Today many component reviews are based on the premise that if is more expensive it must be better. In turntables, it seems like the higher the mass the higher the cost hence the higher degree of merit. Here is a test of turntables, admittedly of the suspended chases variety, founded on engineering principles, listening tests informed by these principles, and measurements that relate to usage in the real world.
Note that the manufacturer posts meaningful specifications like rumble, wow and flutter, and arm bearing friction. The review, by the late Peter Mitchell who you may remember from Stereophile, I recall, actually measures not only the specs like rumble - when was the last time you saw a rumble measurement or specification in one of these 275 lb behemoths - but characteristics like acoustic breakthrough, resonance frequency and possible damping of the cartridge-arm combination? These measurements actually make a difference as an indicator of sonic quality and usefulness in a system.
Today it seems anyone with a CNC machine or a machine shop in the E.U. can foist their unspecified goods on us unsuspecting audiophiles. There is no "Turntable Guild" in Europe as there is with watchmakers - perhaps there was one once. American audiophiles who worship at the feet of those reviewers, who take little pains to measure, listen, measure, listen, are being taken for a ride. The characteristics of these vinyl interfaces and subsystems are well known. Acoustic breakthrough is a real problem if you put your 'table between your speakers, more so with box speakers or hybrids - or should I say mongrels? - but who today measures for it?
Who specifies rumble besides Linn, perhaps SME and SOTA? Does Mikey Cyrus measure it even if it isn't specified?
Ears may rule, but one needs to have something between them before entering the turntable realm with just a checkbook and a scale....As in most things, follow the money!
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