I am enjoying my Audio Note system Simon. I've become friends with Peter Qvortrup which has been a bonus. I now use an Audio Note IO Gold cartridge and S9 SUT. The Gold is 22grms so better suits high mass arms. That along with my estrangement from my WT dealer and the weight and dimensions kind of puts me off the 400. It would be a much cheaper route and I have a buyer for my Versalex waiting. Build quality with the Versalex is quite poor and that hangs over things. Plinth poorly finished, my arm cup seal has failed twice plus and switch went. Very nice sounding deck for sure and better than a AN TT2/ LP12 to my ears. The guys at Opera just aren't able to do Mr F's designs justice IMO. BTW its my view that John Burns is the nicest and most genuine guy that I've dealt with in the industry. He was on point regarding the Auditorium mat killing the sound . Tried it for the first time in a while yesterday arghhh.....
You are so right regarding John for sure but I can't say I agree about the build of the Versalex though. Sure, it's not SME or Brinkman in its finish but as you well know, neither does it need to be; the deck would have cost a great deal more and in all likelihood not made a jot of difference to the performance thus maintaining the ratio of performance/cost.
I understand that the earlier samples had a drain plug which some eventually could leak but was redesigned without such curing the issue, was yours not replaced with the new?
To date I've sold a fair few and again no issues with the plinths either.
As for the cartridges weight, again due to the unique design of the Symetrix arm the compatibility issue that afflicts other designs is negated, the XV-1s is hardly a lightweight.
As it happens John was with me today to return the 400 for another demo and from the very first bar it absolutely blew me away and confirms my desire to add one to my system. All of the classic WT strengths retained but with immediacy and gravitas the Versalex ultimately lacks. The arm is of course the same as the Versalex albeit 5 inches longer but the overall build quality is undeniably up there but no more than necessary: definitely no bling.
I've never heard the Kronos and I assume you are referring to the dual platter version but does it really have that WT sense of flow that no other deck I've heard has?
Did you ever get to hear the 400?, if not I recommend you do Rob. I know it's big but on its own table ( I really do think the table adds to the overall performance, I tried it on my Quadraspire SVT Bamboo and that fell well short) it's not that much larger than a decent sized rack like my SVT. I suspect the ceramic balled feet similar to the deck's own have a fair bit to do with though too.
Anyway, good to hear from you again.