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anodizer
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Joined: Sep 15 2011 - 7:19am
direct drive turntables

Currently I own a Thorens TD160 super with SME series 3 and Grado statement platinum.

I'm looking for a new turntable and found the new Rega RP3 an interesting prospect.  However if one looks at the 2nd hand market, there are a whole lot of those bulky Denon direct drives to be had for very reasonable money.  Does anyone have any idea how these stack up to the likes of Rega & Project tables these days?

I'm starting to wonder this after reading an article about the Technics SL1200 where the author critisises Rega for not publishing any specs (wow & flutter comes to mind) on their tables, he then goes on to state that the Technics has excellent specs.  I looked further into this and found that these direct drives have indeed great specs and that Rega doesn't list them (if someone has them, please point me to it).

So, can DD turntables play a satisfactory role in an audiophile system?

deckeda
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Why not a CD player? They

Why not a CD player? They have NO wow and flutter. Perfect, flat response. Largely immune from issues of hum, footfalls, media wear, no surface noise.

Trust your ears, not spec sheets.

jackfish
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My suggestion would be to talk

to the Vinyl Engine forum.  You will get diverse opinion there regarding your options.  Personally, I would get a Rega RP3 before a Technics SL1200.  But then I'm partial to belt drive turntables.  Back in the day I could not really get what all the buzz was about direct drive turntables when they didn't sound any better than a belt drive AR turntable.

dbster
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DD versus belt

Belts can stretch, break and even vibrate and resonate. AC drive motors can induce hum into cartridges. Idler wheel drives can become less than perfectly circular or develop worn spots. So the news that is not news is that nothing is perfect. I have DD and an idler. If I play a test record and use one of the digital tuners from a stringed instrument player, and that test record has a 440 Hz middle A track on it, I get these results:

40 year old good brand idler wheel has more variation in pitch, like plus or minus 10, in a random fashion, but has more time on frequency. DD has more predictable variation in pitch, smoother and tighter, plus or minus 5, but less time right on frequency. Also, closer to dead quiet when it should be - no hum, no rumble. So as someone with mostly classical, 60s, and some jazz, I like the DD, especially in sustained classical music note situations.

To another of your pints, the SL-1200 has flavors. The speed control circuitry on the SL-1200MK2 and higher is much better than on the original SL-1200. Lots of new, factory original parts for these too, because they were so popular. In fact, they only stopped production within the last year (causing used prices to rise).  I have a few biases:

A new turntable without a built in strobe to prove it is on frequency is not what I'd pick. Or at least a speed adjustment and you check it once in a while with your own strobe disk. Next bias - whether DD or other, turntable mass is a good thing. A few pounds is my bias.

Since this site is sponsored by a magazine I like, which needs ad revenue to survive, look elsewhere for a used versus new comment concerning spending your dollars. But if you did pick up something used, then the Vinyl Engine web site mentioned in a prior post is GREAT for finding user and service manuals.

proud tiger
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Direct drive turntables are

Direct drive turntables are soo much better than belt drives purely because of the wow and flutter issue on belt drives which drives me nuts,even on very expensive Rega turntables you can hear the notes wavering.

Don’t understand why belt drives are so popular,may be quieter but you get a piano note that wavers in tune which makes the point of them being quieter null and void.
A cheap plastic Technics with a direct drive quartz motor will blow a belt drive turntable costing ten times as much out of the water as far as speed accuracy goes.

wolfie62
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DD and Denons

The Denon DD tables are very, very good. Dead accurate speed, high torque, and the servo arms are just incredible at the number of errors they correct. Bulky? Perhaps. But they have great isolation from feedback and room resonances. The servo arms correct compliance mismatches, they correct for cartridges that may not be stellar trackers on warped records, they correct arm/cartridge resonances, and allow you to play warped records and scratched records that are completely unplayable on other tables. Denon took the technology of servo speed and arm control and made it very effective, reliable, quiet, accurate, and convenient. I dumped my Rega, Thorens tables in favor of the Denon DP45F. Its technology renders my cartridge arsenal into a highly effective weapons cache. The turntable virtually disappears sonically, leaving you with an optimized cartridge/stylus reading the grooves of your records.

I will never go back to the old "gravity" tables, or belt drives. Too many match/mismatch limitations, and sonically they inject themselves too much into the equation.

Belt drives only had the upper hand when DD was in its infancy. Then, belt drives solved noise, and to some degree speed fluctuations caused by rim drives or 50/60Hz mains variations. But DD technology in the 70s surpassed all those limitations. Belt drives are much cheaper, but are not in any way superior. Belt drives still have a spindle and bearing like DD, still have to have speed accuracy circuitry like DD, aren't any quieter than DD, even with the isolation of the motor from the platter/spindle/bearing. Belt drives don't have the "hard" torque of the electronic DD; the Belt is an elastic connection to the drive motor and will give way and cause speed flutter even on a micro scale. It can be heard on extended music notes from any recorded instrument.

So, I broke the leash of urban lore that belt drives are superior, or that electronic controls are inferior to a "gravity" machine, or that gravity tables are somehow more "precise." All marketing hype.

Sleigo
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Rega Planar 3 vs Old Technics 1400 SL

I bought the former with upgraded Cart (Ortofon Bronze) to replace the latter just because it was old. The new Rega sounds ok, but not amazing. Something about it gives the impression of soul-less.
I have brought out my old Technics and still dig it. Something about direct drive really does it for me. In my head it sounds better than the new Rega, but I cannot tell if I am really hearing a difference or if it is just psychological (because I really dig the Technics being DD and a classic). Any (non-knee-jerk Rega bashers) care to support my delusion or disabuse me of it?

bierfeldt
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Rega

It is not pcychological. Rega has a slightly colored sound. This is a matter of taste. I disagree vehemently about the “soul-less” comment. I will say that I think it is a poor table for certain types of music, particularly hip-hop and electronica. Alternatively, I don’t know if jazz could possibly sound better. Rega is known for delivering PRAT which is all about a punchy mid bass and slightly forward mid-range. This results in bass heavy music sounding flat. This shows up in a review of the VPI Traveler vs. the old P3-24. The reviewer made a comment along the lines of they had “never heard Drake” on the P3-24. It isn’t bad, it just reflects the choices Rega makes.

I own an RP3 with an Exact2 and love it but then again, I love jazz and don’t listen to hip hop. Your Technics will have a flatter frequency response.

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