A couple of years ago, an audiophile friend invited Pierre over to hear his new pride-and-joy turntable, a Stabi S. Though happy to oblige, he had inner reservations. Pierre hates having to smile noncommittally when a friend’s expensive new goodie makes his ears bleed. Turns out his reservations were completely unnecessary. Quite the opposite: he snapped to attention as soon as the stylus traced Paul Chambers’ first three big bass notes on the opening cut of Kind of Blue. “How can that little thing make such humongous bass—and such perfectly delicate, unsmeared treble?” he thought.
Tearing himself away from listening to have a closer look at the table, he noticed the Kuzma’s unbelievably simple chassis: just two massively rigid 2” solid brass bars (same diameter as our Heavyfeet!) in a T-shape. Pierre was overcome by engineering envy; that’s the way he’d design a turntable, if he’d only thought of it first. The Stogi arm on that ‘table was just as arrestingly simple: no abrupt shape changes; no changes of material all the way to the counterweight; no resonance-causing gadgets, adjustments or removable arm wands; and, best of all, a super-rigid unipivot—all the elements for a nearly perfect vibration-draining path out of the cartridge down into the base. By the time Pierre left his friend’s house, he was already figuring out how to get his hands on a Kuzma quick.
Once Pierre's Stabi was in-hand and he’d started testing and tweaking, two things became obvious almost immediately. First, it’s ridiculous to think of using the Kuzma without a maple platform; the improvement is simply that huge. Secondly, there are a myriad of vibration path improvements possible for Kuzma plinth, motor, and arm; every one is clearly audible sonically and
worth doing. They are all incorporated into our upgrade package:
• Remachining the chassis underside to replace the rubber O-ring feet (the Achilles heel of the Stabi) with three small brass footers.
• Micro-coupling two interfaces in the bearing-to-platter vibration path plus one in the bearing-to-platform path.
• Micro-coupling the single vibration interface in the Stogi arm pivot-to-chassis path, installing Nanomounts in the cartridge-headshell interface, and attaching specially machined brass vibration dampers to the headshell.
• Upgrading the motor housing footers, micro-coupling the motor-to-housing interface, upgrading the stock Kuzma AC plug, and substituting a greatly improved motor phase shift capacitor.
The Mapleshade-upgraded Kuzma Stabi and Stogi, mounted on an 18”x15”x4” Maple Platform with Isoblocks (sold separately), has easily bested every suspended turntable we have compared it to. That includes the top of the line Oracle, Sota, Linn, Basis and Michell—with arms ranging from Rega and SME to Graham, VPI, and Triplanar. Among unsuspended turntables, the Super-Mod sounds notably better than the top models from Rega, Pro-ject, Music Hall, and Well-Tempered, as well as the VPI Aries, Clearaudio Solution and Nottingham Space Deck.