S1 Vivaldi to the LM GS3 -- early observations

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Steve

S1 Vivaldi to the LM GS3 -- early observations

Post by Steve » Mon Mar 10, 2008 12:05 pm

I thought it might be useful to those of you in the S1 community who are interested in the GS3 to hear from someone who has recently made the upgrade. As I've only been operating the GS3 since yesterday, these observations are initial. But the S1 is still fresh in my mind so I can shed some light on the transistion.

The first thing you'd notice is that the GS3 actually appears smaller than the S1 as it sits on the counter. It actually packs more mass (larger boilers, heftier frame, reservoir) but manages to keep a lower profile. For the money spent, you might even feel slighted by its diminutive posture. But don't worry, the goods are in there. The 1 group commercial machines at CC positively dwarfed the GS3. Whether you prefer the looks of the S1 or the GS3 is a personal preference. For me it's pretty close. Maybe the GS3 by a nose. Neither is particularly beautiful, IMHO.

What I miss about the S1...

Setting up the programming on the GS3 is not hard and offers many more options than the S1 (i.e. preinfusion times, PID settings, timer, etc). But it only allows one timer interval per day. I really liked, flawed though it was, the timer for the S1. I like the machine to be hot in the Am when I get up and hot in the after noon when I return. now I have to either leave the machine on all day or turn it on manually in the afternoon.

Steam performance on the S1 was terrific. Once you purged the initial condensate, the S1 blew nice dry abundant steam. With the GS3, there is always a bit of water sputter at the end. Also, I find the big steam wand (reason for sputter?) a bit unwieldy. It may grow on me over time, but for now, I preferred the steaming on the S1.

Drip tray. The wire grate drip tray cover on the S1 is may seem chincy, but it is easy to keep clean -- very functional. The tray cover on the GS3 is pretty, but is needs attention or it quickly takes on a neglected look... higher maintenence.

The buttons on the S1 were eaier reach and had a nicer feel. By comparison, the illuminated buttons on the GS3 have a stiffer, more reluctant feel. They are harder to reach positioned to the right and well back of the group. I liked how the control panel on the S1 sat front and center.

What I don't miss about the S1...

The build quality of the GS3 is clearly superior, but not by as much as the price would suggest. The side panels are rigid and heavy. The build is less plastic-y. I just feels more solid all around.

The pressure gauges are much nicer on the GS3 (more like my Isomac Tea). The poorly mounted dual manometer of the S1 was placed so it was awkward to read. I like how the manometers of the GS3 are well mounted and easily monitored.

The hot water tap of the GS3 dispenses water from the steam boiler mixed with pump water to yield a slightly sub boiling flow that doesn't spatter and scald like the S1's hot water tap does. You can adjust the mixture. Nice.

The 58mm portafilter vs 53mm. I found the 53 just a little more challenging to dose and distribute than the 58 (but it might be my years and years of experience on 58s). I tended to make more of a mess dosing the 53 and found it a tad fussier to finger sweep it for grounds distribution. Minor.

Temp control is more accurate on the GS3 given the PID and the raised saturated brew group that needs no flush to heat it up (opinions differ on this). Settings are shown real-time on the LCD. Brewing parameters are easily set and monitored. This is what you pay for.


But is the coffee better?
Well, it's early to say. But I can honestly tell you that within an hour I was pulling some of my best espresso shots ever. My initial observation is that the GS3 indeed makes getting good espresso easier.

I'm sure I've missed some points... I'll try to answer specific questions as the come.

Steve

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Post by coffeeowl » Mon Mar 10, 2008 3:29 pm

Thanks! that's insightful to read.

If I had the money to buy a GS3, I would hesitate due to the large boiler's capacity and timer limitation. I basically run the S1 on all the time and only turn off the steam boiler when I don't use it (and I mainly do use it for hot water: I'm a hot water addicted :) and I reject to drink hot water mixed with pump water. So here the GS3 has no advantage for me.) So it's costly to run two very big boilers all the time (or even one large, ... but as I remember the steam boiler must be on for preheat, right?)
I also like the S1 design better, I mean more space under the group and around the wand.

But in the end it's the performance isn't it? Temp stability&regulation, preinfusion, eventually basket size (I don't care that much for steaming. :) )
EDIT: So what I really miss is preinfusion.
Last edited by coffeeowl on Tue Mar 11, 2008 9:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by jmcphail » Mon Mar 10, 2008 4:00 pm

I wonder if an enterprising soul will invent a PID kit for the S1?

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Post by chas » Mon Mar 10, 2008 6:19 pm

You may want to read this thread.

wforum/viewtopic.php?t=553&highlight=pid
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Post by hlsheppard » Mon Mar 10, 2008 8:31 pm

Thanks for the nice read, Steve!

Now- who's going to buy a Synesso so I can live vicariously through THEM?! :D :thumbright:
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Post by bbqnut » Mon Mar 10, 2008 9:16 pm

hlsheppard wrote:Thanks for the nice read, Steve!

Now- who's going to buy a Synesso so I can live vicariously through THEM?! :D :thumbright:
Me. Eventually.

I will never touch another Italian made espresso machine until I own a Synesso. :wink:

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Post by hlsheppard » Mon Mar 10, 2008 11:47 pm

bbqnut = MY NEW HERO!


:notworthy:
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Steve

Post by Steve » Tue Mar 11, 2008 1:10 am

coffeeowl wrote:If I had the money to buy a GS3, I would hesitate due to the large boiler's capacity and timer limitation. I basically run the S1 on all the time and only turn off the steam boiler when I don't use it (and I mainly do use it for hot water: I'm a hot water addicted :) and I reject to drink hot water mixed with pump water. So here the GS3 has no advantage for me.) So it's costly to run two very big boilers all the time (or even one large, ... but as I remember the steam boiler must be on for preheat, right?)
I also like the S1 design better, I mean more space under the group and around the wand.
It has an econo-mode like the S1. I think the steam boiler preheating for the brew boiler, while effective for preventing rapid cooling during multiple shots, is not required.

I'm curious why you dislike the pump water mix down option. I find it's one of the nicest features if you use the hot tap at all. It can be regulated up or down to give you a desired temp.

Steve

Post by Steve » Tue Mar 11, 2008 1:18 am

hlsheppard wrote:Thanks for the nice read, Steve!

Now- who's going to buy a Synesso so I can live vicariously through THEM?! :D :thumbright:
I gave the Cyncra some consideration (esp like the paddle group) but decided it was not well suited to home use (the GS3 has internal pump, direct plumb, PID is not buried, has a nice hot water feature). I do hope LM provides the rumored paddle kit in the future, though. Also, I was eager to have the backing of CC as the merchant.

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Post by coffeeowl » Tue Mar 11, 2008 9:14 am

As for food I go along the advice of Chinese Medicine. So a water boiled for 10 minutes, or overheated, is good for health. Mixing boiled water with unboiled would be mixing two opposite elements that don't come along with each other: fire and water.

So it is possible to turn off the preheat feauture? Is temp stability affected then?
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Post by Steve » Tue Mar 11, 2008 10:22 am

coffeeowl wrote:As for food I go along the advice of Chinese Medicine. So a water boiled for 10 minutes, or overheated, is good for health. Mixing boiled water with unboiled would be mixing two opposite elements that don't come along with each other: fire and water.

So it is possible to turn off the preheat feauture? Is temp stability affected then?
To keep your yin yanging, you would simply adjust the mixture control to draw only from the boiler.


As I understand it, the brew water line travels through the steam boiler to pick up heat on its way to the brew boiler. If the (insulated) steam boiler were off, the brew boiler would still be stable for a couple of shots. But recovery time would be increased for more shots as it would have cool water entering in stead of hot.

-Steve

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Post by coffeeowl » Wed Mar 12, 2008 1:26 am

bbqnut wrote:
hlsheppard wrote:Thanks for the nice read, Steve!

Now- who's going to buy a Synesso so I can live vicariously through THEM?! :D :thumbright:
Me. Eventually.

I will never touch another Italian made espresso machine until I own a Synesso. :wink:
Well...
I'm happy with my La Spaz, but then if I have the money one day I'll get Synesso, you bet.
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Post by hlsheppard » Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:49 pm

I'm in this same boat, Pawell...

I'm totally happy with my S1. However, if a financial windfall were to come my way - bring on a Synesso!

I actually have pulled shots on a 2 group and it's an amazing machine!!!
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Post by Steve » Wed Mar 12, 2008 11:21 pm

hlsheppard wrote:I'm in this same boat, Pawell...

I'm totally happy with my S1. However, if a financial windfall were to come my way - bring on a Synesso!
Again I'm curious. I know it's been discussed to death in other forums. But what does the Cyncra (an obvious LM GS series knock-off in config and features) offer that the GS3 doesn't? I suppose if the paddle group is of paramount importance, it offers that now, whereas LM may offer it later. But I just can't see the preference for a machine that
1. Won't fit under kitchen cabinets
2. Must be fed by an external pump
3. Makes you contort to use the steam control
4. Has the PID control buried under the machine
5. Has no semi-auto capability (I know, I know)
6. Non removable drip tray that must be plumbed in
7. has no option for pourover (not important to me, but cool that it can if you need it)
8. Would be a nightmare to move to another location if you desired
9. Costs more than the street price for the GS3 which solves all of those issues in a smaller, lighter, much more elegantly engineered, less cluncky machine.

Synesso has become espresso-chic, I guess. The relative new guy on the block and made in USA. But LM is legendary and looooong proven. The accolades for the GS3 continue to build. The look has actually grown on me. I can't imagine choosing the Cyncra over the LM. I do like Cyncra's simple purity, but it just falls short in too many other ways. Ah well, to each his own.

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Post by jmcphail » Wed Mar 12, 2008 11:41 pm

In my opinion the Cyncra represents design without compromise, and I admire it for its authenticity and purity of purpose.

Just a for instance, the choice to use an external pump - I think it's designed that way because it makes for a more modular, hard-wearing machine, despite the inconvenience it probably represents to a home user. It's possibly more expensive and a negative selling point for a convenience-minded home user, but it's a better choice for the machine itself and its intended purpose.

I like that philosophy and believe it is carried through at all levels of design and construction in the Synesso line.

Steve

Post by Steve » Thu Mar 13, 2008 11:53 am

jmcphail wrote:In my opinion the Cyncra represents design without compromise, and I admire it for its authenticity and purity of purpose.
I must agree with you. Where the GS3 is like an iPhone (how'd they get all that good stuff in there!?), the Synesso has that simplicity and brawn that ooze quality. No doubt they both offer some of the best espresso obtainable outside our imaginations. Were space and WAF (a non-geek, she prefers the semi-auto) no issue, I might have given the Cyncra more consideration. Even so, I'm growing happier with the GS3 each day as I adapt to it.

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Post by jmcphail » Thu Mar 13, 2008 5:28 pm

Owning either machine would be a dream for me! Actually seeing either machine in person would be a dream for me at this point!

I agree with all your bullet points about the Synesso, I was just mentioning what it is I admire about the Synesso without any comparison to the GS3.

The GS3 is totally FABULOUS, but then you know that firsthand!

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Post by hlsheppard » Thu Mar 13, 2008 8:30 pm

Steve wrote: Again I'm curious. I know it's been discussed to death in other forums. But what does the Cyncra (an obvious LM GS series knock-off in config and features) offer that the GS3 doesn't? I suppose if the paddle group is of paramount importance, it offers that now, whereas LM may offer it later. But I just can't see the preference for a machine that
1. Won't fit under kitchen cabinets
2. Must be fed by an external pump
3. Makes you contort to use the steam control
4. Has the PID control buried under the machine
5. Has no semi-auto capability (I know, I know)
6. Non removable drip tray that must be plumbed in
7. has no option for pourover (not important to me, but cool that it can if you need it)
8. Would be a nightmare to move to another location if you desired
9. Costs more than the street price for the GS3 which solves all of those issues in a smaller, lighter, much more elegantly engineered, less cluncky machine.
Steve - Like I said: IF MONEY WERE NO OBJECT. It is! :D

However, with all due respect, I have at least spent some time with a Cyncra and have not had that opportunity with your fine machine. (Either one at this point would be a dream!) Let me answer your points as best I can:

1. Fitting under cabinets would NOT be an issue for me (much less than the cash)
2. External pump for me is not a negative. Once it's set up - no muss, no fuss.
3. The steam control is REAL easy (a lever). What contortion?
4. The PID control isn't "buried." it's just behind the drip tray. We accessed the PID in a split second on the one I played with. (Honestly, how often would you NEED to play with it?!). I actually thought that was a positive because the controls were somewhat protected.
5. you know, you know - the "paddle" is SWEET!
6. Didn't know this - good point, but not a deal breaker for me.
7. Again - not a negative at all for me. The S1 is in my house BECAUSE it's not a pour over. I said goodbye to that with my Isomac Tea...
8. Very true - but "if you can afford it..."
9. My understanding was that it was about the same price as the GS3(?). What *IS* the actual cost for this thing then??!?!!

I don't mean to in any way demean your new "dream machine." I'd love one of those as well. There is just something about the fact that Synesso is a bunch of disgruntled LaMarzocco folks (and it's made in the U.S.) that I can't put my finger on.

It's like anything that you want all the more because you'll never be able to have it... :)
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Post by bbqnut » Thu Mar 13, 2008 8:59 pm

I will say it again - "No More Italian Espresso Machines!!!"

At least for me, at least for awhile.

That alone is why I would buy a Cyncra. And if the Japanese made an espresso machine, I would buy that instead.

I have had so many problems with Italian stuff, and then trying to get parts (which have to come from Italy), and then the Euro goes up, and then Luigi gets sick and can't make the gasket you need....

I just need a change. Who knows, maybe I would go back eventually, but not for now. In fact, I just rebuilt a little Solis SL90, and having fun with that. It is actually Swiss-made (the Italian part of Switzerland of course), but it works well, and cost me about $70 at the end of the day.

Incidentally, have any of you used both a production GS3 and a production Cyncra side by side?

Steve

Post by Steve » Thu Mar 13, 2008 9:27 pm

bbqnut wrote:I will say it again - "No More Italian Espresso Machines!!!"
Perhaps the Nissan Espresso ZX? Constant pressure and perfect volumetry delivered by pneumatic piston. Gold plated brew path. Atomic clock. Unlimited warranty 6 years or 8000 shots, whichever comes last. Side panel airbags. GPS.

Steve

Post by Steve » Fri Mar 14, 2008 9:14 am

1. Fitting under cabinets would NOT be an issue for me (much less than the cash)
If it's not an issue, sure. But for many, myself included, I think the size of the GS/3 makes it much more house friendly. Yet it does not comprimise on performance -- has the large stainless boilers, etc.
2. External pump for me is not a negative. Once it's set up - no muss, no fuss.
Agreed, sort of. I'm just not sure I see it as providing any real benefit. I suppose it'd be a bit easier to swap out if it failed. As a fully integrated unit, the GS/3 is still stunningly quiet.
3. The steam control is REAL easy (a lever). What contortion?
Personal preference, perhaps. If the steam wand is on the left of the machine, the control should be positioned for your right hand, IMHO. YMMV
4. The PID control isn't "buried." it's just behind the drip tray. We accessed the PID in a split second on the one I played with. (Honestly, how often would you NEED to play with it?!). I actually thought that was a positive because the controls were somewhat protected.
I must take exception here. Flexible and accurate brew temps is one of, if not THE key feature for these pricey beasts. Given that, we have the opportunity to play with minor variations in temp to bring out different nuances in a given blend. Trust me, this is fun! Having direct access to this feature is very important. (BTW, the actual computer is under the chassis, just the interface is up front).
5. you know, you know - the "paddle" is SWEET!
Yup. I admit it. I have paddle envy! D*mn.
7. Again - not a negative at all for me. The S1 is in my house BECAUSE it's not a pour over. I said goodbye to that with my Isomac Tea...
I am with you here. It's just nice that the GS/3 can do either one easily. If I want to take the GS3 to the shore for a month, no problem.
8. Very true - but "if you can afford it..."
We all have our limits! :-/
9. My understanding was that it was about the same price as the GS3(?). What *IS* the actual cost for this thing then??!?!!
Give Chris a call.
Last edited by Steve on Fri Mar 14, 2008 5:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by bbqnut » Fri Mar 14, 2008 1:08 pm

Steve wrote: Perhaps the Nissan Espresso ZX? Constant pressure and perfect volumetry delivered by pneumatic piston. Gold plated brew path. Atomic clock. Unlimited warranty 6 years or 8000 shots, whichever comes last. Side panel airbags. GPS.

Ahhhhh...

You don't know how sweet that actually sounds.

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Post by steve96822 » Wed Apr 30, 2008 6:36 am

I have pulled shots on a LM multigroup machine and compared with those on my S1 using the SAME coffee beans.

After more than 20 years of espresso drinking, preparation, study, and travel in Italy, I cannot taste or perceive any difference in a shot from either machine.

IMO, spending the extra money(not a problem) for a GS3 is pointless and much better used on something else like a Ditting grinder LOL.

Anyway the GS3 seems is ok for home use but any significant volume per hour apparently is not doable. 7500 can almost cover 4 S1's, or 1 S1, a Ditter grinder, and a nice vacation in Italy.

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Post by JohnB » Wed Apr 30, 2008 10:51 am

While I don't have 20 years of Espresso experience that pretty much sums up my opinion of the GS3 also. What kills me is that after spending all that money owners are still buying the Scace Device so they can check/figure out offset & brew temps. Also considering how long the GS3 took to get into production you would think they would have noticed & fixed the issues with the drip tray, pump vibration & wet steam before sending the machines out.
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Post by PBL » Wed Apr 30, 2008 10:24 pm

Steve interesting and informative comments on the GS3. All that I have read would indicate that it is at the fine point of current technology. It does get down to how much one wants to pay for the incremental quality, both perceived and real. The most amazing point about the machine is the temp stability. Being one of the key variables in high quality shots they seem to have done wonders even though 15 amps would be limiting too some extent.

Getting back to the price incremental improvements cost a lot. Just look at wine and the price difference between a top end merlot and Petrus. So I guess I will be happy with my S1 for a while (until espresso machine envy gets the best of me :roll: ). If my wife were to read this she would think that a nice vacation in Italy, an S1 and a Ditter grinder would be a fine trade off for the GS3. In December she thought I was nuts going for the S1 and Rocky to replace a 6-7 year $400 semi automatice with a pressurized portafilter. She is now absolutely in iove with the S1 even though her dream machine at the time was a Saeco or Jura superautomatica.

Again this thread is a great read! :D
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Post by steve96822 » Fri May 23, 2008 3:47 pm

What we care about most is the final product, the "shot" If you cannot tell any difference between shots pulled on a LM multigroup(tantamount to a GS3 if not better) and an S1 using the SAME beans, I honestly don't see the point in the extra money.

Cars are different, though the argument for the economical Toyota that does not break often is fairly good although the Ferrari is spectacular. You get inside a car but don't take a cruise in a coffee maker.

I had a NS Oscar/sirai before the S1. Looking at the guts of the S1 made me think of a baby commercial machine.

The GS3 sure doesn't look like a Ferrari or inspires me as the car would.

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Re: S1 Vivaldi to the LM GS3 -- early observations

Post by alsterling » Sat Jun 07, 2008 8:11 pm

Steve........what happened? Did everyone go home? This certainly is an interesting thread for Vivaldi owners who might want to upgrade, rob a bank or stand suspiciously near ATM's, looking for people to drop money on their exit.

I just got back on this site after, evidently, forgetting I had signed up months ago??!!! :oops: (Been busy paying the mortgage) And regarding your new machine, that's pretty much the top of the food chain in 1-groups right now! I'm sure by now you're either enjoying the heck out of it, or have had the place hit, and the unit taken by a (just guessing) fellow coffee-nut turned felon! :shock: (Envy can do strange things to good people.)

I cracked up after reading Howard's comment..........I'm with him. Seeing as it's already June, who's gonna' buy that Synesso, post photos of their new setup, and do an indepth review? I'm running out of Roast and First Cup magazines in my office and don't have anything else to drool over! As was essentially said......."Give me either the LM or Synesso 1-group after calling out my winning ticket!"

I'm believing that LM will be taking the GS3 and essentially building their future multi-group machines out of that technology. Each brew group will be, essentially, a GS3. That's the impression I got when visiting Franke after doing CoffeeFest Seattle in Nov. of '07. BTW, Nuvo Simonelli had placed many, many machines at that show...including in the barista competition area. It reminded me that it certainly is about the barista; given a well maintained machine of either type (DB or HX) or trademark. My next machine will probably be a Synesso 2-group. I'm already "in the garage", and have all the room and utilities (220vac). I haven't converted the drive-way to a circular, nor put a drive-thru window in the garage door, but who knows. Maybe the city will change the zoning out here??!

Good luck with the new machine and use it in good health...............BTW, do you list your address in your profile...........just asking for a friend, is all? :roll:
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