Swiss Turntable and Arm Shown With Cartridge That Costs About the Same

Audio Arts demoed the Swiss-made Holborne Analog 2 Mk II turntable ($7495) and Dual Pivot tonearm ($3475), the price of which adds up to $10,970. That's slightly less than the $11,200 cost of the Van den hul Colibri cartridge mounted on the tonearm.

The 'table features an acrylic platter (not my favorite, especially at this price point) driven by a piece of magnetic tape and capstan drive.

The Colibri I reviewed many years ago was on the fast, detailed yet icy side—hardly what I heard in the Audio Arts room!

The sound it produced through a pair of hand made $39,750 a pair Zellaton Grand speakers was sweet, yet detailed. The preamplifier was van Den Hul's Emerald (price to be determined) and a pair of CH Precision A1 amplifiers ($37475 each) was mesmerizing: not the last word in dynamics but a highly transportive, spectacularly resolved and airy sound that was about the last word in terms of sonic purity.

I played Mel Tormé's version of Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind" and the system delivered intact "The Velvet Fog" and a very different version of the recording than I'm used to hearing, one ideally suited to a relatively modest sized room.

The sound in the Audio Arts room was among the more memorable for me at CES 2013.