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This has side effects of course which I will get to. First we must determine what kind of sound we want - what we expect from our system. This validates our choice regardless of what others say about it. Avid is part of a group that’s close to the well-worn track leading up to the peak of absolute real sound but isn’t placed directly on that ascent but moved to the warmer side of it. It is not a warm turntable per se—the Pulsare preamp is warm—nor dark and colored. It’s just that music sounds very manifest and material. It’s not outright forgiving but some. It thus doesn't matter what kind of music we play.

The aforementioned records sounded splendid as did Sinatra in Paris and after that the dance numbers of Depeche Mode’s Hole To Feed/Fragile Tension. The latter confirmed how the Brit can reach very low in the bass but remains colorful and differentiated. Bass becomes the foundation for everything above it also with Jazz. It’s rhythmical and well coordinated with the midrange. The very abyss is not as free from certain mechanical vibration as was the Transrotor Argos and also saw better control with the Black Stork plus Reed Q3 tone arm.

There’s no need to cry over spilled milk because we are talking about a very small part of the sound spectrum at the very bottom. It’s simply worth knowing about. It won’t really be noticeable with cartridges beneath the PC-1 Supreme's stature because those won’t retrieve bass this low. This was nicely confirmed with the Miyajima Lab Waza, which is rather warm on its own to merely suggest the lowest bass. The Bergmann Sindre seemed much lighter and without the same fleshy bass. Its presentation was more precise, resolved and slightly more spacious. Based on my knowledge of the best turntables I heard—the Argos and SME 30—the Avid was closer to them than the Bergmann.

As I said, it’s about a slightly warm sound and the Pulsare preamplifier was responsible in a big way. Moving it in directly after the RCM relocated the timbre downward into the lower midrange and warmed and softened the treble. I remember well how the Manley Steelhead v2 tube preamplifier sounded to know that tubes do not necessarily equate to such warmth.

My RCM is similar to the Manley. The Pulsare was different. In a blind test, the latter would be pegged as the tube device. One reason could be the contour of the frequency response curve. It’s a departure from neutrality as I define it but one which is part of a greater purpose. This deviation remains within the boundaries of ‘correctness’. It’s not big, thus anyone can decide about accepting or rejecting it with their own judgment and within the orbit of their ancillaries. Regardless of how one decides, it will remain within the rules of good tonal balance, just not necessarily ideally linear.

A second reason is harmonic saturation. Voices by Sinatra, Tormé, Morrison from the Doors’ L.A. Woman, Julie London from Julie is Her Name. Vol. 1 all were voluminous and presented slightly closer to the listener - not by much, they were not rushing in front of the speakers but clearly did have more size. There was no talking about small sound or congested elements. This was pleasing but won't necessarily fit all systems. If your sound is already slightly warm and big, the Pulsare won’t discipline it.

However it presents excellent dynamics and shows everything in a very vivid fashion to play on your emotions. Its resolution is not as high as the best I know but I had no real issues especially when I listened to the Avid for some time on its own merit. I have to stress again the excellent user interface. Front panel knobs should become the rule rather than exception for any good phono preamplifier. It’s why I curse my Sensor Prelude IC each time I want to check or improve a setting or change the cartridge altogether.

The turntable itself is smooth, saturated and very satisfactory. It has a splendid tonal balance with a slightly stronger bass and softer treble. This is a very good correction and exactly what I chose when I used the Accuphase room correction processor. It seems mandatory to reproduce music in a home environment where the acoustics share nothing with a recording studio. Avid's voicing does it automatically. I do not think that the difference between the top and bottom is more than 3dB but it can be heard. Similar to the preamplifier, the turntable is very good with dynamics. Perhaps you won’t identify this right off because it differs from most digital players. Yet when appropriate as on the Sinatra disc once the snare drum hits, the listener jumps. Why?

Probably this impact exposed part of the treble spectrum of a closely placed microphone. With the Avid, those nuances are clear and unanimous without analysis, brightening or impersonating a digital player. Is this the ideal? No. One reach farther down in the bass to become even more vivid and natural. The midrange could be more resolved and placed on a darker background. But for that you will need to pay more, much more. Personally, this sound would be absolutely sufficient. For now.