Some Turntables At AXPONA 2017

In the video below you’ll see a new $449 (MSRP) Audio-Technica AT LP5 direct drive turntable with aluminum platter, complete with MM cartridge and built-in switchable MM/MC phono preamp and A/D converter.

In the Needle Doctor room on a Clearaudio Innovation turntable you’ll see the much talked about $750 Hana SL cartridge that includes a Shibata stylus, playing through a Musical Surroundings Super Nova 3 battery powered phono stage ($5000).

On the lower level, in the Kyomi Audio room featuring Vivid Audio Giya G1 Series II loudspeakers ($68,00/pr) see the least expensive TechDas turntable, the Air Force 3, costing around $29,750. The turntable includes an air bearing platter, vacuum hold-down and an outboard motor. Mounted on the ‘table are the Graham Elite ($12,000) and new Graham Phantom 3.0 tone arms. Electronics are by Jadis (JA200 MKII monoblocks ($33,900/pr, JP200MC tube preamplifier with MC phono stage $32,900) .

In veteran retailer Galen Carol’s room we saw the Basis Signature turntable and the SA-9 Super Arm, the final arm design from the late A.J. Conti.

In another room we saw and heard the new $2,200 (with arm) VPI Scout Prime fitted with Ortofon 2M Black cartridge in a system with Rogue Audio electronics and a pair of new Revel speaker system. In the background, the new Intervention Records reissue of The Flying Burrito’s Gilded Palace of the Sun.

The Swiss Thales TTT compact ‘table ($14,500) and Simplicity tangential tracking pivoted arm ($9200) fitted with an Ikeda KAI ($8500) cartridge was producing sweet sound through the Ypsilon VPS-100 tube-based phono preamp ($26,000) and MC 26L step-up transformer ($6200) feeding a Ypsilon Phaeton Integrated amplifier ($25,000), driving a pair of Wilson-Benesch Discovery II speakers ($28,000/pr). The speaker features an unusual “let it all hang out” configuration that mounts the woofer from the bottom of the baffle, with the basket and magnet exposed and seemingly in need of an athletic supporter—ok maybe that’s just me. The “spare tire” on the floor is a W-B subwoofer.

The Kronos Pro turntable with its unique counter-rotational platters (circa $35,000, add $8500 for the Black Beauty arm) was in the David Michael Audio room along with Nagra electronics and “classic” Graham Audio speakers including the ones shown, which were the BBC LS 5/9 stand-mount monitors.

The big news in the Technics room was the final pricing of the SL-1200GR introduced at CES 2017. Technics was hoping to bring it in “under $2000” and they’ve managed to do it for $1699.

The beautiful recently introduced $34,000 Bergmann Galder turntable (a tired Angie mistakenly identifies it as the “Magne”) features an air bearing platter with vacuum hold down and an air bearing tangential tracking arm. Angie says base is “stainless steel” but she means aluminum. The cartridge is a $6000 Phasemation PP-2000. The rest of the system features the Sutherland Audio Phono Block four chassis phono preamplifier ($10,000). Amplification was via the AvantGarde XA integrated amp that outputs 1 watt Class A and 150 watts of Class A/B power. The speakers are the powered woofer, DSP controlled Avantegarde Acoustics Zero TA covered in our CES 2017 show report.

Unfortunately I forgot to go back on Sunday to the Oracle room so I missed the The sheet proclaims an $18,660 Origine turntable with Oracle tonearm and of course the famous Delphi 2nd generation 'table ($10,160) plus electronics including the PH100 phono preamplifier $720).

The photo at the top shows the Kronos Pro turntable with optional battery power speed controller and the CH Precision P1 Phono Preamplifier ($31,000).

Ortofan's picture

According to the one Bergmann rep, the plinth of the Galder is made of stainless steel, but, according to the other rep, the entire turntable is made out of aluminum. They really ought to coordinate their spiels before the show.

Any sign of the Technics SL-1210GR?

Nothing from Rega, Pro-Ject or Music Hall?

Michael Fremer's picture
Any signs of the Technics GR? It's in the copy and on the video!
Ortofan's picture

... because the SL-1210GR is the all-black version.

Ortofan's picture

... because the SL-1210GR is the all-black version.

wgb113's picture

...I just bit the bullet on a Clearaudio Concept Wood with the Concept V2 MM. I might return in light of the new SL-1200/1210GR pricing news.

Am I nuts?

OldschoolE's picture

Well, the Concept is a fine table as is the cart. Unless you want a direct drive rather than a belt drive, I see no reason to try to return it. I'm partial to direct drive myself, but that is just what I am used to. No need for pointless debate about one over the other.

wgb113's picture

I like the convenience that the Technics offers when it comes to swapping carts/headshells. It also seems that it's just a more durable, long-term type of table compared to the admittedly well-built Clearaudio. No belts to replace, platter bearings to lube etc.

Ortofan's picture

... if you believe the opinion of the guy in this video, maybe you want to reconsider the choice of cartridge:

Wimbo's picture

actually takes the time to review all of these cheap cartridges,I take my hat off to him and believe him hehe. Not a job for me.
Use to love reading Sam Telligs column as well.
I've still got a few Stereophiles going back to the 80's but my most prized copy is the 10 Anniversary of TAS.

Ortofan's picture

... the price ladder. He mentioned that he has on hand an
Ortofon 2M Black and a Nagaoka MP-500 for evaluation in the future.
He does seem to have a preference for the performance of induced-magnet/moving-iron type cartridges, such as those from Nagaoka, Grado and the Goldring 2000 series. The Soundsmith cartridges would fit into that category, as well.

volvic's picture

In your conversations with Technics have they ever mentioned or dropped a hint that they may offer in the near future, their turntables without a tonearm as they did in the past? I am hoping they follow the lead that Luxman took when they offered their table without a tonearm. Would be interesting to have such an option for those of us who have a few SME tonearms sitting in our closet.

Michael Fremer's picture
didn't ask but next time!
MrRom92's picture

If there's an armless version then the technics just got a whole lot more attractive as my next move up in the world of turntables. Significantly enough to the point where I can't see myself picking anything else!

volvic's picture

No immediate news of it happening now. I have one of the last Technics 1200 ever made and been thinking of swapping the arm with either an SME IV or an M2-9 both of which I have in my closet waiting. But not so sure I will do it, might sell and wait and hope they offer the top of the line without a tonearm as it would be quite good with an SME IV. I am hoping as this is what Luxman did with their turntable a few years back, they offered it with a Jelco but now offer it without a tonearm as option. BTW, another great table that Luxman.

Ortofan's picture

... you can get the Timestep - Technics SL-1200GAE EVOke.

If you want to install one of the SME arms on the Technics you already own, a tonearm mounting plate is available for £90 (~$120):

volvic's picture

Already know about all this, without getting into personal experiences I will avoid anything from soundhifi and Timestep. There are others that sell the armboard for the Technics but would rather wait and get it from Technics themselves.