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You turntable users, which is better, belt drive for direct drive? My only serious turntable was/is a Yamaha P-320 belt drive, and I never had any complaints about it. In terms of specifications and bang for the buck, which do you prefer?
 

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Belted models the speed can be finely adjusted which is nice for people with large collections of varying ages as they can experiment for the best sound. The belt is also the drawback as it will slip with age and will need to be replaced.

Direct Drive is the opposite. i.e. less fine adjustment, no belt to replace.

Once you get into TTs you start looking at Stylus, Arms, Arm weight (the amount of pressure the arm applies to the LP), vibration...so many things. Some find it fun some find it a pain.
 

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I think that in the lower end turntables direct drive was substantially better however as you go up in price that difference become less the big factor.
 

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Depends on the table. There are positive and negative attributes of both. I'd say today in the new turntable market belt drives are generally better than direct drives at each price point. Used turntables are often a different story with some direct drive specimens, particularly when modified, outperforming many belt drives at similar price points.
 

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It depends. If you're asking for my preference, my continuing use of a VPI HW-19 purchased new in the late 80's places me squarely in the belt drive camp. My lusting after an Oracle Delphi MK-IV reinforces that.

With that said; there are very good TT's old and new that are direct drive. Just as there are very good old and new belt driven ones.

Specs and bang for the buck are two things I rarely concern myself with. I'm a retired EE and understand specs so my dismissal of them is not caused by ignorance.

My budget restrictions revolve around questions such as "How long will I have to save for "X"?". Having a fully functional system makes that possible. Were I putting together a system "bang for the buck" would be important.

IMO/E specs tell you just about nothing about how something sounds. SET amplifiers are a good example. Everyone who uses an SET amplifier has to pretty much ignore specs. Most of them have truly horrendous specs but with the right speakers can sound like "magic".

When you're refining and tweaking a system you're more concerned with synergy than "bang for the buck". At least I am.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
IMO/E specs tell you just about nothing about how something sounds. SET amplifiers are a good example. Everyone who uses an SET amplifier has to pretty much ignore specs. Most of them have truly horrendous specs but with the right speakers can sound like "magic".

When you're refining and tweaking a system you're more concerned with synergy than "bang for the buck". At least I am.
Would another way of saying this be: "Specs are not everything. It is possible for a system or component - be it a SET amplifier or a turntable or headphones or whatever - to sound great even if certain specs are less than ideal?" I did not always think this way, but the more headphones I listen to, I am becoming convinced it is true. Instead of a perfect set of headphones, I have several favorites, one for flat accuracy, one for laid-back longer listening sessions, one tailored for more intimate instrumental & vocal music, and one with a smidge of bass & treble boost for rock. And one that I wouldn't use for critical listening but is great for travel because the seal is good and the boosted bass and crisp high end cut right through airplane noise.

I can see where a SET amp or a turntable might have certain specs that don't look so great on paper, but with the right synergy could sound terrific. The purist in me never thought I would say such a thing, but I am beginning to understand it.
 

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That's pretty much what I was saying. Please understand, I'm not discounting specs. I've learned over the years that "good" gear almost always has good specs. That I've stayed away from receivers in general and HT receivers in particular has a lot to do with my attitude regarding specs. Separates always have good specs, sometimes too good.

I've noticed that some place a lot of weight on having a low THD spec. IME low IM (inter-modulation) distortion and a high SN (signal to noise ratio) are far more important. When low distortion specs are achieved with lots of global feedback the results are usually not pleasing to the ear. A perfect example is the Crown IC-150 preamp which has exceptionally low THD specs. However, it sounds truly awful with a harsh irritating treble that causes early ear fatigue. One spec that IMO is quite important is the 4 Ohm or lower rating of power amplifiers. The closer an amp comes to doubling down from it's 8 Ohm rating the better the amp has turned out to sound IME. To achieve this a power amplifier needs a good power supply with plenty of current reserves. Those reserves are what power hungry speakers need. The greater the current reserves the less prone to clipping. That in and of itself is IMO a very good thing.

With a TT the wow and flutter spec is IMO the most important, especially if you listen to a lot of acoustic piano. Any variation in speed exacerbates the mis-tuning that's part and parcel of proper piano tuning. With that in mind, the SDS speed control and heavier platter (greater flywheel effect) I use with my VPI have made a tremendous difference in piano sound.
 

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I think that in the lower end turntables direct drive was substantially better however as you go up in price that difference become less the big factor.
I agree 100%... I used to have low end direct drive turntables and they were fine but when I moved to a Mitchell Gyrodec it was another world! In my last house we didn't have a dedicated listening room, but had a dedicated rack for whole house audio and HD. That signaled the end of my turntable listening days so I sold it. I do miss my Gyrodec! :-(
 

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The primary argument between belt drive and direct drive is the tradeoff between isolating the motor from the platter (belt is better), and pitch stability (direct drive is better). That being said, there are good and bad examples of both types of turntables.

A good belt drive in good working order won't have pitch problems and a good direct drive will not transmit motor vibrations to the platter in an audible manner.

Most of the negative opinions on direct drive are based on bad experiences with really cheap DD turntables. A good quality one, like the Technics SL1200-mk2, can be an excellent hi-fi turntable.
 

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I've had both; a Yamaha DD from '79 and a much newer Marantz TT-15S1 belt drive.
I liked the Yamaha but I like the idea of the motor being separated from the platter.
And the fact the Yamaha's tone arm could not be adjusted to go any higher to clear the new 200 gram LPs.
 

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It depends. If you're asking for my preference, my continuing use of a VPI HW-19 purchased new in the late 80's places me squarely in the belt drive camp. My lusting after an Oracle Delphi MK-IV reinforces that.
I've been lusting for that turntable since the mid 80s. :crying: Its all its going to be is a shameless luust. :R
 

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Now that I'm done with some medical problems I've once again started my Oracle acquisition saving fund. I add a little to it every month. Eventually one will show up and I'll have enough in my fund to buy it. When my funding gets close I can always sell my VPI although I don't really want to do that.
 

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Now that I'm done with some medical problems I've once again started my Oracle acquisition saving fund. I add a little to it every month. Eventually one will show up and I'll have enough in my fund to buy it. When my funding gets close I can always sell my VPI although I don't really want to do that.
I fell in love thefirst time I saw one way back in the early 80s. They still command a pretty penny used. Makes me proud to be a Canadian.

 

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I used to sell the Oracle back in the day, and it is among my favorites for a belt drive. As far as isolation, one of the best. Deciding on what type depends on your sensitivities. Personally, I have always been very sensitive to speed variations, and the direct drives that you can get for a very low price are quite good compared to even the best belt drives. To this day I still have a cheap Denon DD. The problem with cheap turntables is that you have to take what you get with respect to the tonearm, which limits your choice in cartridges.
 

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An old post but will add 2cents worth. Have had one of those Oracles with a double knife edge SEAC arm & highly modded Decca cartridge (only one made I know of that retrieves info by sum & difference same way info cut into vinyl) for about 33yrs now. Have listened to literally hundreds of systems over last 50 years (nearing 72yrs) & have never heard anything that was more detailed or natural sounding, esp piano. Could have been down to system combo but some highly regarded Aussie locals agreed, for what it's worth. JoeESP9, I agree with all of your conclusions, been my experience also.
Cheers,Harry
 
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