Opinions: Oracle/SME IV/ Monster Alpha2

I'm considering purchasing an Oracle turntable that is in mint condition, but have a couple of reservations...

The arm is an SME IV. Is this sypatico with the Oracle? I thought the Oracle or Graham arms were the hot ticket with this table.

The cartridge is a Monster Aplha2, which needs to be re-tipped. Is this worth re-tipping or should I just get another cartridge. I've had the "buying fever" lately if re-tipping is a viable option this will help slow down the spending (fiscal hemoraging?).

Thanks in advance.
Re: SME arm and Oracle... meant "simpatico". "Sypatico" sounds like a cross between a mental illness and a skin disease ;-)
The Oracle Delphi IV is a wonderful table and the SMEIV a somewhat better performing arm than the Oracle 345. The Oracle arm is manufactured by SME and uses the armtube from the less expensive SME 309, the bearings of the SME IV and the wiring from the SME V.
IMO,the Monster Alpha is not worth the bother to retip.
If you intend to save some money and get a superior cartridge to the Monster, consider the Dynavector Karat D17 mk2 or even the 10X4mkII.
I picked up an Oracle IV with 345 arm about 6 years ago. I couldn't be happier with it's performance. I started out with the monster alpha 2, purchased new from AA for a song, with this combination. I agree with Caterham that it is not worth retipping. I was never ablt to tame it enough to enjoy the music. I then went to the Benz glider, the .9mv one. While this sounded pretty good, the cartridge was not the best match for the arm. The physical light weight of the cartridge was such that I could just barely get the correct tracking force with the benz. Six months ago I purchased a Lyra Helikon and I have since gone to a whole new world! Everything I had been looking for in my analog rig came into focus.
By all means go for the Oracle. It is a great table and should be the last vinyl rig you buy! The only thing I have had to replace are the plastic rings in the towers which hold the rubber rings. Best of luck.
Thanks, guys. I did the deal yesterday. I'm on a tight cartridge budget for now. Too bad about the Benz Glider, as it was on my short list. The other budget cartridge I was considering, Grado Reference Sonata, is probably a no-go, too. A friend has a Reference Silver on his Alexandria and it hums like crazy. The Dynavector 20XL is also in my price range. Any others that come to mind?
P.S. Turns out that this is a MkIII with very low hours on it. In fact, unused for a long time since the stylis went South. Aside from a new belt, (just on general principle), is there anything else that should be done. Suspension and motor appear to work perefctly. Any mods or upgrades that are commonly recommended? Thanks again.
Brooks Berdan is considered one of the masters when it comes to oracles. you might want to ask him for some free advice. he's got his own mod which runs around $300 (i think) and consists of adding a weight to the bottom of the platter to increase its mass. he's in the los angeles area 626-359-9131.
i'd recommend oracle's mods - the sub-chassis weight, the bearing, the platter mat, & the delrin suspension upgrade. except for the motor, yule now have a mk-v. for a motor upgrade, go for the origin-live motor/power-supply upgrade - much less $$$ than the oracle motor upgrade. for a nice inexpensive cartridge, try the ortofon mc25-fl, a lo-output mc for $225 from the needle dr.

the above, w/an o-l modified rega rb250, is my current set-up, & it's great! :>) i have a lyra clavis, freshly re-tipped by symphonic line w/a vdh stylus, but the current set-up is so nice that i haven't gotten 'round to changing the cartridge...

good luck, even if ya don't do *anything* to that 'table, yule love it! ;~) doug s.

Doug...Just getting back to normal after Le Mans. Yeah, I did the whole 24 hours on Speedvision. Then, the movie afterwards. Crashed real good after that.

I'm following you at every turn. Hope you're taking a good line ;- First my Shankelized GTWee6 project. Now an Oracle. Scary, man. "Il Mostro" is kicking much "coolo" as a modified 2.5, can't wait to get to 3.0 164S specs for the street later this year (my Christmas present?) and maybe Columbo Corsa cams in between smog checks.

Back to audio...I'm on the cheap for a cartridge. Any thoughts? Thought about a Grado Reference Sonata -- but my buddy with an Alexandria had hum up the you-know-what. I'd like to stay at $500-$700 "retail". My table has a Monster Alpha Genisis 2 which needs to be re-tipped. Everyone I've spoken to says it's not worth it. My budget standby, Blue Point Special, seems like it doesn't live up to my upgrade in tables. What to do?

Thanks, Jim.
hi jim,

ain't life a bitch, havin' more than one obsession? ;~) i yust recently installed the full-stebro exhaust w/euro down pipe, & an sz hedder - *really* opens tings up... :>)

re: cartridges, believe it or not, the ortofon mc25-fl, at retail $450, but always on sale at $225, is a great cartridge. only 0.35mv output (a mfr - was it wavelength audio? - i forget, sez it's really only 0.2mv), but if yer fono-stage has the gain, i tink it's really nice for the money. i've also heard good tings (but no 1st-hand experience) about the audoi-technica oc-9 (?!?), retails for $400, usually awailable for <$200. i was gonna try a dynavector karat d17, but i sheared off the canteliver the wery 1st time i went to mount it - my cartridge horror story. ;~) at least i got it used, cheap. of course, if yure gonna ackshully *spend* $500-$700, wait 'til the right used cartridge comes along. i got my re-tipped lyra clavis from klaus @ odyssey audio, for $490...

good luck, doug s.

Doug, thanks for the cartridge advice. I need to stick a medium to high output right now. I'll eventually get the phono stage modified, but I just don't want to send my pre-amp back to Audible Illusions since they are notoriously slow. By the way, where did you find SZ headers? Did you order from Europe or find a source here? I have the Euro downpipes and will go with Stebro once the current exhaust gives up the ghost. Really fine stuff.

Kubla, although I'm hot to trot with the new table, I'm thinking about taking it to Brooks for whatever mods I can afford right now. From my understanding, MkIII's with serial numbers after 8135 can be fully upgraded to MkV specs. I think the mod you're referring to includes the Delrin pillars, counterweight and hard acrylic mat. This is probably my limit for now as I've been getting one system upgrade after another lately and need to slow things down. I think the total upgrade to MkV specs is around $1300 -- actually a bargain with a used table. Thanks for the info.
hi jim,

not much experience w/recent hi-output coils - an old sumiko blue-point was used prior to my ortofon. if ya awreddy have that bps, i'd use it 'til a nice lo-hrs hi-end cartridge comes awailable on the used market. (there's a transfiguration here on a-gon, dunno its output). also, ortofon has nice hi-output mc's - dunno the specific model #'s/prices, but yule find some at the needle dr. i tink ortofon cartridges are really nice, even their m/m's...

re: sz hedders, i got in on a bulk order w/giovanni rizzo last year, mite wanna contact him for details. stebro *is* nice, i was so glad when the prewious exhaust finally went away... :>)

re: oracle mods, mine was an original (mk-l?), bought used from a dealer in quebec. i had all the mk-v mods done, except for the motor, as described above. my total cost, which included the 'table, a gnu box for shipping to maryland, a grace tonearm, & shipping, was $1250. perhaps i got a better deal cuz the dealer was across-town from the mfr. if yer upgrade cost includes the motor/power-supply as well, that seems pretty reasonable, but as a cheapskate, i have to recommend the o-l motor/power-supply! :>) good luck, doug s.

Thanks, Doug. I think I'll live with the bps until I can find something much, much better used.

Small world... Giovanni is the only other guy I know with SZ headers. He hangs at the same shop I do, Omega Motorsports. He just did a nice job on his Milano Verde; all-out 3litre, full Evo body trim, etc. His car is supposed to be featured in European Car pretty soon along with a stock Verde and a local 164Q. Keep an eye out.
Best, Jim.
i tink it was zamani that posted foto's of giovanni's car - really sharp! i heard it was comin' in euro-car. i tink zamani also got a set of sz hedders for his werde...

good luck w/the oracle - ewe *will* like it! :>)

doug s.

Now amybe you need a set of SZ/ES30 wheels for your "Il Mostro". Also on the GTWeee6 page, Sandro had access to these and my fav's, restored Ronal A1's, in Switzerland. Speaking of stuff from over the pond, getting ready to restore the Euro bumpers that have been sitting around for a year. Thanks again for the info, Doug.

P.S. What's the rep of Mayberry Lincoln-Mercury (ouch!!!)here in L.A. re: Panteras? The new business hasn't quite taken off yet (at least at the bottom line), but if it does soon I want to be ready ;-) Plus, I have a couple of non-rewarding Alfa's to sell that will help jump start my Pantera or 308GT4 purchase. Best, Jim.
euro bumpers? that's a good weigh to lose wait! ;~) ya, i like the es30 & ronal weels, but i like the 2-piece bbs-style wire-mesh 15x8's on my car now - cuz i could *afford* 'em! ;~) some day i *will* own an es30... :>)

mayberry l/m has an excellent reputation, at least according to some on the pantera digest.

hope we don't get booted for straying off-topic! ;~) doug s.

ps - a nicely prepared gtwe6 will handle a 308, that's why i got a pantera... ;~)

Doug, thanks for the link re: Mayberry. The "ouch" was misplaced -- didn't refer to them. Yeah, we're way off topic. Best, Jim.