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I am getting ready to try my hand at making bean to bar chocolate.  I am considering purchasing a Santha Spectra 11 Melanger. There is also an option for a model of the Santha with an added speed contol.  Can anyone advise me if I should purchase the model with the speed control?  Will this make a better product, what are the benifits to this?  The cost of the speed control option practially doubles the cost of the Melanger.  I was also wondering about the CocoaTown Melanger in the same price range $500ish.  Does anyone have an opnion on which of these Melangers might work better or achieve a higher level of results?

Thank you for any input you may have on this topic, it is much appreciated!

Best regards,

Catherine Policella 

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Catherine -

At this level, IMO, you'd be better off buying two machines rather than one with a speed control. On a larger machine the speed control is a handy option.

One of the main differences between the Santha and CocoaTown designs at this size are in the way tension is applied. In the CocoaTown there is a hinged top that is spring loaded to provide the tension. On the Santha you tighten a nut that puts tension on the spring, which makes it adjustable tension. (This is both good and not-as-good). You can adjust the tension (good), but it's difficult to get exactly the same tension each time (which is not-as-good because it makes it difficult to put exactly the same pressure on the stones each time, leading to less-consistent results). 

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