You'll look in vain for a button to control 33.3/45 speeds. Speed changes demand manual repositioning of the polished round silicon belt at its pulley. No instant satisfaction à la Technics SL-1000R with its sensor control. When asked, I was told that this puritanism is for sonics. Surprised? If for the bearing you expected a secret NASA project or R&D spin-off from CERN's particle accelerator, you'll be disappointed. Instead it's a classic/conventional bronze affair with polished aluminium race and ultra-hardened wolfram-carbide ball bearing to support the slightly concave end of the 70mm steel axle of the sub platter. This contact patch is greased with very thin synthetic oil.

Vital for the Seismograph's build are extremely narrow tolerances. For the hand-made bearing this works out to just 2µm. Should you insert just the sub platter into the bearing's bore, it'll take a good hour's descent to reach the actual ball bearing. Being less patient, I added the upper aluminium platter and shortened the drop. In my book, my loaner's matte but light aluminium color of the platter made for the perfect counterpoint to its black plinth. More extrovert customers might opt for the gold anodize. A platter mat isn't mandatory but recommended. My resident sliver is Dereneville's Magic Mat. Obviously Danyel Rondthaler has his own favorite, the Audio Replas TS-OPT 300HR in silica-glass typical for Japan. An A/B proved that Rondthaler's preference had good cause. At €4'990, no joke, it simply disqualified itself for this assignment and back it was to my far friendlier €128 Dereneville.

The mounted stock arm is a 10-inch SME 310. 12-inch specimens are reserved for the very similar but clearly bigger Seismograph 2 which also demands a bigger €22'500. I thought the SME a good fit and enjoyed how easily back'n'forth pickup swaps could be locked into their same settings again. Sonically too the Brit arm left nothing to be desired. As a more budget option, SoReal recommend the popular Jelco. Their mantra is that the better the spinner, the less important the differences between arms.

I tested the Seismograph with sundry cartridges like my Steinmusic Aventurin 6 and two MC with different needle profiles. Not inconsiderable miles were clocked with Tedeska Analog Audio Lab's DST 201u/SP from now Berlin resident Hyun Lee who stems from South Korea. Mounted beneath the SME 310 head shell, even a stripped-down Denon 103R made appearances. For RIAA re-equalization I had Einstein's new phonostage and Rike Audio's Natalija from Fürth.