Strange, did Fremer not have problems setting up the suspension, ala JV., or did choose not to delve into it?
Here is JV's review:
"I listened first as Oracle's Jacques Riendeau installed the Delphi Mk.VI with the SME arm and Benz-Micro Thalia cartridge."
Uh, Mr. Riendeau did not "install" the Oracle for me.
Note, as well, that Michael has had decades of experience with the Oracle Delphi (including I suppose experience with the peculiarities of its setup). Although I'd heard it hundreds of times over the years, the Delphi VI was, as I noted in my review, the first Oracle I'd had in my system and setting it up for the first time (on my own) was, as we used to say back in the 60s and 70s, "a trip."
However, he did switch to the Graham arm, which would mean a new setup?
Swapping arms might require adjusting the height (i.e., tensioning) of the spring towers, depending on how much more or less the Graham weighs compared to the SME V. It would certainly require re-adjusting overhang, VTA, VTF, etc. I didn't switch out arms, so I don't know for sure.
I was a little surprised by Michael's scanting of the Benz LP S-MR (assuming, of course, that he heard the MR [MicroRidge stylus] version of the cartridge, which might not be a fair assumption). The MR is one very transparent cartridge. I believe HP currently uses it as his reference and it is certainly a favorite of mine. OTOH, I gather that Michael and I agree about the Ortofon A90 and, as you know if you've been reading TAS, disagree with Harry.
Ain't hi-fi fun?
Thanks for a very informative review.
So....the new SME 20/3 or the Delphi VI ?
Now that is the question.
I can get them for about the same money but have little chance of an audition living on Maui.
I am an original Oracle Mk1 owner...albeit upgraded....the table not me!
Either 'table is a hefty investment. A trip to the mainland might be in order.
Eventually that's what I will do.
Just thought I'd get a bit of preliminary feedback.
Each 'table has it's own "flavor"........................................................................
For me, no contest. The SME will be better built , more thoroughly engineered, a great deal less fiddly and will stay in tune for many years.From what I have heard of the Oracle,the SME will also sound more 'grounded' and powerful. However, the Oracle wins if you most want good looks (I should say I use an SME deck, and have also owned several Oracles.) Mind you, living on Maui aren't you supposed to spend every waking minute surfing and looking like male models (I've seen Haiwai O Five!)
Yeh true...but it does get dark here so time for some tunes.
Everything I've read leads me to agree with your assessment especially regarding the sound. I also own an Oracle and I really love the nibble nature of the sound. I find it very lifelike. Transients and speed are wonderful. I have read that the SME's can be a bit more solid in the bass with a possible darkening of the overall picture.
Oracles are a bitch to set up but having done so i have not found that they drift too much. And the build quality is really good nowadays. Maybe not quite in the tank league as the SME.
Which SME do you use?
I used the model 30 for ten years (trying other decks along the journey); these days I use the 30-12. I love it, but given the cost I need to! The new SME20-3 appears to be rather special because it incorporates what has been learnt as the factory upgraded the various models. It is easy to forget that the original decks appeared twenty years ago...SME changes stuff quite rarely and when it does there is good reason. Ken Kessler in Hi Fi News seemed very keen, an experienced friend who has heard the 20-3 says it is very special. I think that these decks do have a very solid ands grounded sound, somehow it is reassuring to use. But the Oracle has its own charms...although, in the earlier versions, I found them a bit lightweight and inconsistent. But the looks are to die for.... by the way, there is an interesting film on You Tube of a (rare) visit to the SME factory. You get an idea of how obsessive they are(I live quite near so that could be another reason for my bias in their favour...but we don't get the surf..or the sun.)
As I have owned various Oracles over the last twenty four years and now have the current version, I am surprised at the constant references to difficulties in setting them up. It's true that if you buy a factory new one you need to have a good cofee in hand and spend about two hours installing & adjusting the springs etc. but that's a one time deal and none of mine ever drifted "out of tune" even when transporting them around town (try moving a Linn around and hear what happens, I have).
As well, my latest one was already set up by a reviewer and shipped across the continent by UPS; the unpacking and "assembly" took twenty minutes and it ran perfectly.
Yes that is what I also found.
Set it and leave it seemed to work.
Do you now own the Mk VI? If so how does it sound over the MkV?
Sorry, I erred; my version is the MK V not the VI. I owned an updated (new platter pad) MK II for many years and last year bought the V. My SME V arm remained in both and truthfully, the upgraded table's sound is only marginally better than the earlier version; both had an extended, wide and glarefree soundfields. Undoubtably the slightly elevated bass region of the SME V (according to most reviewers) may counter any supposed lightness in the table. Far, far more obvious (as one would expect) was my change from a Benz cartrideg to a Clearaudio Insider wood, though I'm not completely sold on this cartridge yet. The price of endless detail is just that, endless detail - which can mean more sruface imperfection noises and so on. First world problems as my daughter calls them.