There's nothing less fashionable than something that has just gone out of fashion – and the turntable was once it. All the same this magazine has doggedly reviewed turntables and all that goes with them, even as fashionable CD took over.
Now, suddenly, fashion has swung full circle and the turntable is back, looking oh-so-sexy in the form of the Timestep-Technics EVOke SL-1200GAE Direct Drive, fitted with the lovely SME IV arm, complete with gold plated finger lift. Swoon. Go to p11 immediately to see how wonderful a piece of hi-fi can look – and read about how well it worked. Flared trousers next?
Probably not. Flared trousers and platform boots are firmly consigned to the past – we all might hope – as computers pave the way to our future. And here the almost frightening ability of Pioneer's XDP-100R portable player shows what a Snapdragon processor can do with audio. Be scared: the future looks stranger than we might have imagined only a year or two back. Read more about this machine of the new age on p35. And quake.
Or don't quake – buy a nice simple but intriguing vertical turntable instead! The affordable Pro-Ject VTE-R turntable seemingly gets a pickup arm to track uphill. Find out more about this LP player that appears to defy gravity on p87.
Cables are the most fraught subject in high fidelity. Cables and their connectors have always been a major performance issue in electronics, as I was reminded recently perusing Techniques For Advanced Cable testing from Keysight, using their Field Fox hand held analyser (woo hoo!). It reminded me that in our collective ignorance, digital cables were once declared to be problem free, truly agnostic methods of signal transmission.
Now, only a decade or so later, we know they are not. Optical digital S/PDIF cables with plastic cores lack bandwidth, producing loss and jitter, but we use them in hi-fi. The telecoms industry moved to glass a long time ago. Good on QED then to manage glass termination and offer us a glass cable we can afford. Go to p43 to read about a technically superior cable. Cables do make a difference.