The Next Level; new table, arm and cart.

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by ThorensSme, Nov 13, 2017.

  1. ThorensSme

    ThorensSme Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Seattle
    I will apologize in advance, this post will probably be a bit scattered and long winded. The story here starts with my friend itching to upgrade from his Michell Gyro SE with SME 309 tonearm. After he decided to get the new SME 15/V tonearm, and I had setup his new deck with the trusty Koetsu Rosewood Sig. Platinum, we were both astounded at just how much more there was to come out of our records. This turntable is a thing of beauty, and if you have the means it should be in your mind if you ever consider a similar upgrade.

    The side benefit to me here, was a reasonably priced, perfectly cared for Michell Gyro SE with SME 309 tonearm and HR PSU, that I have long wanted since before persuading said friend to buy one in the first place (he has been an avid study in hifi since retiring and getting really back into music about 5 years ago.) Now, the last few years, I have had a Michell Tecnodec/Tecnoarm combo with a 2M bronze, and then later a Quintet Bronze. The Quintet Bronze was clearly a different league for me, and is my first LOMC (though I get to hear and setup quite a few for other people, since I do a lot of turntable setup.) That said, something was never quite right, tracking was never perfect no matter how hard I tried with setup. So, a few months ago I sent it back to Ortofon USA. Louis who handles warranty issues was amazingly helpful, and able to identify the issue right away. Ortofon sent me a new replacement, and I just wanted to mention this to highlight the excellent service that he an Ortofon gave me in this scenario. My new Quintet tracks perfectly, and is everything I expected a cart at this level to be.

    While the tecnodec/tecnoarm combo is a really nice, neutral platform for any cartridge, the new setup has me absolutely swimming in sound (as it should for the price differential!) I feel like I gained two octaves of response and definition in the low end, and smoother much clearer extension from the mids on up. I can feel myself in the halls of certain recordings, and sometimes as if players are in my room for others. And of course, the Aesthetics of this combo are, IMO, hypnotic and really attractive.

    Another note, for those out there needing dustcover, who don't want to pay Ginkgo prices. A company called JMK displays in New York, just made me a custom cover to my own dimensions, with handle cutouts, and cable cutouts in the rear for approx $160 shipped to me in Seattle. It looks incredible, and they did great work. If you need a cover, don't pay crazy money for it! I will try to attach a pic, but haven't quite figured that out yet on this forum.

    The last and not least piece to this puzzle is a phono stage. The stage in my Yamaha AS1100 is actually pretty decent. On par performance wise (though with a different sound signature) with the Lounge LCR or Graham Slee Gram Amp 2 phono stages. In the next couple weeks I will be patching the Quintet into a Bobs 1131 SUT, into the Yamaha. And then eventually looking for a good MM only tube stage. But, it all sounds so good, I am in no hurry.

    PS - I know that the SME Van Den Hul cables get crapped on a lot across forums, but I will say, since I tried the 501 silver/hybrid cable that came with my friends SME V (he had a really nice Cardas cable already) I think it is a fantastic cable. I had been using for several months a fairly expensive Kimber Tak-AG silver phono cable, which I thought was really good. But by comparison, the VDH 501 cable has more of everything. The Kimber in my system was actually quite laid back and more 'hi-fi' like, and by comparison to much so for my taste.
     
    Dubmart, Slippers-on, 33na3rd and 5 others like this.
  2. IanL

    IanL Forum Resident

    Location:
    Oneonta, NY USA
    Sounds like a sweet setup (both your new one and your friend's). If you havent used a SUT before I think you will be pretty happy with how quiet the backgrounds are. I think pairing it with a tube phono preamp is a solid plan. Let us know how it goes!
     
    ThorensSme likes this.
  3. GyroSE

    GyroSE Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Sweden
    Congratulations! :)

    The Michell Gyro SE is a great sounding turntable IMHO, I've had my Gyro SE for almost 9 years now and it still makes me smile every time I put a record on the platter. The Michell decks (Gyro and Orbe) and the SME tonearms are like made for eachother. Please keep us updated...
     
    ThorensSme likes this.
  4. blakep

    blakep Forum Resident

    If you want a cheap, totally reversible tweak for your Gyro, order a 7/32" grade 3 Silicon Nitride ball from Boca Bearings to replace the steel ball in the main bearing.

    You may be shocked at the difference it makes. If not, you'll only be out about $6 and be able to put the steel ball back in quite easily. ;)
     
    IanL likes this.
  5. ThorensSme

    ThorensSme Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Seattle
    For a few months I was able to borrow a friends MA Cotter to try with my Quintet Bronze. It was amazing the difference a SUT makes. Quieter and more tonal color everywhere. I am looking at a Bob's 1131 here as the next step.
     
    IanL likes this.
  6. ThorensSme

    ThorensSme Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Seattle
    Thank you! Same here, smile every time. On the lookout for an MM phono stage, preferably tube.
     
    GyroSE likes this.
  7. ThorensSme

    ThorensSme Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Seattle
    Sounds like an interesting tweak. I am totally comfortable taking apart and assembling turntables (this is one of the reasons I get ruined, assembling and setting up expensive rigs), but I prefer to use the table as engineered.
     
  8. ThorensSme

    ThorensSme Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Seattle
    Well, I have had the Bob's Sky 20 SUT in my system for a few days now. Holy moly, this thing is amazing. I love what SUT's do with the sound. There is a coherence to the sound that makes everything seem complete and fully fleshed out. Low level detail is amazing. From low to loud volumes, there is more warmth, body and rhythm everywhere. Love this thing.

    At the moment, I am stuck using a pretty un-ideal Audioquest evergreen cable, because unfortunately unshielded cables like my Kimber Hero's just hum. I tried a friends pair of Acoustic Zen Wow cables, but didn't like them in my system. I have another friend loaning me a pair of Audioquest Columbia cables, so very curious to see how those sound.
     
  9. IanL

    IanL Forum Resident

    Location:
    Oneonta, NY USA
    Nice to hear about your results with the SUT.

    Let us know how it goes with the Columbia cables. They have been heavily discounted lately and look like a possible bargain at their current cost.
     
  10. ThorensSme

    ThorensSme Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Seattle
    Initial impressions of the Columbias are very positive. Spent probably 10 hours or so listening with these cables attached to my Bob's Sky 20 SUT. Compared to the evergreen entry level cable, it is a whole other universe, no surprise there. Really nice, slightly warm sound, but so much depth and openness. Great cable.
     
  11. ThorensSme

    ThorensSme Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Seattle
    Well, I am buying the Columbias. They are the best cable that I have tried yet in my system, against Kimber, Transparent, Acoustic Zen. They are so even handed, and with them connected to my SUT, feels like the door was flung open to all of my records. It is a slightly sweet and warm, but transparent cable. Highly recommend them.

    Oh, and I found this review to be pretty much spot on in terms of how the Columbias sound (haven't heard the other cables he compares them to):

    REVIEW: AudioQuest Columbia Cable - readargos - Cable Asylum
     

Share This Page