Discussion in 'Turntables' started by Mister Pig, May 16, 2017.
Even a nice black plastic insert would be an improvement.
Why is the arm even recessed like that in the first place? Even with a finished edge it looks aesthetically bad to me. I don't know of any other turntable that is like that.
Correct, almost, some others have tried but never got it right like a SOTA. What you see on the outside is the plinth and the feet attach to the underside of it, it's built like a shell. It has 4 springs that a sub chassis hangs from and the feet go through hole in that sub chassis. The platter and arm are connected to the sub chassis and the only contact to earth is those 4 springs it's hanging from. You can be playing a record and take your fist bang on the plinth hard and nothing will happen. If you have bouncy floors, you can jump up and down, watching the platter and arm bob around and not get a skip.
SOTA Sapphires and up have some of the best isolation design of any turntable, and most likely the best in their size of a table.
This is what you can do with a SOTA, even though this guy modded this one. Take note that the arm moves with the platter and sub chassis.
OK, and how does the recessed arm figure into that design element? Is it a COG issue? Why does the arm need to be recessed? I don't want this to turn into argument here, I'm simply trying to understand.
I think it's a trade-off between function and looks. To raise the arm board an inch or so to get it level with the plinth, the platter would also need to be an inch or so higher, and so would the dustcover. SOTA probably decided that recessing the arm board allowed for a lower profile. That's my guess anyway.
You can get a sense of the suspension here:
This is a Millennium, which doesn't have the surrounding plinth. In a Star or Sapphire like we are talking about something like that black perforated platform is suspended from the surrounding plinth and the platter and tonearm are mounted to the sub chassis, not the plinth. If you press down on the platter, the tonearm moves in exactly the same way, so the relationship between the tonearm and platter never changes.
Yeah, maybe, but I still don't like the look. There are many spring suspended turntables and perhaps SOTA makes the best, but I don't see the need for the recessed arm and how it is part of the isolation solution. The suspended turntables I have had do not have the motor mounted to the sub-chassis. Is that what makes the SOTA work so well?
I get that the platter and arm are mounted to the sub-chassis and move together. My Kyocera PL-701 works like that, as do the suspended Harman Kardons I have owned. although the motors of those are mounted to the plinth, not the sub-chassis. I'm still wondering if the recessed arm is a design aesthetics choice as you suggest, or is there a functional component to it?
I edited my post to add a comment about the suspension while you were posting. It works great, and
Let's find out! I just emailed the question to SOTA.
I went to their website to see if they described the suspension, which they do. Pretty impressive!
Still not certain about the recess question.
I hope they clarify.
For the correct hight for the platter.
For the correct hight for the platter.
Actually it's far different than most suspended tables, the two you just mentioned compress the springs, a SOTA stretches them.
That video I posted I said they modded the table. On the sapphire and star sapphire the motor is mounted to the plinth. They do have a Cosmos (Next step up) table and that motor is mounted to the sub chassis
interesting the design makes plinth damping, spikes, isolation platforms, exc...almost any chassis or damping mod is ,,,,,,useless ..... by design. Improvement is not needed, or even desired? Guess that is where the SOTA reputation came from. Their expert pride is in the isolation, as the man shows knocking hard on the plinth. SOTA is not a visual sell. it is a mechanical marvel first.
That's really it in a nut shell, when the Sapphire table came out they really did a job on the competition. And all the while those other tables had to keep changing, modifying and coming out with up grades, SOTA really didn't need to do anything and there tables stayed relatively the same. The table came out in 1982 (I think) so 35 years old now.
I wasn't implying that the turntables I described were equivalent, except that the platter and tonearm are located on a sub-chassis. The Yamaha PF-800 I have also has a type of sub-chassis that hangs from the springs. So that isn't unique to SOTA either.
I can see from the description and diagrams on the website that the SOTA suspension is a sophisticated design, but is the recessed tonearm part of that?
If so, how?
Perhaps there is something to be learned from the answer to that question.
I appreciate that they are very good turntables.
It does seem to me that for the level of the turntable they could at least make the edges of that recess look better than they do.
4-2-7: That's really it in a nut shell, when the Sapphire table came out they really did a job on the competition. And all the while those other tables had to keep changing, modifying and coming out with up grades, SOTA really didn't need to do anything and there tables stayed relatively the same.
The story on the SOTA (when it first arrived on the market) reminded me of the (possibly apocryphal) tale of how the original AR turntable came into being. Supposedly, the designer became dismayed at what he felt was the overall poor, or even stupid design elements of the turntables of the day, and declared (paraphrasing):
"I'm going to build a turntable that does everything right. It's going to look and feel like the cheapest piece of crap out there, but the performance will blow away everything else on the market, because I'm going to design the thing properly in regards to what matters."
We all know the rest-- it was a cheap looking (and relatively cheap as to the selling price) item, almost amateurish, but it did what he said it would. Even today, half a century later, if you put a decent arm on one, they still do a remarkable job.
The SOTA Sapphire was the next generation of that basic AR design concept. They took the idea of the suspended subchassis and refined it further, improved the platter bearing, added the constrained damping construction and combined it with a (pun intended) massive increase in the mass of the platter and subchassis, and made sure the tonearm geometry could be correctly obtained with a wide variety of tonearms.
I recall when it was first tested by Hirsch-Houck Labs (Stereo Review). One of the tests they had been running for some time on all turntables in the lab was an acoustic isolation test. There were no standards for this in the industry, so they just decided that even something that worked within their own testing data accumulation was better than nothing.
They built a shaker platform powered by what for all practical purposes was several speaker voice coils and magnets, that could have its vibration swept through a range of likely frequencies a turntable might encounter in the real world of possible acoustic feedback. When they tested the Sapphire, the results were something like 40 dB lower than any machine they had previously checked! IIRC, the shaker table drive ran out before they could even induce any significant response from the Sapphire.
I haven't seen any recent manufacture SOTAs, and it is always possible the QC has slipped, but the design itself is still one of the very best, if not the best in turntable history at their particular price point. Do they look odd? Matter of opinion, as with anything aesthetic. Coupled with a top-quality arm and cart, they work.
Amazing, I had to always chain suspend my clunky phillips tt from the ceiling. Place the SOTA anywhere.
So, is the wooden case optional? If it offends thee, plucketh it offeth ... <G>
SOTA answered my question this afternoon, and as I expected the reply came directly from Donna Bodinet, the owner of the company. It was a charming note with just the right amount of snark (she'd fit right in here at AK).
She checked the archives, which are sadly lacking in specific details on this. She did say, though, that environmental isolation was a considering factor with the profile being a deciding factor.
So that's as good an answer as I think we can expect. Keep in mind that this design element was set before Donna and her husband bought the company. At this point I look at the recessed armboard and the finger joints on the corners as part of the visual "brand" that makes SOTA Sapphires, Stars, Novas and Cosmos instantly recognizeable.
Isolation like Sota's would come in handy if one lived next to a switching station or in a seismically active area of the world. Or in a bowling alley.
Or in any home environment, and I think your going out of your way to be snarky.
If what your saying is true, then why do about 50% or more people with other tables have issues with isolation. We are inundated with post asking to help this issue, along with countless remedies and aftermarket products. Another 25% just tip toe around their houes when they drop the needle and don't play the music to loud to get feed back.
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