Robert Deutsch Upgrades His Record Player RD's Associated Equipment

Sidebar 2: RD's Associated Equipment

Analog Source: Linn Sondek LP12 turntable with Lingo power supply, Linn Ittok LVII tonearm, AudioQuest AQ7000nsx cartridge.
Digital Source: PS Audio PerfectWave Memory CD/DVD transport & DirectStream DAC.
Preamplifier: Convergent Audio Technology SL-1 Renaissance Black Path Edition.
Power Amplifier: McIntosh Laboratory 50th Anniversary MC275.
Loudspeakers: Avantgarde Uno Nano.
Cables: Interconnect, speaker, AC: Nordost Valhalla 2.
Accessories: PS Audio PerfectWave P5 Power Plant AC generator, Arcici Suspense Rack, PolyCrystal amplifier stand, Audiodesksysteme Gläss Vinyl Cleaner.—Robert Deutsch

Boogieman1's picture

Dear Sir,
I enjoy your writing very much - all of your pieces are very well written. However, a big question remains after reading this article: how did you go about selecting the turntable? There are so many brands out there - vpi, clearaudio, rega, avid, sme, spiral groove, oracle, basis, kuzma.....

Add combinations of tonearms and cartridges, and one can go completely crazy just thinking about all the possibilities, let alone listening to all the combinations.

So how do you recommend one select a turntable?
Thank you

Robert Deutsch's picture

Thank you for the comment on my writing.
You're right: selecting a turntable is not an easy task. There are lots of 'tables out there, and there is hardly ever an opportunity to compare the sound of different turntables in stores with everything else in the system kept as a constant. In the absence of personal experience, turntable selection is a bit of a guessing game, albeit an educated one. Prior to my experience with Acoustic Signature, I have not reviewed any turntables myself, so, in selecting a new turntable, I had to rely largely on the opinion of others, including reviews in Stereophile (and, yes, even other magazines/webzines). It was actually Herb Reichert's writeup of the WOW XL that first piqued my interest, and, talking to some people in the industry, including Peter Ledermann of Soundsmith, helped me to zero in on Acoustic Signature as offering high quality and high value. And, I figured, if the XL is good, the XXL is likely to be better. There were some other turntables that I was considering, and I can't say whether the one I chose was the best, but it's certainly an excellent turntable, especially with the various tweaks I described.
As for a general recommendation on how to select a turntable--well, I don't think there's a formula that will guarantee you'll choose the right one. An obvious first step is to make a tentative decision on how much money you're willing to spend--keeping in mind that if you're also buying a tonearm and a cartridge, there may be tradeoffs in allocating parts of your budget to various components. By all means read reviews--but don't expect them to make the decision for you. Go to local audio stores, and talk to them about turntable recommendations. (Just don't expect them to be completely impartial in any negative comments about products they don't carry.) Go to regional audio shows, where you're likely to see products you may not be familiar with, but which should be considered. Try to get a demo.
And once you have your new turntable setup, stop reading about other turntables and just listen to the music!

billdevaux's picture

Dear Robert,
I am very interested in your opinion of the Soundsmith cartridge but what really got my attention was your mention of using plugin resistors in some of your listening tests with it. I'd like to know if you felt they degraded the sound in any way? I'm curious because I'm thinking about using plugin capacitance adjusters (from DBSystems) to match capacitance on MM cartridges. Many good MM phono stages lack the ability to match preamp and cartridge capacitances.


Bill Devaux

Robert Deutsch's picture

The plug-in resistors did not degrade the sound in any way (except for the one that represented a mismatch). However, this conclusion should not be generalized to the use of other plug-in resistors/capacitors with other phono stages/cartridges. The CAT preamp has paralleled phono inputs, so there is no external device involved.
But, now that I think of it, years ago I had a preamp that had no built in provision for plug-in resistors/capacitors, and I remember using RCA Y-connectors for capacitors. I never checked whether the Y-connector itself caused any sonic degradation, but the appropriate capacitive loading improved the sound.

helomech's picture


I enjoyed reading your article. I recently purchased a Wow XL and awaiting its arrival.

I also ordered the Acoustic Signature tonearm and opted for the DIN connector.

Can you tell me if the Cove cable that came with your tonearm has a 90 degree or straight connector at the table end? The Zavfino site displays both types. I would imagine the straight connector might have clearance issues on the Wow. This information would be of great help because I'd like to make my own 1/2 meter cable before my Wow arrives.

Many thanks.