Although this deck costs £1200, it's Chinese company Opera-Consonance's most affordable design. And, unlike some other turntables wih similar prices, it doesn't include a cartridge.
It does, however, include the company's ST100 tonearm, to which we fitted a Goldring 2400 (£200).
It looks a treat in situ, but lacks the beefcake precision of its rivals and it feels a little approximate in the way it all fits together. There's altogether more play in the cut-outs for the motor and the tonearm than we'd like.
A spacious soundstage
Still, there's redemption in the way the Droplet plays a record. Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures enjoys a spacious soundstage, the choppy tempos unflustered, even when the band's foot is hard to the floor.
The LP3.1 pays fanatical attention to the lugubrious vocals, and there's good body and tonal variation to low frequencies.
It's in joining these elements together that the Opera comes apart. Integration is far from perfect, and the overall presentation is relatively confused as a result. Capable, but in all, a sound that's rather less than the sum of its parts.
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