Turntables, Arms & Cartridges

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Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Oct 21, 2014
The Kandid is a device purposed to work hand-in-glove with the Sondek LP12 turntable and Ekos SE tonearm combination. It replaces the Akiva, which has flown the marque’s flag for MCs for a good few years now. The Kandid differs in several significant ways, the most visually conspicuous of which is its new ‘naked’ generator assembly. It has long been known that cartridge bodies induce coloration.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Oct 21, 2014
One of the world’s most expensive, highly-developed tonearms are ‘unipivots’, though in some cases they have additional bearings: Mørchhas a dual pivot to give lateral stability, Kuzma a cunning four-point system; Continuum’s Cobra arm uses a secondary outrigger pivot mounted on its own bearing. However, it was left to Bob Grahamof Graham Engineering to come up with what is arguably the most elegant way of maximising the benefits of the unipivot concept and smoothing away its disadvantages. The breakthrough came with his ‘Magneglide’ magnetic stabiliser system – the major innovation of the first, B-44, Phantom arm. Graham lists six separate benefits for it: increased lateral stability, easy azimuth adjustment, a higher lateral inertia component for improved bass reproduction, augmentation of system damping, true vertical pivoting of the stylus with no rotation as the arm is raised, and easily adjusted anti-skate compensation.
Paul Miller  |  Jan 14, 2012
EAT revives an old idea from NAD in the 1980s, but with a modern execution. Welcome the E-Flat belt-drive turntable with its, er, flat carbon fibre tonearm The wife of Pro-Ject’s CEO Heinz Lichtenegger, Jozefina, is one of the gutsiest individuals in hi-fi today. Not only does she insist that the turntables under her EAT Forté banner are high-end, while hubby’s Pro-Ject concentrates on the affordable, she’s had the sheer guts to revive a much reviled form. Flat tonearms are as old as hi-fi itself, the E-Flat’s arm following Connoisseur’s CS1, the wooden Grace G-714, an early Grado, the back half of the ‘hinged’ Dynavector DV-507 and many others.
Andrew Simpson and Paul Miller  |  Dec 16, 2011
Roksan's iconic vinyl spinner remains one of the most forward-thinking decks on the market and the latest version now comes with a raft of considered upgrades Back in the early 1980s if you were serious about vinyl replay and had the money, the obvious contenders to splash your cash on were Linn’s LP12, followed by rivals such as Michell’s space-age GyroDec or the left-field Pink Triangle. Despite drastically different looks, all three decks were essentially attempts to take the late Edgar Villchur’s ground-breaking three-point sprung suspension design to the next level. Then, in 1985, Roksan came onto the scene with the Xerxes, which promptly turned this perceived wisdom on its head. As Tufan Hashemi, Roksan Audio’s Managing Director, explained: ‘We argued that using a suspended or floating surface to support a record could not allow it to be accurately read, as the record itself would be floating.
Steve Harris and Paul Miller  |  Nov 30, 2011
From the reborn Transcriptors company comes an all-new turntable with a pedigree, a design that still follows in the footsteps of the classic 1960s and 1970s models The original Transcriptors Hydraulic Reference turntable was one of audio history’s great style statements. The story of the design and its creator, the late David Gammon, was told in our May ’11 Audio Milestone feature. Transcriptors was reborn in 2000, thanks to David’s oldest son Michael Gammon. Encouraged by American collector Don Sellers, Michael started an information website for enthusiasts.
Andrew Simpson and Paul Miller  |  Nov 30, 2011
From Southern Germany comes a seriously heavyweight deck that's built on solid foundations. But will the Thunder's roar light up the skies or rain on the parade? Thanks to pioneering automotive inventors such as Rudolf Diesel and Karl Benz, German engineering has a long established reputation for ‘quality and innovation’. These qualities could also be used to describe the nation’s hi-fi industry where brands such as ELAC and T+A have been proudly flying Germany’s audiophile flag for decades, paving the way for relative newcomers like Acoustic Signature, with its ranges of turntables which are regular players in the superdeck league. The new Thunder boasts a number of features in common with the ‘milestone’ Ascona (costing £10k more).
Ed Selley  |  Nov 16, 2011
A classic Japanese brand stages a welcome return with a competitive design It’s easy to forget that movingcoils were once the minority cartridge choice (not least because the best of them were low-output types needing complicated step-ups). For most hi-fi enthusiasts, moving-magnets ruled. In between MMs and MCs were other types: variluctance, movingflux – with Nagaoka providing, with its ‘Moving Permalloy’, one of the more successful alternatives to straight MM operation. Common to all, or nearly all, non-MCs was a higher output that would work with the standard 47kohm phono input then prevalent.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 16, 2011
Ortofon's flagship moving magnet design offers superior spacial performance No strangers to the pages of HFN, Denmark’s Ortofon company remains one of the world’s foremost manufacturers of cartridges both for hi-fi and DJ use. Its best moving-magnets currently are the 2Ms, a four-strong series with interchangeable styli topped by this 2M Black, sporting a Nude Shibata stylus. It might appear that they all use the same body shell, with distinctive angular contours and internal generators with neodymium magnets, however the two best – the £280 2M Bronze with a Nude Fine Line stylus and this 2M Black model – are formed from a more rigid Noryl plastic/glass compound as well as employing better ‘engines’ featuring split pole pins with silver-plated copper wire. The 5mm-deep tapped fixing holes in the top of the body allow rigid bonding to an arm’s headshell.
Paul Miller  |  Nov 16, 2011
The latest version of the budget classic features additional bracing and a revised tonearm Rega’s philosophy is that while the plinth has to be as rigid as possible, it also should be as light as possible. And seeking to maximise the plinth’s rigidity between tonearm and main bearing, a phenolic stiffening brace is added. On the RP3, the brace visible on top of the plinth is complemented by a second one below, forming a stressed beam assembly. The actual plinth is a piece of special light furniture board, finished to a very high standard by something akin to a printing process.
Paul Miller  |  Nov 16, 2011
The latest improvements to a long-standing classic are subtle but extremely effective After launching the turntable range 20 years ago with the Model 30/2, SME founder Alastair Robertson-Aikman followed it with a lighter version called the Model 20 – thinner in upper chassis and subchassis plates, with a smaller, thinner platter and other reductions in mass. In 2006 SME released the 20 in a widened version that would accept a 12in arm. It was a huge success, so the Model 30/12 appeared to equal acclaim [HFN Mar ’09]. In the interim, the external power supply had been upgraded, and was made common to all models, while 2010 saw the introduction of a new black platter mat material.
Paul Miller  |  Nov 16, 2011
The American brand arrives in the UK with a design determined to make an impact Only recently have Spiral Groove products become available this side of the Atlantic. The SG2 turntable is determinedly luxurious, with an exemplary quality of finish. The SG2 eschews suspension in favour of constrained layer damping in its plinth and platter. The plinth has two thin layers of unspecified material separating three aluminium plates, while the platter comprises a thick phenolic layer followed by two thinner layers, one of vinyl, the top surface of graphite.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Nov 16, 2011
Clearaudio's most affordable moving coil design yet Clearaudio has a range of MM cartridges in its portfolio with price tickets to suit all pockets, but its moving-coils are decidedly high-end. So this new Concept MC is pitched at enthusiasts wanting a delicious moving-coil instead, and one that won’t break the bank. Its body is of aluminium magnesium alloy with a ceramic surface layer; it features a boron cantilever and Micro Line Contact stylus profile, with oxygen-free copper (OFC) coil windings in its generator. The angular body shape with centre line at the front makes it easy to align, threaded holes meaning that you don’t have to fiddle with screws and nuts.
Paul Miller  |  Nov 16, 2011
A classic British name returns with a real heavyweight Systemdek is back, with two brand new decks for vinyl aficionados, both high-end designs. There’s a tastylooking 3D Precision model and this go-for-broke 3D Reference. Given its eye-watering price, it was bound to be a serious high-end statement. And it’s a heavyweight piece of engineering indeed.
Paul Miller  |  Nov 16, 2011
A cost-effective Swiss offering that gets to the heart of the music With a background in developing delicate instrumentation (including Swiss time pieces), turning his hand to styli and cartridges seemed an obvious step for music-loving Ernst Benz, who founded Benz Micro and subsequently released a number of high-end MC cartridges from the 1980s onwards. In 1994 Ernst retired, selling Benz Micro to his friend and long time product collaborator Albert Lukaschek who still runs the company today. The Swiss pedigree is obvious from the packaging and accompanying accessories alone, which include a circular bubble level and stainless miniature screwdriver. The Micro ACE is the third model up in Benz’s MC-only product line, priced alongside a low output version distinguished by its red casework, and the cheapest to feature a solid boron cantilever and line contact stylus, rather than conical or elliptical profiles.
Paul Miller  |  Nov 16, 2011
The more affordable Paris V incorporates technology from the latest Delphi In 2009 Jacques Riendeau, brother of Oracle founder Marcel, recommenced work as chief designer in the re-formed Quebec company Oracle. The first result was the Delphi MkVI. Work from this was fed into the new Paris MkV turntable. Revisions to the Paris suspension aimed for better lateral stability: a ‘semi-floating’ subchassis is supported not on metal springs but on two fibreglass rods which terminate in Sorbothane rings.

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