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


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.


I owned a Sapphire for 40 years and currently run a Cosmos Vacuum.

Put the turntable on a stable surface and level it by adjusting the three threaded feet. Adjust the tonearm and check alignment. Plug it into your Jolida which will do fine and enjoy. 

I would definitely replace the belt. You must order the belt from SOTA. Do not use generic replacements.

You might also have your serial number in hand and request a list of upgrades available for your unit. There have been many improvements over the years. For sure you should consider a new magnetic bearing and platter. 

If records have trouble sealing you will need to send your platter back and have a new mat put on. Records that are warped or dished and won't seal sometimes can be made to seal by starting up the table with the two finger nails pushing the lip of the record down at 180 degrees for three revolutions. records that are dished will seal on one side but not the other. 

If the pump makes enough noise that you can hear it from a distance of 10 feet it will need to be replaced with a new unit. The new ones are much quieter. 

Enjoy your table. The suspended SOTAs are the best value in a high performance turntable on the market then and today. There are very few turntables that can surpass it. 

I just had a great experience with SOTA.   My Escape motor was noisy and Christan had me send it in.  They sent me a brand new motor under warranty within a week.  Exceptional service !