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 April 16 st , 2008 


After 20 years spent trying to get the best signal from a digital source, developing many DACs, I have decided to convert to analog sources.
Beware, this doesn't mean that my DACs have a bad sound. I think that my DAC End is a true reference without compromise, but when I have connected a turntable to my  actual system I got a totally different sound!
Even if my first test with a turntable was made in the worst conditions, with many bad elements in the signal path (cheap cartridge, ultra cheap tonearm wiring, old commercial phono preamp (Audiolabor Rein), the result was still great.
I don't want to start here a discussion about the sure benefits of analog vs. digital because anyone can read information about this argument on Wikipedia article "Analog sound vs. digital sound", in SOUNDFAN   article and on many other articles published on Internet.


The main analog sources are turntable and old analog tape recorders as Revox B77 (see image).
There is a complete website about these analog recorder on: SOUNDFAN where you can find many informations.
Using old tape recorders is not easy and it is extremely difficult to find high quality software.
Obviously, it is quite funny to see on eBay someone selling tape recorded CDs, just to ear the problems of both sources!
Another problem with tape recorders is that the input and output circuits should be redesign to get hi-end sonic performances.
So, if we consider these aspects, today the best analog source is the turntable, nothing else.



My main idea was to build a turntable starting from hi-end spare parts like Rega RB300 tonearm and Origin Live or J.A. Michell platter/bearing system. Talking about the motor controller, I have no problem to create a good PWM with a Microcontroller in order to drive an hard-disk stepper motor as shown in Ing. Charles Altmann's  idea

After a long discussion with a friend of mine, who has a lot of experience with turntables, this project has been temporary suspended. He asserts that the main sound characteristics of a turntable  depend on two components impossible to build at home: the tonearm and the cartridge.
Therefore, I have started to evaluate the different offers on the market and I have identified the following interesting products in their category.

Rega Planar 3 / P3

glass platter
AC motor


value about  300 including the good RB300 tonearm


LINN Sondek LP12


value about  1500 including the tonearm


J.A.Michell Engineering  Gyro SE

Spider chassis, suspended stable sub chassie
Massive acrylic/vinyl platter
Inverted oil-pumping bearing 
High-quality standalone DC motor 
value about 1200 including the good RB300 tonearm


Origin Live AURORA MK2

Platter made of propritery material.
Highly rigid sub-chassis exibiting low resonance due to its unique, centre point support arrangement.
Ironless DC motor design with no 'cogging' effect.

value about 750 without tonearm

All UK companies, someone will think I love only English products, but it is not true.
Probably there are also some Pro-ject, Thorenz , Dual and ClearAudio turntables with interesting characteristics.
As a starting point an used Rega Planar 3 or P3 seemed to be perfect to do the first experiment with an analog source.
The main part of this turntable is the very good tonearm used in many hi-end turntable with 4 x value.
Lots of people consider it a reference, even if I don't like the AC motor.
see The long way to the analog paradise