Tired of the Technics vs Rega Turntable debate?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by AKA-Chuck G, Dec 22, 2020.

  1. AKA-Chuck G

    AKA-Chuck G Senior Member Thread Starter

    Washington NC
    It's gotten to the point every thread about buying a new turntable, the Technics Direct Drive "people":wave: have to point out if you get a Rega you must spring for the PSU (not true).

    Lets cut to the chase. Direct Drive sound clinical because they are constantly "checking" your speed control with constant small adjustments to keep the speed "right". This does effect sound negatively.

    This is why us belt drive "people":wave: do not buy direct drive turntables.

    The below explains it all. It comes from the link attached.

    Speed Stability is Key
    So how does a turntable affect this? Well, the answer is a consistency of speed. Yes, a direct-drive turntable gets up to speed really quickly. But, what keeps it going at the proper speed? Direct-drive turntables require a lot of circuitry that is constantly looking at the speed of the motor and making adjustments to keep the speed from changing. Models with speed control must have all this added circuitry to allow you to change the speed in the first place. This constant correcting of the speed manifests itself as not quite perfect pitch. We feel that on most direct-drive turntables, you are just not drawn into the music like you are on a good belt-drive.

    We feel belt-drive can have better speed stability IF it uses a heavy platter. Once this platter gets up to speed, the odds of it having micro changes in pitch are virtually nil. Yes, it might drift slightly over a long period compared to a direct-drive, but we think it’s less noticeable than the constant adjustments that occur in a direct-drive table.

    Of course, a great belt-drive turntable does need to have a fairly heavy platter and a well-isolated motor. We feel that if you can get those two right, then in almost all cases the belt drive will outperform the direct drive for sheer musical enjoyment. You will have less chance of motor noise getting picked up by your stylus and the speed should be perceived as more pure.

    With the huge popularity of turntables in recent years, direct-drive manufacturers have not been sitting still. New motor technology has come out that greatly reduces those minute speed changes. Some have started to use very heavy platters to minimize this effect as well. So if you are looking in the very upper end of turntables in a $5,000+ price range, you will start to see more direct-drive models. As you go above $25,000, you will see a few more.

    However, if you are like most people, you are probably not spending $5,000+ on a turntable. Unless you are a DJ, you should probably get the best belt-drive turntable your budget will allow. You will not regret it!

    Belt-Drive vs. Direct-Drive Turntables | Audio Advice
    Lenny99, gingerly, hifisoup and 4 others like this.
  2. ayrehead

    ayrehead It was like that when I found it...

    Mid South
  3. Dr. J.

    Dr. J. Music is in my soul

    Memphis, TN
    Sure, I buy that argument but not what you say at the beginning of your post: "the Technics Direct Drive "people":wave: have to point out if you get a Rega you must spring for the PSU (not true)." Of course you do! My Planar 3 runs at 33.58: no belt change or tweak will make it run at 33.33.
    scobb, Shak Cohen, Plan9 and 7 others like this.
  4. Davey

    Davey NP: Eydís Evensen ~ The Light (2023)

    SF Bay Area, USA
    Well, there are low torque, low feedback direct drive tables around too, and even though Technics has the opposite design philosophy, they did do a lot on the new models to avoid some of the (possible) shortcomings that have been pointed out over the years, including finally moving to coreless motors, and running a much higher frequency control circuit with somewhat unique methods used to optimize the correction signals. And the adjustable torque is a nice feature too, though not sure it is fully realized to tailor the dynamic control.

    And there are direct drive tables with very heavy platters too :)

    But I do agree that the constant debates and snarky comments exchanged around here from all sides has really gotten old.
  5. patient_ot

    patient_ot Senior Member

    The above article is typical cork sniffer garbage that doesn't "prove" anything. I find it funny that the dealer with that article sells both Rega and Technics turntables. I wonder if they make a higher margin on the Regas so push those to customers instead?

    For the record I don't have a problem with belt-drive in principle. What I have a problem with are turntables that don't spin at the right speed out of the box, and require add-ons to do so. Same deal with high W/F.

    I realize not everyone cares about that stuff, and are happy to listen to a turntable that runs fast or slow, or is pitch wobbling.
    Sugar Man, jbmcb, Lenny99 and 26 others like this.
  6. JakeMcD

    JakeMcD Forum Resident

    So Central FL
    I loved that college-era (80s) direct drive Technics until I read that albums were no longer cool.
    I loved my idler drive Dual until I read that the plinth was not really ideal.
    I loved my belt drive Rega RP 3 until I read that it runs fast.

    So, no, I clearly am not tired of the debates. Drawn to them like a moth to a flame, I am.
  7. dconsmack

    dconsmack Forum Resident

    Las Vegas, NV USA
    Direct drive sounds bad because it’s keeping the speed accurate by constantly changing? Um, ok.

    No. Direct drive sounds “bad” because most turntable manufacturers have to use a belt drive because it’s cheaper to design and manufacture. Their marketing must justify their technological limitations by making people believe that the accurate and stable speed of a similarly priced (or cheaper!) direct drive somehow makes music sound worse. It’s a desperate approach to sell their product, but I’m amazed so many people buy into it. I’ve owned both direct drive and belt drive. Owning a few belt drives made me want and eventually keep a direct drive. If you love your belt drive table, great! I bet it sounds good. But justifying it by saying direct drives don’t work as well for maintaining correct speed, or that correct speed degrades the sound? Please…
  8. fish

    fish Forum Resident

    NY, USA
    Im betting on CornPop!

  9. Slick Willie

    Slick Willie Decisively Indecisive

    sweet VA.
    Thinly veiled thread to invite strong debate?
    Just buy the table ya like and go your merry way.
  10. Angry_Panda

    Angry_Panda Pipe as shown, slippers not pictured

    I, for one, welcome our new idler drive overlords.
  11. patient_ot

    patient_ot Senior Member

    The R&D and manufacturing costs for a well-designed, Japanese style DD motor are high. Very high. That's why major corporations developed this technology (for the most part) back in the 70s and 80s. Many of the rubber band TT companies can only have wet dreams about these type of R&D budgets.

    Now anyone can make a belt-drive TT in their garage with a few tools and a parts kit. The motors are off the shelf industrial motors made by companies like Premontec/AlliedMotion/etc, Hurst, or Papst, for example. Big companies like Rega, Pro-Ject, etc. can buy these motors in bulk very cheaply and slap their sticker on them. The manufacturer hooks the motor up to a pulley and builds a simple circuit to run it.

    Better rubber band TT manufacturers will include some type of electronic speed control. These systems run the gamut from relatively simple to quite complex. Even so, are they as advanced as the DD systems above? No. Done right they work fine and will keep the speed stable and W/F low enough to meet NAB standards though.
  12. Timeless Classics

    Timeless Classics Senior Member

    When I had a VPI belt drive table (3 different models), all models sounded far better when introducing the Phoenix Engineering speed control and Tachometer that make adjustments to speed to promote more precise speed stability. So belt drive tables without external speed devices are not necessarily better in my experience. And the Phoenix did not make it sound clinical - if anything, it was more musical by diminishing the smear that occurs with inaccurate speed control. Everything becomes more focused and rhythmic. It may depend on the table or manufacturer?
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2020
  13. luckybaer

    luckybaer Thinks The Devil actually beat Johnny

    I bought my Technics SL-1210GR because it is easy to use, it is built like a tank, it has an arm that allows easy cartridge swapping, it sounds good, it is low maintenance, and it has stable speed. I wouldn't have cared if it was powered by a gerbil running on a wheel.
    GreenFuz, Dansk, mirnuj_atom and 35 others like this.
  14. Davey

    Davey NP: Eydís Evensen ~ The Light (2023)

    SF Bay Area, USA
    Have you tried it without the feedback loop connected? I kinda doubt it makes as much difference as you think, it is only sampling the platter speed once per revolution. I'd imagine most of the sensed benefit is from the low distortion motor drive.
  15. Timeless Classics

    Timeless Classics Senior Member

    I always used both the Eagle speed controller & the Tachometer. I don't own the VPI belt drives any more. Being able to describe the % of improvement is futile since all is subjective and also dependent to some degree on the other gear/parts of your system which may or may not be able to pick up those changes. But it was a noticeable audible improvement for me. I can only speak from my experience. Other turntable owners, YMMV, I suppose.
  16. Davey

    Davey NP: Eydís Evensen ~ The Light (2023)

    SF Bay Area, USA
    Yea, I'm not doubting the improvement you describe, I just think it is mostly from the Eagle. I don't think making a minor adjustment to the speed every two seconds will have much impact on the audio, but just a minor quibble, didn't mean to get sidetracked :)
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2020
  17. Wngnt90

    Wngnt90 Forum Resident

    Nah...sorry but I'll stick with the 4 direct drive TT's that I have now.

    Old Rusty, Aftermath and Whay like this.
  18. BillWojo

    BillWojo Forum Resident

    Burlington, NJ
    That whole anti DD argument is almost a cut and paste from the British audio magazines when the Japanese entered the market. It's total BS!
    The British saw their entire car and motorcycle industry decimated by the Japanese imports that worked! They didn't need frequent trips to the shop, they didn't leak, the electrical s didn't go up in smoke and they lasted far longer.
    They knew the British audio industry was in for the same ride. So they made up some BS lies to try and stop it from happening.
    Show me one creditable study that shows any of the better DD turntables with worse specs than a belt drive table. Those minute variations can be measured, not even the British press could produce proof. And believe you me, if they could it would have made front page cover news on their trash rags, oops magazines.
    Bottom line, it's far, far cheaper to design a rubber band drive and market it as superior than to design a good DD turntable.

    Dansk, WvL, Jim N. and 26 others like this.
  19. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Chicago metro, USA
    tired of the debate so you start another thread?
    i have owned both and trusted my ears to tell the difference.
  20. McLover

    McLover Senior Member

    Athens, Tennessee
    AC motors on the belt drives please, motors which reliably drive the platter as intended. Belt drive is fine if it's the right kind of belt drive. Note you don't see me having a problem with AR, Empire, classic Thorens, many of the Pioneer, and CEC built AC motor belt drives, the Micro-Seiki belt drives, the Aristons, the Linns, etc. So, don't call me a one drive system person please, even if Technics is what I use most often. I even own idler drives which don't have speed constancy issues. It's all down to build, engineering, and execution. Better model Regas from middle of the line up are OK often.
  21. PhotoMax

    PhotoMax Forum Resident

    Orcas Island
    When most successful DD tables came to the market was in a different era. As noted the R&D and manufacturing costs were very high, but the high units sold made it work. Fast forward to today: vinyl might “be back” but unit sales of individual turntable models is still low. If you look at the current turntable market you will find many models at very different price points. Some are crazy money expensive. But the market is dominated by belt table models. Just a costs vs unit sales reality...
    Plan9, McLover, Cronverc and 2 others like this.
  22. AKA-Chuck G

    AKA-Chuck G Senior Member Thread Starter

    Washington NC
    Where did you get the "correct speed degrades the sound" from? You took that out of context. That's what happens when you don't like what it really said. :shake:
    The Trinity likes this.
  23. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Tired of the Technics vs Rega Turntable debate?

    Not really but feel free to keep it going. If you get tired or loose your audience try the Ethernet cables thread instead, or even better, buy the two tables.


  24. AKA-Chuck G

    AKA-Chuck G Senior Member Thread Starter

    Washington NC
    Damn impressed you can hear difference between 33.58 and 33.33. Like I said, most people don't have to have the PSU. :wave:
    Mr. Bewlay, Whay and willboy like this.
  25. AKA-Chuck G

    AKA-Chuck G Senior Member Thread Starter

    Washington NC
    Classic TT's are a totally different animal.

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