Thoughts on moving from a 1200G to Sota Saphire or above


Two different animals, I know. I’ve read some pretty decent reviews on the Sota’s with the vacuum option and intrigued. We’re always looking for that little extra something, something. I’m interested in retrieving a bit more detail and upping the sound stage. 
Maybe this would be a lateral move? Maybe I should change my cart? Something else? Be happy and spin vinyl? Thanks for your feedback. 
Gear:
Technics 1200G
Ortofon Cadenza Black
Herron VTPH-2A phono preamp
Audible Illusions L2 Line Stage
Levinson 532-H
B&W 803 D2 speakers
AQ McKenzie interconnects for phono

Ag insider logo xs@2xbfoura
@chakster , I do not play, and I would venture to guess most of us do not play 7" singles. That is a non issue for most of us.
Those tonearms are terrible. Because of their mass they have much higher levels of inertia and distortion, they are not neutral balance and their vertical bearings are high above the record surface. They are very pretty and have an air of precision about them. An SME V will handily trounce them all not to mention such arms as your Reed and my Schroder. Those arms were by products of the late 60s. Everybody except the Japanese have moved on. If you need a tank tonearm get a Kuzma 4 Point 14. 
Stevenson may have been a mathematician but in todays world his theory is wrong. Modern cartridges and styluses have much less difficulty with the inner grooves and all you have to do is look at the data. It is pretty obvious that Stevenson has the highest levels of error across the board.
The only time Stevenson might make sense is if you are running an SPU in one of those tank tonearms. You would then be replicating the conditions Stevenson knew. 
A picture tells a thousand words https://www.analogplanet.com/content/uni-din-versus-l%C3%B6fgren-b-just-clarify
I do not play, and I would venture to guess most of us do not play 7" singles. That is a non issue for most of us.

@mijostyn

I’m following AudioGrail on instagram, he often plays Vintage 45s. The British always paid more attention to American heritage than Americans. Audiophiles actually play vintage 45s, not everything available on LPs.

But I have mentioned 45s, because in the 60’s (when Stevenson invented his alignment method) it was a Radio Broadcast format and Japanese tonearm/turntable manufacturers like Denon, Technics, Grace supplied tonearms/turntables for Radio Stations (professional segment of hi-fi market).

Those arms were by products of the late 60s. Everybody except the Japanese have moved on.

If this is your opinion on two tonearms in my previous reply then I want to tell you that Technics EPA-100 mkII and FR-66fx were introduced in the MID 80’s (they are NOT a product of the 60’s). They are both highly regarded today and go for $3k - $6k. 

Those tonearms are terrible. Because of their mass they have much higher levels of inertia and distortion, they are not neutral balance and their vertical bearings are high above the record surface. They are very pretty and have an air of precision about them.

EPA-100 mkII (10.5 inch) and FR-66fx (12 inch) are NOT high mass tonearms, especially Technics. Both are excellent for any modern LOMC cartridges if you want to know. The EPA-100 mkII is the most versatile tonearm ever made (because of dynamic damping and all these features).

New British SME and Slovenian Kuzma are two ugliest tonearms on the planet in my opinion.


Stevenson may have been a mathematician but in todays world his theory is wrong. Modern cartridges and styluses have much less difficulty with the inner grooves and all you have to do is look at the data. It is pretty obvious that Stevenson has the highest levels of error across the board.


I actually compared Stevenson to Baerwald on my turntables, but you said you never compared those alignment methods.

The only time Stevenson might make sense is if you are running an SPU in one of those tank tonearms. You would then be replicating the conditions Stevenson knew. A picture tells a thousand words: https://www.analogplanet.com/content/uni-din-versus-l%C3%B6fgren-b-just-clarify

According to this article every tonearm manufacturer must use UNI-DIN instead of Baerwald, but they don’t care and keep using Baerwald and Stevenson.

Also looking at this article you can say that only Linear Tracking tonearm is good, but how many people actually use them?





I have not made any measurements, but 45 rpm singles were produced with a very wide diameter spindle hole. Out beyond that they had a rather wide run-out, I thought so as to trigger a changer mechanism, either in a juke box or on a home record changer. Ergo, I am very surprised to learn that the Stevenson algorithm would have anything to do with 45 rpm singles, because the music ends pretty far from the center of the record, and I doubt that the inner null point afforded by the Stevenson algorithm would lie on the playing surface. I know Chakster is a careful researcher, so I will take his claim at face value. Fact is, as Raul is very fond of pointing out, there are literally an infinite number of solutions to aligning a tonearm so that one obtains two null points on the surface of a conventional 33 rpm LP. There is nothing really special about Lofgren, Baerwald, or Stevenson, except that they were published very early in the history of the record player, and most tonearm manufacturers adopted one or the other of them. I like to note the last sentence of Fremer’s comparison piece on the 3 standards: "Keep in mind that compared to the distortions added by the rest of your system, my opinion is that all of these curves produce less."

As to Mijostyn’s blanket criticism of vintage tonearms: "Those tonearms are terrible. Because of their mass they have much higher levels of inertia and distortion, they are not neutral balance and their vertical bearings are high above the record surface." This came up at least once previously; Mijo is not easily dissuaded. Low compliance cartridges require high mass tonearms, so how can one fairly criticize a high mass tonearm based only on its high mass? And just how does high mass per se lead to "distortion", if the inertial mass is well matched to cartridge compliance? Seems to me you will add distortion if you use a very low mass tonearm with a low compliance cartridge. Also, the premise is flawed; not all vintage (Japanese) tonearms are high in effective mass. As to the vertical bearing being above the LP surface, in theory that is a valid criticism, if you are playing warped LPs. If you toss out your warped LPs (or suck them flat on your Cosmos vacuum platter), then the location of the vertical bearing with respect to the LP surface is only intellectually objectionable. And finally, many of the finest vintage tonearms, like the Technics that Chakster mentioned and like the Fidelity research FR64S and 66S, have decoupled counterweights, which reduces inertia. Not all modern expensive tonearms adopted that feature. The FR tonearms even also have counterweights placed so that the center of mass is at the LP surface, a good idea especially if you want to play warped LPs. I doubt that any modern tonearms have pivot bearings as low in friction as those used in the Technics EPA100 or B500. The EPA100 is also brilliantly designed to reduce the interplay between effective mass and cartridge compliance, which makes the tonearm compatible with a very wide range of cartridges. Etc. The sweeping negative generalizations do not hold up.
Keep the Technics, spend your money on mats, isolation, cartridges, more records  :)
The FR tonearms even also have counterweights placed so that the center of mass is at the LP surface, a good idea

No they don't, not on the FR64S.

I doubt that any modern tonearms have pivot bearings as low in friction as those used in the Technics EPA100 or B500. 

Actually the Naim Aro is lower as tested by Martin Colloms.
And of course there are better bearings available now - on the Technics EPA100's,  replacement of the orginal bearngs with silicone nitride yields improvement.