Next month’s edition of What Hi-Fi? is a ‘vinyl special’ issue, devoted to the best turntables you can buy. Mull over the magazine’s pick of the spinners, ranging from around £100 all the way up to just shy of £20k. Among them are several award-winning favourites from covetable German analogue experts Clearaudio.
“Vinyl lovers have simply never been better catered for,” affirms the magazine, rejoicing in “vinyl’s second coming.” But this can make it a tad tricky to identify one’s deck of choice, given the vast array of choices on offer. Luckily What Hi-Fi? is on hand to help, opening with a round-up of 15 of its current favourite turntables.
Among them is, of course, Clearaudio ‘plug & play’ Concept, recipient of a record-breaking seven What Hi-Fi? awards over the years, alongside a raft of other international media accolades. The Concept is equally popular with music lovers worldwide – so much so that Clearaudio now offers this much-loved turntable package (including tonearm and phono cartridge) in a range of different editions. Here, we have the Concept MM which is fitted with Clearaudio’s own Concept MM cartridge (there’s also an MC version available) and Verify Direct Wire Plus tonearm.
“It’s difficult not to be enamoured of the precision of the Concept’s timing,” writes the magazine. “It’s incredibly fast, yet always in control, never stumbling or tripping over its laces… There is air around the instruments; they have room to interact without ever colliding into one another.”
The Concept may be at the entry level of the Clearaudio range but it’s very much a high performer, “refusing to sand off any edges that would dilute the character of the music” and “tracking the dynamic journey step for step”. “It is this delicate sense of alternating intensity that sets the very best hi-fi apart, and it’s a significant factor in giving Clearaudio such a stranglehold on this portion of the market.”
Towards the upper end of the featured price range we find Clearaudio again, this time with the Innovation Wood turntable package. “This is an astonishingly well-built turntable that combines rugged build with exceptional quality of fit and finish. And we do mean exceptional. Even by the standards of stratospherically priced kit, this package is something special.” Completing the package are the Universal tonearm and DaVinci V2 phono cartridge. “This trio is world-class. There’s a real feeling that the three components are digging up every tiny bit of information from the record groove. All this content is skilfully organised and delivered with breathtaking composure.
Finally, the magazine’s casts its mind back over the past 40-odd years to pay homage to the best turntables of What Hi-Fi?’s lifetime. Clearaudio’s Innovation Wood turntable package features again. “One of our reference pieces of kit for several years – and with good reason – this turntable sounds as good today as when we first heard it. Innovation by name, innovation by nature…the Innovation delivers in spaces.”
Grab your copy of the What Hi-Fi? vinyl special in the May 2019 issue