AMG Giro MK II turntable

Three decades ago, I had a boss who insisted I drive a Mercedes-Benz as a company car. Tough gig, you might be thinking, but there was solid reasoning behind this extravagance: He wanted the people representing his company to look successful, so it was three-pointed star cars for all, at a time when a Mercedes was more exclusive than it is today.

I only worked at that company for a couple of years, but my passion for Mercedes never faded. In the decades since, I have owned more Swabian cars than I can count using fingers and toes. So, when a box shows up on my doorstep and the packing slip includes words like Benz, AMG, SLR, and Gullwing, I assume it's a box full of car goodies.

This AMG, though, is not car related. The letters stand for Analog Manufaktur Germany, a tortured bilingual moniker that tells you a little about the company, which has no relationship to Mercedes or its AMG subsidiary, which soups up certain Mercedes models.

The Giro MK II
Founded in 2011 in Bavaria a few miles southeast of Nuremberg, this AMG makes turntables and tonearms. Since its founding, its product line has remained resolutely focused, with just a handful of models. The Giro MK II is their most affordable; the Viella and its beefed-up sibling, the Viella Forte, sit above it. The tonearm lineup is similarly simple, with 9" and 12" arms available standard (9W2 and 12J2) and as upgraded "Turbo" versions (9WT and 12JT). (Rounding out the tonearm lineup is the 9W1, a slightly longer 9" arm that's compatible with Rega's mounting geometry and isn't normally paired with AMG's own turntables.)

First launched in 2015—Herb Reichert reviewed it in his Gramophone Dreams column in 2017—Giro has now received its first major revision, with upgrades significant enough to make it worthy of MK II status. The most visible upgrade is a thicker, 40% heavier version of AMG's POM (aka Delrin, aka polyoxymethylene) platter, which gives it a substantial increase in mass, rotational inertia, and—hence—improved speed stability. A side benefit of the thicker platter is that to achieve the correct mounting height, the arm sits higher above the plinth, so AMG has added a raised armpod with switchable mounting plates instead of mounting the arm directly to the plinth as with the MK I. If you decide to change to a different tonearm at some point, you should be able to get a predrilled mounting plate to match.


Under the skin are further MK II refinements including a smaller belt pulley for the Switzerland-made DC motor, which allows it to run in its optimum speed range, reducing noise. New damping material around the motor is said to further suppress spurious vibrations. As with the original Giro, an outboard linear power supply ($1200) is available as an optional upgrade, although for this review I used the standard, inline switch-mode supply.

Finally, the main platter bearing has been redesigned, with a new, two-tier coupling area between the platter and subplatter, which AMG says lowers noisefloor and further improves speed stability.

Despite the thicker platter, the Giro remains one of the most compact and elegant high-end turntables available; its 13" × 17" footprint fits in narrow spaces where most high-performance turntables just won't go.

The plinth is a second disc with dimensions similar to those of the platter, the platter bearing offset to one side of the plinth. When put together, the two discs have an attractive sculptural quality that reminds me of the two intersecting observation towers of the New York State Pavilion at the 1964 World's Fair, which are still standing in Queens, New York.

Three adjustable spiked feet support the structure, one under the main bearing, two on the right side of the plinth under the tonearm area. This arrangement allows you to level the turntable in all directions while providing vibration grounds under the main bearing and near the base of the arm. Small holes in the top of the plinth allow access to the spikes from above, making leveling a snap.

The 9W2 tonearm is an old, familiar friend; Art Dudley covered it in 2014 in Listening #142; in 2017, Herb Reichert covered it in the aforementioned review of the first AMG Giro, in Gramophone Dreams #18. I have seen the AMG arms described as "jewel-like," but to me, "watch-like" is more accurate. The AMG arms aren't the slightest bit flashy; on the contrary, they are restrained and elegant, with a minimum of added appendages and extra doodads. Their precision is watchmaker level; everything fits snugly and adjusts with utmost smoothness. This impression of precision continues when you handle the arm: All controls operate smoothly, making tiny adjustments easy and repeatable. All the essential adjustments are there, including azimuth and arm height. Nothing is calibrated, though, so you'll need to use external tools to measure and adjust quantitatively.


Tonearm cabling and cabling in general can be contentious, so AMG lets the customer decide how deep to go down that rabbit hole. The arm's wiring terminates at a DIN socket at its base, and the Giro doesn't come with a standard tonearm cable; rather, AMG offers four levels made for them by Cardas: the Basic ($300), Standard ($600), Reference ($1500), and Turbo ($2250)—or you can choose your own. For this review, I was sent the Reference cable.

To complete the package, AMG importer Sierra Sound shipped the review sample with an SLR Gullwing cartridge ($3500) from Benz Micro, another well-known brand they distribute that coincidentally keeps the Mercedes-based naming scheme going. There's no real connection, though: "Benz" refers to Benz Micro's founder, watchmaker Ernst Benz, and the L and R in "SLR" stand for "low output "and "ruby," for the ruby plate used in the generator. The SLR Gullwing is a hot-rodded version of Benz's flagship LP-S cartridge but without the fancy ebony body, which leaves the nude cartridge exposed. I'm quite familiar with the Benz, having installed and listened to several over the years, which makes it a good choice for this review: I know what it sounds like, so I can keep my focus on the 'arm and 'table. And yes, it helps to keep that Mercedes naming theme going.


Turntables don't get much easier to set up than the Giro MK II, which comes mostly preassembled. The same cannot be said about the 9W2 tonearm, which has all the normally expected adjustments but, as previously noted, no calibrations to tell you where things are set.

The Giro's main platter bearing is factory sealed and comes oiled and ready to use, so all you need to do to set up the Giro is position the plinth on your supporting surface and level it from above, using the supplied Allen wrench to adjust the two spiked feet. Then, while holding the belt against the flange on the underside of the platter with one hand, carefully lower the platter onto the subplatter while looping the belt around the motor spindle. (That part is slightly tricky but a heck of a lot easier than on Giro's bigger, heavier brother, the Viella.)

Once everything is in place, turn the platter by hand for a rotation or two to ensure the belt is seated, and put the record clamp washer over the spindle, tapered side up. This small washer lifts the center of the record off the platter slightly so that when you screw down the record clamp, the record is pressed against the platter's surface, slightly convex. One nice detail on the Giro is that the record spindle is not just an extension of the main bearing shaft. By using separate parts coupled to the inner platter, they break the direct mechanical link, isolating the record a little bit more from any noise from the bearing.

Switch the motor on and select 33 1/3 or 45rpm with two round, touch-sensitive switches on the top of the plinth. A ring around each switch lights green when the corresponding speed is selected then changes to red when switched off; you can use the same switches to fine-tune each speed: No speed indicator is included, so you will need your own strobe disc or other tool for measuring and adjusting rotation speed.

AMG (Analog Manufaktur Germany)
US distributor: Sierra Sound

JRT's picture

The industrial design provides an interesting aesthetic, but it also does not allow some useful functionality as it only provides mounting space for one tonearm. Some other turntables include mounting spaces for several tonearms, providing useful flexibility to expand and improve the system playback capabities.

Many worthwhile recordings are mono rather than stereo, and utilizing a stereo cartridge rather than a mono cartridge for playback is a suboptimal compromise, because the summation circuitry associated with the mono position of a mono/stereo switch on the control preamplifier provides a different signal than the more appropriate signal that would be provided by utilizing a proper mono cartridge.

Similarly, the older 78rpm records were cut with different angles in the groove than those used in 33rpm and 45rpm records, and a suitable stylus for playback is also different. And the filters utilized for mastering and for playback of older records were different from the later RIAA filter standards, so different electronic filters need to applied on playback (my Dad had a mono setup he acquired/assembled in the mid/late 1950s which included a Bogen preamplifier which had a rotary switch on the front to select among a variety of playback filters). Some cartridges facilitated easy changing of the stylus, but that could require further tweaking of alignment setup.

Rather than wasting resources setting up two or more turntables, one for each cartridge and tonearm, it would be better to concentrate resources on one better turntable with two or more tonearms, wired to suitable phono preamplifier(s). That would allow one for RIAA compliant stereo recordings, one for RIAA compliant mono recordings, and one for the older non-RIAA compliant mono 78s.

With this turntable, which is not an inexpensive piece of kit, you are stuck with using only one tonearm and cartridge (or suffer through major effort in changing the setup for playing different recordings). Form should follow and complement function, meaning that design form should not constrain and compromise useful design function.

David Harper's picture

To a turntable? How would one "listen" to a turntable? Do turntables have "sound quality"? Specifically how would that work? So one turntable might "sound better" than another? Really? In what way? And for what reason? And how would that be explained? So then would one reel to reel tape deck "sound better" than another? The mind reels.

ChrisS's picture

...with a great engine and a nice set of tires you might be interested in...


David Harper's picture

does that mean?

ChrisS's picture

...that you don't know.


ChrisS's picture

...buying anything here

Maybe I can show you some good bargains.


JHL's picture

...know the answers to all of those questions, hundreds of thousands of audiophiles likely.

You don't?

David Harper's picture

And neither do you. What you really mean is "audiophiles imagine the answers to all those questions". Just like you do. Pretend.

JHL's picture're a frustrated site pest, but I don't mean to name-call. I really don't. I'm just framing our brief exchange.

You're projecting. Which in this context is dishonest.

Obviously turntables have a sound; all of them do. They must. They're technically imperfect. They all have a personality and that really *is* common knowledge, and since I'm familiar with both, I'm not imagining it any more than anyone else. Including every reviewer on this site.

All turntables have a sound. That obvious fact doesn't go away because a audio illiterate denies it, deploying the desperation plainly evident in your dishonest party-crashing just to fail to rob an infinitely more knowledgeable base of his and their intent.

Glotz's picture

All turntables have a sound. Suspension, sprung or fixed, has a great effect on size and space of the reproduction of the recording, as does the materials of the platter itself (aluminum vs. delrin vs. acrylic vs. steel, etc.)

It's a complex mechanical device. There are a huge number of variables that all interact with one another. JHL knows that. I do too.

Indydan's picture

I thought with the departure of Fremer, Stereophile would stop the gaslighting with turntables.

Why buy a turntable when a streamer/DAC will give as good or better sound quality, and you don't have to always fiddle with the turntable and the records?

Turntables are for fiddlers and people who put equipment before the music.

JRT's picture

I largely agree with a little of that, and prefer the convenience of networked digital storage, and don't like to handle recording media more than I have to, and don't want a large collection of media in my living space. Opinions vary. Others have different interests. If they do not share my opinions or your opinions, they are not wrong in their own subjective preferences. We all don't want the same thing. It is wrong-headed intolerance to expect all others to share all of your personal beliefs, and it would be a far less interesting world if they did.

I disagree with the notion that anyone necessarily puts their gear ahead of their music only because they might also enjoy some aspects of their hobby other than listening. If they do put the gear ahead of the music, then they are not wrong in that either.

You provide a good example on this. If you were not at least a little interested in the playback gear and associated schema, then you would not be here commenting on the gear. That doesn't necessarily imply that you put any of this ahead of your enjoyment of music, though it remains possible that you might. And either way, you would not be wrong in your preferences, rather would only be wrong if you imposed your preferences on others.

jamesgarvin's picture

I own my house. I don't rent. I own my cars. I don't lease. I own many records which I purchased years ago which I could sell for more than I purchased them. If the you-know-what hit the fan, I have a tangible item which I own and could sell for a tidy chunk of change. I could stop buying records tomorrow, and still enjoy music for the rest of my life. So, yea, I could stream, and then not have any music of value, and which I may pay monthly to enjoy, otherwise, they pull the plug, and I'm sitting at home in silence. I could also have rented a house, and leased a car. Renting and leasing things is not how to build wealth. Streaming included. Oh, and yea, I much prefer the sound of vinyl.

Indydan's picture

Turntable owners, on top of being fidgeters, have an obsession with owning things. HOARDERS!

jamesgarvin's picture

"Someone who suffers from a mental condition that makes them want to keep a large number of things that are not needed or have no value"

In point of fact, I need my vinyl, as I need music. My vinyl collection has value, emotionally and financially. I and others of my ilk are no more hoarders than stamp, coin, or art collectors.

Definition of "Collector: "Someone who collects objects because they are beautiful, valuable, or interesting." Please see examples above.

It appears that we are having a lot more fun than you, and that irritates you not a little.

Indydan's picture

I am having plenty of fun. While your adjusting the rake angle and azimuth, washing your records, giving up loads of space to useless relics (vinyls), I am enjoying the music.

johnnythunder1's picture

You're too concerned with shitting on audio equipment that other people love and find sometimes obsessive joy in. You're nasty. There are about six to ten of you regular, negative "know it all trolls" that have nothing positive to say about anything except what's in your own narcissistic orbit. As I said to one of your know it all brethren, I can't imagine you can enjoying music with your head so far up your own ass.

Indydan's picture

Well fuck you Johnny Thunder. You are entirely wrong. Keep pretending to be Dr. Phil.

johnnythunder1's picture

call me a knucklehead. That's your distinction and you can wear that badge and own it. Sleep well in troll land knucklehead.

gbroagfran's picture

In my opinion, turntables sound better than DACs, but you may not feel that way until you hear a very good turntable. I have a turntable and an expensive "big boy" DAC, server, etc. and EVERY person that has heard the two prefers the turntable.

But your nonsensical idea of streaming being better is simply wrong. A locally-stored source of digital music generally sounds better than streaming.

The whole truth? Some music is only available on LPs and other music is only available in the digital formats. If you want to hear a specific album that is not available on your streaming service you can buy a CD or a vinyl album and keep it for your lifetime. I have some albums that are 60 years old and ones that I bought last week.

As far as the fiddling goes, streaming is not always easy. Computer crashes, internet problems and such often occur, necessitating restarts and wasted time. Streaming services have lots of content, but not everything, by a long measure.

Michael Fremer's picture

To enjoy comments from knuckleheads like Indydan. Glad to see Michael Trei writing good turntable reviews for Stereophile. Indydan you might check with your shrink to find out why this subject so upsets you. I have a really nice DAC/streamer i can compare to my turntable. You haven't a turntable to compare to your DAC and therein lies the difference between you and I.

teched58's picture

We miss your great writing, plus you definitely would've done a speed test.

J Gordon Holt would be rolling in his grave at some of the comments here, if he wasn't so busy trying to find a cigarette.

Indydan's picture

Have you seen Fremer's basement? I have!

It is a gigantic cry for help.

Michael Fremer's picture

Are a giant cry for help. My listening room is an ever changing work space.

Glotz's picture

All turntables are blah? All of them? You've heard them all I assume. Not.

Which turntables have you had extensive experience with? None?

The only person gaslit beyond further rational understanding is you. Your rigidity is proof of that.

teched58's picture

Once again nothing on (measured) speed or wow and flutter. The latter is not even spec'd by the manufacturer.

JHL's picture

...that in designing and producing this fine watch-grade turntable its makers have neglected the single most important criteria, which is absolute speed stability. I'm sure that having abandoned this crucial element that this particular fine watch-grade turntable is about as speed-accurate as a '79 VW. Vanagan. It only follows. I mean, all the rest of its kind are.

Apparently it also follows that the Publisher is in on it.

I'm equally convinced that the magnitude of listening ecstasy of wow-'n-flutter shoppers is hereby dented. Why, I never.

shawnwes's picture

What a assorted Motley Crue of online misfits. You are trolling but at a much higher level than a couple of knuckle draggers who are completely artless. You pooh pooh the fact that the table isn't more substantial than what it is (a single arm unit) and then in no uncertain terms state the manufacturer, publisher and by association the writer are all in cahoots to which you can, of course, offer no proof.

gbroagfran's picture

If you have enough experience to make such a comment, you would realize that numbers are important, but what you hear is more important. In my professional work, numbers are extremely important, but I have no idea what any of the specs are regarding my stereo. If I had significant wow and flutter, I would hear them without the need to measure. Wow and flutter are audible sounds. Your ears are the ultimate tool. Specs are interesting, but they are also very much a thing of the 1960s.

AudioBang's picture

I really enjoyed the civility and wisdom in the comments section shared between readers providing their distinctions and data points. Awesome!!!

jtshaw's picture

I sometimes marvel at the willingness of commenters to stake out a position and defend it at seeming all costs. At my house, we have a Bryston BCD-3 CD player and a recently-acquired Music Hall Stealth turntable both feeding a Luxman integrated amp. We massively enjoy the sound of both and appreciate the distinctive experiences. I'm quite content to live and let live, even in the realm of audiophilia.

ok's picture

..turntables are turning tables. What mystic other that of spinning wheels?

call me Artie's picture

If I was to draw a conclusion from the above small sample of comments, it would be that people who strongly reject analogue and praise digital seem to have a general preference for simple arguments, absolutism and certainty. Those who advocate for the continuing value of analogue seem to be attracted to nuanced ideas and subtle, possibly difficult and esoteric concepts and experiences, including allowance for ongoing uncertainty. You sort-of choose your poison to suit your personality, I suppose. I have good friends who have gone digital and I hold their listening acuity in very high regard. However, none of these people would make simply ignorant comments like above about analogue as they are well aware of the good things analogue can do. Analogue is certainly more demanding, but it is also more likely to be "forever", if you can put a meaning on that. My main system is analogue, but I have computer audio as a back up for things I can't get on record.

JHL's picture

"Simple arguments, absolutism and certainty." is the familiar style of reductionist gate-keepers, both ontologically and methodologically. When they fly a sortie toward normal people it's to harass them and generally behave uncivilly in service of an internal discomfort and coarse simplicity.

I trust that the listener high end realizes that audio woke has no interest in nuanced ideas, yours or theirs, or in higher goals. To them your individual experience must be Harrison Bergeroned by and to its subjective rules and imagined authority. Being unappreciative and intolerant, its purpose is thus to harangue, not because its found a better way, but because it denies there is one and lacks the decorum and integrity to conceive that.

That's not the scIeNc!1 they wave around either. It's a direct abuse of it.

JRT's picture

LP playback does sound different than playback of commercial CDs, but the output of the LP playback system can be captured to a digital data file, which on playback will be analog and will sound the same as the direct LP playback which was captured into the digital domain. When properly done, you get back that which you put in.

You don't have to listen to the version mastered for commercial released CDs, but rather you can listen to your LP playback system using your own digital recordings of that LP playback, which can sound the same as direct LP playback, which is not the same as the sound from CD playback.

When properly executed with high quality modern equipment, good AD conversion followed by good DA conversion is going to be transparent to the listener. The output of the DA converter is always analog. The arguments for or against analog or digital too often miss the point. Most recordings are now tracked, mixed and mastered in the digital domain regardless the retail distribution medium, including new LPs. In usual modern practice, in tracking the recordings, the signal goes into the AD converter as far foward in the signal chain as is practicable. All mixing, processing and mastering happens in the DAW software, regardless if the retail distribution medium is a vinyl LP, optical digital media of some sort, or some streamed delivery service.

If your phono preamplifier is not integrated into your control preamplier, but rather is a separate external interconnected component, then you can capture the output of the phono preamplifier into an AD converter, transcode that to FLAC and save the datafile on your music server. Later decode the FLAC and recover the analog signal at the output of your DA converter, which if level matched and interconnected into the same control preamplifier, will playback effectively the same analog signal into that control preamplifier and downstream equipment. With good equipment and good process, any change in the resulting signal would be more than -20dB below the noise floor of the signal at the output phono preamp, and so would be truly trivial. The FLAC file would not only sound the same, but also would allow replay without handling the physical recording medium and turntable, and would also provide portability into the office, into the automobile, into a portable personal playback device, etc.

Glotz's picture

And your argument should really and definitively put the analog vs. digital argument to bed for good. Sadly, it won't. Lol.

The key to remember is that most vinyl 'haters' haven't heard a modern, high-end turntable to compare its digital counterpart. That also means that the large percentage of them can't argue any valid opinion, as they simply haven't heard great vinyl playback.

Every audiophile worth his or her or their salt has sought out great reproduction (state of the art today) of both analog and digital to learn and grow a deeper understanding of our noble hobby. Anything else is political laziness.

PS- A most valid point to ownership of any turntable is one's collection. No excuses for purchasing ANY turntable needs to be made.

volvic's picture

Happy Michael Trei is part of the analog review team, Michael Fremer’s big shoes have been filled, but I do miss him on these pages. I have one friend who owns this turntable and absolutely loves it, it reminds me of my SME 10. A tip of the hat to those above who rebutted the analog naysayers. I have dabbled with every possible technology and still find listening to old recordings from the 50s and 60s, on a good turntable, the way this music is supposed to be played, the best way to enjoy listening to music.

Briandrumzilla's picture

Any chance of a review? It is priced right. Thanks.'s picture

I see in this review that the AMG Giro II comes with the choice of the regular (smaller) AMG record clamp and the Forte record clamp. Were both tried? If so, what was the sonic difference?

Glotz's picture

nt's picture

I had been asked if these clamps are weights or clamps. Per the review article, they are screw on clamps with the screw grooves in the center of the spindle. The spindle is not an extension of the bearing shaft.

Glotz's picture

After a quick search of the review, they are much like the VPI screw-down clamps, but different in the implementation as you state.

Nonetheless, I also wanted Michael to review both clamps for the sake of it. Good question.

I have heard this turntable for about an hour at a dealer event with a Hana ML at the front. I own the ML and love it, but alas, that would be the limiting factor in my brief audition of the unit. I was still mightily impressed. AMG takes their turntable and tonearm design very seriously. If I could inch up a bit in the market, this would be my first choice for an extended audition.