Turntables, Arms & Cartridges

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Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Dec 01, 2018
hfnoutstanding.pngFollowing its ever-descending prices for its high-value turntables, EAT (European Audio Team) has issued the Jo No5 moving-coil cartridge to do the same for phono pick-ups

As if to answer my continued pleas for sane price tags, and my continued dismay at the fees charged for some MC cartridges, the inclusively named European Audio Team (EAT) has delivered what may be a game-changer. It was the talk of 2018's High End Show in Munich, not least because it looks unlike nearly any cartridge ever seen before. And another thing: the EAT Jo No5 sells for £999.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Feb 17, 2020
hfnoutstandingAfter wowing the audio community with the Jo No5 moving-coil cartridge, EAT has unleashed the second in the family – the Jo No8. And it's an even bigger knock-out

Having previously dipped its toe in the water with the Yosegi moving-coil cartridge [HFN Mar '12] – effectively a rebodied-in-wood Japanese design – EAT stunned us last year with the Jo No5 [HFN Dec '18], selling at a sane £799. There's no shortage of amazing moving-coil cartridges on the market, but this was blatantly head-and-shoulders above the pack. It heralded a new range of MCs to complement EAT's expanding catalogue of turntables, arms, phono stages and its recently-unveiled integrated amplifier.

Review: Adam Smith, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 01, 2018
hfncommended.pngAfter returning to making turntables two years ago, the company is now back with a more affordable package that includes a pre-fitted arm and cartridge, all ready to go

Vinyl’s renaissance has resulted in some thought-provoking developments, particularly when it comes to turntable manufacturers. Naturally, well-established brands such as Rega and Pro-Ject have seen their output rise dramatically and, unsurprisingly, more than a few new names have appeared on the scene. What is fascinating, however, is to see manufacturers that made turntables in the past return to their vinyl roots once more.

Review: Ed Selley, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Nov 26, 2021
While one Austrian/Czech brand may account for over 50% of 'hi-fi' turntables sold, this hasn't stopped other brands from offering alternative vinyl-friendly packages

With enthusiasm for vinyl showing no sign of diminishing, many companies are now launching record players in a bid to reel in buyers. For the most part this process sees them approach an existing turntable manufacturer and select anything between core components on which to base their own design, to a complete 'turnkey' unit, requiring only the application of branding and a name.

Review: Nick Tate, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Aug 23, 2019
hfnoutstandingWith a heritage in broadcast and studio environments EMT has always married robustness with precision engineering, witnessed in this 'domestic' high-end MC series

Elektromesstechnik – under the abbreviation EMT – is a brand that needs no introduction to vinyl fans, not least because of the reputation its turntables earned as the workhorses of recording and broadcast studios across the globe. The company's cartridges share a similar reputation for quality, robustness and reliability, but so far these have been somewhat overshadowed by its record decks. That's a pity, because not only has EMT been making pick-ups since 1959 but it has buyers in all four corners of the world.

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.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 24, 2010
The history of Garrard as a manufacturer can be traced back to World War One, when the famous jewellers to royalty wished to do ‘their bit’ for the wartime effort, ultimately setting up an ammunitions company. After hostilities ceased, the family was left with a small manufacturing plant in Swindon, which switched to the manufacture of wind-up motors for gramophones. From Tommy gun to turntables, one might say. .
Ken Kessler  |  Jul 17, 2020  |  First Published: Jan 01, 1984
hfnvintageOrtofon's SPU cartridge has reappeared. Ken Kessler gives it a whirl

Paranoia is not a condition to which I subscribed prior to entering the brotherhood of audio writers. Ignorant of my near-leper status, it came as something of a shock to find myself the only valve-loving, moving-magnet cartridge supporter in the immediate vicinity. Thankfully, editor John Atkinson tends to offer advice and make suggestions, rather than threaten my physical well-being for failing to embrace the solid-state, and so decided that a review of a moving-coil cartridge would be a subtle way of sowing the seeds for my conversion. And he knows my weaknesses well: anachrophilia.

Review: Jonathan Gorse, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 02, 2020
hfncommendedInspired by the Florentine Renaissance, this flagship turntable aims to combine avantgarde technological innovation with sumptuous Italian aesthetics

Think of Italy and one pictures a nation blessed with effortless style, eye-catching design and a strong sense of its own history. The Gold Note Mediterraneo boasts all these qualities, sitting atop the company's five-strong turntable range and costing £4990-£5445 (depending on finish) with the B-5.1 tonearm included. As well as the walnut plinth of our review sample, the deck is available in black lacquered MDF, white, and as a truly glorious alternative coated in an exquisitely-textured 24k gold foil. Sleek-looking and superbly crafted, when it comes to the spouse acceptance factor it's on a par with having George Clooney move in as a lodger.

Ed Selley  |  Sep 06, 2011
An excellent performer at a very creditable price New York’s Grado Labs is truly a family business with John Grado, nephew of founder Joseph Grado, taking the company’s presidency in recent years. Alongside phono cartridges, Grado also manufactures a selection of audiophile headphones to suit a range of budgets [HFN May ’11]. The Grado Gold1 cartridge updates the previous Gold model and sits atop Grado’s entry-level Prestige Series, with five other models beneath, all named after colours with corresponding coloured dots that sit either side of the stylus assembly. These six models should actually be considered as three pairs, each comprising a standard version and a higher-end variant drawn from the same production run, but which achieved a higher specification.
Review: Adam Smith, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jan 11, 2021
hfncommendedFrom Japan comes an exquisitely finished flagship MC cartridge that's cooking on gas when it comes to serving up full-flavoured sound. Is value for money on the menu too?

By naming the flagship MC in its Hana pick-up range the Umami Red, Japanese cartridge maker Excel Sound has played a clever stroke. Glance at the £3399 cartridge's exquisitely lacquered body and there are no prizes for guessing why the name includes the word 'Red'. But 'Umami'? In Japanese, 'umami' is one of five tastes, along with sweetness, sourness, bitterness and saltiness. It has been variously translated as 'delicious' and 'savoury', but umami is said to be quite difficult to detect on its own. Rather, it combines with other flavours to give a result that's far greater than the sum of all parts.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jan 21, 2022
hfnvintageThis compact '80s turntable took the fight to market leader Technics by driving down the price of automatic track selection and programmable repeat. Is it a big hitter?

The LP sleeve-sized turntable, first seen in 1979 in the form of the Technics SL-10 [HFN Apr '19], proved such a success that within a year or so most of the major Japanese manufacturers had added one to their range. In a fast-changing world where digital tuners, remote-controlled amps and full-logic cassette decks were beginning to make traditional turntables look out of date, this new look helped maintain sales.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 04, 2020
hfnoutstandingAn air-bearing turntable and a parallel-tracking, air-bearing tonearm in a single, easy-to-use package for under £7000? Devotees of both will love the Holbo Airbearing

Every product type has its following, however focused. I am sure, for example, that there are devotees of hybrid amps with tube front-ends and solid-state output stages just as, among the niches in LP playback, audiophiles are tempted by air-bearing turntables and parallel-tracking tonearms. Made in Slovenia by Bostjan Holc, the Holbo Airbearing combines those two, and does so for an almost-inexplicable £6500.

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  |  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.

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