March 23, 2020 § Leave a comment
” Perhaps more importantly though, it’s an enjoyable experience as much as it’s a physical and a cerebral one. You understand the intent of the musicians and composer fairly quickly, and the combination of first-rate detail, an articulate and expressive vocal, wide and deep soundstage when needed, good dynamics, fine coherence, and lots and lots of bass depth coming out of a background noise that falls to almost nothing, helps bring that intent to life, but not in a po-faced or dry manner. The odd part in this is surface noise; the Technics combo doesn’t shy away from noise or mask it in any way. It’s just that surface noise comes and goes so fast, it barely registers. Leading edges do the same and the sound of percussion is, as a result, almost eerily ‘right’, but it’s that handling of surface noise that really highlights just how good this turntable system really is.
March 21, 2020 § Leave a comment
“With Rymden’s Reflections and Odysseys [Jazzland] spinning at 45rpm (it sounded a bit sluggish at 33.3!) the double bass took the soundstage by storm with lots of texture and some lovely vibrato playing from Dan Berglund and deep bass notes from Henrik Schwarz’s synth. There was still plenty of space for the piano to get lyrical in; this turntable gives good melody, that’s for sure. Playing the next track ‘Bergen’ where the piano is stronger in the mix, made me think that the sound had improved since the beginning of the side, possibly a setup thing or maybe a ‘stylus warm-up situation’ even though this wasn’t the first slab of vinyl to be played on the occasion. Perhaps I was just relaxing into the music itself!
The Acoustic Solid Wood Round MPX is a substantial and beautifully made German turntable at an attractive price. It is also the most straightforward to set up high-mass record player I’ve encountered, with no need to tweak and fettle, which is quite an achievement. It gives you the effortless warmth of vinyl with a good dose of bass to boot, which is hard to achieve with less substantial alternatives. It is also a statement turntable for less than bonkers money, and that I suspect will make it very popular.
March 14, 2020 § Leave a comment
“I listened to all types of music while auditioning the Pro-Ject X2, not only for casual listening, but as a source for reviewing other types of gear that was passing through this system for audition. The $1495 Chord Huei phono stage was a great match for this turntable. I don’t think one needs to spend this much on a phono preamplifier to enjoy the Pro-Ject X2, but if one can afford it, I think it would be a great match. But again, one can still enjoy the X2 with a more modest phono stage. The Chord Huei made for an excellent review tool, and made it so I could accurately hear what the Pro-Ject X2 was sonically made of.
In the Huei review I talk about which LPs were in the record rack adjacent to the system, which contained albums by David Bowie, Killing Joke, Joy Division, King Crimson, and Michael Legrand. This list is a relatively limited one, and I suppose reveals what type of mood I was in during this review period! These records also revealed that the Pro-Ject X2 was able to handle very dramatic changes in amplitude due to the macrodynamic swings that are present on almost every album I played. The X2 proved that it was an excellent tracker, as I didn’t even think about whether or not this turntable / tonearm combination would be able to track these records. The records spun, I listened.”
March 1, 2020 § Leave a comment
“The synergy of the mmf-9.3 Walnut’s remarkable quietness, balanced and natural tonality, superb resolution, expressive drive and pacing, make it an overachieving entrant in this price range. Though I’ve yet to hear their flagship offering, the mmf-11, this penultimate offering from Music Hall, especially in this beautiful walnut finish, offers an incredible combination of exhilarating performance, strikingly good classic aesthetics, and most importantly, exceptional value. While there is quite a bit of competition in this class, the Music Hall mmf-9.3 distinguishes itself as a top performer, one that most LP lovers will find remarkable enough to be their “forever” turntable! Most highly recommended.”
February 27, 2020 § Leave a comment
“The mark of a seriously affordable turntable is – to my mind – that it has none of the nasties associated with cheap record replay, and should also be fun. Some of us are old enough to remember the cheap Garrards and BSR turntables of the nineteen seventies, and these had rumble and wow and flutter aplenty. The original Pro-Ject 1 largely dodged these bullets, but the new X1 takes us out of the danger zone altogether. It’s a solid, composed and competent performer that doesn’t struggle with the basics of record replay. This lets the listener relax and enjoy what’s so famous about vinyl – its big, bouncy sound.
Perhaps most striking about its character is the surprisingly wide window that it opens up on the recording. If you’re used to entry-level digital, for example, you’ll be really surprised by just how ‘out of the box’ this sounds. For example, my 12” white vinyl pressing of Too Strong for So Long by Manix sounded expansive, with an upfront feel that saw the drum machine pushing out hard into the room, allied to wonderfully deep sub-bass that had my curtains flapping. The X1 set the scene really well for a budget turntable, floating the sound way beyond the physical boundaries of my loudspeakers. Vocals dominated the centre of the mix, giving things even more impact. There was decent stage depth too, especially when compared to budget digital that tends to render music only in two dimensions.”
February 14, 2020 § Leave a comment
“The Denon DP-450USB is a curious turntable, all things considered. It’s gorgeous to look at, easy to use, and has enough of the right features, making it a legit contender at its price point. But, the DP-400 at $499 is likely the better value among the two, since the DP-450USB’s distinguishing feature–USB audio recording–is a non-starter for me due in large part to its poor quality and limited utility.
Moreover, the dust cover is more of a nuisance than an asset, making an otherwise well-thought-out design suddenly clunky The DP-450USB is still worthy of consideration, though, but it’s not without a great deal of competition, which is why I would urge anyone reading this to listen to one for themselves if possible before making any final purchasing decisions.”