Stereophile's Products of 2010 JOINT ANALOG SOURCE COMPONENTS OF THE YEAR
2010 RUNNERS-UP (in alphabetical order)
Lyra Delos phono cartridge ($1500; reviewed by Michael Fremer, Vol.33 No.8)
Miyajima Shilabe MC phono cartridge ($2800; reviewed by Art Dudley, Vol.33 No.10 review)
Oracle Delphi Mk.VI turntable ($13,300, as reviewed; reviewed by Michael Fremer, Vol.33 No.3)
Ortofon MC A90 phono cartridge ($4200; reviewed by Michael Fremer, Vol.32 No.11)
Pro-Ject Debut III turntable ($369$399; reviewed by Robert J. Reina, Vol.33 No.2 review)
Soundsmith "The Voice" phono cartridge ($1899.95; reviewed by Michael Fremer, Vol.32 No.11)
With 12 overall votes apiece, our Analog Source winners are the Bauer Audio dps and the Spiral Groove SG2 turntablestwo happy marriages of science and art, each representing the product of one man's special vision. I've heard both of these turntables, and couldn't have imagined a better outcome to our competition.
In Willi Bauer's handsome dps, an aluminum plinth houses three shallow PVC cups, filled with elastomer buttons, that act as supporting springs for the rest of the turntable. The body of the plinth is a laminate of six separate sheets: two layers of lossy damping material sandwiched by three sheets of Baltic birch plywood and topped with a layer of cork. Bauer prevents the storage of mechanical energy by combining a resistive bearing with a high-torque AC synchronous motor powered by a three-phase power supply custom-made by Ayre Acoustics. The result was unsurpassed pitch stability and revelatory soundstaging abilities. "A striking, innovative success," said Art Dudley.
Allen Perkins's Spiral Groove SG2 represents an evolution of design and production capabilities from his RPM turntables. Though similar in appearance to the RPMs, the Spiral Groove uses a five-layer chassistwo thin layers of damping material separated by three aluminum platesand a thick, anti-vibration platter comprising layers of aluminum, an impregnated phenolic, vinyl, and graphite. Additionally, the bearing assembly has been optimized to eliminate radial movement and prevent stray magnetic fields from interacting with the cartridge. The SG2's dramatic timing, authoritative midrange, and superb resolution of detail worked to present music with a stunning sense of urgency, felt Brian Damkroger. Through the SG2, a recording "became a performance," he raved.
Honorable mentions should be given to the Oracle Delphi Mk.VI, which received more first-place votes than any other contender in the category, and to the budget-priced Pro-Ject Debut III, which received two first-place votes.