Turntables, Arms & Cartridges

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Review: Nick Tate, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jan 01, 2018
hfncommended.pngLimited to just 175 pieces, this luxuriously-appointed version of Pro-Ject's 'The Classic' turntable is offered in celebration of the VPO. Is this gilding the lily or musical gold?

Forget concept albums, for this is a 'concept turntable' – a striking looking record player that, at first sight, might seem rather 'Trump Tower', and perhaps aesthetically overpowering for conservative European eyes. Put your sunglasses on however, and all becomes clear as the VPO logo engraved into the lower right hand corner of the top plate is revealed. For this is a special commemorative product, a plush limited edition version of Pro-Ject's The Classic turntable [HFN Aug '16], made to celebrate one-and-three-quarter centuries of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Dec 01, 2017
hfnedchoice.pngDS Audio’s flagship optical cartridge is one of the most expensive we’ve tested – but the £20k price tag includes a dedicated PSU/equaliser. KK rediscovers his LP collection...

Optical pick-ups were a dream in the 1960s and 1970s, but they were hamstrung by the light technology of the era. Weight, heat, power source – all mitigated against it. DS Audio, however, has the benefit of returning to the concept in the age of the LED, and its parent company is a global giant making optical sensors. Your £20k for the DS Audio Master 1 package, then, gets you cutting-edge design and manufacture rather than something a boffin cooked up in a garage. It also pays for the latest power supply-cum-phono stage, the cartridge not delivering a signal suitable for a conventional MM or MC phono input.

Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Jan 30, 2015
Direct drive was viewed with suspicion here by many in the 1970s. Elsewhere, high-end direct-drive units from the Land of the Rising Sun were snapped up. The TTS-8000 is now widely regarded as the second best turntable Sony ever made (first place goes to the company’s PS-X9, aimed at studios). But the runner-up reviewed here did a sterling job in straddling both the domestic and professional markets.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Jan 30, 2015
The Beogram 4000’s motor unit, arm and cartridge were designed together to work as one optimised system. B&O had considered building a conventional turntable with a long arm but this was rejected in favour of tangential tracking, the Beogram 4000’s most famous feature. The basic structure comprised a die-cast tray that served as the basis for the slim and elegant plinth. This housed another casting, which formed a floating sub-chassis.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Jan 09, 2015
Inspire Hi-Fi is a turntable manufacturer that’s equally at home with belt, direct or idler-drive decks – witness its range of upgrades to some of the most iconic decks of the last few decades. At £560, the Black Magic Si is the entry-level model in the firm’s home-grown belt-drive range, and it includes an Inspire-branded Rega RB202 tonearm. The platter is a precision cut 20mm frosted acrylic disc which has a recessed area in its underside to accept the deck’s sub-platter, motor pulley and round section belt. The sub-platter, Inspire’s own design, is machined from a block of acetyl resin.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Jan 09, 2015
This is a superb statement of intent from a classic Japanese name, clearly acknowledging that vinyl is well and truly back to stay. The PD-171 most certainly wears a retro look but incorporates some fine technology. The deck is belt-driven and the high-torque synchronous AC motor derives its power from a digitally-controlled oscillator, which feeds its output signal into dual DACs and amplifier circuits. As a result, 33.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Jan 09, 2015
It’s one thing to be a whizz at electronics, and another to do turntables. They’re a completely different sort of challenge. McIntosh obviously wanted to do something a bit different in a crowded marketplace, and has come up with a combination of user friendliness and ‘millionaire chintz’. Vinyl rookies will appreciate the pre-aligned cartridge already mounted in a prefitted arm.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Jan 09, 2015
Pro-Ject’s Xtension 9 Super Pack mates the Xtension 9 Evolution turntable and 9CC Evolution arm to the new Ortofon Quintet Black MC. Its plinth measures a nicely compact 465x350mm and so size-related rack placement is not an issue. This is made from MDF and filled with a metal granulate to produce a non-resonant, high mass, base all topped with a very swish paint finish in High Gloss Red or White. The deck stands on three damped aluminium feet, pre-adjusted for level atthe factory.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Jan 09, 2015
Rega’s RP8 turntable uses what it calls ‘Double Brace Technology’. Here stiffening braces above and below the plinth provide rigidity between the turntable main bearing and the arm mounting. Thanks to this, Rega’s Roy Gandy was able to envisage a plinth construction that would be much lighter than in previous designs, so in the RP8 the plinth has given way to a very light skeletal chassis. From a functional point of view, the RP8 on its skeletal chassis is complete in itself but Rega has added a separate outer frame, using the same foam-sandwich construction, to support a dust cover.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Jan 09, 2015
It’s that very rare bird: a suspended-subchassis turntable with a direct-drive motor. A development of STST’s original Motus solid-chassis model, the Motus II inverts the usual concept of a subchassis turntable. Although the ‘plinth’ is a substantial component made of 20mm MDF, in reality it is just a cover. Once the platter and arm have been removed, it can be lifted off to reveal the whole mechanism.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Jan 09, 2015
VPI’s entry level Scout [HFN Nov ’09] looked deceptively simple, while promising lots of easy adjustment for the deck – even the supplied in-house tonearm that came as part of the package boasted an easy to remove arm wand, thereby facilitating rapid cartridge swapping. The Scout 1. 1 offers more refinement for your money, and is the cheapest VPI turntable to use a freestanding motor unit housed in its own steel case, which tucks into a dedicated cutout in the plinth. Compared to the original Scout, the 1.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Dec 22, 2014
If you were just taking your first steps into the world of hi-fi in the early 1980s you’d give serious consideration to the Dual CS505. Often partnered with a NAD 3020 amp by the canny hi-fi buyer on a budget, these two components started many listeners on a path that would bring countless hours of enjoyment. In the 1960s and ’70s Dual occupied a similar place in the German market to BSR and Garrard in the UK, producing turntable units for music centres and combination units. Yet it retained audiophile credibility for the quality of its separate belt-drives, which sold well across Europe.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Dec 22, 2014
A masterpiece of stylish understatement, the flagship Balance 2 uses Brinkmann’s Sinus motor and belt-drive system as a way to update the earlier Balance model. The plinth is CNC-machined from aluminium and supports both arm bases plus the bearing; it sits on three spiked feet adjustable for levelling. The bearing is made of hardened stainless steel and rotates in sintered brass bushings, but it’s unusual in that the assembly is heated by a MOSFET device in order to ensure the bearing operates at a steady temperature. The 90mm platter is machined from a block of aluminium while a polished crystal glass mat is recessed into its top surface.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Dec 22, 2014
While the massive Statement continues as Clearaudio’s very top model, below it in the hierarchy comes this spectacular and impressive new flagship for the main Innovation Series. It is built up on Clearaudio’s familiar, elegant, three-lobed chassis members, each constructed as a sandwich, with a core of Panzerholz (an ‘armour wood’) between two sheets of aluminium. The Master Innovation is in fact built as two separate units with the proprietary multi-platter arrangement facilitating Clearaudio’s magnetic contactless drive system. The upper section is the turntable proper, with a 70mm-thick acrylic platter atop a 15mm stainless steel base platter.
Richard Holliss  |  Nov 03, 2014
Van den Hul’s latest hand-built pick-up is called The Crimson and comes in a choice of natural light and dark wood finishes as well as a coloured [also wooden bodied] version. There’s a polycarbonate option too. Although nudity is currently the trend for modern MCs, with generators exposed for all the world to see, The Crimson doesn’t quite go all the way and chooses to cover at least a little of its modesty. Still, most internals are visible – and breakable, if you’re ham-fisted.

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