The brief for this article was simply ’14 Gifts For Christmas’, one item of desire for each of the 14 stores.
Well, for me, Christmas came early as a couple of months back I treated myself.
After 30 years enjoying the same turntable and going through multiple upgrades including some from third parties it dawned on me where this journey was heading and that maybe there was a better deck at the end.
For me this partly came true when I auditioned the Well Tempered Versalex at home using the very fine Dynavector XX2 MK2 cartridge. This combo was so revealing of the music in the groove with oodles of detail I’d never heard before.
More noticeably, pitch stability was on a new level of experience despite having no that long ago invested in a serious motor/PS upgrade (£2800).
But something was missing in comparison, the weight and scale I was used to hearing was presented differently which niggled as for everything else it was a sealed deal.
Throwing caution to the wind I secured a loan of the Dynavector DRT-XV1t flagship cartridge. BIG MISTAKE! Oh boy did this do the job?
Everything about Well Tempered turntables flies in the face of accepted wisdom; form the bearing-less arm, the round spindle in a triangular housing to the .004’’ filament drive band but to put a £5500 cartridge on a £3500 deck? Surely that’s a no-no? Not here. The 12'' arm’s sand-damped armtube and silicon damping allows the owner to explore any level of cartridge without the need to have a £30,000 deck. Clearly the accepted hierarchy principle of turntable construction does not apply to this design.
The result is the most engaging, informative and down right fun deck I’ve heard to date. The XV1t has an astonishing sense of ease and power and at the same time, awesome dynamics together with a degree of subtlety that’s new to me. Surface noise is all but banished and with the deck’s unique arm geometry, end of side distortion is totally absent.
Easy to live with and no future upgrades to ponder over, this is very much a long-term investment which means I’ll have more to spend on records.
Christmas has come early for me but then again those Shahinian speakers…