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I remember that I had similar musings during my review of the Hansen Audio Prince v2 which as a loudspeaker created the best illusion of a real event in my listening room. These speakers weren’t as precise as Franco Serblin’s Ktêma or even my older Harpia Acoustics Dobermann but rendered the experience more credible by seeping deeper into the subconscious rather than stopping at more superficial layers. If I were to call upon a turntable with similar effects, I’d probably point at the dps-2.

It was similar with the Premier Mk2. If we analyse its performance cold and surgically it will seem warm. The treble is sweet and the upper midrange slightly recessed. The midband is most important here and full, dense but concise in the sense that we have a complete impression of its constituents to create more than a cloud of disparate ingredients we must somehow assemble ourselves.

Here we realize that such analysis is only the first step toward evaluating the sound. It’s valuable but only an introduction. That’s where long-term impressions enter and why blind AB or ABX protocols falsify reality to plainly lie. To remind you, one of the AES conference members and active promoter of double-blind tests could not distinguish between MP3 and CD in one of them. Does this mean there are no audible differences between lossless and lossy formats? Let’s stop joking. You need no full concentration to hear the differences in a few seconds and diagnose them as such in a few more. Here longer listening sessions become useful as they show how easily identified aspects ultimately translate/transform into music – which in the end is what it’s all about.

I began my analysis with widely recognizable Rock but the actual listening sessions commenced with vocals. I am always curious how a human voice sounds because although it is not the only important element in the sound, it can easily identify issues in other parts of the spectrum. What better than the voices of Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole? I listened to the first one from discs remastered by Mobile Fidelity, mostly Live In Paris but also The Voice reissued by Speakers Corner, of material first issued on shellac discs and later by Columbia as LP. Sinatra was big, warm and pleasant. Interestingly he was not pushed forward to dominate the rest. I would say that his large presence coexisted properly with the band and the perspective presented was similar to a concert – not upfront with a large avatar manifesting but rather an interactive construct behind the loudspeakers’ base line.

This was a rather important finding because it isn’t usually true for a ‘warm’ sound which we identify as such during the analysis of timbre and tonal balance. Warmth usually promotes vocals but at the cost of overall transparency above and below. I grew convinced this wasn’t the case here whilst listening to a deluxe box set of Nat King Cole acquired in mint and sealed condition for $10. This is a selection of four albums with rich orchestral arrangements. The Scheu Analog rendered it accordingly as a collaboration between singer, pianist and orchestra, not as solo vocals + accompaniment. Though the voice was clearly very present and saturated, it didn’t obscure anything else to become unduly dominant.

In general Jazz with this deck should be super satisfactory. It was enough to just listen to the Japanese pressing of Wes Montgomery’s Smokin’ At The Half Note or the monophonic Study In Brown between Clifford Brown and Max Roach (both issued on 200g vinyl in the 100 best jazz disc series) to fall in love.

But this wasn’t unconditional love. As I said earlier the treble was slightly sweet and less transparent as for example with an Avid Acutus Reference. The Brown disc clearly portrayed this because Roach’s percussion is treated as an equal partner. The Scheu diminished the cymbals and their attacks. The timbre itself was splendid but the precision less than I recall it from the Avid or Transrotor Argos. My AirTight PC-1 Supreme cartridge demonstrated how this element can be influenced to quite a large extent by the choice of pickup.