I received my Schiit Sol box a few days ago. I haven't opened it yet. In the meantime, I have received an email from Schiit saying that they have stopped shipments and are offering existing owners a partial refund in exchange for beta testing some replacement parts, etc. I am okay with this since I am DIY/Experimenter. Obviously the Sol turntable in its current state is not for first timers. There are plenty of turntables out there that are plug and play. I was attracted to the Sol because of its tweekiness so I think I will get on well with it over time.
A very early in depth review gives a lot of details.
I took a crack at assembling the Sol turntable tonight. Having seen the setup video and read another review I was somewhat prepared.
Overall, I did not find the setup much more difficult than any other turntable I have done. The tolerances are very tight on the center spindle when mating with the platter. I found adding a trace about of Super Lube made things easier.
The tonearm is a little fiddly. As already reported, there is not enough room for cartridges and the leads when you have to push the cartridge all the way back as I had to with the LP Gear Vessel cartridge I chose to use. In the end I was able to get it work and get the correct alignment. I wouldn't be surprised if Schiit revisits this with a tonearm revision. They have already said as much in a communication I have received.
The tonearm adjustments for tracking, VTA, Anti Skating, etc are all pretty straightforward but could be improved.
I listened with my battery powered Ray Sammuels Nighthawk phono preamp into a battery powered JDS headphone amp. The turntable was very quiet. No hum or noise. Tracking seemed very good and there was no inner groove distortion. Schiit supplies a very good protractor printed on plain paper that is based on the John Ellison spreadsheet calculations for the ultimate lowest distortion tracking. You can print your own protractor for any turntable/tonearm using the "Template Gen" Windows program I have linked on the DCHFG website under "Member Recommendations". I would suggest Schiit use heavy paper as I do.
It will take time to further evaluate the sound. I am also now in the Schiit beta program and will get updated components from them as they develop.
Today, I moved my Schiit Sol into my "Big Rig" to get a handle on what it really sounds like. I don't want to over sell this but this turntable sounds fantastic! I installed a new to me LP Gear Vessel A3SV cartridge which seems to be pretty stellar. You can read a review which is enthusiastic.
As I've been telling everyone, I have really reached a highpoint with my HW-19/Audiomods 5 Tonearm/Lyra Argo i (Soundsmith Retip) turntable combo. Well the new Schiit rig is not one bit embarrassed by the HW-19 competition. I also have done some tweeks. I am about 90% dialed in but still adjusting. Of course I used the "Template Gen" program to create a custom alignment protractor as is standard practice for all my setups. The Schiit actually comes with a pre-printed template from this exact program. Fun fact I learned today that Conrad Hoffman who wrote the Template Gen program was a consultant to Schiit on the Sol. I also decided to try a Herbie's Mat 2mm in place of the default foam like mat that comes with the Sol. Keep in mind I have less than 20 hours on this setup so things are bound to change (hopefully for the better) as it settles in. But still, I am really enjoying what I hear.
At this point, even with the early bugs, I can highly recommend the Sol turntable. This is not a beginner's turntable but if you like to tinker I think you will find much to like here for so little cost. I have opted to wait for the finalized updated tonearm that Schiit is estimating will be available in 4+ weeks time. Since I am not really having any problems, I did not see the point of using an interim tonearm they are also sending.
There's a lot of chatter on the forums. Some of it is overly negative which I don't think is warranted. Schiit has responded quickly and is more than compensating the early adopters. Once they settle the tonearm issues, I hope to buy a couple more so I can easily swap out cartridges as suits my whim. I've got a nice Ortofon Beatles "White Album" mono cartridge that has gotten very little use.
Today, I received my final "care" package from Schiit Audio for my Sol Turntable. I commend Schiit for sticking with this project and working out all the bugs. The package included a 3mm Cork/Rubber mat (about $3 on alibaba), a new rubber like base for the motor, and a small tube of something called Christo-Lube. This last item (lube) is intended for the turntable bearing. I was not familiar with this product so I was happy to track down a thread from Jason about how they decided to use this product. I generally use SuperLube for all my turntable lube needs. I believe that VPI also uses this? I am trying to determine how SuperLube compares to use Christo-Lube. You might be able to get a sample of Christo-Lube (CHRISTO-LUBE MCG 103-D5) by filling out this form. Otherwise you can buy a small tube on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Christo-Lube-5-grams-MCG111/dp/B00EQFOHL8).