Trans Fi Salvation direct rim drive turntable

Hi A'goners, I've just bought this turntable, confident it'll be my last upgrade. The rest of my system is a Tom Evans Groove Plus SRX phono stage, EMM Labs CDSA SE cd player, Hovland HP200 pre/Radia power amps, Zu Definitions Mk 4 loudspeakers, so a pretty good way to listen to vinyl.

Over the years, since 1995 I've progressed from a Roksan Xerxes/Artemiz/Shiraz, via a Michell Orbe/SME V/Transfiguration Orpheus, finally ending up last week with my new Trans Fi Salvation/Trans Fi T3Pro Terminator/Zu modded Denon 103.

This turntable (£2500 UK price, approx $4000-$5000 US) is the brainchild of Vic, a retired dentist, who, fed up with the shortcomings of belt drive and traditionally-pivoted tone arms, literally from the ground up devised first the Terminator air bearing linear tracking tone arm (now in T3Pro guise as on my system), and now the direct rim drive Salvation turntable, a technology in direct opposition to the hegemony of belt drive we've come to accept from the '70s.

In summary, he has developed a motor that directly rim drives an oversize platter. The magic is that vibrations are drained away from the platter and hence stylus. So minimal rumble is transmitted, the weakness of Garrards/Lencos in the past. This is mated to a substantial slate plinth which does a great job of isolating the whole rig from external vibrations.

Where this differs from direct drive is that the torque applied is high enough to counteract stylus drag, but it is strictly analogue controlled ie no digital feedback applying constant micro speed control. Speed is set correctly, torque is sufficient, and speed stability is like a rock.

This is combined with his air bearing linear tracking arm, discussed on other threads.

So technical description over, how about how it sounds? Well, years ago I always assumed the overhang in bass when playing lps on my previous belt drive/pivoted arm tts, apparent as a benign artifact, was all part of the 'romance' of vinyl, esp. when compared to the dry, clinical sound of early cd. But in 2007 I acquired the EMM cd, which had a natural analogue sound playing silver discs, but none of this bass colouration. On studying the growing reemergence of idler/direct drive, and their superiority in maintaining speed stability, I agreed that the belt speed instability might be introducing this.

Two years ago I came across Vic, and now I can report that eliminating the belt for high torque rim drive has taken this whole artifact out of the equation. Whole layers of previously masked information like rhythm guitars are now present, treble information has abundant naturalness and decay, and bass, which appears to be less in quantity compared to belt, is actually more accurate with a real start-stop quality, much more like digital, and the real thing. The other positives are more linked to the arm, including uncanny tracking across the whole record side; I'm really not exaggerating in saying that the last few grooves at the end of an lp side are as solidly reproduced as the first. Music with strong dynamic contrasts are really served well by the Salvation, and I am shocked at how good this all is after trepidation that the sound might be hyperdetailed but too assertive etc. In fact music is reproduced with a relaxed incision, and a welcoming detailed transparency.

The amazing thing is that all of this is not in anyway at the expense of the natural warmth and tonal dimensionality that still puts vinyl way ahead of any digital (imho).

The only thing, and Vic would like this to be known, is that his creation is a cottage industry, and he can only produce limited numbers to order.

I'm happy to answer qs on it, as I really want our community to know about a possible world beating product at real world prices. My tech knowledge will be limited, but no problem discussing sound quality issues.

I'm not affiliated in anyway to the product, just sold my Orbe on ebay and bought this. Regards to all
Dear Lewn, You already have 2 truly exceptional & legendary DD TTs. I personally am VERY interested in hearing what would you say about the Salvation direct rim drive TT compered to those classics ;-)
The contact between the rim drive and the platter truly is critical. Actually so critical like a line drawn on water (sorry my clumsy expression). I can sure you that the Salvation motor (an implementation for my TT) that I´m currently running works just fine, it does not add noise when precisely adjusted. Now with the maglev bearing (that I´m also using at the moment) the noise level is even more reduced. Any mechanical bearing is noisy, in some extent. I think the Salvation really minimize both noises.
I just can´t stop thinking that the Salvation TT, and especially with the Terminator airbearing TA is truly the greatest bargain in modern TT technology, for any price IMHO.
Peter, I'm sorry if my responses are a little too gushing. It is NOT my aim to offend any who've spent substantially on their rig. I'll phrase my comments more diplomatically in future. Just to say that I was ready to drop a lot of cash on the tt/arm combinations I mentioned, but haven't regretted going down my particular path. I do NOT want to say uber rigs are inferior, just that Vic's tech at an attractive price point was/is a hell of a proposition. But I would be proud to own your rig or many of the others on these pages. Are we still on good terms?
Lewm, price of Salvation w/mods and Terminator arm £2400, equiv to $5k-$6k w/carriage, US taxes etc.
Spirit, speak your mind. You do not owe anyone here an apology for expressing your opinion on audio equipment.

For those in the market for a turntable, you provide an unequivocal assessment of the Salvation TT. I wish I had known about this before I began my expensive journey.

Vic has been around on the DIY sites for a while and is well regarded. All of his principles of design and develop are well documented. People can find more clearly articulated explanations on his site.
03-06-14: Lewm: "I am not here to knock the Salvation but worshiping it is another matter."
I notice there are worshipers of two brands, Trans-Fi and Artisan Fidelity, on here who keep gushing on and on about these products without anything substantial to say. The sound of one hand clapping can be deafening. All I can say is that, okay, I get it. Moving on...

Spirit, Do you mean to say that the Salvation with all the upgrades PLUS the Terminator are sold for a total of $5k to $6K? That truly does sound like a bargain. Also, Harold or Spirit, you now make it sound as though the magnetic field DOES operate in the horizontal (lateral) plane, as well as in the vertical. What's the story? That would be truly novel. Even the Verdier magnetic bearing works by metal to metal contact in the lateral plane.

Incidentally, the L07D has a partially magnetic levitation in the horizontal.