Systemic Development > Analog Devices

The SAMA is in the house!

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Last week, after about 5 years of searching, I was finally able to get my hands on a VPI Standalone Motor Assembly (SAMA) for my TT. These motors have been out of production for many years and are very had to find for sale on the used market on their own as most people who have them either hold onto them or sell them as part of the package when they get rid of a TT. VPI still makes stand alone motors, but the HW-19 needs a special shaped case to fit in the corner and none of the current production units will slide into the corner and still have the shaft and pulley in the right place to line up with the hole in the plinth.

Enough about why they are so hard to find, one popped up on eBay and I grabbed it. It was in my hands in twos days and installed within hours of arrival.

I had never heard a direct A/B comparison of am HW-19 with and without a SAMA , but it was the only available VPI  upgrade for my HW-19 that I had not already done, so I wanted one just for completeness sake.

The instruction said that when properly set up the user could expect to hear greater detail and a better soundstage. This made perfect sense to me as removing the motor from the TT chassis would isolate any motor generated vibrations that would obscure micro details.  But they were absolutely correct.

With the SAMA installed I definitely got a better sense of detail Not overly etched and highlighted detail, but a better sense of realism about the instruments. Listening to the acoustic guitar into on Wish You Were Here I could hear a much clearer delineation between the string pluck and the body reverberation. Likewise when listening to Ben Webster I got a much clearer sense of the sax body in addition to the primary note.

When it came to soundstaging I heard clear improvements, but they were not what I had expected. usually we tend to thing of the soundtstage in terms of how big of an image gets projected or how far outside of the speakers does the image extend. And while some albums did present a somewhat wider soundstage this was not where most of the improvement came in. What I noticed right way was how the individual sounds within the mage were more clearly defined in the image. This applied not only to where they were, but also where they weren't. Instruments had a much greater sense of 'owning" the space they were in, that is they were more precisely located and there was also a great sense blank space between them.

The album that surprised me the most was Cantate Domino. The second track on the B side has long been my go to source for testing imaging. I will often play this before and after an equipment change because it throws a wide image and I can use the projected image of the choir to visually measure landmark the width using spots in my room.  What caught me off guard was that the width of the choir did not change much, but what did get push further out was the walls of the church. I had never heard the hall boundaries as distinct sonic elements with a different location  from the choir. While it makes sense that the recording was not set up so the ends of the choir were each up against the church walls I had never really heard the wall before.

So all in all I feel it was a very productive upgrade and was worth waiting for.

And of course it has inspired a lot of LP spins over the past few days that I will need to catch up on posting.   :roll:

Triode Pete:
Cool!  :thumb:

Enjoy, Tom!

PS - Time for me to spin some vinyl right now!


Come on Pete, it's always time to spin some vinyl.   8)

Barry (NJ):

Nice Tom, Your upgrade are always carefully thought out getting good value for significant improvements in SQ. Enjoy. Im jealous that I cant enjoy my system right now lol


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