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The Premier comes with a spool of thread so you can make up your own belt when the existing one wears out or snaps. This it did on one occasion during the review. While my loaner came with no instructions on how to make up a new belt and Scheu's website was lacking in useful information, I discovered that Singapore retailer Soundscape HiFi's site has excellent detailed instructions and subsequently appeared to be a fine source of info on Scheu tables in general. Creating a new belt was as easy as tying my shoelaces.

Keen-eyed vinylistas may recognize the Premier's bearing from other far more expensive turntables. Scheu apparently performs a little OEM work for other table firms. The inverted bearing is constructed of pre-tuned, hardened and ground steel. The upper part features an aluminum-oxide ceramic ball with a Teflon mirror. The bearing draws oil up into itself via capillary action and is almost frictionless (a small bottle of oil is included with the table). With a soft push, the platter spun without the belt for several minutes. I gave up trying to time it after five minutes. This bearing is capable of handling a whopping 45 kg load.

While the Premier ships with the necessary tools to set up and adjust cartridges, you'll need Scheu's accessories such as the strobe disc and strobe light to ensure proper speed, a stylus tracking force gauge -- I used the Shure -- and an alignment gauge of your preference.

While you can purchase Scheu's record weight for the Premier II, Bernard gave me his own precision-machined stainless-steel design instead. Many folks swear by record weights but I have mixed feelings. To be honest, I didn't note that much of a difference. Perhaps there was a little more body and solidity to playback but quite often, I simply forgot the weight and wasn't really aware of any performance reduction. One small note: because the Premier's platter has an indentation for the record label, Charisma's weight comes with a washer to prevent the weight from pushing down the inner portion of the LP which would cause the outer edge to curl up.

The bizarre-looking Cantus tonearm is a unipivot design and constructed mostly of clear acrylic. A plastic tonearm! The headshell is an integral part of the arm and not an attachment as with most other arms. From Scheu's website: "This is a tone arm with a unipivot bearing where the arm is not actually a wand but made up of a mechanical framework. This reduces the ubiquitous resonances to an absolute minimum, creating an unbelievably energetic but still 'relaxed' sound. The counterweight is made of tungsten, allowing the tracking weight to be adjusted very easily and reliably. The suspended counterweight design and the breadth of the frame around the bearing make for perfect balancing of the horizontal tracking angle without the need for complex adjustment.

"The Cantus is available in two versions: a 9-inch version with an effective length of 229 mm (pivot-to-spindle separation 212 mm) and a 12-inch model with an effective length of 306 mm (pivot-to-spindle separation 293.5 mm)." My sample of the Premier II was fitted with the 9" Cantus arm. While promising to be flimsy and tricky to operate, the Cantus was nothing of the sort. Granted, if you have never run a unipivot arm, the wide range of motion when cuing up a record can be a bit unnerving at first. The Cantus came fitted with Audio Technica's AT33PTG moving coil cartridge which is curiously unavailable in North America. However you can order it online here for US $399. Apparently, the AT33 is quite popular in the Far East and Europe. Charisma Audio's Bernard Li admitted to trying many far more expensive cartridges with the Cantus but thought this one combined with the arm was one of those special synergistic combinations.

The unshielded cartridge wiring runs straight from the cartridge to the phono stage via a carefully aligned clear plastic tube. Terminations are Neutrik RCA plugs. While the tonearm wiring is unshielded, I suffered no hum or noise issues during the review.