A Thought Exercise: Consolidating Analog To One Table and Two Cartridges

So this is a thought exercise only at this time. The idea has been bouncing around in the back of my head for a couple of weeks, and have discussed it with a friend but really can't come to a defninitve choice. 

By nature, my stereo system is a product of consolidation. I buy and try, sometimes get a few pieces here, eventually sell and buy the next level up until I am satisfied. In regards to my current system this has led me to a pair of Classe Omega amplifiers and a Trinnov Audio Amethyst pre-amplifier. These are long term keepers for me.

Speakers may get an upgrade in the future or not. Pair of JBL 4365 with a pair of Velodyne HGS12 subwoofers just augmenting the bottom end a little. Room is a typical living room of 16'x20'x8' that the onboard DSP of the Trinnov and some room treatments helps smooth out. 


The first plan is to keep two cartridges, Ortofon Verismo and Transfiguration Audio Proteus. That way I have one to listen to when the other is out for service. Keep a Schroder CB 1L tone arm. Keep a BMC MCI Signature ULN phono stage. Theoretically everything else goes to make a pile of money. 

What goes? Ideally both tables. the SOTA cannot be used with this arm. But as an alternate plan I could keep the SOTA Cosmos Eclipse and put a higher quality arm on it and have it be the only table. 


Scenerio #1 What Goes

SOTA Cosmos Eclipse

Scheu Audio Las Laufwerk No 2 

SME V (older generation)

Dynavector DV 505

Esoteric E-03 phono stage

Ortofon MC 2000 all OEM 

Ortofon MC2000 with boron cantilever

Ortofon MC5000

Ortofon MC3000 II

Ortofon T2000

Ortofon T5000


In theory i could raise between $16 and $18K. Much depends on selling prices of the tables. 


What could I buy? This catches the eye, although how I would get it here would be a logistics problem. 


TW Acustic Raven Black Night (REDUCED) For Sale | Audiogon


I do believe I can get the Schroder arm on it. 


Option #2 

Would be keeping the SOTA Cosmos Eclipse and obtaining a better tonearm for it. Keeping the Verismo and the Proteus as planned. If the other equipment was sold then it could go to a speaker fund. Perhaps sell the JBL and make a speaker upgrade. 


The real question becomes this I guess. The next tier of turntable, does it really have meaningful improvements to offer? I think I can climb one last tier of the ladder and then I max out. But is it worth it to go through the effort? When I listen to the gear I have, the Verismo and the BMC phono stage really do lead the pack. I loved the MC2000 before this combo came around and I optimized it. I find different "sound" interesting to hear, but for me I am content to listen to my best and have limited interest in my lower tier gear. So I could just envision myself listening to these two cartridges. I don't rotate gear, or speakers, and don't have multiple systems. 


Any thoughts? Like I said at the moment this is a thought exercise, not sure if I would want to go down this path or not. I do enjoy the MC2000s and they are difficult to obtain, so that gives me pause. But if an improvement is within reach, that is always my goal. 


I appreciate the responses, as having a group to exchange ideas with is a great resource to work through these kinds of questions. Having a larger body of experience to draw from in invaluable.

The core question is really this. Does next tier of tables offer tangible gains in performance? That is really what the question is, would you not say?

Oh in terms of casual vinyl playback, or playing other records when friends are over, well that is a non-issue. When I installed this preamp, and hardwired it to the router the internal DAC offers such a level of performance that I can easily enjoy it for casual listening. Truthfully, if I did not have analog gear already I would be hard pressed to justify it. I don’t need casual cartridges, or different presentations, that has limited appeal to me these days.

If a Raven, Triangle, or Kuzma does not offer tangible improvements then it does seem the best option is to keep the Cosmos Eclipse here Now this is the tricky part. Of all my analog combos I prefer the Verismo through the BMC phono stage. I like the Proteus through the Esoteric, but its not my favorite. The Schroder arm is 11 inches, so it will not fit on the SOTA. If I plan on moving the Verismo to the SOTA that is going to need a different arm. I believe 10.5 inches is the longest I can go, and arm weight is a factor due to the suspension of the SOTA.

A couple of the suggestions so far basically put forth the answer of keeping what i have here now. The Dynavector is a removable headshell arm, and it is where I can play the various Ortofon cartridges. The problem is I find I have no desire or appreciation in rotating through them. The Verismo outplays them, and when I sit down to listen to analog that is what I want to hear. Digital is fine when I am at the computer drinking coffee in the mornings or whatever other casual listening I do.

So far option #2 looks like a viable choice. Sell the Scheu, Dynavector, Schroder, and Ortofon cartridges/SUT. As far as arms for the SOTA I would thnik Reed, Graham, Triplanar, or Kuzma?

Regarding Option #1. With this there is no try and decide. I don't have the financial resources to bring in a $15K table to listen to and then decide if I want it or not. To go down this path it requires me to sell off the tables and associated gear I have to make this choice. Of course that takes time, and then who knows exactly what is available on Audiogon at that point. Its the unfortunate fact of being a a person of limited financial resources. 

As for TT's being noticeably improved.

As a guidance to the experiences that may be encountered.

Recently my Local HiFi Group got together to demonstrate Three Belt Drive TT's in use. One is a Second System TT (Heavily Modified LP12 ) and the others are both the main Vinyl Source (Schue with Origin Live modification and a Soulines Kubrick DCX).

This was a session I was not able to attend, but did receive a decent account of the assessments made.

The main vinyl source TT's (Schue > OL Illustrious Arm and Soulines > Reed Arm) are exchange TT's with exchange Tonearms being used in place of more expensive TT's.

The earlier evaluations given by the owners of the Schue/Soulines, was that the TT's were very capable and there was seemingly nothing detected as being amiss with the exchange models in use as a source.

On the day of the Comparison Demonstration, during the evaluations using the TT's different Arms and Cart's, there was not a unanimous agreement that one Model was the overall preferred.

The outcome was that there was differences noticed in how the Bass Frequencies were presented and how a particular Track, had shown differences in the Soundstage, where it has been able to expand beyond the Speakers.

With this as a evaluation it does seem that the TT and supporting ancillaries were capable of showing subtle differences, maybe even a noticeable difference, but not one that is detected to the point it is referred to as a game changer.

The real point of interest, is that the Schue and Soulines are claimed by their owners to present in a manner that is not disconcerting, when the recollection is made to how they compare to the superseded TT's that are approx' 5 x more to purchase. 

When a similar event occurred on the same system with a DD TT vs a few Belt Drive TT's of which one was the above LP12, all attendees present were very impressed with the DD demonstration, the attraction it had as an improved presentation was unanimous. 

The impact the Demo' had was the LP12 owner purchased a SP10R shortly after and another Belt Drive Owner bought a SP10 MkII to undergo similar modifications to the one that was demo'd, another member dug out a long-time stored SP10 MkII to get on board. The owner of the SME20/12 a little later on become motivated to make a change and went of in their new direction, having been of the opinion there was more to be attained through bringing in a different TT and Tonearm.


Primary Control Kinea. End game. I will be bringing one in later this year to demo.... STST meanwhile a stone cold bargain. But these are new not used per se.

@solypsa my post referencing the impact a DD TT had on a Group of which some were dedicated to Belt Drive is not a recommendation for a DD TT.

It is just a pointer to the OP, that is a Belt Drive user,  that when it comes to experiencing TT's a open mind is going to help with the end decision that is yet to be found. 

I did similar many years ago within the same Group, with showing the virtues of affordable Idler Drive TT's, especially with improved Bearing and Plinth Design.

A selection of the Group acquired GL75's, followed up by having the usual fun created through tweaking them, where the Mechanical Parts and the Plinth Design were attended to, with the outcome being a lot of TT Performance, for a very sensible monies outlaid.

The Idlers at the time did not supersede the Belt Drive TT's but did offer a good alternative experience.

It was the later DD TT demo' that caused the Belt Drives to be moved on from as the main TT's. 

The OP will have their best opportunity to learn about the new direction wanted to be taken, if encouraged to receive/experience demo's of all Drive Types for a TT.

The Kinea DD TT you are referring to is probably going to retail at approx' $15000 as a TT without a Tonearm.  

Unless you’re on concrete slab, don’t consider selling the SOTA. I tried to make a Clearaudio work on a suspended wood floor, and it was just too tough. I suppose there’s a Townshend Podium I could try as a potential "proper" solution, but the SOTA 4-point suspension simply breezes through all issues posed by this room. Moving on from a SOTA to anything else is risky, unless you’re on slab.

I agree it’s annoying that SOTA supports just 1 arm up to ~ 9.5 - 10" effective length and ~ 2.3 lbs weight. However, I’m not even a fan of 12" arms (I doubt the benefit outweighs the problems) and if you get a high quality arm with removable headshells (Ikeda, FR) or arm wands (Graham) then you can support 2 cartridges with just a little swapping effort - most cartridges are the same height and Graham has easy VTA setting.

Verismo and Transfiguration sounds like a pretty wicked 1-2 combo! And you have quite a collection of nice vintage Ortofons. My guess, from experience with an MC20, is they have a very different sound quality from modern Ortofons: low output, very little coils, large soft cobalt magnets versus stiff small neodymium magnets and larger coils to offset their new less-ferrous armatures. The sonic perspective is very different. Not too much like anything available today. Be careful to not sell something you’ll miss later!