This is a personal review of the Analogue Works TT1 turntable, based on around 75 LPs worth of listening.
Anyway, to business. Equipment used:
Analogue Works TT1 (plywood finish, Analogue Works stock feet)
Origin Live Alliance tonearm with Cardas Cable
Nagaoka MP-200 cartridge, fitted by Tim @Analogue Works
Onkyo A9000R (using on-board phono stage)
QAcoustics Concept 40
Right, lets just put this in context. I've never previously owned a turntable of this quality. In fact, until a few months ago, I'd not spent more than £40 to replace the stylus on my Pro-ject Debut Espirit (with acrylic platter, no less!). So you must understand that I am not an aficionado with extensive
experience of a multitude of feet/plinth/platter/arm/cartridge/phono-stage combinations. I'm just a music lover with a few hundred LPs that mostly (probably) need a good clean. I was lucky enough to find myself in the position to upgrade my deck, and after some consideration and a fair few emails, I ordered the TT1.
My reasons for choosing this deck were, in no particular order:
1. British made & sold by people with a passion for the product (something I inferred from my communication with them both before and after sale)
2. Simplicity of design. The push-start appealed, as did the simple hole-in-the-plinth motor isolation from the hefty plywood platform.
3. I liked the look of it.
Yes, that's right folks. I bought it "blind". No demo. Nada. This is unusual for me. It was a gamble, I admit. The Pro-ject deck had been good to me,
but following recent upgrades (amp & speakers) I was beginning to question the Pro-ject/Ortofon combination I had running. The 2M Red was too sibilant for my tastes. OK, I didn't have to replace the whole deck, but... well, you know.
So, two boxes arrived via courier one morning. They sat in the living room for a bit while life got in the way, until one Friday evening when I had the living room to myself and a bottle or three of ale to hand. The enclosed instructions could not have been plainer. The deck was up and running within an hour. There were a couple of teething issues which can be attributed to my inexperience and my reluctance to get too physical with the components (I'd just spent £1400 on a record player - gimme a break!).
Securing the tonearm was a bit fiddly, requiring a suitably-sized adjustable wrench to nip up the nut. Also, the Origin lift/lower assembly has come loose during transit. All minor stuff I'm sure you'll agree, and I have to say that I received great support from the staff at Analogue Works which boosted my confidence when it came to dealing with these niggles. They offered to call in personally and sort things out, but I deemed that unnecessary. A subsequent trip to my local electrical retailers furnished me with a short banana-plug plus some thin speaker wire with which to ground the hefty platter via the amp. It would be nice to see these in the box.
And so to business. The first record I put on is a particular vinyl favourite of mine. It's a near-mint copy of Solid Air by John Martyn. The first time I heard this recording was about 10 years ago on cassette. I was instantly hooked and sought out a vinyl copy. I made sure that before I decommissioned the Pro-ject deck that would listen carefully to this album to have a fairly recent comparison.
The TT1 was built, so I settled back with a glass of "mood enhancer" and shut my eyes.
The step up in sound quality from my previous set-up was immediate and considerable. To start sounding like a born-again audiophile, the differences I noticed straightaway were:
Soundstage: it just got a lot wider and deeper
Bass: more solid with better definition
Mid-range: on busier sections, the improved separation of instruments was noticeable
High: detail! So much more detail.
Overall, it was a smoother and richer listening experience. I listened to the LP again. I felt more "in the music", if that makes any sense. Over the next 4 weeks/75 LPs, record after record, I have found myself wondering if someone had crept into my house and somehow quietly upgraded all my vinyl. It's that good.
In summary, I am a happy chappy. :cheers: