Alphason Sonata (and HR 100S arm with V.D.H wiring)

Marco

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Hi Guys,

Following on from the helpful and erudite responses I received regarding my recent interest in the Sony R-1 transport and DAC (which has now arrived chez-moi and sounds scarily good - review soon!
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) I have the opportunity to purchase an Alphason Sonata (mint condition)in a Rosewood plinth, complete with off-board power supply, and including the renowned HR 100S tonearm with the V.D.H wiring. The deck will cost me £1000 (prior to haggling!) and will form part of the 'classic' system I am building, alongwith the Sony.

From memory, the Sonata was veryhighly regarded in the mid to late 80s, and was quite a bit more expensive thanan LP12, however I have never heard one, and wondered what was the view of the assembled cognoscenti?
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How would you describe its sound (say compared to an LP12)? Anddoes anyone know how much they used to sell for?

Cheers in advance!

Here's a pic of the HR 100S (can't find any decent pics of the Sonata):

alphasonhr100s1.gif


 
M

murray johnson

Guest
Hi Marco,

The Sonata was an interesting deck in that it used 2 motors which can result in much better stability when the music gets busy. However it also used some very heavy stuff for the platter/subchassis and (possibly as a result) had a very dark but powerful sound. (read some of y'days LP12 thread for more on that thinking). With two motors you don't necessarily need a great heavy platter.

The HR100 was a lovely arm mechanically although I'm not a fan of vdH cable and would have all of it ripped out and replaced with something that sounded nice. That Audio Origami chap could probably do that reasonably cheaply.

If you did that you'd have a pretty tasty front end which ought to more than give your LP12 a run for its money.

 
M

murray johnson

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I think the Sonata was maybe £600 when a Linn was £450 ish. £1000 for the combo seems alot. £600-700 would be more like it. It must be 20 years old.

I saw a Goldmund Studio sell on eBay for about £450the other week. Would've eaten either the Linn or Alphason for breakfast. Trouble was it was in Oz!

 

griffo104

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murray johnson wrote:

I think the Sonata was maybe £600 when a Linn was £450 ish. £1000 for the combo seems alot. £600-700 would be more like it. It must be 20 years old.I saw a Goldmund Studio sell on eBay for about £450the other week. Would've eaten either the Linn or Alphason for breakfast. Trouble was it was in Oz!
Something like this maybe :

http://sphl.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/buy_cl.pl?anlgtabl&1152168519

mmmmm, yummy
500000033.gif.92511e2005a900cfb9bb836a01712b3a.gif


Apologies to Marco for something with nothing to do with the Alphason but I couldn't help myself.

 
M

murray johnson

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I was never convinced by the arm but that is one hell of a turntable.

 

Testure

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The price seems a bit steep. I remember being offered theSymphony (piano black finish)plus same arm back in the late 90's for around £1200. Was very tempted,but then got an offer on an Orbe I couldn't refuse.

Does anybody know the main differences between the Sonata and Symphony. Was the power supply and finish the main difference?

Testy

 
G

Guest

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awesome deck marco far better than some certain decks. my dealer friend loves them and says that and the rock reference are two of the best decks ever made.

he is always buying alphason sonata's when he finds one.

he may have one if your interested. i can call him for you if you want? looking forward to you coming to tierp and having a good piss up( on you of course as i'm a tight fucker)

 

yoda900

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Sonata /Atlas psu £1235 in1994

Symphony + psu £1860

HR100S MCS £550

LinnLP12-lingo/ekos £2642

Hope this helps for comparison purposes. The Linn and the Symphony were both rated G+ ( ie good + not E - excellent)

£1000 seems steep. I picked up mint but elderly £8K pre power for £800

If you want a classic look for a Logic DM101? TT. the later one with three point suspension and spring mounted under bearing assembly. Immense isolation of the platter / arm from rest of deck. Bang fist hard on surround whilst deck playing and the thing does not miss a beat. If you can find one will be dirt cheap and put a classic arm onit like a Zeta.

 
P

purplepleaser

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I have a Logic DM101.Lilolee gave it to me. Needs a motor.

 

Marco

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murray johnson wrote:

Hi Marco,The Sonata was an interesting deck in that it used 2 motors which can result in much better stability when the music gets busy. However it also used some very heavy stuff for the platter/subchassis and (possibly as a result) had a very dark but powerful sound. (read some of y'days LP12 thread for more on that thinking). With two motors you don't necessarily need a great heavy platter.

The HR100 was a lovely arm mechanically although I'm not a fan of vdH cable and would have all of it ripped out and replaced with something that sounded nice. That Audio Origami chap could probably do that reasonably cheaply.

If you did that you'd have a pretty tasty front end which ought to more than give your LP12 a run for its money.
Hi Murray,

Thanks for your thoughts - they are much appreciated!
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You've pretty much summed up how I thought the deck would sound. Ithink thedeck's inherenttendency to sound "dark" will be somewhatamelioratedin myset-up, and the overall tonality of the deck will be furtherinfluenced by cartridge choice. I'm not sure what I'll use there yet, maybe a Decca? I take your point about the V.D.H cable (it's the 'mono crystal' type I think), although itis saidto work well with the arm. However, I know from experience how influential arm cableis and if necessary I will check out alternatives. This deck also has the bigger power supply, which was laterused on the Symphony. Apparently it is one of the last madeSonatas, which Mike Knowles had adapted for use with the bigger PSU.

I think you've got the price spot on, too. I remember it being a couple of hundredpounds more than an LP12, which made itquite anexpensive deck inits day. I've seen the deck in the flesh at the dealers,but there wasn't time to listen to it after listening to the Sony CDP. The Rosewood plinth is absolutely gorgeous with some beautiful graining evident on the wood. And the HR 100S is an absolute corker of a tonearm - I've always loved it! I would imagine that the Rosewood finish on the Sonatawas an optional extra, and together with the larger PSU and the fact it is in such mint condition, is why the dealer is looking for £1000. I will get it for less, though!
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I'm looking forward to hearing it properly, and incidentally, will be listening to a mint condition Roksan Xerxes 'Cognoscenti' at the same time. Do you have any thoughts on that deck? Anyway, I'll keep you posted and let you know how I get on.

Cheers.

Marco.

 

Marco

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Cheers for the other comments, guys. I'll reply to them in due course. Right now, though, I'm off to listen to some music on this wonderful Sony R-1!
cool.gif.9d6c72c555b38e519336a6d9b55ca875.gif


It blows my old Naim CDS2/XPS2 combo into the weeds!
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M

murray johnson

Guest
Your findings with the Sony don't surprise me at all. When the Japanese had a mind to, with their top end products, they could make stuff that would equal or beat just about anything. My Technics SP10 is imho another example of this. Papa's new Teac, the Sansui TU X1 tuner. The big Micro Seiki's. They know what they are doing despite parochial bleatings to the contrary about British HiFi.

Never was a fan of the Xerxes. Always sounded flat & rather undynamic to me. I didn't like the way it worked either. The rubber suspension, the motor being able to spin backwards. There's only one place you can get constant speed from in a TT and thats the motor. You'll only get that if you hold the motor housing still & let the pulley turn relative to it at the right speed. I'm sure many woulddisagree but I'd rather use a well set up LP12. I can't remember what else the Cognoscenti version brought to the party.

I sound like a bit of an anorak about these TT's but I like them, I like trying to understand why they all sound the way they do.

 

Marco

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griffo104 wrote:

Something like this maybe :http://sphl.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/buy_cl.pl?anlgtabl&1152168519

mmmmm, yummy
500000033.gif.92511e2005a900cfb9bb836a01712b3a.gif


Apologies to Marco for something with nothing to do with the Alphason but I couldn't help myself.
Hi Griffo,

No worries, dude
cool.gif.9d6c72c555b38e519336a6d9b55ca875.gif


Thread drift is inevitable and usually makes for more interesting reading. Love the Goldmund, but if we're talking pant-wetting desirability, this for me is the ultimate:

[align=center]
347_website2_ezr.jpg
[/align]

500000033.gif.92511e2005a900cfb9bb836a01712b3a.gif
:shaggers:Oooh aaah, EMT, my baby!!

 

Marco

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rudolph hucker wrote:

awesome deck marco far better than some certain decks. my dealer friend loves them and says that and the rock reference are two of the best decks ever made.he is always buying alphason sonata's when he finds one.

he may have one if your interested. i can call him for you if you want? looking forward to you coming to tierp and having a good piss up( on you of course as i'm a tight fucker)
Hi Rudi,

Far better than some certain decks? Look, ya know that ya love the ol' Linny, really:D

It'll be interesting doing the comparison when I have both decks at home
wink.png


Cheers for the offer from your dealer, but I've got the Sonata sorted. Yeah, I reckon it'll be a really cool deck once I've got it set up the way I want it, and on Phase 17 Mana, of course!
tongue.png


I'm looking forward to the Tierp trip, too, and checking out the local talent. You'd better warn them in advance!
biggrin.png


Drinks are on me, as long as you keep your skidmarked pants out of site :raoflmfao:

 

Marco

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yoda900 wrote:

Sonata /Atlas psu £1235 in1994Symphony + psu £1860

HR100S MCS £550

LinnLP12-lingo/ekos £2642

Hope this helps for comparison purposes. The Linn and the Symphony were both rated G+ ( ie good + not E - excellent)

£1000 seems steep. I picked up mint but elderly £8K pre power for £800

If you want a classic look for a Logic DM101? TT. the later one with three point suspension and spring mounted under bearing assembly. Immense isolation of the platter / arm from rest of deck. Bang fist hard on surround whilst deck playing and the thing does not miss a beat. If you can find one will be dirt cheap and put a classic arm onit like a Zeta.
Hi Yoda,

Cheers for the info.

The prices you quoted are roughly what I imagined they'd be. Like I said, I'll definitely not be paying £1000 for the Sonata - my haggling skills are will see to that
cool.gif.9d6c72c555b38e519336a6d9b55ca875.gif


Yeah, the Logic DM 101's a good call and I may investigate. Nothing's definite at the moment. The Sonata came up, and it's such a mint and well-specifiedexample that it's definitelyworth consideration.

We'll see what happens.

 

Marco

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murray johnson wrote: Your findings with the Sony don't surprise me at all. When the Japanese had a mind to, with their top end products, they could make stuff that would equal or beat just about anything.

Hi Murray,

I totally agree with that statement!

When I was at the dealers, he demo'd the Sony CDPalong with an absolutely gorgeous hi-end Sony pre and power amp (I can't remember the model numbers). Both were immaculately built and sounded awesome. The power amp was huge and kicked out 250w (into 8ohms). It was sat in between a pair of Eggleston Works floorstanders (connected with Cardas cable), which completed the system. I've heard some seriously good hi-end kit in my time, and that Sony combo was way up there with the best, including the Naim 552/500!
wink.png


I had an idea the Sony R-1/DAS-1 would be good, but I must admit that I'm a bit surprised at just how good it actually is. It's amazingly detailed and pulls an incredible amount of information from discs, but it doesn't do so in an over-analytical way - it just sounds very musical and informative. Tonality-wise, some had said that it was lean in the bass, but certainly in my system that is not the case. It handles bass immaculately, in my opinion, it's tight and tuneful, and not overblown like you getwith some hi-end CDPs. Basically when bass is on the recording it's reproduced withscale and authority.The midrange is accurate sounding and communicative, and the treble is detailed, but sweet. It's actually a very analogue sounding player, which is a trait I've noticed with hi-endmulti-bit players. The Marantz CD7 also hassimilar qualities.

In my opinion, and based on what I've used and heard recently it's on a par with CDPs around £10k, which considering I got it for less than £2k (no, I'm not saying exactly how much:p), it's a bit of a bargain. It's certainly better than the CDS2/XPS2 I had before, and also better than any CDS3 I've heard. I've also heard some Audio Aeros and Wadias that didn't sound any better.

So you've got a Technics SP10? Yummy! I like those almost as much as EMTs
smile.png


What arm and cartridge combination are you using with it, and do you have any photos?

I sound like a bit of an anorak about these TT's but I like them, I like trying to understand why they all sound the way they do.
Nah, you don't sound like an anorak at all. I have a fair bit of knowledgeof T/Ts myself, but it's always interesting hearing other people's opinions. You've obviously got a fair bit of experience and done some experimenting, so it's useful reading what you have to say
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Biscuit

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might be getting a Sony TTS-8000 into the Biscuit Tin soon Marco - will leave that Alphason hanging out to dry for sure - some say it even surpasses an SP10Mk2;)
cool.gif.9d6c72c555b38e519336a6d9b55ca875.gif


the guy who runs thevintageknob runs one
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Marco

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Biscuit wrote:

might be getting a Sony TTS-8000 into the Biscuit Tin soon Marco - will leave that Alphason hanging out to dry for sure - some say it even surpasses an SP10Mk2;)
cool.gif.9d6c72c555b38e519336a6d9b55ca875.gif
the guy who runs thevintageknob runs one
smile.png
Hiya biscuit,

I haven't heard of the TTS-8000 - is it a heavy-duty built like a brick shit house mothafukka, i.e. yertypical Sony hi-end kit?
tongue.png


I bet it will be good. One thing I love about the SP10, for example, is its bass power - man that thing packs a punch and drives the music along with such verve and intensity!
shock.gif.7732780fe7e208b945ce79ca96402fca.gif


If the Sony has those kind of characteristics, then I'll have to add it to my list of 'audio porn' toute suite
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