Turntables, Arms & Cartridges

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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
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.
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.
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.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Oct 21, 2014
It does not take a genius to see, even without hearing what one could do, that the Air Force One, with its air suspension, air bearing and vacuum LP hold-down, is something out of the ordinary. This turntable is the fruit of almost a half-century’s experience in high-end audio. Chief designer Hideaki Nishikawa-san says ‘The goal of Air Force One is to achieve silence in reproduction comparable to digital reproduction, especially in reproducing the recorded information of the background noise. ’ This is the first time we’ve ever heard a turntable designer acknowledge that the background and between-track silences of digital are virtues one should aspire to in analogue, even if attaining them seemed impossible.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Oct 21, 2014
New to the Clearaudio line-up this year, this tidy-looking Ovation model sits at the top of its group of turntables that all feature a rectangular plinth. Borrowing from the Innovation range, the Ovation nonetheless brings several new technologies of its own into play. The plinth is made of aluminium layers sandwiching a layer of Panzerholz ply. (This is is claimed to offer considerable sonic gains over such alternatives as acrylic and standard wood.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Oct 21, 2014
Acoustic Solid is now back in the UK, and one of the first decks distributor BD Audio has chosen to bring to our attention is the Wood MPX. While its higher echelon turntables are largely constructed of metal and circular in appearance with additional arm and motor mounting pods, the Wood series are more conventional and plinth-based; five variants are available. The Wood MPX boasts a 70mm-thick plywood (rather than MDF) plinth. Its high mass, 60mm platter is driven by a freestanding synchronous AC motor via a rubber belt (notwithstanding the company’s description of it as a ‘string drive’ design).
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Oct 21, 2014
The world once more starts to embrace idler-drive, the problem faced by a turntable manufacturer today is that tooling-up for a completely new design would be prohibitively expensive because of the relatively low production numbers involved. Inspire Hi-Fi has stepped up to the challenge of providing an affordable solution and, as with its Technics SL1200-based Monarch flagship [HFN Oct ’12], has chosen to use a plentiful classic design, the evergreen Goldring Lenco GL75, as the basis for its Enigma. It comes in a range of fine paint finishes – red, blue and black are available. One of the most popular turntable units through the 1970s, the GL75 had a reputation for its fine build quality, so Inspire Hi-Fi has felt the need to do comparatively little to the deck’s basic mechanical componentry in order to exploit its replay potential.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Oct 21, 2014
Lyra designer Jonathan Carr has devoted a large part of his life to developing a range of moving-coil pick-ups, and they’re expertly built by Akiko Ishiyama and Yoshinori Mishima in Tokyo. The Delos is the latest in a long line – the baby of the range it’s designed to be tonearm and phono-stage friendly: of medium weight and compliance it pushes out a claimed output of 0. 6mV at 5cm/sec. Recommended phono stage loading is from 98ohm to 806ohm (Lyra says the final value should be determined by listening).
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.