Turntable of the Year over $3000
In this category of ‘Turntables over $3000’, the sky is, clearly, the limit, and the clearaudio Innovation as we reviewed it in our high-end publication Audio Esoterica (below) was a combination including tonearm, Concerto V2 cartridge and Absolute phono stage which totalled $52,480, of which the turntable itself and the phono stage account for $19,995 each (the deck is $15,995 in its black/wood version). The Innovation is the second-tier model in a range of four similarly-designed turntables, the others being the Master Innovation, Innovation Compact and Innovation Basic, with this range sitting just below Clearaudio’s top-line model, the Statement.
The platter on the Innovation is enormously thick — a 15mm sub-platter of stainless steel topped by a 70mm-thick main platter of highdensity opaque acrylic supported by a ceramic magnetic bearing (for which the company claims a patent), while the lower drive platter uses an inverted bearing. The chassis is made of wood and aluminium laminations, the curious shape of which is said to reduce resonances.
We listened to it fitted with the nine-inch version of the Clearaudio
Universal pivoted arm, made of carbonfibre that’s stepped down through three different diameters. The anti-skating mechanism is magnetic, using a highstrength neodymium magnet.
So heavy is the platter that it takes 10 seconds to come up to speed, but of course it’s worth any wait to enjoy the stunningly beautiful sound produced from good vinyl pressings: crisp, and delightfully fresh and vibrant vocals, zero audible wow, flutter or bearing noise — indeed the purity and silence of the background were remarkable in themselves. Even more of a surprise was how well it delivered well-worn plain old ordinary pressings thanks to its impeccable tracking and delivery of stereo imaging: you really feel the ‘drive’ of a sound, the all-compelling push to tell the story through musical expression. This is a wonderful turntble delivering vinyl at its best. More info: www. advanceaudio.com.au
“The Innovation is a magnificent turntable from Germany’s clearaudio — showing how fine engineering can culminate in thrillingly musical vinyl delivery.”