Gorgeous TT and a great site. I also love the comments although some of them get seriously carried out by enthusiasm and make belief than logic an facts. I am referring to PapaJon's comments about his Sony's been put against any Rotel etc. I own at present 6 TTs and I have gone through at least another 8 or 9 previous to that. When I came across the Sony Biotracers I was very impressed by the comments to the point that I started haunting them like game. I ended up with a PS-800 that unfortunately did not last me very long. It started having serious issues with the tonearm that was traced by the local technician to one of the ICs. I have never been able to locate the part to fix it. I then got my hands on a PS-X600 that i am listening to at this very minute through a Pioneer 1080 receiver and a pair of Pioneer HPM-900 speakers, modified by myself.
After so much hype about these biotracers I started dreaming of the Sonys to really stand their own vs my reference system's Sota Cosmos V with Origin Live Conqueror tonearm. At the time the tonearm had been sent to England for an upgrade and I decided to use the Sony's and my other TTs in its place. After installing my Grado "The Reference" cartridge (1200 dollar cartridge that I have liked a lot) I eagerly sat down to listen. The sound was pleasant and the convenience of not having to worry about the LP finishing while I was doing something else was very...uplifting! Time passed and I was pretty happy with the Sonys and my 1249Q and 701 Duals I kept alternating in my main system. By the way, the Duals simply beat the Sonys in musicality and beat. The 1249Q is an idler wheel driven TT and more noisy than the Sonys but the sound was simply on a different level with this TT. The Dual 701 took the music to an even higher level. As musical as the 1249 but w/o the noise. Great! I had already started planning what to do with the $7K +++ I could get for selling my Sota Cosmos and the Conqueror arm. I was so happy...and silly. The dream ended the day I received the Conqueror arm back, installed it back to the Cosmos and the needle touched the groove! The Cosmos literally obliterated the vintage TTs. All of them! There was simply no contest. The system sounded like a high end system again.The music became real once more and with authority that none of the lesser TTs ever approached. My dreams of buying that Vertical Mill, the 10x22 mini lathe etc. were all shuttered because I could never let go of the Cosmos set up.
About three months ago I helped one of my buddies with a custom made cabinet for his Thorens 124 MK II. He has spent a few thousand bucks on that TT and it is a real beauty. When I was done with the cabinet he came by and we installed the TT in it. He is using an SME V which he got at a ridiculously low price ( estate sale) and he also has the Grado The Reference cartridge (he loved mine...). That set up came very very close to my Cosmos but again, there was more noise, less bass (despite the fact that the SME V is famous for its loe level prowess) and overall musicality. The Cosmos proved its self once more and thankfully made me happy that I did not need to sell it for replacement yet... The Thorens set up cost my friend around $5K the Cosmos as I have ti cost me around $6K (it costs more like $8k new by itself but I bought mine used). The Thorens 124 is arguably the best vintage TT out there bar none and it still came short compared to a modern well made TT. There is something to be said about modern technology. Maye the Sota's vacuum hold down system that flattens the LPs to perfection, maybe it superior isolation from vibration, the high torque motor, the Conqueror arm's design...who knows but it easily beat every other TT I have put up against it...Bar none (so far).
Moral of the story? I have 4 different Stereo systems at my home and I enjoy them all like you cannot imagine. The only modern system is my main system and the other 3 are made up from vintage equipment. As I said, I enjoy them all for what they are but I have NO illusions of a giant killer with vintage equipment. Yes, a well made vintage piece will beat the heck out of a plastic Best Buy piece of crap any time of the day. But put against a well made modern gear most vintage pieces do not stand a chance. Enjoy them for what they are and what they offer and if it suits you keep on dreaming that a 60's hot rod really beats a modern Porchse in its own terms. To each his own...
Peace and enjoy the music.