AVID Volvere SP Turntable Page 2

For review, the Volvere SP was supplied as a £5990 package with an AVID TA-3 tonearm – to all intents and purposes, a Rega RB330. This is mounted to the deck using a natty AVID three-point Rega-to-SME mount adapter plate, though this does not address the Rega design's main drawback, which is the lack of VTA adjustment.

sqnote Thrill Seeker
For my listening I used an Audio-Technica AT-OC9MLII cartridge and connected the turntable to Yamaha's C-5000/M-5000 pre/power amplifiers [HFN Aug '20] driving PMC Twenty5.24 loudspeakers [HFN May '17]. And it didn't take long to discover just how good a performance can be obtained from a really first-class belt-drive deck.

Put simply, the Volvere SP combines the sheer fluidity and atmosphere belt-drive decks are so good at, with the solidity and precision a capable direct-drive can deliver so well. The result is a magnificent sense of focus and stability, whatever the material played. Rhythms were locked down tightly, performers could be pinpointed accurately in the soundstage and the deck was also able to present a glorious amount of detail. If you're seeking a turntable able to reveal all the excitement buried in the grooves of your vinyl collection, then look no further – the Volvere SP is an expert in this area.

Yet it was the low-end that kept me coming back for more. This AVID deck was effortlessly capable when handling basslines, sounding unflustered and remarkable confident. I've heard some turntables at this price level become slightly messy when the going gets more complex, but the Volvere SP positively powered through. The twin-belt drive set-up may be a right faff to install, but it rewards your persistence in spades.

Emotional Rescue
The picked bass notes that introduce the remixed version of Chris Rea's 'Loving You' from One Fine Day [Magnet 0190295498856] were deep, fruity and sinuous, carrying the track along perfectly. When Rea's vocals came in, the Volvere SP ensured his voice sounded emotive and lifelike before his trademark vocals became appropriately gruff. I have heard a slightly richer sound with this track in the past, but the slight 'greyness' across the midband is arguably a feature of the Rega RB330 arm, and so not a criticism that can be levelled directly at the turntable.


In all other respects, the midrange detailing and atmosphere could not be faulted. Playing something simple, such as the soothing sounds of 'If Time Was For Wasting' from Dylan LeBlanc's Pauper's Field album [Rough Trade RTRADLP590], had the hairs standing up on the back of my neck as the Volvere SP projected his vocals with both clarity and emotion. Equally, the soundstage width and depth was arguably one of the best I have heard at the price, and without any feeling of the deck trying to impress. This sounded like the properly atmospheric recording that it is, rather than it having any kind of artificial 'stereo-wide' effect.

Crisp 'N' Clean
Spin something more densely recorded and the Volvere SP rises to the challenge magnificently. The jangling guitar, mandolin and kick-drum on the intro to Steve Earle's 'Copperhead Road' [MCA DMCF 3426] can sometimes fight each other for supremacy in the mix, but the Volvere SP slapped them into line perfectly. And talking of those kick-drum strikes, yes, they thumped straight into my chest!

Equally, Gary U.S. Bonds' Dedication [EMI AML 3017] – a recording that is all too often pushed to the back of my play pile due to its poor engineering – was brought back to life. Through the Volvere SP, the underlying rhythm of 'Jole Blon' fought its way gallantly through the murk and the whole track bounded along with a swagger that put a big grin on my face.

As for the higher frequencies, my choice of cartridge was intentional as I have often found that the treble sparkle of the AT-OC9MLII can help ameliorate the rather over-smooth top-end of Rega-based arms. With the TA-3 and AT-OC9MLII, the overall combination balanced out perfectly. There was no artificial sheen to the treble, and if a recording was turbid, the turntable let you know. That said, cymbal strikes were dynamic and clean, hi-hats crisp and snappy, and subtle background effects, such as the gentlest tap on an orchestral triangle, were clear to hear.

As a final footnote, you can't keep a vinyl-fiddler down, so at the end of the review period, I whipped off the TA-3 arm and replaced it with my regular SME 309. The results were absolutely sublime, suggesting that, while the AVID TA-3 is certainly a fine partner for the Volvere SP, the deck has even more to give, if and when upgrade funds allow. It's no secret that AVID has been working on its own range of tonearms for a few years now, and I suspect that these will be well worth the wait.

Hi-Fi News Verdict
The Volvere SP has an inherent 'rightness' about the way it makes music, rewarding with a dynamic, detailed and confident presentation that delivers all the thrills buried within the grooves of your records without the spills. Belt-fitment excepted, it's straightforward to set up while its features almost read like a checklist of turntable 'best practice'. The results are clear to hear in its solid, precise sound.

Avid Hi-Fi Ltd
Kimbolton, Cambs
Supplied by: Avid Hi-Fi Ltd
01480 869900