SOTA cosmos turntables

I am looking at the SOTA cosmos turntable. Has anyone compared it to a Brinkmann balance, SME, AVID, etc. ?
Rocky, you will still need to use your reflex clamp. The vacuum improvement will be more noticable on some records than others, on a flat 180gm disc there will be very little difference btwn the vac on or off but on some records the difference is bigger and this of course depends on the resolution of everything downstream. As far as the motor is concerned the more accurate the speed stability the better the sound period. I dont think any one component or change will generally yield a large "wow" factor, improvements are usually incremental and in high end audio the magnitude of improvement is generally over exaggerated when being discussed.
You definately want to use the reflex clamp, even with the vacuum. the difference is noticible. Images will push forward out of the sound field and the imaging will tighten up. There is an indentation in the middle of the Sota platters, approximately the diameter of the record label, that leaves a slight gap between the record and platter. You wouldn't think with the vaccuum that this would allow much resonance, but apparently it leaves enough that the clamp is a very worthwhile item to have.

One word of caution about the clamp though: If you have a cartridge with a wide body where the width of the cartridge actually overhangs the record label when riding in the final groove the cartridge will bounce off the clamp in the deadwax. My AT-OC9 does this. It does make you jump out of the chair in a hurry at the end of the record.

Yes, SOTA can be slow. They are a very small company. However, let me relate a little story to you.

Last May, I sent my Cosmos to SOTA. Fedex absolutely trashed it. Long story short - Fedex took until September to pay off on the claim, and SOTA took from then until Dec. 24 to deliver my virtually new from the ground up Cosmos. Now, back in early December I began pestering Kirk and Donna to get it back to me to ease my vinyl withdrawal symptoms. Kirk called me back and said "I know you have waited a long time, but I'm not comfortable with the way this new bearing is seating. It might be OK or it might not, but I'm going to keep it until it's right". Personally, that's the kind of care and attention that I want. Yes, I had to wait a couple of more weeks, but I'm absolutely sure that I have a 'table that will last many, many years.

Disclaimer: I have no relation to SOTA or its owners other than that of 'satified customer', but I will tell you this - I believe that they care deeply about their customers, and act accordingly. As an example, Donna (with my help on this end) dogged Fedex until they gave in. She didn't have to do it. After all, it was my claim. Just another example of them wanting to make sure things are right.

I don't think we are disagreeing. I have been working with Kirk and Donna, and they are terrific people. The table quality is excellent as well.

But, you do have to have the patience of a Saint. I am not saying it isn't worth it, but those considering Sota tables do need to realize the time it takes to make and service Sota tables.

If someone wants superb quality and doesn't mind the lengthy delays sometimes incurred, than Sota may be for them. The tables are fantastic. My Star/Sapphire sounds terrific, and I have a Cosmos on the way.

If a potential buyer thinks that not having their high end table for 3-6 months is intolerable, then Sota is not for them.

I understand they are a small shop, and I agree they are good people. They are busy all the time with a huge back log. What perplexes me is why they don't hire and train a few people to help with the easier stuff so they can sell and service more tables.

Surely the long services times and time to build new tables steers people away from buying Sota. Its a shame really. Some of the people I know would spend money on a Sota table or upgrade their current table were it not for the time factor.

I'm a Sota fan. I just think potential buyers should know both the pros and cons.

So did you decide to get a Cosmos table?

I got my Cosmos IV and have to echo the consensus above. The table has a superb finish, and is well built. The soundstage, clarity and depth of the bass is noticeably better than my previous Sota Star Sapphire table.

Kirk and Donna are a joy to deal with and Kirk has really supported the table when I got it back. I have a weird ground issue and he worked with my to get it resolved.

Things take a while, but Kirk told me he recently hired another tech, so hopefully repair time and the time to get new tables will drop a bit.

Weather you buy new or used, the Sota tables sound terrific and are a good value.

Good Luck in your decision DBJain.