To Garrett Hongo,
I just finished reading your insightful review of the TW-Acustic Raven 10.5 arm and saw in the equipment listing that you are using a Box Furniture rack. I am considering purchasing a Raven One from Jeff [Catalano] with either an Ortofon RS-309D arm or the TW-A 10.5 and I am also in the market for a new rack. I was considering a Steve Blinn Design frame and outfitting it with shelves made by Dan at edenSound, but I've always liked the look of the Box Furniture racks. I imagine the Box Furniture outperforms the Steve Blinn racks, but I have oddly shaped amps (Thöress) that are long and narrow and Blinn amp stands can be custom sized. If you have a moment, would you mind sharing how you like using that rack with your turntable? My floor is carpet over concrete if that makes a difference. Also, any information on other racks or isolation platforms that you have found to work well with your Raven would be greatly appreciated. If you get a lot of questions from readers and do not have time to respond, or if you simply prefer to not make recommendations, I will completely understand.
Thanks for your help and for the work you do for Ultra Audio. Your reviews really explore the fine details of the equipment and are full of great information, in addition to being fun to read. My kids think I'm a nut, but you like what you like!
Thanks for your comments. I like edenSound products and use their damping pucks in my system. And Steve Blinn has been an industry mainstay for a long time. But you're right about the look of Box Furniture racks and they work terrifically well, especially with tube equipment. I love mine -- just flat love it. I'd have written a review hadn't a few others for other magazines beaten me to the punch! Re: the Box vs. Blinn and customization. Anthony Abbate (who owns Box) can build your rack custom as well. He did mine. He said, "Essentially, every rack we build is a custom job anyway."
I have my TW-Acustic Raven Two sitting directly upon the top shelf of my five-shelf Box Furniture rack. I was thinking about adding another plinth, possibly from HRS or Symposium, but worried about adding even more height (my rack is already 47"H and I am 5' 8"), when Anthony politely suggested why not just try it with the 'table sitting directly on the top shelf? Well, I tried that and it was splendid! The only thing I've changed over time is the feet. It came with Millennium feet, which I did not like. I changed to the OEM Stillpoints that TW commissioned, which I believe are the M6 Stillpoints with risers. The change was like night and day. Then, just last fall, I switched to the Stillpoints Ultras under both the Raven 'table plinth and the motor pod. The results were outstanding -- gains in imaging, bass pitch and definition, treble air, and soundstaging. Another night-and-day difference.
You didn't ask, but I can say that both the Orton RS-309D and TW-Acustic Raven 10.5 arms are wonderful. I'd had some doubts about the performance of the Ortofon 12" arm, especially as it might compare with arms from EMT and Ikeda, but, though I've not compared it to those arms directly, I have compared it to the performance of the Raven 10.5 and it does very well indeed with the same cartridge, loading, and VTF. And two things to keep in mind about the RS-309D vs. Raven 10.5: the difference in arm length (12" v. 10.5") and that the Ortofon can accept SPU cartridges as well as the now standard half-inch. I got my Ortofon so I could explore the SPU world. If you listen to classical music a lot, though, the Raven 10.5 cannot be beat. Most sensitive, responsive arm I've heard. Quick and dynamic. Finally, Jeff knows his stuff and respects his clients. I'd really recommend letting him guide you. Here's a link to my road article on Jeff Catalano of High Water Sound. He would certainly be a great resource to you here. He has been to me. Good luck! . . . Garrett Hongo