Looking to upgrade my turntable WTB Sota, Linn, VPI etc

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vintage9594

I am looking locally first for a different turntable as a upgrade from my Denon DP-55k direct drive table.
I am looking for something like a VPI, Linn LP12, Sota etc.  I have a budget of up to $1500 to spend for table/tonearm.
Thx
Don
314-498-3115

Scott F, Francis B and any local vinyl guys are welcome to chime in with suggestions....
Looking at used as I am trying to maximize my dollar/performance.

Phono Pre is K&K Audio Premium Maxxed Out Phono with MM And K&K step up with 9206 Lundahl MC transformers to use with MC cartridges

Scott F.

Re: Looking to upgrade my turntable WTB Sota, Linn, VPI etc
« Reply #1 on: 2 Aug 2017, 02:08 pm »
Don,

You're table choices are pretty solid. Of the three, the VPI is probably the cleanest sounding (darkest background). The Linn and Sota are fine tables too but have a 'house sound'. Of those two, the Linn would have the more 'inviting' sound....IMO, just my $0.02, yada, yada....don't lite me up over that statement you Sota guys. Much depends on the arm and cart combo you are using too.


For your base choice, this VPI looks like a nice table. Very solid choice, holds its value and cool looking to boot.
https://www.audiogon.com/listings/turntables-vpi-aries-scout-tnt6-platter-mini-hrx-feet-300rpm-motor-deluxe-record-clamp-2017-07-30-analog


So, for some different choices....

A Nottingham Spacedeck. Not a bad table for the money. A bit more colored than the VPI but only slightly. Very cool design.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Nottingham-Space-Deck-Turntable-w-Space-Ace-Tonearm-Audible-Elegance-Ohio-/162611706745?hash=item25dc69bb79:g:L5YAAOSw241YhrfO


An Oracle Delphi Gen 1. Drop dead gorgeous table, decent sounding, holds it's (current) value.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Oracle-Turntable-with-Grace-Tonearm-and-Grado-Moving-Coil-Cartridge-/112505216692?hash=item1a31d55eb4:g:a2cAAOSwdmRZd5go

The shortcomings of this table are twofold; though the Grace 707 tonearm is fine, there are numerous better arm choices out there. With that arm, you have to be careful on cart choice for matching compliance. The second issue is, this is a suspended table and they can be REALLY picky about placement. If you have any floor bounce at all, suspended tables will amplify it. A Target wall mount is the best solution if you don't have a concrete floor in your room. Set up and isolated properly, the Oracle can sound wonderful.


For the Retro-lovers like me, this Thorens is the cat's pajamas...
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Restored-Thorens-TD-165-Turntable-Designer-piece-Copper-metallic-/142377867034?hash=item212661d71a:g:~bUAAOSw241YgSg~

The 165 sounded decent though it had the Thorens 'house sound'. It's not the quietest table out there (background-wise) but it is very engaging. I have no idea about resale for this particular custom table but it sure is cool looking.


...and now for the great gamble, the FFYX table from China. I can find ZERO feedback on it but it sure is sexy....and comes with an arm. At 1200 clams, it's not a hideous gamble....maybe....
http://www.ebay.com/itm/FFYX-TB25MKIII-Tungsten-steel-Magnetic-levitation-bearing-turntable-/172750544469?hash=item2838bc1e55:g:cz0AAOSwceNZUio~

If it is actually as good as it looks, this could be your last table....except maybe a different arm....of which, this one will accept three. Oh, there is a motor upgrade for another $150. I'd do that if you are considering the table.


...as a final thought and Blackmore will attest, find a restored Rek-O-Kut, a decent arm and call it a day. Those old rim-drive tables have a boogie factor that you will not find in modern tables. Sure, the backgrounds aren't black and you'll probably hear the old Pabst motor when you put your ear next to the table but those old dinosaurs ROCK  :rock:

vintage9594

Re: Looking to upgrade my turntable WTB Sota, Linn, VPI etc
« Reply #2 on: 3 Aug 2017, 03:21 am »
Scott, thanks for the info...I appreciate that you spent sometime looking those options up for me.  The Nottingham Space Deck is pretty cool....VPI is probably the safest bet of the bunch.  I know there is a Oracle Delphi locally with a tonearm I am not familiar with but the dampening issues do concern me.  I had a Oracle table before and remember have issues with vibration.  I will keep in touch with you through PM's.  What about putting a 2k LO MC cartridge on my Denon DP-55k? way over kill? I currently have a Sumiko Blackbird on it and sounds pretty dam good for what I have invested in it.
Don

Scott F.

Re: Looking to upgrade my turntable WTB Sota, Linn, VPI etc
« Reply #3 on: 3 Aug 2017, 01:38 pm »
A sub-2k cart might work depending on your arm.

You'll have a couple things working against you. First, the Denon table, though fine, won't achieve the 'black background' the VPI will. Next could be your arm. That can be a weak link in the chain. Then, if you are looking for detail retrieval, and this is a personal preference, I like the Line Contact stylus profile. It digs deeper into the grooves. Your Sumiko is an elliptical, which does a good job and is very satisfying to listen to but it doesn't dig as deep IMO as a line contact/micro-ridge (boy I'll get lit up over that one). Again, personal preference.

So, if your arm is decent, you could absolutely put a better cart on there and get more detail. Won't hurt a thing. You'll have a slightly higher background noise level simply due to the design of the Denon but it won't be bad. There are a few different carts I'd suggest in the $1k+ range. Let me know if you decide to go that route.

vintage9594

Re: Looking to upgrade my turntable WTB Sota, Linn, VPI etc
« Reply #4 on: 3 Aug 2017, 02:04 pm »
Scott, my other option was to put a new arm on the table, it has a stock manual s-arm tone arm with detachable headshell.  With the removeable arm board it does give me some options...I have been interested in the old Micro Seiki and Fidelity Research arms but dont know enough about them either just from what I have read online.  I cant remember but arent you using a Merrill table?
don

Scott F.

Re: Looking to upgrade my turntable WTB Sota, Linn, VPI etc
« Reply #5 on: 3 Aug 2017, 05:57 pm »
You're right, the stock Denon arm is a weak point. When it comes to arms, the biggest bang for the buck is the Audiomods arm. I turned my old colleague at TNT-Audio, Geoff Husband onto it and he wrote a really nice article on it, a couple articles actually.

http://www.tnt-audio.com/sorgenti/audiomods_e.html
http://www.tnt-audio.com/sorgenti/audiomods_five_tonearm_e.htm

You can always start there as the first upgrade. Reason being, you can keep the arm and transfer it to a better table at some point in the future. Next I'd do a better cart with a line contact stylus. Then as a final upgrade, I'd go for the table. All that typed, the VPI is a really solid table. Sure, the Audiomods arm betters the VPI arm but a good margin, the VPI arm isn't bad at all.

The trouble with tables is, to get 'decent' gains in resolution and dead black background, it costs tons of money. As you mentioned, I do use a Merrill table in one of my systems. It sounds really nice but it isn't in the same league as my Opera LP5.0 with the Dynavector 507 arm and my VDH Grasshopper. If you do the math comparing, the Opera setup is about 6-8 times more expensive. It sounds it too.

I hesitate to type this but, I think I'd go for the VPI table then start saving for a nice cart. Once you go for the new cart, I'd send your Blackbird to Peter at Soundsmith and let him rebuild it complete with the ruby cantilever. Peter does a killer job on rebuilds. I've got a couple. Only issue is, he isn't fast. Expect a 3 month turnaround, maybe a little more. After that, I'd start saving for a better arm or phonostage.

Analog can be exceptional but it can turn into a protracted journey of time and money.

sturgus

Re: Looking to upgrade my turntable WTB Sota, Linn, VPI etc
« Reply #6 on: 4 Aug 2017, 11:37 pm »
I have to agree with Scott on the Audiomods arm. I have 2 of them. A Classic and a V. The Classic is the best buy since you can come in under $750 or less due to the exchange rate. Jeff the Designeer has one mounted on a Denon Dp-80. He will if you ask customize to the cartridge you want to use. I use my Classic on a Linn LP-12 and I have the V on my VPI 19mk4. The Classic is very close to it's big brother in performance. I will also say that the Jelco 750 is also a nice arm and gives you removable headshell. I still think the Audiomods is the better of the two.

sturgus

Re: Looking to upgrade my turntable WTB Sota, Linn, VPI etc
« Reply #7 on: 5 Aug 2017, 12:05 am »
Don, I think your Denon is a very decent table. If it were me I would first send it to our resident tech (Mike) and have him recap it so it's good for another 25 years. If it's been recapped then ignore. Then mount a very nice Arm (Audiomods). You have a very nice phonostage and the ability to use just about any cartridge you want. The Audiomods will not be embarrassed even if you decide to mount a $4000 cartridge on it. You have the bones of a very nice vinyl rig, just a little tweaking.

vintage9594

Re: Looking to upgrade my turntable WTB Sota, Linn, VPI etc
« Reply #8 on: 5 Aug 2017, 01:03 am »
Thanks for the response....I have found a Garrard 301 w/SME 12" Arm I am thinking strongly about locally.




vintage9594

Re: Looking to upgrade my turntable WTB Sota, Linn, VPI etc
« Reply #9 on: 5 Aug 2017, 01:11 am »
I also sent Jeff a email about availability and pricing from Audiomods.  I did look at there products years ago and was impressed.

sturgus

Re: Looking to upgrade my turntable WTB Sota, Linn, VPI etc
« Reply #10 on: 5 Aug 2017, 01:30 am »
Thanks for the response....I have found a Garrard 301 w/SME 12" Arm I am thinking strongly about locally.


Thats sweet!

vintage9594

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« Reply #11 on: 5 Aug 2017, 01:53 am »
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« Last Edit: 9 Aug 2017, 12:52 am by vintage9594 »

Scott F.

Re: Looking to upgrade my turntable WTB Sota, Linn, VPI etc
« Reply #12 on: 5 Aug 2017, 12:49 pm »
Thanks for the response....I have found a Garrard 301 w/SME 12" Arm I am thinking strongly about locally.



Sweet it is :thumb:

I can't speak to the sound of the table as I've not listened to one in the past few decades, especially one done right as this one looks to be. The other nice thing is there are guys and sites dedicated to the restoration and modding of the 301. Most every part is available as repro or hot-rodded. You'll have tons of people to rely on for experience with those decks. Nice part is it's an idler wheel drive deck. It should have that 'boogie factor' I mentioned before.

I can say that the 12" arm is considerably better at lessoning the inner and outer groove distortion.

If the price is right, you won't go wrong as individually, the table and arm are highly sought after by vinylphiles.

That one gets my vote :thumb: Oh, and you need to have a listening session after (if) you get it :D

vintage9594

Re: Looking to upgrade my turntable WTB Sota, Linn, VPI etc
« Reply #13 on: 8 Aug 2017, 08:00 pm »
Made the move and got the Garrard 301 with SME 3012 Series 1 arm!
Here it is....

« Last Edit: 9 Aug 2017, 12:53 am by vintage9594 »

sturgus

Re: Looking to upgrade my turntable WTB Sota, Linn, VPI etc
« Reply #14 on: 9 Aug 2017, 02:21 am »
All I can say is DAMN!!!  When can I come and hear it?

vintage9594

Re: Looking to upgrade my turntable WTB Sota, Linn, VPI etc
« Reply #15 on: 11 Aug 2017, 02:25 am »
Will have to arrange a session soon!  thanks for the comments and a special thanks to Scott F & Francis B for helping me make the decision.

jibzilla

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 46
Re: Looking to upgrade my turntable WTB Sota, Linn, VPI etc
« Reply #16 on: 11 Aug 2017, 03:04 am »
Will have to arrange a session soon!  thanks for the comments and a special thanks to Scott F & Francis B for helping me make the decision.

Congrats. I was just about to see if you wanted to buy my kp-9010 and acupwr transformer for what I paid for it. I'm very fond of my Kenny but also like to help out fellow local audiofools. You made a great choice with the Garrard.