Past vs contemporary turntables - The Oracle story

Very interesting article about the Oracle Delphi turntable from Master Bill Ying and official reply from Oracle’s Jacques Riendeau…

Master Bill Ying:

"First of all the are no other turntable that is Great. The heavier, the shinier, the accurate to the nth degree all sound sterile. Not musical and no life. Oracle Delphi design came along in the late 70s. The springs are designed to bounce at three cycle per second below the audible range. The sprinted suspension is was designed to cancel out the any low rumble coming out of the motor, bearing etc.

The MK 1 and MK 2 uses a counter weight that is adjustable to  counter balance the weight of any tone arm head sell and cartridge weight. But it was not stable enough under rotation of the platter momentum etc. It was difficult to adjust and hence not popular. Plus, the three springs are hard to set up for a smooth up and down suspension. Tt wants to rock and the inverted spring does not make it easy because if you miss the right point you’ll have go back and start from the beginning.

Then the designer - Marcel made a counter weight that is curved and screwed to the bottom of the sub chassis. This eliminates the counter weight and the bounce is much more stable and smooth. The MK 3 and a soft rubber mat is added. A great improvement.

Dr. Tan in Hong Kong started to use it in the early 80s and he brought it over from HK to USA when he moved over here in 1987. That where I got to listen to it. Before in the early 60s I had used the Thorens TD 124 with SME 3009 tone arm. At time this was the state of the art along with old Garrad 301 and 401 or USA Record Kut consumer turntables. Combination of the system with MC 22/MC 275 Klipsch corner horns was quite awesome in the old days.

I started using Oracle in 1989 and at that time they changed to MK with a hard polymer platter that is fixed to the platter. After Dr. Tan heard my MK 4 he also changed to it because the sound was cleaner. I have kept the MK 4 for 27 years utill today. It was set up once and we even took it to Las Vegas for the CES show for 10 years and without any setting change any it still sound the best.

Overt the years I have heard many turntables no matter how expensive and exotic the sound was it could never beat my Oracle. Even a non modded Oracle sounded better in most respects then any turntables costing ten times over or more. Seems like when they’re getting bigger, heavier and more highly priced the sound is mandatory of lower performance.

I do believe that why Oracle is lively by nature is due the suspension! The hard aluminum material, the precision machined bearing and the right belt drive. Very basic design and yet just the basics seems to matter. We paired it with the ebony stand, ebony arm board, ebony spring tower caps. On top of this match it with the SAEC 407/23 tonearm and you’ve hit the jack pot.

Even Oracle itself kept the basic design and only change the bearing toil bearing for MK 5, and with MK 6 upgraded the power supply. By the way our power supply upgrade cost more then the original price of the Oracle in 1989. But, even if one add only all the Shun Mook ebony accessories mentioned above cost will be around 15k. For that kind of investment no other turntable can come close in terms of sound.

Recently I have a customer who purchased the 700 lbs shinny metal turntable with a shinny metal tonearm at 20k and overall cost of this package was over 120k USD. The sound was shamefully bad. No music, but ringing like hell.

At present the latest version of Oracle turntable seems to have two damping pots under the chassis arms. Have not heard it, but you have to especially play around with the tuning oil.

So buy a MK 4 and you’ll not be sorry." - Bill Ying

Jacques Riendeau - Oracle:

“The reply from Master Bill Ying is quite interesting and we do appreciate his testimony. My brother Marcel invented the Oracle in 1979. he left the company in 1995. I have been involved with all developments and upgrades over the years. The company is now owned by Stephane Nadeau and myself. Through the differrent evolutions of the Oracle Delphi from the original Oracle AC to the latest Mk VI gen-2 the constant has always been the same ... music ! Although we have been around since 1979 we always keep questionning ourself about how true we get in reference to the music. How are we able to make our products reproduce the fine and complex harmonics in the music. Through the years we kept the original modular design concept. This means that even the early models Oracle can be upgraded to the latest specs of our Delphi MK VI Gen-2. When you listen to an instrument, a piano, a violin, a guitar the same instrument played by the same artist can blow you away or can leave you completely cold. The talent being the same what makes the difference ? Tuning ! A precisely tuned instrument will reveal a sonic texture that goes far beyond the notes played. We built the Oracle Delphi Mk VI Gen-2 with that exact same philosophy. It is a precision instrument that allow you a full range of adjustability that allows the user to reach the highest level of performance you can get from from a record player system.”