Direct Drive turntables -- Thu, 05/13/2010 - 22:14

I have been listening to a friend's Denon 6000 direct drive turntable with an old Micro seike (sp?) arm sitting next to a Basis Debut; and sometimes the Denon sounds better.  Am I nuts? -- Thu, 05/13/2010 - 22:16

Do others have experience with some of the better old direct drive tables? What did you hear?


Curious (not verified) -- Sun, 05/23/2010 - 10:15

I have a Denon DP-59L and a Luxman PD444. Both are direct drive. The Luxman is superior to the Denon, but the Denon is an excellent deck in its own right. The motor is spot on and there is no noise from it that transfers to the record and thus to the stylus. It simply isn't the last word in resolution, and it's a self contained deck meaning that unless you're pretty skilled, you won't be taking on the task of removing the Dynamic Servo Tracer tonearm and replacing it with your arm of choice. After all, why ruin the value of a great vintage Denon as they are going up in value each year? I've compared it head on with a Basis 1400 with OL-RB300, and the Denon had much better pitch stability. The Basis had a blacker background. Both had great bass. Imaging was somewhat wider with the Basis, but not as deep and focused as the Denon. You are not crazy for feeling that the Denon sounded better than the Basis. Denon made great decks back in the day when Japanese manufacturers had the resources and know-how to build damn fine tables at a significantly reduced price compared to today's small production and inefficient operations.

The Luxman PD444 is another case entirely. The best way to describe this two arm deck is to call it a direct drive "VPI Classic", which has a very strong buzz among VPI enthusiasts. Both tables make wood sandwiches with metal that is bolted through. Both tables have their motor connected to the plinth. The VPI uses a belt to spin the platter, while Luxman tackled the issue of motor resonance by magnetically suspending the platter to the extent that half of it's weight has no effect on the bearing. And it's a heavy platter, make no mistake. I have a Signet XK50 ULM Tonearm with a Denon DL-103D in the slot #1 position and I also have an Audiocraft AC-300 with a Benz Micro ACE LO in the slot #2 position. This deck rests on two 2" thick maple slabs which are sandwiched by 4 Soundfusion VibraPods. It is an amazing deck, beautiful to look at, and one I will not be getting rid of. It has the pace and timing you would expect from direct drive, but it is every bit as black and focused and nuanced as my Thorens TD-2010 with the same arm/cartridge combos.

There's something about the great Japanese Direct Drives and let's face it, people are becoming more and more enthusiastic about them NOT JUST because of nostalgia, but because they rock! Think about Technics SP-10's, the great Kenwood's like the KP-990 and it's big brother-the legendary L-07D. Think about the big Yamaha's and the Exclusive/Pioneer decks which go for serious bucks over in Japan and the rest of Asia. Hell, JVC/Victor decks are being rediscovered and their prices on the used market reflect the growing interest. Why do you think there are hardly any new manufacturers offering Direct Drive decks? Because to make one as good as the Denon you heard, or my Denon or Luxman-they'd either have to charge an arm and a leg or perhaps they just can't do it. They can say what they want to the contrary, but outside of Goldmund, who else makes a Direct Drive?

SundayNiagara -- Sun, 05/23/2010 - 12:16

How do you know the motor isn't adding something to the flavor of the Denon? -- Mon, 05/31/2010 - 22:48

Hi Sunday,

I so not KNOW for sure that it is not a pleasant distortion added by the motor; but I have listened some more, and it seems a motor coloration would begin to impart a similar sound to all or most records. This I do not hear, yet anyway. How would you differentiate motor noise?


SundayNiagara -- Tue, 06/01/2010 - 06:57

"The motor is spot on and there is no noise from it that transfers to the record and thus to the stylus."

I was referring to this sentence quoted from Curious' post. How does he know? -- Mon, 05/31/2010 - 22:44

Thank you for all the info. I did not know there were so many different "respected" direct drive tables from the past; and apparently mostly from Japan. Others here have mentioned a few more. Are there any direct drive tables in current production that seem worth a listen?


SundayNiagara -- Sat, 05/15/2010 - 07:32

 Could it be the motor is adding something that you like? -- Sun, 05/16/2010 - 19:51

Hi Sunday,
Thanks for the reply. Maybe I am hearing the motor as a pleasant distortion; mu thought is not at this time. I played my records for hours on both tables, and the Denon seemed to involve me more; always a bottom line for me. I sent a longer reply and the site tagged it as spam???

davesykes -- Sat, 05/15/2010 - 23:22

Hi Sunday,
Possible, but this friend has been in the business for 30 plus years, has an SME 30, several other tables, many arms, and many high end cartridges cartridges.  The Denon DP 6000 is in a specially built base.  This is his conclusion after years of research, and I played my records for hours between the two tables.   They do sound Different, but the Denon may be more envolving for me, at least.  I use a Nottingham Space Deck with Ace Space Arm, and a Dynavector XV 1s.  Not the best, but good.  We both use mostly Pass Labs newer electronics.
Thank you for your reply.  I ask for help in understanding this.


Dismord (not verified) -- Sun, 05/16/2010 - 01:18

 Some years ago I ran a Denon direct drive TT with a Mission 774 arm . The sound was superb BUT only if it was mounted on a rigid, non-vibrating surface as there was no suspension. A very underrated design and one that has caused by to defeat the suspension on my VPI 'HRX' turntable to great effect. However, here again the VPI is mounted on a rigid & massive stand placed on a massive stone floor. Place any turntable on another than non vibrating surface and all  bets are off. -- Sun, 05/16/2010 - 19:54

Hi Dismord,
That is what my friend says, and pays a grand for a special base made in the East. He, like you, says no go without it. Interesting how you modded your VPI.


Dismord (not verified) -- Mon, 05/17/2010 - 02:32

" He, like you, says no go without it. Interesting how you modded your VPI." dsykes.....
VPI don't agree with my approach but I like what I hear much more without the suspension. Bass transients on my system are faster and more tuneful and I detect a slight improvement in ambience retrieval. Besides, I've always hated queuing up tracks on suspended turntables - makes me nervous all that wobbling. If I had the cash to splash though I'd install a TT with an air or magnetic bearing platter but who cares? Right now, o n the VPI 'HRX", with my 'unofficial' modification, well recorded vinyl just puts a big smile on my face. Don't get me wrong though, I now get just as much enjoyment out of well recorded Red Book CD's on a Meridian 808.2 player, the first one I've owned that to my ears equals vinyl and often SACD. -- Tue, 05/18/2010 - 22:08

Good for you for going with what sounds right for you. I think manufacturers probably do not liker to hear that an audiophile "tweeked" his/her product with positive results. I can understand that; but no product I have heard yet is, we have room to play. Love this hobby.

Wish some old Absolute sound guys would offer their experiences with the best direct drive tables. I know some of you guys KNOW.



Robert Harley -- Sun, 05/23/2010 - 20:44

We're interested in reviewing the Grand Prix turntable, which is direct-drive. The designer makes a good argument for direct drive, and the review will include a full exploration of direct drive and belt drive. -- Tue, 05/25/2010 - 19:42

Thank you, Robert.


Peter Ayer -- Mon, 05/24/2010 - 15:37

 That sounds great RH.  There seems to be a lot of discussion about DD turntables these days.  When do expect to publish that review?

herbemmons (not verified) -- Thu, 05/27/2010 - 17:25

   Does anyone have any expeience with or comments on a "Denon/VPI Hybrid" turntable....probably mid-1980's vintage?

SundayNiagara -- Thu, 05/27/2010 - 18:40

I believe it used a VPI base!

ANLGSD -- Sat, 07/28/2012 - 01:31

My SL-1210s from Technics are a true pride and joy.  I've even treated one of them to an absolutely gorgeous Ortofon LH-9000 carbon fiber headshell last year.  Sublimely smooth nirvana.

music is the answer.

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