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


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.

I still own my first table - a SOTA Star III in gorgeous Koa wood. Bought on consignment from original owner, circa 2007.

The platter of that era used a short, stiff rubber platter lip to create the vacuum seal. It’s not nearly as effective as the current version lips. My original platter never made a proper seal, even though the vacuum unit & hose worked fine. I had to cut it off, because records wouldn’t lay flat. So check to see if it’s actually sealing. Sending to SOTA just for new vacuum platter might not be a bad idea.

My III’s original bearing and spring suspension still worked great. I later (circa 2018) had the whole table rebuilt by SOTA into a Nova V (keeping just the Koa chassis), at significant expense. The new platter sealed properly and was a great improvement - but the new bearing, suspension, and sub chassis didn’t effect any meaning improvement IMO. In fact, the new suspension was a pain in the ass to adjust and re-adjust for a while. In hindsight, I wouldn’t have done the V rebuild - just the new platter. Maybe to a VI or VII. The newer Series VI and VII use much better materials quality than V, and could be worth it - but at even greater expense.

For the money, just a vacuum platter replacement on your III might be the most effective move.

And yes to a new belt!

As for the Jolida JD9 - I don't trust a cheap phono stage with such wild specifications. What is up with that gain!!