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


Any upgrades to the turntable will be far in the future.  I still have to upgrade my amp and speakers.


The difference in sound quality comes from better pitch stability. I find pitch variation ruins the "I am there" effect. It reminds me I am listening to a reproduction. 


Good buy! Make sure you get a spare belt. They wear out a variable intervals. What you see is worsening Wow and Flutter. Get a speed ap that shows wow and flutter on your phone. Check the table when you get it and again every 6 months. When it goes over 0.1% clean the rim of the platter and the pulley with brake cleaning fluid and replace the belt. I always keep a spare handy. DO NOT use powder on the belt. Powder causes the belt to slip more during startup and shutdown which accelerates belt wear. It also makes a mess out of the turntable. IMHO you are better off with a high output cartridge than the lower Hannas. You might ask Christan for a Nagaoka MP500 or a Goldring 1042. These cartridges have high performance styluses and cantilevers that the Hannas below the Red do not have. They are also more dynamic and thus better for rock and jazz. Both cartridges are a fabulous value. The Soundsmith Voice is a fabulous cartridge, better than many 5-6K moving coil cartridges! But, it is also much more expensive than the MP500 and 1042 @ 3K. 

Thanks for the tip on belt care.  I don't have a smart phone, so the app is out.  Would electronic contact cleaner be a better choice than brake parts cleaner for the platter rim?  Brake cleaner stuff is pretty pernicious stuff, and electric contact cleaner evaporates very quickly.  This turntable/arm/cartridge combo is the absolute most amount of money I can spend, but I'll keep your suggestions under advisement in case I find a sack of money during my daily stroll.

@mijostyn Curious about your comment on the Hana cartridges. I thought that the Red and the Blue have the same stylus and cantilever. Just wondering what the differences are that you mentioned. I know it is a bit off topic here, but I just ordered a Blue and was curious. Thanks.

The Hana Blue is slowly becoming by those with a broad experience, the suggested Cart' to replace another well known Cart' Brands Upper End Models.

The cost of the Blue and the outcome of comparisons, makes the Blue as an option a viable consideration. 

It is also becoming a Cart' seen used on very expensive Vinyl Set Up's at Audio Shows, further reinforcement for the models capability. 

The Blue is an attractive option for a Cart' and I am confident will be very much enjoyed.