The first time I drove an Aston Martin, it was an otherworldly experience. The sheer opulence of the automotive was equally matched by the efficiency, offering a feel in a sporting automotive like no other. Yes, a geeked out Subaru STi is just as quick, however the sheer great thing about the Aston is unmistakable. You’ll get the same feeling whenever you unpack an Artisan Fidelity turntable.
Besides that is like unwrapping a freshly restored and re-engineered DB5. Yes, it is a wonderful report enjoying machine: luxurious to behold, I think it’s going to all the time offer you pause when enjoying a document. Previous automotive guys wish to say, “It looks fast just standing still,” and that sentiment applies to the Artisan Fidelity Garrard 301 Statement Turntable, introduced right here in its newest model 2 type.
Gently putting the stylus down on Herbie Hancock’s Empyrean Aisles, I acquired an equally out of this world experience. For those who’ve spent a while with idler drive turntables, you recognize they have a loveable, considerably fat, burly, yet pleasurable tonal character. By comparison, my Thorens TD-124 sounds bloated and missing intimately, when listening to the identical tracks, even with the identical phono cartridge. (in this case, a Lyra Delos)
Having an unimaginable digital entrance finish at my disposal, analog needs to be both actually good or actually totally different to go through the ritual that accompanies listening to a document. The Artisan Fidelity Garrard 301 Statement presents up a level of tonal saturation, dare I say, a barely romantic presentation, that I doubt anyone would ever mistake it for something but unimaginable analog. There’s nothing like this in the digital world, and every time I take heed to this desk, I would like more.
Artisan Fidelity’s Christopher Thornton has constructed the last word sleeper Garrard 301 turntable. As a classic based mostly deck, it nonetheless lacks the last bit of readability that a prime trendy direct drive provides, but that’s not the point right here. We’re not talking about final musical accuracy right here, we’re talking about taste. This desk is all concerning the sonic and visual character) It’s just like the distinction in body that a Les Paul Customized presents over a Stratocaster. Some favor one over the other, some have each. You recognize where I’m going with this…
For those who’re of the “a Timex tells time as well as a Rolex, so why spend the extra money” faculty, stop right now. Turn the page. You gained’t like what I’ve to say.
What makes the Artisan Fidelity Garrard so unimaginable, separating it from the other “pretty plinth for old hardware beneath” Garrards, is the excruciating degree of design fanaticismand precision engineering present in every facet of this table. Contemplating how many positive watches value as much or more than the Artisan Fidelity desk, in case you value what this desk has to supply, it’s a steal at around $22,000 with external regulated energy provide. I’ve used turntables that value three or four occasions as a lot that didn’t provide close to the expertise that this desk does.
Breaking in your mind
Arriving in a couple of crates, the AFG (as I’ll confer with it for the remainder of the evaluation) is respectfully packaged, and primary meeting takes only minutes. Nevertheless it takes some time for the whole lot to sink in absolutely. In case you are as a lot of a qualityphile as you’re audiophile and music lover, chances are you’ll have to put this table on whatever rack you take into consideration and just sit again to take all of it in. No other turntable I’ve hung out with presents such a sensual nature of operation. This can be a product that begs to be used, typically.
Each surface on the AFG is sheer perfection, from the clear coating on the upper Copper platter floor to the premium shiny black automotive paint end on their proprietary strong billet Aluminum alloy chassis. All the things shines and sparkles. It might even show robust to maintain your enthusiasm in examine to mount a tonearm or too, but you may be rewarded. The sample in question, for now, sports activities an Audio Artistic GrooveMaster II tonearm in the entrance place with the Hyper Eminent EX cartridge from My Sonic Lab.
The rear position is occupied by an SME M2-9-R arm, expertly reworked to function upgraded bearings, Cardas inner tonearm wire, and a hardwired tonearm cable (also Cardas), sporting a Kiseki Purple Coronary heart cartridge, making for a superb tradeoff. Additionally, we’ve been utilizing the rear position as a check bed for cartridge evaluations on our new website (www.cartridgedude.com). Each arms have been feeding into the brand new Move Labs XP-27 phono stage going forward, but for the purpose of this evaluate, all comparisons have been made on our reference Cross Labs XS Phono.
As a confessed mechanical fanatic that loves something finely machined, coated and painted, the AFG is as close to sensory overload because it gets. The plinth is simply the start, and as soon as the huge modular platter, consisting of copper, magnesium alloy, aluminum, acetal and chrome steel is put in, numerous the sweetness is beneath. However the plinth alone is a murals. You’ll be able to click on right here for the complete rationalization on the Artisan Fidelity website, however right here’s the brief version.
Particulars, details, details.
That’s what may have you doing a second, third, fourth, and twentieth double tackle this desk. In case you are used to the shortcomings talked about above of the idler wheel system, it solely takes about five seconds of musical move to turn your head like a dog in disbelief. All of the velocity inconsistency and cloudiness you’d anticipate from an idler table does not exist with the Artisan Fidelity. Every facet of this decades-old design has been re-thought and re-engineered to 21st-century spec.
There’s a staggering quantity of person-hours within the assembly of certainly one of these, and I think more than another high-end turntable I’ve used. I extremely recommend going for the slightly larger plinth which allows one so as to add a second tonearm, making the investment even simpler to amortize. Not to point out the visual attraction of two tonearms!
From the inverted and modular Sapphire bearing/heavy balanced Copper hybrid primary platter unit to the finely machined austenitic chrome steel idler wheel, that has only .003 inch variation in its periphery surface diameter and precision billet aluminum eddy current disk brake, it’s the refinement of each facet of this basic desk’s design, mixed with fanatic, individual remaining meeting and listening checks that distinguishes this out of your Grandfathers Garrard. Overlook the whole lot you assume you already know concerning the loafer drive system.
As this desk uses a rebuilt version of the stock English AC induction drive motor, which happens to be a 220-volt/50hz configured unit, my pattern arrives with an non-compulsory Sound Service Common Turntable energy provide ($1995) and gives a large constantly adjustable range of high-quality voltage and frequency tuning for every 33 1/3, 45, and 78rpm speeds. In apply, this takes about five minutes to set as much as perfection utterly.
Setting each tonearms up to perfection with Richard Mak’s Analog Magik software package and a SmartTractor alignment software, has me rocking within the free world in about an hour. Not dangerous for two tonearms. Now you can buy each of these tools immediately from Artisan Fidelity, and in case you don’t already personal them, I highly recommend their buy together with your desk, as the funding can pay dividends each in the brief and long term.
Returning to the listening chair…
We will speak tech eternally, and designer Christopher Thornton is such a passionate person who he can clarify every part he’s finished in as granular of a degree as you’d like. As exciting as that is, I dare you not to fall in love with this turntable by the point you play the primary monitor.
The place my reference Grand Prix Audio Parabolica lifts a lot element from a document, it’s typically arduous to consider that so much detail exists in these grooves, the AFG gets almost as a lot element, but adds slightly extra weight and fleshes out the midbass simply sufficient to carry you through the typical to fairly good data in your assortment in the best way that the more resolving desk can’t.
Your perception of musical copy is so private, there isn’t any greatest right here. Some days you need to drive the Bentley, and a few days you need to drive the Porsche GT4, each are superior, but neither can actually ship the expertise of the other. Each will get you to the grocery store and again, and you may reside with either at average speeds.
Much will rely upon the place your musical priorities lie. I keep that to actually take pleasure in analog to the fullest, you want multiple setup, but that will not be practical for everybody. The place the AFG excels is within the sheer measurement, scale and weight of its presentation. Going again to the Blue Observe and Impulse jazz catalogs, listening to a number of acoustic instruments, this desk does an unimaginable job of reproducing the texture and character of a stand-up bass, the pressure of a horn, or a fast journey across the drum package. And Ella’s voice has by no means sounded extra real looking in my system.
Basic rock lovers will really feel equally at house. Electrical guitars sound large, and multilayered studio recordings from the 60s to the 80s open up a degree of sonic sorcery which may have you double checking to ensure nobody put something in your drink. The sound subject introduced by this desk with both cartridge is huge, extensive, deep, ethereal and immersive.
An expertise like no other
I might gush on and on concerning the Artisan Fidelity Garrard 301 Statement for hours, but we’ve all obtained to get again to work, eh? The minute you take heed to a document on one, it is going to either captivate you to the purpose the place you’ll be able to’t reside until you find a approach to make one yours, or its exuberant nature won’t be your cup of tea. Automotive speak apart, the only other thing I can actually examine the AFG to which may make even more sense is a pair of prime vary Sonus faber speakers. They’re the only different audio product I’ve used with an identical degree of end. And it is the only different product the place my pals’ spouses say, “yes, you can have one of those in the living room.”
Identical to every SF speaker we’ve had in for assessment, the AFG is the one other product that brings an identical degree of intrigue with it. Everybody needs to touch it. So much so, that I’m fascinated with mounting a really inexpensive cartridge to the rear tonearm, so everybody can experience the sheer physicality of working this turntable.
As one who not often turns fanboy on merchandise, the AFG is a uncommon piece of drugs that at the end of the evaluation has me dropping my capacity to remain objective. Should you genuinely love analog, you need to expertise one, whether or not you write the verify or not. Nevertheless, I think should you value the qualities I’ve talked about right here, you’ll have a really robust time not falling victim to its spell. This one has been here for the higher part of a yr now, and I pinch myself every time I exploit it.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you. That is why it was our Analog Product of the Yr for 2018.
The Artisan Fidelity Garrard 301 Statement
Single 9″-12″ tonearm suitable plinth configuration, $18,995 (Unique hardwood and Automotive finishes optionally available)
Twin 9″ – 12″ tonearm suitable plinth, as above, $19,995
Sound Service UTPS Power Provide $1,995 (elective)