Saturday 18th April I took part in Linz at a big analogue event. A STEREO Magazin workshop hold by Matthias Böde in Linz at Sambs Hifi. Matthias Böde is one of the most famous Hifi editors in Germany. For over 20 years, he holds his famous workshops with top dealers and at exhibitions. He has the rare ability to describe differences in sound so that all visitors perceive with ease as well as the differences. Not only technical improvements, and musical differences in the type of representation.
For the complete description of the workshop - we compared turntables, many different pickups, tonearms, tonearmcables - please go to the photo album, which presents you all details like a photo story. I want to bore anyone and repeat all over again. Now I want to concentrate on the conclusions - including further thoughts and tips.
Clear for everyone is that the primary base of good sound is the turntable itself. Two of "my" Dr. Feickert Analogue record players proved that with ease in Linz. So first invest here - and still getting the full package in focus. Here the top model Dr. Feickert Analogue Firebird (3 motors!) equipped with two tonearms and two expensive pickups - Benz Micro LP S (EUR 3900,-) and DS-Audio DS-W1 (EUR 8800,- incl. own phonostage).
Next i go to the pickup. Cartridges are small and like small high-tech tweeters of big loudspeakers in focus of hifi fans. Crystal clear great sound improvements in pickups between 300 Euro and 4,000 Euro happened. Anyway for most listeners the changing overall character of different brands was most obvious. How timbres are - as the music flows. Some pickups had something like digital character I would venture to say me. A reminiscence of a cd-player in analogue playback? The resolution of modern systems was certainly never as high as up to date - it seems the desired analog sound while sometimes something to fall by the wayside. So take care, listen to a pickup at an experienced dealer's store. In Linz we compared pickups from Benz, Ortofon and DS Audio. And there are still more famous brands to make you addictive - just to name a few: Miyajima lab, London (former Decca), Ikeda, Jan Allaerts, Miyabi, Lyra...
Next i go to tonearmcables. The VPI turntable showed a clear and big bonus going from an upgrade tonearmcable for 150 euro to 700 Euro. If you have the bucks - a clear buy signal sure. It is surprising, however, that an only 300 Euro expensive pickup pointed this. So signals from the pickups are very low-powered and therefore very sensitive - so take care of right cables. For top systems I recommend always direct cabling - from pickup to phono-preamp - no additional plug-in connection between! As a positive example - the used Reed tonearm comes from the factory with complete cabling in one piece.
The tonearm: There are different principles available - one-point ala unipivot, more point, tangential ones. A good tonearm is a fine mechanical work of art and let you make all adjustments of different parameters with ease without affecting others. As the disk drive itself, it has to deal in a positive manner with resonances and problems that occur during movement. There is no 100% perfection - and so always is the highest goal to achieve beautiful musicality, natural timbre, sounds and resolution simultaneously with the right balance. Resolution is nothing if the rest lacks!!
The phonostage is the last transit station to do it right - take care that it is highly compatible with the pickup of your choice. In one of the next blog entries i will talk about an additional theme - different equalization curves for analogue records of different era or label (DECCA, DG, Living Stereos...) . Stay tuned.
To combine the right brands recognizing their character and to invest in the complete package gives synergy and will satisfy your target - much more fun and emotion listening to your analogue records.
PS: NEWS - I am very proud to represent in Austria now wellknown Trafomatic Audio tube electronics from Serbia! A real European product with heart and emotion.