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I recently acquired an 90's spu and an older ortofon arm. Oh my. Very impressed. Beats every thing I have tried to date (zu 103, dynavector 10x5, benz ace, and ortofon m2 black). This is the entry level classic. I can't imagine what the upper level models sound like.

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You have two TD-124's? What are the arm/carts you are using? I am assuming one of them has the Ortofon arm with SPU? You say this sounds better than the Zu 103 you have tried?Can you say exactly what sounds better? More detail and open?

What arm were you using with the Zu 103? Also, is it the 103 or 103R?

I know Allan Songer swears by the SPU cartridges, but I have been a little leary of getting them used. I also know they have their own built-in step-ups, and was wondering how that would sound with the BBX and Cream. I guess I do have a phono input that doesn't have thestep-up transformer.



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I have two td124 set up right now. I sold one to a friend. He brought it back to me for a cartridge alignment so it is sitting in place of my cd player for testing. His has an origin live modified rega 250 arm with an ortofon M2 black.

I have tried multiple configurations with both tables including the following equipment.

Rega 300 tonearm with techno weight

SME 2009 SII improved tonearm

Bluenote B5 tonearm

Vintage Empire Tonearm

Zu 103

Micro benz ace h

Dynavector 10x5

Vintage signet MC

Vintage ADC

Ortofon M2 Black, Blue

Shure m97xe

Current set up is the vintage ortofon rmg 212 arm with the spu classic from the 1990s. The step up in an old in line version model sl15e (http://www.soundfountain.com/amb/ortofon_trafo_sl15e400.jpg). The spu is richer and more dynamic in all respects. This is especially noticeable in the mid and low ranges. I particularly notice a tighter bass response. I think this setup is just what goes with this table.

I agree with the stereophile review on the Zu (http://www.stereophile.com/phonocartridges/1207zu/). It is a modified denon 103. I have an armboard with the rega 300 tonearm and the Zu 103 ready to change out if the the mood strikes me. It is my next best setup.

I may move it to one of my thorens td150s. The rega/zu setup seems to sound its best on a suspension table.

I am looking forward to my warranty replacement eastern electric minimax phone stage. It should show up any day. The old one had been problematic before I got the ortofon setup. It will be interesting to test the vintage step up against the low input on the minimax.

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  • 1 month later...


Nice to hear from you again.

I am looking for SPUs without the transformer but they are very hard to find. The only other option is to buy the ones in need of repair and have them re-tipped.

Do you have a favorite place for re-tipping? I tried Garrott bros but was not too happy. May be I didn't wait long enough for it to burn in - if there is such a thing.

I had also contacted Wyndham Hodgson in the UK three years ago and I was quoted 250GBP for a standard re--tipping job.


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Hey Bliss I just received my Jelco 12 inch tonearm. There is a heavier counterweight that can be used with the SPU. There seems to be lots of upgrades for this Jelco. Have you spent much time with the Ortofon M2? I'm going to start with an M2 and the Ortofon 78.


I am making my first test one layer plinth. This is just a rough version so my brother knows where to put all the cuts for the final product. It should be a 10 layer plinth. Plenty of mass.


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That table looks like a beauty. I know nothing about re-tips. I hear good things about soundsmith. Do they do spus?

I am really enjoying the spu. The old step up is part of the magic. I used the step up with the Zu 103 and it really sounded alot better. The spu is still top of my heap. Found myself thinking about a longer arm. Anyone ever hear this one? http://www.thomas-schick.com/arm01.htm

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If I ever put together a table for my second system (I have an old Rek-O-Kut sitting in mothballs that I have been meaning to do something with for 10 years or more), I would love to give this arm a go. Right now I have a 12" Ikeda and a 3012 on the TD-124 -- I use a current production SPU mono on the 3012 and run it though a pair of Jorgen Schou transformers into the C22 and an 1960's vintage SPU GT on the Ikeda and run it straight into the C22.

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  • 2 months later...

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