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  • Direct-Drive Turntables

    Who wudda thunk we'd see a resurgence of interest in this category of turntables? After Linn and belt drive tables, direct-drive tables were pronounced all but dead. But then audiophiles took a second look at idler/rim drive and shortly thereafter direct-drive turntables. The first of the "new" generation of direct-drives that I heard was Steve Dobbins' The Beat and that eventually led to my purchasing the VPI Classic Direct. Of course, these new direct-drives bear little resemblance to the direct-drives of the '70s whether we are talking about platters and weights, motors, speed controls, speed variability, isolation, etc. And now we have several direct-drives on the market including VPI, Grand Prix, Brinkmann and some other variation.

    I'm sure everyone has had both belt and direct-drive in their systems so what's everyone's experience and feedback on the competing designs?
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
    -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
    -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

  • #2
    To me they all sound different. Belt, idler drive, DD all have their own sonic signature.
    TW Acustic TT with Ref motor & controller; Tri-Planar Arm; Ortofon Windfeld-Ti Cartridge, Harmonix-Combak platter matte & weight; Arcam R Phono Preamp; KLAudio Ultrasonic Record Cleaner.

    Bluesound Vault-2 Music Server & Streamer

    VTL 6.5 preamp Series II
    Pass Labs 150.8 Amp

    Piega C711 Loudspeakers

    Symposium Osiris Rack; Symposium Platforms and Roller Blocks plus grade 2.5 Balls

    Acoustic Revive RR-888 Low Frequency Pulse Generator

    Shunyata Hydra 8; Shunyata AC Cords; Synergistic Research Level 3 HC AC Cord and Level 3 power cord, Synergistic Carbon fiber wall plates & Blue Outlets, Furutech NCF Booster Brace, Audio Art Ref balanced ICs, MIT Oracle IC and Magnum Speaker Cables

    Sennheiser HDV 650 Headphone Amp; Sennheiser HD1200s Headphones.

    Comment


    • #3
      I'm probably in the minority on this but I preferred the DD Brinkman (Bardo) over the BD (Balance). The attacks on leading edges were more incisive with the DD, the BD was warmer but, for lack of a better word, "lazy" sounding. Others would say it lacked PRaT in direct comparison but you know how I feel about that descriptor.
      Simon Yorke S10 | My Sonic Lab Eminent GL | AcousticPlan PhonoMaster | Wadia X32 | Innuous ZEN Mini Mk II | Valvet Soulshine2 | LTA ZOTL10 MkII | Avantgarde Uno Fino XD

      "One of the great challenges of this world: Knowing enough about a subject to think you are right, but not enough about the subject to know you're wrong" - Neil deGrasse Tyson

      Comment


      • #4
        I think Rob is circling the target. DDs have the most incisive leading edge perhaps giving up a bit of the midrange life, Idlers have the most midrange detail and belts fall in between. But there are so many variables with this stuff. Platforms, stands, cartridges, set up, etc. certainly the Walker, a belt drive, has endless incisive leading edge coupled with tons of midrange and every other range.
        TW Acustic TT with Ref motor & controller; Tri-Planar Arm; Ortofon Windfeld-Ti Cartridge, Harmonix-Combak platter matte & weight; Arcam R Phono Preamp; KLAudio Ultrasonic Record Cleaner.

        Bluesound Vault-2 Music Server & Streamer

        VTL 6.5 preamp Series II
        Pass Labs 150.8 Amp

        Piega C711 Loudspeakers

        Symposium Osiris Rack; Symposium Platforms and Roller Blocks plus grade 2.5 Balls

        Acoustic Revive RR-888 Low Frequency Pulse Generator

        Shunyata Hydra 8; Shunyata AC Cords; Synergistic Research Level 3 HC AC Cord and Level 3 power cord, Synergistic Carbon fiber wall plates & Blue Outlets, Furutech NCF Booster Brace, Audio Art Ref balanced ICs, MIT Oracle IC and Magnum Speaker Cables

        Sennheiser HDV 650 Headphone Amp; Sennheiser HD1200s Headphones.

        Comment


        • #5
          No real opinion, I have both belt drive and direct drive but they are so dissimilar in regards to arms, cartidges, plinths, platters and tonearm wiring as to render any meaningful opinion impossible. I would like to hear a comparison between the VPI Direct Drive and Classic 3. The arm and cartridge could be transfered from one table to the other eliminating one variable, The plinths are similar. The platters are similar material. The wiring can be the same. Through the same electronics. There are aerospace grade vacuum sealed relays of very high quality that could be used to switch the turntable output to the electronics chain.

          That would be as close a comparison as I can think of.

          Of course I'd hope two pressings of the same performance would be as identical as possible as I don't hold with playing the same cut back to back on a single disc for comparison purposes.
          Last edited by Rust; 02-20-2016, 08:43 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            I think Myles just might have more experience with VPI tables and arms than anyone else on this forum and is the only one on this forum that owns their DD table.
            Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by mep View Post
              I think Myles just might have more experience with VPI tables and arms than anyone else on this forum and is the only one on this forum that owns their DD table.
              I think Tim owns the Grand Prix? You have a Technics. Know I'm certainly missing some people.
              Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
              Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
              ________________________________________

              -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
              -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
              -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
              -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
              -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
              -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
              -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
              -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
              -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
              -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

              Comment


              • #8
                I think its not critical as to what type of drive system it is ( belt, idler, direct, etc ). What is more critical is how well the design ( of whatever type ) is executed. It all depends on cost.
                Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (St) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (St) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (St) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (M) , Luxman Tonearm (M) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (M) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-300 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

                Comment


                • #9
                  I know there are others on the forum that own DD tables, but I think you are the only one that has the VPI.
                  Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    For me it was, first, the operational silence then the speed stability and accuracy of the modern direct drive that led me to make that choice. It's been transformative - I haven't played a CD since September. My only regret is not going there sooner, though as Myles intimates allowing technology to catch up to the DD concept has been a good thing. Still it is not solely about architecture, implementation is key and there are some great belt drives on the market.

                    Now with a proper foundation in place - the 'table having simply disappeared - my sense of it finds the tonearm and cartridge (and their proper setup) as the place to assess sonic character.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I think we're all curious about the 2015-2016 "SP10". My question is, why did the SP-15 seem to fall between the cracks and the 10 mk2's and mk3's didn't?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        In the 1970s I had a technics 1350 direct drive I think it cost 350 dollars I now have a belt drive Clear audio I like the belt. Their you go another post that is of no use to anyone.

                        I will say it is amazing what is out there for tables today some great stuff.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Their were all sorts of cheap DD tables available in the 1970s-1980s and many of them didn't sound as good as some belt drive tables. A friend of mine had a decent Sony DD table and he brought it over to my house when I lived in Maine to compare against my new AR table and the AR just crushed his table in all aspects including dynamic range. That would have been around 1980 or so. Ever since then until fairly recently, I have been a belt table kind of guy and my dogma that I was mired in told me that belt tables were superior sounding in comparison to DD tables. Needless to say, I don't feel that way anymore.
                          Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mep View Post
                            Their were all sorts of cheap DD tables available in the 1970s-1980s and many of them didn't sound as good as some belt drive tables. A friend of mine had a decent Sony DD table and he brought it over to my house when I lived in Maine to compare against my new AR table and the AR just crushed his table in all aspects including dynamic range. That would have been around 1980 or so. Ever since then until fairly recently, I have been a belt table kind of guy and my dogma that I was mired in told me that belt tables were superior sounding in comparison to DD tables. Needless to say, I don't feel that way anymore.

                            An AR table like this? A friend just took his out of the closet and start spinning vinyl for the first time in ages with this. He can't believe how good it sounds!

                            Click image for larger version

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                            Kronos Sparta -> Trinity Phono -> Trinity Pre -> CH Precision A1 -> Magico S7s

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              That is it exactly. I bought mine with the Sumiko MMT arm. I had many happy years with the AR until I upgraded to a SOTA Star Sapphire table.
                              Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

                              Comment

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