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



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!!

Turns out timing really is everything.  While I've been getting more info on the turntable, it has been sold.  At least now I'm properly informed if another one becomes available.

Too bad.

That was a great price for what it is.

Sometimes you just have to hit the buy now button, THEN

think of an alibi when the S.O. finds out.