Audio Note TT3 arrived today

Richard Austen

Junior Member
I traded in my Audio Note TT2 arm 1(v2) for their latest and greatest TT3 and arm 3(v2)
The TT3 is a suspended turntable with three Papst motors driven by an external Power supply. The power supply drives the motors and has a speed changer for the belt drive. Audio Note supplies you with the Power Supply 1 (PSU1) which can later be upgraded to PSU2 or 3 and 4 is in the works. But with the PSU1 I have been kind of staggered already. The TT2 is a two motor turntable which I purchased over the likes of VPI, Oracle, Rega, Roksan and the Linn LP 12. So it was no slouch by any means but the TT3 frankly blows it away. It's kind of scary good. This is by no means cheap - but Linn was right - source first. It so far has easily been the biggest upgrade I have made in audio. My system which was already good is just now in another league altogether. It amazes me what can be wrought out of those black discs from the stone age of audio. I read the review from Hi-Fi Critic after I bought the table and one of the three reviewers who covered (from the same magazine which is pretty rare) says don't listen to it if you don't have the cash. LOL - he's kind of right - there's no going back now.

From left to right Audio Note E/Spx AlNiCo speakers, AN M3 Phono Balanced preamp, TT3 turntable, TT3 PSU1 power supply and Empress Silver Parallele Single Ended (2a3) Monon blocks. Excuse the disheveled mess - I was having issues with a PC and had to pull everything apart to get the wall sockets.










For those further interested you can read about it here with Hi-Fi Critic and 3 reviewer's takes PDF https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/89c2...jVrTAGL7qaxbo3RAgI5BZ1NvD3z81-egw6eOrcYoqc4jE

I am pretty shocked by it to be honest. It's not cheap but it's also not at all expensive if that makes sense. £5,950, £8,500 and £10,450 Depending on Power supply choice. Tone arms range from around $800 (Arm1) to $1,800US (Arm3) 9 inches. Cartridges range from around $500 (IQ1)- $1200 (IQ3) these are MM cartridges. Heavily inspired by the fame Voyd Reference Turntables of yore. They too used Papst Motors. Man I loved that turntable. Now comes the sexy modern Voyd. And in today's money it's actually more affordable.
 
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Wntrmute2

Not So Mediocre Member
This may come as a challenge and I truly, truly don't mean it to be but why? Why would this TT be so much better than the TT2? I';m not saying it isn't - I just for the life of me can't figure out why a simple platter spinning machine can sound so different from it's close relative. I can understand say the new Rega might sound very different from the latest VPI or from your AN TTs. But TTs aren't cartridges or speakers which makes sense to me will sound different. Again, it just fascinates me and I'm glad you are enjoying your rig!
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Was the TT2 the one based around the Systemdek IIX? The TT3 looks a LOT different than my old Systemdek for sure, and a lot more advanced.

I wasn't completely sold on the deck itself making an entire world of difference until I got my Merrill turntable (AR plinth with Merrill and GemDandy guts). That table was a revelation. I've had what I consider to be a lot of nice turntables but the Merrill was something else...and I can see how this TT3 is something else entirely, too, with those 3 belts/motors, the power supply. It looks incredible. Congratulations.
 

Chops54

Junior Member
Looks like burr walnut to me.

I have to say that turntable floats my boat. The deck itself even with the three motors is really quite simple but the devil is in the detail. Love it.
 

Richard Austen

Junior Member
This may come as a challenge and I truly, truly don't mean it to be but why? Why would this TT be so much better than the TT2? I';m not saying it isn't - I just for the life of me can't figure out why a simple platter spinning machine can sound so different from it's close relative. I can understand say the new Rega might sound very different from the latest VPI or from your AN TTs. But TTs aren't cartridges or speakers which makes sense to me will sound different. Again, it just fascinates me and I'm glad you are enjoying your rig!

I am no technical engineer but from reading Martin Colloms (who is a technical engineer) in the review I linked he noted some of the reasons why. "For these designs a single drive via a resilient belt is most common, famously including the Thorens TD160, to the everlasting LINN LP12, while small speed/pitch stability errors remain as commonly the chassis swings slightly in use. A balanced drive from two motors is an improvement while three is better still."

Take the power supply - you would think that the Power Supply would just control the speed - how hard could that be and once the speed is correct - what further gain could there be? Apparently there is.

I agree with their second reviewer, because I too was happy with my TT2 (and I had the Arm 1 and IQ3 Cartridge) My understanding has been that the arm and cartridge were more important than the table. Chris also had the TT2 and "OK, I agree – all of this sounds a bit OTT, but it is how it was. I had expected the TT3 to be good, but not THIS good."

And that's the same for me. I expected a noticeable but subtle improvement - pretty much the same arm - Arm 3 is identical to arm 1 except for Silver cabling - and my cart was the same - moved from TT2 to TT3. I doff my hat to them.
 

Richard Austen

Junior Member
Was the TT2 the one based around the Systemdek IIX? The TT3 looks a LOT different than my old Systemdek for sure, and a lot more advanced.

I wasn't completely sold on the deck itself making an entire world of difference until I got my Merrill turntable (AR plinth with Merrill and GemDandy guts). That table was a revelation. I've had what I consider to be a lot of nice turntables but the Merrill was something else...and I can see how this TT3 is something else entirely, too, with those 3 belts/motors, the power supply. It looks incredible. Congratulations.

The TT1 is based on the Systemdek





The TT2 is essentially the same but with two motors



The TT2 was created by Audio Note and was a big step up over the TT1 which was basically just a rebadged systemdek. Audio Note's Tonearm was made by Rega (The Rega 250 or 300 in) and Audio Note rewired them.

Audio Note's first TT3 was based on the Voyd Reference so both Voyd and the AN TT3 in the 1990s looked the same as Audio Note hired Guy Adams who owned Voyd essentially buying them. It was a 3 motor turntable with external power supply. It was by far the best machine at my dealer but it was something like $12,000 in 2000 and you could not get replacement parts should you require them so that put me off - and I could not come anywhere near affording it. I had a Rega P2 clone in the NAD 533 back then for about $450 including arm and cart.



Audio Note then developed their own TT3 Reference which was a monster. I took this photo at the dealer in Hong Kong so the entire cabinet on the right is the TT3 Reference. Under the turntable is the SUT for the cartridge and beside it the speed control. The next three box below it are the power supply - each box controlled one motor. The ideal of the suspended chassis with motors is to create the equivalent torqe of a high mass platter. So in this case this turntable could create the equivalent mass of half a ton. So how many high mass turntables have a half a ton mass? Usually a high mass turntable has a 10-20lb platter. Again that's what I get from the reviewers - LOL - I just listen to the things - I don't get too caught up in the technical banter - heck I love SET amps and technically they lose but they win with my ears.

The rest of that System is Audio Note J speakers in Apple finish and various AN electronics. The funny part is the Speakers are probably the least expensive component in the system - even the cables cost more as I recall.

 

Richard Austen

Junior Member
Agreed - what is the veneer / finish? I may want to steal that for when I (someday) build my 604 cabs.

It's called Poplar Burl.

One of the things I have liked about Audio Note is that they offer around 20 finishes and you can order them in any RAL colour as well. So hundreds of colours. Satin or High Gloss. And you can order the TT1 and TT2 turntables in the same finish to match your speakers.

They are all hand built in a Stream powered into a generator (off grid) plant in Austria. The cabinets are 15 ply no void Russian Birch all the way around. And this is for their K, J, and E models based on the original Peter Snell designs.

Some of the finishes i like

Palisander


Indian Rosewood


Makassar



Slate


Poplar Burl (Audio Note K)

 

Richard Austen

Junior Member
FWIW my review is up for the TT3

 
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