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Garrard 301 (Shindo style) vs EMT 930st

Why to compare? For the same reason man prefers blonde... and Ferrari vs.

Lamborghini, and, and... Martin vs. Gibson, and Harley vs. Honda...


let's calm down... the X VS. Y is as human-ish as peeing;-)

... but, BUT... Music, sort of an Esperanto, much, MUCH better than

English... sometimes refuses, in the noblest way, fighting... in Music, no winner is not a minus...


As Z. Mehta isn't worse than A. Dorati, Martin Guitars are not worse than

Santa Cruz or Gibson's, ONLY different... and every ear has a discerning head!


EMT 930st, once a National Broadcasting workhorse worldwide, became in last

years a sort of, once, a well-kept secret... once, because, NOW, of the

several 70 or so thousands 930, plus 950 and, for the healthier and crazy

enough, 927... most of the EMT's turntables are still cherished and in

loving hands...

Music aficionados worldwide, from Japan to South Korea, to California, to

Italy, France and, yes, Germany... EMT are still top-notch spinning vinyl.

I purchased mine, a 1976 stock 930st, with 155st in early '90s, when I

found it badly modified, with wrong value cap, rumbling like a Caterpillar...

when a boy, I saw a review from a Japanese mag showing a

music system with 930st and GRF Tannoy's... and I fell in love!

After almost one year - no eBay in 1991;-)))) - I listened to my first

record: 30 Seconds over Winterland - Jefferson Airplane!!!

Maybe 20 days later, my Linn LP12 with Accuphase and Syrinx arm... SOLD!

I'll never, NEVER forget Jack Casady's Alembic bass... also with the Quad

ESL ('57) it sounded... WOW!!! True to life...

I'll fly over years, but 5 years later, a friend of mine, a true, noble

penny-pincher guy with golden ears, dared to win over MY 930... he

purchased a butter colour Garrard 301... and again, I fell in love!

A sort of multi-wives/Muslim affaire;-)))

The 930st was, well, IS... solidly playing with authority and it's an

anti-tweaking turntable... maybe the only acceptable mod is putting a

Fidelity Research FR64-S arm without using 155st RIAA box... sort of a

vitaminized 301;-))), BUT, better trust in Lahr's engineer and tech-heads...

do yourself a favour: find a nice, 100 percent stock 930st and play it WITHOUT

mods... or use 301...

ahhhhh... here I am!

Garrard's are tweaker's dream made true!

I own my grey grease 301 from 1956 since 1996 and... well, without shame,

I'm still experimenting!!!

Springs, SME's light plinth, heavy plywood plinth, separate arm base of

different materials... aluminium, sandwitched wood and steel, BRONZE...

 WOW!!!   ... and arms, arms, ARMS... and Shindo's 4,5 kilos platter and giant

spindle, or grease spindle... nuances, but very, I mean VERY intriguing...

tweaking around 301 grey or white, well, is one of the sweetest candies in our

audio-musical adventures... you like a sound and you'll, by trial and error,

arrive to that sound!

Try this with a Linn ;-)))))))))))))))))))))))

A final? I hope there will be not any final... when things go bad with 301:

wrong armbase material or wrong arm/cartridge matching, when ears aren't

HAPPY or... it's sooooo nice to return back home to EMT 930st

"home-sweet-home" sound... but we, as mature, seeking individuals,

can't resist long from "bush call"... so,

again, trial and error, error and trial, back to fiddling with 301/Shindo

and arms and cartridges... because there is not a winner... Music is the

Goal! Forever...

Stefano Bertoncello


(more comments at a later date)

Anyway, after reading some kind, polite, yet witty comments on the

comparison... well, some words on the matter are due...

As you probably remember, we were both at the computer, and I sort-of-wrote,

as you correctly pointed out, as a stream of consciousness... because, after

many years I became increasingly humbler: I respect too much the souls who

composed great Music to consider audio hardware SO important... many times a

transistor radio gave to me GREAT emotions, so what?

That's why, simply, without any snobbish-ness, my best musical in-house

object is not my Garrard, Shindoed or stock, or my Westrex and Western

Electric stuffs, but... my 1917 Martin 00-21 Adirondack/Brazilian Rosewood

acoustic guitar.

It's not a minty instrument, but all the hands which picked it along

decades, all left soul, and Music is flowing easily, perfect for the

moment... if I need Music, Living Music, here she is... real, no chatting!

Also, after years of audio hardware chatting and mag reviews by audio

gurus, well, it's simply NOT possible many, too much audio gears are THE

BEST, period!

So, in my very humble opinion, it's better to invent a selfish approach,

where any and ALL advices are listened to, weighted, maybe tried, but, at

the end, I wish to be the reviewer, the audio consultant, the designer, the

faulty and the OK guy!

Cable X, tube Y, preamp Z... it's not so interesting... what's is always

intriguing is hearing more details, without over-magnifying musical event,

but keeping The Magic. Every audio lover experienced it and ears usually

will remember THE moment forever...

If you listen to a any concert, you'll be not wondering about the strings

brand... also at a clinic in a NAMM boot, you'll be enjoying a musical

experience, made of interacting people playing and listening, of instruments

interacting, wood, brass, but NEVER, EVER you'll be "appreciating"

imaging... ah, ah, ah... imaging?!? Is music GIVING you something or not? If

YES, go ahead: you're on the right path! If one of your priority is having

the correct tube bias... go for biking!

When years ago I was listening to "superb" imaging, it was a

sort-of-window-like affaire with Stax F81 and Futtermann's OTL amps or Quad

ESL and Quad II amps... giant earphones where YOU HAVE TO REBUILT THE

MUSICAL EVENT, like when you listen to your iPod;-))) pleasing BUT someway


So, again, please forgive me for being so strongly and apparently

"low-tech-headed", but, well aware there are good and bad audio gears, I

strongly suggest anyone to listen to tons of live music, to strum any

instrument and to avoid audio mags... f...k any Guru;-))) you're the only

Judge. Swap opinions with fellows, listen to friends music systems, instead.

Very often a simple, not hideously expensive music system is more Music

friendly than big bucks systems. It happened to me many times, when I was

trying to improve - i.e. the newer the better or the most expensive the

better, but... oh, how wrong I was!!! Expensive cables like equalizers,

audio reviewers whose advice was Law... not Enjoying the Club and you're a

Dropout! F..k reviewers never finding a badly sounding piece of gear!!!

I humbly ask you to subscribe this statement: Enjoy music, not gears!

Ken Shindo is a very honest and well-eared individual, one of the several

Japanese audio mavens: his good taste and good hands artisans network built

his myth, but, simply consider he's not copying... he is himself master...

his trial and error processes are his strength.

Do the same and you'll be not disappointed!

Facts, personal experiences, not simply chatting are the Truth!

All my apologies for prolixity and thanks for your patience in reading;-)