Munich High End 2017 – Analogue Sources

Record-cleaning machines,
Turntable set-up tools

Worthy of Note

Mag Lev Audio turntable & tone arm

Arguably the most eye-catching and wonderment-inducing turntable at Munich was the aptly name Mag-Lev Audio turntable and tonearm. I say this because the Mag Lev’s platter is held aloft, centred over a fixed point, and rotated by magnetic levitation/magnetic induction, meaning that in side-view the platter shows itself to be floating on air. Period. There is no main spindle bearing at all, nor is there any apparent mechanical platter-drive system such as a belt or idler wheel. Benefits are said to include elimination of all mechanical (that is, bearing-induced) plus looks that are assured to amaze and delight listeners/viewers. The Mag Lev turntable, complete with tonearm and cartridge, will sell for about €1,400.

Perpetuum-Ebner PE 1000 turntable & tone arm

German audiophiles will be well familiar with the name of analogue specialist Perpetuum-Ebner—a firm that had level the market for a time, but that was reborn in 2014 with the launch of the comparatively expensive flagship PE 4040 turntable. What was needed, some felt, was a more basic PE model that would embody the firm’s core values, both technically and sonically, yet would be more accessibly priced. The model that fits this design brief perfectly is the new PE 1000, priced at €1,490 with tonearm and cartridge.

The PE 1000 use Perpetuum Ebner’s signature solid split chassis (platter and motor support on one side, tonearm support on the other), offers an electronically controlled DC motor, features a minimalist 9-inch aluminium tonearm with “biaxial bearings” and a thread-and-weight anti-skating system, a satin-finished acrylic platter with felt mat, and that comes fitted with an Ortofon 2M moving magnet-type phono cartridge.

Stoic wall-mount turntable stand

Turntable stands and other types of specialist audio furniture are all well and good, but there are times when it would be desirable to decouple one’s turntable stand from the floor altogether. A wall-mount turntable stand would seem to be the obvious answer, but about today’s beefy and very heavy top-tier turntables? Does anyone make a wall-mount stand suitable for them? Stoic does.

The Stoic wall-mount stand is exceedingly strong, has a good isolation system for the top plate upon which the turntable will rest, and is built in such a way that it can be (and for now must be) bolted to a masonry wall—a type of wall that is relatively common in Europe and the UK. At present, three finished versions of the Stoic stand are offered: Birch ply (€1,100), Black (€1,170), and Slate (€1,700).

In conversations with the Stoic team, we discovered the firm had only recent become familiar with the stick-built construction methods commonly found in the US, complete with wall stud spacing that complies with a 16-inch centre-to-centre standard. In light of this, Stoic anticipates creating a US-spec wall-mount plate for its stand that will incorporate 16-inch spacing for the requisite wall-mounting bolts.

Tien Audio Ltd. Triple turntable & tone arm

The Tien Audio Triple turntable & Viroa tonearm (projected price $5,000) look very promising. The Tien Triple is so named for two reasons: first, because its drive mechanism features three, microchip-controlled DC motors sharing a common drive belt, and second because it can accommodate up to three tonearms. Moreover, the main spindle bearing is a floating magnet design with a ceramic main bearing shaft.

The Viroa tonearm is a unipivot design featuring a polished sapphire bearing, a carbon fibre arm wand tube fitted with an aluminium headshell, and a distinctive adjustable, magnetic azimuth and anti-skate system. All in all, this appears to be an awful lot of turntable and tonearm for the money.

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