It seems that the vinyl resurgence is still going strong with more newcomers to the format joining each year. There are those of us that refused to get rid of our 12-inch, 10-inch and 7-inch bits of plastic – even through countless home moves.
As with all hobbies/passions – there is always the need to improve on what you have. If you have a classic car there will always be that limited run with slightly lower headlights, for instance. If instruments are more your thing then owning Hendrix’s ’68 Strat would probably the stuff of dreams.
The same goes for turntables. You can certainly get started and enjoy your vinyl with a very modest outlay – I got my current deck on a popular auction site about 6 years ago for under £250.
But, depending on your budget, the sky is practically the limit.
Here’s the GadgetyNews turntable lust list 2017
EAT C-Major – £1,995 (inc. C-Note tonearm)
C-Major has only a 9-inch arm tube, compared to the 10-inches of the C-Sharp, and lacks the precision speed control of the more expensive EAT table. But you’re also saving around £500-ish.
The company’s flagship, the Forte, goes for around £13500 with the E-Go 12-inch tonearm. So this is a bargain!
Rega RP10 – £3,700
This extends further than ever before with advanced components built around a radical new plinth design. Featuring the brand new RB2000 tonearm, a ceramic flywheel effect platter and the custom RP10 power supply.
SME Model 10 – From £4,350
The designer’s aim was to create a more affordable product, preserving as much as possible of the performance and engineering excellence found in the celebrated Model 30/2 – “the best turntable of all time”.
This compact, plinthless turntable certainly lives up to SME’s reputation for precision.
Build integrity, sophisticated electronics and vibration free moving parts all promise that the full capabilities on any sound system will be fully explored.
Luxman PD-171A – £5,500 (inc. tonearm)
The PD-171A has a highly rigid main chassis and heavy base ensuring stable rotation. Additional improvements to the motor, drive circuit and bearing section have also been made since the original.
The high torque synchronous AC motor drives a high inertia platter via a synthetic belt for smooth, seamless playback. The precision-machined spindle rests on a wide Teflon bearing to ensure frictionless rotation.
VPI Prime Signature – £6,000
The Signature features an upgraded JMW 10-3D Reference arm with Nordost Reference wire. The chassis consists of an aluminium plate sandwiched between a composite material for improved dampening. Both the motor housing and all Delrin posts and armboards have been upgraded to a heftier stainless steel.
Linn LP12 ‘Klimax’ – £19,000
This is the flagship version of the highly revered LP12 deck. It still features the Sondek LP12 turntable but also lots of upgrades. You get a Keel machined sub-chassis and armboard, Radikal motor control unit and power supply, as well as a brushed DC motor fitted in an acoustically isolated housing.
Add in to the package an Ekos SE precision tonearm, Kandid MC cartridge and a built-in Urika MC phono stage, you have an LP12 that’s as good as it will get. Obviously there will be future improvements but, as the LP12 is quite modular, you can add them later should you wish.
Continuum Obsidian – From £35,000
Continuum liken the design process of the Obsidian to that of an elite sports car. Not only bringing in structural and mechanical engineering, but also metallurgy. If you are wondering, tungsten is used quite extensively in the Obsidian.
The plinth-less design places the tonearm and motor on separate, mechanically isolated mounts, so that any vibrations are thoroughly damped and/or channelled away from critical components.
The Viper tonearm also looks a beast.
Jadis Thalie – £45,000 (inc. tonearm)
The reduced number of mechanical parts and the overall simplicity of the whole unit promises to give excellent reliability.
The design utilises very high weight – the 20Kg platter and 50Kg granite pedestal should stop it from moving about much. Jadis points out that there’s plenty of very high precision machining gone in to the Thalie which is powered and controlled by a synchronous motor.
These design features combine to deliver a turntable with very high mechanical control and precision, outstanding speed stability, vibrational control and tracing accuracy.
The bearing is guaranteed for ten years.
TechDAS Air Force One – From £89,998
Air Force One is constructed using a stainless steel main platter that is enhanced by interchangeable upper platters, rotating above a sandwich construction base. The latter rides above a floating glass sub-level. The entire 43kg assembly ress on massive, adjustable, air- and polymer-gel-cushioned feet.
In addition to the two external boxes for power and air (more about that in a bit), and the deck itself, there is a separate housing for the AC synchronous motor. This drives a platter that weighs up to 30kg (depending on the choice of upper platter) through a flat surface-polished polyurethane fibre belt. The 33.3/45rpm speeds are controlled by a 2x50W amplifier.
The front display shows the speed to two decimal places, with pitch control in ±0.1rpm steps.
The air box is used to clamp down an LP using vacuum pressure.
Goldmund Reference II – £200,000
There are only 25 in circulation and, to many, they still remain the ultimate example of analogue audio engineering.
Each Goldmund Reference II comes with its own team of engineers who’ll deliver, install and setup the turntable for you. Oh, and the price doesn’t include a cartridge or even a tonearm – so do budget for those too.
The Reference II features a five-layer platter design (3 metacrylate and 2 brass, in case you’re wondering) with 12 lead damping inserts. The ultra-high precision Swiss-made axis employs the engineer’s 25-years experience in reference rotational parts design. There’s a cog-free motor that, even though it produces the lowest electrical and mechanical noise, is shielded and dampened by 15kg of brass.
Of course, there’s a liquid-nitrogen-rectified belt. Nifty touch controls integrated in the tabletop for the turntable enables you to spin 33.3s, 45s and 78s.
There’s a lot more details about this turntable, as you can imagine.
When I say affordable, how about free?
You can win a Rega Research limited edition turntable!
The lovely Sonata Hi-Fi have teamed up with Sister Ray Records to hold a prize draw.
To enter you can go to Sister Ray in Soho or Shoreditch, London on Saturday April 22nd and pop your name in the box or, alternatively, slink over to the Sonata Hi-Fi website – www.sonatahifi.com – and subscribe to their newsleatter.
So, there are bound to be turntables that you feel are more lust-worthy than my suggestions.
What are they? Let me know and they might find their way on the next list.