Sperling Heavyweight Turntable L-1 Exudes Physical Beauty And Machining Precision

Sandwiches of thick aluminum and inlays of thick wood or other materials highlight both the Sperling's looks as well as its damping mechanism. Different species of wood are available that will affect, to some degree, the final sound. The massive front foot is located directly under the spindle bearing and the platter is a tall, robust aluminum cylinder also damped with handsome wooden inserts you might feel is a shame to cover with a record, but please, go ahead!

The outboard D.C. motor encased in another precisely turned, handsome enclosure drives the 55 pound platter via a tape-type belt the tension of which can be precisely adjusted using a mechanism built into the motor casing. The power supply, also contained in a handsome chassis, is outboard. The dual arm boards secured to the main chassis feature an unusually versatile pivot to spindle adjustment system that makes easy using any length arm.

The award for the most impressive product brochure goes to Sperling. The photography is mechano-pornographically enticing, featuring intimate close-ups and stunning lighting. It's fold-open with a pocket containing more than a half dozen portraits printed on thick satin stock.

What the Sperling may lack in technological innovation is more than made up for by its stunning execution—at least the parts that are visible. Though I bet what can't be readily seen is equally well done. This is a truly massive turntable weighing in at between 110 and 130 pounds depending upon chosen materials— and we like mass! Cost is about $33,000.

Paul Boudreau's picture

...is that there are some serious turntables out there these days. 

Martin's picture

I always like looking at these massive chrome, steel and various other materials monsters. They do something to the male brain, like switch on the caveman bits. 

I still haven't seen or heard anything in the past few years though that would tempt me to trade in my SME 20. 

Except the Caliburn smiley   The ultimate turntable for true fanatics. But the price, the price.... 

Michael Fremer's picture

The Air Force 1 might tempt you, but again the price!  The Spiral Groove SG1.1 might too, but that's about 30K without arm. However, the AMG Viella with arm at $16,500 is seriously worthy of your consideration. My Stereophile review will be out in a few months.

Martin's picture

I'm impressed. The AMG looks like a comparative bargain at the price. Looking at the engineering and the fanatical attention to detail. 

I'll be interested to read your review. 

The issue I have had with virtually every German turntable I have heard is the slightly hard, aggressive or edgy "tone" of the table - to my ears (though this admittedly a few years ago when I was auditioning tables). Whereas the SME has this beautiful "neutrality". 

ravenacustic's picture


Michael Fremer's picture

I like what it looks like.

MBO's picture

Vielen Dank ! ;-)

ravenacustic's picture

In the photo Mike. See you at Newport.

watchnerd's picture

My cats would turn that into a $30,000 kitty jungle gym.

What's the dust cover look like?

stephanie88's picture

Very expensive, but I am very interested in this design. anker tattoo