London (Decca) Jubilee/Reference phono cartridge Colloms System

Sidebar 2: Colloms System

A trial with an undamped Linn Ittok tonearm wasn't promising, but my unmodified Naim ARO tonearm, which offers some mechanical damping, gave fine results. An SME V with high-rate damping provided the most secure tracking, while a discussion with London's UK distributor led me to try using the old London International unipivot arm (footnote 1). (This is an odd plastic-and-metal affair where you allow a couple of days for silicone damping fluid to find its way into a mysterious hidden damping well.)

My most successful trial was with the unipivot ARO mounted on a Linn Sondek LP12 with an SME-type silicone-trough damper temporarily Band-Aided to the arm. I suspect that the Townshend Excalibur, with its head-damping arrangement, would also work well with the London (Decca) Jubilee. The turntables were used sitting on a Mana Acoustics Phase Four stacked table.

A hot-wired Conrad-Johnson PV12 preamplifier fed either Audio Research VT150 or Conrad-Johnson Premier Eleven power amplifiers. A solid-state Krell KSA-200S also proved useful, while the speakers included both the Wilson WATT 3s/Puppy 2s and the Series 5 WATTs/Puppies, the latter now beginning to interface well in my room.

Comparison cartridges included the Koetsu Rosewood II, the van den Hul Grasshopper IV GLA, an old Decca London (Plum), and the Lyra Clavis DC. A Krell KRC-2/KPE preamp combination proved its worth in the MM/MC comparisons. Interconnect and speaker cables included van den Hul carbon and carbon hybrids, as well as Siltech designs.—Martin Colloms

Footnote 1: The International tonearm has not stood the test of time. In terms of musical dynamics, it sounded quite flat. You would never have guessed how the Jubilee would sound in this platform: soft, soggy, and uninspiring!—Martin Colloms
Presence Audio
US distributor: May Audio Marketing
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