When a product derives from an existing, better-specified sibling, it’s easy to focus on what it doesn’t have.
In the case of the Miracord 70 – a descendent of the Miracord 90 Anniversary – what’s missing is the carbon fibre tonearm (the 70’s is aluminium), an Audio Technica MicroLine diamond stylus (the 70 uses Audio Technica’s AT95 MM), and a solid aluminium platter (the 70’s is made from soda-lime glass).
But that's to miss the point somewhat. The Miracord 70 is a £1k record player and, as such, what it has needs to be very good indeed.
The set-up process is painless. Simply attach the belt to the motor pulley, position the 2.6kg platter (which rests on a sub-platter rotating on a ceramic ball), fit the counterweight and set the anti-skating as per the manual’s instructions (the recommended tracking force is 2.0g).
The Elac Miracord 70 is a contemporary-looking turntable, with its chunky band of brushed-silver frontage having the sturdy, elegant look of ancient roman pottery. The glossy, partially reflective top panel is a sleek addition, too.
It may not be your traditional wooden design, but we can have no qualms with the build quality – everything from the tonearm assembly to the rubber feet seems substantial and well made. Considering you may require a turntable of this calibre to stay with you for decades, this physical quality isn’t to be sniffed at.
We settle Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds' The Boatman’s Call on the spindle and find immediate satisfaction with the Elac’s delivery of Into My Arms - wistful piano and Cave’s equally brooding vocal are well defined on the open, spacious soundstage.
There are weightier-sounding decks around, that's for sure, but it’s far from an insubstantial or thin listen. We’d be careful with partnering equipment, but it’s difficult to argue with the way the presentation prioritises clarity and articulacy.
The album’s bare instrumentation allows the Elac to showcase its knack for describing textures, whether it’s the acoustic guitar and violins of Where Do We Go Now But Nowhere?, the accordion wheezing through Black Hair or the brushed drums underlying Far From Me.
However, the Clearaudio Concept – our favourite deck at around this price for quite a while now – has both a tighter grip on rhythms and greater drive. This becomes apparent when the synth, maracas and organ sequence that introduces Brompton Oratory comes through our ATC speakers. There’s greater momentum to the instruments, coupled with slightly greater dynamic subtlety in the vocals.
Dynamically, the Miracord 70 easily scales the heights reached by Cave on Green Eyes - it just doesn’t have quite the same agility as the Clearaudio when it comes to subtler transitions.
It isn’t without punch or energy either, as a spin of Pink Floyd’s In the Flesh? demonstrates. Rolling drums come through with impact, and there’s a sense of attack behind Gilmour’s electric contribution.
Its presentation’s openness should be highlighted again here, as it greatly helps coherence and even makes the Clearaudio sound a little penned-in.
So while the Elac does need a bit more subtlety and rhythmic insight if it's to reach the full five stars, it’s fair to say it would happily slip into most systems and offer an enjoyable, insightful vinyl session.
It is now 70 years since it launched its first turntable, the PW 1 (presumably the influence behind the Miracord 70’s name) - but Elac is still using its heritage of German engineering to good effect.
In a sector of the turntable market long been dominated by Clearaudio and Rega, it’s credit to the Miracord 70 it does enough to warrant consideration.
Even if it doesn’t have quite the same level of sonic performance as the class-leaders, we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend you give it a spin.