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Although I didn’t mention it yet, the first time I had a chance to listen to the AMG Viella V12 was during the High End 2012 show in Munich. It was part of a system which simple enchanted me. Whilst the Aesthetix CD player of the same system sounded just as good, it was the analog source that made the deepest impression on me. Thanks to efficient services by Roger Adamek from RCM who during the show reached an agreement to become the Polish distributor and promptly had the turntable shipped to me, I could audition the Viella in my system less than two weeks after the show (several photos shown later were actually made in Munich).

My initial impression first gained in the Aesthetix room with Audio Physic speakers was immediately confirmed in my house. This turntable does capture your attention immediately and without warning or taking any prisoners. If I may draw a sexist parallel, I’d say that while most good turntables such as Linn, Avid & Co. flirt with us in an obvious attempt to enchant us, the AMG comes straight at us leaving any foreplay for later.

The sound is very direct, resembling guitar sound straight from the sound board, no amp. This was especially evident during headphone auditions. My system—Leben and Sennheisers—never exhibited such dynamics as though the sound now came straight from the microphone, not a vinyl pressing. I knew this feeling very well from my years in the recording studio as well as live sound engineering when I would check the sound of particular instruments over my headphones. Here I had a feeling as though the performers were just behind the glass window of the studio room. The dynamics and sonic tangibility were simply incredible!

What left the most vivid impression on me was the 10” album Bill Evans Live at Top of The Gate. Although just a foretaste of a special box, it is still beautifully pressed on blue vinyl, splendidly restored and recorded. On the AMG it sounded spectacular, pulling me into a world long gone. I was presented with a huge soundstage—as much as headphones allow for of course—perfectly organized, with excellent dynamics and very good tonal balance. I had the feeling of taking part in a live music spectacle which happened right in front of my eyes.

The Evans record already had shown something that now was fully evident again on Jarré’s Revolutions over my speakers. The V12 differentiates recordings as hardly any other turntable manages. I really can count on one hand the decks which so effortlessly show differences between recordings, the nuances of different pressings without disrupting the whole picture or turning our attention away from what’s most important – the music itself. Revolutions is good material to prove the point.

Issued four years earlier in 1984, Zoolook was Jarré’s first album recorded on a digital recorder. Its sound is very clean— even sterile—and not very saturated. The 1988 Revolutions also was digitally recorded but the mix and final production were made in the analog domain using the Studer A820 tape recorder with Dolby SR. It brought back some life to the material whilst preserving its clarity. Unfortunately Dolby always does the same thing. It crushes dynamics. Although the noise floor is clearly lower which makes for incredible soundstage depth, the sound is evidently compressed. Of course what I mean here is analog compression resulting from magnetic tape saturation and such, not digital compression removing data from the audio stream. How do I know all that? First from the technical album descriptions and second from the AMG’s presentation. That splendid differentiation was irrespective of musical genre or label. If there was a clear difference, it resulted from a certain approach to a given recording, not from the turntable ‘preferring’ one over the other.

Although… when Roger and co-worker Wojtek delivered the deck, RCM’s owner shared his two-day impressions with me. He said how he had unpacked it, how he’d fitted the Benz-Micro cartridge and listened through Floyd’s The Wall. And then another album and one more. After the listening session had extended well into the night, it occurred to him that he’d listened almost exclusively to Rock. Why? Here we come to the most interesting part of this review.