Zero Distortion: Dohmann Helix 1 with Schroeder CB + MSL, Kuzma 4p + GFS, TAD Ref One, VTL, MSB

bonzo75

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Feb 26, 2014
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#1
http://zero-distortion.org/dohmann-helix-1-schroeder-cb-my-sonic-labs-kuzma-4p-goldfinger-statement/

These notes will highlight differences heard that day between

  • VTL Siegfried and MSB 204 through both digital and analog on the TAD reference
  • Ayon SACD player and Meridian CD player
  • Schroeder CB (Captive Bearing) Carbon Fibre arm + My Sonic Labs , and the Kuzma 4p 11’ + Clearaudio GFS on the $40k Dohmann Helix 1 (made by Mark Dohmann, designer of the Continuum Caliburn and Copperhead tonearm) played through a Thrax Orpheus phono. This was done using both the VTL and the MSB amps. This was the key objective of my trip
 

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spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
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#2
Ked, I know you hate making judgements if you haven't compared gear side by side, or if the contrast is at different times in different systems.
But if you had the cash for either, would this Dohmann get the vote over the PTP, or vice versa?
I ask because it looks like this Helix maybe has a less overt belt quality than many others, encapsulated in yr comments that it's a very neutral, rock solid performer, and of course the PTP is as far from belt as you can get.
 

bonzo75

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#3
Hi Marc, I think PTP can compete with most things in bass, drive, and dynamics, and throw a larger soundstage than most. I doubt it will have the resolution, and be as linear, low noise, and as transparent as the Dohmann. Of course if one’s system is not transparent or low noise, the difference will matter less. Mike’s system is a good example, you first move to the TT, and it seems to do nothing. Then you switch over to the higher Durand model with the GFS, and everything just gets better by a mammoth margin.

The good thing about analog is many times you can walk away satisfied with the lower cost product even if it comes second in a compare.

When I get the PTP I will circulate it to people with Kuzma XL4, Prometheus, and Schopper TD 124, so will have a better idea.
 

spiritofmusic

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#4
Ha Ked, as you know my system is not the last word in low noise (slightly growly NAT 211s and ElectroHarmonix') or transparency (Zus).
However room acoustics, dedicated lines and balanced power, and now cutting edge Stacore isoln, are all taking my sound past dramatically thru its previous bottlenecks and law of diminishing returns.
But yes, my system will never be a ruthlessly revealing, ruler flat linear Soulution/Magico type sound, or even a jump out of yr seat D'Agostino/Wilson one.
Hence its probably better suited to a more driven, expansive presentation like the PTP rather than eeking out detail and cooler presentation like Dohmann.
Most critically, I'll be running the Stacore platform under my tt, and hence the Dohmann w it's integrated Minus K isoln would be incompatible w it.
Sounds like an interesting tt nonetheless.
 

XV-1

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May 24, 2010
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#5
I would like to know why Dohmann did not choose the Schroeder linear tracking tonearm to be sold with his turntable? Surely that would bring the table up a notch or two.
 

XV-1

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May 24, 2010
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#7
Is that the Schroeder LT that often went with the kodo

Yes. J French has one on his Monaco DD table as well as a few others users around I know of.
 

spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
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#8
John has swapped out his Schroeder LT for a Spiral Groove Centroid.
Most fascinating thing about the Helix is the integrated Minus K isoln platform, I believe the Vertere uses the same, rebadged.
I'm about to install my tt on a Stacore platform.
I wonder if more top tt designers are going to wake up to the benefits of this approach?
 

spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
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#10
Yep, a rebadged Herzan
And repriced from €8k to €12k
 

gian60

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Apr 17, 2016
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#11
Many thanks Ked for your very special report of top system that you do to let us understand better the difference between top analog pieces
 

gian60

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Apr 17, 2016
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#12
The mainly difference you listen between Kuzma/GFS and Schroeder/MSL are similar of the difference i listen in my home between GFS and Opus1,that can be similar to MSL

GFS has 0,9 mv and the sound is very explosive,fast,transparent and very open on highs.
Opus 1 has more and better bass,more natural and balanced and with more depth and better image.

Also Kuzma and GFS can work very well because Kuzma has very good bass and with dynamic and explosive mid/high of GFS can be a perfect match
 

Tbzc

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Feb 4, 2011
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#14
Hard to argue with other people's opinion but since I have good experience with Dohmann, I certainly would not use words like "cool" or "detail", analytical to describe its sound. It is superb TT and I would describe its sound like: neutral and musical, with lots of drive and stability. For me the first TT where I can fully relaxed listen to piano due to its stability in speed and sound. Just to constructively comment on previous post of spiritofmusic...
 
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bonzo75

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Feb 26, 2014
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#15
Guys I remembered one thing. Other compares were outer grooves, the Argenta Espana which highlighted so much difference crescendo on the inner grooves
 

spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
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#16
Tbzc, did you demo the Helix versus a similarly specced and priced DD like the GPA Monaco 2.0?
No doubt those aficionados of mon wavering piano notes get the same satisfaction from DD as you do from yr belt drive.
I'm curious that the Dohmann website mentions a more comprehensive method of measuring speed fluctuations and correcting them than the Monaco, despite having umpteen measurements per revolution as standard btwn the Helix and Monaco.
I'd just like someone to explain how they differ in speed correction proceedure at this point.
 

KeithR

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May 7, 2010
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#17
interesting day, but I'm not sure how valuable in the grand scheme of things it was. would have been better if you could at least isolate the arm or the cart. and then carts tend to be matched in light of the entire system including speakers. analog is a tough game.
 

bonzo75

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Feb 26, 2014
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#18
interesting day, but I'm not sure how valuable in the grand scheme of things it was. would have been better if you could at least isolate the arm or the cart. and then carts tend to be matched in light of the entire system including speakers. analog is a tough game.
I would have been happy if I could have preferred one combo. In analog sometimes you cannot isolate an arm and a cart but the combo. Also I have isolated GFS before and will do so again, and probably the other arms and phono as well, so this cannot be taken in isolation. Also among these two combos buy the best bargain you can get is a valuable lesson. And next time if the owner swaps his carts and says X is better, I would know to trust that judgement.
 

KeithR

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May 7, 2010
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#19
yeah, its why most people buy the tonearm from the TT manufacturer or the one recommended by such company. you could also tote a headshell w/ cart mounted that would work on some arms for your compares.

have you heard a Schick on your preferred Lenco? that is pretty much the idler arm of choice and built with them in mind. and inexpensive.
 

bonzo75

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Feb 26, 2014
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#20
yeah, its why most people buy the tonearm from the TT manufacturer or the one recommended by such company. you could also tote a headshell w/ cart mounted that would work on some arms for your compares.

have you heard a Schick on your preferred Lenco? that is pretty much the idler arm of choice and built with them in mind. and inexpensive.
Schick is more suited for SPUs. Now PTP is using primary arrow, and I have also heard a Moerch DP8. PTP loves the Schroeder and uses zyx himself. I don't think it's possible to have a final arm, just a shortlist of arms that have good resale and one can rotate.
 

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