Oracle Delphi MK V Turntable
The Led Zeppelin phrase "Does anyone remember laughter" comes to mind, as have been through what may be the normal evolution within high-end audio. For me, first came the revelation of how great music can sound within the home. Blame it on my dad, as he loved the stuff! This was when your local camera shop had a small audio store in the back. Call it the early 1960s, or so he tells me, and between loving Leica cameras and tube audio dad was an early day photography geek. He also loved music.
Fast forward to my personal explorations in my late teens, where mixing and matching brought about gains in my enjoyment of music. Sure there were setbacks, equipment would sometimes break, and my dwindling bank account would suffer accordingly. Discoveries in tweaks, room tuning devices, and help from my local dealer further improved my music reproduction system. Alas, after about a decade came burnout.
i was getting more skeptical of reviews, gains within my system were less apparent, and the costs were rising. Some gains were better than others, though sometimes two steps forward in one dimension brought about a step backward in others. Damn! Then human burnout set in and i just called it quits, thereby allowing my system to basically remain the same for a year. Enough was enough!
Then Came Vinyl
Having just spent over a week at mom and dad's place, sure enough the love dad showed for music — even after nearly five decades — brightly shined through. Long story short, i brought with me a hard drive with music for his listening pleasure from my private collection. His emotional contact with certain songs, from big classical pieces to old 1950's vocalists, was akin to my own experience. There is more to music than simply a collection of sounds. It is the sheer emotion that moves me, and my father, to an extent that is probably much higher than most others in the world. From 'helping' conduct the symphony to shedding some tears... to laughter (Does anyone remember laughter?). It is a welcomed revelation of how music can bring about such joyous experiences in life. As such, i'd like to revisit a combination that has brought much joy into my home. Perhaps it is the perfect solution in curing audionervosa and/or the audiophile blues.
Forget Today's Fashion
Oracle has been manufacturing turntable for decades. A.J. Van den Hul has personally been assembling cartridges for nearly equally as long. These are not today's new toys or flavors of the month. They are evolutions of tried and true products that have sold well within the marketplace. Audiophiles around the world have spoken! So what it is about this combination that deserves a revisit, especially since i have virtually never done so with other components in the past nearly decade of reviewing?
The Joys Of Music
Everything! For hundreds of hours this system has successfully brought about music within my home. From classical to small jazz to hard rock, the message within the music — or should i say the musical message — comes through fully intact. Ok, so perhaps the uppermost frequencies are a touch down in volume level. Perhaps the lowermost frequencies are not the tightest ever to grace my ears. If that were the goal, a simple switch to the Clearaudio Stradivari or Insider Gold wood body will fill the bill. Think of it like changing from a WE300B to a mesh plate 300B variant. It is great that the Oracle can handle both easily and make their character easily apparent.
While there are times i may find myself changing the cartridge to suit the whims of the day, or of the moment. Perhaps i should seek out a turntable that can handle two tonearms? However, would it be as great as the Oracle Delphi MK V? Sorry and all, am not willing to risk another change (remember the two steps forward and one step back from my earlier days). One of the rules learned from decades of being an audiophile. If it aint broke, don't 'fix' it!
Why fix it when the noise floor is extremely quiet and she can indeed boogie. PRAT lovers (pace, rhythm, and timing) will grin from ear to ear. You want imaging; this system throws an enveloping soundscape. Excellent midrange and overall harmonic structures top to bottom are well rendered. As i said before, it is only that very last bit of extension on the very far ends of the frequency spectrum that is reduced. Ok, and perhaps some details. Perhaps an upper line VDH cartridge would solve this? No, if it aint broke don't 'fix' it.
On that note, i shall use exactly the same conclusion within my original Oracle Delphi MK V with Oracle/SME 345 review. It says exactly what i felt back then and exactly what i feel right now after many months and hundreds of hours in use. In my humble opinion, there is no higher recommendation than a reviewer, make that music lover, not wanting to make any changes to a front-end setup after hundreds of hours of use. It is also why, for the first time, i have revisited products and written a follow-up review.
So In Conclusion...
NOTE: Enjoy the Music.com has an excellent follow-up review of this turntable:
Motor Type & Control Method: A.C. synchronous motor, electronically controlled
with adjustable speed of +/-5 percent
Oracle 345 Tonearm
Van den Hul The Frog