What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Tue, 12 Sep 2006, 5:00pm

Clearaudio Smart Phono

Tested at £265
80100
4

Enthusiastic, vigorous and open sound, but not the most coherent around

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For

  • Compact and stylish
  • expansive and natural performance

Against

  • Doesn’t connect individual instruments as well as the best

The Clearaudio Emotion turntable has been a favourite of ours for, oh, ages now – but many prospective buyers' own amplifiers don't have the gumption to boost a record player's feeble signal without assistance.

Enter the Smart phono. Small, shiny and switchable from moving magnet to moving coil turntable designs, the Clearaudio summons up an expansive, natural sound.

Music is well separated and speedy, with real verve at the low end. Unlike the very best products at this money, mind, it can't knit individual instruments into an entirely believable whole – so it's not the default choice Emotion owners might assume.

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