The continued success of the vinyl format shows no signs of slowing and, judging by the number of turntables on show at this year’s High End, there’s plenty of choice for vinyl lovers when it comes to getting into the grooves.
There were turntables pretty much at every turn at the show with everything from the highly exotic to the more affordable and sober.
Here’s a few of the vinyl spinners that caught our eye on our tour of High End.
440 Audio are based in the Czech Republic and make turntables that look absolutely exquisite with their wooden, glass and marble plinths. They also had the coolest hifi rack ever on which they were displaying their wares.
We had to do a double take at this one. First we spot that the Apprentice turntable Mk 2 is just £379.95 in the UK with arm and cartridge, but then we spotted that the Apprentice light also comes with a tonearm and cartridge for just £299.95. This is real entry level, quality gear that is going to get younger people hooked on vinyl as well as offering those folk with a record collection but who use another source the ability to join in the vinyl renaissance without having to splash a fortune.
A massive thumbs up from Hifi Pig!
Amazing looking vinyl spinning contraptions from Vyger. The smaller of the turntable pictured is the Indian Master IV with the larger one being the Atlantis IV. They also produce a huge beast of a machine called the Indian Signature IV.
The Atlantis completely eliminates the contact between the spindle and the bearing assembly. A fine layer of compressed air is placed between the spindle and the bearing assembly and the more common thrust bearing is replaced with a vertical “air cushion”. The suspension uses a system of horizontal-vertical anchors using 54 rubber rings which VYGER say offers almost total isolation from external vibrations. Lateral oscillations of the deck are controlled by a “fluid viscous damper” and the whole kit and caboodle weighs an impressive 70Kg.
British company Funk have been around for ages and make some cool looking turntables that won’t break the bank. The Funk Vector 5 was launched in 2005 and uses three pulley drives so instead of the belt pulling the bearing towards the motor as in conventional belt drives, the force is balanced around the bearing in all directions.
New for High end was the GET whilst the budget priced Little Super Deck was also in evidence which also uses the three pulley system.
Triangle Art are based in Anaheim, California and make some seriously good looking and well put together turntables. The bigger of the two turntables here is the company’s Signature which takes the motor, platter and bearing technology from theur Reference model. It weighs a not inconsiderable 200 pounds and has a 48mm solid composite metal platter.
The smaller of the two turntables name is unknown but it looks very much like and entry level turntable for the company using what is suspiciously like a Jelco SA750 tonearm.
If there was a prize for the coolest name ever in turntable making it would go to these guys who, needless to say, hail from Germany. This is the Cantano turntable that comes in at €12 800 including the arm and the motor.
Saidi Audio are located in China and make six turntables and a record cleaner that all look very nice indeed. The top of the range in the company’s portfolio is the pictured SD 30, belt drive turntable which weighs 40Kg.
The ELAC Miracord 90 is a beautiful looking turntable that comes as a complete package to work straight out the box. It also celebrates 90 years of ELAC.
VPI are a proudly American turntable manufacturer headed up by Mat Weisfeld. They make all their products in the US and use some pretty innovative technology such as 3D printed tonearms. At High End they could be found in the Moon room.
UK brand Avid are engineering led and build all their turntables in Cambridgeshire. The turntable pictured (Diva II) is their second from lowliest but still manages to look absolutely fabulous.
Thorens were once again sharing a room with Triangle and Musical Fidelity a this years show. Sadly the display was static, which is a shame as it would be cool to hear these three brands put together a system to play at the High End.
Thales make a couple of tonearms and a couple of turntables too. Here we have the Thales Simplicity II tonearm where the tracking geometry is based on a “unique tetragon solution” that the company says reduces tracking error to 0.006°. Readers will note that this tonearm is a bit unusual in that it has two wands which are tuned to improve damping when compared to single tube designs.
The turntable it is mounted on is the new Thales TTT-Compact II which uses an interesting drive system which is a sort of idler/belt hybrid.
This is Scheu’s entry level turntable , the Cello Classic Line Evolution, a belt drive design which comes with a Rega 202 and an Audio Technica AT100E cartridge as standard.
Analogue Works are based in the UK and make a handful of turntables with the Turntable One and Turntable Two (The bigger one) being highlighted here. Interestingly the Turntable One with the Wand tonearm is the current turntable of choice here at Hifi Pig. The One costs around £1200.
The Air Force One from Tech DAS has three ‘basic’ design concepts: Air bearing, Disc suction and air suspension. The air bearing system has no conventional bearings but the instead the platter floats 3mm above a glass plate once the electric pump is switched on.
Air is also used to suck the record onto the platter so that is perfectly flat.
Finally there is the air suspension system where the three feet have air suspension mechanisms to isolate the turntable from ground vibrations.
This is the JR Audio turntable with outboard motor, it is fitted with the brilliantly named “Impossible” tonearm. The tonearm is pretty interesting as it is said to emulate the behaviour of a tangential tonearm perfectly.
Danish designed and Danish built turntables that look rather pleasant. Unfortunately we didn’t get the opportunity to hear one at this year’s show.