Gold Note Mediterraneo Turntable Page 2

Spinning up Deacon Blue's second album When The World Knows Your Name [CBS 463321 1], the train-beat snare rhythm that opens 'Queen Of The New Year' showed the deck's delivery to be warm but powerful, even if the strike of the sticks lacked the sheer staccato attack and impact heard via the very best vinyl spinners. Meanwhile, the bass guitar was appropriately plump and full while the vocals of Ricky Ross were conveyed with a wonderful warmth and richness.

As for the stereo image, this was expansive, the deck setting up a wide and deep soundscape within which instruments were securely defined with a reach-out-and-touch presence. On 'The World Is Lit By Lightning', percussive effects and rim-shots careered around the room, drawing the ear right to the edges of the soundstage. Incisive it wasn't, but bathed in the Florentine glow of the Mediterraneo, the streets of Glasgow described on the album have never felt quite so warm and inviting.

Sounds Swell
The Concertgebouw in Amsterdam is undoubtedly one of the finest concert halls in the world and its resident orchestra performing Beethoven's Symphony No 6 under Bernard Haitink [Philips 420 541-1] is a recording in which the string section enjoys exceptional sweetness.

The Mediterraneo fully captured the delightful string tones during the quieter sections, while the majestic swells possessed a wonderful acoustic ambience without ever sounding strident or harsh. This recording is notable for its lack of pinpoint imaging, but the orchestra sounded just as I would imagine it in the hall, ranged across a wide concert stage without undue spotlighting of individual instruments. Despite this, a little fine detail was lost to the warm euphony of the deck's presentation.

Power Plays
Piano is always a fine test of a turntable's pitch stability and even with the standard PSU in use there was a sense of exemplary control and grip on the 'Living Stereo' release of Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody On A Theme Of Paganini with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra [LSC-2430]. Switching from the standard PSU to the company's optional PST-10 brought no immediate benefit to speed stability, but did prompt a little more detail to be revealed in the recording. The sense of hammers hitting piano strings, the sheer mechanical force and impetus of the playing and the rich tonality of the stringed instruments in 'Variation 18' all reached a higher level with the PST-10 at the helm.

Dynamic light and shade improved too, so the gradations and accents in Rubinstein's performance were conveyed with a little greater authority – all the way from pianissimo to fortissimo. This is one of the most stirring performances in classical music, and with the PST-10/Mediterraneo/B-5.1 front-end it truly started to come alive.

Van Morrison's 1989 album Avalon Sunset [Polydor 839 262-1] also demonstrated the potential of Gold Note's flagship turntable with its power supply upgrade. On the opening track 'Wherever God Shines His Light' Morrison's voice sounded that bit more transparent, or that bit less syrupy, while the punchy drum and percussion sounds were far more crisply delineated. Then came the tympani playing softly in the background of 'Contacting My Angel', all conveyed with wonderful warmth and solidity, while the electric and acoustic guitars enjoyed fine clarity and dynamics.

Finally there was the glorious brass section on 'I'd Love To Write Another Song'... Bold, occasionally strident (just as brass should sound) the fabulous exuberance of its interjections propelled the song along with real swing, making for a memorable listening experience.

Hi-Fi News Verdict
The Gold Note Mediterraneo is a fine flagship turntable from this Tuscan firm. Unlike some other turntables it doesn't demand learning the black arts of suspension set-up or any other arcane optimisation. It's a fit-and-forget vinyl spinner for those seeking excellent build, elegant looks and sumptuous sound quality. Put your feet up, splash Aperol Spritz on ice and admire the Florentine Renaissance.

Gold Note
Firenze, Italy
Supplied by: Audio Pinnacle, Hants, UK
01420 544140