of it but the Luxman won by degrees at the time. The Luxman motor was quartz PLL governed and it's a brushless motor. Very smooth. Not a typical high-cogging 70's DD motor. When I had a chance to compare the Yamaha 2000L & X about 34 years ago, it was not with the Yammy outboard PSU. Sure, that might have made the difference. I could have hurled my Luxmans into the trash!

The Luxman platter was medium-mass -- about 5.5 lbs, but most of its mass is concentrated in the perimeter, so the flywheel effect is present, and the intrinsic motor/governance circuitry is smooth.

The Pioneer P10 and P3 TTs, and motors scavenged for lab-built turntables, were certainly terrific if maintained in the former case and competently plinthed & powered in the latter case. Finding them available for sale, well that's another thing. I've heard them but not bought either. The Luxmans, both of them, were right in front of me decades ago at the right time, and I found their foundational architectures and motors (mine are both the better/later 152 motor (don't buy the glitchy early 102 motor) excellent to the point I could focus on improving energy management to get to the right endpoint.

BTW, after decades of experimentation with mats for the Luxman, I unfailingly return to the original 1 lb. floppy polymer mat, which I top with a very thin leather mat (UK-sourced) and use with a Michell R lightweight nylon record clamp, so as not to disturb the 80% reduction of bearing load enforced by magnetic repulsion.

Net is there is always someone wealthier, always someone with better gear, always someone who grabbed something more special. I don't worry about that. I've heard a Yamaha G-2000L&X. So it's cataloged in long term memory. And there are scads of people who have heard my Luxman PD444s in two systems and that's in their memories. I'm not the one to chase perfectionist illusions at the expense of giving up peripheral pleasures of owning something in hifi. My Luxman PD444s as configured by me sound great but they also look fantabulous in that kind of '70s lenticular vibe. Getting both at once is a win.

Phil
 
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213Cobra

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BTW, we found a very good way to compare TTs so we could use the same cartridge. My friend has a Nakamichi ZX9 tape deck and we found that we could record each TT, with the same cartridge one after the other on the tape. This didn't impact the outcome of the evaluation (it seems aural memory is not as poor as some claim ;) ) but it did make for a nice immediate feedback from one table to the other and the ability to quickly A/B if unsure. Evaluation both ways made it clear the Reed was well behind the others.

In order to tell how good the recordings were, we A/B'd one of the TTs playing the record and then the recording. We also did this taping output from the Aries Cerat Kassandra DAC on to the tape and then playing that back simultaneously and switching between the sources going through the Aries Cerat Impera II preamp. It was hard to distinguish the difference between tape and DAC...the ZX9 is really good at not editorializing what comes into it...or out of it. My friend had two other Nak tape machines (an older high end one and a newer lower end one) that both added their own character a bit too much to be used for this purpose. I also made some 24/192 recordings that were equally transparent (I have a good TASCAM recorder) but since the ZX9 worked a treat we kept it that way.
Yeah, I used to do this back in the '80s with a Tandberg TCD-440A and a ReVox B77 at high speed. It certainly was a sufficient method to augment audio memory and drive immediate, direct comparisons into the mix of evaluations heading toward judgment.

Phil
 

morricab

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Yeah, I used to do this back in the '80s with a Tandberg TCD-440A and a ReVox B77 at high speed. It certainly was a sufficient method to augment audio memory and drive immediate, direct comparisons into the mix of evaluations heading toward judgment.

Phil
Yeah, it was uncomfortable for us as we were considering carrying the brand and realizing it didn't meet our sonic criteria and we therefore had to send it back...
 

213Cobra

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? Poor Reed...
Understand I am not advocating Reed. I have experience with the Brinkmanns. I have heard the 47 Labs Koma. I have no experience with the Reed; I cited it as a candidate conceptually because the design *should* compete well if executed well. I take your comments on the Reed seriously. Now I am curious why it disappoints. -Phil
 

Solypsa

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Having never heard the Koma, I wondered if they made very many. Love the lab look like it is a purposeful tool.

Vis a vis direct drive, at a slightly lower price point, STST is still carrying the direct drive torch ;)
 

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