Two weeks in now and what a rollercoaster this one has been. This is because I had no choice but to break rule #1, only change one item at a time.
Yep, no choice but to use the 400 dedicated table and that has had such a profound influence on the system in general that I've been forced to make other changes to rebalanced the system.
From the outset it's clear to me that the Rega gear on the 400 rack was the issue in much the same way I found when I tried the Quadraspire SVT Bamboo. So I swapped out the Osiris for the DV 200L/HX100 (P75 on standby too). John warned me that: a) the 200 is no 300 and more importantly, b) the HX100 was an early prototype of which cannot be updated and to treat it as a 'flavour' test of the DV sound. Without going into too much detail it wasn't right for me especially when I compared it to the Rega with it on the Isoblue base plonked in front of the 400 table. (zero opportunity for more than one table, ever).
When I read Rob400's comment ''However last week I got chance to hear the Jinru Integrated with the ANE SPE signature speakers £29k retail for the two. I might be persuaded! That SET sound when right is really good'', that really got me thinking. As it happens we have a Tom Evans Linear A in our stock room (don't ask!) and as luck would have it this thing actually fits on the 400 table. Result? PURE MAGIC
The most engaging, lifelike sound that has ever graced my room. That's with it partnered with the DV 200L. Now if only there was a DV L301 ready
The Royale 400, the point of this thread, is sounding nothing short of amazing. Such control and grip that the Versalex lacks, albeit when compared to my normal installation. The problem here is that at 60cmx50cm and 50kg it's impossible to swap the decks unless you just happen to be Geoff Capes. In a way that's a good thing as I've only been listening via the 400 rather than a-b-ing all the time.
Trying to isolate other improvements over the Versalex, I'd say that the 16 inch arm has a benefit for tracking though only for the first track or two. My understanding is that Bill set the geo on the Versalex such that maximum TE was set to the outer rather than the inner grooves on account of the extra linear speed. I've often noticed that the Versalex has a slight
forwardness lift for the first track and from there on stays incredibly linear even in the inner groove. Whereas, the 400 is totally constant throughout the side. I haven't heard any other improvements or degradation that I can identify to date regarding the arm.
The Royale 400 clearly achieves it's design goal, to improve on the Versalex's considerable strengths rather than having a different 'voice'. a SUPER Versalex if you will and it obviously took this kind of engineering to achieve it. Now Bill, any chance of a Royale 266?
So, next week is crunch time. The 400 is returned and the Versalex goes back on the wall (not an option for the 400 of course. Although I have a suspended wooden floor, the shear weight of the combo is such that footfall problems are rare), I'll slot in the Quadraspire SVT Bamboo to accommodate the Linear A. Only then will I know if I have to have one
The misses is neutral on this which is better than I expected.