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Drop the Needle

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At Drop, we’ve earned a loyal following through our exceptional headphone and headphone amp collaborations. From our original collaboration with the AKG K7XX back in 2014 to our best-selling Sennheiser HD 6XX and our newly-released Drop + THX Panda, we've worked closely with some of the industry's top names to develop great-sounding products for every listener. Having established ourselves in this area, we are now looking to branch out in the two-channel space, which includes speakers, turntables, and speaker amps. The Drop + Audio Technica Carbon VTA turntable will mark our first turntable collaboration.  While vinyl has remained a popular listening format among the dedicated, its popularity has skyrocketed in recent years to include many new fans searching for a more tactile music listening experience. As fans of vinyl ourselves, we created a great sounding turntable that hits all the marks: user-friendliness for new vinyl listeners, and exceptional performance for seasoned turntable users looking to upgrade.
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WallySpace
2
Oct 4, 2021
Hello, as a former HI End Audio (stereo) salesman here in So. Calif during the late 70's - mid 80's I can only attest to the 'Hi-end specs' and (usually handmade) traditions of creating amazing turntables, including linear tracking arms, direct-drive motors, and of course what most hi-end equipment junkies generally agree is the most stable, and noiseless (as the drive motor is theoretically isolated from the turntable cabinet) 'belt driven' table. In the belt-driven category, the holy grail of sound demands that the tonearm/cartridge/stylus has complete separation from any possible rumble (transference of motor shimmy, or vibration to the tonearm from the table/motor drive). After spending a fortune of paychecks during my ten+ years or so as a salesman working in little boutique shops catering to very wealthy, and or crazed and insanely demanding audiophiles that would NEVER use digital media (of that era) in their $100k (even into the MILLIONS of dollars with specially built environments made for stereo listening specifically) systems. Living and working in the Orange County/Newport Beach area this all was quite common at that time. Spending as much as $25k for pure silver speaker cables (really) to $100k TONEARMS ( w/NO stylus/cartridge), or $500k+ preamps and power amps, people like us were chasing what is called soundstage or three dimensional sound from two speakers. Using speakers like $150k Martin Login electrostatics, or MagnaPlaner Array, and on and on. I myself ran a LiNN LP table and arm from Scotland, countless cartridge/stylus configurations, Dalquists DQ10's speakers (and countless others on loan) but always powered with at least 100 watts minimum of tube-powered class 'a' amps (various brands, as I could borrow new demos from the manufacturers...those were the days!!!!!!). However, it was ALWAYS the turntable/arm/cartridge that was supercritical at the front end of the audio chain. You see all this kit HAD to work harmoniously to create the volume, presence, and that elusive 3d soundstage from just two speakers. Lack of system noise of any kind that could affect any of this system chain was a major goal. SO HERE IS THE POINT: If you had asked for a fully automatic turntable, you would have been laughed at in these high-end stores, and possibly told not to bother coming back. there was NO automatic anything in this rarified end of the listening community. Sure anyone could get the automatic 'record players' like Sony's, Techniques, Pioneer, and a slew of other mid-fi brands at Sears, Pacific Stereo, Cal Stereo. Stores that disappeared by the early to mid-nineties. The new Digital Sound (cd's) changed so that society became used to quick play, instant track choice, and memory functions not available in analog turntables (or cassette tapes). Soon a stereo was what your dad or grandparents had in their living rooms unplayed by the future generations because they weren't small and portable. Like the original mp3 players, which are NOW your phones. We have all been taught to listen to flat and tinny sound playing through crappy headphones and eeny teeeni speakers in your player of choice (your car is only a little better). I'm weeping just thinking of digital mp3 and Flac formats. It ain't the sound of analog vinyl, sigh. So the original 'audiophile' goal was to isolate a tonearm from motor rumble/movement which caused inaccurate playback of what was in the record groove, along with the way the arm translated the motion/vibration of the stylus's travel through the groove of the record. LP records are ALIVE when a stylus plays the etches in the groove of a moving record. Digital has no physical motion. It might sound good to you, but it is not ALIVE as with the sound created when originally recorded. The playing part of a hi-end Turntable is made up of gimbals with jeweled or micro-machined pivot points from exotic metals, along with incredibly engineered tonearms created with lightness and strength in mind, as well as the lack of mechanical energy transference from the stylus movement into the tonearm which could create a physical energy feedback loop that could incur microscopic interference of the correct travel of the stylus in the record groove i.e. loss of accuracy. This added minuscule vibration could add interfere with the tiny pure electrical current being made by the 'cartridge'. If not the sonically tainted signal was then sent to the pre-amp to be stepped up to the power amps etc. TRANSLATED: It would sound like streaming media through your cellphone into some earbuds. NO MAGIC You see, a clunky and extremely noisy table/motorized automatic tonearm unit would SOUND LIKE SHIT on a true audiophile system. The reason modern DJs like the Technics Turntable with the industrial 'S' tonearms (from the 80's) is because they have A DIRECT DRIVE MOTOR under the plater. These are sonically ham fisted with no effort to creates a sound stage. There is no requirement to 'warm up' the motor for 10 minutes BEFORE (on a belt drive) you even think of playing a 1/2 speed master P.F. Dark Side lp pressed in a limited run on one or two metal masters to protect the sound quality of the grooves. Of course these are then pressed on 18-20 gram (then usually German) virgin vinyl to eliminate noise from micro-divets created by bubbles that surfaced in the conventional pressing of standard vinyl records.  Yes I know, not enough periods. I'm a talker, not a typer. Anyway, THAT is why a new regular mass-produced vinyl records surface sounds noisy. WHEN BUYING LP'S TODAY BUY THE GOOD STUFF!!!! They sound better and literally sonically last long longer also. So that was my snobby world for a while.  IF you ever get to hear a system like I described above and play a half-speed DSOTM with a hi-end table - arm - cartridge, well, I GUARANTEE that the ringing of the clocks coming OUT OF THE SPEAKERS WILL LITERALLY FLY AROUND THE ROOM.........AROUND YOUR HEAD.........AROUND THE BACK OF YOU.......and then those clocks will all fall DOWN ON YOUR FREAKIN' HEAD BROTHER!!!!! AWESOMMMMME A digital format played through a digital device creating a digital signal (DAC or no DAC) into headphones, well it's not the same. My generation is used to waiting for our food, being patient, and getting little immediate gratification. Not much was fast compared to today. We were used to listening to one side of a record (usual 15 to 30 minutes a side) then having to get up, lift up the tonearm, and MANUALLY place it back on its holder (If you had a $1,000 dollar cartridge and stylus you would do the same). Then we would have to stop the player and turn over the record to play the other side. Putting it back on the platter, CLEAN THE SURFACE OF THE RECORD, manually place the tonearm onto the noisy leading groove and THEN you could go sit down and listen to the MAGIC HAPPEN!!!!!!!!!! It was so worth it. Really. So my hats are off to any of the Japanese, American, or Europen manufacturers still trying to create the magic for today's listener that is accustomed to digital streaming music on earbuds through their iPhones. It is so worth it friends! I promise..... Yours truly and a well meaning purest at heart, Wally Space Owner and sound engineer at Lost in Space Studio
davewave
3
Feb 9, 2022
WallySpaceso what do you think of this turntable set up?
AA21
0
Feb 20, 2021
I have a question. Is this turntable compatible with the UK mains supply?
Whitedragem
183
Nov 23, 2020
OK now I want to rep for Drop to all my local hifi stores. You have products that deserve to be in the retail channel ;-)
flipjohnson
7
Mar 14, 2021
WhitedragemThe reason why they are affordable is because they are not in retail stores
TheSurroundSound
5
Aug 18, 2021
flipjohnsoncase in point.
CDBaudio
34
Apr 30, 2020
I'll add something in here that no one has yet said. It is time for one of these nice turntables to offer automatic function. I cannot for the life of me understand how less is considered better in this regard (In a $300 to $600 turntable there should be no way it can add "noise" during the playing of a record). When I bought my first turntable in 1980, it was the fully manual turntables that were cheaper. If you look at what Technics, Pioneer, Denon, Sony, etc, they all offered an automatic feature back then (even the venerable Technics SL-1200 series), with their models adding semi-auto and fully auto function going up the line. It is simply insane to *want* the stress of knowing you have to get up at the end of the record to set the arm back on the holder. To be able to sit and ponder what one just listened to is what is missing when you use a manual turntable. I say it is time to start pushing the manufacturers to add these features to better quality turntables. The Audio-Technica AT-LP2/3, Pioneer PL-30K, Denon DP-300F, etc are simply the same cheapo mechanism that has been around since the Pioneer PL-900 and is used in the low end AT-LP60. They even have the same platter, but have a slightly better tonearm arrangement. Perhaps what Denon does on the DP-400 could be somehow adapted to this wooden plinth AT? It could be done with electronics and switches these days, and other no mechanical means. I say the Drop+AT Carbon VTA is a great start at upping the game of the average turntable. That tonearm has an awesome mount and lifter setup. I do wish it was S-Shaped to match the standard headshell from my Technics. If I decide to get one of the current Drop+AT Carbon VTA units, a Que-Up will be added immediately... :) Also, belt drive is a must. Every Audio Technica ("Super OEM") type of direct drive turntable these days has noise coming out of the motor, whether it be "cogging" or something else. I have a Pioneer PLX-500 that makes this noise, and there are multiple reviews of the high end AT-LP5(x) with the same issue. Maybe the next time out ? I'll agree with others here that an onboard preamp and/or USB function is superfluous for most who will buy in this price range. The savings could go into that automatic function... ;)
(Edited)
hafler1
8
Mar 17, 2021
CDBaudio I considered this table, I like the carbon tonearm and adjustable VTA. Seems like a decent table.. But I went with a Fluance RT82 & upgraded cartridge and platter. No onboard preamp, belt drive, manual start, platter stops rotating at the end.. Most of my tables are semi auto or full auto..
Draeftlore
45
Feb 27, 2020
Are you going to have external phono-preamp support? I like the look of this product and will defiantly be an upgrade to the "Cheap" multi-source system my parent's got me for Christmas no mater what, but I want to get a MC cartridge. Also integrated circuits is a no go. Please Please Please also make it a decent price. I would say no more than $650 because anything beyond that you would be competing with the schiit sol.
Benjie
2
Feb 25, 2020
Defiant no thank you. For the price I can get into an older Technics on eBay with way better sound and stability. For shame Audio Technica. Stay in your lane!
EntropyCollector
84
Feb 11, 2020
Some thoughts: a) Detachable RCA cable is a must. Same for the ground cable, just leave the RCA connectors / a screw there and let people use whatever cables of whatever length they want. Using built-in cables may be cheaper but it's not worth it, you don't want users to have to manually replace damaged cables with a soldering iron. b) Built-in phono stages are practical but in most cases they are cheap and hurt sound quality, also many people would likely want to use their own, if you decide to put one, make sure it's a decent one and allow for it to be completely bypassed. A nice plus would be to also allow switching between MM and MC, since the pre-amp circuitry is a bit different depending on the cartridge + maybe add a headphone jack as well. c) 78RPM support would be a nice plus for some people. d) You'll probably go for a switching supply, make sure it's a decent one with proper noise filtering, especially in case you add a built-in phono stage. e) Rubber feet suck, go for something better instead (e.g. noise damping cones/spikes w pad), it makes a difference if you don't have a proper stand and the upgrade is a relatively cheap one. They also look much cooler :-) f) Throw in there a replacement belt just in case. In general I'd always go for build quality instead of added features, if you can't get the raw sound from the LP without compromises any other stuff such as built-in amp stages, ADCs with usb ports, auto-stop / auto-park, 45/78RPM support don't make much sense. I have an old Thorens turntable, its build quality is phenomenal, from its suspension system to the motor to the spindle. It doesn't need any extras, it's only weak point were the built-in RCA cables that used to be common back then. There are so many turntables out there with "cool features" that can't even play decent stereo (not to mention some of them even damage LPs), on the other hand there are so many over-priced turntables for no reason, targeting "audiophiles" who don't know what they are paying for as long as it's featured on some blog/magazine. Start from a solid turntable and then add the extras, to me a turntable with a good motor, tonearm, plinth and power supply, a decent built-in phono stage, that can properly support MC cartridges, below 400$ would be a good product. Especialy if I could buy it in EU at this price.
(Edited)
DenonFanboy
823
Feb 10, 2020
If the original is $299, can we expect $150-200 for the drop version?
bharker
78
Feb 10, 2020
Very interested in this project. Any idea on a rough time frame? 3, 6 or 9 months? I was actually just looking around on eBay for something decent secondhand, but after seeing this announcement I reckon I'll hold off until this is released.
(Edited)
Dinos
0
Feb 8, 2020
😍
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