Turntables - fall from grace?
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  1. #1
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    Turntables - fall from grace?

    We keep reading how vinyl is making great strides in terms of new sales. Turntable sales are up. People are loving vinyl.

    But has this new love transferred over to high end audio?

    As I looked for a turntable brand to position between VPI/Rega and Kronos, I kept running into great high end brands that looked to be on their last legs or others that were "here today, gone tomorrow".

    A few examples: SME and Avid. I absolutely LOVE both these products. But....

    Even AMG was all the rage 2 years ago and now it seems a little quiet.

    And let me clarify for the record, these are ALL great products, great companies, but they aren't talked about very much any more.

    Why? What gives?
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  2. #2
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    Re: Turntables - fall from grace?

    Avid has been making some noise recently with their good-better-best story. They were also an alternative under consideration when I bought my current 'table.

    The interesting thing about the boom is, that there are a lot of hipsters buying vinyls, but they never listen to them...


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  4. #3
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    Re: Turntables - fall from grace?

    how much real "technology" is in turntables - I'd think the project cycles are longer as a result.
    Brinkmann Bardo w/ 47 Labs MC Bee cart, MSB Analog DAC --> DarTZeel CTH-8550 --> DeVore Fidelity Gibbon X

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    Re: Turntables - fall from grace?

    Quote Originally Posted by KeithR View Post
    how much real "technology" is in turntables - I'd think the project cycles are longer as a result.
    Good question. Do you think some (SME perhaps?) became complacent? I can't recall the last time I saw something new from SME. But, maybe I'm mistaken.


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  6. #5
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    Re: Turntables - fall from grace?

    You don't need a new model every year or so for any hifi company to be relevant or still not cutting edge. thankfully not all hifi companies follow the ARC sales model, even thou Magico is giving it a nice tilt.
    It does seem that some audiophiles are addicted to new is better - but is it really?

    SME have never produced many new models - the SME 30/20/10 are long established and have only ever had a mk2 version in over 30 years for the 30, however they have tweaked their models and tonearms, but not a lot. They have been in business along time and all the products are made to last forever and have superb engineering behind them.

    AVID have also been around a long time and not releasing new models on a regular basis should not been seen as a weakness.

    The British have always been known to maintain their model line ups for a long time and only really bring out new models when they feel its justified in better sound quality.

    AMG might have been the rage a couple of years ago, but when you are basically copying Brinkman tables I guess they have reached a limit in their expertise. Brinkman are never the "hot " brand however that is the basis of AMG and arguable better sounding in the long run as they have been in business a long time.

    My TW Acustik table was the darling of the table market maybe 6-7 years ago. Thomas brought out his top of range Black Beauty maybe 5 years ago as well as a tonearm. These days TW gets no "buzz" from the press or audiophiles.

    Turntables to be frank have not improved much from the SOTA tables of the late 70's early 80's. There are still folks who believe the Micro Seiki 8000 sounds better than the AF1. Many including myself use vintage Japanese DD tables as they sound so bloody good compared to the same price competition today.

    Tonearms and cartridges have seemed to have improved in the past 40 years it would seem, even thou I am sure there can be debate on that as well.

    Outside of more innovation on tangential tracking as that solves the inherent tracking errors on ALL other tonearms, all we are talking about is different flavours and more exotic high priced tables overall. IMO
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  8. #6
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    Turntables - fall from grace?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    Good question. Do you think some (SME perhaps?) became complacent? I can't recall the last time I saw something new from SME. But, maybe I'm mistaken.


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    I think there are two basic types of innovation in this kind of products a) new principles, materials and b) trickle down into lower price points.

    For a) I have recently seen
    - Kronos with a new implementation of the counter rotation principle
    - VPI with the printed JWD tonearm
    - double barrel Thales tonearm recently discussed here
    - a minor innovation using carbon in tonearms by some
    - levitating platter by no idea whom (crowd financing project)
    - retrofittable external motor control, electricity rebuild and gyroscope, such as the Eagle Engineering PSU and Roadrunner combination
    - DS Audio DS-W1 "Night Rider" optical phono cartridge
    - cartridges going through a little of the unobtanium material cycles as seen in tweeter membranes
    - Magnetosolid phono pre by Grandinote with tube architecture realised with transistors

    For b) I have recently seen
    - Inclusion of motor control and electricity re-build even in the lowest end Avid models, i.e. now even in Diva II
    - trickle down of HRX platter, bearing and motor into Prime by VPI

    But overall real innovation has been rather limited, as the focus has been elsewhere and phono was like long considered to be dying.

    As my insights are limited, please kindly extend the list with things you have found.



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  9. #7
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    Re: Turntables - fall from grace?

    I would buy a pioneer exclusive p3 for sale in Germany right now but I need help from someone who can be my translater !


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  11. #8
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    Re: Turntables - fall from grace?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    We keep reading how vinyl is making great strides in terms of new sales. Turntable sales are up. People are loving vinyl.

    But has this new love transferred over to high end audio?

    As I looked for a turntable brand to position between VPI/Rega and Kronos, I kept running into great high end brands that looked to be on their last legs or others that were "here today, gone tomorrow".

    A few examples: SME and Avid. I absolutely LOVE both these products. But....

    Even AMG was all the rage 2 years ago and now it seems a little quiet.

    And let me clarify for the record, these are ALL great products, great companies, but they aren't talked about very much any more.

    Why? What gives?
    Maybe that new love is not in the high end audio focus at this time and these manufacturers noted are instead looking towards introducing a nice performing TT for the newbies as a first time purchase or an upgrade at an attractive price. Sometimes you solidify your base line to help fund your higher lines.
    Chris

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  12. #9
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    Re: Turntables - fall from grace?

    Audiophiles are a fickle group and many chase fads and whatever is reported to be the latest and greatest. You have to be able to differentiate products that are new vice being new and innovative in a meaningful way.
    Technics SP-10MKII table in custom plinth with custom power supply made by Peter Noerbaek of PBN, SME 312s arm, Dynavector XV-1s cartridge, Zesto Andros 1.2 phono stage, Otari MX-55 2 track R2R, Ampex 350 tape repros, laptop music server running JRiver 20, Mytek Stereo 192 DAC, ARC Ref 6, ARC Ref 75 with KT-150s, NOLA KO speakers, Viero Equilibro Level 3 speaker cables, and a pair of Definitive Technology Ref subs.

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  14. #10
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    Re: Turntables - fall from grace?

    I cannot add much to what has already been said but if you´re looking to expand the portfolio, Kuzma, Dr.Feickert, Brinkmann, Acoustic Signature (well regarded by Fremer) come to mind. All of them are highly thought of both in the audio forum ecosystem and in the press. Vinyl is here to stay:

    http://thevinylfactory.com/vinyl-fac...uge-expansion/

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