Due to be aired on Channel 5 this Wednesday 16th November, the latest episode of The Gadget Show turns its attention to turntables and asks the question, just how much should you spend on a new deck?
Now in its 24th series and having maintained its popularity for more than a decade, the action-packed UK-based show (which is also aired in Australia on The Lifestyle Channel) puts the latest consumer technologies through their paces.
Episode 6 of the current series opens with the observation that sales of record players are currently booming, as a direct result of the fact that vinyl record sales have grown year-on-year for some ten years in a row and show no signs of abating. But with a massive difference in price between budget and top-end turntables, presenter Jon Bentley wants to find out “how much you really have to shell out to get decent sound.”
Jon puts together a blind listening test featuring a trio of ‘tables from budget, through mid-range to top-end. At the budget end is Pro-Ject’s Elemental (£159). The mid-range model is Clearaudio’s Concept MM (£995) while at the top-end is Linn’s Klimax LP12 (£17,220).
In order to give all three turntables their best chance, as well as to fully reveal the differences between them, Jon and Adele hook up the three models to a top-end £35k system featuring Classé electronics and B&W speakers.
But first, Jon asks Adele how she feels the three square up in terms of appearances. “Do they look like there’s £16-17k difference between them?” In a word, no. “This is just a beautiful looking unit,” she says of the Clearaudio Concept, “I would love to have that it my house, it’s gorgeous.”
Adele then chooses a track, Daft Punk’s Get Lucky ft. Pharrell Williams and the pair take turns popping on their blindfolds for the randomized listening test.
“The first record player sounded wonderful,” Adele enthuses, “it was almost like Pharrell was in the room”. This is the Linn. Next up, the Pro-Ject. “A huge difference between player 1 and player 2,” she notes.
Player 3 is the Clearaudio. How will it compare, given that while it’s the mid-priced option, the price in question is much closer to the Pro-Ject than to the Linn? “Player 3 sounded a lot like player 1 [the Linn]. It was a quality sound, a gorgeous clean sound”.
In conclusion, both Jon and Adele correctly identify, in blind listening tests, which turntable is which from budget to mid-range to high-end. But “the big surprise was how similar the £1,000 Clearaudio sounded to the £17,000 Linn.”
“Out of all the players, I think the one that is the most value pound for pound has got to be the Clearaudio,” concludes Adele. “I think that for £1,000, given the quality of the sound, that’s the one I’d be going for.”
“This £1,000 player really was the sweet spot,” agrees Jon.
The full programme (Series 24 / Episode 6) will be aired on Channel 5 at on Wednesday 16th November. If you can’t wait until then, you can also view it on demand via the Channel 5 website: https://www.my5.tv/the-gadget-show/season-24/episode-6
Find out more about the Clearaudio Concept turntable.
Contact UK Clearaudio’s distributor Sound Fowndations for details of your nearest Clearaudio dealer.