Opera Audio is a Chinese company that has garnered an excellent reputation for the tube amplifiers it’s been building for 14 years. This hasn’t stopped the company branching out into source components and loudspeakers, and its stand at the Munich High-End show was replete with CD players, turntables and horn loudspeakers. Horns are notoriously hard to get right and truly low coloration, wide bandwidth designs are rarer than hen’s teeth – still that’s no reason not to keep up the search. Consonance is Opera’s primary brand, possibly named to avoid a clash with a certain Italian company that uses the Opera name in this part of the globe. The Consonance Droplet series consists of CD players and turntables, the former being particularly attractive examples of the art. With both analogue and digital varieties there are entry level and hardcore options; the LP3.1 is the more affordable of two vaguely puddle-shaped turntables and is very straightforward in appearance and largely in execution too.
It is based around an acrylic plinth that sits on three stainless steel towers that offer adjustment for level and a degree of decoupling by means of fairly soft, squidgy feet. The main bearing is clamped to the plinth using graphite rings on either side of the acrylic in an attempt to isolate the platter with what Opera describes as a “hard damping system”. I suspect that it’s the difference in materials that affects resonance transmission more than any damping that might accrue from such hard interfaces.
The bearing itself is a stainless steel shaft in a brass bushing with a ceramic ball and pad taking the weight of the platter. The platter itself comes from the Consonance Liu turntable, which has a square plinth and the stylish Forbidden City square dot finish. Like the plinth it is acrylic albeit with a machined black finish, which makes a change, and has a label indent and a slightly larger spindle than usual. It’s turned at the usual speeds by a free-standing AC motor of the same type found in the more expensive Droplet LP5.0 (no sub-woofer