January 2022 Meeting – SOTA Turntables

It was a bitter cold early Saturday when I headed down to Rockville from Baltimore.

A snowstorm gave just a glancing blow with barely an inch of snow. Roads were clear and dry, making travel easy.

This month’s meeting, hosted by Ken Wolff of SOTA Tutntables and Command Performance’s Jon Archer, highlighted the new Nova VI and the Comet VI turntables. Ken has a beautiful home filled with an audiophile’s paradise of components. Ken is a professional musician (trombone) and worked with top tier orchestras and jazz groups. As an audiophile he demands an elevated level of gear to reproduce the music that he is so familiar with. I have owned a Star Sapphire since 1985 through many upgrades to Nova status in 2013. I met Donna Bodinet (SOTA) at Axpona 2013 where she explained the amazing SOTA customer service program which led me to upgrade my Star Sapphire to Nova status. SOTA is very loyal to its customers and provides a great trade-in and upgrade program.  Ken bested me with his 1981 Sapphire updated to current spec.

Donna is partially retired now and Christan Griego joined SOTA as the new Director of Development and Marketing in 2018. Having met Christan a few times at both CAF and Axpona, he is on a mission to bring SOTA back to be a major player in the turntable industry.

I purchased my SOTA to solve a problem I had while living in an older home. My system was on a weak wooden floor, and I could not walk across the room while a record was playing. This caused the arm to jump around damaging my precious LPs. I did some research and found Sota suspended tables. This solved my problem and I have been happy ever since.  SOTA’s suspended tables have the main bearing and the tonearm on a solid sub-chassis that is decoupled by springs from the rest of the world. I like to demonstrate this by banging on the oak outer plinth while a record is playing.

SOTA now has three series of turntables. The ultimate being the Statement Series including the Cosmos at $9,350 and the Millenia at $10,750. One can upgrade either of these fine turntables to vacuum hold down for around $1400.

The Heritage series includes the Sapphire IV at $3,975 and the Nova IV at $5,550. These can be upgraded to vacuum hold down for around $1,200. The vacuum hold down adds to the solidarity of the music signal.

The Urban Series consists of more budget friendly priced offerings. The Moonbean with tonearm is available for $1,375. The Escape, with a better controlled motor and Rega 220 arm, comes in at $1,700. The range is topped off with the Comet IV for $1,925. They are all made in America and back by SOTA’s pledge:

SOTA turntables have a lifetime trade-in value, your investment in SOTA will never become outdated. In twenty years you may want the new SOTA and you can trade-in your old model

SOTA website

We were treated to some particularly good pizza and liquid libations and the music was great too!

The DC Hi-Fi Group has scheduled the initial The Bit Parade listening session for February. The spotlighted recording will be a Japanese special 2016 DSD mix/master (Analog Productions) of the 1963 Leonard’ Bernstein/NY Philharmonic: Mahler’s Fifth Symphony in 5.1. Future Bit Parade listening sessions will include the SACD reissue of Complete Beethoven Symphonies: George Szell And The Cleveland Orchestra (stereo), The Alan Parson Project — Live In Columbia Blu-ray Concert (Hi-Res PCM 5.1), The Wes Montgomery Trio (SACD stereo), The Eagles – Greatest Hits (24/96 PCM files stereo) and The Isao Suzki Trio – Black Orpheus (DSD stereo). Members are welcome to suggest other albums.

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