Schiit Audio (Mike Moffat) designs turntable

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Thouston, Jul 29, 2017.

  1. H8SLKC

    H8SLKC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston, MA
    If vinyl becomes sustained and more manufacturers throw products into the market you can count on prices slipping, and I can't wait. Turntable prices are absurd, there is nothing very interesting required to make them, the technology is as old as dirt; I could go on and on. It's absurd that consumers get suckered into the prices that are out there now and I hope for (1) more direct to consumer tables, (2) great tables in the $500 realm and (3) the high-enders to suck on the exhaust of a market that runs away from them. You want $5,000 for a spinning slab of aluminum and a rigid arm with sapphire bearings? Hahaha! Good luck scheister!
     
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  2. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock

    Location:
    Best Coast USA
    Actually, it's not particularly easy or cheap to make a great TT.

    Very tight tolerances, great bearings, precision machining, very quiet motors, these things do cost money.
    .
     
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  3. dmckean

    dmckean Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Diego, CA, USA
    Since I've been quoted by journalists on this, my source for this information is a post by Mike Moffat himself here:

    What a long, strange trip it's been -- (Robert Hunter)

    I don't have any inside information.
     
  4. H8SLKC

    H8SLKC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Baloney. The tolerances we're talking about are utterly pedestrian by ANY engineering definition, as are the materials involved. There is NOTHING, repeat NOTHING, exotic or challenging about making a machine to play this decades-old technology. Again, NOTHING. I have much higher technologies in my bicycle, as I've said many times here. Please stop with the exotic-ness of these machines as justification for their ree-donk-u-lous pricing. The boutique turntable makers are only in business because of the twisted psychology that seems to inherently exist in this hobby.

    To reinforce my point, precision bearings are almost-literally the most mundane and inexpensive of industrial products that you could possibly discuss. There is nothing, nothing, nothing interesting about the bearings used in these machines from an engineering or material design sense. Even the tonearms that use jeweled bearings, again totally mundane and borrowed from dozens of other higher-spec applications that have existed for, well, a long time. My $50 Seiko auto-winder has jewels in applications and to tolerances that would make Roy Gandy blush.

    One can turn anything into a fetish object, which is exactly what has happened with turntables.
     
  5. Crosley has proven that point.
     
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  6. dmckean

    dmckean Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Diego, CA, USA
    To take what @H8SLKC says further, I could go all overkill and buy a ball bearing with a zero positive tolerance and a 7µm negative tolerance for about $20 off the shelf($8 in quantities of 10,000). This bearing would put the bearings in a Rega, Pro-ject or Music Hall entry model to shame. Bearings like this are only used in some of the boutique arms, SME arms and the Jelco made Ortofon and upper tier Pro-ject tonearms.

    Cheap and excellent bearings such as these are the reason no one even bothers with fragile jewled bearings anymore.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2017
  7. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock

    Location:
    Best Coast USA
    Obviously the engineering issues involved in making amazing turntables are greater than just bearings alone.

    If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.

    .
     
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  8. dmckean

    dmckean Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Diego, CA, USA
    Yes, there are more issues involved, bearings and motors are just the parts you buy and cost money and the rest is a matter of design. I've learned a ton about turntables over the last eleven years while I've been upgrading my Technics SL-1200 and comparing it to much more expensive tables at every step along the way.

    You basically need four things to have a great performing turntable. Good isolation and a lack of vibration in the turntable itself, great bearings (both main bearing and tonearm bearings), a rock solid stable speed and ability to make full adjustments on the tonearm. The first three are actually interralated, so improving in one area improves all areas.

    It's not expensive to do any of these things but high end turntables tend to be less user friendly than the entry level ones. I actually think Schiit is a little crazy offering a table with high end features and performance at an entry level price because it's going to be bought by people that have no idea how to isolate a turntable from it's environment, much less set it up.
     
  9. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock

    Location:
    Best Coast USA
    As I said to Dmc, if it really were that easy, everyone would be doing it.

    Yet, they are not. How do you account for that?
    .
     
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  10. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock

    Location:
    Best Coast USA
    How expensive it is a function of how far the maker goes with the design aspects you list (and others). You don't have to spend a lot of money, but you can, and you will get benefits in doing so, although at some point diminishing returns will set in.

    You can look at Rega's lineup, for instance... a $325-in-the-UK 'table at the bottom, a $1200 one (UK) in the middle, and a $40,000 or thereabouts heavily-custom one at the very top (the Naiad).

    It's like autos, fighter planes, or anything else you care to mention – you can push the limits and climb the wall of diminishing returns as high as you (and a few rarified customers) are willing to go. And it shouldn't bother the $325 TT buyer that the $40K 'table exists.

    Indeed, word is that making the $40K 'table helped Rega improve the design of all their other 'tables. Which is part of why their recent lineup revamp has been so successful, i.e. their new TT models are quite a bit better than their old ones (which isn't always the case).
    .
     
  11. inperson

    inperson Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ohio
    At first I wondered why the aggressiveness then you mentioned your bicycle and I understood. :p



    Just joking with ya.
     
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  12. inperson

    inperson Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ohio

    Well Tempered is about as simple as they come and look at their prices.
     
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  13. sturgus

    sturgus Forum Resident

    Location:
    St. Louis Mo
    I am waiting for your prototype. If it comes in under $200 I will be the first on your list to buy. I also would like to have options on the stock so I can be rich also.
     

  14. It's not quite as simple as saying how expensive it is is a function of how much it costs to make. The lowest priced model from a company is sometimes a loss leader where they might not make much (or any) profit on that particular model. Even if they do have margin on them, the lowest priced model would typically have the lowest margin. Usually that low price, low margin product drives high sales volumes, in turn driving down overall overhead costs and fueling r&d on other more expensive products.

    The most expensive models often have obscene profit margins (sometimes several hundred percent), because they don't make very many of them and they need them to be priced in a category that's "exclusive" enough to justify a certain specific clientele.

    There is way more that goes into retail products than direct cost driving MSRP.

    P.S. I'm very interested in this Schiit table. I've been a digital guy on the vinyl fence for almost a decade and I'm finally going to enter the vinyl market this year.
     
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  15. dmckean

    dmckean Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Diego, CA, USA
    Prices are another issue, when I bought my NA Space Deck thirteen years ago with a slight discount from my dealer it was $975. The exact same table costs more than double today. Same thing with Michell, SOTA, VPI, etc..

    Inflation doesn't account for this kind of increase. There's no reason a great table has to be expensive, it just needs to be engineered well. Rega tables are built they way they are for easy of use, ease of manufacturing and because their look is now iconic.
     
  16. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock

    Location:
    Best Coast USA
    I would agree that inflation is only part of the reason why TT 'tables have gone up as they have in recent years... demand would be the other significant factor, IMHO. To use your example, 13 years ago it was 2004, aka the 'Will vinyl even survive?' years. If you're a TT maker, would you really dare push for high margins back then (except maybe at the extreme high end of the market)?

    But now, of course, we're in the midst of the Vinyl Revival™, and TT makers have the breathing room to charge more, thanks to increased demand and interest. And some of them are taking too much advantage of it... again, IMO.

    Finally, 'great' is a relative term. One could buy, say, a new Rega Planar 3, listen to it lots, love it, and feel that its 'great'. And it is certainly at least quite good, even really good. But, there will be other TTs, including some made by Rega themselves, that are considerably more expensive and are better still.

    I sympathize with the ideal that says Joe Sixpack deserves great sound, too. And I think Joe Sixpack can get really good sound if he chooses wisely. But, a good $300 TT, or even $1000 TT, just isn't going to match up well sonically with a good $5000 'table, much as you or I might wish it to be different.

    But perhaps Schiit, with some engineering wizardry and a direct-sales business model, can narrow that gap some. That would indeed be nice. :thumbsup:
    .
     
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  17. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock

    Location:
    Best Coast USA
    I agree with that to a point, but I don't think Rega, say, is losing money on its Planar 1 entry-level 'table.

    They sell a ton of 'em, and it would be pretty disastrous to the company's bottom line if they were losing money on each one sold.

    Nor are the high but still 'battleground' price points places where you can get away with having 'several hundred percent' profit margins... there's just too much competition.

    But at the extreme high-end, when you get up to $30K, 50K, 100K, or more, and there are fewer choices... yes, I do wonder what the actual margins are there, and I do bet they're pretty high.

    On the flip side, a maker doesn't exactly have economies of scale working for them much at those levels, and those 'tables have a lot of unique content. And even extreme high-end TT makers can and do go bust, or fall on hard times and get bought out.
    .
     
  18. Any news on the TT? I'm holding out my TT purchase waiting on this news.
     
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  19. Minty_fresh

    Minty_fresh Forum Resident

    Location:
    B.
    If true I know what will be replacing my PDC.
     
  20. I've been toying with having two different TTs for mono and stereo. This may negate the need for that.
     
  21. wavethatflag

    wavethatflag Clueless Wallob

    Location:
    Pacifica, CA
    [Round of applause.]
     
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  22. weavzy

    weavzy Needle Dropper

    Wow. All this talk has got me busting for a Schiit.

    Yep, I'm a big fan of their work.

    Im a total Schitt Head .
     
  23. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    Location:
    South West, UK.
    There are some over engineered and absurdly priced turntables out there but I'm talking many times $5000. Having gone through a progression of decks and arms over the years there is a definite improvement in sound reproduction the more you spend up to at least £5000 and probably more than double that. Over £15-20K I certainly have problems in seeing substantial improvements in line with the exponential rise in cost. Producing a deck that runs accurately and isolates the stylus and record effectively from outside vibrations is a complex mix of precision engineering and electronic design. Doesn't come cheap. Cheap record decks invariably sound disappointing with acceptable vinyl reproduction starting at around £300. Manufacturing costs have spiraled since the 70's when something very decent could be made available at £40-50 retail.
     
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  24. Bill

    Bill Senior Member

    Location:
    Eastern Shore
    Question for those of you who maintain that is nothing to design and manufacture a turntable and companies that charge a lot for them are scoundrels.
    Say you're at a restaurant having pizza, you order a pie, and you ask your server to cut it into five pieces.
    When the server brings your pizza to your table, it is cut into six. You say to the server, "(fill in, please)."
    Bonus credits if you requested no ice in your drink, there are black-eyed children in the establishment, or, when you pay your bill, the server fails to return your three cents in change.
    Thanks in advance.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2018
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  25. vinylsolution

    vinylsolution Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denver, CO, USA
    [​IMG]
     

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