Turntable of the Year over $3000

Sound+Image - - Contents -

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.”

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