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


Tablejockey, if you’re referring to the Grado XTZ as a budget model from the 90s, you’re very wrong. In the 80s that was Grado’s best cartridge, and it retailed for near to $1K. More importantly, it was superb in SQ, and I’d rate it ahead of most MCs I’ve heard in the $2K to $5K price range. (But that’s only my opinion of course.) Of course, we don’t know the condition of the sample the OP might buy. Replacement stylus assemblies are available, IIRC.

yep….plus i see you live close enough to deliver it to SOTA for any needed significant service / upgrades….

Thanks for the continued input.  Since my stereo is in a small room, how far can the vacuum unit be from the turntable?  Space is a premium and if I can put the workings on another room it would save me some space.


Yeah, my reference is off! 

I'm thinking todays cost of things. $1K or so sadly, is "entry" into hearing what the fuss is all about with high performance LOMC.

Regardless, OP will have a SMOKIN setup compared to his current rig.

I bought a new Star III about 1989.  The only thing I've done to it is add a different platter mat.  Haven't done any of the maintenance suggested above.  The motor is as described above--I have it about 8 ft. away from my listening position and its noise is inaudible from there while a record is playing.

I basically agree that it's pretty much a set-it-and-forget unit.  I live in earthquake country, so I check that it's still level after a big earthquake.

It's so nice having a turntable that flattens warped records.