Pros – fully automatic, high-quality tonearm, solid body
Cons – it’s still an automatic
Verdict – a new automatic turntable for audiophiles has finally arrived!
The player supports three rotation speeds – 33.3, 45 and 78 rpm, while the rotation speed in automatic mode is not tied to the size of the record. This allows the listener to independently determine the point at which the needle drops onto the record. The machine is completely mechanical and disconnects from the system as soon as it is no longer needed, which guarantees fewer failures. The turntable has a vibration-isolated chassis on which the disk, drive and tonearm are mounted. The aluminum tonearm tube is attached to a proprietary low-friction cardan bearing.
8. Technics SL-1200GR2
Drive – direct | Rotation speeds – 33.3, 45 rpm | Tonearm – yes, cardan | Chassis suspension – no | Disc material – aluminum, composite
Pros – precise speed control, direct drive, solid body
Cons – hard to come up with
Verdict – the audiophile 1200 just got even better
The updated direct-drive turntable uses a brushless motor, the speed accuracy of which is ensured by the proprietary JENO Engine (Jitter Elimination and Noise-shaping Optimization) digital amplifier, powered by delta-sigma modulation. This guarantees a significant increase in disc rotation accuracy at all speeds. The player received a new power supply with a low-noise circuit from the company’s top-end player SL-1000R. The disc is made of cast aluminum alloy and equipped with a thick rubber mat, the body is also double-layered – it combines aluminum and BMC composite material.
7. Denon DP-3000NE
Drive – direct | Rotation speeds – 33.3, 45 rpm | Tonearm – yes, cardan | Chassis suspension – no | Disc material – metal
Pros – direct drive, thoughtful design, in-house developed tonearm
Cons – nothing
Verdict – High-end direct drive turntable for audiophiles
The new player is equipped with an S-shaped proprietary tonearm with a full range of adjustments and is clad in a luxurious case made of MDF panels, finished with ebony veneer. The turntable rests on reinforced vibration-isolating legs. The direct drive of the support platter is characterized by high rotational stability due to the use of the Space vector (SV-PWM) algorithm and minimal time to reach the desired speed when turned on. The player is supplied with a transparent dust cover.
6. Origin Live Swift Mk5
Drive – belt | Rotation speeds – 33.3, 45 rpm | Tonearm – Origin Live Zephyr Mk4 (optional) | Chassis suspension – rigid | Disc material – composite
Pros – original disc and chassis design, excellent tonearm
Cons – you will have to pay extra for a branded tonearm with sapphire bearings
Verdict – an excellent and not too expensive belt turntable
The British company’s new turntable has a Multi Layer Platter (MLP) multilayer disc. In addition to several layers of acrylic and composite material, the surface of the disc has many transverse grooves, which further help to divert vibrations from the record. The player uses an original single-point rigid suspension, which combines the best qualities of two approaches – a soft spring suspension and a rigid body. A high-quality, low-friction bearing ensures that the disc rotates freely for a long time when started by hand.
5. Musical Fidelity M8xTT
Drive – belt | Rotation speeds – 33.3, 45 rpm | Tonearm – yes, cardan | Chassis suspension – magnetic supports | Disc material – acrylic, aluminum
The player attracts with its appearance – a two-layer base is made of non-resonant transparent acrylic and mounted on four height-adjustable magnetic supports with Teflon gaskets between the layers. The disc is mounted on an inverted bearing with a ceramic ball tip. The 10″ straight tonearm is designed specifically for the turntable and features a tapered aluminum tube and clear acrylic bearing ring. The tonearm is adjustable in azimuth and height and equipped with two counterweights with damping.
4. Rega Naia
Drive – belt | Rotation speeds – 33.3, 45 rpm | Tonearm – yes, cardan | Chassis suspension – no | Disc material – ceramic composite
Pros – solutions from the flagship model Rega Naiad at a more affordable price
Cons – you need to accept the company’s philosophy in order to pay serious money for a weightless turntable
Verdict – the embodiment of the best ideas of Roy Gandhi
The turntable is built on a graphene-infused carbon frame with a Tancast 8 foam core. The bearing is made from ZTA aluminum oxide reinforced with hardened zirconium, and the platter is made from “controlled resonance ceramics” and is driven by three belts. The turntable is equipped with a one-piece titanium RB tonearm with a vertical bearing housing, tungsten balancer shaft and counterweight. The basic delivery option comes without a pickup head, but, if desired, you can order a turntable with a proprietary Aphelion head.
The model is distinguished by the ability to use two different types of drives to transmit rotation from the engine to the disk – a belt drive or a roller drive. The player uses two coreless DC motors with low noise and vibration levels. It is possible to switch between two rotation speeds – 33.3 and 45 rpm, and a quartz stabilizer is used to ensure accuracy. The model has a built-in digital indicator of the disk rotation speed; the display also shows the readings of the built-in precision inclinometer, which allows you to accurately level the turntable.
2. VPI Titan Direct
Drive – direct magnetic | Rotation speeds – 33.3, 45 rpm | Tonearm – gimbal VPI Fatboy | Chassis suspension – air | Disc material – aluminum, acrylic
Pros – direct magnetic drive, excellent suspension, tonearm included
Cons – the price is still not encouraging
Verdict – No compromise direct drive turntable
The main feature of the new 2023 product is the use of a direct drive drive, which uses a BLDC motor developed by the company, as well as the complete absence of contact between the motor and the disc – the torque is transmitted using magnets. The complex chassis is made of aluminum and acrylic, and uses a proprietary air suspension that protects all the sensitive elements of the player from unwanted vibrations. The model allows for the installation of up to three tonearms; by default, the turntable is equipped with a proprietary VPI Fatboy tonearm on a gimbal support.
1. Thorens New Reference
Drive – belt | Rotation speeds – 33.3, 45, 78 rpm | Tonearm – no, there are pads for 9, 10, 12 inches | Chassis suspension – active piezoelectric | Disc material – metal, composite
The Thorens development team, led by Helmut Thiele, has revived the famous Thorens Reference turntable to a new technological level. Seismion, a company specializing in active anti-vibration solutions, took part in the creation of the model. With its help, the Reactio active suspension was created, based on highly sensitive piezoelectric accelerometers. It successfully isolates any frequency from 1 Hz and reduces interference by -40 dB for frequencies above 10 Hz. The proprietary Sky-Hook-Damper system achieves vibration suppression at a frequency of 10 Hz 17 times better than a good air suspension. The motor in the player is three-phase, each phase is powered by a separate linear amplifier. The rotational moment is transmitted to the massive disk using a belt; the disk itself rests on a bearing with a minimum coefficient of friction. Estimated rotation speed deviation from 33.3332 to 33.3334 will take 20 years with continuous rotation!