It is interesting that any conversation about a specific technology in TT instantly get converted into conversation about brands. We were talking about idler roles and then we get embraced into thinking of Garrard vs. EMT. Perhaps it needs to be this way even though we all understand that quality of sound (positive or negative) from Garrard, Thorens, EMT, Lenco or from whoever is NOT only the result of idler drive.
I personally have no problems with idler drive if it make properly. What does it mean properly? It means that idler connection does not exhibit any negative impact to the performance of entire TT. I would not argue what is better: idler, belt, different versions of DD or some idiotically-exotic drive methods (like magnetic or jet). The whole point is that if a given drive was made good-enough in respect to own topology then the comparative predominance of individual drives shall be absolutely identical.
I think the only subject that might be under desiccation is not which drive is better but in what TT the given drive is implemented to its optimum best. I think in term of idler drive the EMT tables went further than anybody else. But again, it was not best idler drives but it was best environment for idler drives. The EMT 927 has a huge 16” platter and idler roll is grabbing in the middle. Only the gyroscopic effect of the platter shall make this configuration way beyond what flimsy Garrards or Thorens would do.
Would it mean that EMT tables have some kind of ultimate idler drives? Absolutely not. In fact there is no such a thing as ultimate solution for TT as all TT are made to fit very narrow and very specific requirements. In the past EMT were made for very limited and irrelevant today need of broadcast industry. Stitch is right – they did not even dream to get of TT the sound that we are trying to push out of it today. If the EMT tables perform today good then it is an accident – nothing more or less. It is like Germans, Italians of Brits made some tube in end of 30s and they have the objective that today would make us to laugh. How the hell they know that in 70 years their tubes will be considered as some kind of reference in the sonic condition that did not even exist at that time?
I disagree with Stitch view that science today has anything to do with sound of TT. The problem is that we do not have in today’s world serious sciences who work on design and assessment of turntables. Sure, we have a number of talented people who with best objective come to audio and try to use what they have to make an interesting TT. The problem is that if they succeed then it take unavoidable 2 years of industry involvement that will convert any talented and wiling individual into a another industry deadbeat. As the result all contemporary TTs are not made not to serve the sonic demands but to satisfy the demands of marketing campaign that were redeveloped to publicize worthless BS around the TT.
Anyhow, the side-subject of this topic is a very sad fact that we do not a true knowledge how our top of the line TTs sound in reality and how this or that technology work in them. If you take 20 top-flying of TT today then do we really know how they sound? I do not think so. Those turntables temporary owned by a small group of industry pimps who customary have very bad sound in their listening rooms and who pay mortgages and put kids though colleges by talking about turntables. Also, those turntables owned by a small army of the industry followers – the Robb Reports junkies – who suck in the publicity waves and buy in what they were told. They might be fine people but in term of independent sane audio judgment then are no different than the shit that flow in sewers in accordance with the rules of simplistic gravity. As, the result 95% of top flying TT in the hands of the people who are not able to give evaluation to the technologies that were used to make those turntables.
A good case to point. My EMT guy that I told above has also a tope of the line Micro. Over the year we have a number of desiccations: what TT has better bass 927 or Micro. Here is an interesting twist: we did this thinking not to convince anybody else but for ourselves and over the years (!!!) he using both of the TTs realized that he can’t answer this question. Interesting is that I do not agree with my friend’s playback and particularly with bass that he is getting but I very much understand how he feel about hit TT comparing. If criteria of interest is not the superficial BS that need to be delivered to somebody with objective “to convince” but own deep interest on the subject then it is very difficult to find satisfactory answers. We do not know how our “best” TT performer as we do not have a framework where a nature interest in TT Sound will be exposed to public without any agenda. With TT we are in managed environment where opinions are passed as tools of same not the properly of actual performance.
Therefore, looking at all of it I do not believe in any conversations about TT. I think a TT much be comfortable for a person to use - nothing more. Everything else is included into the person private thinking about his TT, his sound and how to convert from one into another….The Cat
"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche