3 New UBER Decks - Is this Turntable's SwanSong? 🦢

Michael Fremer has recently reviewed three new turntables designed to be the 'Last Word', 'Cost no Object' STATEMENTS!!!!........Do I recall hearing this claim before??
I love Mikey and have followed (and trusted) him for decades.
He has been the longest and foremost published 'champion' of the superiority of vinyl (uber alles) in the world.
I am thus ecstatic that he has been able to listen and compare these decks in his own room, with his own equipment virtually side-by-side
It's almost a 'given' that he will be the ONLY person on earth given that privilege....

So what Mikey HEARS.....is indisputable

Given his 'character' and desire for accuracy and honesty.....years ago, Mikey started including some 'objective' measurements in his turntable reviews.
These measurements were done utilising the Dr Feikert PlatterSpeed App which has since been discontinued.
As the App only worked with the Mac iOS of many variations ago.....Mikey has kept an old iPhone which can still operate the App.
The PlatterSpeed App had a few technical limitations.....
Foremost amongst these, was its dependence on a 7" record with an embedded 3150 Hz Frequency track to produce a test-tone which the App could process through its algorithm to produce the graphs and all the corresponding numbers.
To stamp hundreds of 7" discs with perfectly 'centred' HOLES is a nigh impossibility.
It's almost impossible to do it with a 12" disc!!!

This means that ALL the figures produced in their Chart Info are dubious and mostly UNREPEATABLE!!!!
I have Chart Infos for the same turntable/arm combination but with the 7" disc moved slightly producing different figures.
I even have Chart Infos produced with the same turntable but different arms ALL with different figures (the arms are in different positions surrounding my TURNTABLE).

So what is my point......?
The GRAPH produced with the PlatterSpeed App is accurate and USEABLE when looking at the 'Green' Lowpass-Filtered Frequency.
If the hole was PERFECTLY centred.....this 'Green' line would be perfectly STRAIGHT......but only if the turntable was maintaining its speed PERFECTLY.
The wobbles in the 'Green' line are due to the hole's eccentricity as well as any speed aberrations.
So the best performing turntables are those with the most constant and even wobbles approaching as closely as possible a STRAIGHT LINE.

Now the SAT Direct Drive Motor is actually the same as Technics developed for their latest SL-1000R except with some bespoke modifications.
It appears that SAT have corrupted what is a very good DD Motor unit....🥴

Mikey says that the OMA-K3 produced the best PlatterApp figures of any turntable he has tested 👏
Does this mean that the OMA-K3 is the most accurate turntable of these three decks.....or maybe of ALL turntables?

Mikey can't (and won't) test and review products from the past which are no longer produced because that's not his job!
But wouldn't it be great if someone WOULD review products from the past against the modern equivalent?
Classic turntables with reputations....gravitas...like the legendary EMT 927 and Micro Seiki SX-5000 and SX-8000.
And what about the NOW lauded Japanese DD Turntables from the '80s...the 'Golden Age' of Analogue?
  • Technics SP-10Mk3
  • Kenwood L-07D
  • Pioneer P3
  • Victor TT-101
  • Yamaha GT-2000
Because we know that Direct Drive is now 'Flavour of the Month' for the new Uber Decks due to their superior speed accuracy....a 'Flavour' that started with the legendary Rockport Sirius III.
But what about Belt-Drive units like my 20 year-old Raven?
So much for science and technology.......

We can do things today that were only dreamt of even 10 years ago
Except learn from history, harvest experience, expertise and craftsmanship......

Here endeth the Sermon for today 🤗

I met Michael Fremer in the 80’s - he’s a lovely guy, but the reality is he is now 74 years old by my reckoning.
The chances that he can set up a top end turntable accurately is remote.
The chances that his hearing is up to par is not high.

I always remember a comment in Hifi News in the early 80’s - if you have been listening to an amplifier with a narrow dip at 3k for a period of time, then any accurate (flat) amplifier will sound bright, because your brain has adjusted to the imperfections - it compensates.

What I am saying is that Fremers comments are conditioned by hs own historical imperfect equipment. Unless you have been listening to the exact same equipment for the same amount of time, then his comments are irrelevent in absolute terms - all they are are impressions from someone of whom you have no idea what they are hearing.

Unfortunately, due to reliance on advertising revenue, audio reviews have become like car magazines - advertorials - where only the positives are discussed, and no at length comparisions as in the hey days of TAS.

You only find out about the flaws when the upgrade comes out the following year.

Some of these uber tables have impressive amounts of engineering, but they have yet to correct the spindle hole centering issue

The wow and flutter induced by eccentric records would far exceed the minor deviations in speed of a decent turntable, and most records are eccentric to some degree. Therefore what relevance does .001 or .0001 speed variation really have ?

In my view what you want is stability, and every direct drive I have heard thus far including the SP10mk3, LO7D, Denon DP100M has been slaughtered by my Final Audio thread drive VTT1 - the DD's sound thin, lacking body, are grainy or have a grey wash through the sound, and the Final has been more resolving of low level detail.

In case you think I'm biased, no, my Final Audio VTT1 weighs 300lbs, the AC motor is driven from a sinewave and cosine wave generator, power amplifier, Oracle MIT interconnect and speaker cable and if I could find a single box turntable that sounded better I'd be very happy. By the way the 26kg platter can be brought up to full speed in less than one platter rotation depending on how much torque I dial up on the controller.

My gut feel with historical top end DD's is that error correction servos, like digital, are doing the damage.

I know one well respected top end TT designer who has provided design services for a DD for another top end company and his solution was to provide a soft error recovery spread over multiple revolutions simlar to the Victor 101 error correction system.
They can’t tell that old high-end DDs are better (and 100 times cheaper) than some new high-end DDs. Same about cartridges.
Old cartridges you and I agree on, and I admire your stamina in continuing to repeat this message over and over again on this Forum.
I've long ago given up on offering advice to people who essentially don't want it.....🤭
But the message has obviously gotten out.
When I first began buying old cartridges on EBay 15 years ago.....good examples cost $200-$300.
Today those same cartridges are regularly going for $500-$1,000 so hundreds of audiophiles have gotten the message....even if most of them might be in Japan 😛

And don't forget 'old' tonearms......
People are conditioned to think that 'modern' is better and that 'progress and technology' continually improve things 🤩
It's true for many things like cars and computers but for traditional, well-understood crafts like watchmaking and analogue HiFi equipment, it ain't necessarily so 🤥
Do you really believe a 'modern' Steinway Concert Grand is way better than the same model made 40 years ago?
But the reality is he is now 74 years old by my reckoning.
Hey Dover.....
I resemble that remark 🥴
I think you're being unduly harsh on Mikey...
What I am saying is that Fremers comments are conditioned by his own historical imperfect equipment. Unless you have been listening to the exact same equipment for the same amount of time, then his comments are irrelevant in absolute terms - all they are are impressions from someone of whom you have no idea what they are hearing.
Well that's the same for ALL audio reviewers.....
If you don't read reviews because of this, that's your business.

After reading Mikey's reviews for 30 years or so...I think I know what his preferences are and he never makes a secret of them.
I also knew the preferences of the much-lamented Art Dudley but I don't feel the need to buy an idler-drive with Ortofon arm and SPU cartridge.
Nor do I need to buy Shindo amplification and DeVore Fidelity Orangutan speakers to appreciate his reviews and intimate writings.

I also believe I know the preferences of Jonathan Valin and Arthur Salvatore better than those of Harry Pearson and I enjoy reading ALL their writings.
I pity you if you choose to ignore interesting opinions and writings 😢

I have heaps of respect for all that John Atkinson has done and achieved in this hobby of ours.....but I don't read his reviews simply because he doesn't listen to vinyl!!!
He cannot hear the same way I do so his views are irrelevant to me...
I DO however, read his technical tests 👍
+2 audioguy85, you're damn right.

No need to spend $$$$$$ on a turntable  You can have perfect performance for £10,000, maybe less.  All the extra dough just buys you bling and a lot of overweight metal.