Sumiko Pro-Ject RM-9 Reference Belt-Drive Turntable TurnTables

Pro-Ject RM-9 Reference Belt-Drive Turntable

User Reviews (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2  
Rick Lee   AudioPhile [Sep 21, 2007]
Strength:

Fully adjustable arm allows cartridge to be optomised and high performance patch cables to be substituted for factory ones. Arm works well with many MM and Moving Coil cartridges in the $80-$1,500 range. Definitely deserves an adjustable high quality phono preamp to show what it can offer.

Very good tone. Arm seems to not store energy (it's fast sounding) and plinth (base) seems to be solid and tight sounding. Strong recomendation that you buy or build an isolation platfom to sit it on to get rid of vibration distortion from you speakers which can leak into the plinth otherwise. Plus it will sound even tighter if you have it on a clean solid foundation.

A well pressed record that has been properly cleaned in a vacuum cleaning machine (like a VPI for instance) will sound much more alive and detailed than even a cost no object CD player. There are bad CDs and bad records out there but 99% of the time a record will sound the clear winner by a mile on a fair comparison. This table will prove it to ya!

Weakness:

Kind of plain vanilla looking. Plinth was painted grey on this model. Later models got a sexier looking black finish.

There are lots of competitors at this price point. I would bet if you go VPI, Music Hall or Pro-Ject ANYTHING you would be hard pressed to feel ripped off. It is sort of a golden age for tables from what I see out there and I have been doing this since Weathers and Empire were the names to be trusted.

Table was purchased directly from Sumiko on accomadation with older Sumiko Blue Point Special cartridge included. My store was a dealer but nobody seemed to be up on tables so I decided to be the guinee pig and bought this table because it seemed to have good basic design. I wasn't expecting much. My reference system is roughly $20,000.

I initially tried a Creek phono pre and sent the output into my reference system. The sound was quite detailed and much more alive than any CD player i had heard either in my system or at the store. We sold expensive gear including Krell, McIntosh, Sonus Faber and you name it. I was pretty impressed right off the bat.


I had vaguely remembered that vinyl sounded great way back in the day but this was beyond my wildest expectations. My equipment nowadays is miles ahead of what passed for excellent back in the 60s and 70s.

So that much was established. Tables definitely deserved a place in my system even if they are a pain to set up, clean records, watch out for scratches etc etc.

Then the Creek phono pre died just out of warantee. I had a dependable phono pre in a Bryston preamp but it was barely adequate. Quiet yes. But no balls or detail or three dimensional palpability.

And I had a lingering feeling that the old model Blue Point Special was a bit hard sounding and even screechy the more I listened to it. I was fast becoming picky as the much higher resolution had spoiled me more and more. What to do?

After searching around quite a bit I decided the value priced Jolida model 9 tube phono pre was easily up to the task of running cartridges in the $500 to $1500 range including medium output moving coil types. I have been more than happy with how it works with every cartridge I have tried as it is just loaded with adjustments for input sensitivity, tone, power transfer, and output drive.

The Jolida appeals to me as it allows me to get every drop of performance out of it that it can offer. I would prefer that to a more accomplished unit that can not be optomised for best effect.

I bought a handful of cartridges (Ortofon, Sumiko, Grado) and had a blast seeing how many ways the table could provide thrills and chills musically speaking for not too much money.

Which leads me back to the RM-9, part two. This is where I decided to purchase Mikey Fremer's DVD on how to perfectly adjust a table. And boy that helped. I got more sound out of the cartridges and realized there was a lot left on the table, pun intended.

And then I spent a long time constructing various support systems to isolate the table from the floor and air bourne vibrations of my extremely powerful speaker array.

Again, bingo. The RM-9 really shines when set on a base of styrofoam, wood, rubber and sorbethane mixed up to de couple vibration. Then the arm and cartridge can give their all without adding any distortion to the sound. You hear everything much more detailed as though towells had been removed from over your speakers. My table now sits proudly on my home made stack of vibration killers. Hey it even looks cool as the wood part is high gloss black and it provided a spot to tuck away the Jolida.

IWhile on the subject of tweaks that are important let me add I experimented with turntable rubber record mats as the bare acrylic platter seemed to be asking for trouble. I tried the Sorbothane mat and it ruined my records by eating the vinyl right off them. Ooops. Then I tried Herbie's Way Excellent mat and folks we have a clear winner. This mat added tone galore to the mid bass and lower mids and took some of the hardness off the edge of the tone. Wow. Best mat and I tried probably four or five before finding it.

Overall I would say mission accomplished. The RM-9 really had a lot to teach me and a lot to offer as I went through the process of getting to know it better. If this is any indication of the rest of the Pro-Ject line (which the reviewers all seem to like very much) then I must add my thanks to Sumiko for importing such a fine company into the states.

I should add that I am in no way associated directly with the industry in a professional capacity anymore. This is not hype, just one man's opinion.

Lots of fun and highly recommended. Enjoy.

Customer Service

Best setup instructions in the business.

Similar Products Used: AR. Empire. Technics. SME. Garrard. Thorens. Weathers.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Richard Lee   AudioPhile [Jun 14, 2007]
Strength:

The RM-9 allows all the important set up parameters to be tweaked to get your cartridge to sing at its best. You can straighten the stylus, vary your needle's angle, play with anti-skating and move the cartridge around easily for correct protractor degree match. All these parameters have a huge effect on whether or not you will hear every last drop of quality from your records.

After trying the table with the Sumiko "Blue Point Special" high output moving coil cartridge ($400) and inadvertantly snapping off the stylus (they Warn you how easy the BPS is to break---they are not kidding!). Sound was detailed but screechy. This was with the built in $350 phono preamp option on my $2000 Bryston BP25 preamp.

Before I bumped the needle I tried a Creek phono pre for a couple weeks till it died in the left channel. The Creek still left a lot to be desired in the upper bass lower midrange "punch" department. Then it broke. This was not fun.

So I decided to start from square one with an inexpensive MM cartridge, the famous Ortofon OM10 at about $75! It's supposed to be clean, loud and detailed. And downright cheap.

Guess what? After mastering all the tricks of cartridge set up this sounded pretty darn good. A big improvement over the "disconnected hyper detailed but harsh BPS." Extremely competent if slightly less than exciting... And this with the built in phono pre in the Bryston. I should add that Sumiko meanwhile has upgraded the BPS and supposedly eliminated the harshness. But for the money the Ortofon is just a total steal and I am grateful I got one no matter what. A great cartridge to learn on.

Feeling that the $350 Bryston phono stage was holding me back I then popped for a $500 fully adjustable tube phono stage from Chinese company "Jolida." After dialing in all the electrical parameters on the "JD-9A" phono pre all I can say is good golly WOW! The Jolida allows you to vary gain, impedance and capacitance over a wide range of values. It really matters in getting the punchiest most detailed sound out of a cartridge. Just as cartridge set up matters too.

And it immediately demonstrated what proper physical setup and proper electrical devices (phono pre) can do to give you the full on power of vinyl. Even the inexpensive little Ortofon is sounding full, musical, powerful and has great soundstqging.

All right let's be honest---the midrange is all there but still not "magical" or capable of letting you hear rosen scraping bows on violins or sending goosebumps down your spine. But darn close! Those strings are definitely "singing." And you have to know what is missing or you would be thrilled at this level of sound for not much money. And probably stop right there and be pretty happy.

But now that things are humming my next stop is to turn up the gain on the Jolida and do everything all over with a very highly regarded low output MC cartridge---the Shelter 501 MC at $850. I have cranked up the Jolida to see how noisy it will be turned up this loud (MC cartridges are "weak" and need tons of volume to sound loud). It should not be a problem. The Jolida seems like a terrific phono pre for $500 to say the least. Loud clean, detailed and pretty darn quiet for tubes!

I'm having a blast. Vinyl is everything they say it is. "Alive" "detailed" "better room sound and reverb tails than CD" "more magical." And soon I hope it will blow away my CD outboard DACS and take its rightful place as "best available high end format." ha ha ha. Not bad for a veritable antique format!!! Gimme Shelter.

This table is letting me fool around with some pretty accepted "classic" accesories and really hear what all the fuss is about. Not bad considering it does not cost a fortune.

Whoever reads this let me say again, a "hot sounding" phono pre amp and a "classic" phono cartridge are both mandatory to hear what this or any table can do. Just buying the RM-9 and sticking it into "phono" will not get the job done. Sorry. Spend the other bucks necessary and then you will have the real deal.

Weakness:

None, except the RM-9 is kinda "homely." Not a bit of black gloss or shiny chrome to gawk at. The coolest part is the arm which is carbon fiber and looks kinda high tech. Oh and the record clamp is awesome. The rest of the table is grey paint over MDF...not exactly sexy.

But pretty is as pretty does. And this table is all I need for a $20,000 system. Maybe if I buy a new house and more expensive equipment I will have to go shop for a higher quality device. But please, for what it does how can you beat it?

And as for all those folks who have a stereo that is incapable of rendering timbre of instruments accurately (and there are TONS of screechy "accurate" speakers out there my friends...). I am sorry but ALL of this will be lost on you until your set can actually show what is really happening.

What I mean is that it is possible to build a set for not much money using perhaps a pair of the classic British BBC speaker monitors like Spender or Harbeth or Stirline, and then you will hear all these differences for the joys they are.

But all too frequently today's modern speakers and home theater digital recievers and such simply drain all the life out of the sound. No table will make a difference then. And you will scratch you head and wonder what the heck we table nuts are talking about...

Entry Level High End Table

Customer Service

The boys at Sumiko are extremely good about helping customers. I would have to give them credit for truly complete instructions on both the table and the BPS. It was like getting a master's lesson on how to get everything just right. I used all their info and Michael Fremer's excellent DVD on table setup to get things totally 100% and boy what a difference!

Buy Michael's DVD if you want to learn how to set up a turntable perfectly.

Sumiko people are also great at speaker set up and seem to have "expert level" information for everything they handle. Most impressive. Thanks for getting me back into vinyl...it's a gas gas gas...

Similar Products Used: This is my first new table since an Empire Troubador and a "reference grade" direct drive Sansui with Ortofon Moving Coil with transformers back in the 70s. Also used to own an AR table with Shure V15.

Like a lot of folks I bought into CD and digital. Still love digital because I have the right gear (finally) to get a huge sound out of CDs. But the LP format just has SOOOOmuch more detail when it is head to head on equally well pressed recordings.

This stuff does go in cycles... Back in 1964 I had an extremely fine "Weathers" moving coil table in the earliest days of stereo. Today it would cost $3000. Wish I still had it. It was phenomenal and had the head amp built in to the base.

Collectors item, I am afraid. And frankly I would be surprised if my little RM-9 isn't a better table what with all the intervening years for perfecting the art...
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-2 of 2  

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