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This gets us at the Sorane SA1.2 arm. When I first saw it, I flashed on the famous DV501, 505 and latest 507 Dynavector due to their somewhat similar shape. Obviously the Dynavector are even more advanced much more expensive designs. The Sorane's effective length is 239mm and with standard head shell weighs 17g so is a very good partner for lower-compliance cartridges. Because the head shell detaches, one can replace it with a lighter one to better match pickups of higher compliance. It makes this arm quite versatile. Its main shaft is milled from billet aluminum with great precision. The horizontal bearings are axially loaded angular-contact thrust types. They have zero play and are held in contact by gravity. As Muarah explain, we can think of their action as a unipivot with more than one contact point. Because of their twinned tapered seats, they self-align under load and sport exceedingly low friction. Not only does the SA1.2 feature all accoutrements like VTF, VTA and anti-skating but smart adjustments make most of these super easy to set. I truly enjoyed using this arm and its build and finish also pleased my eye.
Let me offer some practical advice to all Muarah turntable shoppers. The company offer acrylic covers and do get yourself one. Otherwise you're in for constant dusting and fingerprint removal from the acrylic plinth, platter and chromed bits, working hard to not cause any eventual scratches. That's the price to pay for great-looking black acrylic. When I first played with the Sorane arm in my 10Hz platform review, it came with the standard heavier head shell. Then and now I used it with my trusted AirTight PC-3 pickup which is better suited to somewhat lighter arms. It's why last time we had replaced the original head shell with a Pro-Ject which did a good job. This time Muarah delivered it with an original but lighter Sorane head shell which proved a very good match for my Airtight cartridge. One of the first albums I listened to was Dzem's Detox. It's not an audiophile recording or release yet good enough to let the music turn into a beautiful experience. The Muarah did a very good job with PRaT as one of the key aspects of Blues. Bass was tight, fast and quite dynamic to clearly mark the pulse of each track. If you're a Dzem fan, you know that what makes their music special is Rysio Riedel's voice. The Muarah conveyed it with clarity and precision yet was also rich and full to feel incredibly expressive, engaging and communicative.
The table was capable of delivering a beautiful, immersive musical spectacle and conveyed the high energy, rhythm and pace which are important aspects of the genre. It did so with an impressive level of clarity, transparency and good resolution as evidenced by a very convincing rendering of the two acoustic guitars. They were very natural, agile and deep, with rapid finger plucks and the sustain and decay following uncut. The guitars sounded so good that I segued into one of my best Flamenco recordings, Paco Peña's Flamenco puro live on Decca. Flamenco is not just about guitars but song, dance and palmas which on this album were all recorded in amazingly high quality.
Whenever the whole system does a good job of it, I feel as if I was present during the original recording session. The MT-2 rendered this a touch brighter than my JSikora so not as rich or dense but dynamics, clarity and energy weren't far off from the significantly costlier competitor. Vocals, hand claps and foot stomps all felt very believable so realistic. I almost 'saw' the performers. 'Almost' remains the limit no matter what but some systems get closer than others. With the MT-2 SE it was closer.
Changing mood I reached for the original Vangelis soundtrack to Blade Runner. With electronic music it's harder to know/recognize the natural sound but from the start, the Muarah was very 'friendly' and captured Harrison Ford's voice as Deckard most recognizably. The sound was dense, rich and slightly warm without feeling additive. The lower end extended nicely to the depths of almost sub-sonic electronic bass, with proper power but still quite clear and well-defined. The upper end was airy and open yet strong and smooth. Still, it was the rich colorful midrange that played the largest role in building the immersive atmosphere of this famous soundtrack. The MT-2 SE was equally convincing on sheer scale, intensity and the recording's spatial aspects. I enjoyed the enormity of the soundstage, significantly bigger than on any previous albums. Sounds floated freely well past the speakers' outer edges and at times almost surrounded me in a stereophonically immersive way. it was a very special experience for this huge fan of the movie and soundtrack. The fact that it rendered a touch smoother and warmer than with my JSikora did not affect my delight.
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