SOTA STAR Sapphire Turntable Care and Feeding


I'm seriously interested in a used SOTA STAR Sapphire Series III Turntable with Vacuum, Electronic Flywheel and SME Series IV Tonearm, that is close to me and a very reasonable price.  It would be a big step up from my current Pro-Ject X2B, but I want to make sure it is not too technical for my dinosaur brain before I pull the trigger.  How difficult it is to get set up?  Once it is set up, do you need to constantly fuss over it or just the occasional check?  I have an upgraded Joliida JD-9 phono pre-amp.  Would this pre-amp be sufficient for the SOTA  or would I need to upgrade that to do justice to the SOTA?  Any other quirks of this turntable that I should be aware of?  Thanks in advance for your advice.

 

John Cotner

New Ulm, MN

jrcotner

SOTA STAR Sapphire Series II owner for about 3 years now. If the turntable is already in excellent working order and been well maintained, the only setup you should need to do is properly setting the transit screws and platter for transporting it to its new home. Hopefully it comes with its original box for proper packing too. Its not technical, but requires patience for carefully following each of the steps in their proper order, so as not to damage the bearing

Assuming the pump is in good working order, motor is working well or been replaced, the sapphire bearing is intact, the springs don’t need replacing, this table is pretty much a "set it and forget it" unit. Just the occasional cleaning of dust, replace the belt every 3-5 year, change the vacuum filter every couple years.

Because the vacuum hold down system requires a clamp, which hopefully comes with the this table, you’ll need to make sure you’re not constantly stretching out the springs with each side you play. Sota users have a few different methods: adjusting the feet to act as stoppers, placing an object under the chassis or just using their hand underneath when applying the pressure of the clamp. Otherwise the springs shouldn’t be an issue and should never need adjusting.

As far as the Joliida JD-9, I’d be more concerned about matching your current (or future) cartridge the preamp.

 

Taking a look at what appears to be the unit you’re describing, you’ll have a fantastic upgrade.

You should have "next level" listening experience just with the cart included.

All things in perspective-it will out perform/equal anything near the expense. Also worthy of going next level phonostage in the future. In the mean time, your existing Jolida is fine.

I’d grab it if I were looking for a new rig for low cost.

 

 

 

Thanks for the info.  It comes with a Grado XTZ cartridge and a clamp.  Does the pump run during the entire play time?  How loud is it?  I have spousal approval, but don't want to leap before I know what I'm getting into.

The on/off button starts and stops both the pump and platter rotating. There’s a slightly perceptible hum sound from the pump when you first engage, but after achieving suction (about 5 seconds) the pump automatically goes into a reduced/maintenance mode and pretty much disappears even with no music playing.

If you’re the type who likes to flip over your record while the platter is still spinning, you can’t do that with the Sota Star. You need to turn off the table, flip the record and then turn back on - to start the suction process again.

With that table, tonearm, cart, phono combo you should be all set for now. Once you live with that setup and decide if you want to upgrade your cart, then you can go down the road of figuring out if you want to upgrade phono or not.

That’s great that you have spouses pre-approval. The Sota is a lot bigger/heavier in person.