Cambridge Audio Alva TT £1,500
Cambridge Audio’s first turntable in over ten years is a treat for anyone who demands a lot from their hi-fi but doesn’t have the inclination to tinker tirelessly with tone arms and tracking.
The direct drive design has a weighty polyoxymethylene platter, single-piece tonearm and high-output moving coil cartridge that’s pre-installed, making it mercifully simple to set up. It also comes with a powerful integrated phono stage and is the first to offer hi-res 24bit/48khz aptx HD Bluetooth streaming, so you can wirelessly listen using compatible speakers or headphones in the best quality. Hi-tech extras count for nothing if it doesn’t impress, but within the opening bars of violinist Itzhak Perlman and pianist Martha Argerich’s 2016 recording of Schumann, Bach and Brahms on Warner Classics, I knew the timing of this turntable was spot on, conveying the music’s tension and energy with effortless control. Whether plugged into my Marantz amp, or streaming to a pair of Audio Technica aptx HD headphones, the Alva TT is a brilliant example of a turntable that covers all bases, offering fantastic audiophile performance while also managing to slip stylishly into a modern lifestyle. cambridge audio.com
Into the groove: Cambridge Audio’s brilliant Alva TT