Ed­wards Au­dio T T2SE

(£850) £1125

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Turntables -

”When we are able to get a record spin­ning, the TT2SE gives us the kind of per­for­mance with which we could be con­tent for a long time”

FOR De­tailed, rhyth­mic per­for­mance; fine bal­ance

AGAINST Spin­dle too large; lacks a bit of punch It’s not of­ten we open a re­view on a sour note, but it is worth us qual­i­fy­ing early on why this turntable has re­ceived only three stars, in­stead of the four stars its per­for­mance re­ally de­serves.

It all rests on the spin­dle – or rather it doesn’t. As we were test­ing, we found that more and more of our records wouldn’t fit over it. In the end, of the 60-odd records we tried, just un­der half wouldn’t go on to the plat­ter – the spin­dle is sim­ply too thick.

This shouldn’t, by any means, be an in­sur­mount­able is­sue for Ed­wards Au­dio to rec­tify, and when the com­pany does so we will very hap­pily change our rat­ing to more ac­cu­rately re­flect the TT2SE’S ad­mirable sonic per­for­mance.

But un­til then, we can’t truly rec­om­mend a turntable un­able to play al­most half of our record li­brary. Will ev­ery one of these turnta­bles share the same is­sue? A sec­ond sam­ple the com­pany sent over also proved to have ex­actly the same prob­lem, so for the time be­ing, we aren’t able to say. If you are plan­ning to buy one now, pro­ceed with cau­tion and only once hav­ing tested it with a sam­ple of your col­lec­tion.

Dough­nut-shaped

It’s a shame, as we re­ally do like pretty much ev­ery­thing else about the TT2SE, which Ed­wards Au­dio de­scribes as an up­grade to the TT1 that we awarded five stars back in 2011.

The ba­sic struc­ture com­prises a cus­tom-de­signed 25mm thick MDF plinth – avail­able in high gloss black, white or the rather fetch­ing red of our sam­ple prod­uct – onto which is mounted an AC mo­tor and the TA202 tone arm.

The alu­minium sub-plat­ter is driven by the com­pany’s syn­thetic blue belt, run­ning on a 5mm ce­ramic ball – all cus­tom made – while a translu­cent 18mm acrylic plat­ter, which Ed­wards Au­dio be­lieves sounds bet­ter with­out a mat, typ­i­fies the deck’s clean aes­thetic. There is only a small cir­cu­lar on/off switch adorn­ing it.

The TT2SE is sold with­out a car­tridge for £850. We would rec­om­mend pair­ing it with the Goldring 1042 we have on our re­view sam­ple. With its black Po­can (a rigid, glass-re­in­forced plas­tic ma­te­rial) body hous­ing a Gyger S line-con­tact sty­lus, we gave the 1042 a five-star re­view back in April for its re­veal­ing, rhyth­mic per­for­mance – de­spite be­ing a lit­tle bit fid­dly to in­stall.

That is the only real work you need do to get the TT2SE set up, but for putting in place the belt and plat­ter and set­ting the weights. The coun­ter­weight it­self is a rather un­usual de­sign: a gold bar with a screw top, which per­haps re­quires marginally more ef­fort than tight­en­ing your usual dough­nut shape – but once it’s set you never need to touch it again.

Ideal bed­fel­lows

With prepa­ra­tions com­plete, we sit back and spin Boards Of Canada’s To­mor­row’s Har­vest. Given each com­po­nent’s level of de­tail, we can see im­me­di­ately why Ed­wards Au­dio would sug­gest Goldring as an ideal bed­fel­low for the TT2SE. There’s such room for ex­plo­ration in the al­bum’s synth tex­tures, right from the open­ing track Gem­ini, and this part­ner­ship takes full ad­van­tage of its chance to have a real nose around.

The TT2SE con­trasts ably those dig­i­tal in­stru­ments and field record­ings, high­light­ing the spa­ces in be­tween, but never los­ing sight of any el­e­ment. Each line breathes, and all are breath­ing in uni­son, in an or­gan­i­sa­tional sense, but also in terms of tim­ing. The rhyth­mic

re­sponse is fast but nat­u­ral, recog­nis­ing grooves as much as fo­cus­ing on sheer pre­ci­sion.

That as­pect is aided by the TT2SE’S grasp of dy­nam­ics and its abil­ity to pick out lead notes and charge them with em­pha­sis. Take Reach For The Dead – its lazy trap rhythm is de­liv­ered with a com­bi­na­tion of pro­grammed per­cus­sion and the lead­ing notes in its arpeg­giated synth mo­tif. The Ed­wards Au­dio has the where­withal to deal with both.

Ar­ti­fi­cial warmth

When it comes to bal­ance, the TT2SE stays true to the form we’ve dis­cussed so far, merely read­ing the in­for­ma­tion from our discs and de­liv­er­ing it with­out overt coloura­tion. Ed­wards Au­dio hasn’t ar­ti­fi­cially in­sem­i­nated the fre­quency range with ‘typ­i­cal’ vinyl warmth – though there is plenty of low-end hold­ing up its rich midrange – nor is there any coarse­ness in the up­per reg­is­ter. It’s just a pleas­ingly nat­u­ral bal­ance, no mat­ter what we play.

In fact, all that sep­a­rates its over­all per­for­mance from be­ing that of a five-star prod­uct is a lit­tle in­ten­sity, a lit­tle ex­tra punch when it comes to

play­ing the more en­er­getic ar­range­ments we feed it. Take Ra­dio­head’s Kid A, for ex­am­ple. Far from the most rau­cous LP in our col­lec­tion, but one whose tem­per­a­ment high­lights the TT2SE’S slight en­ergy de­fi­ciency as it drifts be­tween se­da­tion and fist-shak­ing angst. It’s all ex­tremely pleas­ant to lis­ten to, but we want more from tracks such as The Na­tional An­them and Idioteque, es­pe­cially as they are sand­wiched be­tween ar­range­ments which the Ed­wards Au­dio has been able to ren­der beau­ti­fully.

Adren­a­line shot

But let’s not make too big of a deal about this: the per­for­mance is far from lethar­gic or light­weight. We would just ap­pre­ci­ate an ex­tra shot of adren­a­line from time to time.

While test­ing, we have a Pro-ject The Clas­sic set up next to the TT2SE. The Clas­sic is a lit­tle cheaper, but while it pos­sesses that ounce of ex­tra en­thu­si­asm there is a lack of de­tail and sense of tim­ing that in com­par­i­son makes the Ed­wards Au­dio of­fer­ing much bet­ter equipped for the kind of deeper lis­ten­ing we’d want to in­dulge in with around a grand’s worth of deck.

Find­ing a rem­edy

The one to beat at this price is the Clea­r­au­dio Con­cept, which does it all. It is no shame to be marginally bet­tered by such an ac­com­plished turntable, with its glut of What Hi-fi? Awards.

So, the only thing hold­ing us back from re­ally rec­om­mend­ing the TT2SE is the one eas­ily reme­died is­sue re­gard­ing the spin­dle. Af­ter that, it is a hair’s breadth away from be­ing a five-star per­former. When we’re able to get a record spin­ning, this is the kind of per­for­mance with which we could be con­tent for a long time.

The TT2SE is sold with­out car­tridge, but here we pair it with the £275 Goldring 1042 with car­tridge

An is­sue with the spin­dle holds us back from re­ally rec­om­mend­ing the TT2SE

The translu­cent 18mm acrylic plat­ter typ­i­fies the TT2SE’S clean aes­thetic

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