Turntables, Arms & Cartridges

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Ed Selley  |  Nov 28, 2011  |  0 comments
Twin Engined Audio Note has a range of new arms for its well established TT-2 turntable. Ed Selley finds out if two motors are better than one. Audio Note is best known for its extensive range of valve amplifiers and digital products, but it has been producing turntables and vinyl accessories for many years. The current range consists of three turntables, three new tonearms and a range of moving-magnet and moving-coil cartridges.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 28, 2011  |  0 comments
Are you Xperienced? Pro-Ject has added a unipivot to its Xperience turntable. Ed Selley cues up Pro-Ject seems intent on creating a turntable to suit absolutely everybody and its range is expanding on a seemingly daily basis. The classic decks, of which the entry-level 2-Xperience Basic+ is now a part, sits somewhere above the Essential and Debut ranges and runs parallel to the RPM series. Beefed up The deck itself looks more like a beefed-up Debut, than a member of the RPM series.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 28, 2011  |  0 comments
The Planar evolution Jason Kennedy finds out what improvements Rega has included to turn its best-selling turntable into a giant-slayer The RP3 is the latest generation of a turntable that goes back to Rega’s roots in the seventies when it launched the Planet; a turntable that evolved into the Planar 3 and has been slowly improving ever since. The last iteration was the P3-24, but something dramatic has happened to this budget classic since then: it has grown an exoskeleton between main bearing and tonearm, in an effort to bring greater rigidity to this crucial link. This is a lot more than cosmetic – it signals a change from attempting to make the entire plinth as stiff as possible to concentrating on the inflexibility where it matters most. That’s not all, the tonearm has gone through its second stage of evolution to come out more sleek and rigid again.
Ed Selley  |  Jul 07, 2011  |  0 comments
Tiny Temper Die-hard LP12 fans have found a new haven in Well Tempered. Jason Kennedy looks at the entry-level Simplex, complete with silicone damping There are some radical turntable designs in the glorious world of analogue audio, but very few comparable to a Well Tempered product. The Simplex was first developed in the early eighties and this new entry-level turntable is still the least expensive in the Well Tempered range. The design, unlike all other turntables, doesn’t have mechanical arm bearings; instead the arm pivots on a silicone-damped golf ball that hangs from a nylon filament thread.
Ed Selley  |  Jun 16, 2011  |  0 comments
The art of sound Jason Kennedy puts a £1,700 German-made newcomer from Acoustic Signature against rivals from Pro-Ject and Well Tempered Just when you thought that you could relax with your record collection along comes another contender with a substantial range of serious-looking turntables. What’s surprising, however, is that despite having UK representation for some time, it’s only in the last few months that we have discovered Acoustic Signature, of which the Manfred Mk II is one of the German company’s more affordable offerings. It comes with an outboard power supply and a free-standing motor and the diamond polished platter sets it apart from an increasingly large crowd of competitors at this level, as does switchable speed control. It can be supplied with any Rega tonearm, or a base to the arm of your choice.
Ed Selley  |  May 31, 2011  |  0 comments
Funk Firm Vector 3 Funk Firm’s Arthur Khoubessarian has broken the mould once again with the Vector 3, his latest non-resonant turntable The Funk Vector is based on a very simple chassis made into a curvy shape and with a DC motor controlled electronically – fine control for each speed is available via a small screwdriver adjustment just behind the speed switch. The ‘Vector’ part of the name refers to the Vector drive system, which uses two small idler pulleys in the belt path, in addition to the motor. The idea is to balance out the sideways pull from the belt so that the platter is less inclined to ‘precess’ around the spindle. A flat belt is used, which in principle should be more stable than a round-section belt, though the one on our review sample showed some tendency to twist.
Ed Selley  |  May 31, 2011  |  0 comments
Pro-Ject Xperience 2 Pack Brand new acrylic turntable combines Pro-Ject’s impressive credentials with a top-quality hi-fi performance Acrylic is not actually the perfect material for turntables, but it’s a good one. It is reasonably stable dimensionally, not very resonant, quite tough and, of course, capable of being polished to a very high standard of finish. In this case, it is supported on three very slightly compliant feet, adjustable to set the deck level, which are the only suspension in the design. Across to the left is the motor, a low-voltage AC type which is fed from a simple wall wart supply and which drives the outside of the platter via a square- section belt.
Ed Selley  |  May 31, 2011  |  0 comments
Rega P7 Rega’s P7 has some impressive aesthetics, but the blind-listening panel are divided over its sound quality In so many respects this is a classic Rega, but it actually shares very few components with the famous old Planar models. It has an AC motor mounted directly behind the bearing, but it’s a low-voltage motor powered from an external generator, which also allows electronic speed switching. It has a short belt drive to the subplatter, but there is actually a pair of round-section belts and the sub-platter is metal. There’s a hard, rigid platter with a felt mat, but instead of the original glass this one is made of ceramic, complete with Michell-style underslung weights around the periphery.
Ed Selley  |  May 31, 2011  |  0 comments
Scheu Analog Cello A new contender on the UK hi-fi scene, this German-made turntable boasts a respectable track record Aalthough a relative newcomer to the UK, Scheu has been in business since the late 1980s. This makes it one of a number of turntable manufacturers who started up their business just as the LP was allegedly in its death throes. Perhaps, for that reason, the company’s range is not vast, (there are only four turntables and three arms available), but distinctly exotic-looking in design. The Cello (including a Jelco SA-250 arm) is a rectangular slab of acrylic with three feet, an arm mount and a bearing.
Ed Selley  |  May 31, 2011  |  0 comments
Townshend Audio Rock 7 Townshend Audio's unique damping trough introduces a whole new approach to turntable performance The Rock range of turntables has invariably been distinguished by the front-end damping trough, developed as a result of research at Cranfield Institute of Technology and commercialised by Townshend in the 1980s. In many ways it’s a very different turntable from the old ‘Elite Rock’ that made the brand famous. Construction is based on 6mm steel plate, with the main chassis cut out in a pleasingly curvy shape – which accommodates the huge main bearing, the arm mounting and the three bellows suspension feet. These are a development of another long-standing Townshend idea and consist of a spring inside a rubber bellows with a small air leak.
Ed Selley  |  Feb 02, 2011  |  0 comments
The art of SEduction Michell has built just 99 examples of what might prove to be the best ever Gyro. Jason Kennedy unravels the story of the cool-blue SEduction The Michell Gyro SE is a classic British turntable that consistently scores well in our reviews, so it didn’t take much for the company to tempt us with this limited edition version in a ‘blue steel’ and black finish. The SEduction version of the Gyro SE is being sold as a complete package with Michell’s TecnoArm, HR power supply and matching record clamp. What’s more, there’s only 99 serial-numbered examples being made.
Ed Selley  |  Feb 02, 2011  |  0 comments
Edwardian splendour Malcolm Steward assesses a Rega-based turntable from Edwards Audio, a new outfit from the Talk Electronics stable The Edwards Audio TT1 starts at a very reasonable £325 without a cartridge, but is also available with an Edwards Zephyr £60 cartridge for £375 (a £10 saving when purchased with the deck as a complete record-playing package). This cartridge is similar to the popular Goldring Elektra, supplied with this review sample on the highly respected Rega RB250 [OEM] tonearm. Clearly this turntable is targeted at those who want to be able to enjoy their vinyl, without having to remortgage their homes or sell any of their internal organs to fund the investment. Rega revisited The TT1 differs from the timeless Rega P2, upon which it is based, in that it features a clear, naked acrylic platter.
Ed Selley  |  Feb 02, 2011  |  0 comments
Needle- sharp Dynavector has added two new moving coils to its small, but well formed range. Jason Kennedy finds out what they can do for your vinyl We have yet to encounter a Dynavector cartridge that we don’t like, but new ones don’t come along very often, so when two arrive like buses on a cold night, it’s a cause for celebration. As is the Japanese company’s style, the new DV-20X2 is available in low and high output varieties, the low output version requires a transistor phono stage or step-up device, while the high can be used with valve and MM phono stages. This, combined with a traditional two-gram down-force, makes the DV-20X2 a very easy cartridge to accommodate on modern turntables, or even older ones so long as they don’t have a very low mass arm.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 13, 2010  |  0 comments
Clearaudio Concept £1,100 (inc. arm and cartridge) Budget-priced deck with an almost plug-and-play versatility offers stiff competition to its higher-priced peers One of the undeniable advantages of CD players over turntables is that you can take them out of the box, plug them in and use them, with no fancy setting up required. The Concept turntable, however, very nearly equalises on that score, with arm and cartridge factory-set and user set-up limited to putting the platter in place (pretty hard to get wrong, really). One big no-no that has traditionally stood in the way of this is transporting an arm with the counterweight in place, which is usually a good way of busting the bearings, but the Concept’s arm has a unique magnetic bearing which can’t be damaged in this way.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 13, 2010  |  0 comments
Michell Gyro SE £1,140 With Michell proprietary technology such as TechnoWeight, this turntable has a few surprises up its tonearm The Michell look is distinctive and eye-catching and this turntable is no exception. To what extent, though, does form follow function? Many aspects of the Gyro’s design are highly functional, for instance those brass weights hanging below the plastic platter. Yes, a flat disc of brass (or other metal) would have achieved the same aim of adding rotating inertia, but it wouldn’t have done it any better - probably a little worse. On the other hand, the skeletal metal casting which forms the subchassis of the Gyro SE is, if we’re honest, more attractive than effective.

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