Turntable Reviews

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Michael Fremer  |  Sep 25, 2015  |  17 comments
For vinyl lovers, it’s important to know that Wilson-Benesch first began in 1989 as a start-up dedicated to building a turntable simply because it felt vinyl was a superior medium compared to CD. For that reason alone, the company should be venerated. W-B argued that new, emerging technologies like carbon fiber could further elevate vinyl playback.

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 21, 2015  |  21 comments
Even had the purchase by Onkyo of Pioneer Home Electronics not been made public, some kind of connection would have been obvious to anyone opening the boxes of this Onkyo CP-1050 turntable and the recently reviewed Pioneer PL-30-K turntable.

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 09, 2015  |  28 comments
Spend some time with Pioneer’s PL-30-K automatic turntable ($349 MSRP/$300 “street price”) and you’ll quickly realize it’s not a “throwaway” turntable put together in haste by a company keen on “cashing in” on the vinyl resurgence.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 09, 2015  |  11 comments
Souix-Falls, South Dakota based George-Warren Precision Sound manufactures and sells direct but one model turntable. After spending a few months with it, I’d say one is enough.

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 22, 2014  |  52 comments
Off the audiophile pedestal and into the “real world” we go, with a review of Audio Technica’s easy to set up $250 AT-LP120-USB turntable.

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 03, 2014  |  11 comments
It’s no secret that Pro-Ject builds Music Hall turntables to Music Hall’s specifications and design parameters using mostly “off the Pro-Ject shelf” mechanical components. Before getting to the 11.1, perhaps you are wondering why Pro-Ject would want to compete with itself.

Michael Fremer  |  May 09, 2014  |  9 comments
Zorin Audio is a China-based company producing a series of tone arms and turntables that last year at an audio show impressed visually. The machining appeared superb and the designs sensible, but with sufficient innovation to draw my interest.

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  |  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  |  Jan 25, 2014  |  14 comments
Just as moving downhill is easier than going up, scaling down an expensive design is far easier than building upon a modest one.Yet Pro-Ject, which began in1990 with a homely, grey/black Soviet-era Czech Republic-made “people’s ‘table”, has managed quite well to both upgrade its budget offerings and to produce mid-priced ‘tables of distinction.
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.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 16, 2003  |  0 comments
Dense, compact, and built to run O-rings around the competition, SME's flagship turntable makes every other design I've encountered—with the possible exception of Rockport's System III Sirius—look almost homemade. I don't mean to insult the many fine, well-engineered designs out there, but I've seen nothing else to compare with SME's tank-like approach to spinning a record. Comparing the Model 30/2 to a tank isn't exactly fair: the machining is done to higher than mil-spec tolerances. I don't think anyone else building turntables today is capable of this level of construction quality, never mind design ingenuity and fit'n'finish.
 |  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.

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