Edwards Audio T T2SE
”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.
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.
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.
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.
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