05-08-2004, 02:30 PM
What are the differences, pros and cons of each
I emailed Mr. Gonzales, and am waiting for his reply, we'll see what happens
They both have the heavier duty base tables, and both have basically the same mounting system...must individually adjust each arm vs. the more convenient single-knob "suspension" design.
The Gamma has the "diablo" nose cone which is supposed to be easier on the string, but the USRSA found it really made no difference, so that's neglible.
The only real differences of consequence besides the color scheme are 1) the price and 2) the clamps...the clamp bases and the actual clamps themselves.
I think that the new thin-profile Gamma clamps are slightly better than the Alpha clamps in terms of holding and being slimmer; but the Alpha clamps are still very good.
The Gamma clamp lever, however, is not spring loaded like the Blu-DC's...advantage Alpha.
If it were to come down between these two, I would spend a little more for the Blu-DC, because I would want the spring loaded clamp bases...more convenient and faster.
But then, again the Blu-DC costs what $100 more?
You might be better off getting the 5003 and by the clamp upgrade kit...the same clamp base you would get on the 6004...for $400. Then, you could try selling your 5004 clamps to someone with a lower end Progression machine who would like to upgrade. Say get $100 to $200 for that.
Then, you'd end up spending around $200 to $300 to upgrade to the 6004 clamps, which would give you the best of both worlds...the better Gamma clamps with the spring-action base like the Alpha.
Then again, if you're gonna spend that much, why save a little more and go for the 6004 which you gives you everything? The single-knob mounting adjustment and the great clamps with convenient clamp bases?
In this price range, the Alpha Apex competes for $50 less. I like the looks of the Apex more, but think I would prefer the new Gamma metal clamps sightly.
It sucks how with stringing machines, there's always some kind of compromise. So realistically, there's something good to be had in any of these choices. It's too bad you can't try them out yourself to see what little nuances you prefer from one machine to the next. Bottom-line, you can't really go wrong here. It's almost a case of pick and choose and personal preference.
Also, you probably are scared off by Eagnas, but their Flash 930 looks like an amazing value at $799. Their new PN-1012 clamps are supposed to be top-notch and have the cool Sensor three teeth style. Their clamp bases are spring loaded, and you do get single-knob mounting adjustment. Plus, the turntable base looks to be heavier duty than the competing SP Maestro in the same price range...but then again SP has the superior customer service should something go wrong.
In this price range, you might also want to check out the Maestro by the way, it's the same as the DG except without the electronics, and the DG received a very favorable review from the USRSA.
The Maestro would give you the convenience of single knob mounting, but the turntable doesn't appear as robust...still it should be fine since the USRSA reported no problems with distortion. I guess it's kinda like the Alpha Axis, sure the mounting table's not as rigid or heavy duty as the Blu-DC, but no one's ever really reported problems with their rackets getting distorted because the mounting table was bending excessively during stringing.
The Maestro's clamp bases are spring loaded by the way, so it's a very good value, and I also like that they have "W" center mounting posts as I think it will help spread the pressure on the frame during stringing better, a little more inside mounting support is always a good thing in my opinion.
However, the main thing with the Meastro clamps is that they're not quite as good at holding as the Alpha or Gamma ones. Still good clamps though from what I've heard. However, I'm sure you can replace the Maestro clamps with the three-prong Sensor style ones on the Aria for maybe $100 to 200 more. The clamp bases appear the same, so they should fit no problem. The Aria clamps are said to be great at holding, very slim, and convenient, got great reviews from the USRSA. Also, you might very well be able to just buy the PN-1012 clamps from Eagnas and put them on the Meastro. The Maestro appears to be a virtual exact clone of the Eagnas Hyper-480, which makes since apparently the company that makes the SP machines was started by a former Eagnas engineer who jumped ship. The PN-1012 clamps are designed to fit all Eagnas machines with Eagnas clamp bases, regardless of the style.
I would seriously consider the Maestro with the PN-1012s if you could find out if the PN-1012's fit. I don't know, maybe it's just me, but I'm not a fan of individually adjusting the mounting arms, I much prefer single-knob "self-centering." So that's pretty important to me, but maybe not to you.
Also, were it me, I'd want a Wise with a crank machine. I am definitely a firm believer in constant-pull, would never go back.
So, if at most all I had to spend was for say a heavy duty machine like the 6004, I'd opt for the less heavy-duty but still just as functional Maestro retrofitted with Aria or Eagnas PN-1012 clamps ('bout $120 for two I believe). Then, I could just add a Wise head and have in my opinion a constant-pull machine for basically the price of a 6004.
Note, the SP cranks I've heard don't function quite as smoothly as the ones on the Gamma.
The good thing about SP is that you basically get Eagnas quality, i.e. not quite as good, with Eagnas prices...but without the worry of wretched, back-talking, right back in your face, Eagnas customer service.
Of course, if you're going to replace the crank mechanism to add the Wise anyway, then why would you care and pay more for the smoother operating Gamma crank? I know I wouldn't, I just wouldn't care. I would like to use a Wise head, but don't want to pay for the actual crank part of the crank machine, lol. Sucks that you can't order one without the crank and sve a few hundred or so off the price.
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