Its looks alone should get you salivating over this new turntable from Clearaudio, the £14,500 Master Innovation. It's a step up from the five-star, £12,900 Innovation model we've already reviewed.
It's based on some of the technology found in the firm's flagship Statement model, but at a fifth of the cost. Not cheap, then, but somewhat more affordable. Clearaudio says its aim is "to produce a performance from vinyl records that even the original recording artists could only dream of". That's quite a claim.
The Master Innovation has a floating main platter assembly that revolves without any physical contact with the drive source. It consists of a two-piece main platter, an upper magnetic drive platter and a lower two-piece magnetic drive platter.
A narrow gap separates the upper and lower magnetic drive platters so they do not touch each other. Instead, a ring of powerful magnets embedded in each transfers drive from one to the other and the entire main platter assembly floats on, and is driven by, the magnetic field.
Other technical highlights include a ceramic magnetic bearing, and an optical speed control for optimum speed stability and control. The lower magnetic drive platter is a two-piece design, the lowest part being a 1.5cm-thick stainless steel platter on the underside of which is a stroboscope ring etched with 1500 tiny bars.
The stroboscope ring is read by an infrared sensor thousands of times per second and the information is fed back to the motor, which is then adjusted as necessary.
Supporting all this is a four-level chassis which is constructed from a complex sandwich of Panzerholz – a wood-based, bullet-proof armour plating material – and aluminium.
You can buy the Clearaudio Master Innovation through UK distributor Sound Fowndations in two versions: with a wood finish for £14,500 or the black finish for £15,400. Owners of the existing Innovation model can upgrade to the new Master Innvation if they want.
By Andy Clough