The vinyl renaissance continues!
Some of you with longer memories will remember Pierre Lurn
Well the Belladonna is all set up down at Audio Concept and I swung by today for a listen. Unfortunately Robert does not have a working Artist demonstrator right now so I was not able to compare the two directly . Also, for some unfathomable reason all the discs he has that I am familiar with are ones I either haven't listened to for many years or only have on CD. I listened to about 5 LP sides: a D2D recording of a Mozart String Divertimento on the Umbrella label (must get the reference number of that one, amazing recording*), Alison Krauss's, Forget About It, the Classic reissue of Satchmo Plays King Oliver, The di Meola/Maclaughlin/de Lucia Friday Night in San Francisco and the AP 45rpm pressing of This One's for Blanton.
That said here are some brief impressions of the deck on its dedicated base and stand with the Septum tonearm and Strain Gauge cartridge. The rest of the system was Robert's reference mbl setup: 6010D pre with 9008A monoblocks driving 101E 'Radialstrahler' speakers. Cabling was Jorma Prime and Nanotech.
- The first thing you are struck by is the look of the thing. This is a beautiful piece of engineering, made with a precision that reminded me very much of the old Goldmund Studio. The finish is really gorgeous too although I dare say the black perspex-like plastic will attract both dust and fingerprints very quickly. The photo above is apparently of an early prototype and I don't think it comes even close to doing the deck justice. Poking around online I found this one which I feel conveys a slightly better sense of the aesthetics:
- The deck is a joy to use, soft-touch controls a la Brinkmann for on/off and speed control, totally silent in operation and no vibration or noise whatsoever evident from the deck itself. I wish the same could be said of the arm. It is one of those wibbly-wobbly unipivots and has a strange cueuing mechanism that was either broken or needed serious adjusting on Robert's deck. Sorry, I just have a bit of a problem with unipivots and magnapivots, however good they sound. I'll stick with my Breuer thanks.- The sound was glorious. Given the problems finding really familiar programme noted above I would still have to say that there was no area of its performance I was able to fault based on this brief audition; it is a level of performance that either represents the state of the art or is perilously close to it. I would certainly put it straight into that very top group with Yorke, Brinkmann, Verdier et al. I would strongly recommend anyone contemplating a vinyl investment of this magnitude (I believe the deck lists for
"The photo above is apparently of an early prototype and I don't think it comes even close to doing the deck justice."
Ahh...I was hoping you didn't have to listen to it in a parking lot. Very nice indeed without going over the top.
Quote:Ahh...I was hoping you didn't have to listen to it in a parking lot.
The soundstage was huge, the walls literally disappeared...