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Schitt Sol Turntable

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Hi, I've had the SOL for a couple days, and here's my honest review with no strings one way or the other, no dog in the fight etc etc....
Currently having a high quality TT setup (VPI Scout, Benz Micro MC cart, RCM Phono Stage), I didn't need the SOL, but I figured I couldn't really lose anything, as either I could easily sell the VPI if I liked the SOL better AND have an extra 2 grand in my pocket, or send the SOL back if I didn't. No harm no foul... and it would give me the chance to have fun and audition Schiit's new SOL! This comparison of TTs was exciting to me, as I could truly A/B the SOL against a tried and trued VPI heavyweight, and all things will be equal.
So I'll quickly say that after the setup (a bit of a pain in the arse, but not too bad at all), sonically there was NO difference. Sonically the Sol absolutely equalled my VPI with the same setup. And I'd expect that using the same cart, preamp, etc. So I'll 100% agree with Schiit's statement that the Sol will not hold back a good cart.
Ok, with that out of the way, from a quality standpoint (build, design, etc) the Sol clearly and decisively pales in comparision to the VPI Scout 1.1 .. I guess the mantra "for the money, you can't beat it" probably holds true. But with these two side by side, the contrast was stark. The VPI being the sum of all it's parts is a fine piece equipment, with no corners cut. The Sol was not even close in quality. It actually felt like a DIY piece of kit.. with QA issues to boot. Mine arrived sealed box fresh with a out of spec hole in the platter so there was slop where it mated with the bearing. This is supposed to be VERY snug. Ok, a few back and forth emails to Schiit tech support, and a replacement platter and bearing was fedex'ed so I'll roll with that without too much complaining.
Pros:
  • Sonically equalled a high end table... it won't hold back a good cart and stage
  • Easily configurable
  • Aesthically pleaseing IMHO
Cons:
  • Tonearm head just too tight. I had to bend the connectors to fit in. YMMV, but there was no such issue on the VPI. Pulling my hair out!
  • No Tonearm lock.. it just floats in this 'goal post' looking lift, but no way to secure.
  • Cart wire pressure is not isolated after it comes through the tonearm out at the back, and it does affect the tone arm balance when it sits on the unipivot setup. Unlike the VPI, where the wire comes out directly from the center of the top cap, not affecting the balance in anyway, this wire comes out right at the unipivot mechanism, and you are tasked to "bend" it out for the way and route it the best way you can... PULLING MY HAIR OUT!
  • Anti skate mechanism just sucks. You are give a weight and some fishing wire and told to "have at it" It's rinkydink Bull$h!+ there's nothing good about it. The VPI comparison is a well engineered antiskate mech.
  • The motor and wiring is a BAD piece of engineering. WTF???? Instead of having a wall wart with an inline on/off switch (which I'd be fine with), or the wall wart wire directly into the motor with an on/off switch on the motor housing (I'd be fine with that too!), some genius decides to be fancy and run the wallwart into the frame of the table, then pigtail over to the motor, with an on/off switch on the Table frame!! WTF!!! Every time you turn off the switch (y'know, pesky lil' things liker to change a record! ), there is an audible "pop" through the system... yes, I'm grounded correctly.. c'mon! So not wanting to risk speaker damage, I ommited that path, and went directly from the wallwart into the motor with no switch. So for now, to change a record or shut it off, I pull out the wire from the motor. Pulling my hair out wanting the smack this designer.
Conclusion... Yes it sounds fine with a correct setup. And had I not a comparison TT, I'd likely keep this and be fine with it after I squared this away and drilled a hole and rerouted the cart wire, wired in a pushbutton on/off switch for the motor.. But having the VPI and being used to such a fine exacting piece of equipment, it's hard not to just keep what I have and either return it, or ??? Oh, so the VPI was over $3k (without Cart), and the Sol is $799 (not $800 mind you)... And the Sol "sounds" as good, so the Sol and $2200 in my pocket.. Or the better quality (in every way... except sound!) VPI for over 2 grand more... Y'know, the things that make me scratch my head, is that 'most' of my complaints shouldn't have been an issue as they are design flaws... IMHO.
If you get the Sol, and set it up correctly with good audio path etc, you will be pleased (with the sound anyway)
HTH'ed ?

NOTE for the OP... Correct the spelling of the manufacturer from "Schitt to Schiit" and you'll get much more traction as if you search for "Schiit Sol", there are no hits
Thanks for that thorough description. I confess to being baffled how something with such shoddy build could sound as good as the VPI. I'm tempted to think the VPI must sound like s**t but that can't be right! What other TTs in the ~$1k range have you heard?

BTW I'm sure that many belt-drive TT owners do what I do when changing records: leave platter spinning, move arm to rest, replace record, move arm to record. Of course, this won't work if you use a record clamp, and it probably helps if you use a felt mat.

Edit: Amir is notorious for careless spelling and that seems to infect other contributors here. ;)
 

anmpr1

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Just out of curiosity, why does it matter to you why they want to get into vinyl?

It reads to me like you're saying, "if you want to get into LPs because you like the physical form, or you like to adjust things, that's okay, but if you do it because you like the 'sound' [whatever that means], that's not okay."
It's just a discussion. An opinion. Like other things, eveyone has an opinion. We are just talking (writing). It really doesn't 'matter' to me about a person's hobby. I'm just making some personal comments. If my comments are helpful, fine. If not, throw them away.
 
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Wow! Nice review! Can't ask for more honesty! Interesting that it copmeted with the Scout in sound! That speaks really nicely for the Sol. It is their first outing after all.

But also very sad about the design issues especially the switch. Things like that should have been figured out essentially the very first time the designer played a record. What gives?! As for the fishing wire, I don't know what it was about but the moment I saw them playing with a fishing wire, I knew I wouldn't be anywhere close to competent to mess with this! :D
The fishing wire (hanging weight bias compensation) is nothing new. Highly respected arm maker SME used this for years, in fact on all arms until the IV/V.
 
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This turntable seems to sum up some of the issues I find with much modern audio and illustrate one of the more bonkers paradoxes of the hobby.

There seems to be a failure of basic good design, as indicated by adlerburg's review. This is not the first time Schiit have failed to get the basics right, and it is a less serious than their failure to earth products with the result that they present a safety hazard. And it is not just Schiit, looking at many amplifiers I see poor board layouts, badly designed heat rejection arrangements, shoddy wiring and pretty poor assembly practices.

The good thing is most of these failings don't prevent products providing excellent audible performance, and if it is a cheap product then you get what you pay for at a certain point. However, I see a lot of the same in more expensive products and from manufacturers that are trying to sell themselves as a premium supplier. And much of this stuff wouldn't cost any more to do well than to do badly.

The paradox is that so many audiophiles and reviewers swallow any passing snake oil gibberish and buy into all the voodoo mysticism at the same time as being oblivious to just plain shoddy engineering in a lot of equipment.

Odd.
This situation wouldn't have arisen if reviewers had done their job and slammed bad design instead of ignoring everything except subjective descriptions of the sound.
 

anmpr1

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  • Anti skate mechanism just sucks. You are give a weight and some fishing wire and told to "have at it" It's rinkydink Bull$h!+ there's nothing good about it. The VPI comparison is a well engineered antiskate mech.
Actually, this is not so unusual. The manual for one of my tonearms (Grace G-707) states:

In adjusting [skating force] please understand that the specifications of different records and different cartridges used can vary the inside force required. It is, therefore, impossible to make a single standard correction for these varying factors.

The Shure TTR-117 test record has a band to adjust skating. The idea is to listen to the recorded sound, and adjust skating to minimize the sound's raspiness, and make the two channels localize in the center. I have tried this test on several arms, without any appreciable difference in the arm's calibrated setting, or leaving it set at zero. Applying maximum skating force in one of my arms does affect the sound from test record, but there is no difference at calibrated or less settings. On a recent test using single piano music (180 g 'audiophile' Bill Evans LP) I noticed no difference in imaging when using the device, or not.

I've read how some people use a blank disc and check arm motion, or an oscilloscope to set skating. Some arms have skating compensation based on stylus type (conical or elliptical). For my part, I am hesitant to make any across the board conclusions, but in some systems I just don't think it makes much, if any, difference. At least that is my experience. YMMV
 

anmpr1

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BTW I'm sure that many belt-drive TT owners do what I do when changing records: leave platter spinning, move arm to rest, replace record, move arm to record.
On the Technics, one method is to raise the arm, turn the deck off (platter stops in about 2 seconds). Turn the record over. Place the arm on the lead in groove. Hit the 'on' switch. Before the diamond reaches the program material the deck is up to speed, quartz locked. I've heard some exclaim, "But the stress will ruin your stylus." That's not my experience. In fact, the only cartridges I ever owned that had a failed stylus assembly were two samples of a high compliant moving coil sold under the brand, Highphonic. The company soon stopped making the cartridges, and went back to modifying Denon 103 carts. Those have very robust suspensions.

I had an old AR turntable. The best way to get that up to speed was give it a quick push with your hand. LOL
 
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On the Technics, one method is to raise the arm, turn the deck off (platter stops in about 2 seconds). Turn the record over. Place the arm on the lead in groove. Hit the 'on' switch. Before the diamond reaches the program material the deck is up to speed, quartz locked. I've heard some exclaim, "But the stress will ruin your stylus." That's not my experience. In fact, the only cartridges I ever owned that had a failed stylus assembly were two samples of a high compliant moving coil sold under the brand, Highphonic. The company soon stopped making the cartridges, and went back to modifying Denon 103 carts. Those have very robust suspensions.

I had an old AR turntable. The best way to get that up to speed was give it a quick push with your hand. LOL
I agree, there's nothing wrong with placing the stylus in the lead-in groove with platter stationary. DDs are generally super-quick in getting up to speed, but belt-drives, not so much, even with variable voltage motor feed such as the Linn Lingo. A nudge helps to overcome inertia, but I wouldn't do that with stylus on record because it's very hard to avoid wobble (with a subchassis TT).

Strangely enough, I've just reinstalled my AR, bought in 1973 and modded with Rega RB300 in 1988. As with any other belt-drive, you get in the habit of nudging the record/platter to get things going, but I leave it spinning while turning over or changing records.
 

anmpr1

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This may sound like heresy, but one of the best 'sounding' turntables I ever owned was made of plate glass. I've heard that glass is too resonant to use in record players. But this one sounded OK. The turntable itself was sprung on an aluminum (three or four point--don't really remember) 'spider' assembly. The record was supported on the platter by five or six chrome risers each topped with a rubber puck. Made in Ireland, I think it was. Belt driven by a flimsy motor. The motor went south after a year or two, and the dealer that sold it to me had already closed their doors. Back then, pre Internet it was not easy to find parts this sort of unique thing, so it was just dead weight to me.

I traded it to the owner of the local McIntosh dealer. He just put it in his storefront window... as a curiosity, because it looked really cool and futuristic. I think he traded me a Denon DL-103D cartridge for it. He once told me how people would come in off the street asking about it, and if they could buy a new one from him?
 
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Actually, this is not so unusual. The manual for one of my tonearms (Grace G-707) states:

In adjusting [skating force] please understand that the specifications of different records and different cartridges used can vary the inside force required. It is, therefore, impossible to make a single standard correction for these varying factors.

The Shure TTR-117 test record has a band to adjust skating. The idea is to listen to the recorded sound, and adjust skating to minimize the sound's raspiness, and make the two channels localize in the center. I have tried this test on several arms, without any appreciable difference in the arm's calibrated setting, or leaving it set at zero. Applying maximum skating force in one of my arms does affect the sound from test record, but there is no difference at calibrated or less settings. On a recent test using single piano music (180 g 'audiophile' Bill Evans LP) I noticed no difference in imaging when using the device, or not.

I've read how some people use a blank disc and check arm motion, or an oscilloscope to set skating. Some arms have skating compensation based on stylus type (conical or elliptical). For my part, I am hesitant to make any across the board conclusions, but in some systems I just don't think it makes much, if any, difference. At least that is my experience. YMMV
Bias compensation (anti-skating) is definitely required with any arm with offset-and-overhang geometry. The original AR had no proper mechanism. You were supposed to arrange the lead-out wire to apply an outwards torque but it was impossible to get a useful amount of that. The result was that eventually the cantilever would have a permanent offset due to the unrelenting uncompensated bias. It also meant that some records would simply skip a groove where the modulation was too great.

As Frank Dernie has said, blank records are not the way to set bias compensation. They might be better than nothing, but they do not represent the forces pulling on the stylus when playing music.
 
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This may sound like heresy, but one of the best 'sounding' turntables I ever owned was made of plate glass. I've heard that glass is too resonant to use in record players. But this one sounded OK. The turntable itself was sprung on an aluminum (three or four point--don't really remember) 'spider' assembly. The record was supported on the platter by five or six chrome risers each topped with a rubber puck. Made in Ireland, I think it was. Belt driven by a flimsy motor. The motor went south after a year or two, and the dealer that sold it to me had already closed their doors. Back then, pre Internet it was not easy to find parts this sort of unique thing, so it was just dead weight to me.

I traded it to the owner of the local McIntosh dealer. He just put it in his storefront window... as a curiosity, because it looked really cool and futuristic. I think he traded me a Denon DL-103D cartridge for it. He once told me how people would come in off the street asking about it, and if they could buy a new one from him?
Was this the Transcriptors Skeleton <https://www.transcriptorslimited.com> (scroll down)?
 

watchnerd

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It's just a discussion. An opinion. Like other things, eveyone has an opinion. We are just talking (writing). It really doesn't 'matter' to me about a person's hobby. I'm just making some personal comments. If my comments are helpful, fine. If not, throw them away.
We have a 'why vinyl' thread, it just seemed more appropriate for that topic.
 

anmpr1

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Bias compensation (anti-skating) is definitely required with any arm with offset-and-overhang geometry. The original AR had no proper mechanism. You were supposed to arrange the lead-out wire to apply an outwards torque but it was impossible to get a useful amount of that. The result was that eventually the cantilever would have a permanent offset due to the unrelenting uncompensated bias. It also meant that some records would simply skip a groove where the modulation was too great.

As Frank Dernie has said, blank records are not the way to set bias compensation. They might be better than nothing, but they do not represent the forces pulling on the stylus when playing music.
Not saying it's not a good thing to have, but only that results vary. And how to apply anti-skating varies. It's really a mechanical problem and has to be related to: a) the speed of the record including the position of the arm along the record surface--that is, can we presume that skating effects are the same across the entire surface of the disc, or are we looking for an 'averaged' compromise correction; b) the compliance of the cartridge, its tracking force, and the shape of the diamond; c) the mechanics of the arm, including it's pivot design.

Again, in my experience, and this is just my experience, the effects of different arm calibrations supposed to set the anti-skating are not always heard on either test records using steady state tones, or with actual program material. In any case, without some sort of test equipment, how can an audiophile 'know' for sure whether his setting is optimal? He has to rely on whatever the manufacturer tells him.

I think we must ask ourselves, how audible is this stuff? For instance, when discussing tracking ability, David Rich, in one of his cartridge reviews, said that he couldn't hear any 'trackability' differences using standard test records, but the 'scope showed differences in distortion among different styli. Ok. We want less distortion. I'm all for that. But does it make a real difference? If you can't hear it on test tones, what happens when you introduce complex music? I think it's not unlike amp and DAC specs--easy to measure differences, not easy to discern differences in practice.

If you set your skating, and then disable it and hear a degradation of the sound, then you ought to be using the skating. Definitely. I agree with that.
 

anmpr1

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Was this the Transcriptors Skeleton <https://www.transcriptorslimited.com> (scroll down)?
Yes. But not the goofy string threaded arm that you sometimes see used with it. The only reason I didn't get that was because the dealer didn't have one in stock. So instead he mounted a Grace 707, which was popular at that time. I still have the Grace arm.
 
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Not saying it's not a good thing to have, but only that results vary. And how to apply anti-skating varies. It's really a mechanical problem and has to be related to: a) the speed of the record including the position of the arm along the record surface--that is, can we presume that skating effects are the same across the entire surface of the disc, or are we looking for an 'averaged' compromise correction; b) the compliance of the cartridge, its tracking force, and the shape of the diamond; c) the mechanics of the arm, including it's pivot design.

Again, in my experience, and this is just my experience, the effects of different arm calibrations supposed to set the anti-skating are not always heard on either test records using steady state tones, or with actual program material. In any case, without some sort of test equipment, how can an audiophile 'know' for sure whether his setting is optimal? He has to rely on whatever the manufacturer tells him.

I think we must ask ourselves, how audible is this stuff? For instance, when discussing tracking ability, David Rich, in one of his cartridge reviews, said that he couldn't hear any 'trackability' differences using standard test records, but the 'scope showed differences in distortion among different styli. Ok. We want less distortion. I'm all for that. But does it make a real difference? If you can't hear it on test tones, what happens when you introduce complex music? I think it's not unlike amp and DAC specs--easy to measure differences, not easy to discern differences in practice.

If you set your skating, and then disable it and hear a degradation of the sound, then you ought to be using the skating. Definitely. I agree with that.
I agree that it is difficult, or maybe impossible, to set a value that is correct for all records or even for all radii of the same record, but if the cantilever is not central in the cartridge when playing a record, something is wrong, and also consider that this shows that the tracking force is higher on one channel than on the other. In turn, this means you need more VTF to get secure tracking on *both* channels than you would with correct bias compensation. I can't say that I've heard differences in balance (image shift), though, as some describe.
 
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Yes. But not the goofy string threaded arm that you sometimes see used with it. The only reason I didn't get that was because the dealer didn't have one in stock. So instead he mounted a Grace 707, which was popular at that time. I still have the Grace arm.
The Grace was/is good. It became known in the UK because Linn imported it for use with the LP12, as they reckoned SMEs (this was before the "super" arms like the Zeta) didn't work properly with the Supex MCs which they also imported.

Was the Transcriptors Fluid Arm not available at that time?
 
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Frank Dernie

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Not saying it's not a good thing to have, but only that results vary. And how to apply anti-skating varies. It's really a mechanical problem and has to be related to: a) the speed of the record including the position of the arm along the record surface--that is, can we presume that skating effects are the same across the entire surface of the disc, or are we looking for an 'averaged' compromise correction; b) the compliance of the cartridge, its tracking force, and the shape of the diamond; c) the mechanics of the arm, including it's pivot design.

Again, in my experience, and this is just my experience, the effects of different arm calibrations supposed to set the anti-skating are not always heard on either test records using steady state tones, or with actual program material. In any case, without some sort of test equipment, how can an audiophile 'know' for sure whether his setting is optimal? He has to rely on whatever the manufacturer tells him.

I think we must ask ourselves, how audible is this stuff? For instance, when discussing tracking ability, David Rich, in one of his cartridge reviews, said that he couldn't hear any 'trackability' differences using standard test records, but the 'scope showed differences in distortion among different styli. Ok. We want less distortion. I'm all for that. But does it make a real difference? If you can't hear it on test tones, what happens when you introduce complex music? I think it's not unlike amp and DAC specs--easy to measure differences, not easy to discern differences in practice.

If you set your skating, and then disable it and hear a degradation of the sound, then you ought to be using the skating. Definitely. I agree with that.
There is no "correct" bias since it varies depending on the drag which is effected by modulation and stylus shape as well as the radius being played.
It is possible to do a radius compensation mechanically but the rest one needs to have a compromise, probably on the high side since mis-tracking will happen on higher modulation, but the main need for it is to get the sensor in the central, reasonably linear, part of the magnetic circuit.
 
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Hi, so some have kinda poked holes in my opinion/review so I'll try to be a bit more clear on somethings.., I'll address 2 things with one set of pictures...the fishing wire antiskate, and the cart wire snake.
  • Anti Skate- Yes many use fishing wire, but I'll let pictures do the talking here... it's a comparison in design and implementation of the antiskate mechanism... originally I didn't want to do a deep dive as I wanted to keep the post reasonable length.. so, yes many and both tt's here use fishing wire. But look at where the sol pulls, it attacks the balance integrity of the unipivot, which is not dampened in the least, so a slight blow of breath or a normal pull on the antiskate wire sends all a-wobble... and in comparison my VPI. Pulls from.... you guessed it, the center not molesting the balance of the unipivot. I was cussing the anchor point, couldn't there have been a hole there to thread the fishing wire through?? With out a hole or anchor point It DOES slip off the top from time to time ARGGGGG!
  • Cart wiring - Any movement pressure, even antiskate pressure, fights the cart wiring in the SOL, the VPI addresses that (and succeeds for the most part) with at least thinking of the best place to route that wire.. top center, in front of the unipivot. On the Sol, the mass on the front and back of the pivot, is multitudes more than on the sides, which gives a ton of leverage to wobble, where the VPI has what looks to be equal mass from any angle of the unipivot... f/b/s/s
Please believe me that I'm not a Schiit hater at all. I'm a Schiit Wover (I WANT to Love Schiit). And as a company, I have way more of a bone to pick with VPI, as I HATE their pricing structure.. I always complain (no one much listens) about them being too f'ing expensive... but expensive for one is a "mere bag of shells" to another, and one thing is absolutely clear to me, there is very little to pick apart on my VPI from a design/quality perspective ... And after all my Schiit complaining here about the SOL, I am still actually considering keeping it, and selling the VPI, and taking the $2k, and buying..... RECORDS!! And the end product (sonic signature) is equal. Of course it should be as long at the table is nuetral sonically, the sound from both using the same stellar sonic path from Cart to Speakers.
SolVsScout3.jpg
SolVsScout2.jpg
SolVsScout1.jpg
 
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Hi, so some have kinda poked holes in my opinion/review so I'll try to be a bit more clear on somethings.., I'll address 2 things with one set of pictures...the fishing wire antiskate, and the cart wire snake.
  • Anti Skate- Yes many use fishing wire, but I'll let pictures do the talking here... it's a comparison in design and implementation of the antiskate mechanism... originally I didn't want to do a deep dive as I wanted to keep the post reasonable length.. so, yes many and both tt's here use fishing wire. But look at where the sol pulls, it attacks the balance integrity of the unipivot, which is not dampened in the least, so a slight blow of breath or a normal pull on the antiskate wire sends all a-wobble... and in comparison my VPI. Pulls from.... you guessed it, the center not molesting the balance of the unipivot. I was cussing the anchor point, couldn't there have been a hole there to thread the fishing wire through?? With out a hole or anchor point It DOES slip off the top from time to time ARGGGGG!
  • Cart wiring - Any movement pressure, even antiskate pressure, fights the cart wiring in the SOL, the VPI addresses that (and succeeds for the most part) with at least thinking of the best place to route that wire.. top center, in front of the unipivot. On the Sol, the mass on the front and back of the pivot, is multitudes more than on the sides, which gives a ton of leverage to wobble, where the VPI has what looks to be equal mass from any angle of the unipivot... f/b/s/s
Please believe me that I'm not a Schiit hater at all. I'm a Schiit Wover (I WANT to Love Schiit). And as a company, I have way more of a bone to pick with VPI, as I HATE their pricing structure.. I always complain (no one much listens) about them being too f'ing expensive... but expensive for one is a "mere bag of shells" to another, and one thing is absolutely clear to me, there is very little to pick apart on my VPI from a design/quality perspective ... And after all my Schiit complaining here about the SOL, I am still actually considering keeping it, and selling the VPI, and taking the $2k, and buying..... RECORDS!! And the end product (sonic signature) is equal. Of course it should be as long at the table is nuetral sonically, the sound from both using the same stellar sonic path from Cart to Speakers.
interesting thoughts for I too am a VPI owner (Aries III, SDS, super platter, Benz Gull Wing) and while I have no plans to change my set up if I did I'd buy a Technics 1200G and call it a day.........
 

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