Tag Archives: Turntables

Acoustic Signature "NEO" World Premiere October 2020

Acoustic Signature "NEO" World Premiere October 2020

October 5, 2020 - Acoustic Signature is possibly the most technology driven turntable and tonearm manufacturer in the world. Over the last 18 months we have achieved significant technology breakthroughs and developed a series of designs which lead to our all new 2020 NEO line. Acoustic Signature's NEO turntable series showcases our brand-new DTD bearing and AVC circuit. The DTD bearing with diamond coated spindle merges ultra-precise dimensions and maximum durability which result in unmatched rigidity, accuracy and reliability as well as a far lower noise level. The innovative, AVC circuit fully automatically adjusts the tolerances of the motors to ...

Original Resource is The Absolute Sound Articles

Yamaha C-5000 Preamplifier, M-5000 Power Amp, NS-5000 Loudspeaker, GT-5000 Turntable

Yamaha C-5000 Preamplifier, M-5000 Power Amp, NS-5000 Loudspeaker, GT-5000 Turntable

I have a dream for audio. It’s the dream that a brand already embedded in the greater culture will pick up the torch of “better sound matters” and expand the universe of participants, creating a momentum that sweeps our little specialty audio world into a bigger, brighter, and more prosperous future. Like I said, a dream. Imagine my enthusiasm then when I was approached to review a full system from a company that is the largest manufacturer of musical instruments on this planet, a review of highly ambitious products from a company whose corporate logo appears under the hands of ...

Original Resource is The Absolute Sound Articles

VPI ANNOUNCES NEW PRIME 21 TURNTABLES

VPI ANNOUNCES NEW PRIME 21 TURNTABLES

From the Renaissance Audio press release VPI’s stunning new Prime 21 turntables build upon the success of the award-winning Prime series to deliver a vastly improved performance and offer a super-simple set-up procedure. The Prime 21 and 21+ are designed for music lovers who demand high-end performance but do not want to have to learn hi-fi technician skills to get their vinyl spinning. All Prime 21 turntables are carefully packaged so that they can be easily removed from their box, calibrated, and connected in well under twenty minutes. No specialist hi-fi assembly skills are required, and all set-up tools are ...

Original Resource is Hi-Fi+ Articles

Linn Upgrades Majik Turntable With New Improved Tonearm

Linn Upgrades Majik Turntable With New Improved Tonearm

The following is a press release issued by Linn. September 25, 2020 - Further to the August launch of new Majik DSM, Linn has now announced an update for its Majik LP12: the entry level variant of the iconic turntable will shortly receive a new, higher performance tonearm. Produced in partnership with Clearaudio, the much-respected German turntable brand, the new tonearm will replace the current Majik tonearm from November. Based on an existing Clearaudio model, the design has been modified to Linn specification and improved to become the new Krane tonearm. Gilad Tiefenbrun, Linn Managing Director, said, 'We see this ...

Original Resource is The Absolute Sound Articles

Technics SL-1500C Turntable

Technics SL-1500C Turntable

At this point, everyone knows Technics is back.The venerable Japanese turntable manufacturer’s SL-1200G dropped several years ago to near-universal fanfare, and the company has since released several less expensive ’tables. But it’s the non-DJ-styled SL-1500C ($1199) that feels like the most exciting of the lot. Its price is the most accessible, of course, and it retains many of the bones of Technics’ upmarket decks. Despite its simplistic appearance, the 1500C is packed with serious tech, including a new coreless direct-drive motor, which is a huge selling point, along with a built-in phono- stage and a very solid tonearm. The SL-1500C ...

Original Resource is The Absolute Sound Articles

The best mid-range turntables

Whether you’re upgrading or buying your first record player.

As the popularity of vinyl continues to grow, the market is as flooded as ever with turntables. This also includes manufacturers who didn’t necessarily make turntables in the past are taking notice and starting to offer decks within their respected lineups. While there are some negatives to this – such as cheap, poorly built, budget turntables – there are also some positives, particularly in the mid-range price section.

Now that the demand has increased, brands are putting more effort into developing great audiophile turntables that aren’t eye-wateringly expensive.

Whether you’re looking to upgrade or jumping into the world of record collecting for the first time, mid-range turntables offer a great overall experience that gets you relatively close to the feel of something you’d find in more high-end professional and audiophile decks.

When deciding on a mid-range deck, you’ll find yourself considering the more nuanced aspects of a turntable. Elements such as the quality of the cartridge packaged within, materials used to build the deck and attention to detail are all reflected in the price. Features like built-in pre-amps or streaming capabilities become rarer to find, but the trade-off you’re getting is a higher quality build and improved performance.

As such, at this price point, it’s all about deciding what works best for you. (NB: These turntables range from £400-£800, listed in order of price.)


Denon 450 USB

Price: £449

Pros: Built in pre-amp, USB port for recording records, removable head shell, plays 33 1/3, 45 and 78 RPM

Cons: Unique dust cover has to be completely removed during each use, poor cartridge

Verdict: If you’re looking for an easy to use, plug-and-play turntable that can also play ’78s, and record records to directly to a usb, this turntable is for you.

Denon’s DP- 450 USB is a three-speed, belt-driven turntable with an s-shaped tonearm that also comes with a handy auto-stop functionality. Its front-facing USB port allows you to record whatever vinyl you want into hi-quality MP3 and WAV files directly to a flash drive. Its removable headshell also makes it super easy to upgrade to any half-inch mount cartridge of your choosing.


Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC Esprit SB

Price: £469

Pros: Acrylic Platter, 2M red Cartridge, speed change button built in

Cons: Tricky anti-skate system

Verdict: The Debut Carbon DC Esprit SB offers audiophile features that you’d find in higher priced decks at a great price point.

Pro-Ject’s Debut Carbon is an award-winning entry-level audiophile turntable that offers a great package without breaking the bank. This upgraded model, the Debut Carbon Esprit adds various well-needed features, all while keeping costs low. An integrated speed box (£129 value) allows you to easily change between 33 and 45rpm with the press of a button. It also includes Pro-Ject’s “Acryl-It” Acrylic Platter (£110 value). This allows you to play records without the need of a slipmat. Acrylic platters are also great for minimising unwanted vibrations; meaning you’ll have a clearer, tighter sound profile from this deck. Paired with the warm and detailed Ortofon 2M red Cartridge, you’re getting exceptional sound with this deck.


U-turn Orbit Special

Price: $479/ $549 (Pre-Amp Version)

Pros: Stylish wood finishes, Ortofon 2m Red Cartridge, Built-in Pre-amp version

Cons: No Proper Anti-Skate system, only available in the US + Canada, Manual Speed Change

Verdict: Easy to setup and use, high quality turntable that comes with an acrylic platter and Ortofon’s super warm 2M Red Cartridge

The Orbit Special is a sleek and stylish two speed fully manual turntable that looks just as good as it sounds. Available in two great looking solid hardwood plinth options, rift walnut or flat cut maple, and paired with Ortofon’s warm 2m red cartridge, it’s hard not to fall in love with this deck. Also included is a crystal clear Acrylic Platter, giving you a clearer, more accurate sound. There’s also a model for and additional $70, that comes with a built-in pre-amp, great for those looking for a plug-and-play system. (This deck is currently only available in the US and Canada.)


Yamaha MusicCast Vinyl 500

Price: £499

Pros: Bluetooth, wireless streaming, Alexa and Google voice control integration

Cons: Streaming services controlled through Yamaha’s MusicCast app

Verdict: Perfect for those who want to be able to play the records but also be able to stream all their favorite artists.

The Yamaha MusicCast Vinyl 500 is the perfect bridge between analogue and digital. This deck allows you to stream your records to various enabled speakers throughout your home via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Having the option of streaming via Wi-Fi means you’re able to send a higher quality to your speakers, thus retaining high quality sonics. Voice assistants such as Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant are also compatible with this turntable – meaning you can scream at it from across the room and it will work! While these digital features have an impact on its price, most importantly the deck delivers great analogue sound while playing records.


Pioneer PLX-1000

Price: £599

Pros: ±8%, ±16% and ±50% tempo range, tempo reset button, removable rca and power cables, high torque

Cons: No Cartridge included,

Verdict: Perfect for those wanting a professional DJ turntable or a lesser expensive alternative to the Technics 1200mk7.

Pioneer’s PLX-1000 is a high-torque, 2-speed deck that’s able to meet both DJing and home listening needs. Inspired by the Technics 1200, DJs should find the layout and feel of the PLX-1000 very similar. With an incredible high-torque system, this turntable reaches 331/3 rpm in 0.3 seconds, ensuring your mixes are buttery smooth. The lower part of the deck is reinforced with 8mm-thick-resin. Pioneer also added thick vibration-damping material at the base, that further eliminates unwanted resonance and vibrations. This means the turntable is perfect for more bass-heavy environments.


Pro-Ject Juke Box S2

Price: £599

Pros: Acrylic Platter, Bluetooth, Built in pre-amp and amplifier for stereo speakers.

Cons: N/A

Verdict: Pro-Ject’s Juke Box S2 is one of-a-kind – its Bluetooth capable, has a built-in preamp and an amplifier that’s able to power passive speakers.

In the digital age, it’s hard to find a turntable that handles vinyl and Bluetooth with an audiophile mindset at the forefront. Not only does Pro-Ject’s Juke Box S2 boast Bluetooth capabilties, but it also has an analogue input for you to connect an external audio source. Its built-in pre-amp allows for an easy plug-and-play system. It also includes a built-in 50W per channel amplifier for you to connect passive speakers directly into the turntable, a rare feature not often found in turntables.


Rega Planar 3

Price: £649 (With Rega ELYS 2 MM cartridge)

Pros: Glass Platter, RB330 tonearm

Cons: Internally grounded

Verdict: Rega keeps it going with its killer lineup of turntables, the Planar 3 offers an exceptional experience overall. Sounds just as good as it looks.

Rega puts a lot of attention to detail in their turntables – the Planar 3 is no exception. This two-speed deck comes with a stunning 12mm Optiwhite glass platter that’s heavy enough to help with reducing unwanted vibrations. Rega’s specially developed Rb330 Tonearm is also included; it has precise vertical and horizontal bearings to make sure your needle stays within that groove and reads it correctly.


Technics SL-1200 MK7

Price: £799

Pros: High torque, reliable, professional direct drive DJ turntable

Cons: No classic silver colourway, doesn’t come with a cartridge

Verdict: The legendary DJ turntable returns with its new iteration – Technics SL-1200 MK7. Still super reliable with new improvements don’t change the feel of a Technics SL-1200.

After 9 years, Technics has re-launched its iconic 1200 turntable series. While the fundamentals remain unchanged – the MK7 is still the high-torque, direct-drive deck DJs are accustomed to. It also offers much needed improvements, such as removable RCA and power cables, an upgraded vibration-dampened platter and ± 8% / ± 16% pitch adjustment. These features don’t compromise the reliable reputation Technics has earned over the years. While it may be more expensive than a second-hand SL-1200 MK2, expect these to last as long as their predecessors.

Original Resource is The Vinyl Factory

Vertere Acoustics DG-1 turntable

Vertere Acoustics DG-1 turntable

Vertere Acoustics is a British high-end audio manufacturer whose founder and CEO is none other than the famous audio designer/entrepreneur Touraj Moghaddam, who also co-founded the firm Roksan. Moghaddam is among other things a veteran analogue audio design expert who helped create Roksan’s well-loved Xerxes and Radius turntables and also Roksan’s NIMA and SARA tonearms. After departing from Roksan and founding Vertere, one of Moghaddam’s first acts was to develop and launch the spectacularly good (but also stratospherically expensive) Vertere RG-1 Reference Groove turntable and Reference Tonearm (hint: the arm alone costs more than both of my household vehicles combined!). ...

Original Resource is Hi-Fi+ Articles

2020 Golden Ear Awards: Allan Moulton

2020 Golden Ear Awards: Allan Moulton

Yamaha 5000 System (C-5000 Preamp, M-5000Power Amp, NS-5000 Speakers, GT-5000 Turntable) $9999, $9999, $14,999, $7999 An effort of 19 engineers and eight years in development, the full 5000 Series sees Yamaha return to high-end audio’s deep end, making waves with a cannonball dive off the high platform. The NS-5000 loudspeaker will be viewed as the system’s star component, and it rightly takes a place as an underpriced overachiever in the high-performance loudspeaker marketplace. The 5000 uses one material for every vibrating surface. In this case, Yamaha uses one of the strongest fibers in existence—Zylon. The ability to develop materials on ...

Original Resource is The Absolute Sound Articles

iFi launches new Zen Phono

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News release

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September 2020

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iFi ZEN Phono entry-level phono stage
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Above iFi ZEN Phono entry-level phono stage

ZEN gets groovy with iFi’s new phono stage

Adjustable gain? Tick. Subsonic filter? Tick. Class-leading, ultra-low-noise performance? Tick. The iFi ZEN Phono is an entry-level phono stage to surpass all others

Southport, England – iFi continues to expand its multi-ward-winning ZEN Series of affordable, desktop-sized audio devices with the ZEN Phono – a phono stage (or phono preamplifier, if you prefer) with a peerless performance at just $149. U.S.

iFi’s pedigree in phono stage design is considerable. The company’s recently launched flagship model, the iPhono3 Black Label, delivers class-leading, ultra-low-noise performance at £999, while the PH-77 from iFi’s sister-company AMR is a $15,000 reference-class phono preamplifier. The ZEN Phono is the first sub-$200 phono stage iFi has made and in terms of sound-per-pound performance it is a truly remarkable device.

For anyone diving headlong into the vinyl revival, the ZEN Phono is the ideal companion for their chosen turntable. It delivers a specification and performance unparalleled at the price, able to match perfectly will all manner of phono cartridges, whether moving magnet or moving coil.

Take the stage

Every turntable needs a phono stage to amplify the low-level output from a phono cartridge to ‘line level’ and apply RIAA equalisation. Some integrated amps and preamps have phono stages built in, but these vary in quality and are rarely as good as a well-designed offboard phono stage placed in the signal chain between the turntable and a line-level input on the amp.

Designing a truly high-performance phono stage is not an easy thing to do. For one thing, it is difficult to amplify the delicate output from a phono cartridge without also amplifying noise. In addition, the wide variation in output from different cartridges means that many phono stages only work optimally with certain cartridge types. These issues are exacerbated at the entry-level end of the phono stage market, where basic circuit design using common off-the-shelf components often leads to a performance that is adequate at best – okay for entry level, but easily outclassed by spending more.

The ZEN Phono has been designed to push the boundaries of what can be achieved in an entry-level phono stage. Its circuit design is like nothing else at the price, with a range of precisely engineered settings that ensure genuine versatility. Whatever the turntable, whatever the cartridge, the ZEN Phono always delivers a class-leading performance.

The ZEN Phono’s discrete, balanced, dual-mono circuit design is unique at the price
The ZEN Phono’s discrete, balanced, dual-mono circuit design is unique at the price

A question of balance

The ZEN Phono’s circuitry is of balanced, symmetrical dual-mono design – a topology usually reserved for high-end audio products owing to complexity and cost. Balanced circuit design has the ability the reduce noise and crosstalk, thus increasing sonic clarity, and has long been championed by renowned high-end audio electronics engineer John Curl – a man whose analogue amp designs, including several landmark phono stages, have been lauded since the 1970s.

Curl, now a technical consultant for iFi, has worked with iFi’s in-house technical team, headed by Thorsten Loesch, to produce a circuit design of exceptional quality for such an affordable phono stage. A fully balanced, ultra-low-noise design of this kind is unprecedented at such a low price point.

Sum of the parts

The ZEN Phono’s balanced circuitry contains surface-mounted components of unusual quality in an entry-level design. For example, the capacitors used include TDK C0G and Murata multilayer ceramic types, as well as Panasonic ECPU polyphenylene sulphide film devices – none of these are cheap, but their class-leading ESL (Equivalent Series Resistance) and individual qualities such as high stability and low distortion pay great dividends in terms of sound quality and the accuracy of RIAA equalisation.

In common with many iFi audio products, the ZEN Phono incorporates a custom OV Series op-amp – in this case, the OVA2637. This also contributes greatly to the price-busting audio performance, thanks to ultra-low distortion (0.0001%).

Clean power

The best phono stages on the market create their own power supply off the mains, similar to a mains regenerator, in order to amplify the audio signal from the cartridge without adding noise. The ZEN Phono achieves this aim, but not in a conventional way; it creates a power supply with an oscillation frequency of 1.2MHz, which is 20,000 times that of mains electricity. In this circuit, a filtering capacitor with a 10uF rating is equivalent to 200,000uF at lower, audible frequencies – exceptional filtering power. The power supply circuitry is located on its own ‘island’ on the circuit board to ensure there is no contamination of the audio signal – just super-clean +/-12V DC.

The ZEN Phono’s front panel sports a ‘subsonic filter’ button, as well as LEDs to indicate the selected gain setting
The ZEN Phono’s front panel sports a ‘subsonic filter’ button, as well as LEDs to indicate the selected gain setting
 

High-end features, entry-level price

Phono cartridges vary greatly in their technical characteristics, but few sub-£200 phono stages handle moving coil (MC) cartridges in addition to moving magnet (MM) types, let alone offer further gain adjustment to make the most of whichever MC cartridge the user chooses to employ.

The ZEN Phono is the exception, delivering a range of gain settings from 36dB to 72dB – impressive even in a much more expensive phono stage. There are four gain settings in total: 36dB (MM), 48dB (high-output MC), 60dB (low-output MC) and 72dB (very-low-output MC). This enables the ZEN Phono to take even the more exotic MC cartridge types in its stride.

Another rarity at this price level is a subsonic filter, engaged via a front-panel button to tackle the large subsonic signal output caused by warped records. A feature of all iFi phono stages, this proprietary circuit ‘intelligently’ filters out the unwanted subsonic output without affecting any deep bass on the recording – an undesirable side effect of some warp filters.

This is how it works: vinyl cutting lathes incorporate a so-called ‘elliptical filter’, which means that low-level bass on an LP is invariably mono and creates only horizontal movement of the stylus. Therefore, any low-frequency vertical movement of the stylus as it tracks the LP can only be the result of record warp. iFi’s subsonic filter removes the effect of record warp from the vertical plane, doing its job efficiently without the common drawbacks of attenuating any low bass or adding group delay.

 Around the back reside stereo RCA inputs/outputs, a 4.4mm Pentaconn balanced output, a grounding terminal and the gain selector switch
Around the back reside stereo RCA inputs/outputs, a 4.4mm Pentaconn balanced output, a grounding terminal and the gain selector switch

Ins and outs

As well as the usual stereo RCA inputs and outputs, gold-plated for optimal signal integrity, the ZEN Phono’s rear sports another phono stage rarity – a 4.4mm Pentaconn balanced output. This can be used to connect to an amp or active speakers equipped with a balanced input – either a Pentaconn 4.4mm input, such as the one found on the ZEN CAN analogue headphone amp, or XLR inputs via an adapter. This enables a fully balanced connection that makes the most of the ZEN Phono’s balanced circuitry – no other phono stage at this price level offers a balanced output option.

A grounding terminal is also provided; attach a turntable’s grounding wire to this to avoid ground loop issues that can cause an audible hum. Even the way the ZEN Phono switches between settings has been engineered to ensure sonic transparency, handled by a microcontroller that only ‘wakes up’ when a setting is changed to avoid any sonically deleterious electronic noise.

Find your ZEN

The ZEN Phono is the fourth product to join iFi’s ZEN Series – a range with a mission to make high-performance audio more accessible than ever. Just like the ZEN DAC, ZEN Blue and ZEN CAN, it delivers a level of specification and performance never before seen – or heard – at its price point. The iFi ZEN Phono is available from selected retailers from 4 September, priced at $149.


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The ZEN Phono can connect to the ZEN CAN to make a fantastic vinyl headphone system with balanced connectivity
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iFi is the sister-brand of Abbingdon Music Research (AMR) and is headquartered in Southport, UK. The two brands respectively design and manufacture portable, desktop and lifestyle audio products and high-end hi-fi components. Combined in-house hardware and software development teams and a ‘music first’ approach enable iFi and AMR to create advanced audio products that deliver new levels of design, functionality and performance at their respective price points. Since iFi’s formation in 2012, its products have earned many awards around the world, helping it to become one of the fastest-growing brands in its field.

www.ifi-audio.com

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Original Resource is Headphone Guru

Audio Research Releases ‘Audio Research: Making The Music Glow’ Book To Celebrate 50th Anniversary

Audio Research Releases ‘Audio Research: Making The Music Glow’ Book To Celebrate 50th Anniversary

The following is a press release issued by Audio Research. MAPLE GROVE, MN – August 28, 2020 – Audio Research is honored to partner with author Ken Kessler in releasing a book timed to the company’s 50th anniversary. Entitled, “Audio Research: Making the Music Glow”, the book describes the people behind the company, designing, manufacturing, fine-tuning, and marketing the audio amplification and source components that have been regarded perpetually as among the best in the industry. Celebrating its first half-century, the book tells the story of a manufacturer that helped define high-end audio, with the sole purpose of elevating the ...

Original Resource is The Absolute Sound Articles