One day I'll hear a single driver speaker I like. What's yours, assuming that's a single driver? Fostex, Lowther?
First, I never actually owned one. But I did get to set up quite a few. Like on a production line scale - at Empire in Switzerland, trying to bring it to a at least decent level.
The best I heard any Revox sing was with an Ortofon VMS 20E MKII - which is one of the very good/best high compliance carts that actually can track at or below 1.2 grams - and this cart thrieves in really low mass arms, Revox included. Of normal pivoted arms, Infinity Black widow and SME III are the ones that I remember playing well with this cart - way above what one might expect from a MM.
Second, which should be BEFORE FIRST - I never, NEVER trash anyobody personally for anything - at least not intentionally. Revox TT is potentially very good - but it is poorly executed, simply because its designers seem never to ask the fundamental question what a turntable actually is. They are FAR from being alone in this - you can add Thorens, Technics (among the most prolifirate culprits), etc, etc to this list - but Revox unfortunately does occupy the most flawed position on that list. Awareness that speed stability and freedom from rumble are only the solid base upon which to build good sonics of a turntable is relatively new one; it has not been applied to ANY commercially available record cutting lathe ( ! - where it matters even more; I have only rather recently seen a modification of the Technics SP-02 motor/platter that is most obviously trying to adress this crucial matter ) - and TTs that do not ring as hell and can be lifted by a single person are rather recent thing - starting say from the original Oracle in 1979 or so. Revox TT is about the same age - yet there is not a single measure
to keep it mechanically quiet. Gently tap the aluminium cover for the tonearm while music is playing at reasonable level, preferably with headphones. You are not likely to find that sound pleasing - and then we can proceed to platter, subchassis, etc, etc. All these gremlins add distract from what Revox design should have been capable of extracting from the record groove; all of these are least bothersome with a high compliance cartridge that does not put so much energy back into the arm and record/platter - here, a Revox is acceptable.
With any cartridge with remotely stiffer suspension, it wil really suffer. I have expressed the preference for high compliance cartridges many times; yet, outside vintage well preserved samples, there is no currently produced carts that fall in this category .
Revox did try to adress the issue of decoupling the TT from structural feedback with a subchassis - which also makes for controls to be conviniently located on the main chassis and thus being next to inaudible when touched. But there is a fly in this ointment; direct drive motors react violently to any movement around the axis of the main bearing - they will try to correct the speed to the reference point, which is the subchassis, or precisely said stator of the DD motor bolted to that subchassis. If the reference point is not stable enough, the superb speed of DD will suffer. This is why direct drive tables are for the most part built as mass coupled tables where
decoupling/isolation is provided by the support and not the TT itself.
After all this said and done, I have seen Revox and Empire modified Revox tables replaced by basic Rega models; they are not technological marvels, compoared to Revox can be regarded as downgrade by ? generations of engineering - yet they do basics rather well. I have expressed my crticism of Rega many many times - but it is all what it takes to best a Revox. Or Technics - and here I do not mean only the SL 1200 . There was one Technics design that adressed these matters TOO well to remain in production more than a year or two; it was embarassing the TOTL from Technics to the point they simply stopped the production; people did get a shock to hear a deck several times less costly from the same manufacturers that sonically demolished their flag$hip. Ebay is a VERY good indicator of designs proven over time; it is extremely unlikely to be possible to get the SL-M1 (either version, with S- shaped arm or straight P-Mount type) for peanuts; it is highly sought after by the connoisseurs and valued accordingly
Ultimately, it all boils down to money. A properly executed Revox could have been a formidable machine - but
it would most probably be too expensive to be competitive. Its basic idea, that of a user ( family, CHILDREN ) friendly TT is sound - if only it was better executed.
The ultimate "insult" Revox related happened late 70s/early 80s at our electronic show of the day. After seeing a Revox ( it does LOOK impeccably built ), I ( along with almost everbody else ) could not have taken the "ugly duckling" Tesla NC 470 from then Czechoslovakia seriously. The thing was later also marketed as NAD 5120 ( and Lenco in better looking wooden plinth ). It took me "only" 3 more decades before I realized which one is ultimately capable of squeezing more from the vinyl record ...
Garrott P77 - yummy. I have a limited edition Kokaboora - unfortunately the stylus did not make to me in one piece . I am "reving up" to purchase SAS1 from Jico for it - but there is always something yet more enticing on ebay's It Is Now Or Never We Are Sorry For Your Wallet soap opera...
Sumiko Blue Point - on a next to eternal loan from a friend, used for about 5 or 6 hours - in a decade. Very precisely made cartridge with great channel separation - but treble definitely not 2die4 .
Never got to the level of Sonata within Grado line, it puzzles me your reaction was as described.
I got within a spitting distance of owning a MC 3000. After learning what kind stylus was on it and that it costs 2/3rd of the new cartridge to replace it once worn, I got cold feet. I have heard nothing but praise for Kontrapunkt B - but hated friend's MC 7500 - with passion . The most costly cartridge I have heard to not tick a single box
of my requirements/expectations in a phono cartridge. Could also be a bad sample - even if it was, it should have never left the factory in such a condition. Its stablemate OM 20 Super smoked it - at 1/20th of the cost ...
There is one Ortofon specially dear to me - (T)MC 200(U) . Notorius for its minuscule output ( 0.1 mV or so ) - but provided with good amplification, gives a very direct sound - not something one usually asociates with Ortofon.