A visit to the High-End show in Munich, Germany feels like being assaulted by the sheer range and variety of turntables. What’s more, between German brands in particular, there’s lots of competition to produce the biggest, shiniest turntable of the show. One of those competitors is Acoustic Solid which has recently been made available in the UK by Elite Audio who submitted the Solid Wood Round MPX for our consideration. While the Solid Wood Round MPX is a large and shiny turntable in its own right, by the standards of Acoustic Solid’s catalogue, it’s restrained. The company has two ranges, Aluminium and Classic, with the latter offering metal platters on wooden plinths, of which the Wood Round MPX is but one of 12 models.
Acoustic Solid was founded in 1997 by brothers E. and Karl Wirth who did it the traditional way by starting in the basement and working up to a fully formed factory four years later. This factory is in Altdorf near Nuremberg – which is in the south of the country – in a facility that looks far too green and pleasant to contain CNC machines... but that’s Germany for you. Acoustic Solid make a range of accessories for turntables, including some that come with this model. It also provides a booklet of ‘Plattentips’ or ‘recommended records’ and contains some well-known favourites alongside surprise choices like Lambchop’s Awcmonnoyoucmon and The Shadows Greatest Hits. I want to meet the person who put together that list and browse their record collection; it’s sure to be filled with the weird and the wonderful.
Despite its high-end styling, the Acoustic Solid Wood Round MPX is a ready-to-roll record player package with everything set up out of the box; you don’t even need to fit the counterweight. You do, however, need to fit the arm into the armboard, but that’s a lot easier than adjusting a counterweight or getting the arm height right for VTA. Acoustic Solid provides a good quality digital downforce scale and cartridge alignment gauge in the box, presumably for future upgrades. The needle supplied is an Ortofon Quintet Red, a moving coil that retails for £249 and has an elliptical stylus and high output, it works with any load impedance above 70 Ohms and runs at a highish 2.1 to 2.5g downforce. I looked that info up and put it on the scales to discover that it had been set at the lower end of this scale already; I also checked VTA and found it to be spot-on correct. The WTB 370 tonearm is a Rega that’s bolted to a collar, which slots into the armboard and sits at the right height when it’s fully seated. There is a pinch bolt in the side of the board that allows height adjustment, albeit only upwards, I suspect that Acoustic Solid supply different height spacers between the armboard and the outrigger that connects it to the wooden plinth to accommodate smaller cartridges.
There’s a school of thought that suggests once you get beyond a certain price point, the notion of a turnkey turntable becomes unworkable. The high-end, it seems, would rather pick and choose, roll their own, and set up vinyl to their own tastes than choose an off-the-shelf product. Except that, when you scratch the surface of this argument, it’s clearly nonsense. Linn owners, for example, tend to choose from a very select portfolio of (typically Linn) arms and cartridges in assembling their masterpieces, and many other turntable brands – if pressed – will admit their turntables are often used with the same arm and cartridge combinations. Acoustic Solid is not the first – nor will it be the last – company to make it easy on its customers by supplying a complete package.
The main body of the turntable is as the name suggests wood and round albeit with three posts for the feet, it’s also plywood rather than a lump of real tree, which must make for much easier manufacture. A small spike supports each leg, with the spikes having holes that allow easy height adjustment with one of the two supplied Allen keys. Spike receptors are provided to stop these pressure points from giving your equipment support a free round of acupuncture.
The whole thing comes in two sturdy boxes; when the first large box arrived, I was surprised to find that it contained only the arm and platter. The other half of the Wood Round MPX was still in the warehouse. That first box alone was large enough to accommodate most turntables. This filled me with some trepidation; the box for the turntable might be the size of a Aga. Fortunately, the two were managable and I didn’t achieve ‘cardboard capacity’.
The platter is weighty enough as it’s made from 60mm thick aluminium, and the plinth (which can accommodate two armboards) is not a lot lighter. The motor is a shiny free-standing column with a pulley that drives two long transparent belts around the perimeter of the platter. Given the elasticity of the belts and the weight of the platter startup is remarkably swift, so there must be plenty of torque on offer. It has a connection for a separate selector puck that sits wherever there is space, and this turntable requires more than its fair share of space.