Turntable Reviews

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Ken Micallef  |  Oct 30, 2023  |  5 comments

As one of the oldest turntable manufacturers in America, SOTA has the rare vantage point of both understanding what U.S. customers want while also addressing a large international following. Their latest offering, the SOTA Quasar turntable, ups their game considerably. Read Ken Micallef’s review to find out if the Quasar immediately belongs on your own turntable-obtainment radar. . .

Ken Micallef  |  Sep 11, 2023  |  10 comments

Michell’s TecnoDec Reference turntable fits right into the sweet spot of new, high-performance ‘tables available in the $2,000-to-$3,000 SRP range. Read on to see why our ace reviewer Ken Micallef thinks the TecnoDec is one of the best turntables he’s reviewed in the past decade. . .

Ken Micallef  |  Jun 26, 2023  |  3 comments

When you take a closer look at the lineup of gear available from Austrian manufacturer European Audio Team — perhaps better known by their more precise acronym, E.A.T. — you’ll find beautiful electro-mechanical designs reflected in graceful lines, unusual exterior choices, and well-appointed materials. Read Ken Micallef’s review to find out if E.A.T.’s latest offering, the C-Dur turntable, is able to match natural, nuanced, and detailed sound with the company’s equally outstanding design acumen. . .

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. . .

Ken Micallef  |  Nov 03, 2022  |  First Published: Nov 02, 2022  |  5 comments

When we first previewed U-Turn’s Orbit Theory turntable back in late August, we had high expectations about its performance. Read on to find out if the Orbit Theory delivered the goods in terms of clarity, layering, punch, transients, physical dynamics, and more . . .

Ken Micallef  |  Sep 28, 2022  |  25 comments

Thorens has a longstanding history of turntable excellence. Does the company’s new TD 1500 ’table continue to uphold that mantle? Read Ken Micallef’s review to find out if the belt-driven, suspended subchassis TD 1500 is up to spec. . .

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 22, 2021  |  11 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.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 25, 2021  |  25 comments
The late and great comedian Jackie Mason once quipped “You know who invented sushi? Not the Japanese! Jews invented sushi! Who else would figure out a way to open a restaurant without having to invest in a kitchen?

Michael Fremer  |  Dec 29, 2020  |  23 comments
With all due respect to Gem Dandy’s new PolyTable Signature “layer cake” of a “two tiered” turntable, the bigger news here is the Sorane TA-1L tonearm George Merrill chose to package with his new turntable. Why is the Sorane news? Because it’s the possible successor to now defunct Jelco. But first, the new $2995 (not including arm) turntable, which, for sure, is also news.

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 05, 2020  |  30 comments
Pro-Ject’s Heinz Lichtenegger pulled me aside at High End Munich 2018. He appeared agitated—not the usual easygoing (but intense) demeanor of a guy who in the early 1990s bet the farm on analog and won—bigtime.
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!).

Michael Fremer  |  Oct 22, 2020  |  62 comments
(Schiit just announced it is producing a new pulley that will run the turntable at the correct speed and will send them free to all existing customers.)Executive decision: no Schiit jokes, ok? Especially since the Sol turntable is so well conceived, designed, executed, made in America and remarkably priced at $799 including a $119 Audio Technica AT-VM95EN cartridge.

That said, if you want an “open the box, plug and play” type turntable, the SOL might not be for you. On the other hand, if you buy one with the cartridge already installed, Schiit makes the Sol reasonably easy to set up.

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 15, 2020  |  39 comments
Back in 1972 the original Thorens introduced the TD 160, a triple spring-suspended sub-chassis design that quickly became a long-in-production classic and the blueprint from which many other turntables, er, sprung—Linn for instance.

The original AR XA turntable designed by Edgar Villchur and introduced way back in 1961 for $58 was, to the best of my knowledge, the first to place the platter assembly and tone arm on the same sub-chassis isolated by a three point spring mount from the rest of the turntable (and from the outside world).

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 08, 2020  |  25 comments
In the blink of a vinyl resurgence Technics went from retiring in 2010 the venerable SL-1200 turntable to resurrecting it six years later with two all new “Grand Class” 1200s aimed not at the DJ market as was the original 1200, but at audiophiles.

The limited to 1200 units SL-1200GAE quickly sold out. In 2017 we reviewed the SL-1200G, which other than having a different magnesium tone arm finish and minus a plaque was identical to the limited edition SL-1200GAE.

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.