Should I upgrade to a Mitchell Gyrodec SE Turntable?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by LakeMountain, Aug 11, 2019.

  1. MGW

    MGW Less travelling, more listening

    Location:
    Scotland, UK
    No the AC motors were mounted in a housing attached to the plinth. I could simply change the motor and PSU but it seems like a good opportunity to introduce the standalone motor housing as well. I have an additional plinth that will allow this.
    So when my tax rebate cones through after April it will be one big change.

    AC motor.
    Standalone motor.
    Two-part suspension posts.
    Pete's pylons.
    Ceramic ball-bearings in the posts (probably not the main bearing as I have heard too many stories of cracking).
    Arm plate decoupling kit (for my SME 309).

    All of this I will ask my dealer to do for me as I do not like messing with expensive cartridges and arms. Fat fingers, limited time and patience.

    The HR PSU, I might leave for a little while just to see how much difference it makes.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2019
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  2. GyroSE

    GyroSE Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sweden
    IMHO the HR PSU is essential and probably have more impact than the pylons and decoupling kit. Correct and well controlled speed is substantial to get as much as possible out of the Gyro.
     
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  3. MGW

    MGW Less travelling, more listening

    Location:
    Scotland, UK
    This is what I would expect. The AC motor really comes into its own when the QC PSU is added. That is why I will hold off on the HR for a little while, in order that I can hear, evaluate and, most importantly, enjoy its fill impact.
     
  4. MGW

    MGW Less travelling, more listening

    Location:
    Scotland, UK
    But didn't you fit the pylons from new? My apologies if I have misunderstood, but if so how can you evaluate their effect in isolation?
     
  5. MGW

    MGW Less travelling, more listening

    Location:
    Scotland, UK
    Very interested to hear what those who have fitted the Pete's pylons in isolation (pun intended) think of their effect on performance.
    The measurement s prior to ordering and installation make this by far the most time-consuming and faffy of the upgrades.
     
  6. Andy Saunders

    Andy Saunders Forum Resident

    Location:
    England

    Not that faffy- just buy a set and thank us later.:)
     
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  7. MGW

    MGW Less travelling, more listening

    Location:
    Scotland, UK
    Yes, but has anyone actually done an upgrade that only involves Pete's pylons? And if so what was their impression?
     
  8. LakeMountain

    LakeMountain Vinyl surfer Thread Starter

    Location:
    Netherlands
    I listened to the Gyro SE with Orbe clamp and HR unit installed from the start. It took a bit longer to get the pylon’s and I could not wait to hear the new TT, which was an upgrade from a Thorens 321. I compared my favorite “test” albums and the Gyro SE delivered indeed what I had expected; more transparency, easier to locate instrument(sections) with big Orchestras and better defined voices.

    When I installed the pylon’s I could not believe the gains at first. Sound was very detailed, but also much more natural, instrument and voices alike. Something magic was added.
    All thanks to Andy and the Gyro crowd, and Pete of course, a true(point) audio engineer!

    There are some other threads discussing Pete’s pylons, all with similar enthusiastic responses.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2019
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  9. MGW

    MGW Less travelling, more listening

    Location:
    Scotland, UK
    Thanks that is useful.
    Sounds very positive as long as the word 'detailed' is not a euphemism for fatiguing.
    I will take a look at the other threads on Pete's pylons.
    Given the speed tuming on the HR I can certainly see the argument for doing it all in one go.
     
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  10. LakeMountain

    LakeMountain Vinyl surfer Thread Starter

    Location:
    Netherlands
    No worries, detailed as in easy to make out different instruments, orchestra sections, etc. with air around them.
     
    MGW likes this.
  11. MGW

    MGW Less travelling, more listening

    Location:
    Scotland, UK
    Air we like!
     
  12. 33na3rd

    33na3rd Forum Resident

    Location:
    SW Washington, USA
    Pete's Pylons made the greatest single improvement to my Gyro SE than all the other mods/upgrades that I've tried. I will never go back to the factory springs.

    I didn't like Michell's decoupling kit on my table, but do like Gert Pedersen's kit. Gert's arm board upgrade made a nice SQ improvement, but nowhere as dramatic as Pete's Pylons did. Pete's new arm board looks interesting, but I have no experience with it.

    If you do decide to get Pete's Pylons, do yourself a favor and purchase a digital caliper if you don't already have one. They are surprisingly affordable on Amazon and make the process of making the needed measurements much easier and more accurate.

    I agree completely!
     
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  13. MGW

    MGW Less travelling, more listening

    Location:
    Scotland, UK
    Thanks, that is really helpful. Already have digital calipers just a nuisance that the wretched thing has to be taken apart to make the measurements.
     
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  14. 33na3rd

    33na3rd Forum Resident

    Location:
    SW Washington, USA
    Yes, it is a nuisance to take the table down to make the measurements. But I promise that you will forget about that short unpleasant experience once you hear the difference that the Pylons make!

    The only thing that I miss about the springs is that after years (decades?) of practice, I actually got pretty good at adjusting the springs for that proper "Gyro bounce".
     
  15. blakep

    blakep Forum Resident

    [​IMG] As a very longtime Gyro-non SE, mine has a plinth-owner (close to 40 years) who has upgraded the table in stages over the years (including 2 piece suspension posts, delrin platter and current inverted main bearing about 15 years ago) and who has also made other changes to the table, here are my comments for what it's worth.

    I don't own the HR power supply as my motor is the original AC motor, which I ran for years off the original wall wart Michell supply. I started using a variac to power the table a number of years ago after reading about this; it allows me to ramp the voltage down from about 115 to 50 following startup-I can go to 50 mainly because of using improved oil in the main bearing as well as a silicon nitride grade 3 ball (which I've used for about 3 years now and will talk about later in the post). This is one of the main things that aftermarket power supplies like the Linn Lingo and VPI SDS do, although they only ramp down to about 70-taking the voltage down results in much less motor noise/vibration, which results in less transmission of that vibration into the belt and better sound quality.

    While I have never heard the HR Supply, the use of the variac with my table did bring about a nice improvement in sound quality-I won't go into descriptives as this is a lengthy post without it, but it was a nice improvement. Reviews I have read on the HR supply are similar in their description of the improvement, with many users describing the improvement as noticeable, but not earth shattering.

    The improvements brought about by "Pete's Pylons" (I was a fairly early adopter and have been using them about a year now and they were the only change I introduced to the table when I acquired them) are noticeably more significant and probably the biggest upgrade I've made to the table in 35 years, including the change from the original main bearing to the newer inverted bearing.

    The pylons improve the performance of the table in a very big way. Firstly, they eliminate a bass bloat that is there, resulting in tighter and slightly deeper bass performance. Secondly, they reveal a considerable amount of information in the midrange that is not there with the stock suspension: layers of detail and info that is obscured by the springs. The elimination of the bass bloat may well contribute to that info coming into focus as well. High frequency response is grossly improved and much more refined as well.

    One of the most significant things the pylons do, however, is grossly reduce or eliminate wow and flutter with the standard springs by eliminating horizontal movement and swaying of the chassis/subchassis (depending on whether you are using a plinthed or SE Gyro), which results in a very noticeable improvement in pitch control/speed accuracy and is hard to believe. It's particularly noticeable on things like piano and to a lesser extent, strings.

    All of the above combine to give the table much more clarity and focus while at the same time sounding much smoother. More detail and more refinement at the same time.

    Having used the pylons and also having experimented with power supply changes and reading reports from others on those changes, my money would (in a big way) be on the pylons as being both a better upgrade than the HR supply as well as being much more cost effective.

    As the pylons are essentially a bespoke product and there are variations in spec with the Michell tables, there may be some issues in actual fitment. For a novice user of the table, or someone who has not torn the table down and rebuilt it over the years, those problems might be a bit more of an issue to deal with than for someone like me. But rest assured, once you work through those problems if there are any, the Pylons are a huge (and I mean huge) improvement over the stock springs and you will never go back.

    With respect to the steel ball in the main bearing of the Gyro or Orbe, I've been running a silicon nitride Grade 3 ball from Boca Bearings for about 3 years now with no issues. There has been a bit of talk online about microcracking or breakdown of the SN balls (I've only seen one report of this happening and there are many users of the SN balls out there, not only in Michell tables but in others as well) but I have had no issues.

    If you look at the specs and usage of SN balls, it is difficult to believe that they would be any more prone to breakdown (they should be less if you really delve into it) than other forms of ceramic balls and the SN balls technically grade 3X better than Alumina Oxide balls in terms of sphericity and twice as good as Alumina Oxide in terms of surface roughness, both of which (if you look at the way the Michell bearing works) would seemingly be very important.

    Whether one chooses to take the chance with there main bearing or not is a personal choice. I will say that moving to the SN ball is probably the biggest bang for buck tweak I've done to my table at under $5 and I won't be taking it out soon. At the price, I can afford to rotate a new ball in every couple of years when I do an oil change. My table gets pretty heavy usage, probably 600-800 hours a year and with a couple of those balls in use for 3 years no issues and sounds wonderful. The improvements in sound quality are definitely enough for me to continue; if I have to buy a new main bearing (easily done and installed) at some point I will but I honestly can't see it happening at this stage.

    Pete is also working on a new acrylic platter for the table, which if it is commercialized will probably be a bit pricey for me, but I also implemented a couple of his new design armboards in the past few months, also with very good results and a major improvement over the stock Michell armboards. Requiring two made the acquisition a bit pricey for me (only had to buy 1 set of Pylons) so the bang for buck for me was not quite in the same league as the pylons but I still felt that I got pretty good value for money and I now feel like I've taken my table to a much higher level of performance than it had before. Michell's armboard decoupling option, which I've used, is a waste of money IMO.

    If Gyro/Orbe owners had to do one thing to their table though, I would recommend the pylons. They are that good.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2019
  16. MGW

    MGW Less travelling, more listening

    Location:
    Scotland, UK
    Thanks Blakee, really useful information.
    I am far from a novice user having had my Gyro Dec for over 25 years (also plinthed). I simply do not like spending time taking such things apart and putting them back together again, especially arm and cartridge setup. And running my own business, time is, literally, money!
    That is why I am thinking of upgrading several steps in one go and getting the dealer to do the heavy-lifting for me.
    It sounds like the Pete's SME armbiard upgrade might be worth a look instead of the Michell arm plate decoupling kit, assuming that decoupling and earning is built in?
     
  17. blakep

    blakep Forum Resident

    I had to struggle to hear anything that the Michell decoupling kit was doing to be honest with you. Any improvements, if there were any, were very minimal.

    Pete's armboard can be mounted/secured directly to the chassis. What I did, as you can see in the photo below, was place pieces of Herbie's Grungebuster material (thick as opposed to regular) between the board and chassis to decouple the board from the chassis. I can't tell you how the board sounded without this unfortunately, as I didn't experiment with that. I run balanced from tonearm to phono pre so never utilized the grounding wire/harness that came with the Michell decoupling kit.

    Lots of positive experience with Herbie's products so I figured I'd just go for it. I really like Pete's armboard design as well and the way that I've implemented it sounds considerably better than the stock Michell board with the Michell decoupling kit.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Andy Saunders

    Andy Saunders Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    Trust me MGW it is worth the 'hassle' to fit the Pylons, once they are fitted the deck is a good deal easier to set back up due to not having to get the time consuming and dreaded 'Gyro bounce' correct, once installed music is certainly not fatiguing! The deck becomes so musical it is silly- with no downsides what so ever, also why not do one upgrade at a time?

    My Gyro is maxxed out with stuff, and was thinking of buying a 'super deck' however l am enjoying the Gyro so much that l do not really think about it as much..... just a better arm and cartridge to realise the full potential of the deck.

    Good luck anyway.:)

    Also the post above from BlakeP is spot on ( good post that).:edthumbs:
     
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  19. MGW

    MGW Less travelling, more listening

    Location:
    Scotland, UK
    Time is the only real reason. But the PPs are sounding like a definite.
     
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