Solstice

I have to be honest here and state that I was a little under whelmed by the Solstice in SE guise. It’s tuneful and clean for sure but not quite as full and open as I’d expected. But I felt that things could be improved substantially by firstly freeing up the Solstice P/S to just power the motor and not that and the phono stage. This meant upgrading to SuperLine / SuperCap which for all intents and purposes should also be a better phono combo than the Solstice one. Second step is to replace the Equinox cartridge with a DVXV1t.

First step complete. I’m delighted with the improvement! Fuller and more open with a more relaxed presentation whilst losing none of the PRAT. Big uplift! I have to factor in that my S1 has gone from two to three months burn in since last listening to vinyl but comparing with my ND555 before and after confirms things.

Cartridge upgrade to follow soon.

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Well done!
I don’t surprise me. Despite some claiming that the Solstice phono was designed to match the deck. I didn’t believed in that. The Superline/ Supercap is half the price of the Solstice, something like that. Difficult to believe that the Solstice phono would work better.
When I heard the Solstice in the Statement system, I compared three different albums, contemporary albums made from hires. These albums sounded more open and dynamic through the Nd555.
Very curious to hear your second step.

That was my experience frenchrooster with the SE package. This change has altered the comparative results between Solstice and ND555 so much that the Solstice is now ahead ( all things being equal). It’s a really big upgrade :thinking:.

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And it’s not finished yet. With a better cart, you will be on the moon.

Yes I’m expecting another big uplift after fitting an XV1t. It sounded fab in an ARO mk1 “back in the day”.

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Hah…in the U.S. the SuperLine/SupercapDR with necessary cables (Burndy/SNAIC) is 69% the cost of the Solstice, and that with a standard SNAIC and no PowerLine. With a HiLine SNAIC and PowerLine it’s 80% the cost of a Solstice.

With my TT I wonder how it compares to a Solstice. Frankly, I’d be surprised if the Naim TT can match what I have, but mine (SL/SCDR + TT/arm/cart) is $35K US vs the $20K US for Solstice. But’s it’s probably moot, I doubt I’ll ever hear them in the same room, and likely never to hear a Solstice period.

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The DV XV-1s I have is a mad cartridge. I can imagine a 1t is so much better still.

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I am a big fan of the Xv1-s as well- it has balls!

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No question- the cartridge and phono stage upgrade will put the Solstice into a much higher level of playback. The deck and arm are a solid platform for uber cartridges imo.
My plan is to try something a bit different than a SL/SC…transimpedance :sunglasses:

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For sure Varyat.

My Burndy from SC to SL isn’t even run in yet and the uplift just from improving the phono stage, it’s P/S and freeing up the Solstice P/S to just power the motor is like changing 552 to S1. I’m trying not to exaggerate and quantify the improvement based on my experiences.

After I change the Equinox to the DV a friend of mine with a high spec LP12 is going to visit with his deck to do a comparison. I will report back with our findings.

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Does your friend have the Stiletto plinth on the LP12 (more a Franken-Linn with this!)? - as IME this makes a fundamental difference to a '12 but moves the whole cost of a maxed-out LP12 >£25k (probably far more) sans phono-amp etc.

Obviously, at this level of spend there are many other quality decks out there - and, as much as one wants to believe the Solstice set-up is very good (which I’m sure it is at its package price-point), Naim’s existing & more costly peripherals should be far, far better.

So over half again to make this deck sound good?

No it sounds “good” in SE guise just not a “world beater”

Many will have a superline already, some with a supercap, not all will have sold them on without trying this.

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I hope so. I told my dealer from the start that I only wanted the deck, it’s P/S and the ARO2. I received an appropriate discount to acknowledge that.

The Solstice turntable with it’s P/S / DVXV1t/ SL/SC and Chord Music IC to S1 will cost me £28k which is roughly equal to the latest Klimax LP12 with SL/SC. I much prefer the ARO mk1 to the Ekos so I took a calculated risk. So far so good!

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Yes, difficult to predict which combo would sound best, as you have a better phono and cart but, I think, a lesser tt.
But it would be interesting to compare.

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We don’t know that I have a lesser TT. That is TBD. In any case, the cost of mine is $15k+ without the cartridge. The tonearm alone is $6300. And it’s all Clearaudio, who also did the Solstice.

Yes, we don’t know.

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