A Harem of Turntables

Former Member

Active Member
Well this is going to be an interesting year, as I have recently acquired a couple of intriguing vinyl spinners. Ok, so the plan is I am going to have 5 turntables, so maybe a bit more than a couple. For a bit of background info, my current tables are a Galibier Audio Serac with a Pete Riggle 12" String Theory arm and ZYX 4D cartridge. I also have a restored Thorens TD 124 with an Eminent Technology II arm and Transfiguration Audio Spirit MK III cartridge.

The newcomers are an interesting bunch. First is going to be an AR XA that has had the full set of Marc Morin upgrades done to it. Things such as a mass loaded suspension, Linn springs, an updated main bearing, a flywheel for the motor, sapphire bearings for the tone arm, and a new arm wand...and so on and so forth. I also had the base built out of Lace wood, with a hand rubbed varnish finish,. The top is shot an automotive pearl with flecks of gold and copper. As a crowning touch I found an Ortofon Hi Jack cue device in my box of goodies, and added it to this table. It is in final assembly now, and should have it pretty soon. It will be interesting to see how this table compares to my others.

The project that interests me is a Technics SP 10 MK IIA I just acquired. Now I am not a fan of Technics tables in general, and did not care for the SP 15 and SP 25 I have bought. But the SP 10 is built to an entirely different level, so I hope it can make the grade. It is going into a CLD plinth with a core of MDF, which is sandwiched between layers of acrylic, and then an outer layer of birch plywood. The whole package gets wrapped in a Tulip wood veneer. I jut bought a Project 12CC Evolution tone arm for the table, and its a whole foot of carbon fiber goodness. I am really hoping this one makes the grade, as I have invested quite a bit of resources into it.

The final table is a Garrard 401 that has had a refurbishment done by Loricraft. It is going into a plinth that is a variation of the Loricraft one that uses squash balls for the suspension. This one may have a bit more heft to it, and it is getting finished with a European Walnut Burl veneer. The plan is to move the Eminent Technology II arm to it, and the TD 124 will get an Audiomod Classic II. Now if the SP 10 does not work out, then plan B is to put the 12CC EVO arm on the 401.

I also managed to acquire some interesting cartridges. One being the Transfiguration Spirit MK III. That one has a neat story behind it, as the founder of the company licensed the ring magnet/coil design from Sony, and then went on to refine the design. I also got a hold of a Shelter 501 MK II and had the retipper I use fit it with a micro ridge stylus, so it is the equivalent of the Shelter 901. I also got a hold of a Denon 103M, which is an unusual variant of the 103 design. It also received a line contact stylus. Output voltage is ultra low on this one, around .13mv as I remember. Then I have a Denon 103 that has balanced outputs, aluminum body, and fitted with an alloy cantilever and hyper elliptical diamond. And another Denon variant, a 103R with an aluminum body and a Soundsmith ruby cantilever and line contact stylus. Also got an Ortofon Quintet Bronze kicking around, and am listening to an Audio Technica AT 33EV and OC 9 III.

So it is going to be an interesting year sorting these turntables out. I feel very fortunate to own some classic tables that have made a bit of audio history. I am really interested in hearing how close they can come to my Galibier Audio Serac, and I am hoping the SP 10 and 401 can be every bit its equal....or even surpass it!

Regards
Mister Pig
 

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
Wow, that is quite the collection. I'm down to one that is more or less operational. I look forward to hearing about your endeavours!
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
Definitely a classic collection encompassing some of the best examples of the various basic drive types. It will be interesting to hear how they all compare when the dust settles. Given that they are all upper-tier decks will they end up sounding more alike than different or will there be really distinct character to each?

I am working slowly on building my own little (but lesser) harem of tables to pair with my main system as well. Belt drive will be represented by a somewhat hot-rodded Thorens TD-125 with a Fidelity Research FR-24 MkII arm. The idler will be a Rek-O-Kut B-12H paired with a 9" Nottingham Ace Space Arm unipivot. Direct drive is a Technics SP-15. That one will have an upgraded bearing and thrust plate, relatively massive constrained-layer plinth with an energy tap for the bearing and a Sumiko MMT arm. At some point in time as budget allows I'd like to move the FR-24 to the SP-15, ditch the MMT and get something nice for the TD-125. Mr. Pig seems to be liking the Audiomods and it would probably be at or near the top of my list. Making armboards isn't that hard, right?

In all of this I'm rooting for the underdog of the lot, the B-12H to shine. It will be the biggest job as it will need a massive and complex plinth build and some thoughtful damping to drag the potential out of it, but from the bit of time I've spent with the deck so far I'm really impressed.

Turntables are fun....
 

TubeHiFiNut

Administrator
A very nice harem of turntables, Mister Pig. Each of them individually would hold place of pride in any high end system.

I look forward to hearing more about your findings as you try different table/arm/cartridge combinations and get each dialed in.
 

Former Member

Active Member
Well, last week the Denon 103R with Soundsmith retip arrived. But a quick inspection showed a canted cantilever and the suspension riding lower at rest than it should have. So that one was down for the count, and it got sent back to the seller as a compromised cartridge. I really didn't need that one as I have a cartridge set aside for each table at the moment. But it would have been interesting to compare it to the Denon 103M that I have here. Oh well, you win some and you lose some.

The cartridge that I am interested in getting up and running is the Shelter. With the line contact stylus upgrade it should be quite the performer. In doing a bit of reading about Shelter, I found out that the owner Yasuo Ozawa is a former Fidelity Research employee. Some people do not stray far from their roots do they?

Regards
Mister Pig
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I remember being impressed with a bone-stock B12H many years ago that my friend has. There was rumble but it was in the original big but hollow plinth. Still, it had the idler get up and go and had a really solid feel.
 
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