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

spiritofmusic

Member Sponsor
Jun 13, 2013
6,244
14
38
E. England
#1
Finally after 22 long months, I get my analog rig reinstalled. If there’s any interest in it, I’m very happy to chat further.
To kick off, here’s the link to the designer’s web page:

www.trans-fi.com
 

PeterA

Active Member
Dec 7, 2011
4,875
11
38
North Shore of Boston
#2
Marc, these pages are full of your previous impressions about this combination. I'm curious now to read if those impressions have changed after both your exposure to more live music and to better digital and the effects of isolation devices. Is the rig all set up and running? Is it on a Stacore platform? There were a lot of modifications as I recall, so I suspect it will sound different and that your new room acoustics should be a clearer window into its capabilities.

Will the Trans Fi be worthy or will it produce a move toward DD or BD?
 

spiritofmusic

Member Sponsor
Jun 13, 2013
6,244
14
38
E. England
#3
Peter, I really won’t know until the 20th, when it gets reinstalled and I receive my early Xmas present LOL.
I’m more sanguine about my overly spiky anti belt drive comments in the past.
I’m definitely more aware that there are as many if not more engineering compromises going to idler or DD.
And as such am more open to belt drive, executed excellently like SME and a handful of others, as still the way to go.
However, there are interesting examples in all drive trains, and my tt is one such, direct rim drive, an offshoot of idler drive.
My mods are: magnetic bearing to platter, magnetic isolating feet, upgraded overspecced psus to tt speed control and Straingauge energiser, thus allowing fitting of Sablon Elite pwr cords and SR fuses (previously cheapo captive pwr cords), bespoke Al arm mount from NZ, Klei Silver Harmony RCA plugs to one-piece tonearm wire, Symposium Svelte pad under motor pod, chip upgrade to Straingauge energiser, and Stacore Advanced platform. These changes have pretty much doubled my cash outlay on original purchase price.
I do believe I’ll get some good results here, and will only consider trading up to something significantly better engineered like an SME 30/2.
 

PeterA

Active Member
Dec 7, 2011
4,875
11
38
North Shore of Boston
#4
Thanks for describing that extensive list again. I'm sure the 20th will not come soon enough.

One thing now comes to mind. I do not recall reading in any of your friend Bonzo's travel logs that he has encountered one of the big SME tables in someone's system. I'm sure he has heard Mik's SMEs but I don't remember him writing anything about them. Does the wonderfully descriptive Bonzo have an opinion about the SME 30/2 or 30/12? In your country they should offer an even better value than they do in the USA.
 

spiritofmusic

Member Sponsor
Jun 13, 2013
6,244
14
38
E. England
#5
He’s pretty close to Audiophile Bill, who’s ecstatic over his new 30/2. I’ve got a standing invite to hear what all the fuss LOL is about.
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
8,847
43
48
London
#6
He’s pretty close to Audiophile Bill, who’s ecstatic over his new 30/2. I’ve got a standing invite to hear what all the fuss LOL is about.
Actually, recently I have just been getting texts of how awesome the Lampi is sounding. His IO is temporarily out for repairs.

When I buy the schopper it will go straight to his and dctom's. They can then post how it compares to 3012 and xl4.

Gian's friend is preferring the lenco to the 3012 and has asked Jean Nantais for another upgrade.

I know where I stand. I am going schopper followed by long term to used kodo beat or sp10r.

Peter, I have not heard SME properly. I heard the 3012 once and was impressed. I am open to Bill's TT changing my above statement, but recent belt drive sessions, not with the SME, have all sounded too laid back and with a lack of drive and energy for me. Also belts don't seem to hold things together on tuttis as well as digital, while Schopper and DDs do. And no, I am not including the techdas here way to expensive to be considered.
 

spiritofmusic

Member Sponsor
Jun 13, 2013
6,244
14
38
E. England
#7
Ked, individual data points mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. So you know a few guys who’ve gone belt to idler or DD. So what. So have I, belt to rim drive. It matters not one jot. What matters is that thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands in the 60s and 70s moved from non belt drive to belt drive, driven (pun intended) by the belt drive kings of the day, in the UK those being Linn LP12, Roksan Xerxes and Pink Triangle. I’m with you, at this point belt drive at my level of expenditure makes no sense when I can get a wholly overperforming wrt price tt like my rim drive Salvation. Saying that this listener and that listener dropped their TW Raven or SME for a Schopper or PTP is so beneath the radar it’s close to impossible to detect.
And this thought is coming from the owner of a tt and arm that has fellow owners that have dumped SME, Graham, Kuzma, Air Tangent etc for it. I’m a fan and even I know I’m in a minority of a minority.
 

spiritofmusic

Member Sponsor
Jun 13, 2013
6,244
14
38
E. England
#8
Peter, in answer to your q, my digital has been totally immersive in the last few months as layer after layer of system-wide improvements have opened the sound up, starting with the startling effect of stellar room acoustics, then my balanced power/dedicated lines going in, and most recently the combination of upgrades to Sablon Elites pwr cords, SR Black fuses, a couple of Stacores, and most recently the rebirth of Entreq here, maxxed further by placing of grnd box on a Stacore.
We are getting about one live unamplified gig a week, either classical (usually string quartet or piano recital, occasional orchestral) or jazz trio.
First, I wholly recognise my mids/mid bass centric sound of deep tone density is highly recognisable from live. I’m never going to get the blazing dynamics and wall of bass of live as I would from well controlled Apogee ribbons, or the easy intimacy and scalability of great horns, or the soundstaging and imaging of great big signature Magicos, Rockports or Wilsons. But I’m getting my own slice of reality with my Zus/SETs.
And my digital has amazing analog-like tonal differentiation and natural warmth that I’ve rarely heard from other digital (SGM w T&A Dac8 being the other combo that really talks to me) and closely resembles the best analog in many ways. But I also know from ongoing live exposure that I only hear the texture, heft and microdetail abundantly evident in live music from great analog, and I’m confident I’ll start getting some of that back as the analog rig comes online.
 
Last edited:

spiritofmusic

Member Sponsor
Jun 13, 2013
6,244
14
38
E. England
#9
Countdown to tt reinstall. It’ll be nearly two years since I last listened to my analog regularly, although I’ve had a donor tt for a little while. I have a little anxiety ahead of the big day on Thursday.
 

awsmone

Active Member
Apr 7, 2014
1,061
2
38
Canberra Australia
#10
Hope Marc it’s not anticlimax
So many things to optimised on analog rig

Been running my Bakoon phono with and without step ups

I directly compare my belt drive which is a monster with the Monaco which looks like the school geek in comparison

Listened for 2 days of belt drive thought so musical, quiet and prat could it be better

Then I put the first record in the Monaco...and my jaw dropped

Silent backgrounds, more bass, more of everything, denser midrange, more dynamic and picodetails

Same phono, step ups, carts and arms....
 

spiritofmusic

Member Sponsor
Jun 13, 2013
6,244
14
38
E. England
#11
I’m sure things will be fine. It’s just the natural anxiety of a proud dad LOL. I’ve heard it recently at designer Vic, and it was sounding v impressive (despite me not being a fan of his ancillaries). All the things I love about it were present and correct, including start-stop bass, agility, and certitude, these things being direct consequences of rim drive and air bearing linear arm. Where my rig should go beyond Vic is in the fact I have a better cart/phono than him in the Straingauge, upgraded psus to this and the motor speed controller, and the Stacore isoln platform. This should dig out more warmth, imaging and microdynamics.
Awsmone, I completely get your comments about the upstick going back to yr DD. I’ve heard a couple of best drives recently, my basic back up I had been using as a substitute recently, and a very well regarded, uber engineered example. The latter especially was very impressive. But if these experiences are anything to go by, belt drive talks less and less to me. This is where my anxiety stems from I think, expenditure on Stacore plus a couple of bespoke psus and new arm mount, means I potentially get an even better version of what I loved before.
 

awsmone

Active Member
Apr 7, 2014
1,061
2
38
Canberra Australia
#12
Heard you tonearm and was very impressed
User controls are a little challenging .....
 

spiritofmusic

Member Sponsor
Jun 13, 2013
6,244
14
38
E. England
#13
Awsmone, Vic’s gear does take some getting used to, esp re fine tuning. Certainly if he had the resources other top designers had, and chose to charge more, he’d produce more bulletproof designs. But it is what it is, and his stuff seriously overperforms, so I’m happy to put up w quirks in setup.
No one else on this forum other than me, and now you, has any experience of Salvation or Terminator, so it would be great if you could reveal to the breathless masses how Vic’s linear air arm sounds.
 
Last edited:

awsmone

Active Member
Apr 7, 2014
1,061
2
38
Canberra Australia
#14
Sure Mark

There is no doubt it looks like a meccano set gone mad
However closer examination revealed it well thought out, and implemented

The pump was very quiet and can be mounted 20 ft away or in another room

I never heard it

The arm glides like nothing which is scary if you knock it

It has got a good arm lift and a micrometer for vta which seems critical for linear trackers

Getting a record on and off is the only real difficulty as it’s so close to the record surface at the back and it cannot be pivoted out of the way...so watch out if u had one to many whiskies

I heard with Grado statement which I love, and Goldmund pre, and macintosh power amps and latest B and W 802s

The sound quality was very smooth, super quiet, and timbrally very accurate

I played my own records, and was very impressed by the sound

Being a Grado, it was mid centric and dense timbral tone

I found nothing really lacking

THe turntable was a heavily modified Michel Orbe with Pedersen suspension and origin motor dc Control upgrade

To be honest if I had space for a fifth tt I would have bought it

It was actually bought by an Australian Hifi magazine writer instead!

Yes very impressed
 

spiritofmusic

Member Sponsor
Jun 13, 2013
6,244
14
38
E. England
#15
Andrew, that is SO weird! The tt I had before going for Vic’s Salvation was the...Michell Orbe w Pederson upgrades and OL motor .
I can tell you the direct rim drive Salvation is a cut above the Orbe, and is a shoe in w the Terminator.
All you describe is what I hear.
 
Last edited:

spiritofmusic

Member Sponsor
Jun 13, 2013
6,244
14
38
E. England
#16
Day Three of analog reinstall, and things go from strength to strength.
Bass articulation and extension are so far beyond what I had in London, that I’m struggling to make sense of this.
A combination of less acoustic suck outs in my new space, even acoustic, Stacore Adv isolation platform taking my flexy 50x35 suspended timber floor out of the equation, and my new bespoke psus (with Sablon Elite pwr cords and SR Black fuses) revealing the true heft of my tt/arm/cart combination. Additionally my very fast agile air arm emphasising a very lithe, live bass quality, almost zero bloat or overhang.
Mids air, stage depth, texture, and imaging, are also never before heard. I’m not detecting any flatness or hardness, notes trail into the distance, microdynamics unfettered. Again the Stacore platform is helping big time controlling bass resonances and preventing any mid bass hash, but also the fast, agile quality of the front end is coming to the fore, and I’m getting a great combination of rim drive certitude, air arm delicacy, and Straingauge colour and dynamics.
My only caveat on Day One, a muting of high end energy and treble bite, is starting to correct itself.
What is dawning on me is that two decades in a harsh, reflective, zingy acoustic (my last apartment), followed by 18 months of no music at home, followed by 6 months of 100% immersion in pure digital in my vastly impvd acoustic, followed by 3 days of my first vinyl in a pretty much alien setup despite the new impvd room, requires some getting used to.
And Im more and more convinced that despite reservations on my more muted top end, it’s probably more accurate here, and just needs teasing along.
I’m certainly aware of a sweeter overall presentation which I can’t help really liking.
My take here is that I’m giving myself 6-8 weeks of finetuning the setup, from VTA, VTF, speed setting, to seating distance from spkrs, to spkrs toe in, to Zu subs crossover settings, all the while allowing burn in of: two new psus w associated pwr cords and fuses, brand new cart/stylus/energiser, new tubes in preamp, new balanced transformer to air arm pump, and mechanical opening up of: new arm mount, new pivot points to air arm, new RCA plugs to tonearm wire, new Symposium Svelte isolation pad under motor pod (replacing stock sorbothane), new Symposium Rollerblocks under big balanced transformer (sits on second Stacore).
My current feeling is one of real relief, I finally have vinyl after 24 barren months, and also that decision to spend £15k plus spent on Stacore, bespoke psus, Straingauge updates etc, w no certainty it would all come together, has been truly vindicated.
Now all I want to get is that upper verve and vitality, and I’ll be a very happy camper.
 

PeterA

Active Member
Dec 7, 2011
4,875
11
38
North Shore of Boston
#17
Day Three of analog reinstall, and things go from strength to strength.
Bass articulation and extension are so far beyond what I had in London, that I’m struggling to make sense of this.
A combination of less acoustic suck outs in my new space, even acoustic, Stacore Adv isolation platform taking my flexy 50x35 suspended timber floor out of the equation, and my new bespoke psus (with Sablon Elite pwr cords and SR Black fuses) revealing the true heft of my tt/arm/cart combination. Additionally my very fast agile air arm emphasising a very lithe, live bass quality, almost zero bloat or overhang.
Mids air, stage depth, texture, and imaging, are also never before heard. I’m not detecting any flatness or hardness, notes trail into the distance, microdynamics unfettered. Again the Stacore platform is helping big time controlling bass resonances and preventing any mid bass hash, but also the fast, agile quality of the front end is coming to the fore, and I’m getting a great combination of rim drive certitude, air arm delicacy, and Straingauge colour and dynamics.
My only caveat on Day One, a muting of high end energy and treble bite, is starting to correct itself.
What is dawning on me is that two decades in a harsh, reflective, zingy acoustic (my last apartment), followed by 18 months of no music at home, followed by 6 months of 100% immersion in pure digital in my vastly impvd acoustic, followed by 3 days of my first vinyl in a pretty much alien setup despite the new impvd room, requires some getting used to.
And Im more and more convinced that despite reservations on my more muted top end, it’s probably more accurate here, and just needs teasing along.
I’m certainly aware of a sweeter overall presentation which I can’t help really liking.
My take here is that I’m giving myself 6-8 weeks of finetuning the setup, from VTA, VTF, speed setting, to seating distance from spkrs, to spkrs toe in, to Zu subs crossover settings, all the while allowing burn in of: two new psus w associated pwr cords and fuses, brand new cart/stylus/energiser, new tubes in preamp, new balanced transformer to air arm pump, and mechanical opening up of: new arm mount, new pivot points to air arm, new RCA plugs to tonearm wire, new Symposium Svelte isolation pad under motor pod (replacing stock sorbothane), new Symposium Rollerblocks under big balanced transformer (sits on second Stacore).
My current feeling is one of real relief, I finally have vinyl after 24 barren months, and also that decision to spend £15k plus spent on Stacore, bespoke psus, Straingauge updates etc, w no certainty it would all come together, has been truly vindicated.
Now all I want to get is that upper verve and vitality, and I’ll be a very happy camper.
Congratulations Marc. It sounds like its really coming along. May I make a suggestion? I would find it very helpful if you could describe the sound of your new analog source both on and off the Stacore platform. It seems that you are reaching a conclusion about the Stacore's effect on the analog sound without actually trying the turntable without the air support. Is this correct? Perhaps over the next few months you could try this experiment. I understand that you are now so excited to just have the analog back that you want to listen to the full package, but, to fully understand what your platforms are contributing, you should at some point listen to the table without the Stacore and report on the differences.

Congratulations again. What a great way to start the new year and to celebrate the holidays.
 

Ron Resnick

Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
5,051
29
48
Beverly Hills, CA
#18
That is great progress, Marc!
 

spiritofmusic

Member Sponsor
Jun 13, 2013
6,244
14
38
E. England
#19
Sure Peter, I’ll give it a go. I can say that 6 months ago, with my last (aborted) set up, the tt was on my Symposium Isis rack, and things were pretty “meh”. The Stacore Adv is the big change from then to now. My new psus despite adding to performance were also present then (in prototype form), and my Straingauge despite being updated by Soundsmith, is pretty much still the model I had 6 months ago. So I’m confident a big part of the upstick I’m getting is related to putting my tt on the Stacore. But yes, I can’t be categorically sure.
What also suggests to me the bass improvement is down to the Stacore is the very close resemblance to the upstick I had 5 years ago a/b’ing the same tt/arm/cart on existing Symposium rack versus Accurion i4 active lab grade platform - again, bass performance excelled, and I have a very vivid memory of that day (indeed it was a very close call, but I decided to invest in my NAT tube amps instead on that occasion).
I think I’m confident now in saying that these platforms, passive or active, in my case and many others, are wholly beneficial to gear, tts included. In my case, with my uber challenging flexy 50x35 floor, Stacore is the more natural choice than active, borne out by the results.
Btw, I heard the 30/2 last week.
A happy Xmas to you.
 

spiritofmusic

Member Sponsor
Jun 13, 2013
6,244
14
38
E. England
#20
Hi Mr. Ron “Soothsayer” Resnick.
You’ve saved me a fortune in psychotherapy bills, or chemical help LOL.
Twice now you’ve encouraged me not to fret, and go with the flow.
First with my anxieties on the potential of the new room before it was ready. Now you mopping my brow as I paced around in circles, scratching my head being perplexed by divergences in aspects of the sound of the newly setup tt.
Thanks, and have a lovely Xmas w Tinka.