CES: Kuzma 4-PointKuzma, no stranger to the world of analog, was showing off their latest and greatest, including the much discussed and coveted 4-Point tonearm. It is essentially a clever interpretation of both a unipivot and gimbaled bearing tonearm design, aimed to reduce the side effects of either system. Clever I say, clever. Radical certainly popped into my mind… $6500, A+++!
CES: Tech DAS Air Force One 'tableTech DAS, otherwise known as the ex-CEO of Micro Seiki, used the backdrop of CES 2013 to launch the Air Force One super 'table system. Vacuum hold-down, air bearing and super precise speed / motor control afforded listeners with a most incredible soundstage and imaging that was simply astounding. Distributed in the US exclusively by Bob Graham of Graham engineering, aka. Phantom tonearm, it sure is a looker. PS: HRS made super platter is standard of course. Absolute Killer!
CES: McIntosh MT10 'tableMcIntosh, long known for their traditional blue shining power meter amplifiers and preamps, launched the MT10 'table. Classic "Mac" gear, the MT10 looked gorgeous as it was setup to wow show attendees with glamo-rock Hollywood looks. Add-on feature? You can play those shellac 78's! Nicely done!
Brinkmann LaGrangeThe Brinkmann LaGrange turntable system, consisting of the Brinkmann LaGrange 'table, Brinkmann 12.1" tonearm, Brinkmann EMT-ti cartridge, Brinkmann RöNt tube power supply (and in this image, a second arm, the Thales Original tonearm) is among the finest of world-class turntable systems you can buy. You have never heard your vinyl sound this good - absolute black backgrounds and total silence followed by explosive lifelike dynamics is what will bring new meaning to the term record player. Stunning!
RMAF: Wave Kinetics NVS Reference
Wave Kinetics' NVS Reference is quickly gaining recognition and momentum as the new 'table on the market (to have). Headed up by none other than Jonathan Tinn (of Playback Designs & Evolution Acoustics), this latest venture is built as a "ground-up" redesign of whats possible in a modern day record player interpretation. Direct Drive, ridiculously crazy vibration absorption and control all make for a true SOTA experience. I know of a person who sold 3 top flight $60+k 'tables to get this one. 'Nuff said!
RMAF: Luxman PD-171
Luxman's vintage decks, the PD-441 & 444, the mighty PD-555, all have long since left production lines, much to the dismay of long time fans and customers alike. In line with the recent vinyl resurgence, Luxman began working on a new model some ten years ago, incorporating all the manufacturing advances they accumulated over the years. The end result is the Luxman PD-171, a hefty beast, weighing in at around 50lbs, complete with Jelco arm that will sell for $6500. Sonics are superb and it sure looks like they will sell quite a few of these… well done!
Newport 2011: Palmer Turntable
Palmer out of Scotland makes one gorgeous turntable. If you have a chance to look and listen to this beauty, don't pass it up.
Clearaudio @ CESClearaudio always has the most turntables on display at CES. Last time I checked there were more than 20 turntables in their arsenal! The "Statement" was the eye-catcher in their room, prominently displaying Clearaudio's utlimate knowledge in turntable design and manufacturing. Fun starts at just a tad over $1000 and virtually every turntable they make is upgradeable for improved performance and sonics! Way cool...
47 Labs Koma Table
We don't cover turntables much, but the new Koma from 47 Labs is just too damn cool. Here's their briefing:
Two solid aluminum platters, suspended by powerful neodium magnets, rotate opposit direction eliminating wow-flatter inherent in the conventional single platter design. The resulting low noise floor gives you an incredible resolution you have never heard from an analog playback.
It just makes sense, no? Shocking someone hasn't done this before. The rubber band actually runs both platters, wrapping over a little wheel on one end to provide single, uniform tension over both platters.
47 Labs, if you're not familiar with this brand, is what happens when Japanese engineers become audiophiles. Really innovative digital gear, 47 Labs departs from the rest of the Japanese hi-fi crowd and focuses on tiny watt solid state amplification and tweaky CD players rather than tubes and analog. The Koma is their first TT and should get the vinyl heads at TAS and Stereophile rioting. Pearson frothed during his review of the PiTracer CD player, the $25k digital extraction unit.
Likewise, the Koma is not cheap at $10k. That Transformers tonearm is the Tsurube and goes for $2k. 47 Labs also makes their own super lux cartridges, spanning from $3250 to $7500. The rest of the 47 Labs line isn't that expensive, with their famous GainCard amp starting at $1500. Check 'em out.
Technics SL-1210M5G Turntable
What keeps kids up all night (again?)? Yep, sure enough, it’s the Technics SL-1210M5G turntable. Going on 30 years of age, Technics most recent introduction to the awesome 1200 series is selling like hot cakes. With recent reports that vinyl is again (again?!) picking up in sales and this by the hot and young 19-27 crowd, we may yet see the creation of new fresh audiophile blood.
Priced at around $600 excluding cartridge, you pretty much get everything you could ask for in a first TT. Personally, I think audiophiles have not given the 1200 series enough credit – I think its one hell of a design and certainly the build quality is fantastic at this price point. Sure, it has the dj usual pitch control, nearly instant start/stop performance, but its not like this should be a hindrance to enjoy it. If you want the audiophile treatment go get it at KAB – Kevin is awesome to work with and will make sure the TT is checked out and adjusted properly. PS: check out the cool blue LED’s!
The Only Portable Audio Player
It's official: the iPod and Zune are finished. John DeVore's only portable audio player, the Audio-Technica "Mister Disc" is easily the greatest DAP ever created. Yeah, you have to carry a DJ bag with you where ever you go, but sacrifices must be made for audio of this caliber.
Cut Chemist (formerly of Jurassic 5) did a scratch routine with a "table" similar to this. He rolled onstage with this little pink TT hanging from a gold chain around his neck and proceeded to bust out some serious turntabilism. Don't ask me how it worked, but it was awesome.
The Mister Disc, also known as the "Sound Burger" (wtf, right?), was, not surprisingly, produced back in the 80s. It's belt driven and comes in many fruity colors which, obviously, Apple ripped off. Search eBay and you just may find one. Not sure if they come with the fuzzy, wax-sucking headphones, but I'm sure your AKG1000s are a good visual match. If you're in the market, mint Sound Mister Burger Discs usually go for about $300.
Vinyl Factory Tour: Part 5
Vinyl Factory Tour: Part 4
Vinyl Factory Tour: Part 3
Vinyl Factory Tour: Part 2