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Tom Rothermel's review - October 2016

Michell Orbe SE: Full Modification Including Armboard Upgrade

I first became aware of the Pederson upgrades about ten years ago. After looking over the details online, I decided that this appeared to be a very well thought out and reasonably priced option.

Earlier this year, 2016, I took the plunge and ordered both the full Orbe SE upgrade kit which includes a new, clear double plinth and the armboard upgrade for use with my Graham 2.2 tonearm.

Considering that English is not Mr Pederson’s first language, the instructions were remarkably clear and concise. Included were pictures, diagrams and a CD with detailed photos of each step. The photo CD was especially helpful since I have the kind of mind that can’t visualize abstract three dimensional things very well.

The remarkable part was that Mr Pederson checked in by email from time to time to see how I was doing and would often remind me of things that I should be especially careful with. His instructions were so good that I only had a few questions during the process and he would always have a detailed reply within 24 hours. Remarkable support from halfway around the world, unusual locally in the US.

The result of the modification was not only a huge improvement to an already outstanding turntable/tonearm combination but, in my opinion, a visual upgrade as well. I really like how the new, clear double plinth contrasts against the black of the rest of the turntable.

Immediately noticeable was a prodigious increase in bass. In addition, a complete lack of background noise like everything is floating in space, just like live music. Of course, detail retrieval improved significantly. I’m now hearing subtle things on familiar recordings that I was not aware of previously. Timbres are far more natural; acoustic instruments sound so much more real and correct. Spacial information is more abundant resulting in greater 3D imaging (all directions) including stabilization of the images. Finally there is more high frequency extension without sounding exaggerated or bright.

The best part of all, I no longer have to drive myself crazy trying to perfect the spring bounce of the stock Orbe suspension. The confidence that my turntable is now perfectly set up is soothing for those of us inflicted with “audiophilia nervosa”.

In short, all the parameters that would interest a music lover are greatly enhanced.

I had a Walker Proscenium Gold turntable (currently $110k US) in this same system for many years. Although the Walker has been gone for a while now, I honestly believe that the sound of the Pederson Orbe is more correct and enjoyable than my recollection of the Walker (and far less tweaky). This is remarkable because the cartridge I had on the Walker (Shelter 901 MkII MC) is about three times more expensive than the cartridge I

am currently using; Ortofon 2M Black (MM). It’s hard at this point to stop listening to records and get anything done (my wife is not pleased).

In our modern, crazy audiophile world where expenditures five times that of the Pederson mods are routinely made and result in a small improvement, this one is a no brainer.

The Pederson modifications get my complete 100% endorsement. The Pederson mods are the best bargain I have encountered in high end audio. If you have a Michell GyroDec or Orbe, treat yourself to the upgrade of a lifetime even though it may result in divorce.

Tom Rothermel
The Vinyl Valet Tempe, Arizona USA 

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