Turntable Reviews

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Michael Fremer  |  Aug 01, 2018  |  11 comments
Best known for its sexy looking Delphi turntable first introduced in 1979 and currently in its MK VI iteration ($8850), Canada-based Oracle Audio recently updated its lowest priced Origine turntable to MKII status.

The upgraded version includes a new “wall-wart” powered 16V AC synchronous motor (the original was 24V AC—customers with that motor can get a free upgrade, paying for shipping one way) and a new silicon damped cueing mechanism replacing the original’s “direct action” cueing system (which for original Origine owners can be upgraded for $85). It uses a knob rather than a traditional lever, that you turn to raise and lower the arm.

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 17, 2013  |  3 comments
Acoustic Signature designer Gunther Frohnhöfer has been building mass loaded aluminum-based turntables for decades. Back in 2001 I reviewed and really liked a model called the Final Tool. It ended up being purchased by someone I knew and he’s still using it trouble-free all these years later and it still sounds solid.

Ken Micallef  |  Jan 17, 2023  |  17 comments

Some turntables can be true objects of art. Regardless of any turntable’s looks, bells, and whistles, at the end of the day, it all comes down to solid and experienced engineering. This is where Acoustic Signature’s Maximus NEO turntable comes into the picture. Read Ken Micallef’s review to find out how something that looks this classy actually performs as a top-notch turntable. . .

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 20, 2017  |  First Published: Jul 01, 2000  |  15 comments
A pleasant surprise arrived at my door the other day: the 180gm vinyl edition of Companion, the Patricia Barber album released last year on Premonition/Blue Note. According to the jacket, the six-track set, impeccably recorded live in Chicago last July by Jim Anderson, was mastered from a 24-bit transfer of an analog recording. You can bet the vinyl sounds better than the 16-bit CD—at less than 20 minutes a side, there's plenty of room for the recording's full dynamics.
Michael Fremer  |  Nov 02, 2020  |  11 comments
Let’s head off at the pass what will surely be in the comments section under this review of a remarkably compact, full-featured, remote-controllable music playback system that includes in a single box, a high quality Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit 3 speed turntable with dustcover, fitted with an Ortofon 2M “Silver” cartridge (incorrectly identified as OM2 on the Andover website—it’s similar to the Ortofon 2M Red but with fewer winds of the same silver-plated copper wire found in Ortofon’s 2M Bronze and 2M Black) that alone sells for $599 and includes an acrylic platter and 8.6” carbon fiber tonearm, an A/D converter, a 192/24 bit DAC, analog and digital inputs plus a subwoofer “out”, Bluetooth ( Qualcomm APT-X) streaming and built in amplification (2 x 70 Class D watts to woofers and 2 x 30 watts to tweeters) and of course multiple (6) high quality speakers (4 “long throw” aluminum diaphragm woofers and a pair of Air Motion Transformer tweeters originally invented by Dr. Oskar Heil that uses metal-etched folded polyethylene sheets to move air in process we won’t go into here!).

Ken Micallef  |  Mar 26, 2024  |  9 comments
Audio Note have long been revered for their turntables, tube amps, DACs, and speakers, and our review subject today happens to be one of their current turntables, Namely, it’s their the TT-One Deluxe table, which has been paired here with the British company’s own AR One/II tonearm and IQ I MM cartridge for maximum Audio Note magnificence. Read Ken Micallef’s review to find out what the Audio Note TT-One Deluxe table is made of, and how it fared come listening/evaluation time. . .

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 26, 2014  |  27 comments
Designing a turntable (or pretty much anything) with no budgetary constraints is far easier than is designing one to a specific price point, especially a low one.

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 30, 2006  |  0 comments
As it did for so many other designers and manufacturers of specialty audio gear, the current occupation of Basis owner/designer A.J. Conti began as a hobby and personal quest. A longtime audiophile and home-based dealer of brands like Krell and Quicksilver, Conti decided to build his own "killer" turntable using a fluid-damped suspension.
Michael Fremer  |  May 19, 2011  |  7 comments
I won't debate here how to make a turntable's platter go around. Choose your favorite: belt vs direct drive, idler wheel vs belt, spring-windup vs wind power, whatever. As far as I'm concerned, there's nothing to debate. Each of these technologies has its pluses and minuses, but none can produce CD's accuracy of speed and inherent freedom from wow and flutter.
Michael Fremer  |  Apr 26, 2020  |  16 comments
Cambridge Audio’s $1699 Direct-Drive Alva (named after Thomas Alva Edison) is not the first “plug’n’play turntable, but it’s the first serious, well-engineered one that combines set up ease with high performance, both mechanical and sonic. An added attraction is high resolution Bluetooth SBC [lowest resolution 320 bit MP3]/apt X/apt X HD [up to 24 bit/48kHz Hi-res] functionality that allows wireless connectivity to a Bluetooth loudspeaker or headphones.

 |  Jun 28, 2011  |  3 comments
Enticing more music lovers to try vinyl requires a foolproof, plug'n'play solution. Asking a member of the digital generation to install a cartridge in a tonearm and then set up the VTA, SRA, VTF, etc. is asking too much. It's easier to make such a request of someone already bitten by the analog bug, but with turntables, wishing someone beginner's luck will not guarantee success.
Michael Fremer  |  Jan 14, 2006  |  0 comments
Part New Jersey diner, part Wurlitzer jukebox, with a snakelike tonearm that at certain angles looks vaguely lewd, this boxy, man-sized creation from Australia seems to have been built around its distinctive looks rather than for any functional purpose. Combine that with its sky-high price—itself almost obscene—and the result is apparently the sort of product that envious, cynical, self-loathing audiophiles love to hate, and reviewers love to write about.
Michael Fremer  |  Mar 29, 2016  |  30 comments
News at this past year’s International Consumer Electronics Show that “novelty” turntable manufacturer Crosley was introducing a pair of quality turntables built for the company by Pro-Ject drew me to the “ZOO” to check them out.

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 22, 2021  |  12 comments
The demand for new under $1000 turntables remains impressively robust. There are widespread shortages in some but not all markets around the United States with wait times for some models up to 6 weeks and for some even longer.

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