Brinkmann/Spiral Groove/TW Acustic Black Night...?


I'm seriously considering one of these turntables at the moment, and I would truly appreciate any opinions regarding them related to sonics, reliability, flexibility, ease of use & maintenance etc.

The candidates are:

- Brinkmann Balance anniversary (turntable, 10.5 tonearm, Ti-cartridge, tube power supply, HRS-platform)

- Spiral Groove SG1 + Centroid tonearm

- TW Acustic Black Night + Raven 10.5 tonearm

The price for these setups (used or new) are quite similar when adding a cartridge within the 4-5000$ price range to the Spiral Groove and TW Acoustic tables. But, I can get the Black Knight + Raven 10.5 tonearm new at about the same price as the others used.

I'm using the Brinkmann Bardo today, which I believe is a very neutral and reliable table. But, to some degree it doesn't manage to engage me enough emotionally being rather correct and slightly sharp around the edges. What I'm looking for in an upgrade is first and foremost a more generous and musical presentation (warmth, scale, texture, body, flow) - more music and less hifi if you wish.

My taste in music is varied, but I tend to optimize my system based on what I listen to the most (sing- and songwriters), which means that the handling of voices, acoustical instruments and piano are critical.

So far, my gut feeling tells me that the TW Acoustics Black Night might be the answer partnered with the right cartridge.

Of the three, only the Brinkmann Balance is available locally for audition.

My phono is the Zanden 1200 MKIII. The rest of the system consists of an Aesthetix Callisto Eclipse (preamp), Karan KA M2000 (monos) and Sonus Faber Futura (speakers). Cabling is Nordost Valhalla (power) + Kubala Sosna Elation (interconnects).

Any inputs are most welcome!

Thanks for the invitation. I'll think about it :)

I will not buy anything on this level "unheard" of course. The purpose of a thread like this is mainly to get an overall impression of the products at hand. Reliability issues, bad customer service etc. could exclude potential candidates on an early stage - which is something I would need to consider as well, besides sonic merits.
The brinkmann emt needs about 330 pf capacitive loading or it will sound too sharp and cold. The brinkmann phono stages have this built in
Happy owner of SG 1.1 and centroid. And Mr. Perkins is a wonderful human being. Very customer focused and goes the extra mile to make sure Spiral Groove owners are happy and taken care of. This means a lot to me. When buying an expensive turntable, having the master/expert/head of the company personally overseeing your table (even if bought used) is a big deal. And owning three high end tables including the AMG v12, the Spriral Groove (with Goldfinger Statement) is the most accurate and big wide open sound like being at a live event.
Sort of what Raul is saying, the platform on which the TT sits is a major factor in getting everything from your TT. I can't imagine the Bardo not being engaging. I have heard it many times at shows and have always admired the table. Cartridge set up, the cartridge choice, and a really good platform are where I would look. Btw, is your cartridge loaded correctly and do you have enough gain to support it with the Zanden?regardless of how much cash you spend on your analog front end, you will always need to fulfill all the other factors for successful performance.
I owned the Bardo and the only way it performs when it was on a Vibraplane (Dealer disclaimer) otherwise it was not engaging at all. When I sold the Bardo the customer also placed it on a Vibraplane and is very happy. The reason I sold the table was how Brinkmann treated it's past dealers after they let go On A Higher Note their USA distributor. Personally would never buy from a company that treated their dealers the way they handled the situation.

(Dealer disclaimer)